The News Rundown
- The last week of the Alberta election campaign was largely quiet until about Thursday.
- We’re going to talk about Edmonton South West NDP Candidate John Archer.
- Archer is a former CBC journalist and former press secretary to Transport Minister Brian Mason.
- This Wednesday he posted a Tweet with the following words:
- Vote as if:
- Your skin is not white
- Your son is transgender
- Your mom needs cancer treatment
- Your house was flooded
- Your overtime pay feed your family
- Your daughter’s class is bursting at the seams
- Your sister quit her job because she can’t afford child care
- Your hometown was destroyed by a wildfire
- Vote as if your FAMILY DEPENDS ON IT!
- This is making the horrible and short sighted assumption that each of these voting blocks will vote in unison and that their votes belong to the NDP.
- Archer deleted the post saying, “it was not in line with the message I want to share during this campaign. It was a mistake and I apologize.”
- The irony is that Archer is running against Kaycee Madu, an immigrant from Nigeria who came to Canada with his wife in 2005.
- Madu said, “As an African-Canadian, I am deeply offended by Mr. Archer’s derogatory comment about skin colour – which is designed solely to divide and offend.”
- As pointed out by the Post Millennial, this tweet infers that the UCP:
- Does not care about transgender people
- Does not care about those battling cancer
- Does not care about people who have had floods damage their property
- Does not care about families who live paycheck-to-paycheck
- Does not care about educational standards
- Does not care about those unable to provide childcare
- The tweet by Archer gained little attention in conventional media circles but as we know remarks from years past by UCP candidates have gained a day or two of coverage.
- Why is it that the NDP mudslinging always seems to be covered in the media?
- A publisher’s note in The Weekly Anchor (a paper covering Edson and Yellowhead county) highlighted a concerning email that the paper received.
- The paper claims to have received an email from a Maureen Mariampillai from an @albertandp.ca email address.
- The email said, “Hey there, you didn’t get this from me but thought you might want to follow up on this…” and the following was mudslinging towards a local candidate.
- The email then says, “You didn’t get this from me” which tells us that the sender wanted to remain anonymous but it’s pretty hard to do that with an albertandp.ca email address.
- The Weekly Anchor investigated further and found out that Maureen Mariampillai is the communications officer for the Alberta NDP caucus!
- Notley has been asked before if anyone inside the NDP is sending mudslinging stories to the media and she denied. This email though says the exact opposite.
- The Weekly Anchor ended with a good question, “Are those involved in the NDP political trenches of this election so emboldened by the ease of posting mudslinging and misinformation on social media that they now feel comfortable attempting to pass of emails like this to newspapers?
- The Trudeau government just can't help making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately.
- A federal government announcement that it will give as much as $12 million to help Loblaw Companies Ltd, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions is creating a backlash online.
- The announcement sparked an uproar on social media, with commenters expressing frustration about Ottawa handing out money to a large, profitable corporation. Opposition politicians also took to the internet to call out the federal Liberals for their subsidy.
- The federal government announced on Monday it will provide up to $12 million to help the grocery chain convert refrigeration systems in about 370 stores. The money will come from the government’s Low Carbon Economy Fund and is expected to help the company cut its carbon footprint by about 23 per cent.
- Loblaw reported a profit of $754 million attributable to common shareholders in 2018, and is backed by some of Canada’s wealthiest people. The company’s largest shareholder is Galen Weston, whose has an estimated net worth of US$7.4 billion. The company, which owns stores such as Loblaws, Superstore, Fortinos and Shoppers Drug Mart, is Canada’s biggest grocery retailer, with $46.6 billion in revenue for 2018 and a 63 per cent market share.
- Environment Minister Catherine McKenna doubled down on the announcement and attempted to defend her government's decision to hand $12 million in taxpayer money to a billion dollar corporation so it can install more energy-efficient fridges.
- That comes just a year and a half after the company fought against raising the minimum wage, admitted to a 14-year bread price-fixing scheme and ended up in a tax court battle last year that saw it ordered to pay back taxes worth roughly $368 million related to a banking subsidiary in the Caribbean.
- “We have a climate plan that works with everyone. It works with large businesses, small businesses, cities, schools, hospitals, municipalities,” McKenna said when asked why the company, which had net earnings of roughly $800 million last year, needed taxpayer funds to retrofit its stores. Loblaw was one of the 50 winners through the competitive process. Why? Because they can get the most significant emission reductions.”
- “Well, the good news is we’re supporting companies across the board: small companies, big companies, as well as hospitals, schools, cities (and) individuals to reduce their emissions.”
- McKenna compared the emissions reduction effect of retrofitting the fridges in 370 Loblaw stores to taking 50,000 vehicles off the road every year.
- Independent grocers are also furious about the announcement, saying that it's akin to the government trying to help create monopolies.
- Amanda Stevenson, the owner of a Manitoba grocery store, said “It bothers me that people who have very little are paying taxes so Loblaws shareholders can have $12 million more in profit this year. Our dairy cooler just quit, but I'm not looking for a freebie."
- Jubilee Market, an independent grocer in Oakville, posted on Twitter: “We could use help upgrading our equipment, but we pay for our own, when we can. #LoblawsGiveItBack”
- The $12 million is set to be used by Loblaw for retrofits scheduled to take place between 2019 and 2022. But it is not clear at this time whether the $12 million was given out in one chunk or whether it will be broken down as Loblaw hits retrofit targets, particularly given 2019 is an election year that could potentially see the Liberals — and their emissions-reduction focus — booted out of office.
- Global News asked McKenna specifically whether the money will be given upfront or if any of it is contingent on how much work the company actually does. However, she did not directly answer the question. She said: "This project is of course contingent on them doing what they said they would do, which is a retrofit program across the money."
- What is worse about this announcement is that is comes just 2 weeks after forcing the carbon tax on all Canadians, where Canadians of all incomes have to give up more of their hard earned paycheck to the government under the guise of "helping the environment". And now the Trudeau government is giving part of that money directly to one of the richest corporations in Canada. How does that fit the narrative that Trudeau has spouted all along that he's lowering taxes for the middle class and raising taxes on the wealthiest 1%?
- Shortly after our last show was published last Sunday word came out that Justin Trudeau is suing Andrew Scheer, leader of the opposition.
- Scheer received a letter from Trudeau’s lawyer on March 31. The turn around time of about a week to respond to such a letter is short in the legal world.
- What was in the letter? “The statement contained highly defamatory comments about Prime Minister Trudeau”
- In particular Trudeau feels that he was defamed by Scheer on March 29th. Where he said that the testimony given by Jody Wilson-Raybould was “concrete evidence that proves Justin Trudeau led a campaign to politically interfere with SNC-Lavalin’s criminal prosecution.”
- Scheer reiterated the comments in the House of Commons where he’s protected by parliamentary privilege but also repeated them outside the house as well this week.
- This is a statement that he is calling Trudeau’s bluff and is willing to see the matter taken to court if the Prime Minister really wants to do that.
- The Prime Minister’s Office said that Scheer was “on notice that there are consequences for making completely false and libellous statements.”
- Trudeau’s comments on the matters were as follows: “I think it’s important that all politicians be straight with Canadians in how they characterize their own actions and their own beliefs. I think we’re going to have an election in the coming months, you can’t be inventing things, you can’t be lying to Canadians.”
- This is attempt to “silence debate” outside the House as Scheer’s lawyer says.
- The pathway forward for Trudeau: carry on with lawsuit, use the lawsuit to say that Scheer lies and makes things up, lump Scheer in with Doug Ford and the alt-right as he did on Friday night, and run the election through a fear and smear campaign as Rachel Notley is doing now in Alberta.
- The pathway forward for Andrew Scheer: opinion polling says that the public vastly agrees with and believes Jody Wilson-Raybould, paint himself as the Conservative party as a party focused on exposing the truth, providing clear policy alternatives, and in doing so ultimately siding with the majority of Canadians.
- By matching the Canadian public on the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Andrew Scheer will have a much easier time winning people over because after all, if you agree with someone, they’re more likely to follow you.
- Andrew Scheer already had this method on trial this week. On Thursday he campaigned with Jason Kenney in Calgary in a rally that was officially an Alberta provincial rally for the United Conservative Party but was also a ramp up to the fall’s election campaign.
- If there’s one constant, the fear and smear tactics used by Notley and now Trudeau against Andrew Scheer showcase the need for a united front.
- You could almost say that a United Conservative Party is needed to deal with the campaign style that is almost certain to come from Justin Trudeau this fall.
- This week we're going to take a break from our usual BC coverage to look at something important to a large segment of Canadians, hockey of course! As the NHL playoffs get underway, fans from Toronto, Calgary, and Winnipeg eagerly cheer on their teams as they try to win the elusive Stanley Cup and be the first team to do so since Montreal in 1993.
- Teams and fans have a tradition of organizing street parties, where fans can join other fans in the downtown cores and watch their teams try to win. It ends up being a huge event of merriment. Last year, Winnipeg had a street party during game 5 of round 1 that had an estimated 15,000 people, which was about the same number of people that were inside the MTS Centre watching the Jets take on the Minnesota Wild.
- The Jets winning in game 5 led to the first time since 1987 that Winnipeg had won a playoff series., and fans were jubilant. The Jets were relocated in 1996 to Phoenix Arizona, and Winnipeg didn't have a team until 2011 when the Atlanta Thrashers franchise was relocated to Winnipeg. For longtime fans who couldn't have the chance to watch the Jets play in person, it was a special moment to be able to still watch them on big screen tvs with their fellow fans in downtown Winnipeg.
- In that 1987 playoff series, Winnipeg was playing against the Calgary Flames, which had the tradition of having a "Sea of Red" where everyone in the arena would wear red in solidarity with the team colours. In response, Winnipeg started a "Whiteout", where their fans started wearing white shirts and jerseys to go along with the Jets' primary uniform colours. That was at a time when the Jets home colours were white, not blue as they now are, but the tradition has stuck.
- This year, the team is keeping up the tradition of the street parties, and due the success of last year's party, fans wearing white can be seen flocking to downtown Winnipeg to watch their team try to win it all.
- But some are not happy with the choice of the street party being called a "Whiteout".
- An article from the CBC highlights a Facebook post from a group called "Black Space Winnipeg", and had the caption "Promoting a Whiteout downtown can be triggering to people of colour, group says". Black Space Winnipeg is self described as "a non-profit organization that lobbies for safe spaces for Winnipeg's black community."
- Black Space Winnipeg founder Alexa Potashnik clarified her remarks in an interview with CBC, who I assume were eager to shed light on this story: "I get the colour context 100 per cent, but it's the culture that we're talking about. It's the wording we're critiquing," citing a headline that called for turning Winnipeg's downtown white again as playoffs returned.
- "It's triggering for some people. For marginalized communities — whether that's black communities, Indigenous people of colour, folks with disabilities, queer communities, it impacts us all. People have a very narrow definition of what safe is," Potashnik said, adding that her Facebook post "hit a nerve."
- Potashnik said she expected some backlash but not to the extent she has received, with a lot of angry vitriol and many commenters suggesting she's hypocritical since her organization has the word "black" in it.
- Others called the post ridiculous, stupid, a publicity stunt, a pathetic attempt at outrage, and a joke. At least one commenter said the post was creating the very thing Potashnik said she is trying to prevent — a rift in society.
- Someone who identified themselves as a black Jamaican Canadian and proud Winnipegger wrote "Please please don't over reach … the struggle is real but this is not one of them. Black Space, I am out."
- “Mayhem ensues when these parties take place. It’s triggering to see a sea of white when you’re walking home from work or school—witnessing aggressive ‘Jets culture’ as Jets fans flood the streets yelling ‘True North’.”
- One commenter took offense to the labeling of the Whiteout street partygoers: "If you zoom in on the crowd there appears to be many people of color and they appear to be having a good time. Way to twist a cities love and support for their hockey team to support your own racist propaganda."
- Here's the problem with this story. A person that is founder of an organization with the word black in it, is trying to label something that has the word white in it to be racist. Rather than ignore the sad attempt to divide people watching hockey along racial lines , the media rushes to give this person more coverage. She's had interviews with CBC, CTV, Global News radio affiliates, local Winnipeg radio stations, and newspapers across the country.
- As the Post Millennial writes, "Black Space Winnipeg may have unwittingly united all of us, as hockey fans of all creeds will now be joined in their belief that these people have no idea what they’re talking about. Whiteouts in Winnipeg, Blackouts in Pittsburgh, the aforementioned “C of Red,” and traditions of similar nature are common sports practices that have been around for decades. And guess what? They’re not racist. They’re just fun. Let us have nice things."
Word of the Week
Identity Politics - a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Identifying Mudslinging
Teaser: The Alberta NDP engages in identity politics, the Trudeau government gives $12M to Loblaws to save the environment, and Trudeau believes there are consequences for lying to Canadians. Also, the media blows up a story on the Winnipeg Jets street parties.
Recorded Date: April 13, 2019
Release Date: April 14, 2019
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes