The News Rundown
- “Are you better off now than you were 10 years ago when Stephen Harper became prime minister? Is our country better off? Do you have better job prospects? Do you have confidence that your kids have a brighter future?”
- These were questions Justin Trudeau asked during the election campaign of 2015. Trudeau promised that a Liberal government would invest in the middle class, run three modest deficits so it could increase spending, and grow the economy. It would raise taxes on the top 1% and lower them for the middle class.
- Fast forward to today, with Trudeau seeking re-election in a vote scheduled for Oct. 21, many Canadians will be asking the same questions he asked four years ago. But now they’ll be asking them about him.
- Let's set aside the fact that Trudeau's "three modest deficits" has actually been $52 billion worth of shortfalls since Trudeau took power even though the economy has had a solid run of growth.
- Let's instead focus on Trudeau's plan to raise taxes on the highest 1% and lower them for the middle class. It has after all Trudeau's go to answer in the House of Commons to virtually every budget or economical question asked by the opposition.
- A study by Statistics Canada has shown that the incomes of Canada's top 1% grew at a faster pace than everyone else in 2017 -- and, overall, they saw their taxes edge down, despite what Trudeau has promised. The average total income of all tax-filers rose 2.5 per cent to $48,400 compared to the previous year. The average income growth of the bottom half of tax filers increased 2.4 per cent to $17,200. But those in the top 1% saw average income growth that year of 8.5 per cent to $477,700.
- And the biggest surge in income growth was seen by those who made even more money. Tax filers in Canada's top 0.1%, who made at least $740,300 in 2017, took home 17.2 per cent more income than in 2016. People in the top 0.01%, who made $2.7 million or more, saw their incomes rise 27.2 per cent -- making for the fourth-biggest annual increase in the last 35 years.
- It shows that the “middle class tax cut” the government talks so much about really went to the upper-middle class, limiting how widely its effect was felt. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the report will be unflattering to the Liberal government.
- “I think the results are really clear,” Singh told The Tyee. “After three-and-a-half years, Canadians don’t feel that they’re better off than they were before.”
- He cited a January poll that found 46 per cent of Canadians said they were within $200 of being unable to pay their bills each month. Yesterday a new poll bumped that number up to 48 per cent.
- “That’s a really staggering number that half of Canadians are on the brink of going bankrupt,” Singh said. “That is a scary feeling, and that shows me clearly Canadians aren’t better off than before.”
- He contrasted the strain on average families with the news that the government is granting $12 million to Loblaws — whose CEO and chair Galen Weston Jr. is worth $14 billion — to buy energy efficient coolers: “It shows the Liberal government has really helped the powerful and the wealthiest instead of people who need it, everyday families and small businesses,” Singh said.
- In March, an Angus Reid Institute poll confirmed relatively few people feel better off. Just 17 per cent of Canadians felt their standard of living was better than it had been a year ago. Twice as many — 34 per cent — said they were worse off than a year earlier.
- And more recently, Bank of Canada officials have said wage growth has fallen short of where it should be. In the last four months of 2018 wages barely budged, the growth rate down to 1.3 per cent for the year.
- Meanwhile, prices for everything from groceries to shelter rose faster, with Statistics Canada recording a year-over-year inflation rate of two per cent in December 2018. Wages rose, but they failed to keep pace with inflation.
- So in the end, let's ask the same questions that Trudeau asked 4 years ago. Are you better off now than before Trudeau took power? Is our country better off? Do you have better job prospects? Do you have confidence that your kids have a brighter future?”
- If the answer is no to any of those, then Trudeau has broken his promises. And if the electorate doesn't see Trudeau as working for them, then he might find himself trying to find better job prospects.
- Introduce poll tracker
- Poll tracker categorizations
- Why can polls be wrong?
- the poll doesn’t accurately sample the population (i.e. more males than females, more old than young, or more of one region than another)
- the sample size is too small (this creates a wide margin of error) - also happens on regional breakdowns (i.e. Lower mainland, 905, 416, MTL, QC)
- no longer valid, firms waited too long or population moved
- Media reporting: all polls we (as in the public) hear about are contracted by the media
- Polls that are leaked are contracted by political parties or special interest groups (unions)
- This means that while the pollsters seek to carry out their polling in a scientific way, the media or group that commissioned the poll will spin it one way or another.
- Dead heat, slim lead, neck and neck. All terms that the media uses to describe polls. This is called statistically tied.
- Media reports polling with decimals but in reality the lowest margin of error we’ve seen on a poll this cycle is 2%. The decimal is meaningless.
- A look at our current polls.
- Polling methodologies: phone call, IVR, online, or mixed.
- Rolling averages (i.e. Nanos and Mainstreet)
- The big IF: shy voters or those who don’t answer their phone if they don’t know the number.
- What are we using to guide where we think the election is going? Sentiment.
- How do people feel about the current administration, do they deserve to be re-elected, do you approve or disapprove of the government, how do you feel about your financial situation?
- People are more likely to say how they feel rather than how they will vote.
- Not only because voting is a private intimate act but an action we’ll do in 3 weeks is only hypothetical.
- How we feel is current and it’s a lot easier to come forward with how you’re feeling rather than trying to determine which political party you best fit into.
- We saw this in the 2016 US race, people were pessimistic about the economy and their own personal situation but the polls said Hillary would win.
- The polls underestimated the size of the UCP majority in Alberta this spring. In the days leading up to the election the highest the UCP polled was 51% and the lowest 44% with an average of 48%. They got 55% of the vote. We can attribute this to over sampling of Edmonton and Calgary and an underestimation of the UCP vote in Calgary itself. Several pollsters called the race in Calgary tied and it was nothing close to a tie.
- The pollsters and media got off largely free because they got the outcome right, a UCP majority, but we can’t deny that the polls were wrong, outside of the margin of error both in underestimating the UCP and overestimating the NDP.
- The point: polling is a science and everyone does it interesting. Polls should not be treated as gospel and the media often reports them as if they are to be trusted.
- In reality, polls are a snapshot and most times by the time we see them, sentiment has changed.
- Be careful. Be mindful. Vote and pay attention on election day.
- This week saw the release of an overview of the RCMP investigation into the Northern BC murder spree that took place in summer, and with it, probably the biggest BC story of the summer is now closed.
- The RCMP released their conclusions of evidence and video footage recorded by Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod, two teenagers from Port Alberni who admitted to the murders of a young tourist couple Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler, as well as UBC lecturer Leonard Dyck.
- RCMP described the videos Friday as part of an overview of the investigation that led police on one of the largest manhunts in Canadian history this summer, as the two young men fled B.C. to the remote riverbank in northern Manitoba where they died. A digital camera found with their bodies held six videos and three still images. RCMP say they are not releasing the videos or images to the public, saying they wish not to give McLeod or Schmegelsky further notoriety or to inspire further acts of violence by others.
- RCMP Asst. Commissioner Kevin Hackett described the pair as "cold and remorseless" in the videos and the report says that "Schmegelsky states that they are responsible for the three murders. They were going to march to Hudson Bay where they planned to hijack a boat and go to Europe or Africa."
- The mayor of Port Alberni, where Schmegelsky and McLeod lived and many family members continue to reside, also expressed gratitude to the police while expressing condolences to the victims’ families. Mayor Sharie Minions said she hoped the additional information answers some of the questions that so many people have had about this "very sad case" and hopes that the findings will bring closure for the victims families, despite the fact that there will never be a justified explanation for these senseless acts.
- Unfortunately the videos did not provide a motive, only that the two made a suicide pact. “If there was in fact a motive, it's gone with the accused,” Hackett said.
- They said McLeod shot Schmegelsky before shooting himself, and two guns found near their bodies were the same firearms used in the murders of Deese, Fowler and Dyck.
- According to the police report, the two bought an SKS semi-automatic rifle at Cabela's outfitters store in Nanaimo, B.C., on July 12, the same day they left Port Alberni. Likely McLeod bought the gun as he was 19, and Schmegelsky was 18. The source of their other gun is unknown.
- The release of the RCMP report has led to criticism on social media that the killers were able to pass the RCMP gun tests to get a PAL, or the Possession and Acquisition Licence, to purchase a gun. The PAL training includes extensive safety training, security screening, and a formal application with supporting documents.
- Likely a lot of the talk of the guns has leaked from the federal election campaign, where Trudeau has pledged even tougher gun controls, which is a story we talked about last week. It seems that every time there is a tragedy, a certain segment of the population is always quick to turn the topic to gun control. While this horrible story is unfortunate, the reaction should not be to focus on knee-jerk political responses.
- Last week saw one of the biggest stories in Canadian news ever, the Prime Minister wearing blackface not just once but numerous times.
- Following that this week a photo emerged online trying to normalize Trudeau’s behaviour by suggesting Prime Minister Stephen Harper was racist for appearing in Indigenous garb.
- Social media and news. Sensationalist. Misleading.
- The photo captioned with “Stephen Harper is astounded at Trudeau’s racist costume from 20 years ago”
- There’s one thing though, it wasn’t a costume!
- The former Prime Minister was taking part in a ceremony naming him an honorary chief.
- Back in 2011 Harper was given the title of honorary chief by the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta.
- Elder Pete Standing Alone painted Harper’s face and placed a headdress with eagle feathers on his head.
- This is considered a great honour in their culture. It has been bestowed upon others including Prince Charles and Pope John Paul II. And also Trudeau was given an aboriginal name by the Tsuut’ina First Nation back in 2016 where he was also presented with a headdress.
- Robert Jago, a Montreal based writer and member of the Kwantlen First Nation said, "The chiefs chose to put a headdress on Harper and they brought in people from their faith and they coloured his face. It was all part of a cultural and religious ceremony… When you point to that and you point at the colour on his face and you laugh at it, you’re not laughing at Harper. You’re laughing at the people that put the colour there. People are partisans and don’t really appreciate what the actual issue is, or they don’t want to engage with it, so they’d rather deflect and say, ’Everybody does this’”
- Social media has the power to reach thousands or millions of people but if done incorrectly, it creates more trouble than it’s worth.
- Era where news appearing on social media can be indistinguishable from real news and the action of sharing a story is all it takes to perpetrate fake news.
- A quick Google search by anyone sharing this story would have found the original article.
- For clarity’s sake, that article is linked in our supplementals for this story.
- In this case we are lucky that the mainstream media didn’t pick this up as a story but the very fact people were talking about it on Twitter shows the vastly different conversations that can happen online compared to the real world and how fake news can spread quickly online.
Word of the Week
Knee jerk - reacting quickly or automatically without thought or due consideration
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Jerking the Knees
Teaser: Trudeau’s middle class tax cut provides more wealth for the top 1%, a look at our new federal poll tracker, and a conclusion to the Northern BC murder spree. Also, social media misrepresents a First Nations ceremony to excuse Trudeau’s blackface.
Recorded Date: September 28, 2019
Release Date: September 29, 2019
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes