The (Right) News Rundown
- This week the Alberta government introduced Bill 12.
- Once passed the legislation will give the energy minister the power to restrict the flow of oil, gas, and natural gas leaving the province.
- This will apply to truckers, pipeline companies, and rail operators.
- Individuals violating can face fines up to $1m per day and $10m a day for corporations.
- Why? TransMountain and BC.
- The United Conservative Party is supporting this legislation.
- Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel raises the issue that this legislation could dampen investor confidence further and the focus needs to be on the federal government, but more on that later.
- BC Environment Minister George Heyman said, “I’m not counting on Alberta taking extreme or unlawful actions, but if they do we’re prepared to defend British Columbians’ interests with every legal means available and in the courts.”
- This Bill has passed first reading and still must pass through second and third reading before becoming law.
- It is still unknown if Rachel Notley will use this to put pressure on the BC government.
- Global News in B.C. on Monday said our NDP Premier had told their NDP Premier John Horgan, during their joint meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Sunday, there was little chance she’d cut oil supply to the Coast.
- John Horgan told a Global reporter, “When I asked Premier Notley what her intentions were, she said … they didn’t necessarily think they were going to act on it.”
- If the Alberta government attempts to use this law, it’s likely to be the biggest flashpoint yet on the pipeline front.
- Our discussion today is going to shift away from pipelines and the debate about the issue towards, what this could mean in the far future.
- A piece appeared in the Financial Post talking about the potential “unintended consequences” of this legislation.
- Those who are students of history will realize that from my preamble to the story this sounds an awful lot like Venezuela or what happens in OPEC countries or when Russia threatened to shut off the gas to eastern Europe in 2013.
- This was echoed by Canadian Energy Pipelines Association CEO Chris Bloomer this week, he said, “It has a lot of power to it. In the wrong hands, that could be a very dangerous piece of legislation. All of these interventions could create unintended consequences down the road.”
- Similar sentiments were also echoed by Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers president and CEO Tim McMillan and Suncor vice-president, investor relations Steve Douglas.
- The issue is not what happens today with this certain situation, but with any actions the government may feel free to take in the future.
- This is similar to if a government introduced legislation to deal with an annoying group of protestors but left the law on the books to be used in the future for another purpose.
- And what's more this sets a horrible precedent for other goods that are to be traded within Canada.
- No one in the media has mentioned these potential downsides.
- We’ll end this story with a tweet from Maxime Bernier who ran in last year’s Conservative leadership race and is the MP for Beauce:
- We can’t go from one province to another with alcohol. We can’t send oil across provincial borders. But illegal migrants can cross our national borders without problem. And we’re busy signing free trade agreements with the whole world. What’s wrong with this picture?
- The City of Vancouver has approved a motion that would give permanent residents the right to vote in municipal elections, but it still needs to be approved by the provincial government. Currently, a person needs to be at least 18 years old and a Canadian citizen to vote, but Mayor Gregor Robertson's motion would extend that to around 60,000 permanent residents living and working in Vancouver.
- Andrea Reimer, the councillor who has been championing the idea since 2012, said current voting requirements exclude a large subsection of the city’s population. “There are tens of thousands of people in this city who have no ability to participate in an election,” she said. “Yet many of the permanent residents I’ve met exemplify active citizenship. These are people I feel could contribute greatly. Once implemented, it would be a huge move forward in terms of our ability to be a welcoming and inclusive city. You experience all the same challenges and have some of the same opportunities, except you don't have the same opportunity to affect the outcome of policies at the civic level."
- For some background, Reimer is a member of Robertson's Vision Vancouver, a centre left party that won 6/10 council seats in the election of 2014. Reimer originally ran as a Green Party candidate, but joined Robertson's team in 2008 when he first ran and was elected mayor. Robertson has joined together a coalition all across the left wing political spectrum for his party, in this case Reimer from the Green Party.
- No other Canadian city allows permanent residents to vote in local elections, although almost a dozen other city councils including in Toronto have passed similar motions. Most motions have been shot down by the provincial governments, which have jurisdiction over municipal voting. About 40 countries now allow such residents to vote in local elections, while New Zealand permits any immigrant who has been in the country for more than a year to vote even in national elections.
- The motion comes at an interesting time, almost exactly 6 months until the next Vancouver municipal election on October 20th 2018, and both Robertson and Reimer say they will not run for re-election as mayor and councillor respectively. Robertson has had strong supporters as well as strong opponents over his term. While some support his aggressively progressive policies, many deride him by calling him Mayor Moonbeam - implying his policies are so out of touch that he might as well be from a different planet.
- Ultimately, the proposal is now in the hands of the BC NDP. It'll be up to them to decide if they want to implement it or not. However, former Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs resigned in 2017 to become Premier John Horgan's chief of staff, so it's clear that Robertson's party holds some sway with the provincial government.
- A story was reported on by the Canadian Press and published at CTV that began to touch the issue on immigration into Canada.
- When the Canadian public believed the number of new immigrants coming into Canada was 150,000 per year, just over 50% said this was “about right.”
- When they later found out that it has actually been close to 260,000 per year (not including refugees, foreign workers, or foreign students), the number who said this was “too many” went up from 23 to 32%.
- There’s more though, the internal department documents say, "Engagement with the Canadian public is necessary, however, any high-profile debate will have to be carefully managed.”
- Does this mean that the government fears a backlash from the public?
- Does this mean that they don’t have faith in their own immigration strategy?
- Or does this mean that they want to pursue a certain narrative with this and sow the appropriate seeds in the national media?
- This is all well and good, except these numbers aren’t right!
- 2015: 271,845 permanent residents
- 2016: 296,346 (including ~62,000 refugees)
- The 2018 report detailing immigration trends for 2017 has not yet been available but as you can see, the numbers were low-balled.
- The 2016 numbers also included about 286,000 temporary foreign workers, and 266,000 international students.
- A total coming into Canada in 2016 of about 848,000 people.
- A far cry from 260,000.
- Why is this an issue?
- This week it was quietly reported by the Toronto Star that Quebec is preparing for an influx of 400 asylum seekers per day appearing at the illegal border crossings.
- Between January 1, and April 14 of 2018, 6,074 people arrived in Quebec. 3 times the number of that same period in 2017.
- Most of these people are Nigerian who travel to the US then sneak into Canada.
- Last year there were 50,405 asylum claims made in Canada, by comparison the 4 year previous average was 15,960 per year.
- In 2014, the officially sanctioned well run refugee stream processed 13,455 claims. This means that there are almost more than 4 times the asylum claims being made today than we brought refugees in during the year 2013.
- Of those 50,000 or so 20,593 were people who just walked in.
- We imported a small city of people who just decided to walk into Canada. Whether or not they get to stay remains up for question but at the end of the day no one is talking about this.
- Not the media.
- Not the government.
- And if someone starts a conversation, they will be shunned for racism and lack of inclusion.
The Firing Line
- Recently, an article appeared in CBC, the Toronto Star, the Vancouver Sun, and other regional and local papers nationwide. It was only noted to be written by "The Canadian Press", and came with the sensationalist headline of "Despite Trudeau's progressive rhetoric, Canada not immune to populism: experts". Well, that bit of clickbait grabbed my attention. The very first sentence of the article reads as follows: "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might see his country as a beacon of hope in a roiling sea of polarization and angry nationalist sentiment, but Canada is far from immune, experts warn."
- First thing, despite what the article suggests, nationalism is not the same thing as populism. Populism is a political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against a privileged elite, whereas nationalism is a philosophy of promoting the interests of a particular nation, making it free from outside influence, and maintaining a national identity. The two items may be linked together, especially in this day and age, but they do not mean the same thing.
- Populism is also not the opposite of progressivism, as the article later suggests. "Trudeau likes to portray Canada as a place where progressive values flourish — free trade, ethnic diversity, immigration, environmental protection and gender equality. A sizable proportion of the Canadian public believes otherwise, research suggests." and then talks about polls done about the level of populist sentiment in Canada.
- From the article: "Fewer than half of respondents — 46 per cent — expressed views that reflected an open-minded perspective of the world and each other, while 30 percent landed in the “ordered” category, which means feeling economically and culturally insecure. 25 per cent expressed “mixed” views."
- That's some significant editorializing of the polls and the questions asked and the responses given, and the article does not provide a link to said poll.
- The article continues: "Canada has largely staved off the negative politics of pessimism and xenophobia that are major areas of concern in the U.S. and parts of Europe, said Ekos president Frank Graves. But that doesn’t mean populist sentiment isn’t brewing north of the border. “Those forces are very much at work,” Graves said, noting the icy reaction to Trudeau’s remarks from right-wing National Front leader Marine Le Pen."
- Once again, the article misdefines populism as "negative politics of pessimism and xenophobia" which are patently false and untrue. As said before, populism refers to supporting the rights and power of the common person, which has nothing to do with xenophobia or a lack of progressivism.
- The article then mentions the illegal migrants streaming across the border everyday, and how a "all it would take is a charismatic leader to come along and exploit such issues to bring nativist sentiment in Canada to a boil". As if "nativist sentiment" on this issue is a bad thing.
- Ultimately the only entity I can blame for such an awfully written article is the Canadian Press which is a media conglomerate who owns and operates many media outlets across the country. In this case, I say shame on you, Canadian Press, for such a misleading, biased and sensationally written article. Here at the Right Side we continue to root out bias and sensationalism wherever we find it in the media.
Word of the Week
Populism - support for the rights and power of ordinary people in their struggle against a privileged elite. "it is clear that populism identifies with the folks on the bottom of the ladder"
How to Find Us
Episode Title: The Popularity of Populism
Teaser: A new precedent setting Alberta law could restrict oil flow and erode the constitution, Vancouver wants to allow permanent residents to vote, and Quebec could see up to 146,000 illegal migrants this year. Also, a discussion on the definition of populism.
Recorded Date: April 21, 2018
Release Date: April 22, 2018
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes