The News Rundown
- On Thursday long time Liberal MP and Trudeau family friend Ralph Goodale released a video of Andrew Scheer in 2005 opposing the Bill which legalized same sex marriage in Canada and called on the Conservative leader to end his “boycott of Pride events”.
- When running for the Conservative leadership in 2017 Andrew Scheer was asked in an interview about same sex marriage and abortion. His line was that he has no intention of opening up either of these issues, the Conservative Party supports same sex marriage in policy, and there are many different views in the party that members are able to have personally but these won’t become policy.
- This week Scheer through his spokesman said that he “supports same sex marriage as defined in law and as prime minister will, of course, uphold it.”
- 14 years. A lifetime for some and many many lifetimes in politics. People's views and their support for ideals can change.
- Where have we seen this tactic before? Attack your enemy if they have bad ideas, if they don’t, invent a bad idea and attack them on it. The Alberta election and the Notley NDP.
- What’s missing?
- Bill C–38 that legalized same sex marriage in 2005 was a FREE VOTE.
- Free vote: Members can vote according to their conscience or what works best for their constituents.
- 32 Liberals voted against same sex marriage when legalized.
- If we go further back to 2003 when Jean Chretien first introduced a same sex marriage Bill, 48 Liberal MPs were against the idea, 29 wouldn’t say, and 27 were undecided.
- We went back to 2005, we went back to 2003. Let’s go back to 1999. In 1999 the House of Commons passed a motion 216 to 55 that “marriage is and should remain the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.'' Voting yes on this included Liberal Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, former Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, as well as Minister Ralph Goodale.
- We do that here at Western Context because as we always say, events today need to be looked at with historical context.
- 2005, 2003, and 1999 were different times. Let’s realize that peoples views change and it is incredibly hypocritical of a party to dig up comments from decades ago to paint your opponent in an unsavoury light when Prime Ministers, cabinet ministers, and MPs from the very party carrying out the attacks today voted against same sex marriage at various stages in the last 2 decades.
- While the actions of the Liberal party is indeed hypocritical, the media scrambling for a headline in large part ignored the past of the Liberal party with the exception of an article in the CBC by Aaron Wherry detailing the 1999 motion.
- As an endnote, Jagmeet Singh said that he would not support the Conservatives in a minority government scenario after the “disgusting” comments which gives away any leverage he may have had in a minority situation.
- A 30 year old Toronto man convicted of travelling to Turkey to join the so-called Islamic State has been released from prison four months after he was sentenced, an official said Wednesday.
- Pamir Hakimzadah was charged with terrorism in April 2017 following what the RCMP called an “extensive” national security investigation. He pleaded guilty in February 2019. Just 4 months later, he has now been freed from Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, Ont., said Andrew Morrison, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General.
- This guy was a real piece of work. After returning to Toronto following a failed attempt to join ISIS, Pamir Hakimzadah told a witness “all non-Muslims should be killed” and Canada should be under Islamic law, a Crown prosecutor alleged. In the newly-unsealed court transcripts, the prosecutor also alleged that Hakimzadah, 29, said he wanted “four wives and several female slaves” and “he would be fulfilling the wishes of God to kill non-Muslims.”
- But despite his alleged extremist rhetoric and 2014 trip to Turkey to join ISIS, Hakimzadah wasn't arrested until June 27, 2016, when he tried to board a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul. He was initially charged with assault but the RCMP later charged him with leaving Canada to participate in terrorism.
- Prosecutors wanted him to serve six years but on Feb. 28, a judge sentenced him to four years and one month. Considering the time he had already served, the judge gave him an additional six months. He was released four months later.
- At the sentencing, the judge said Hakimzadah had taken responsibility for his actions, had not continued to voice violent extremist views and had been “a positive role model.”
- The details of Project Sachet, the RCMP’s national security probe of the Toronto-born former engineering student, could not be reported until now due to a publication ban, which is why we're just hearing about his release 2 months after it happened.
- Hakimzadah must now serve three years on probation, during which time he must participate in de-radicalization.
- He is also prohibited from possessing a firearm for three years, cannot obtain a passport and must undergo psychotherapy and meet weekly with an imam from the Risalah Foundation to de-radicalize.
- The Crown’s account of the investigation points to the troubles police have had dealing with Canadians who have left to join terrorist groups and returned, a terrorism expert said.
- Prof. Stephanie Carvin said that “It suggests that the RCMP may be struggling in coordinating its response in a timely way given the amount of time between when Hakimzadah returned and his arrest.”
- It's not the first case of a terrorist trying to join ISIS being released from prison. In February, the Parole Board of Canada said another Ontario man convicted of travelling to Syria to join a terrorist group was about to be released despite concerns he remained a risk. Kevin Omar Mohamed was sentenced to just 4.5 years in October 2017, but with time served taken into account, was scheduled for release on March 1, 2019.
- And earlier in the month, I profiled the case of Othman Hamdan, an ISIS supporter awaiting deportation who was released from custody in BC despite there remaining a significant danger to the public.
- The latest case comes amid debate over whether the government should bring Jack Letts, nicknamed "Jihadi Jack", a British-born Canadian, back to Canada and prosecute him after the U.K. revoked his citizenship.
- With Canada's lenient justice system towards these terrorist monsters, and dangerous offenders getting released back into the general public in no time at all, the debate on whether to bring back Canadian-born or Canadian citizen ISIS members should be closed. However, the Trudeau government is still debating on bringing these people back to Canada after they willingly left to join a terrorist organization to commit atrocities.
- Trudeau has denounced terrorism in the past, but those are just words, words from a Prime Minister who has shown multiple times that he says one thing and then does the opposite. Canadians must be firm in October that they do not want a government that is soft on this major public safety problem.
- Alberta and Quebec, two similar provinces in confederation but also completely opposite each other.
- We start in Sherbrooke Quebec where Quebec Premier Francois Legault was addressing a two-day Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) youth wing policy convention.
- Jason Kenney’s most recent online townhall drew the attention of the Quebec premier.
- Legault responded to one of the videos that Kenney posted to Twitter in which he reiterated his commitment that if Alberta doesn’t get pipelines, a repeal of C–48 and C–69, and if a carbon tax is put on Alberta, the province will hold a referendum on equalization.
- In the speech which was geared towards about 150 youths the Quebec Premier said, “We have the right to equalization… Equalization has been in the constitution since Day 1 of Canada. The idea that we might let equalization drop is out of the question.”
- Day 1 of Canada refers to 1867 but equalization didn’t begin until 1957 and later became a part of the constitution in 1982 which Quebec to this day still hasn’t signed.
- When pressed by reporters Legault responded, “This (system) is connected to the very existence of Canada,” Legault said. “When Quebec got into Canada, equalization was in the plan. It is part of the original deal. We can’t change the original deal.”
- The speech also touched on the tone of having Quebec reach a point where it doesn’t need equalization but that it would take time, “maybe 20 years”
- Legault did say that he would like to negotiate with Ottawa on equalization: “We have to recognize that on this we don’t have much bargaining power to negotiate with Ottawa… But if we want a strong Quebec, a proud Quebec, I invite you to make as your priority to have a Quebec that is as rich as the rest of Canada.”
- The conference was unable to reach an agreement on the wording of such a motion stating that Quebec would create a plan to rid itself of equalization payments.
- The province received $13.1b in 2019, which is 11% of Quebec’s total revenues.
- The speech then went absurd, when he suggested some Premiers don’t want to share the wealth. “There are premiers of richer provinces who are starting to become separatist,” Legault said. “Who say we would rather keep this additional wealth for us. They want a new deal, and one wants to organize a referendum in Alberta.”
- Returning to Alberta, Premier Kenney issued a statement that read in part, “It is also completely false to suggest, as Premier Legault does, that I am ‘starting to become separatist.’ As I have said repeatedly, I always have been and always will be a proud Canadian patriot and a federalist, without condition. It was at my urging that the merger agreement creating the United Conservative Party included ‘loyalty to a united Canada’ as a founding principle. For me, that loyalty is non-negotiable… I have also been clear that most Albertans are proud to have shared much of our province’s good fortune with other Canadians, and that we do not object to equalization in principle. However, we cannot abide other governments benefiting enormously from our resources while trying to obstruct the development and sale of those resources. Nor is it acceptable that other provinces benefit from equalization payments generated in part from our energy resources while refusing to develop their own energy resources.”
- The Premier also notes that Albertans have made a net contribution of over $620b since 1957 with each year Alberta sending by way of income taxes $20b to the federal government.
- Finally, what’s lacking most in politics these days, a degree of bluntness from the Alberta Premier: “If you want to benefit from our oil and gas wealth, stop blocking oil and gas pipelines… ‘If you aren’t willing to accept our resources, why are you willing to accept the money that comes from them?’”
- This exchange between Premiers shows why the fall election will be so important.
- We know Justin Trudeau compromised ethics and broke the Conflict of Interest Act for Quebec jobs but the Trans Mountain Pipeline construction is just getting restarted and Quebec wants nothing to do with an oil industry.
- This is the card that Trudeau will play because electorally Quebec has more seats than the west.
- It is bad to pit one region or one economic sector against the other. This schism between Alberta and Quebec can be exploited to gain votes in Quebec or Alberta and based on the Prime Minister’s past record, that’s what we expect him to do.
- Canada needs a Prime Minister that works for all Canadians.
- Jerry Dias, who is the president of Unifor, Canada's largest private sector union with 315,000 members, which also represents 12,000 journalists and media workers in Canada, has announced that Unifor will run an aggressive anti-Conservative campaign this election.
- Dias, who just a few days ago was acclaimed as president for his third and final term, says in a statement that he is energized to continue to lead the union as it continues the fight for social justice.
- Dias and Unifor’s national executive board dubbed themselves “The resistance” and “Andrew Scheer’s worst nightmare” in a tweet in November, announcing the start of their election campaign to “stop Scheer stupidity” in 2019. Said Dias: “We do not tell members how to vote, but I will be speaking out against the Conservative Party.”
- He even said that there was backlash within Unifor itself to Dias' blatantly partisan campaign, but that he's still moving forward: “Journalists, my own communications staff, even our Atlantic Regional Director, Lana Payne, have all explained to me why our union’s partisan stance makes some of you uncomfortable. I hear you.”
- Dias said he was protecting jobs, noting that Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer opposed federal funding to the news industry. The Liberals committed $600 million in the latest budget to help the news industry over the next five years.
- Dias has spent the last few years opposite a Liberal government that wasn’t only friendlier, but even invited him into its inner circle during NAFTA renegotiations. This week, both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland addressed Unifor’s national convention in Quebec City. It's clear the ties between the LPC and Unifor are strong.
- Adding to concerns about bias, Liberal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez named Unifor as one of eight panel members in May to advise the government on how to deliver its commitments to the news industry. The other panel members included the Media Council of Canada, News Media Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists.
- Unifor members include columnists, editors and news anchors at the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Global TV and CTV stations, as well as many local stations and newspaper outlets. Guess which news outlets didn't report on this story? All of the above.
- Paul Adams, an associate professor of journalism and communication at Carleton University, said Unifor’s seat on the panel could influence which news outlets receive federal funding — or give the perception of influence, saying that “The media have a credibility issue, just as most institutions do, whether it’s governments, unions, the Catholic church, universities,”. He said almost every significant institution has seen a decline in credibility over the past 50 years and journalists are often accused of bias, especially with the rise of social media.
- Unifor taking such a blatant stance while benefiting massively from the Liberals' vote pandering disguised as monetary help for the media is alarming, and certainly calls into question the supposed impartiality of the media, and all journalists represented by Unifor.
- This upcoming October election could be about many different issues, but the biggest one of them all will be a fight for trust, and we will uncover just how much bias and governmental influence in the media will be present.
- Just this past week, Elections Canada has warned that discussing the dangers of climate change during the upcoming federal campaign could be deemed partisan activity, and that any group that promotes it as real or an emergency could be considered partisan.
- Any partisan activity — including advertising, surveys, or any kind of campaign costing at least $500 — would require a charity to register as a third party for the election, a requirement that could jeopardize a group’s charitable tax status.
- Cries of censorship and bias within Elections Canada itself have shown that there's lots of hypocrisy surrounding this issue. It would also serve that groups campaigning the opposite would also have to register.
- When the Liberals brought in changes to the election laws tightening the rules on third parties, the target was imagined to be those U.S.-style political action committees famously popular among the right. Who knew it would be used to stifle their friends in the environmental movement?
- Other groups don't seem to take issue with the third party requirement though. In 2015, the Canadian Media Guild, representing CBC workers among its 6,000 members, registered as a “third party” with Elections Canada, so it could campaign for more funding for the CBC. Obviously, the practice of media unions campaigning against Conservatives isn’t going away, and it's clear that unless checked, the media will become even more biased than it has ever been.
Word of the Week
Impartiality - equal treatment of all rivals or disputants; fairness.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Attacking Impartiality
Teaser: The Liberals attack decades ago beliefs on gay marriage, another ISIS supporter is released from prison, and Alberta and Quebec remain at odds on equalization. Meanwhile, Unifor throws away impartiality by campaigning against Andrew Scheer.
Recorded Date: August 23, 2019
Release Date: August 25, 2019
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes