The News Rundown
- Back in February 2020, Ken Boessenkool, a former senior advisor to Stephen Harper wrote in an article that “If Conservatives want to win another national government they are going to have to find ways to win critical seats in the suburban belt around Toronto – the 905.” For anyone looking at the results of the election in 2021, it's clear that the Conservatives have to expand their traditional baseline of rural and mainly Western Canadian voters to appeal to the more of the center and center-right leaning 'red tory' factions, who are increasingly unsatisfied with Prime Minister Trudeau's handling of the economy.
- While the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis have since taken hold, climate change remains a top concern for many Canadians. David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data says: “Our data suggests even today that the same number of people say climate change is a crisis that did prior to the pandemic and I don’t think this issue is going away.”
- One of the old and tired Liberal talking points on the Conservatives over the past 6 years is that they have no climate plan. Well, they do now. And it's got people talking.
- Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole unveiled a climate plan which will put a price on carbon for consumers. But instead of the Liberal carbon-tax-and-rebate system, O'Toole is proposing to charge a levy on fuel purchases and use the money to fund personalized savings accounts which Canadians can use for environmentally friendly purchases.
- Under O'Toole's plan, Canadians would pay a carbon levy, initially amounting to $20 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, every time they buy hydrocarbon-based fuels, such as gasoline.
- But instead of channeling that money into direct rebates to Canadian households, as is the case currently, the Conservatives would divert it to what the plan says are "personal low carbon savings accounts." Consumers could then draw on those accounts for "things that help them live a greener life. That could mean buying a transit pass or a bicycle, or saving up and putting the money towards a new efficient furnace, energy efficient windows or even an electric vehicle."
- At press conference announcing the new plan, O'Toole compared it favourably to the current system: "We recognize that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms. However, having a market-based approach means that we cannot ignore the fact that our largest and most integrated trading partner — the United States — does not yet have a national carbon pricing system. And the present state of global trade allows some of the world's worst polluters to become free riders to the detriment of Canadian workers. Any serious plan must recognize these realities."
- The Conservative Party's carbon price would increase over time to a maximum of $50 per tonne. But it would go no higher than that, according to the plan. O'Toole declined to call his proposal a "tax," instead referring to it as a "pricing mechanism," as he says, "Not a cent goes to Ottawa."
- O'Toole added that he believes Conservative voters who are opposed to carbon pricing will see the benefits of his plan. He also said that he would work closely with the provinces on implementing the plan.
- O'Toole also pointed to a proposal to charge a tariff on products from countries with lower emissions and environmental standards than Canada — singling out China in particular. O'Toole referred to it as a "carbon border adjustment tariff" on "bad actor countries." He said the measure would protect Canadian jobs.
- He said: "I think most Canadians don't want to see Canadian jobs being shifted to China, where they don't respect the climate change commitments democratic countries are meeting. So I think Canadians know that that tariff will price out some of these bad actor country products in a way that other countries are looking at as well."
- The plan also includes a greater support for electric vehicles, which mirror's BC's regulations in introducing a zero emission vehicle mandate requiring 30% of light duty vehicles sold to be zero emissions by 2030. Plans for clean renewable gas, carbon capture and a low carbon fuel standard also highlighted in the announcement.
- O'Toole wasn't the only Conservative leader to unveil plans for clean energy: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs formally signed a memorandum to support the development of small-scale nuclear power technology Wednesday. The joint announcement saw the release of a feasibility study with proposals for developing the technology.
- Kenney said he is eager to work with the group to advance small nuclear reactors (SMRs) as an emissions-free energy option that could help address climate change.
- “Canada has to make real changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I get very frustrated when I see some political voices who demand big reductions in emissions while simultaneously opposing (nuclear),” he said.
- SMRs could generate between 200 megawatts and 300 megawatts of electricity and are small enough to be built in a factory and shipped easily. They can work on their own or be stacked together to generate more electricity.
- The new feasibility study from Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, NB Power and SaskPower, outlines three types of SMR project proposals, including some that could be deployed in Alberta as early as 2030.
- Small reactors could be used in on-grid and off-grid communities as well as remote and rural areas. The technology also has the potential to be used to supply energy to oilsands and mining operations.
- Conservative media turned on O'Toole for his environmental plans, as if they don't realize that the Conservatives won't win if they don't have at least a plan in place. Toronto Sun columnists Rick Bell and Lorne Gunter called it a "tax" and said that his plan would see Trudeau elected to a majority.
- Here's the thing: if Trudeau continues moving further to the left as he has, then the Conservatives need to step up to fill the void in the center than Trudeau's spend spend spend policies have created. Having a 21st century plan that works for all of Canada is a part of that.
- Last weekend the Liberals and NDP had their policy conventions ahead of what is likely to be a 2021 election.
- The NDP for their part are a party that stays true to principles and have often been the backbone of the workers of Canada.
- If you wanted to know what was going on at the NDP convention your best bet was CPAC, the outlet that aims to provide non-partisan coverage of everything political in Canada.
- At the convention Jagmeet Singh received an 87% positive review in a leadership vote, the NDP ultimately put seven resolutions up for vote after they made it through their process for the allowing of amendments to be voted on.
- The NDP voted to suspend arms dealing with Israel and halt trade with Israeli settlements, they also voted to raise the federal minimum wage to $20 and impose a 1% tax on fortunes over $20 million.
- The party also voted to mandate 7 days paid sick leave for federal workers and the party passed a resolution to address boil water advisories in Indigenous communities, and to stand up for Indian farmers suffering “human rights abuses” by India’s government.
- And the most important, giving the current trajectory of the pandemic, a proposal that would make long term care part of Canada’s health care system.
- The NDP for their part have often been equated to the conscience of parliament but the NDP are in legitimate danger.
- The Liberals also held their convention on the same weekend and put simply, they’re trying to become the NDP.
- Liberal delegates voted for national pharmacare, long term care funding, a green new deal, and a universal basic income for Canadians.
- With these policy resolutions the party of Justin Trudeau cemented its place as having permanently moved away from the party of the likes of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin and have crept out what used to be the NDPs own turf.
- The Liberals supporting a universal basic income is huge and is a policy idea that if implemented would completely change budgeting in Canada forever.
- This shift having been voted on cements a political shift that has been underway since 2015. The Liberals can claim to be a centrist party of old but with these resolutions the grassroots have firmly embraced the left leaving a wide chasm of opportunity in the centre.
- Of course the question that comes up with a universal basic income, how the heck do you fund it?
- Policies detailing that were not passed, leaving the government of the day to come up with a plan for funding should they choose to implement any of these policy ideas.
- The policies on the post pandemic economy and green economic recovery make it very clear that the focus should be on “steer[ing] Canada’s economy toward more equal outcomes for Canadians” and ending government support for both the fossil fuel and nuclear components of the energy sector.
- The Liberals in power have been as corrupt as a two term majority government and are keen to continue governing from the left while eating NDP support.
- NDP supporters should be worried and should rally around Jagmeet Singh and other NDP leaders like John Horgan to ensure that their party can reclaim turf that has been rightfully theirs and that only they can properly implement.
- The Liberals also rejected a proposal to raise the capital gains tax and bring in a capital gains tax on primary residences. Unlike the NDP the Liberals don’t have in their policy book a policy to create wealth tax (yet) but that’s likely something they will emulate to further siphon votes from the NDP.
- The Liberals also had guests from the United States providing insight on how to win and tailor messaging. They included: Ben Rhodes (Former Deputy National Security Advisor to Barack Obama), Müthoni Wambu Kraal (former national political and organizing director for the democratic national committee), and Caitlin Mitchell (senior advisor for digital from the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign).
- Former Governor of the Bank of Canada and Bank of England, Mark Carney, also addressed the convention who offered his endorsement for the party, put simply he’s a Bill Morneau in different clothes.
- And Trudeau himself used the opportunity to go after the federal Conservatives asking, “How disconnected do you have to be?” when laying out why he sees himself as better than Erin O’Toole.
- He also outright said that he wants anyone disenchanted to come over to the red liberal tent.
- As for whether or not the Conservatives are disconnected, all Erin O’Toole or the Conservative marketing machine needs to do is say, “Justin Trudeau is busy courting and devouring the vote of the NDP. You are disillusioned and feel politically homeless. We will restore order to Ottawa, take care of the environment with our climate plan, and we will make Canada healthy and not let Canada suffer another pandemic as happened under Trudeau’s watch with over 23,000 deaths.”
- If British Columbians were looking for something new and fresh from John Horgan's BC NDP government, then Monday's Throne Speech was sorely lacking. A large focus was of course on the pandemic and the economy, but all in all it was a message to stay the course, when many think that the course could be improved instead.
- The speech outlining the provincial government's commitments for the next year was read by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin, who opened with an acknowledgement of the passing of Prince Philip: "His Royal Highness will be remembered fondly by British Columbians for his devotion to Queen and country, his duties as Royal Patron, and his ever-keen interest in the lives and work of Canadians," she read.
- The new government's speech focused on the challenges COVID-19 has prevented, including the impact on local businesses. However, it mainly focused on issues that the NDP campaigned on in years past, including $10-a-day daycare and housing affordability, that after 4 years in power they have yet to deliver on.
- The Horgan Government said in the speech that it recognizes a need to move on from the pandemic and focus on setting up a successful future. While everyone wants the pandemic to be over, the government has to focus more on actually ending it instead of dreaming of a time where we can freely visit and travel whoever we want.
- In particular, the province acknowledged economic recovery will be a priority in the coming months. Insisting "our strengths remain," the speech gave nods to natural resources, clean technology, ties to Asian and North American ports and highly skilled workers. Plans for the future include help for hard-hit businesses and job creation, as well as investments in infrastructure. It's also promising to take steps to support innovation, technology and sustainability.
- BC is continuing to go through with its planned annual raising of the minimum wage, which is still set to go up to $15.20/hr on June 1st.
- The province promised improvements to mental health and addictions care in B.C., saying, "we will redouble our efforts." Among those steps are actions to end the criminalization of simple drug possession. Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, noted that it's been 5 years since BC officially declared the overdose crisis a public health emergency.
- Malcolmson said: “Stigma drives people to hide their drug use, avoid health care and use alone. Through provincewide decriminalization, we can reduce the fear and shame that keep people silent about their drug use, and support people to reach out for help, life-saving supports and treatment.”
- To strengthen its overdose response, the Province is also boosting funds to secure recently expanded overdose prevention services for people at high risk of overdose provincewide. A new $45-million investment over the next three years will extend and enhance the funding announced in August 2020 to support those services to save more lives.
- The speech also preached changes that would ensure the protection of the environment, including reforms for the forestry sector and improvements to waste management, as well as shifts toward greener technology and energy sources. One wonders if Horgan closed his metaphorical blinds on the ongoing Fairy Creek old growth protests, which he still hasn't addressed, while he was writing that particular part of the throne speech.
- The budget, which will be revealed on April 20, will include information on investments in infrastructure, but much of its focus will be on the pandemic. Previous criticism of the NDP's handling of COVID-19 include that the approach has been unfocused, according to interim Liberal Leader Shirley Bond. Prior to Monday's speech, she said the Opposition would be looking for specific and straightforward plans.
- Bond said Tuesday she's disappointed that as a second-term government, and that the NDP basically repeated the promises it had made before in the throne speech. She also argued the NDP should have had a COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan at the beginning of the pandemic.
- She said: "Those are things that could have been done in the year leading up to this very serious place that we find ourselves. They're basically operating on the fly."
- Adam Olsen, one of two B.C. Greens in the legislature, also says the NDP has yet to offer a clear agenda since their fall election win.
- BC Liberal MLA Dan Davies had a scathing response to the throne speech. "After four years of inaction, the NDP is recycling the same promises that they have so far failed to deliver on. What is missing? A clear plan to help B.C. recover from the pandemic. No real plan to build the economy. No mention to grow the resource sector, something so important to the province, especially here in the Peace [River Region]."
- He went further: "If we want to foresee what is to come, we can look at the NDP’s record of the last six months. The Premier has repeatedly botched attempts to get pandemic relief to people, as well as the rollout of support for small and medium-sized businesses – and the NDP government has provided no extra support for mental health and addictions services. This government failed to deliver a budget on time, delaying much needed assistance for British Columbians. And then the Premier blamed young people, who have been hard hit by the pandemic, for the rise in COVID-19 cases without any evidence."
- In all of those he is right; and yet the media has not covered Horgan's actions in this angle. They have glossed over his vaccine failures, his inaction on the environment, his blaming of young people for the third wave, and a lack of support for small businesses to keep people employed. Instead what we've got are more taxes, rising housing and grocery costs, a haphazard Covid plan, and a glacial pace vaccine rollout that still sees us only vaccinating seniors while the rest of us working age people still have to go out and deal with the public everyday.
- With a forgiving media in BC continuing to shine to the government, Horgan's failures will seemingly once again be swept under the rug.
- It has been talked about on this podcast and in Canadian media since last week that Canada was on pace to surpass the United States in COVID-19 cases per capita.
- This gained the attention of CNN and in particular The Lead’s Jake Tapper. The focus of the story on CNN was our vaccine shortage.
- The story details vaccine shortages and weeks where no vaccines arrived and when they do arrive they arrive late.
- The story interviewed Dr. Thierry Mesana, President and CEO of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute who criticized the move to delay doses up to 4 months.
- CNN pointed out that you have to go back decades to the Mulroney administration but they underscored that the Trudeau government also bears responsibility.
- CNN told their viewers that in Toronto it has got so bad that patients had to be housed in the Children’s hospital.
- Jake Tapper ended the segment calling this a “real failure by the Trudeau government” and that “our Canadian cousins deserve a lot better.”
- It’s no secret that when tough news needs to break in Canada it often goes to international outlets, after all it was Time Magazine that broke Justin Trudeau’s black face episodes to the world.
- Jake Tapper was also right to mention the Connaught Labs decision by the Mulroney government but that was 30+ years ago under a different political party. Just like people, political parties change over time.
- This story spurred Liberals, under informed Canadians, and our media establishment to lash out at Jake Tapper.
- Robyn Urback, Globe and Mail columnist, said it was “extremely embarrassing” watching some Canadians react to the story and suggested the story look at Canadian federalism and “detail ongoing provincial failures.”
- And this is the narrative at play in the Canadian media and Liberal party establishment. It has also made its way online to social media and online forums as well. Ask any Canadian and they’ll tell you it’s the province's fault.
- As we detailed last week, vaccines in storage are not just “sitting in freezers” they’ve been accounted for and are waiting to be administered. There appeared to be a glut because we had just received a large Pfizer shipment.
- Despite everything, the Premiers were still blamed this week, Jason Kenney answered a question about why the provinces keep blaming the federal government for supply issues. Before answering he highlighted the last 13 months of government cooperation. His answer was that while the media likes blaming the provinces and highlighting provincial failures, the media doesn’t scrutinize the federal government, the federal government doesn’t provide enough supply, and the provinces have looked at sourcing their own vaccine supplies but the federal procurement program outright blocks provinces from buying vaccines. Kenney also highlighted legislation from the early 2000s that drove vaccine companies out of the country by undermining patent law.
- The massive deluge of Canadians online taking issue with the Tapper story spurred him to come up with a new term after someone replied to the story acknowledging it was true, Trapper said, “Careful for acknowledging facts or Tru-Anon will attack you.”
- Tru-Anon of course referring to the American Q-Anon conspiracy theory and followers of it who would parrot Q-Anon stories despite perceived facts being right in front of readers. Except this time, it’s followers of Justin Trudeau who can’t accept any criticism of their leader.
- The Tru-Anon belief system according to the Toronto Sun’s Brian Lilley is that Canada is doing great in its pandemic response, provinces run by Conservative Premiers are doing awful and haven’t vaccinated anyone.
- He also points out that it’s cult-like and describing the Trudeau followers as Tru-Anons makes sense because there’s an immense amount of pushback and blind loyalty that comes from Trudeau followers and the only other place this has been seen is in followers of US President Donald Trump.
- Trudeau and team lie to the media and in the House of Commons and the Tru-Anons and media will repeat these lies even as delays in the recent Moderna vaccine shipments as told by Trudeau moved from a few days to a few weeks.
- The discussion around Tru-Anon and the CNN story made its way into the House of Commons and the Prime Minister responded to the opposition when citing the story by saying, “It’s really important we work from facts.”
- The natural question of course as posed by Jake Tapper was, what facts does Justin Trudeau dispute?
- The answer to that in the CNN piece and others, many!
- The Prime Minister went on a diatribe claiming the UK was facing a “very serious COVID third wave” when in reality the UK has 60% of the population with a first dose and case numbers and hospitalizations in the UK are trending down.
- UK Conservative MP Peter Bone said that “It would sound to me, like with the EU, there’s a lot of fake news in what he is saying. He should butt out of UK affairs and concentrate on running his own country, which he doesn’t seem to be doing very well.”
- In starting this story I mentioned that when news needs to be broken in Canada it’s best to have it broken by an international outlet.
- Forbes, The Atlantic, and the UK based Spectator all had stories about the true picture of the pandemic in Canada when it comes to vaccine rollout and the ever increasing cases per capita.
- The US CDC even put out a travel advisory advising against all travel to Canada.
- The Canadian media has enabled Trudeau and the Tru-anons since 2015 and as we move into the waning phase of the pandemic it’s very important we work from facts to learn what we did wrong, where our deaths came from, and who’s largely to blame. The media has been absent and we’re relying on international outlets to show the true story. That’s why this is our firing line.
Word of the Week
Tax - a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.
Quote of the Week
“It’s really important we work from facts.” - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on CNN Jake Tapper’s story criticizing the Canadian government’s vaccine rollout.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Setting the Table
Teaser: The Conservatives unveil their climate plan, the Liberal convention shows how far they have shifted, and BC’s throne speech stays the course. Also, the international media tears into Trudeau’s vaccine rollout and coins the term “Tru-Anons”.
Recorded Date: April 16, 2021
Release Date: April 18, 2021
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes