The (Right) News Rundown
- This story goes back to episode 2 of The Right Side in January 2017.
- On January 28, 2017, the Trump presidency was a week old and President Trump has just put in place his immigration ban.
- The ban was a ban of people coming in from 7 Muslim majority countries.
- The order issued by the President was later modified and upheld by lower court levels.
- It will be examined by the Supreme Court of the US this year.
- In response to this, Trudeau tweeted, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada”
- Immigration became a central point of discussion in Canada in 2017 due to a record number of illegal border crossers mainly in Manitoba and Quebec
- We talked numerous times throughout the year about the issue from the sheer numbers of those crossing in, to the RCMP setting up command posts to arrest those crossing, to a makeshift housing centre being set up in Montreal’s Olympic stadium.
- Conservatives have long said that the issue was spurred by Trudeau’s misleading tweet.
- The media and government said they had no idea why the crossers were coming over and attributed it to The change in US domestic policy.
- Fast forward to today and we have the headline, “Trudeau tweet caused influx of refugee inquiries, confusion within government, emails reveal”
- The article reveals that the tweet caused confusion and many international commentators wondered if Canada would take all the refugees the US would not.
- Canadian consulates abroad even had to ask the government how to respond.
- One of the early emails said, “We are receiving an increasing number of enquiries from the public about requesting refugee status in Canada, and a number clearly having links with our Prime Minister’s tweet this weekend. A significant number of the enquiries received since the weekend have been from nationals of the ‘US banned countries’, but we are also receiving them from all nationalities, both through emails and directly at our reception.”
- Key point: “at our reception”
- The article doesn’t say it, but this means that at ports of entry we started seeing an increased number of refugee claims.
- If you think about Canada, where is a point of reception for Canada Border Services? Land borders and upon landing in one of our airports.
- The response was slow and the government had no real response for days until February 2, “We are working with the United Nations Refugee Agency, U.S. officials and our missions abroad to clarify the current situation and determine what our next steps might be.”
- The article still maintains, “Conservative politicians would go on to blame the tweet for encouraging an uptick in irregular crossings by asylum seekers”
- It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots especially given “at our reception”
- This past April Fool's Day, British Columbians were treated to a particularly absurd statement by our Premier John Horgan, except it was no joke. He was speaking on the first of 4 annual increases to BC's carbon tax, already the highest provincially, and about how that would add to already astoundingly high prices. Said Horgan: "I don't believe that British Columbians begrudge that penny a litre when they know it's going towards making sure that future generations have an environment that's sustainable and a world that we can all live in,” said Premier John Horgan.
- I bet he didn't ask too many about what that would add. One would just have to go to a local gas station to find out what BC drivers thought of the Premier's comments. “That’s bollocks,” said one driver when told of the Premier’s comments. “That's completely ridiculous. Gas prices are some of the most expensive in the world, much less anywhere else in the country." Said another, "It's a tough, tough situation for people that drive on a daily basis,”
- Yes, the carbon tax added 1.22 cents per litre to gas prices, but that wasn't all that's been added to prices lately. As companies try to avoid the new tax cutting into their profit margin, it's been said time and time again that costs are either added onto product prices, or covered by reduced benefits or wages. In this case, gas is pretty much an essential item for many people, and so the cost of the tax gets put onto the gas prices.
- The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is also aware of the hit to drivers. Says Kris Sims, BC Director of Canadian Taxpayers Federation: "It costs about five dollars and ninety-nine cents in carbon tax alone for the average family sedan, a Dodge Ram pickup truck cost more than ten dollars and you’ve got those super-duty diesel’s, which are seventeen dollars every time you hit the gas station."
- She believes the tax hike could also put a crimp in our delivery sector, as all necessities when need to live every single day get delivered from a truck. “Most of those trucks have two cylinders and you’re already approaching one hundred dollars in carbon tax every time your filling up, so that’s really had a dampening effect on our behavior, on our economy, our ability to get our lives delivered.”
- Also beginning Sunday, the province will no longer return the entire carbon tax to British Columbians through tax rebates. Some of the money collected will now be used to fund new green initiatives, however there is no guarantee of that, and most of the tax money is now expected to go into general government revenue.
- About a week after the carbon tax increase takes effect, drivers can expect yet another jump at the pumps which could push prices over an unprecedented milestone. "In about seven or eight days we transition from winter to summer gasoline. That will add another 4 cents a litre,” said Dan McTeague of GasBuddy.com. “Doesn't really matter where you are. So look at Vancouver being a 160.9 [per litre]"
- One wonders what the other main party in the legislature thinks about this. Andrew Wilkinson's BC Liberals have been absent from the news lately, since their opposition to the province's new housing speculation tax, and despite being the largest party in the legislature, they are completely absent on matters of energy despite representing most of BC that's affected by energy issues. It's practically unheard of in a minority government situation for the opposition to be silent on an issue that appears week after week. We should be hearing from all parties on this major issue, not just the governing one, and that's either the fault of the parties themselves for not taking a stand, or the media for not covering them.
- With no progress on pipelines, rising gas prices is not going to be something that goes away anytime soon. It looks like British Columbians will have to pay a little more to enjoy our beautiful province.
- Fundraising totals for the year of 2017 were released this week.
- It was not uncommon to see headlines such as “Alberta NDP tops 2017 party donations with $2.11 million raised” or “Alberta NDP tops 2017 fundraising but UCP close with only 5 months for donations”.
- The second comes from the CBC, the first from the Journal.
- The Journal notes that about $1.2m worth of the NDP’s donations came from donations larger than $250. Only $504k came from donations smaller than $250. <Why this is important>
- The major clincher though: These articles show the NDP as first, and while the entity known as the NDP was… some simple math shows the actual picture.
- PC: $1.84m
- Wildrose: $1.2m
- UCP: $1.12
- Total: $4.16m
- Elections Alberta provides no means for parties to transfer funds between one another. So when the UCP was formed the cash on hand of both the Wildrose and PCs had to be liquidated.
- This is a huge amount of money to be raised by what is effectively the combined forces of the opposition.
- The story that was missing from these articles is that the purpose of the Alberta Party leadership race was to generate interest and generate revenue for the party but they failed on the latter.
- The leadership race started in November 2017 and they brought in $215k for the year of 2017.
- As with the NDP these numbers were from donations larger than $250 to the tune of $104k and $27k of the total $215k came from membership sales.
- While the leadership race for the Alberta Party crossed into the new year, the numbers are still ultimately low compared to the NDP and UCP.
- For comparison sake the Alberta Liberals raised $237k in 2017.
- The United Conservatives raised $613k from donations and contributions of less than $250.
- The former Wildrose party raised a total of $513k from donations and contributions less than $250.
- The former Progressive Conservative party raised a total of $136k from donations and contributions of less than $250.
- Combined this is roughly $1.2m from contributions just under $250.
- The greater picture: the NDP’s income largely comes from fundraisers and contributions greater than $250. The opposition’s income largely comes from this sub $250 bracket. <Why>
The Firing Line
- One has to wonder what exactly Trudeau thinks he is accomplishing, politically, with his odd stance on pipelines. He was in Victoria and Vancouver on Thursday, and assured protesters angry over his decision to approve the Trans Mountain Pipeline that the environment comes first. He originally came to Victoria and Vancouver to tout Ottawa’s 10-year, $1.5-billion Ocean Protection Plan, but ended up speaking about Trans Mountain more, and how the pipeline wouldn't be approved without "environmental confidence". During his stay in Victoria, he donned a raincoat and had a photo op where he looked pensively at a section of rope on the Sir Wilfrid Laurier coast guard ship. In Vancouver, his $1000 per person fundraiser was interrupted by protestors just outside the building chanting "Leave it in the ground."
- It’s not a question of pitting environmental interests against economic ones, Trudeau argued, but of doing a balancing act that includes carbon pricing, protection of the oceans and approval of the Trans Mountain expansion. He says “We need to build a strong economy and protect the environment at the same time. What we’re focusing on doing is not trying to please everyone. What we’re trying to focus on is doing the right thing for our communities, for our country, for our future.”
- The very next day, he was meeting with workers in Suncor's Fort Hills mining facility north of Fort McMurray, to assure them that the pipeline would be built, because it was "in the national interest". He dressed the part, donning a blue collar shirt, jeans, and a hard hat with gloves, and climbed into the helm of a Komatsu 980E heavy hauler to add another look to his growing repertoire of dress up fashion photo ops.
- Trudeau acknowledged there were people in Fort McMurray who saw his environmental policies — particularly toward carbon pricing — as the reason major pipeline projects have yet to be built. One worker said the number of foreign oil companies that have left the oilsands in the last few years worried him. He asked how Ottawa would bring those companies back to Alberta. Trudeau replied, “We do need to do a better job on getting international investment. We’re going to be able to do that as we move forward on NAFTA, as we create better trade deals and as we demonstrate our capacity to get big projects, like the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, built.”
- Trudeau's odd stance has seemingly alienated both provinces quicker than his father ever could. By approving Trans Mountain, he risks losing his party's seats in the Lower Mainland, and he probably won't win any voters in Alberta either. But Trudeau has a reason as to why we're in the situation we're in right now.
- “For 10 years, Stephen Harper’s government talked up the oilsands, but couldn’t get it done,” said Trudeau. “I think it’s important to remember that we are exiting a time in which, for 10 years, the government did everything it could to talk up the defence of Alberta’s interest but because they were not bringing the public along on protecting the environment, we’re unable to get much done concretely in protecting Alberta. Their lack of any sort of responsibility on the environment didn’t just hurt the environment, it hurt the economy.”
- To which, Alberta UCP leader and former Harper cabinet minister Jason Kenney quickly replied with a tweet saying that Trudeau was "demonstrably false. Trudeau (is) the one who killed Northern Gateway and scuttled Energy East, and is failing to fight Trans Mountain obstructionism.” He also pointed out that 4 major pipelines were built and approved under Harper, The non-XL version of Keystone, from Alberta to Nebraska, approved in 2006, completed in 2010; and The Alberta Clipper, to Wisconsin, approved in 2008 and active in 2010. The changeover in Line 9 taking oil west to east was also approved and activated under the Harper Tories.
- According to the Financial Post, a cavalcade of journalists alongside federal and provincial politicians on the left helped make that happen. First Max Fawcett, the former editor of Alberta Oil magazine, tweeting “Dear conservatives: It was Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley that got a pipeline to tidewater. Enjoy your cognitive dissonance.” Then a CBC TV panellist said the Tories had provincial support for federal backing but “never got it done” on pipelines.
- Once on the news, Alberta’s NDP picked it up and amplified its importance with Environment Minister Shannon Phillips spreading a tweet from a Liberal activist: “So in the end, it took 2 progressive govs working together on climate change to get pipelines approved, and do what Con(servative) govs could not.” The story at this point went onto become so viral before anyone fact checked it that even the National Post’s columnists wrote Trudeau got “a job done that Captain Oil Sands (Stephen Harper) couldn’t?” How “frustrating” for the Tories.
- As Ali Taghva of The Post Millennial writes, "This capacity for the Prime Minister and multiple levels of government to easily spread fake news with near to no repercussion from most mainstream outlets is a serious problem. Ideological comfort with the Prime Minister or politicians on the left should not lead journalists into a position in which they are blind to the same spreading of a false narrative that they attack the hard right for. It’s time we hold all politicians to the same standard when it comes to facts and telling the truth."
- At the same time, it's fascinating to watch Trudeau, who is 2 and a half years into his majority government mandate, to continually blame a previous government for his own inabilities. It's like watching a train wreck. In just one week, he's managed to both annoy his base voters in BC, Alberta workers, oil companies, and environmentalists alike. Perhaps next time Trudeau should just stay home. After terrible trips to India and China, he can't even manage a trip to Western Canada without blundering. However, next week he travels to Peru for a few days before jetting to France and the UK. Let's keep our fingers crossed that he manages to put his socks on properly before he goes.
Word of the Week
Resource - a stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively, a country's collective means of supporting itself or becoming wealthier, as represented by its reserves of minerals, land, and other assets.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: The Misuse of Resources
Teaser: #Welcome to Canada caused illegal border crossings, John Horgan says that drivers won’t begrudge BC’s carbon tax increase, creative math skews Alberta’s fundraising numbers, and Trudeau’s BC and Fort Mac trip spreads fake news about his pipeline record.
Recorded Date: April 7, 2018
Release Date: April 8, 2018
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes