Is Trudeau’s Canada for sale?

PM Justin Trudeau in Revelstoke, B.C. July 30, 2017 (Jeff Bassett/Canadian Press)

Is Trudeau’s Canada for sale? If we judge how much money the Trudeau Government is spending on matters not related to average Canadians, I would say yes. For Liberals, it seems to be all about paying whatever it takes to get international prestige and favour.

Think back to September 2016, for instance, when Mr. Trudeau spoke at the UN.  He specifically said his Liberal government would be spending less emphasis on national interests and more on global interests.

Remember too when Trudeau kept saying “Canada is back.” What exactly did he mean?  Did it simply mean “rebranding” as the CBC claimed? Or, that Canada was back to spending taxpayers money for climate change initiatives and global aid programs?

For example:

  1. In their first 100 days governing Canada, the Trudeau Liberals allocated $4.3 Billion to be spent abroad for UN climate conferences and helping third world countries deal with climate change.
  2. Still in those early days, the Trudeau Liberals allocated $450-Million for UN peacekeeping operations because, remember, during the 2015 election campaign, they promised to take Canada’s military out of the Middle East. Well, apparently, as of June 2017, the Liberals still haven’t decided where to do that peacekeeping.
  3. More recently, the Trudeau Liberals came up with a “feminist plan” that allocated $650 Million for international feminist services over several years, money that includes paying activists to interrupt and lobby in countries where abortion is illegal.
  4. Last, but unfortunately not likely to be least, the Trudeau Liberals gave $20 Million! to the Clinton Foundation. Yes, that Foundation where there are allegations of pay for play and misspending.

No doubt there are many more examples of money spent abroad. And, of course, while the money was spent in Canada, we all know about the Omar Khadr $10.5 million pay out. A travesty for sure. Taxpayers hard earned money going to a convicted terrorist because his rights were somehow violated when he was being interviewed by RCMP investigators at Guantanamo Bay.

But, for me, the proof that the Trudeau Government is more interested in spending money abroad than at home came this very week in BC when the PM was encouraging Canadians to donate privately to the Red Cross to help Canadians adversely affected by the BC fires. Significant was the fact that he did NOT say his government would match those funds.

In my opinion, regardless of the endless selfies and photo ops reminding us of PM Trudeau’s rock star status internationally, Canadians need to pay attention to the amount of money flowing OUT of our country. Is Canada for sale? I already said “yes” at the start of his column. But, readers can judge for themselves, especially since all this generosity is being spent while Canada expects a $28.5 Billion deficit for 2017/18.

Greece shows why “Proportional Representation” won’t work in Canada

Credit Elections Canada.

As Kelly McParland wrote in yesterday’s National Post, the current unstable political situation in Greece confirms that Proportional Representation (PR) is a very risky type of electoral system.

I mean, the Greek people just had an election on May 6th, 2012. Yet, now they have to go back to the polls.

Why? Because none of the party leaders can agree on austerity measures, what type of coalition government they want, or who will lead it. For example, Greece’s New Democracy Party received only 19% of the vote, compared to Syriza at 17% and Pasok at 13%.

What a new election is going to accomplish, I can’t imagine. In the meantime, a caretaker government was appointed yesterday to carry Greece through this latest crisis.

Now, compare that particular electoral stalemate to Canada’s first past the post system (FPTP).

Of course, progressive and liberal voters and politicians in Canada don’t like FPTP because they would have to get the most seats –compared to PR where two or more parties can combine their popular vote to form a coalition government.

For example, on May 2nd, 2011, the Conservative Party of Canada got 39.62% of the vote and 167 seats compared to the NDP, which received 30.62% and 102 seats. The Liberals on the other hand, received only got 18.91% of the votes or 34 seats.

Which means, if PR had been in effect in Canada in 2011, the NDP and Liberals would have formed a coalition government with only 49.53% of the votes, still not a majority. If the Greens (with one seat being held by Elizabeth May) joined that coalition, the numbers would have jumped to 53.44% of the vote.

However, the problem with that particular “majority” scenario, is that it would have been all the losing parties that formed the Canadian government, hardly fair or equitable in my opinion?

Now, if the 39.62% of the popular vote is the problem — as in the 60% of Canadians didn’t vote for the Conservatives in 2011 meme — let’s look at the popular vote of previous Liberal majority governments. Because, remember, Canada’s House of Commons has five separate political parties. Meaning, it doesn’t matter if four of those parties are considered liberal/progressive because — unless and until they join together — they are separate parties with separate results.

  • 1974 – Libs 43.2%
  • 1980 – Libs 44.3%
  • 1993 – Libs 41.3%
  • 1997 – Libs 38.5%
  • 2000 – Libs 40.8%

In reality, then, the results were not that much different than what the CPC received a year ago with 39.62%.

So, given the difficulties countries like Greece are having with PR to form a government, if the FPTP system isn’t broken…..

Conservatives to support NDP motion to end Aboriginal education funding?

So, now we know how this robocall issue is going to end — with a political compromise. Yes, the NDP’s Interim Leader Nycole Turmel and Pat Martin are still playing good cop, bad cop, as this column by PostMedia reporter Linda Nguyen indicates.

However, something else is going on as well. For example, check out this somewhat low-key column by Tim Harper in the Toronto Star (H/T newswatchcanada.ca) which indicates that the Conservatives might back NDP MP Charlie Angus’ motion to end the federal Aboriginal education funding gap.

Could, in fact, that be where the rubber hits the road and the NDP backs away from Bob Rae’s near hysteria? Well, only time will tell of course, but as Nguyen writes: 

“On Friday, Rae sent a letter to House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer, asking him to allow an emergency debate on the matter when Parliament resumes Monday. But interim federal NDP leader Nycole Turmel says approval for such a debate is unlikely because it is not the responsibility of the federal government to probe these kinds of situations. Instead, she urged for a thorough investigation by the RCMP and Elections Canada.”

A thorough investigation by the RCMP and Elections Canada? Absolutely. Of course, even without the results of such an investigation, Bob Rae and his Liberals continue to allege a connection between the robocalls and the Conservative Party of Canada  — even while voters like me are willing to sign an affidavit that we too got such calls.

As I wondered at the time I received my call, why on earth would Elections Canada call an individual voter. Or, for that matter, why would any political party call someone on or just before election day. The reality is that no one can predict how a person will vote on the basis of their telephone number. For example, as I mentioned in one of my comments on my previous thread, I also got automated calls during the Ontario election campaign as well, but they were identified as coming from the provincial Liberal candidate in my riding. However, at no time did I actually say who I was planning to vote for. 

Meaning, no political party can know how a person is going to vote strictly based on their telephone number. And, for Bob Rae and the federal Liberal incumbents who lost on May 2, 2011, to suggest electoral fraud is truly magical thinking, albeit dangerous thinking given how the confidence in our government is being eroded purely out of political desperation.

[…]

Updates:

(1) Here is another Toronto Star article (H/T Ontario Girl) about a private Thunder Bay call centre company supposed to get out the Conservative vote. Obviously mistakes were made, but mostly by the call centre workers. But I am also very suspicious. Why are we not hearing anything about Liberal and NDP attempts to get out their vote. They had to have made those types of calls. Whatever mistakes were made, in my opinion, it is far more shameful what the liberal media and Liberals are trying to do now — take down a duly elected government on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations. No, the call centre workers do not prove voter suppression. Rather, they prove that call centre workers themselves decided to say they were calling from Elections Canada.

(2) Here is a Globe and Mail article about Senator Mike Duffy complaining that there are also third parties who get involved in election campaigns and likely use automated calling and call centres. Makes a lot of sense.

(3) CBC reporting that Peter McKay saying robocalls an isolated incident.

Canada’s opposition look like fools re pension reform issue

Apart from the Sun News Network, it has gotten to the point that I can’t turn on a TV news or politics show, because when I do, all I see and hear are NDP MPs and Liberal leader Bob Rae and most of his Liberal caucus frothing at the mouth. If they had justification to be so angry, it wouldn’t be a problem. But, the way they are behaving is actually embarrassing, particularly since they truly seem to think they have finally found the Conservative hidden agenda. 

Meaning, this whole high dungeon is nothing more than pure spin. For example, I saw Ralph Goodale turn around and say something to Rae, which looked like very much like he was congratulating him. And all the time Rae was ranting, Liberal MPs David McGuinty and Scott Brison were leaning to their left to get into the TV shot. Sad, really sad.

But, speaking of Bob Rae, isn’t he the same leader who put Ontario deeply into deficit in the early 1990s when he raised entitlements (welfare rates) so high he took away all incentive for people to work? The Harris PC government lowered those rates by 21% early in their mandate over the summer of 1995 and within a few years, 100,000 people were working again and no longer on social assistance.

Anyway, Bob Rae and the Harper hating media, are making absolute fools of themselves. I heard Prime Minister Harper’s speech in Davos live and I heard him clearly say that the CPP (Canada Pension Plan), which is funded by workers’ contributions, was in good shape for the long-term and that no one who was receiving the OAS (Old Age Security), which comes out of taxation and general revenues, now or in the near future would be affected by pension reform.

So, what part of that do people not understand?  Maybe part of the problem is that I watched the PM speech on SNN and, as such, was able to clearly hear ALL of the PMs speech. However, from what I have read on other blogs, that was not the case with other networks. 

One way or another, OAS is going to have to be reformed. But, it is going to have to be done carefully. We only have to look to Greece, Italy and Portugal to know the consequences of having entitlements that a government cannot fund.

The crux of the matter is that pension reform is not for the immediate future. It is for the long-term.

Sheesh!

To Layton, Mulcair & May: It’s a Conservative “majority!”

For just a few minutes on Monday night, right after the election counters on SunNewsNetwork, CBC and CTV went over 155 seats for the Conservative Party, a lot of Canadians like me might have thought they could finally look forward to four years of parliamentary peace and stability.  Well, that was clearly wishful thinking on my part because, while we can certainly expect stability, the peace not so much.

In fact, the grandstanding started later that night when the new Official Opposition Leader, the NDP’s Jack Layton, gave his acceptance speech. Without a doubt, he implied that all he had promised Quebecers would come to pass simply because he was going to pay a visit to the prime Minister and negotiate.

Negotiate what? I mean, the Conservative Party did not run on the NDP platform.  Yet, yesterday I heard Layton’s Quebec Lieutenant Thomas Mulcair refer to the NDP election results as a “mandate.” Pardon me? Well, perhaps it’s not surprising they are so confused. I mean, with the Liberal and NDP election platforms being so closely aligned, I think both the NDP and Quebecers got so used to the idea of a coalition government, they haven’t yet realized they have no mandate at all — a parliamentary privilege that only falls to the political party that gets the most seats.  

But that is not all. Yesterday, I personally heard Elizabeth May suggest to Evan Solomon on CBC that all 308 MPs should be treated equally. Plus, she also mentioned she needed a bigger budget because she is the leader of a political party. One seat and she is already “entitled to her entitlements.”  Honestly, from now on, I am just going to hit the mute bottom when I see her on television, no matter which network she is on.

In any event, while Elizabeth May, Jack Layton and Thomas Mulcair may not like it, that is how our Canadian parliamentary system works. As Marilla Stephenson writes in her Chronice Herald column today, “Layton should check his illusions at Stornoway’s door.”   

Illusions indeed. Meaning, that May, Layton and Mulcair should get used to their role as opposition members and accept the obvious reality that Canada now has a Conservative majority government!

CBC “At Issue” panel thinks democracy at risk in Canada

Last night on the CBC’s “At Issue” panel, the three regular panelists and host Peter Mansbridge worried aloud about the state of democracy in Canada.  Is it, in fact, at risk? Well, although each panelist had different reasons for thinking democracy in Canada was, indeed, at risk, the implication was that it was somehow all the fault of the Conservative “minority” government because:

  1. It had promised to do things differently, but allegedly hadn’t; 
  2. The chickens were coming home to roost, whatever that was supposed to mean; and
  3. Since the opposition was too weak to bring it down, it somehow was lacking in accountability and transparency. 

Reality check! I don’t recall news readers, panelists or anchors at CBC complaining about the state of democracy when the Liberal Party of Canada (LPOC), under Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, dominated the federal scene for thirteen years — in solid “majority” parliaments where no one could call them to account for anything. Talk about a double standard!

However, all that said, I actually do agree with the “At Issue” panelists, albeit for very different reasons. Democracy is at risk in Canada and has been ever since the federal election of 1993. Because, up to that point, in living memory at least, there were always two political parties that could form a government. Meaning, while one governed, the other was viewed as a government in waiting — a fact that kept the governing party on their toes. That was no longer the case after the 1993 election because the PC party had been decimated, rightly or wrongly, winning only two seats. As a result, from that day forward to 2005, the right was weak in this country. Then, the Progressive Conservatives and Canadian Alliance came together to form the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC).

Now, however, because of the Sponsorship Scandal, which can’t be swept away with Conservative “faux scandals” and distractions, or the claim made that the “In and Out” is of the same severity (which it isn’t), the Liberals are weak. Meaning, they and their media supporters have to stop blaming the Conservatives for everything, including the CPC attack ads. If there was no truth to the ads, no one would be paying attention.

In fact, there is nothing to stop the LPOC from using similar attack ads. All they have to do is raise the money to do so. And, yes, there is the catch 22 situation. If you are not offering anything new or you have simply anointed your leader, then money is going to be hard to raise. Well, it is long past time the Liberals did something other than project their own weaknesses onto the Conservative government and party.  The risk of course, if they don’t, is the same thing that happened to the PCs in 1993 will happen to them in the next federal election.

So, it is time the LPOC and the Liberal parliamentary caucus systematically renewed themselves by:

  1. Showing some real remorse for the Sponsorship Scandal and clearly articulating why it will never happen again;
  2. Choosing a different leader that Canadians can identify with and one that has gone through a democratic grassroots leadership race;
  3. Putting forward social and economic policies that average Canadians can relate too — particularly those of us who were progressive conservatives — that don’t put us further into deficit; and last, but not least,
  4. Not reflecting their desperate “we are entitled to our entitlements” and “we are the natural governing party” attitude in their haste to get back into government.

In other words, Canadian voters know what they are doing. They did not make a mistake in the 2006 and 2008 election campaigns when they elected the Conservatives under Stephen Harper. And, they know, instinctively that two strong federal parties are what Canada needs to make it a strong, competitive and vibrant democracy. However, whether or not that happens, is now up to the Liberals, not the Conservatives.

C/P Jack’s Newswatch.

Are “Entitled” Liberal MPs considering non-confidence motion?

The Hill-Times is reporting that the federal Liberal caucus is considering a non-confidence motion on the basis of a lack of “Conservative government” transparency. Well, if that is true, it clearly shows Canadians why Liberals, under their lacklustre leader Michael Ignatieff,  are not yet fit to return to power. They are not, in my opinion, a “government in waiting,” whether alone or as part of an NDP and Bloc coalition. And, for all those who are ready to minimize or ridicule what I am writing because “she is a Conservative partisan,” know this:

I am a former Progressive Conservative and, as such, apart from voting twice for Brian Mulroney in the 1980’s, I voted Liberal for most of my adult life — until 2006. Yet, for me, as for a lot of former Liberal supporters, the Sponsorship Scandal was the last straw.

So, when today’s Liberals talk about transparency in government, we are reminded of that betrayal for which they were punished by the electorate in 2006. But, have they learned anything? It seems they have not because I have never heard them say what they would do differently if they were re-elected with enough seats to govern. Have they rehabilitated themselves? Not that I have seen. Rather, during the past two years, all I have seen and heard them do — along with a very anti-Conservative biased media — is scheme how they can form a coalition without a majority.

Is the Conservative government perfect? No, they are not. It is a human institution after all, affected by the work of thousands of public servants. But, somehow they have managed to accomplish a fair bit.

Which reminds me of what happened during last October’s municipal election in Toronto. The more Mayor Rob Ford was denounced, the higher his ratings went. Are we going to see the same phenomenon with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his governing Tories? Given the latest polls, I think so. Look also at this Google page where there are over two million and a half entries on how Ford won, in spite of a very nasty anti-Ford media campaign.

Which means, that if the “entitled” Liberals go ahead with a vote of non-confidence in the next week or so, we will be having a federal election. I personally think that may be the best thing possible for this country — clear the air once and for all by giving the Conservatives a majority government. Because, clearly, until the federal Liberals experience a complete defeat, they will do nothing substantive about renewing themselves.