The News Rundown
- It can't be argued that while Canadians deal with an election cycle that is much shorter than our neighbours to the south, we are undeniably in an election cycle now. With under 4 months to go, while we don't have a specific date yet, the election will be happening on or before October 21st.
- Parties and organizations have already begun attack ads on various leaders on TV. Social media giant Twitter has joined its counterparts in Facebook and Google, which owns Youtube in banning political ads until the election is over.
- So while political and partisan advertising won't be happening over social media, the Trudeau government has effectively legislated one singular source of political advertising: and that's through the media.
- Shane's story covers the partisanship of certain media outlets, so I'm going to take this approach in a different way.
- Rather than focus on Trudeau this week, I'm going to talk more about his number 1 opponent this fall, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.
- Rather than being defined by what Scheer's policies are, the media is defining Scheer by who other Conservative leaders are in Canada, as Liberal politicians have been doing ever since Scheer was elected leader 2 years ago.
- Justin Trudeau has invoked the name of former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons and has used Harper's name as a boogeyman to scare on the fence voters. Since becoming party leader, Scheer has referred to Harper by name just five times in the House of Commons. Over that same period, Justin Trudeau has invoked the former Prime Minister's name 186 times.
- A few weeks ago, Trudeau painted the next election as "a choice between moving forward with the Grits’ progressive agenda or sliding backwards with Conservative cuts and Stephen Harper-era politics."
- And the media has been lapping it up. A simple Google News search of Andrew Scheer will show that while the partisan ads may be off of social media, the mainstream media is clearly trying to shape a narrative one way or another. According to the media, Scheer is being dominated by provincial premiers like Ford and Kenney, or Stephen Harper. Or, he's a robot with no clear plan in place. Headlines have been released this week which include "2015 redux: Scheer's Conservatives are sticking with the Harper policy book" from the CBC and "Can Andrew Scheer's Conservatives steer around Doug Ford?" from Global News and "Andrew Scheer is his 'own person' — but who, exactly, is he?" from the Toronto Star, and "Who is Andrew Scheer today — Harper, Ford, Kenney or all three?" from the Toronto Sun.
- Headlines like these, no matter the contents, play into age old Liberal arguments that the Conservatives have a "hidden agenda" that will be brought to light should they reach power again. Just a few months after Trudeau's $600m media bailout was announced, the media is already doing the Liberals work for them, while Trudeau simultaneously bans competition from doing so on social media. Something isn't right about that picture.
- Caylan Ford - a name that some of you may remember from the Alberta 2019 election.
- Press Progress, a media organization funded by the Broadbent institute (itself associated with the NDP) asserted Ford thought white supremacist terrorists are treated unfairly, and that she lamented white population replacement.
- The facts surrounding this story were a series of Facebook messages with a friend where she wanted to have a discussion on philosophy and religion. If she believed those views that is indeed disgusting but in history and debate context is king and touchy subjects are often discussed.
- Press Progress published excerpts of the messages and all the media in Alberta ran with the story, CTV, CBC, Global.
- New this week: Ford has served libel notice to Press Progress, the Alberta NDP, and several media outlets.
- She spoke with True North, another independent media outlet in an hour long interview.
- Ford was distraught talking about how she can’t be an advocate for refugee issues and that according to her, “What happens on doesn’t stay on Twitter. It seeps into the real world. When you Google my name now you see associations to the accusations of white supremacy. This will never go away. My career prospects for the rest of my life are maybe irreparably damaged as a result of a defamatory expression by Press Progress.”
- Ford then honed in on the true issue and why this case is so important.
- It’s not the fact that Calgary-Mountain View was competitive for the UCP and they could have defeated former Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, it’s that if it happens to Caylan Ford, it can happen to any public figure.
- She said, “It basically sends the message that if you’re a public figure with any kind of standing someone could go into your private correspondences, mine them for evidence of thought crimes, and use that to try to publicly ruin you. If that kind of precedent takes hold, the effect on our capacity to understand different issues, to understand different perspectives, to have open, frank intellectual discussions on sensitive but very important issues–there’s a chilling effect on all of that.”
- The mainstream media today lives on controversy. They amplified it in Alberta’s election and are continuing to do so today.
- The CBC penned a hilarious hit job on The Post Millennial.
- The Post Millennial is an independent publication that started small and leans centre right. They publish online exclusively.
- The CBC launched an investigation and poor transparency and political lies.
- Citing that many writers have openly campaigned for conservative politicians.
- All it takes is one look at the daytime CBC programming to see the CBC doing the same but they hide it so poorly it’s funny.
- CBC also notes that Conservative MPs also sometimes write op-eds (or opinion pieces for the common folks) for the Post Millennial.
- Spencer Fernando, another independent publisher, published a long piece debunking CBCs hit job.
- He highlighted what the CBC left out. One of these things is that The Post Millennial does have contributors who aren’t conservative and they took to Twitter to point this out to the CBC.
- These contributors called the CBC anything from an “UTTER claptrap” to “total bs”. While highlighting The Post Millennial as “an outlet for free speech.”
- Fernando’s piece also shows CBCs history of attacking their competition including the CTV News Channel and touting The National when Peter Mansbridge used to host it.
- CBCs crap was on display again when its story cited an expert who was an apparent “professor of journalism” but in reality was a former CBC executive producer.
- While CBC says that The Post Millennial is “pamphleteering” they do the exact same for the Liberal party and the mainstream media establishment.
- What we find at The Post Millennial and in the piece from Spencer Fernando is closer to what most would expect of real journalism. That’s why for this story we’re linking to Spencer Fernando’s post, Post Millennial, and True North. You should go read Fernando’s post and then visit The Post Millennial and True North.
- Caylan Ford in Alberta and The Post Millennial nationally. When there’s a story to made that generates controversy, the mainstream media will make it only to generate more ratings for themselves.
- Caylan Ford is fighting back, we’ll keep an eye on this. Meanwhile, The Post Millennial is lucky that they’re established enough to weather this storm.
- One of BC's biggest stories of the past year is undoubtedly the housing crisis, specifically in Greater Vancouver. Property values have soared so much that many people are being priced completely out of the market entirely, and the provincial government has tried to taken steps to fix the problem.
- One solution was the foreign buyer's tax, an extra tax making it less profitable for foreign born (read: Chinese) people to buy property up. Another was the empty homes tax that meant a staggering yearly tax on homes that were deemed to be unlived in.
- But people are still trying to skirt around the government's taxes, and the CRA is getting involved. Recent tax audits of the B.C. real estate sector are now resulting in average assessments of more than $200,000, as the Canada Revenue Agency sharpens its aim at some of the most egregious instances of tax avoidance and evasion.
- CRA spokesperson Alexandre Igolkine says that “The average amount of money the CRA is assessing per file in British Columbia has increased due to our additional efforts to crack down on tax evasion” since launching an augmented non-compliance program for B.C. and Ontario real estate in 2015.
- The 539 B.C. audit assessments conducted between January and March this year average $208,163, for a total of $112.2 million. By comparison, the 2,565 Ontario audits in the same three months have resulted in an average assessment of only $22,261.
- The 2019 audits show an uptick in penalties for knowingly making false statements on returns – which can lead to criminal prosecution for tax evasion. However, no charges have been laid.
- Steven Flynn, a chartered professional accountant who specializes in international taxation with Andersen Tax, said the results don’t surprise him, “because of the rapid increase in real estate prices and what’s been well-publicized activity, what with the flipping of properties and non-compliance and illegal activity that’s gone on in B.C.”
- The audit program effectively targets Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto properties. Since 2015 the CRA has identified a total of $1.02 billion from its real estate assessments, including $100.9 million from 1,896 penalties.
- Flynn said better data collection by the provincial government that ties homeowner information to tax returns via social insurance numbers is likely a factor. The audits cover three specific matters: unreported income (including capital gains), GST payments on new buildings and new home GST/HST rebates. Of the $422.6 million collected in B.C. since 2015, $266.6 million is for income, $136.5 million is for GST payments and only $19.5 million is for new home rebates.
- Audits are also leading to checks on residency status, which trigger different reporting requirements. Residents of Canada have to report their worldwide income to the CRA whereas non-residents only have to report their Canadian-source income. As well, property flipping and unreported capital gains on non-primary residences are also sources of unreported income.
- According to Statistics Canada, non-residents (for tax purposes) own 4.9% of the region’s total housing stock outright but have a stake in 7.6%. However non-resident ownership rises to 15.6% for new condos built in 2017 and 2018.
- From looking at the data, it appears as though there are different rules for foreign born and Canadian buyers, and that Non-Canadians not having to report worldwide income is a significant advantage for them in buying homes.
- The markets have been cooling, but the trends are not reversing, and the housing market remains caught in between a buyers and sellers market.
- The BC NDP government is building new affordable housing at a rate of roughly 20,000 per year to meet their goal of 114,000 over the next decade, but prices still remain high. For many younger people, owning a home may just be wishful thinking.
- The media is also largely not reporting these trends. BC's biggest papers have decided to focus on other things while these revelations from the CRA reveal that there are still major criminal elements at play in our housing market, despite all the new taxes. We will have to see if the CRA's audits will reveal more people trying to evade the law.
- G20 summit in Japan, a meeting of leaders, they should all be cordial to each other, right?
- Not the case.
- Justin Trudeau attempted to snag a handshake with new Brazillian President Jair Bolsonaro but was unable to as Bolsonaro looked to his left leaving Trudeau looking awkward.
- Why was he doing this? He was attempting to avoid making eye contact at the time with President Xi of China.
- This week China banned all meat products from Canada.
- According to the Chinese embassy, the reason is that “ractopamine” - a feed additive, was found in pork shipments and they also claimed that veterinary certificates were fraudulent, 188 to be precise.
- In our initial response, the Canadian government said,
- “‘inauthentic certificates’ had been identified, and referred to it as a ‘technical issue,’ saying that information had been forwarded to law enforcement and that the agency was investigating.”
- The Department of Foreign Affairs under Chrystia Freeland’s approach is to stand strong and not escalate the situation with China.
- Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said, “Justin Trudeau’s poor judgment on the world stage and weak approach to China have resulted in serious and in some cases dire consequences for Canadians.”
- In the recent months China has banned the import of Canola, which 40% of the Canadian crop was sent to China.
- China has arrested 2 Canadian citizens on the charge of espionage which can result in the death penalty.
- China also “buzzed” a Canadian warship and supply vessel in the East China Sea this week.
- Buzzing is when an airplane flies extremely close to the ground in order to make a point or put on a show.
- This all stems from the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.
- Canada is not making an impact. In a meeting with US President Donald Trump last week Trudeau is said to have asked Trump to speak with Xi about our detained citizens but that only scratches the surface of what’s wrong.
- There is a very real chance that the US President could have more impact on our foreign policy for the positive than our own government.
- “Enough’s enough” — Matt Gurney in the National Post
- Gurney tells a tale of shopping for a smartphone seeing the huge Huawei displays and their presence in the Canadian wireless market.
- He also notes that Huawei is one of the companies developing the tech for the next generation cellular towers.
- The US, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have all banned Huawei tech from their next generation cellular networks.
- With this much at play it’s a wonder why Canada has not.
- There have been existing security concerns and now China is outright being hostile to Canada yet again.
- Why does it matter? Large companies in China such as Huawei operate at the pleasure of the Chinese government. Because of that the Chinese government has its fingers in almost every large company in China.
- Want to retaliate at China? Start with Huawei and examine the situation afterwards.
- Why are we covering? Media coverage of the meat ban but the media has in large part been accepting it without raising concern over how much China is stepping on Canada.
Word of the Week
Weak - lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks; lacking physical strength and energy, lacking intensity or brightness, and liable to break or give way under pressure; easily damaged.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: The Weak and the Meek
Teaser: Political ads are banned on social media, the CBC tries to discredit The Post Millennial, and tax audits in the BC housing market uncover criminal elements. Also, China bans meat imports from Canada and journalists don’t connect the dots with Huawei.
Recorded Date: June 29, 2019
Release Date: June 30, 2019
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes