The News Rundown
- With the election of Jason Kenney's UCP to the Alberta legislature last week, most people across Western Canada figured that after defeating Rachel Notley, Kenney would move onto the next nearest NDP premier to fight. We kind of got that this week, as there's been a lot of oil and gas pipeline rhetoric in the news in BC.
- Before I continue, if you haven't listened to last week's show, on episode 115 I detailed all the ways that Alberta could put the squeeze on BC with the Trans Mountain Pipeline if BC continues to block the expansion project. Check that out if you haven't yet.
- BC Premier John Horgan was in the news this week with his own suggestions on how to solve the ever increasing gas prices in BC: Alberta should build more refineries to ship refined product to BC! Never mind that there wouldn't be a capacity to ship that product without, say an expansion of a pipeline.
- Horgan said during a media availability that “Most refineries are usually close to the source of the product. I would suggest Alberta has more expertise in this area and it might be a better place for new refining capacity. We don’t have enough refined product for the travelling public. We need to talk to the gas companies about why they are not refining more product.”
- Horgan offered the comments while in Langford for an announcement expanding the province’s Clean B.C. rebate program on appliances and renovations to cut household greenhouse-gas emissions, and again blamed the short-term spike in gas prices on gouging by petroleum companies.
- On the Alberta side of the border, however, incoming Premier Jason Kenney plans to keep his emphasis on connecting infrastructure, said his spokeswoman, Christine Myatt: "As premier-designate Kenney said at last week’s media availability, he would like to find common ground with British Columbia on job-creating projects, but his main focus will be on getting much-needed pipelines built."
- And Kenney, on Friday afternoon, commented on Horgan’s recent statements in a message via Twitter that building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion “as soon as possible” would be the solution to B.C.’s soaring gas prices. “Let’s build that pipe,” he wrote.
- On Tuesday, Horgan blamed the federal Department of Consumer Affairs for not being alert to the obvious “gouging” by the gas companies out here. Other days, when not blaming the companies for gouging, he says they should risk big bucks to develop a refinery to produce more gasoline for B.C.
- Horgan never suggests where such a refinery could plausibly be located in a province with a reputation as a BANANA (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anybody) republic for new industrial projects with a fossil fuel component.
- Victoria entrepreneur David Black has proposed building the Kitimat Clean refinery in the northwest. Eagle Spirit Energy, backed by a number of First Nations, and Pacific Future Energy have also proposed projects to develop and/or ship refined product from the northern coast.
- But just last week the Horgan government endorsed the federal government’s Bill C-48, which would outlaw oil shipments by tanker out of Kitimat or anywhere else on the north coast of B.C.
- Build a new or expanded refinery in Alberta? Perhaps. But how to deliver the additional refined product to B.C. other than by increased pipeline capacity, which the Horgan government opposes?
- Besides, much as Horgan is loath to admit it, the New Democrats are surely doing their part to drive up the price of gasoline at the pump.
- “It’s only a penny a litre,” said Horgan of the latest increase in the carbon tax.
- But those pennies add up, taking an additional $200 million from consumers this year and a projected $800 million over four years of NDP government. Then, that’s the whole point of the carbon tax — make gasoline more expensive, so people switch to alternatives like public transit, bicycles, or cleaner and greener vehicles.
- Horgan should just say that, instead of making ridiculous proposals for refineries that are never going to happen.
- Meanwhile, in Victoria, last weekend there was a protest of about 100 people held in downtown Victoria in front of downtown branches of major Canadian banks.
- The demonstration, marking Earth Day, was meant as a protest against the banks’ investments in fossil fuels, “a major source of greenhouse gases and climate change”. Bank depositors were urged to move their accounts from banks to credit unions. This small protest gained province wide media coverage, and yet the silent majority who continue to fume about the carbon tax and high gas prices continue to not have their views heard.
- One day every 4 years, the silent majority gets to have their views heard, that's election day. Over the past few years Trudeau's provincial allies have fallen one by one. Next fall, will be Trudeau's turn. Who knows when it will be BC's turn?
- In a column written by Jamie Carroll for National Newswatch he writes, “Justin Trudeau has been given a golden opportunity and we’re about to see if he has the killer instinct necessary to seize it… As a good friend from Nova Scotia says, progress happens one funeral at a time, and Alberta clearly still has a few burials to endure before the progressive agenda put forward by outgoing-Premier Rachel Notley commands majority support.”
- Carroll has in the past written for iPolitics and was the former national Liberal director.
- Carroll also had the audacity to say that views that are racist, misogynist, or homophobic “outside” of the province are a little more mainstream in Alberta due to the recent election.
- He also suggests that we in Alberta believe that the oil and gas underfoot (or the dead dinosaurs as he puts it) belong to the province by divine right.
- He ultimately suggests that given that the Trudeau Liberals should just cancel the Trans Mountain Pipeline outright to garner support in BC and Quebec where they have room to grow.
- The logic being that Trudeau won’t win any new seats in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Ontario, so make the party a party of BC and Quebec and try to win a government there.
- The idea being that these provinces have “a deep, abiding hatred of oil pipelines.”
- A national unity crisis in an attempt to win an election.
- A nasty campaign. We just saw one of those, it didn’t work.
- Finally, he also mused at a remote possibility of Jason Kenney caving in and keeping the carbon tax: “Trudeau cancels the project, states why clearly and Kenney decides he has little choice but to keep the carbon tax.”
- It’s not just partisan columnists like Carrol though, Andrew Coyne was in the National Post this Friday ultimately saying, “We were supposed to have both[, pipelines and a carbon tax]. Will we end up with neither?”
- He marketed this as a grand bargain between the Trudeau government and the provinces that both sides “promised” Canadians.
- The idea being that there be some form of carbon pricing in exchange for pipelines.
- Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and soon to be Alberta will all be challenging the Federal government’s carbon tax plan.
- In Saskatchewan starting for the 2020 tax year, the first adult filing will receive $452 back yearly, $225 for a spouse, and $113 for each child yearly. These numbers are different for each province where the federal plan will be in effect.
- The argument is made that “a tax of one-quarter of 1% of GDP, phased in over four years, is not going to kill the economy; neither would a tax of twice that amount, which is about how much revenue it would yield if applied nationwide. But of course almost all of the revenues Ottawa collects are to be rebated back to consumers via their income-tax returns”
- That’s all fine and well but Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick are now all represented by governments that aim to remove carbon pricing.
- Coyne also points it to be “political grandstanding” on both sides, but the will of the people cannot be understated.
- He goes on to also highlight the threat in a much less partisan way than Jamie Carroll that the Feds have hinted they may withdraw support for the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
- This is the fight that the Liberals want because it has the potential to shore up the base of support in BC and Quebec but it stokes the very real threat of a national unity crisis.
- It’s quite hypocritical when Environment Minister Catherine McKenna Tweets: “Straight from Harper’s playbook: Andrew Scheer has been caught scheming behind closed doors with wealthy executives to gut environmental protection laws, silence critics, and make pollution free again”
- The hypocritical part being that the Liberals are aiming to please wealthy executives within SNC-Lavalin by offering them a deferred prosecution agreement.
- Conservative members despise big business collusion and that’s what brought down the Progressive Conservatives in the late 1980s combined with all too much focus on Quebec.
- If Trudeau tries this and it backfires resulting in a Conservative government. Watch out.
- The premierships are currently occupied (and soon will be occupied) by conservatives in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick. Throw in a centre-right nationalist government in Quebec and a new potential Progressive Conservative minority in PEI and things get interesting.
- We have 5 provinces committed to getting rid of the carbon tax, these provinces on their own account for more than 50% of the population of Canada. With appropriate negotiations following a fall election where Trudeau’s plan fails and sees a Conservative government it is not unlikely that we could see constitutional amendments on taxation or equalization.
- You need 7 provinces representing 50% of the population to open and amend the constitution. The 5 provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick meet the 50% threshold. Only 2 other provinces would have to agree.
- Justin Trudeau needs to ask himself if this is the fight he wants.
- The media also needs to realize that they are playing with fire and must report honestly to avoid becoming part of a corrupt Liberal establishment.
- Last year on episode 54, which was aptly named "Governments Flying Drunk", we detailed a story that highlighted just how much taxpayers are paying for alcohol to be free of charge for passengers on government aircraft, which is in the 10s of thousands annually.
- Also, a little bit more recently on episode 94 at the end of 2018, we detailed a December 2017 "party flight" that was sponsored by the Department of National Defence for Canadian Forces, where taxpayers were billed $337,000 for "VIPs" who were meant to boost the morale of the soldiers. The drunk and disorderly conduct was an embarrassment for Canada.
- Trudeau's government has acquired a reputation for sponsoring drunken flights costing taxpayers into the 100s of thousands. But what about Trudeau himself, is he a part of this problem as well?
- An order paper question placed by Conservative MP Bev Shipley asked the question: “With regard to the consumption of alcohol and food on flights taken on government-owned Airbus and Challenger aircraft since June 1, 2018: (a) on which flights was alcohol consumed; and (b) for each flight · where alcohol was consumed (i) what is the value of alcohol consumed, (ii) what was the origin and destination of the flight, (iii) what was the flight date, (iv) what is the breakdown of alcoholic beverages consumed by specific beverage and quantity, (v) what is the cost of food consumed on each flight?”
- Global Affairs Canada didn't respond to that enquiry about the Challenger aircraft, Trudeau's most used plane, but did respond about the government's Airbus plane. The costs for food and alcohol on just 5 of those flights reached an astounding $384,000.
- In November 2018, on one particular flight, Trudeau went on a world tour, reaching destinations like France, Cyprus, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Hawaii, and back to Canada again. On that flight alone, the costs for food and alcohol reached almost $150k.
- Later that month, on Trudeau's trip to Argentina for the G20 Summit, where he made his famous sexist comments about Canadians having to beware and watch out for male construction workers, he racked up a food and alcohol bill of over $100k.
- For the Prime Minister who told veterans that they are asking for more than the government can give them, and who upped the carbon tax on all Canadians, effecting the poorest among us most, it's very tone deaf and hypocritical. Surely our tax money should be going to something a bit more useful.
- This story was only covered in The Rebel by Sheila Gunn Reid, oddly enough, with no coverage in any other major Canadian outlets. The mainstream media tends to not pick up on Rebel stories until later after it's blown up on social media. So we can probably expect to see this story in a few weeks. Here at Western Context, we look at stories no matter the source and cut through sensationalism to get to the facts for you.
- The Globe and Mail is breaking ethics news from within the Trudeau government once again.
- The headline: PMO vets potential judges with private Liberal database
- They are using an internal database known as the “Liberalist” inspired by a system designed for the 2008 Obama campaign.
- What are they doing with it?
- They are vetting potential judge appointments with this database.
- No, it’s not to see if they’re not partisan. Quite the opposite.
- Cross referencing Elections Canada’s database of political donations with the judges appointed by the Trudeau government, about 72 of the 289 judges appointed by the current government had donated to the Liberal party of Canada.
- That might fit within the general sense that this makes the judges representative of the population but not at all.
- Just 6% had donated to either the Conservatives, New Democrats, or Greens.
- Of the nearly $322,000 donated, 90.9% was directed to the Liberal party. 4.2% to the Conservatives. 4.7% to the NDP, and 0.1% to the Greens.
- Last week we were going to cover the retirement of Clément Gascon and the controversy that arose when it was stated the government wants his replacement named before the fall election.
- It is entirely within the government’s right to do this whether it’s for justice appointments or senate appointments.
- Judge appointments are first vetted by one of 17 Judicial Advisory committees.
- These committees have 7 members. Under this government 4 members represent the provincial bar, the provincial chapter of the Canadian Bar Association, the provincial chief justice, and attorney general. The remaining 3 represent the public.
- The former Conservative government had 4 public representatives.
- Looking at data from the year 2000 to present 1,187 contributions were matched to 83 judges. Nearly one third of these were appointed.
- 90.4% of the judges contributing gave to the Liberal party or a Liberal candidate. 10.8% to the Conservatives, and 9.6% to the NDP. This represents 75 donations to the Liberals, 9 to the Conservatives, 8 to the NDP, and 1 to the Greens.
- Doing some quick math, this means that prior to the arrival of the Trudeau government only 3 judges gave to the Liberal Party of Canada.
- David Taylor, spokesman of Justice Minister David Lametti said, “Citizens are free to make donations to whatever political party they choose. This includes members of the bar. Our judicial appointments process neither disqualifies nor privileges an applicant because of his or her legal donation to a political party.”
- We need to ask ourselves, are seats on the Supreme Court for sale to the highest donor to the Liberal Party of Canada?
Word of the Week
Gouging - to overcharge or swindle or extort
How to Find Us
Episode Title: The BC BANANA
Teaser: John Horgan suggests Alberta build refineries to help BC, while Trudeau killing the TMP expansion is a possibility, and food and alcohol on federal government flights costs millions. Also, Trudeau is making our Supreme Court more partisan in his favour.
Recorded Date: April 27, 2019
Release Date: April 28, 2019
Edit Notes: Internet drop at last segment
Podcast Summary Notes