The News Rundown
- Sunday September 30th USMCA was announced.
- United States Mexico Canada Agreement.
- Deal replaces NAFTA which came into effect on January 1, 1994.
- First and foremost the United States gains increased access to our dairy sector. Canada agreed to end the “class seven” milk program that undercut sales of specific American dried milk products.
- Canada claims a “significant victory” according to media by reaching a point where the US agreed to keep the chapter 19 dispute mechanism in place.
- The US has also agreed to exclude Canada from auto tariffs if the United States decides to put tariffs on auto imports from other countries.
- Canada has also agreed to cap auto exports but that benchmark is much higher than our current level of exports.
- Canada also agreed to increase the “de minimus” value of goods that Canadians can bring into the country from $20 to $150. The minimum amount brought in before sales tax can be charged will also increase from $20 to $40.
- Steel and aluminum tariffs: still being discussed, the US said Canada would agree to some quota of steel that can be exported to the United States before tariffs are lifted.
- Andrew Scheer attacked Trudeau for giving in on: cars (limiting how many Canada can export), dairy (giving American exporters more Canadian business), pharmacare (delaying how long before a drug can be manufactured as generic in Canada), not making any progress on diminishing “buy America”, not reaching a deal on steel, aluminum, or softwood lumber.
- Meanwhile at the outset of this process Chrystia Freeland wanted: stronger labour safeguards, environmental provisions, gender rights, an indigenous chapter, and reformation of the state dispute settlement process.
- She was successful on stronger labour standards which benefits both Canada and the United States as well as maintaining and reforming the dispute resolution mechanism known as chapter 19.
- The government is touting this as a win but for every other international negotiation that Justin Trudeau has entered in with similar demands, he lost.
- He lost around gender rights, the environment, and indigenous peoples.
- Gender rights, the environment, and indigenous rights in trade deals are novel goals, but USMCA shows that they must not be the focus in order to get a good deal.
- Could we have got better? Yes. Could we have got worse? Absolutely.
- Justin Trudeau’s call with bankers: CIBC, RBC, BMO, and others. What happened?
- Who wins?
- There are three major stories going on in BC at the moment. One is the municipal elections, which take place on October 20th, the electoral reform referendum which goes from the 22nd to November 30th, and a huge announcement by something that's been rather neglected as of late, and that's a huge announcement about LNG, or liquefied natural gas, from LNG Canada.
- Shell, as well as their LNG Canada partners Malaysia’s Petronas, Japan's Mitsubishi Corp., PetroChina Co. and Korea Gas Corp have agreed to invest in a $40B project that would see a new fast route to Asia for North American gas.
- Set to be the nation’s largest infrastructure project ever, LNG Canada's decision comes after a three-year hiatus forced by a global supply glut. LNG Canada will be able to send cargoes from Kitimat — a 14-hour drive north of Vancouver — to Tokyo in about eight days versus 20 days from the U.S. Gulf. LNG Canada proposes to eventually export as much as 26 million tons per year. The investment approval is only for an initial two LNG trains of 13 million tons per year.
- The green light marks the end of a seven-year effort, including two postponements in 2016 at the depths of the downturn. The outlook for LNG has since brightened. The market, oversupplied for the last few years, is seen flipping to a deficit as soon as 2022 absent new projects, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LNG imports will set a new record this year of 308 million metric tons per year thanks to growth from Asia, Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast on Sept. 12.
- The BC Liberals, when they were in power were heavily invested in bringing LNG infrastructure to light, with many in the media remarking that it was a personal project of former premier Christy Clark to get relatively clean resources to market. When the LNG downturn happened, one could argue that it led to a BC Liberal downturn in the election of 2017.
- At that time, the now ruling NDP led by Premier John Horgan and their partners in government Andrew Weaver's Green Party were openly hostile to the BC Liberal's actions to develop LNG. And now, it's clear that as any opportunistic politician would, John Horgan will try to take credit for Shell's announcement.
- Horgan’s New Democrats were frequent LNG bashers. Although the official NDP position was to support the industry in principle, the New Democrats opposed the Petronas project and ridiculed Christy Clark’s previous Liberal government for its optimistic courting of the LNG sector.
- Horgan said in 2015 that “I would stop spending all my time talking about an industry that’s going nowhere," Yet, here we are just three years later, with the Shell-led international consortium about to announce the biggest private-sector investment in Canadian history.
- NDP Environment Minister George Heyman — now busy writing a new climate-action plan that includes a massive new LNG polluter — called Clark’s LNG promises “a cloud of pixie dust.”
- Michelle Mungall, now the NDP energy minister, ridiculed Clark’s insistence that B.C.-produced LNG would be good for the planet. “Christy Clark reassures us that moving India and China away from coal-burning facilities to LNG facilities is the cleanest, greenest answer,” Mungall said in 2016. “I can’t believe how ridiculous that is. It’s still a fossil fuel!”
- The project would be a job-producing economic powerhouse for British Columbia. It includes a marine export terminal in Kitimat, 670 kilometres of pipeline and an unprecedented boom in natural-gas drilling and fracking around Fort St. John. The consortium has projected up to 7,500 construction jobs at the peak building period and up to 800 operational jobs if the project reaches full potential.
- Horgan’s NDP and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals rolled out the red carpet for Shell and its partners. Trudeau offered to waive steel tariffs on foreign-built components, saving the consortium $1 billion in construction costs. And Horgan sweetened the pot even more with $6 billion in tax breaks, including a sales-tax exemption and carbon-tax rebate.
- All of which has Weaver, the Green party boss, NDP governing partner and fierce LNG opponent, fit to be tied. He did not mince words on the issue, saying that: “The NDP hurled all kinds of abuse at Christy Clark and the Liberals for giving away the farm to the LNG industry. To call what the NDP is doing now ‘hypocritical’ would be overly kind. It’s an absolute betrayal of the values they expressed during the election when they promised to protect the environment and meet our greenhouse-gas reduction targets to fight climate change.”
- Weaver is calling on Horgan to keep his commitment to dramatically cut greenhouse gases, something he doesn’t think is possible if LNG Canada goes ahead.
- “We’re not going to support any legislation that continues to give away our natural resources to multinational corporations,” Weaver said. “If the NDP wants to pass this, they may have to work with the Liberals to do it.”
- But this is one occasion when the New Democrats and the Liberals might declare a ceasefire in the minority parliament and support LNG together. The Liberals are anxious to get their share of credit for an LNG success, especially after taking criticism for Clark’s unrealized dream. Said Liberal MLA Jas Johal: “The B.C. Liberals did the heavy lifting to get the LNG industry off the ground. This wouldn’t be happening without Christy Clark.”
- Weaver can complain all he wants about LNG, as he did with the SIte C dam project, but he's definitely not going to topple the NDP minority government, given that he's desperate to have a win in the electoral referendum this fall. Until then, he will continue to sell his climate scientist soul to the devil (the NDP), while BC's resource economy moves forward. I wonder how Alberta is feeling about all this?
- “I will be sitting as an independent senator; not as a Liberal independent senator. I intend to guard that independence quite zealously. I won’t be voting party lines. I will be taking my journalistic skills, looking at every piece of legislation that comes before us, and giving it the kind of analysis that I would have done in the newsroom to make sure that the consequences of that legislation would be the best ones possible for all Canadians, but especially for Albertans.”
- In 2011 when talking about reforming the Senate, Paula Simons on Twitter said, “Triple E or nothing”
- Triple E senate
- Jason Kenney: Justin Trudeau has ignored the democratic choice of Albertans by appointing two unelected people to Alberta Senate seats today. 310,000 Albertans voted for Mike Shaikh to represent them in the Senate 5 years ago.
- In 2015 she went on to say that, “the senate has been trained/corrupted by decades of hack patronage appointments, Liberal and Tory. It’s a mess.”
- What will be different today?
- Today she views the senate appointment as an extension of her job as a journalist, “For 30 years, I’ve been holding governments to account, I’ve been doing public policy analysis, I’ve been reading government bills and papers. I think those skills will be directly transferable.”
- Simons admitted that she applied to become a senator after she was asked to by “someone respected” and realized that as the process went on, it could actually happen.
- The Prime Minister also appointed Patti LaBoucane-Benson and Peter Boehm from Ontario. LaBoucane-Benson is described as a “proud Métis who has dedicated her life to helping Indigenous families.” She is director of research at the Native Counselling Services of Alberta.
- Boehm had an extensive career in the foreign service and most recently served as a deputy minister for the G7 Summit and personal representative of the Prime Minister.
The Firing Line
- Quebec Election -
- Majority is 63
- CAQ 74
- Liberals 31
- PQ 10
- QS 10
- Clear rejection of both the separatist PQ vision under Jean-François Lisée, as well as now former Premier Philippe Couillard's Liberals.
- Big wins for the left wing separatist Quebec Solidaire in Montreal, but CAQ's Francois Legault winning everywhere other than Montreal and eastern Quebec is the big story
- Opinion polls wrong - had CAQ and Liberals in dead heat, most projected a minority of either CAQ or Liberal. Even on election night after CAQ was winning, projections were cautious. Eric Grenier: "The polls did not show that they would be winning by this much"
- CBC was saying "how can CAQ form cabinet without someone from Montreal" to try to undermine support for CAQ as being rural. CAQ ended up winning 3 seats in Montreal.
- 63 majority - CBC had 56 leading and elected CAQ, but said that they can't win 7 more out of 26 that hadn't reported. Immediately after, they projected a majority.
- CBC tried to compare Legault to Trump even though they're wildly different. "he's a businessman and wants to run the show. not like Trump wants to run it like a business, but similar"
- Union Nationale - 1966 win was last for a Quebec conservative party. UN won 6 elections between 1936 and 1966 under Maurice Duplessis. Before that 1892 for the Conservatives
- Religious Symbol Ban - preventing civil servants in "positions of authority" from wearing religious symbols, such as hijabs and kippahs. Among those to be affected are police officers, provincial judges, prison guards and teachers. The move is necessary, according to Legault, in order to protect Quebec's secular society.
- Legault says the crucifix in the National Assembly is a historical symbol, not a religious one. The crucifix, he said, invokes the role of French Catholics and British Protestants in Quebec's history. "In our past we had Protestants and Catholics. They built the values we have in Quebec. We have to recognize that and not mix that with religious signs."
- Asked whether he feared a confrontation with Ottawa over the issue, Legault added: "Quebec is a nation. It is a distinct society. We have support. We just received a clear mandate in the election. I think all that has to be taken into account."
- The incoming premier informed the prime minister that Quebec intends to accept 20 percent fewer immigrants next year. Legault also told Trudeau that Quebec will add language and value requirements for immigrants seeking to settle in the province. Though immigration falls under federal jurisdiction, Quebec has an agreement with Ottawa that allows it to select its own economic immigrants.
Word of the Week
Nationalism - loyalty and devotion to a nation especially a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or globalist groups
How to Find Us
Episode Title: A Cloud of Pixie Dust
Teaser: The US, Mexico, and Canada have reached a deal to replace NAFTA, who won? In BC a big $40B LNG project is approved, and journalist Paula Simons is appointed to the Senate. Also, we look at the results of the Quebec election and the effects of nationalism.
Recorded Date: October 13, 2018
Release Date: October 14, 2018
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes