Category Archives: Canada

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:

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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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#YouToo?

Much as I despise Justin Trudeau and the gang of gender-balanced incompetents he has surrounded himself with, I am afraid I can’t work up much indignation vis a vis the Creston grope. Nor do I think JT’s bumbling defence is anything other than another demonstration of his general unfitness for the Prime Ministership.

It is pretty clear that Justin, perhaps after several beers, touched a girl in a way which, the very next day, she wrote was inappropriate (or some such…I can’t be arsed to look it up). He compounded his error by saying that had he known she was reporting for a national paper he would not have been so forward. What a dweeb.

But, honestly, I don’t care. Partly it is the passage of time. Despite Kinsella’s attempts to turn this into a Harvey Weinstein moment, Trudeau behaved badly, is a sanctimonious idiot and a fake feminist, but it still does not amount to assault or anything close. (At least at this point, we may learn more down the road.)

Here’s big news. People go to beer company sponsored music festivals to get friendly with other people. I am told that, on occasion, people who have had several beers end up in tents with each other for no good reason and they are not even engaged. While I am, of course, shocked and appalled, I can’t quite see how this amounts to anything but a slightly embarrassing story.

Trudeau’s handling of the Jackel inspired story sucks. His comms department should be sacked. But the fact is that a young, unmarried, guy took liberties with a young, unmarried (so far as I know) girl at a summer music festival. I suppose we could shoot him. But I would rather shoot the comms idiots who did not say to JT, “Admit you did it. Apologize. Move on.” All the parsing in the world is not going to change the fact Justin grabbed her ass or boob or whatever. Bad Justin. Admit it and move on.

There are lots of reasons not to vote for this idiot. His behaviour 18 years ago might be one of them. But it is not the most significant nor will it be the last.

As with most things Jackal driven there is more going on here than we are seeing. Why did the Jackal trawl through the Creston paper on microfilm to get the story? And what else is there? Vancouver, Whistler – in the late 90’s,early 2000’s these were “party central”.

At a guess, the Creston “grope” is not where the Jackal is going with this. I suspect it is a ranging shot. Turning on the light to see where the cockroaches in the PMO scatter.

If there is another shoe, and I suspect there are several, it will drop in September just in time to force the resignation and the nomination of another leader in time for the next election. The Jackal learned from Wynne’s failure to make way. It is not enough to kick Justin to the curb…he has to be gone by Christmas.

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Canada Day!

Canada, Canada Day, Trump. tariffsThere is nothing I like being more than a Canadian. My compatriots may drive me crazy but our disagreements are political rather than patriotic.

Sadly, our current federal government thinks it can win an election – in a year – by picking a fight with our friends in the US. The PMO’s polling tells them that Canadians a) can’t stand Trump, b) will rally around a PM who stands up for Canada no matter how wrong we might be. I suspect that polling is right but premature.

No one wins a trade war and today the smartypants Liberals are embarking on a series of deliberately political retaliatory tariffs designed to hit Republicans where it hurts, at the polling booth. There are many things wrong with this strategy beginning with the fact it won’t work. Tariffing soy sauce because North America’s largest soy sauce plant is in retiring GOP speaker Paul Ryan’s district looks clever but isn’t. After all, at best, that plant ships about 10% of its production to Canada. Our tariff will be an annoyance rather than a game changer. And just as Canadians claim to be willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with Trudeau in opposing the Trump monster, Americans are perfectly capable of supporting the industries we target.

Canadians win when we come up with creative compromises. Flat out telling the US that we will not accept a five year sunset clause on NAFTA is stupidly beligerent. Intelligent compromise would have created a process – general review at 6 years, sectoral review at eight based on the general review and the possiblilty of revision at 10. It’s boring but it is very Canadian. Same thing with the steel and aluminum tariff. Figure out what the Americans are actually after (likely an end to the transhipment of Chinese commodity steel) and figure out how to make that happen while enhancing the Canadian position.

Unfortunately, this very Canadian approach is not very sexy. It is not going to save a floundering Liberal government. To do that, the geniuses in the PMO realize they somehow have to cast the next election as a referendum on Trump rather than a review of the Trudeau government’s meager list of accomplishments. To that end picking a fight with the US seemed like a good idea.

It isn’t.

With a year in hand, the US can pretty much destroy the Canadian economy and flatten what manufacturing is left in Ontario. They don’t need to do much, just impose a 20% tariff on all cars coming into the US and fail to exempt Canada. Boom, done. Like the rest of the world, Canada enjoys access to the American market because we have negotiated that access and the Americans, to date, have had no particularily compelling reason to restrict that access. Indeed, up until the fracking revolution, there was a strategic reason to keep Canadian oil and gas flowing to the US. That reason has gone.

It is a Canadian pasttime to bash Americans. All the more so with Trump in office. Where that comes from is not obvious but the reserves of anti-Americanism in Canada are, apparently, bottomless. And those reserves are filling fast as the American economy under Trump revives and thrives in contrast to Canada’s. I have no idea if Trump is Making America Great Again, however he is, unambigously, making America Rich Again. And he is doing that through tax cuts and deregulation which are anathema to the economic illiterates who surround Trudeau and infest the Finance Department. Normally, when the US economy surges, Canada enjoys a knockon effect. But between nitwit “carbon taxes” and unnecessary “trade wars” and an apparent inability to build pipelines, Canada is going in the opposite direction.

Between now and next Canada Day I suspect it is a good bet that Canada will make itself poorer. The only question is how much poorer.

If the PMO and the Liberal Party really think they will be able to run against Trump in a little over a year they have to pray that he does not continue to deliver jobs, growth, prosperity and a reassertion of American might internationally. They have to hope Trump will, somehow, be impeached, or lose the mid-terms decisively, or have his economic policies crash or walk into some other disaster – because if Trump’s successes continue and the Democrats fail to win big in November, he is going to be a much less attractive target.

Yes, if Trump does tariff cars at 20% he’ll be demonized all over the world. But where it counts, in the car plants in Ontario and in the parts manufactories, there is not going to be much left. Rail at Trump all you want, the fact is that it will be Trudeau who was dumb enough to poke the bear for political points.

I hope all my Canadian readers enjoy our National Holiday. And then I hope all my American readers enjoy July 4. In a year, we will still be celebrating Canada Day but, unless our politicians smarten up, we will be a poorer and less consequential nation than we are now. And, worse, that condition may very well be permenant as our jobs flow south.

This Canada Day our situation is serious but, with intelligence, not fatal. Next year?

Happy Canada Day!

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Milk Fight

shutterstock_175414571-1000x480The Donald seems obsessed with Canadian Dairy tariffs. As well he might be as they can go as high as 290%.

Over the next week or so, Canada and the US are going to have to climb down from their rather silly positions on everything from aluminium to felt pens.

A good place to start is with Canadian dairy. Why not announce a zero tariff on hormone/antibiotic free milk? It is a tiny percentage of American dairy production but a huge percentage of Canadian dairy is both hormone and antibiotic free.

Trump seems to be attracted by shiny objects and a “win” on dairy is very shiny indeed.

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Preston Manning/Jordan Peterson….separated at birth

Driving along today I had an epiphany. Jordan Peterson and Preston Manning sound remarkably the same:

Here’s Preston:

And here’s Jordan:

Now this is not a huge surprise:

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962, and grew up in Fairview, Alberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada.

Manning was born born June 10, 1942 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Manning drove the Canadian left crazy for years, now Peterson is performing the same service. Is it the ideas or is it the dreaded “Edmonton” accent?

Now, if only someone could get Peterson to say “Reform Party”….

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