Category Archives: Canada

New Year, New Attitude

Alberta’s truckers are planning to drive to Ottawa in February to express their displeasure with the feds refusal to get on with building pipelines and the lunacy of the Trudeau carbon tax. Leaving aside the rigours of driving the trans-Canada in February, this is a very un-Canadian sort of activity. Because it is activity. Canadians normally sit around the bar grumbling, they don’t “do” anything which is what our masters in Ottawa and the provincial capitals count on.

While the truckers are driving in protest, an Alberta rancher is taking a stand against that province’s carbon tax. Remembering that Alberta’s Premier originally introduced the carbon tax to, somehow, gain social licence for the much-needed pipelines and noting that those pipelines have not even been started, rancher Sheila Griffith is refusing to pay the carbon tax portion of her propane bill.

While the truckers will make better copy, Ms. Griffith represents a far greater threat to “business as usual”. If more than a few people join her the Alberta government will, quite quickly, notice a hole in its budget. Apparently, the propane company will just tack the unpaid portion onto her next bill – but it will not halt delivery.

These two items, as well as the appearance of “yellow vests” at other Alberta protests, suggests that in Alberta at least, people are getting fed up with simply being ignored. They are getting fed up with the Tweedledum/Tweedledee routine of Trudeau and Scheer.

Simple, direct, action will not change the Liberal’s fixation on the tax grab which is the carbon tax or the endless kowtowing to minority First Nations opposition to pipelines or Quebec’s reluctance to replace Saudi oil with Alberta oil. It might have a small effect on Scheer’s fixation on being so bland that he wins the next election by default (a bad strategy but apparently all he’s got.) What it does do is set up the conditions for a revolt at the ballot box come October.

Right now Maxime Bernier needs to be in Alberta. He needs to visit and encourage Ms. Griffith and go to a trucker’s rally or two.

Canadians are very reluctant to actually do “civil disobedience”. It is not who we are. The fact there are large protests tells me that, in Alberta at least, a tipping point has been reached. A smart, insurgent, politician and political party would be taking full advantage.

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Party of One

The National Post has a good article up about Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. It is a very fair article outlining where Max is coming from and the hurdles he faces.

I joined the People’s Party a couple of days ago. Paid my $10.00 for the two-year ride and signed up as a volunteer.

I live in Elizabeth May’s riding. Wealthy, white upper middle class, reactionary enough to return a Green MP and a Green MLA. Not at all Max’s sort of a riding. But what is?

The wonderful urban voters will go Liberal and the suburban voters may vote for Scheer – but I doubt it only because he is simply a paler pink version of the Libs.

The ridings which can be taken by the People’s Party are ridings like mine. Demographically, psychographically this is counter-intuitive. After all, why would fine, rich, white people give up the great privilege of signally their virtue by voting Green in order to vote for an actual conservative party. The Greens will deliver “no change” and as you blast down the Pat Bay Highway in the 911, why would you want change?

While you may not want change, change is going to happen. As the National Post article points out, Bernier is suggesting that we cut back immigration from 325,000 (which is actually closer to 450,000 when you include what might be called temporary immigrants) to 250,000. He is suggesting that we stop pretending that our “carbon tax” will make the least difference to alleged “climate change”. He does not much like marketing boards and he hates deficit spending.

In my riding, the next election is pretty much going to be a referendum on carbon tax. Do we waste a lot of money showing how green we are or do we recognize that Canada has very little impact on climate. It will be about pipelines and making sure they are safe.

But it will also be about Canada’s future. We can do the whole Green thing and the people in this riding will barely notice. My little part of Canada is in the top ten for wealth, the bottom ten for crime and will ride out any minor economic corrections just fine.

Which means a People’s Party candidate can hold Lizzy May’s feet to the fire and push for answers on the Green agenda, immigration and how best to help the poor people of Canada. The People’s Party candidate can go into the First Nation’s communities and ask them how they are doing under the Liberal administration. He or she can talk to older Canadians and ask how they are doing. Obviously, the Porche owning folks are doing fine. But there are two Porches and a hundred banged up Toyotas in the Save on Foods parking lot.

It is hard to be a Party of One. But when Preston Manning did it most of Vancouver Island went Reform.

Is that spirit here?

I don’t know. Running against a national leader (admittedly of one) is a hard thing. But a good ground game and a serious candidate and there’s a shot. Plus, of course, national media because “national leader”.

I’m in. Looking forward to a lot of other people who are fed up.

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Getting it wrong

A few days ago I put up a map of Canada which showed how much electrical energy each province got from renewables. BC, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec all get the bulk of their electricity from hydro and nuclear.

Here’s another figure for your consideration:

To understand this graph you need to go to The Chill of Solar Minimum.

““We see a cooling trend,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center. “High above Earth’s surface, near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. If current trends continue, it could soon set a Space Age record for cold.”

This is not “just weather” as the CO2 cultists like to describe any form of colder than expected conditions. This is one of the drivers of the earth’s climate and a basic component to climate.

Now, there are scientists who don’t see this as a mere temperature drop.

Habibullo Abdussamatov warns that a new Little Ice Age has begun.

A highly qualified and highly regarded scientist, Dr Abdussamatov is Head of Space Research Laboratory at the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Sunspots come and go, but the Carbon Dioxide alarmism persists in the face of new and better modelling, here’s another chart:

CO2 sensitivity is an attempt to estimate the effect on teperature of a doubling of the CO2 in the atomsphere. We’re at about 400ppm now, what would happen if that went to 800ppm?

To get buy in for serious carbon taxes you pretty much have to say that 800 is going to lead to 2+ degrees Celius of warming and then try to make the claim that this level of warming will kill lots of us. As the science becomes more exact it is becoming clear that a doubling of CO2 is going to have a hard time creating 2 degrees of warming. Worth reading this post.

I have argued for years that the science is not yet ready for policy purposes. But the Trudeau government and the Scheer Conservatives presume that Canadians are too dumb to notice that the science underlying a carbon tax or whatever dimwitted scheme Scheer is touting – apparently based on the failed Australian model – are going to cost a lot and change, literally, nothing.

It is going to take a while for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada to catch on. But Bernier is a climate sceptic and an economic realist. As people begin to realize that the “carbon” tax or cap and trade and, frankly, all the other non-solutions to a non-problem, are simply bogus ways of taking money out of their pocket, Max is going to become a lot more appealing.

 

 

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Cannabis Crunch

Cannabis, pot, marijuana, Canadian legalization of marijuanaI have been joking for a year that when Legalization Day arrives in BC we won’t notice any difference. I suspect that will be true tomorrow simply because very little of the infrastructure of legalized pot will be ready to go on Day 1.

The biggest difference will be that the people who will assemble to enjoy being able to smoke pot without the slightest chance of arrest (not that there is much chance of arrest now) will all be smoking illegal pot because there is, according to the Globe and Mail, exactly one fully licenced pot shop ready to go for Day 1. Plus there is and will remain a significant supply shortage as the various licenced growers ramp up the production of their “biological assets”.

The great error of the Canadian marijuana advocates was to accept “legalization” rather than demanding “decriminalization”. This has doomed Canada to repeat the American experience of creating a heavily regulated cannabis industry with so called “seed to sale” product tracking, licenced pot shops, provincial wholesale monopolies and all manner of other state intrusions. The layers of regulation might even suggest that the idea that pot is harmless does not reflect the Liberals’ actual thinking.

At the same time, the personal grow show exemption allowing the cultivation of up to four plants for personal use is going to hole the great barge of regulation under the waterline. It will not take all that many people growing to provide an abundant, unregulated, supply of potlatch pot. The potlatch element comes from the fact you cannot sell your crop, but you can give it away. A mildly competent grower – and there are plenty out there – should be able to grow a pound of pot per plant. An ambitious grower should be able to harvest 3 or 4 times per year. A pound is roughly 450 grams and if you think about that at the notional rate of $10 a gram, that is $18,000 worth of untaxed pot every quarter.

There is no question that home grows in closets will be a thing, the only question is how big a thing.

At the moment there are some very big companies involved in the cannabis business in Canada. Companies whose market caps are several times the estimated size of the Canadian retail recreational marijuana market. There are also plenty of large scale growers who have not jumped through the Health Canada regulatory hoops. There will be pressure on the federal and provincial governments to enforce the seed to sale regulation of legal pot. But there will be market pressure to ignore the regulatory scheme from pot activists, “independent growers” and, I suspect, urban and rural First Nations who have no particular stake in the regulatory scheme. Just as I can drive three miles from my home and buy fireworks on a nearby reserve in defiance of municipal and provincial law, it would hardly be surprising to see excise stamp free marijuana for sale in those same locations.

Astoundingly, the legalization of marijuana is likely to be the only basic accomplishment of the first Trudeau government. The early indications are October 17 will be celebrated with clouds of illegal pot, regulatory chaos and a boost to the grey and black markets as police and Crown will no longer have even the threat of possession charges. A few months from now there will be the inevitable “oversupply” of recreational marijuana with the corresponding drop in wholesale and then retail prices. Which, in its turn, will collapse such tax windfalls which legal pot were promised to bring.

The chaos of the Canadian “legalization” of marijuana will take a year or so to really hit home. Just in time for the October 2019 federal election.

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No News is No News

Just watched the 20 minute Chrystia Freeland “news” conference.

Apparently she’s promised “not to negotiate in public” which means she is unwilling to address any substantive questions at all.

This week’s talks have ended but they will be back at it Wednesday of next week.

Just one problem, which Freeland, of course, dodged, Trump has basically said that he is not moving on any of the key points and that he’d be just as happy to drop a 25% tariff on Canadian made cars. Kinda tough to negotiate around that.

Which means that, after a week of “intense” negotiations Freeland is going back to Canada with nothing except the fact that The Donald is planning on taking his bilateral agreement with Mexico and notifying Congress that it will be signed 90 days from now.

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Here’s Hoping

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Sundance is a remarkably well informed American commentator who pays attention to trade. The above is not confirmed but if that turns out to be the Canadian position the politics will be fascinating.

A complete capitulation to Trump would make Trudeau look like the wimp most of us already think he is. It would also give us a chance to catch the tailwind of the current American economic boom.

It would, I suspect, cause the left in Canada to implode simply because it would suggest that their hero Justin takes business more seriously than posturing. And when you give up posturing what does the left have left?

As Trump would say, “We’ll see what happens,” but real Canadian patriots have to hope that common sense prevailed and that we are on the road to genuine free trade with our friends to the south.

[Note seeing much action on the CDN/USD front. If the above is true I would expect a fairly sharp rise in the value of the Canadian dollar.]

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Max

Maxime BernierMaxime Bernier is a smart, charismatic, libertarian leaning guy with significant voter appeal. So it made sense that the Conservative Party, not wanting to worry the Liberals, chose the other guy to be their leader. Andrew Scheer is an earnest, anti-charistmatic, middle of the road guy with pretty much no voter appeal. It was going to be tough not to beat the feckless Trudeau in the next election but the Conservative Party seems to have found a way.

Max is having none of it. Today Bernier announced that he was leaving the Conservative party and beginning his own “movement”.

He has been hitting themes like abolition of the dairy supply management system, a serious re-evaluation of multiculturalism and a reduction in imigration levels. He pretty clearly thinks “climate change policy” is a hoax and he is a pretty solid fiscal conservative.

He makes the valid point that the Conservatives are not going to beat the Liberals by running as “Trudeau-Lite”.

The push back is already starting with the MSM rushing to figure out if Bernier is a Nazi or merely a fascist and the Conservatives making the usual “split the right and the Liberals have won” noises. The Lying Jackal is chortling:

What does it say about Consevatives? It says that they never ever change: Tea Party vs. Establishment Republicans, Reform vs. PCs, and so on and so on. Conservatives are always at war with themselves.

This also proves my Justin Trudeau theory, yet again: he may not be as smart as his Dad, he may not be as politically skilled as Chretien, he may not be as principled as Dion. But, Jesus, is he ever lucky.

When your main adversaries are The Mango Mussolini, Blandy Scheer, Mad Max and the Guy Who Leads the NDP, you can’t help but win.

In fact, if Bernier is clever about it, the Liberals might be heading for a bigger defeat than Scheer alone could deliver.

A couple of points: Max is just coming off a very successful run for the Conservative leadership. He came very close and one of the reasons he did was that he had good organizations in literally hundreds of ridings across the country. He still has those phone numbers and emails. So he is starting with the skeleton of an organization.

Second, he has a seat in Parliament – something which he keeps even if he resigns the Conservative whip.

Third, unlike previous 3rd Party candidates, Bernier is popular in Quebec and, hey, he is fluently bilingual.

Most importantly, Bernier does not have to play the traditional Canadian political game. The world has changed. First off, he does not have to run a candidate in every single riding in Canada. While he said he would today, he needs to rethink that position. Thirty or forty will be more than enough to ensure his new party has a national presence. But, and this is important, he can make a virtue of this necessity by making sure not to run against the many actual conservatives who currently sit, silently, in Parliament. Even better, he can endorse them.

Using a targetted riding strategy would put paid to the idea that a vote for Max is a vote for the Liberals.

With a targetted riding strategy Max can also avoid the always looming disaster of a crazy person – actual Nazi, major anti-Semite, massive homophobe – gaining a nomination in a hopeless riding and then being pinned to the party by a hostile media. Finding 30 or 40 really excellent candidates and then backing them hard pre-Writ might create the conditions for multiple wins.

Which ridings to target will be a tough choice but other than making sure to have a couple in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal – for media exposure – they should be ridings without a currently sitting Conservative and where the demographics do not massively favour the Liberals (thus suburban and rural). And they need to be air accessible because Bernier is going to spend his campaign on an airplane.

Most importantly, Bernier needs to create a positive message. One of the problems the Conservatives have is that they are barely against most of the Trudeau Liberal positions and don’t seem to have any of their own. Bernier needs to define a Canadian message. Free Trade, economic expansion, jobs are one side of it, Canadian unity instead of division could be the other. Bernier’s objection to increased immigration and the fragmentation of multiculturalism will resonate if he can package them in a “making Canada stronger” theme.

Right from the go Bernier should avoid any suggestion that his party will form a government. Instead he should be talking about keeping the politicians in Ottawa honest and in touch with Canadians. Balance of power is the goal.

 

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Loving Australian Politics

Wet PM Malcolm Turnbull looks to be out in a, and this gets fun, “partyroom” “spill” set for Friday. Details here.

Turnbull stabbed conservative Tony Abbot in a partyroom spill a couple of years ago and has governed from the soft left, in a conservative coalition, ever since. He made the idiot error of diving into climate change politics with a goofy energy plan which would ensure Australia had very little, very expensive, energy but was adhering to the Paris Accord.  (He’s been backing away ever since but what was he thinking?) Dumb does not begin to describe it.

The actual conservatives are having none of it and several ministers resigned today. The next leader would appear to be Peter Dutton who is a fairly rock ribbed conservative about whom I know very little. (There is some question as to his eligibility to sit in the House in Canberra. Some variety of conflict of interest over ownership of a couple of childcare centers.) However, the current Treasurer, Scott Morrison, promises to run against Dutton.

I wish Canadian politics were half as exciting. Because then Max Bernier would have a shot at replacing Andrew Scheer on no other grounds than he would have a decent shot at beating Trudeau. But, I fear, the Great White North is not quite ready for Aussie Rules Politics. Everyone gets two downs and then they punt.

Sad.

Update: Julia Bishop jumps in. So wet she drips…let’s hope sense prevails.

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The Consolations of Ignorance

If you drive down Victoria’s Pandora Avenue this what you will see:

img-0-3462152-jpgYou might think that this image of a couple of the literally hundreds of homeless people would drive Victoria City Council to action. (And it has to some degree – a few years ago City Council was looking at banning boulevard camping.)

However, faced with an intractable problem which is only growing worse, City Council decided to clean up another blight on Pandora, this:

sir-john-a-macdonald-statue

It appears that the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald is offensive to First Nations and that Victoria’s “City Family” (not a task force you understand) want it removed in the interests of “reconciliation”. Sir John’s great sin was a belief that the assimilation of Canada’s First Nations was the appropriate goal for government policy. This goal has now been recast as “cultural genocide” and who would want a statue of a genocidaire near a public building? The Times Colonist has a surprisingly well balanced story on the question.

I have no great fondness for Sir John and it is not a statue of striking artistic merit but I wonder if removing statues of historical figures for contemporary political reasons isn’t simply an empty gesture in the face of an inability to actually face real issues.

The mighty City Council of Victoria may think it can atone for the sins, real and imagined, of the Victorians’ belief in assimilation by consigning Sir John’s statue to a sub-basement. But that does less than nothing for the many First Nation’s people who are up the street “boulevard camping”.

There is hard work to be done on First Nations’ issues. Removing statues and renaming schools and bridges is not that work. Walking three blocks up Pandora and thinking very hard about the issues which send hundreds of people, including First Nations people, “boulevard camping” is the beginning of that work.

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Faisal Hussain

The slaughter on the Danforth was awful. It needs to be investigated and we need to know as much as we can about the puke who killed two women and injured another dozen people.

When his name was released – 24 hours after the shooting – a message, purportedly from his family, was also issued. In this statement, the claim was made that Hussain suffered from what was apparently an untreatable mental illness. It was a beautifully written statement which you can read here. It is possible Hussain’s parents actually wrote it. But as immigrants from Pakistan, in a moment of incredible stress, the language was a bit too professional to pass the smell test. But that might be wrong. (I note that we have not actually seen either his father (who is apparently in hospital) or his mother, whereabouts unknown.)

It is not unreasonable, even in light of the claim of mental illness, to ask a few questions:

  • where was he treated for this mental illness?
  • by whom and with what result?
  • where did the handgun come from?
  • has he travelled since he was an adult?
  • if so, where?
  • was he on any police or RCMP watchlists?
  • what happened to his social media (if any)?
  • if his social media was deleted, who gave the order to do that?
  • What evidence, if any, does the RCMP or CSIS have as to his online or RL contacts?

Here is the problem: at this point, we have his parents’ “statement” as to his mental illness and not much else.

You don’t have to be an Islamophobe to wonder if this man had motives other than being plain nuts for shooting up the Danforth. And, if it turns out that he did have other motives, what were they and did they connect to Islamic terror? These are reasonable questions and they need to be answered, publically.

We also need to know what efforts have been made to shape the narrative. My own sense is that the “statement” was not written by a family of Pakistani immigrants or a grieving father from his hospital bed.

The great and the good in Canada, like their peers in Europe, go to great lengths to minimize the Islamic aspects of these acts of terror. “Mentally ill” is a fairly common and difficult to refute explanation. And it might well be true – in which case the psychiatric paper trail should be released.

Hussain may very well have been known to the authorities. But was it as a nutter or as a potential terrorist?

Pulling a veil over the entire, horrible, episode and waving away public concern with a parental claim of “mental illness” is simply not going to cut it. We have all heard it too often. The shooter is dead. He no longer has privacy rights. Let’s find out how he came to be in possession of a handgun and why he chose to use it – and let’s make sure that the public knows exactly what happened.

A Second Thought Where Hussain got his gun is an obvious question for police. As various people have pointed out, unless you have a licence you need a very good connection to get a pistol in Canada. Who has those connections? Well, gangsters and terrorists (usually through gangsters). Was Hussain gangster connected? It is quite possible. And if he was it is very likely that he’ll be in a police database. While it may not look like it, the Canadian police and the RCMP are actually pretty good at tracking the members of the various gangs who operate in Canada. So was Hussain in such a database? Oddly enough, I would be relieved to know he was. Because that would go some distance to ruling out a terrorist angle.

But here is the thing, the police need to let the public in on what they have. We have a right to know if this crime was committed by a crazy person, a gang banger or a terrorist.

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