The (Right) News Rundown
- In politics there is a sense of common wisdom that there are two groups of people that should never be targeted: veterans and seniors.
- The NDP this week are targeting some seniors on low income by asking that a portion of their carbon tax rebate be returned.
- Earlier in March Alberta Seniors and Housing sent a letter to all seniors’ home in Alberta regarding these changes.
- In the letter the province announced that they will be taking 30% of the seniors’ carbon tax rebate to pay for the rising costs of heating and electricity.
- The issue comes in is that for these seniors the carbon tax rebate is a part of their general income.
- When the province brought in the carbon tax it was decided that the rebates would count towards the seniors incomes because the seniors did not need to pay extra for gas or electricity.
- As these seniors are already low income this just makes the issue even bigger.
- Minister of Housing and Seniors, Lori Sigurdson noted that seniors will still receive 70% of their rebate and something must be done to help groups operating the homes which implies that the reduction in the carbon tax rebate is the answer.
- Brian Taylor, a senior living in Edmonton’s Pioneer Place Senior Citizens Apartments said, “I’m not paying it. That’s all there is to it. I don’t care what the government is saying. They can take me to court. They can do whatever they want.”
- He has said that he was surprised with the agreement he found within his seniors home and that many are “adamant” about not having their carbon tax rebate reduced.
- Irene Martin-Lindsay of the Alberta Seniors Communities & Housing Association estimates that the carbon tax will increase natural gas bills for their facilities by $6m in 2018. This doesn’t factor in electricity or any other carbon tax related cost increases.
- It’s estimated that allowing the association to access the residents’ rebates will help to recoup between 70% and 80% of the higher utility costs.
- Recall that last week when the Alberta budget was tabled it was announced that carbon tax revenues are now going into the general revenue stream of the province.
- This means that the money being taken from these seniors isn’t even going to help with the provinces environmental initiatives.
- The seniors who were already low income are effectively collateral damage from a wide reaching tax in Alberta that has no guarantee of helping the environment.
- What’s more a report was released this week by federal Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand and auditors in 9 provinces found that the provinces and federal government haven’t really assessed the risks of climate change and have no idea of what may be needed to adapt to it.
- The audit says that, “many governments have high-level goals to cut emissions, few have detailed plans to actually reach those goals, such as timelines, funding or expected results from specific actions.” The auditors also say that this means there is “no clarity” on how they are going to measure, monitor, and report their progress to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- Combine this what what we’re seeing in Alberta of the government clawing back the carbon tax rebates of low income seniors and the carbon tax going into general revenues, one really must wonder if all the pain the seniors are feeling is necessary.
- I know what you're thinking. When am I going to have a more important story to talk about in BC than the Trans Mountain Pipeline? Unfortunately, until the issue is resolved it will continue to be a rift between the formerly close Western Canadian provinces of BC and Alberta, and the issue will only get worse if no attention is given to it by the federal government.
- Last week, I left you with the news that Green Leader Elizabeth May and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart were arrested among others at the Kinder Morgan site in Burnaby, and that other arrests were to follow if protesters did not obey the court injunction that banned protesters from disrupting construction work at both Trans Mountain terminals. So far, more than 150 people have been arrested protesting against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, most of them for violating the injunction.
- Now, the Mayor of Burnaby Derek Corrigan is aiming to get into a financial battle with the federal government over RCMP policing costs at the KM facility. There has been a continued police presence outside Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby Mountain facility, and B.C.’s Police Act requires cities with a population of over 15,000 to pay for the cost of policing within their geographic boundaries, including for civil disobedience.
- But Derek Corrigan is arguing that since Ottawa approved the pipeline expansion, it should be the one paying for extra policing in response to the protests that have cropped up in response. "The federal government should be standing up now and saying, ‘Yeah, we’ve exercised our jurisdiction, we told the city and the province that they have no right to come in and deal with Kinder Morgan line on their property, and as a result, we’re the ones who are going to be responsible for ensuring that policing is done.' I don’t think there is anybody in the Western world who doesn’t know now that Burnaby is not paying."
- It’s not the first time Burnaby has balked at paying for protests against Kinder Morgan. The city still refuses to pay an $800,000 bill related to 2014 protests connected to the project.
- Alberta Premier Rachel Notley remarked that Corrigan is heading down a "slippery slope" and slammed Corrigan’s statements as “disconcerting” and “irresponsible,” and suggested he take them back.
- Last week, the Federal Court of Appeal threw out the BC government's bid to challenge a National Energy Board ruling that allows Kinder Morgan to bypass local bylaws during construction of the pipeline expansion. The court also ordered B.C. to pay the court costs, which we all know will end up being on the backs of taxpayers somehow.
- And now the tension between AB and BC has spilled over into AB's other neighbouring province. It's quite an amazing world we live in where the Alberta NDP agree with the Saskatchewan Party on anything, but here we are.
- On the heels of a throne speech announcement by Alberta’s NDP government that it would seek legislative powers to turn off the flow of oil to British Columbia if it desired, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe suggested he’d consider taking similar action in an effort to move the file forward on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
- “Canada was founded as a nation upon its economic union. That means goods should travel freely across Canada to ensure market access. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but if B.C. blocks pipelines for [Canadian] oil, Saskatchewan will consider retaliation, [including] restricted export permits of our oil,” Moe wrote on Twitter.
- One would wonder where Justin Trudeau is in all of this. Given that he approved the pipeline in the national interest, he'd be more inclined to speak out on the issue. However, no where does he appear in the media on the issue, and we might find out what exactly he's talking about later on in our podcast.
- Globe and Mail headline, “Justin Trudeau is losing the male voter. Can the PM win him back?”
- Right Side stance on polls.
- Alarm bells being raised by the Globe and Mail due to a Nanos poll (which managed to correctly predict the 2015 election result) released last week that says that only 30% of male voters will vote for Trudeau!
- The article postulates that it could be Trudeau’s feminist foreign policy agenda or the government’s focus on shrinking the gender gap in the workforce.
- The article walks close to what could be a potential issue by stating that “Liberal rhetoric has been less focused on lunch bucket economics in the concrete terms that reach 30-50 year olds.”
- The article then ends with two graphs showing male and female support for the Liberal party with male support sharply declining.
- It’s not just a simple matter of male voters declining that is causing a problem.
- The article goes as so far to suggest that approving the trans mountain pipeline and abandoning the promises of electoral reform could be the issue.
- It’s not though. In a series of polls from Forum, Angus-Reid, and Ipsos-Reid all show the Liberals declining, and fast.
- As earlier RE: Polls…
- In the freshest survey from Ipsos-Reid, 60% of Canadians feel it’s time for another federal party to take over, that’s not just men speaking.
- This desire for change is country wide: 73% in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. 61% in Ontario, 58 and 56% in Quebec and BC respectively. Only those in Atlantic Canada feel the government should be re-elected.
- And yes, even in this poll, the Conservatives have a lead amongst women voters, by 5 points.
- In these surveys we’ve seen one where the Conservatives lead in Quebec with a plurality and in the others follow in second place to the Liberals ahead of the NDP.
- What’s likely happening and missed by the Globe and Mail article is the Liberal’s inability to change the channel, control the media cycle, and create positive headlines due to the India trip and Atwal fiasco.
- The point we must take away from this is that it is far too early to point the finger at male voters in particular and the media should be more concerned with a whole of government analysis rather than one poll on one day.
- There’s a long time until the 2019 election. Polls change.
The Firing Line
- With the most recent Trudeau budget that we covered a few weeks back including the word gender 358 times, one could be forgiven for thinking that the federal government cares deeply about the differences between the male and female gender. It was widely described as a "feminist budget" by varying mainstream and left leaning outlets alike, such as CBC, Canoe, The Hill Times, and The National Post.
- One could certainly be forgiving for believing that due to the budget, that the Liberals have managed to overturn Trudeau's reputation as a fake feminist, after many incidents to the contrary. One could hardly forget "Elbowgate" in 2016 where in attempting to clear a path in the HoC, Trudeau elbowed NDP MP Ruth-Ellen Brosseau in the chest area and allegedly shouted to the other MPs to "Get the f*** out of my way." Since it was a mixed crowd of male and female MPs he was yelling at, I guess he was displaying gender equality after all. And almost forgotten in the wake of his India trip, was his bizarre "peoplekind" comment where he interrupted a woman at a town hall to say that "peoplekind" was a much better alternative to the widely accepted "mankind".
- Well, it appears that Trudeau's Finance Minister Bill Morneau also has trouble with respecting the fairer gender. While being asked in a finance committee by Conservative Deputy Leader Lisa Raitt, who is also the longest elected woman currently in the House of Commons, if the budget released was "just a political gesture toward women" and that it was just "a way to get a woman's vote", Morneau replied that he found the line of questioning to be "offensive":
- [Sound Clip: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/morneau-liberals-scheer-trudeau-1.4597878] ['I am not a neanderthal': Raitt and Morneau clash at committee: Timestamp 0:23]
- "What we're trying to achieve, is about trying to get the greatest amount of success possible and I absolutely believe that doing that by promoting women into positions of leadership is one of the key success factors. We'll continue to do this. If people like you don't buy into it, that's a problem that we'll have to face. We will drag along the neanderthals who do not agree with that, and that will be our continuing approach."
- Immediately after, Raitt exclaimed "I'm not a Neanderthal because I don't agree with you" before being cut off by the committee chair.
- Later, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer called on Morneau or Trudeau on his behalf to apologize for calling Raitt a neanderthal. Trudeau's response was that he would "take no lessons from the party opposite on respecting women" and suggested that the Conservatives wouldn't put in a gender balanced cabinet in the future, to which Scheer replied "I can assure the Prime Minister that the cabinet for the Government of Canada after the 2019 election will have plenty of strong Conservative women in it." Even while trying to dodge an issue and redirect to an issue they're more familiar with, Trudeau comes out looking bad.
- Ever since the exchange, Conservative MPs have alleged that Morneau's use of the word 'neanderthal' was directed at Raitt personally — a claim his office denies. Chloé Luciani-Girouard, Morneau's press secretary, said in an email to CBC "As the minister said, these smear tactics are offensive. The exchange was clearly not meant to single out one Member of Parliament, but rather to illustrate how backwards the entire Conservative Party has been on promoting gender equality.
- Time and time again the Liberals have suggested they want a more positive and respectful House of Commons, yet continually do things like this. Perhaps this is part of what is contributing to the substantial drop in the polls they have experienced over the past couple of months.
- And where is the rest of the media on this issue? Outside one secluded article on the CBC, no one decided to bring up the gender double standard. Credit to the CBC for bringing the finance minister's poor vocabulary to national attention, but there should honestly be more outlets covering this issue.
Word of the Week
Jurisdiction - the official power to make legal decisions and judgments, the practical authority granted to a legal body to administer justice within a defined field of responsibility.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Neanderthal Name Calling
Teaser: The Alberta carbon tax takes from low income seniors, an erosion of national unity with the Trans Mountain pipeline, skewed articles about Trudeau’s failing poll numbers, and the media ignores Morneau calling opponents of his feminist budget neanderthals.
Recorded Date: March 31, 2018
Release Date: April 1, 2018
Edit Notes: Boost Morneau
Podcast Summary Notes