The (Right) News Rundown
- On May 18th it was announced that the Wildrose party and the Progressive Conservative party had reached a tentative unity agreement. The unity agreement was signed in Edmonton by the leaders of both parties, Brian Jean for the Wildrose and Jason Kenney for the PCs.
- The agreement sets forward the process for the creation of the United Conservative Party. The agreement must be ratified by 50% of the PCs and 75% of the Wildrose. This will happen on July 22nd.
- Following this constituency associations will be established and a leader for the new party will be selected on October 28th.
- Regardless of what's being talked about in the mainstream media it needs to be understated that the United Conservative Party will not be a party of the "far right". The NDP has already begun this narrative and the mainstream media has continued on happily.
- The CBC has decided to feature tweets calling the new party embarrassing before it is even created and making light of the name "UCP".
- The United Conservative Party will be founded upon a framework ensuring that grassroots members, not corporate interests, union interests, or a cabal of leaders will be able to decide party policy.
- A few of the guiding principles of the United Conservative Party are:
- The rule of law, equality of all before the law, and protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of all
- Grassroots democracy, including measures to empower Albertans to hold governments accountable during and between elections
- Universal access to high quality, publicly-funded health care
- Environmental responsibility, including the protection and conservation of our natural environment for the benefit of future generations
- Fiscal responsibility, including balanced budgets, debt reduction, and respect for taxpayers’ money
- What can you do if this idea is appealing to you? Buy a membership for either the Wildrose or PC Party and take part in the referendum this summer and vote for a new leader in the fall.
- It's not going to be an easy run between now and the next election to make this work but this process has thus far been more successful than it was initially thought it would be after the last election or even last summer.
- Elections BC is rejecting 4 requests for recounts, accepting those only for Vancouver-False Creek, where there were irregularities, and Courtney-Comox, where the difference between the top 2 candidates are less than 100 votes.
- Listeners might remember last week's episode of uncertainty - that's continuing! We still won't know until May 24th what the final results of the election will be, as the absentee ballots still need to be counted.
- With this uncertainty, the Liberals NDP and Greens have started preliminary discussions with each other, with the Liberals open to working with the Greens even if they do end up with a majority, feeling the gap between their platforms is not too great to overcome. The NDP feel the Green platform is closer to the NDP's and are the "natural choice" to work with the Greens.
- With the standings still at 1 seat short for a Liberal majority barring recounts and absentee ballots, the fate of BC's government still hangs in the balance.
- The most worrying part of the "Green influenced" budget the Liberals are working toward is the Green Party's "non-negotiable demand" for proportional representation, with Weaver saying “Our position has been that we would bring in proportional representation without a referendum because it is one of our six guiding principles, and we cannot go against who we are"
- Proportional representation, which generally allocates Legislature seat share among parties based on the popular vote, would greatly help the Greens and other smaller parties like the Libertarian, Conservative, and the Communist parties of BC, while greatly impacting the Liberals and the NDP, who would see a significant decrease of influence by accepting the demand.
- The fact that the Greens are basically holding the new government to ransom over this issue, without letting BC voters decide if the electoral system needs to be changed, is frankly undemocratic and flies in the face of what voters wanted. Before the election, electoral reform was barely mentioned at all, and for it to become such a big issue after the election should concern us all. It reminds me of when the Liberal government tried to force the HST on the province, and the huge backlash that occurred because of that. If a government tries to change the electoral system of BC without having a referendum, there will be massive consequences for everyone in the province.
- "The National Energy Board faces a ‘crisis of confidence’ and needs to be fundamentally overhauled, including loosening its ties to Calgary, a government-appointed panel concluded in a report released on Monday."
- "In the report released on Monday, the five-member advisory panel concluded that the National Energy Board 'has fundamentally lost the confidence of many Canadians.'”
- "It recommends the NEB be overhauled and renamed the Canadian Energy Transmission Commission (CETC), with appointments from a broader cross-section of society and a board of directors based in Ottawa. The main office would remain in Calgary, but board members would no longer be required to live there, and satellite offices would be established throughout the country."
- Premier Rachel Notley is opposed to the idea and feels that moving operations to Ottawa is "dumb".
- While it may appear that this move was suggested by a committee the truth of the matter is that panels and committees are almost always filled by the government of the day. That means of course that views of other parties and other stakeholders in general are overshadowed by the will of the government. Given the Trudeau government's push for a national carbon tax and reluctance to green light new pipeline projects that have already been approved by the NEB there's no question that the government is asserting its will over this issue.
- One must look back to the National Energy Program of the first Trudeau government to realize that this government and that government want to ensure that power of natural resources remains tied to Ottawa. It makes zero sense to move the NEB offices to Ottawa unless the true intention is to make the NEB partisan and ultimately assert more government control over the industry. The current Trudeau government is festering the very feelings of western alienation that plagued the west in the 1980s and 1990s. History is an important teaching tool and Trudeau must not take his 4 seats in Alberta (2 of which are in Calgary that had not gone Liberal since the 1960s) for granted come next election. Moving the NEB head office to Ottawa would make as much sense as moving the offices that control the regulation of the automobile industry to Vancouver.
- On a related note that backs up this trend of the Trudeau government consolidating power to areas of Liberal control it was revealed that moving the immigration processing centre from Vegreville to Edmonton will actually cost $46.6m in renovations and leasing over the next 25 years just to move this facility to downtown Edmonton. We first discussed this on episode 4 of the Right Side. Maintaining the Vegreville facility over the same time period would only cost $35.8m, roughly $10.8m less. This is in stark contrast to what John McCallum told us last fall."
The Firing Line
- Justin Trudeau's government will make a formal apology to the House of Commons in the fall to the Canadians who have suffered "governmental discrimination based upon sexuality" in the past.
- The apology will occur after an earlier promise in November to review hundreds of cases of those dismissed from their jobs in the government and military, mostly before the 1970's.
- This echoes Trudeau Senior's strong views of the government "having no place in the bedrooms of the nation"
- Along with the apology for the dismissals, Edmonton MP Randy Boissonnault, Trudeau's "special advisor on LGBT issues" is working towards "eliminating laws that, intentionally or unintentionally, discriminate against sexual minorities"
- The Globe and Mail article notes that other countries, like Britain, Germany, and New Zealand have passed Canada in these issues, and that there has been an "outcry on the inaction" of the government
- The article also notes that several elements will be considered this summer, including the wording of the Prime Minister’s apology, the appropriate venue for the apology, whether people who were convicted should be required to apply for pardons, or whether a blanket pardon is more appropriate, whether people who were dismissed are entitled to pensions, or if any financial compensation should be offered along with the apology
- This story should come as a bit of a surprise to listeners, as previous stories of the inaction of the Trudeau government on passing bills, the expenditures incurred in the budgets, the debt rising, possible trade wars with the US...and this is what they're spending time on? Something like this should not require so much effort. If it's necessary, deliver the apology, then get on with more important things. It's another hallmark of the inefficiencies of the Trudeau government to get anything done on time.
Word of the Week
noun (plural referendums or referenda |-də| )
a general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Unnecessary Apologies
Teaser: The Wildrose and PC Party of Alberta agree to form the United Conservative Party. Andrew Weaver in BC reveals his demands. Trudeau begins shifting away power from the west with the NEB. And time spent this summer on unnecessary apologies.
Recorded Date: May 20, 2017
Release Date: May 20, 2017
Edit Notes: None