The News Rundown
- Keyano College which has campuses in Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan approved the Chicago principles earlier this month.
- The Chicago Principles are a set of freedom of speech rules that bolster campus free speech rights.
- Since 2016 in the US and elsewhere there have been various cases where speakers deemed controversial by student groups have been banned from speaking at universities.
- The Chicago Principles aim to allow speakers to share their views no matter how “unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive” they may be.
- The UCP government’s Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides initially set September as the deadline to roll out the principles. The current deadline for all institutions in Alberta to adopt the guidelines is December 15, 2019. The Doug Ford government in Ontario already implemented the principles.
- Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer campaigned for leader of the Conservatives with a policy of free speech for university campuses.
- Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides congratulated Keyano College, saying, “The Keyano College Board of Governors is showing strong leadership by adopting the Chicago principles that will ensure freedom of expression across all its campuses in the Region of Wood Buffalo. Free speech is not only at the heart of the academic experience but it is also an essential pillar of democracy.”
- Keyano College Board of Governors First Vice-Chairman Brent Davis issued a statement saying, “Citizens have the right to pronounce their opinions, morals, ethics and world views within the limits of Canadian law, and institutions should not attempt to shield students from these ideas.”
- The Chicago Principles were called both “terrible” and “extreme” by the opposition NDP. The first uttered by former Education Minister David Eggen and latter by former Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley and echoed a sentiment that the Chicago Principles if ratified will allow hate to spread on campuses.
- Universities = bastions of free thought, exposure to new ideas, and a place to be challenged intellectually by new, strange, or frightening ideas.
- This guiding policy rollout by the government was one of the policy platforms laid out in the Alberta Strong and Free UCP election document. The very fact the NDP call these ideas frightening says where they stand on the issue of free speech. Grade A universities in the United States in addition to the University of Chicago including Princeton and Purdue have also adopted the Chicago Principles.
- To show that the goal of the Chicago Principles do not foster hate, here’s an excerpt: “The freedom to debate and discuss the merits of competing ideas does not, of course, mean that individuals may say whatever they wish, wherever they wish. The University may restrict expression that violates the law, that falsely defames a specific individual, that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, that unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, or that is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of the University.”
- Continuing, “the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed.”
- As evidenced by the spring/summer legislative session and the rollout of the Chicago principles, this new government is well on its way to keeping its campaign promises.
- Much has been made of Trudeau's climate policies. Since the federal Green Party is now surprisingly polling above the NDP, Trudeau has been repeating what he did to success in 2015 and that's campaigning to the left of where he's governing. Lately, Trudeau's priorities have taken on a very environmental bent, in that he's trying to appeal directly to leftist Liberal voters disenchanted with the party and switching to the Greens.
- Trudeau was in Vancouver last weekend, just a week and a half since he was in Victoria. The purpose of Trudeau's Victoria trip was to announce with Premier John Horgan funding for electric buses for BC Transit's fleet of aging buses. His trip to Vancouver? Trudeau was in Vancouver Monday to mark the completion of renovations at the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station.
- That's a lot of jet fuel being expended to fly our PM across the country multiple times in the same month. That's what independent reporter Bob Mackin mentioned to Trudeau when he asked him a question at Trudeau's press conference. Mackin asked about the cost of his travels ahead of the official campaign period.
- Said Mackin: “You’ve been flying out at great frequency, I know there’s an election approaching, but by calculations of experts its more than 10,000 litres of jet fuel to go back and forth between Vancouver and Ottawa, and about 20 tonnes of CO2, and you’re also spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why isn’t the Liberal Party of Canada paying the entire bill of the trips to British Columbia at this time?”
- In response, Trudeau avoided answering the question by talking about his party’s changes to the federal electoral fundraising rules.
- Said Trudeau: “First of all, we were pleased to transform our electoral fundraising system at the federal level to demonstrate a greater degree of transparency and openness than ever in the past and we’ve continued to encourage the Conservative Party and the NDP to follow the new rules put down,” said Trudeau before laying blame on Stephen Harper.
- When asked again by Mackin to confirm the amount of money spent on Trudeau's campaigning, Trudeau deflected again.
- Trudeau replied: “The prime minister has the responsibility to be prime minister for all Canadians, that is part of why I spend an awful lot of time getting out there and meeting with Canadians. It is in fact one of the best parts of my job to get out and meet with Canadians right across the country.”
- Some of the Canadians that Trudeau will be meeting will be at the Vancouver Pride Parade on Sunday, when he marches in the parade. Trudeau made headlines for being the first sitting PM to visit a gay bar, distracting the media from talking about all the other scandals swirling around the Prime Minister.
- Interestingly, the CBC also covered the Vancouver trip along with the tax dollars questions from Bob Mackin, but they've since completely deleted the video and article from their website entirely.
- Outlets like Global, CBC, CTV, and other smaller sites have been gushing over Trudeau's LGBT activities this weekend, while completely missing the bigger story.
- USMCA the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement took many months of negotiating and at times looked like a deal wouldn’t be possible.
- Canada insisted on environmental clauses as well as a focus on climate change that were stumbling blocks for Mexico and the US.
- Canada’s Bill C–100 to implement the agreement passed the committee stage meaning that it must pass third reading in the House and be passed by the Senate.
- Let’s do some quick math to provide the context our listeners need to understand where things are at.
- Canada’s federal election is slated for Monday October 21.
- Campaigns typically run about 5 weeks or 35 days. The absolute minimum is usually 28 days.
- This means that we will likely have the election call on September 16th with the 23rd being the absolute latest.
- The US house returns on September 9th after a 5 week summer break.
- This leaves 5 sitting days in the US House, Senate, Canadian House, and Canadian Senate to pass the new USMCA implementation acts.
- Anyone watching the US knows that their government moves at a glacial pace and with the Democrats controlling the House, they are likely to delay to cause pain to President Trump.
- There is no way barring a huge intervention from Canada to have the US House pass the Bill as is that this will get passed in time.
- Why an issue? Bills on the table die.
- Mexico has ratified the deal.
- Our government wants the deal.
- The US President wants the deal (Republican).
- The US Senate wants the deal (Republican).
- The increasingly radical US Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives will do whatever they can to score points against President Trump. This includes torpedoing the advancement of the revamped NAFTA.
- Our media here cited that the “fireworks for the Canadian campaign [could be] ignited by a petulant Trump.”
- But as we see here, it is only the US House of Representatives holding the deal back.
- The choices aren’t great.
- First, let the deal die and the next government will have to bring a USMCA implementation Bill forward.
- Second, if the US shows progress being made that ratification may happen in the US, Trudeau could elect to wait to call the election until winter or spring.
- Third, Mexico having ratified, Canada could just ratify and hope that the US ratifies a deal that is the same as the one both Mexico and Canada ratified.
- There’s also the wildcard option that Trump may try to cancel the existing NAFTA deal if the Democrats refuse to ratify USMCA.
- Finally, as an endnote, Justin Trudeau said last week that the deal won’t be ratified until the fall. Which we can assume means that the House and Senate won’t be coming back and this will be dealt with after the election (opens up a whole other can of worms).
- Media says Trump at fault. In reality, Democrats.
- National Post writer John Ivison has a book being released next week called "Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister", and on July 31st he released an excerpt detailing the disastrous trip to India that Trudeau took in February 2018.
- It gives more details into Trudeau's India trip, including the reasons for it, and why exactly it was a lightning rod for Canadians.
- Ivison writes: "The family was pictured in lavish local costumes in the shadows of the subcontinent’s great sites. The eight-day visit was characterized by a threadbare itinerary that looked increasingly like a taxpayer-funded family vacation. Coming so soon after the Aga Khan scandal, it felt to many Canadians like a thumb in the eye. As the attire grew more exuberant, so did the sniping that the Trudeau tour was “too Indian, even for an Indian.” The extremely light official diary allowed the Trudeaus time to pose with some of India’s top movie stars, like Shah Rukh Khan, who wore a sober Western-style black suit while the Trudeaus wore braided saris and sherwanis. The prime minister capped it off with a performance of bhangra dancing that struck many people as being a Bollywood move too far."
- The invite of Jaspal Atwal to official Canadian events in India turned the trip from merely bad to terrible: "Jaspal Atwal, a former member of the extremist International Sikh Youth Federation, deemed a terrorist group in Canada and India, attended a reception in Mumbai, where he was photographed with the prime minister’s wife and Indian-born cabinet minister Amarjeet Sohi. He was also invited to the event in New Delhi, but that invitation was quickly rescinded once the pictures from Mumbai were made public in Canadian media and Atwal was identified as having been convicted of the attempted murder of Malkiat Singh Sidhu, a Punjab cabinet minister, during a visit to Vancouver Island in 1986."
- It must be remembered that Atwal was invited on the India trip by a Liberal MP, his name added to the list of people to get coveted invites to key dinners and receptions by the prime minister’s office.
- And at the end, the bill came due and Canadians were not happy to find out what was spent on Trudeau's folly: "When the final bill came in, the trip was revealed to have cost around $1.5 million, including $17,000 to fly Vancouver celebrity chef Vikram Vij to help prepare Indian-inspired meals at the Canadian High Commission. As the opposition pointed out, there were, presumably, plenty of cooks in India who knew the recipe."
- However, recently reinstated top Trudeau advisor laid the blame for the failings of Trudeau's team directly on India's government. Butts said that: “We walked into a buzzsaw — (Narendra) Modi and his government were out to screw us and were throwing tacks under our tires to help Canadian conservatives, who did a good job of embarrassing us. But none of that is the core issue …. Nobody would remember any of that had it not been for the photographs. We should have known this better than anybody — in many ways we’d used this to get elected. The picture will overwhelm words. We did the count — we did forty-eight meetings and he was dressed in a suit for forty-five of them. But give people that picture and it’s the only one they’ll remember.”
- Ivison estimates the conversation with Butts happened last October, when he was still Trudeau's principal secretary, and a few months before he resigned due to the SNC Lavalin scandal.
- Blaming the India government for his own teams failings will not help our relationship with India. And doing so while the Canadian government clearly dropped the ball is tone deaf. In fact, it seems that every element which led to negative publicity for the prime minister was at the hands of the Liberals themselves and not the Indian government.
- It's also interesting that this scandal is now being revived due to Gerald Butts' own comments. I'm sure if he hadn't said anything we wouldn't be hearing about it again. Thankfully, the Liberals don't know how to stop making mistakes.
Word of the Week
Scandal - an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage
How to Find Us
Episode Title: The Blame Game
Teaser: Alberta’s Keyano College commits to free speech, Trudeau flies back and forth to the west coast using tax dollars, and USMCA may not be ratified before the fall election. Also, Gerald Butts blames the Indian government for Trudeau’s disastrous India trip.
Recorded Date: August 3, 2019
Release Date: August 4, 2019
Edit Notes: Kathleen Ganley
Podcast Summary Notes