The News Rundown
- In articles published on post media properties this week the assertion was made that Jason Kenney, the Alberta Premier was “stoking Alberta separatism notions”
- Political scientist Duane Bratt said, “It’s a dangerous game to play to say, ‘well if the Liberals are elected we are separating’. Kenney did not create this fire around separation, but I think he is stoking it by saying, ‘I’m not a separatist, but if I don’t get my way the only other alternative is separation.’”
- The CBC said that “Jason Kenney dives into federal election in anti-Trudeau Twitter video”
- The video in question shows the Premier responding to a viewer question (more on this in a moment)
- Kenney says that he is a “Canadian patriot”, his ancestors defended Canada in uniform before, and he does recognize “Alberta is getting a raw deal”
- Play audio clip
- The key phrase that pops the balloon on all these articles is when Kenney says, “I don’t want to let Justin Trudeau push us out of our country. I’d like to focus on separating Justin Trudeau from the Prime Minister’s Office”
- The more interesting part of this story that was left out was the source of the video.
- The Premier was responding to a question from a Facebook Live Q&A that he did about 10 days ago. The question was: Are you willing to pursue separation if Trudeau gets re-elected? And eliminate equalization payments entirely?
- The Premier sat for just over an hour answering questions from viewers of his Facebook live stream.
- Questions ranged from the plan to defeat Justin Trudeau, what happens if Trudeau is re-elected, and even hard questions on separation were asked and answered. That’s where the video clip and articles in question came from.
- Jason Kenney gave an answer that did not stoke the flames of separation. It’s clear by listening to the audio that the first goal is a change in government this fall and failing that the focus will be on advocating for Alberta’s interests.
- Nowhere did Jason Kenney say that separation would be on the table if Trudeau was re-elected.
- The online townhall was revealing and refreshing. Of other things talked about:
- Kenney hopes to do these monthly.
- He supports citizen referenda (citizens proposing a Bill and if it gets enough signatures the legislature must implement it) and would be “very happy to see a UCP MLA bring forward a private members bill”
- The UCP government is preparing a series of policies to introduce in the event Trudeau is re-elected.
- He confirmed that recall legislation (which BC has and gives people the ability to fire their MLA) will be introduced in early 2020.
- It was also confirmed that senators will be elected with the 2021 municipal elections and should a carbon tax be placed on Alberta, during that time we will also vote in a referendum on removing equalization from the Canadian constitution.
- He’s open to the prospect of nuclear energy, particular small reactors, if an oil sands company were to be interested in building one (which we’ve talked about before on the podcast in the fight for climate)
- He also said that if the Alberta economy performs well and his party is re-elected he’d like to see the debt being reduced by the end of the UCP’s second term.
- Finally, he answered a question about whether or not pineapple should be on pizza. The answer is no.
- So while the media and pundits this week focused on “stoking separatism” if the media had actually gone and watched the source material for the question, they would have seen an entirely different show and would realize that separatism played a small role.
- A 2002 Jordanian refugee living in BC who was described by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada as having "praised lone [terrorist] wolf attacks, actively promoted the Islamic State, disseminated instructions on how to commit attacks and seems fascinated with the extreme violence of the Islamic State demonstrated by possessing Islamic State videos depicting gruesome murders." was recently released from custody as he awaits a hearing about his possible deportation.
- We've talked about Othman Hamdan on the podcast before, on episode 36 in 2017 upon his original arrest and on episode 70 in 2018 when he tried to file a lawsuit against the BC and federal governments, saying that his detention caused him PTSD making him "relive the experience of the prosecution “over and over again,” to the point that it has undone the therapy that allowed him to manage his symptoms. Hamdan argued his Charter rights were violated through a malicious prosecution. Hamdan argues that his mission through his Facebook posts was to counter the western media's propaganda machine against the Islamic State group...as if that was a good enough argument. I can't actually find any evidence of the lawsuit going through or succeeding, thankfully.
- For those unfamiliar with Hamdan's arrest, he became known to the RCMP after a series of Facebook posts that seemed to call for terrorist attacks on key infrastructure targets including dams, bridges and border crossings, as well as praising terrorist action in Canada. He crossed into Canada from the United States in 2002 and was accepted as a refugee in 2004 on the basis he feared persecution because he had converted to Christianity. Though after praising ISIS, one would undoubtedly wonder just how Christian he was to begin with.
- One comment appeared to be suggesting a dam in Revelstoke and a bridge in Ontario would be easy targets for terrorists. “This dam supplies most of the west coast of the North American continent with power. The number of police officers in this town is between 20-30. Closest military base is 200 kilometres. Security is weak,” Hamdan wrote in September 2014.
- “There is a bridge — Nipigon River Bridge near a village Nipigon, Ont. It crosses a river and connects Eastern Canada with its West and it also carries a railroad. This bridge divides the country in the middle and its repair will take years. Security protection … zero.”
- In another post, Hamdan appeared to be inciting violence through lone-wolf attacks, Hyland said. On Feb. 25, 2015, Hamdan posted an ISIS message on his Defeat of the Alliance Facebook page, which said: “Our advice to supporters in the #US … carry your actions there … swiftly lone wolves activate all across #USA.”
- In other Facebook posts, Hamden praised Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who attacked Parliament Hill on Oct. 22, 2014, as well as Martin Couture-Rouleau, who drove a car into two Canadian soldiers in Quebec two days before. The same day as the Ottawa attack, Hamdan wrote “a Muslim brother is martyred by the Canadian police after he killed a Canadian Soldier in retaliation to Canada’s crimes in Iraq.” He said Canada is “terrified”.
- RCMP national security division constable Tarek Mokdad investigated Hamdan and said many of Hamdan’s posts used a flag adopted by Daesh in 2007 as well as a banner and other symbols the group employs to try and legitimize its political and religious agenda. Hamdan’s posts clearly indicated he provided advice, support and how-to information on conducting lone wolf attacks by using various methods including a car, a knife and poison. “This is not just nefarious. This says to me it’s somebody who’s got leanings towards the Islamic State,” he said.
- As it stands now, almost 2 years from his original arrest and later acquittal for terrorism charges, a judge granted the urgent interim stay after the Immigration and Refugee Board said Othman Hamdan could live in Enderby, B.C., with a friend who had agreed to post a $2,000 bond. He has been stripped of the refugee status he was granted in 2004 and ordered deported back to Jordan, but on Friday the IRB nonetheless decided to release him from detention.
- Rempel's decision acknowledged “there is a level of danger to the public that exists,” but referred to the “change in circumstances in Syria and Iraq” and the failure of ISIS.
- After IRB member Geoff Rempel’s release decision was handed down late Friday, the Canada Border Services Agency asked the court to delay freeing Hamdan so it could appeal the ruling. Rempel said the more than two dozen conditions he had imposed on Hamdan — including a ban on driving, possession of weapons and posting on the internet — would mitigate the risks, in justifying his release.
- Keep in mind, this was a man who legitimately called for terrorism in Canada, and the IRB thinks that these conditions were good enough to stop him? The CBSA had argued that Hamdan needed to remain in custody while the CBSA took steps to deport him, and questioned releasing him to Enderby, which is less than 90-minutes from the Revelstoke Dam. Thankfully, the Federal Court has now temporarily halted his release while it reviews the decision ordering him to be freed.
- I will echo what I said in 2018 and 2017: What we see here is a travesty of justice, where a man who clearly openly supports terrorism and terrorist acts was acquitted. Our hope will be that Hamdan is deported back to Jordan to send a clear message that Canada 100% does not tolerate terrorism sympathizers.
- Andrew Scheer unveiled a healthcare guarantee.
- This guarantee says that a federal Conservative government will keep healthcare transfer increases on pace with GDP.
- Similarly in the Alberta election race, Premier Jason Kenney, also signed a public healthcare guarantee.
- The goal of these guarantees while symbolic is to get ahead of opposition and media criticism to drive fear and misinformation that conservatives will cut.
- The guarantee was made in a letter sent to all Premiers.
- The letter also spawned a response from Finance Minister Bill Morneau arguing semantics on the existing formula and suggesting that cuts will be made. In particular that the focus on “at least 3%” instead of “the existing formula” amounts to a cut.
- The federal health minister “estimated” that the Conservatives would cut $3b from health over two years.
- The reality is though that the current formula for Canada Health Transfers is: “a three-year moving average of nominal Gross Domestic Product, with funding guaranteed to increase by at least 3 per cent per year” which is exactly what Andrew Scheer promised.
- Justin Trudeau continued the theme by saying that the Conservatives would cut health care, municipalities, child care, education and “services Canadians rely on most”
- The CBC also suggested that this is to provide cover from the Doug Ford cuts in Ontario but examining the Ontario budget, health spending was $59.2B in 2017–2018 forecast to increase to $63.5B in 2019–2020 under the Ontario PC budget.
- Context and Information needed for the election campaign. The media was talking about this in their own corners online but not loud enough.
- Long been saying the campaign is underway, Canadians need to pay attention.
- While both parties haven’t released their official platforms, the election is shaping up similar to Alberta. The Conservatives are offering policy ideas and making promises while the Liberals are attacking the Conservative leader.
- Here we hope to cut through all that and bring forward what will matter most to Canadians above all of the screaming, name calling, fear mongering, and misinformation that will inevitably arise.
- Over the August long weekend, usually Canadians go on holiday, either to summer cottages, to lakes and rivers for swimming, or camping. However, the long weekend in Toronto was more violent than across the rest of the country.
- National Canadian media decided to focus on the tragic shootings in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio; as well as the now deceased accused teenaged BC killers who fled across Western Canada to end up in Northern Manitoba. Meanwhile, a number of people in Toronto were shot at a rate you'd expect from Chicago or Baltimore, or any other number of high crime US cities. And was the media talking about it at all? No.
- Seventeen people have been shot after 14 shootings over the August long weekend — a spike in gun violence that prompted Toronto’s police chief to issue a call for witnesses to come forward.
- Police Chief Mark Saunders was blunt with reporters at a media conference at police headquarters Monday afternoon: “This is not Toronto, and rest assured that I will be providing the resources where they need to be to solve these cases.”
- Saunders spoke out after gunfire inside a full North York nightclub around 2:15 a.m., injuring five people and sending scores of panicked clubgoers running for cover. The incident is among a series of 14 distinct shootings since Saturday, five of them leaving at least two people with gunshot wounds.
- Just hours after Saunders’ press conference, more shots rang out in North York sending a man with serious gun shot wounds to hospital and injuring another person. Police said two suspects were seen fleeing the area to a nearby complex.
- The violent weekend prompted Mayor John Tory to reiterate his call for a handgun ban, saying on Twitter Monday that such a ban “will help us address the gun violence we are experiencing in our city and the surrounding region.”
- Tory wrote further: “The gun violence we have seen in recent days in our city is absolutely unacceptable … I remain firmly of the belief that a handgun ban will help us address the gun violence we are experiencing in our city and the surrounding region,” he wrote.
- “This was always put forward as a part of the answer to gun violence together with changes to other laws affecting things like bail, additional support for police, and the paramount need for all three governments to invest together in kids, families and neighbourhoods.”
- A staff report released in June concluded that Toronto might have to seek the help of the province — even if the federal government allows municipalities to ban some types of firearms. Trudeau's government is still looking at a full ban on private ownership of handguns and assault rifles.
- Whenever there's a shooting in the US there's always talk in Canada of restricting gun laws. The long weekend in Toronto also sparked debate.
- Per Brian Lilley, it's always good to remember just what gun restrictions in Canada entail. We already have mandatory background checks and safety training, police screening, and people must show their licence and be checked with each gun purchase. Fully automatic firearms are banned, as are high-capacity magazines for handguns and most rifles, and handguns and restricted rifles are still registered.
- Restricting gun laws further may sound good but all this would do is remove handguns from law abiding citizens that have passed the safety course, passed the background checks and police screening and registered their guns.
- The guns used in the shootings in Toronto over the weekend were most likely not legal guns. No safety course or background checks were passed and they were not registered.
- Some claim that gun bans in the UK and Australia have worked and so it will work here. A big difference is that those two jurisdictions are surrounded by water while Canada shares the longest undefended border in the world with the biggest gun market in the world. Most of our crime guns are smuggled in from the United States, taking handguns away from law abiding citizens won’t change that. Ultimately Canada's shooting problems are an issue of thugs and street gangs getting guns illegally from the US. Having tougher gun laws won't stop that.
- With the American media flailing around trying to blame their own gun problems on a multitude of issues, with police officers blaming a decline in family values, Democrats blaming Trump and the Republicans, and Trump blaming mental illness and "violent video games", we up in Canada should have a more logical and measured debate. The gun violence issues in the US are not the same as issues are in Canada, and the Canadian media would do well to remember that.
Word of the Week
Separate - cause to move, set apart, to become detached, to divide
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Separation Anxiety
Teaser: The Alberta media accuses Jason Kenney of stoking separatism, A BC ISIS supporter was almost released from custody, and Andrew Scheer unveils his healthcare guarantee. Also, shootings in Toronto lead to an unnecessary US-style gun control debate.
Recorded Date: August 10, 2019
Release Date: August 11, 2019
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes