Category Archives: Canadian Politics

It’s not the racism, it’s the hypocrisy

Justing trudeau blackfaceI fear I can’t get all that outraged about Justin Trudeau’s black, er brown, face. It was a party with a theme and he dressed and made up. (The black marks on the brunette’s clavicles may be a little more suspect but unless she was a student, in bounds.)

Scheer’s reaction was, I fear, the measure of the pasty faced man.

Max, on the other hand, got it right:

 

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What amazes me is the fact that the MSM, the NDP and the great and the good seem to think our black and brown and other shaded citizens are going to be outraged by Trudeau’s behaviour seventeen years ago.

Is this a campaign issue? Not the thing in itself, but the sheer hypocrisy of the man and his party accusing all sorts of Conservatives and People’s party candidates of “wrong think” for standing on the same patch of ground as alledged white supremacists will rankle.

Elections often turn on the question of “moral high ground”. Trudeau’s claim to that ground has just collapsed in a heap. He can apologize until the proverbial cows come home. His moral position, his sunny ways, are done.

The biggest winner? Maxime Bernier. Because now the Libs and the Cons have no racist stick left to beat him with. Try to use that stick – outrageous as it is – and Max points to Trudeau and his hypocrisy.

The way fifth parties become third parties is when they expose the lies the leading party and its “lite” version are based upon.

Trudeau gave the People’s Party a gift and Max is bright enough to exploit it.

 

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The trivialization of Canadian Politics

faith goldy and justin trudeauDock Currie (not related) apparently posted something to the internet several years ago which was offensive. So he felt he had to resign as an NDP candidate. [Anyone who sees Dock on Twitter has to wonder if he has ever posted something which is not offensive, but there is is.) Several conservatives have, at various times been in the same crowd of several hundred or thousand people as Canada’s answer to Toyko Rose, Faith Goldy. The shock, the horror.

I realize that a race between Trudeau, Scheer, Singh and May is not very inspiring. (It would have been so much more interesting had the Conservatives actually run a conservative like Max Bernier rather than whatever the hell Scheer is, but them’s the breaks.) But piling on to candidates for ancient statements or mau-mauing them for distant association with a cartoon fascist simply sets the bar even lower.

Having accomplished nothing of substance in their years in government – they even screwed up the pot file which took real ingenuity – the Libs are reduced to going negative from the outset. Their war room knows that Canadians are unimpressed with “climate change needs higher taxes” as a campaign theme. They also know that Trudeau’s legal and ethics problems offset what charisma he has as a campaigner.

So now it is time for “Project Fear”. Scheer = Harper = Trump. Scheer is going to take away abortion rights, Scheer is not an ally of the gay community because he does not jet all over the country to march in pride parades. The Conservatives hate immigrants and so on.

Going negative this early strongly suggests that the Lib’s internal polling is suggesting a fair bit of weakness. Conventionally, a party will save the negative stuff for the last couple of weeks of the campaign when it is the most damaging and the hardest to refute. I suspect the Libs have realized that with their own leader either under RCMP investigation or credibly accused of impeding that investigation, they need to distract and terrify the under 30’s, newer immigrants and the ladies if they are going to win.

After years of public school and woke university, the under 30’s are ignorant enough to fall for the climate scare. Newer immigrants might be frightened by conservatives who attended a rally at which Faith Goldy was present because, well, that would make them Nazis too. And the Libs think the ladies will swoon over the suggestion that Scheer (a major breeder and Catholic) will be jumping right in to create a Handmaiden’s Tale anti-abortion dystopia where the State will mandate that pregnancy will only end with birth.

With a bought and paid for mainstream media pumping out those themes, keeping Max off stage and lobbing Nerf ball questions at Trudeau, the Liberal war room may well be right.

After all, when not plotting with the Pope to make pregnancy mandatory, Scheer is a dull, decent, dog of a candidate. Dirty him up a bit and the poor man may never recover.

The Liberal war room and the mainstream media seem to think this is what politics is about. It isn’t. Right now there are actually serious issues facing Canada beginning with the fact that because of the disaster which is Canadian energy policy, the shut down of 50% of Saudi Arabia’s oil production may mean the Eastern Bastards really do freeze in the dark this winter. Will that come up on the campaign trail? Will real, if painful solutions to Canada’s deficit and debt problem come up? Will the fact that our current External Affairs minister is persona non gratia in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US come up?

These are real issues. Dock Currie’s usually odious comments and being in the same city as Faith Goldy are not.

The Liberals and the paid for Canadian media are pretty sure we’re too dumb to see the difference.

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Dog Days of Summer

My friends back East are gently broiling in temperatures not seen since my 94 year old mother was a girl. No AC then, but no idiots or Liberals telling you that the heat was caused by CO2. Judging from the ever reliable Twitter just about no one is actually buying that nonsense.

Twitter is covering itself in glory on other fronts. Having banned Megan Murphy for daring to report on the chap who wants his testicles waxed and is taking any number of waxing providers to BC’s Human Rights Commission in a transparent shakedown, Twitter has now banned Lindsay Shepherd for discussing Yaniv’s junk. [I note for the record that Yaniv, in full drag, has one of the most punchable fat faces I have ever seen. And, as I am quite certain he is not in the least bit genuine, I am certainly not going to use his appropriated pronouns.] Sheperd’s banning and the lifting of a publication ban on Mr. Yaniv has led all sorts of significant platforms to investigate Mr. Yaniv and to discover that he might not be a super great guy. Apparently, he has a rather greater than normal interest in how very young girls handle menstruation. Nice work Twitter.

Then, in the last few days, Twitter has been playing silly buggers with the hashtag, “TrudeauMustGo”. It was trending, then it wasn’t, then some dimwitted Liberals and CTV decided that it was being promoted by “bots”, then it came back to trending and now, last time I looked, it’s gone.

And, just because it can, Twitter floated the idea that it might be a good idea, in Canada, to allow people to remove replies to their tweets. The replies would not be deleted. They would simply not be visible on the same page as the tweet itself. Twitter got ratioed hard on this looney idea. My own sense is that this came up because poor Cathy McKenna is butt hurt that her prodigious climate change bad, carbon tax good Twitter output attracts nothing but negative, fact-based, replies. As Climate Barbie has announced she has no time for political adversaries who deny climate change is real, eliminating replies to her fact-free tweets would free up a lot of staff time.

Possibly the best news Andrew Scheer has had in some time is that the “Brain of Justin” and Twitter hate monger, Gerry Butts is back (assuming he ever left) advising youngish Mr. Trudeau. The Libs had made a good deal of progress in burying the SNC Lavalin interference with justice scandal. Now Justin has brought back Butts who is on record as saying, and I will provide full context,

“When Butts and Telford suggested seeking legal advice to review the SNC-Lavalin decision, Prince told them it would inappropriately interfering in the decision. “Jess, there is no solution here that doesn’t involve some interference,” Butts told her, according to text message transcripts from Wilson-Raybould.” national post

If we had an independent media in Canada, that quote would be hung around Justin’s neck from now until a) the election, b) Butts leaves any position, formal or informal, of influence. Unfortunately, as Andrew Coyne (quite clever except about Trump when derangement makes an ugly appearance) points out, we no longer have an independent media. We have a media which is looking desperately to be bailed out by the Federal Government. And the legacy media is intent on excluding dreadful upstarts like Rebel Media or the Post Millennial so an “independent panel of experts” is setting the criteria for “what sorts of publications should be accredited as Qualified Canadian Journalism Organizations” and what, exactly, a journalist is. (Extra points if you are in JT’s Chief of Staff, Katie Telford’s Op-Ed go to Rolodex.)

$600 million for legacy media and $1.2 billion for the CBC and, I suspect, the Libs will think they have pretty much sewn up positive media coverage for Justin. If only. Here is a little experiment: take a stroll through a shopping district or mall (thank you air conditioning) and look at people having coffee. Are any of them reading newspapers. The old style, printed on paper, newspapers? If so, is that person over or under the age of, say, forty? Let me know if you spot one. Most of us get our news from the internet. We might read the National Post online, but we will also have the opportunity to read The Rebel, Post Millennial, Spencer Fernando, Blazing Catfur and CEO.CA and literally thousands of other outlets.

Legacy media may limp along for another few years but, to quote Coyne,

For an industry whose chief shortage is less cash than credibility, this is a dire turn. The mere prospect of government funding has already opened us to accusations, on any occasion we are less than critical of the government, of singing for our supper. And not entirely without cause: whatever our claim to impartiality in other matters, there is no doubting our views on the supper. national post

With the arrival of federal government subsidies the legacy media will become even more identified with the interests of the Liberal Party (if that is possible) and even less reliable. It’s ability to decide what is and is not news, already under attack will be destroyed. After all, when the “gatekeepers” are paid by the Federal Government it is reasonable to suppose that they take dictation from Katie Telford and the PMO. Not all the time and not all that directly, but Certified Canadian Journalists are bright enough to know who is buttering their toast.

So are we.

 

 

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Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day, Canadian ElitesMy little town on the Saanich Peninsula really puts on a show for Canada Day weekend. Because of the competition from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, we have our fireworks on Canada Day Eve. My youngest son, a fireworks enthusiast, rode his fixed gear bike the five miles in and five miles back. Tons of fun. Today there will be a parade, concerts and a general sense of a holiday. There are Canadian flags everywhere – we are not quite American with our flag mania, but there are a lot of them on display. Curmudgeons such as myself make sure our kids know that the real name for July 1 is Dominion Day and all that.

Meanwhile, the CBC has been polling Canadians and found that “nearly 80 per cent of Canadians either strongly or somewhat agree with the statement: “My country is divided between ordinary people and elites.” CBC At that link there is a long article suggesting that populist politicians are making use of the term “elite” in a derogatory way and that no one really quite knows what “elite” means.

Given that, in democracies, there is a certain amount of delicacy which surrounds frank discussion of elites, it is not surprising that no one is able to precisely describe what makes up an elite. The CBC and the guy on the street they interview are clear that it is not “money” per se. In fact, culture is more important than money in determining a person’s elite status and that culture, while in principle accessible, is, in practice, exclusionary. And it is exclusionary in very subtle ways.

To give an example, a million years ago I arrived for my first day at a very elite law school. It was actually, on the numbers, harder to get into than Havard Law. If ever there was an elite in embryo it was the hundred and fifty young men and women in that class. After a silly welcoming speech, there were cocktails and we set about getting to know each other as only a group in which fully 50% had been their high school president can. After a while, it got a little tedious as people humble-bragged about going to a “Boston area college” and how doing a triple honours degree set them up for the rigours of a legal education. My mind wandered and I began looking at the actual appearance of this class. There were virtually no fat people. In general, both the men and women seemed a bit taller than average. There were few, if any, people of colour. There were lots of WASPs and lots of Jews (the school shut down for Jewish High Holidays). There were lots of what I later came to understand were “good” hair cuts and the clothes were casual but lots of Ralph Lauren. But what was most striking were the teeth. So far as I could see there was exactly one person in that class who had not either been born with perfectly straight teeth or had access to orthodontry from an early age.

Now, having straight teeth does not make you a member of the elite, not noticing how unusual it is for a group of a hundred and fifty people to have straight teeth, does.

The CBC interviewee, Tony Laino, at Fordfest, said describing elites, “”Those that think they’re better than me,” he said. “Because I don’t espouse their beliefs.”

Which misses the point. Elites really don’t think of guys like Tony Laino at all. Largely because, as Charles Murray points out in Coming Apart, the new upper class rarely, if ever, meets the Tony Lainos of the world. Murray was writing about white people in America but much the same social bi-furcation is taking place in Canada. Murray looks at education, wealth, marriage, access and what he refers to as the rise of the super-zips, areas where highly educated, well connected, well off people live with others of their class and kind. It is an accelerating phenomenon in the US and it is plainly visible in Canada. Murray quotes Robert Reich as calling this, “the segregation of the successful”.

Inside elite communities “the issues” look very different than they do in the more pedestrian parts of the country. A few pennies extra for gas or heating oil or natural gas to fight the universally acknowledged menace of “climate change” makes perfect sense if your income is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. It is downright terrifying if you are making $50K. Only bigots and racists could be anti-imigration when you, yourself, live in virtually all white, old stock, Canadian enclaves and welcome refugees and migrants who you will never see.

The populist moment has not yet come to Canada and, if Andrew Scheer’s brand of Liberal lite wins in October, there will probably be another decade of elite consolidation before a proper populist movement gets off the ground. Whether it will be right populism a la Trump and Farange, or left populism with a firebrand NDP leader, is hard to say. However, as the Canadian elite grows more insular and disconnected from the ordinary life of Canada and Canadians, that populist moment draws closer.

Happy Canada Day!

 

 

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We Need a Sunspot Tax

“The resulting summary curve reveals a remarkable resemblance to the sunspot and terrestrial activity reported
in the past millennia including the signifcant grand solar minima: Maunder Minimum (1645–1715), Wolf minimum (1200), Oort minimum (1010–1050), Homer minimum (800–900 BC) combined with the grand solar
maxima: the medieval warm period (900–1200), the Roman warm period (400–10BC) etc. It also predicts the
upcoming grand solar minimum, similar to Maunder Minimum, which starts in 2020 and will last until 2055.” Oscillations of the baseline of solar magnetic field and solar irradiance on a millennial timescale, Nature

Peer-reviewed and everything.

For a long time, I have maintained that climate “science” is not robust enough for policy work. If Zharkova et al are even close to right the entire CO2 hysteria and the malinvestments resulting from that hysteria are worse than useless. If we are, in fact, heading into 35 years of a grand solar minimum we need steady, reliable, scalable energy sources – nuclear springs to mind.

Now, the interesting thing about Zharkova et al is that they make a testable prediction, namely that we are heading into a Maunder Minimum like period. So we should expect longer, harder winters, an overall drop in global temperature and shorter growing seasons. And we should see those effects in the next couple of years.

I trust Climate Barbie is on top of this.

 

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The Real Scandal

It seems pretty clear that Trudeau and company’s response to the SNC-Lavalin issue is to muddy the waters, deny responsibility and move on. Given the supine nature of Canada’s media and the Liberal’s majority in Parliament, this might just work. Especially if the focus remains on whether or not there was “inappropriate pressure” exerted on Jody Wilson-Raybould when she took her decision not to intervene.

However, there is a more basic problem here as outlined in Andrew MacDougall’s excellent article in Mcleans.

“By late that same summer, the federal government launched a public consultation on its integrity regime, including the possibility of including deferred prosecution agreements into Canadian law. The change wanted by SNC now had its chance to find broader support. And a few months later—and featuring a submission from SNC—the consultation concluded.

And then, as if by magic, a proposal for deferred prosecution agreements was buried into page 202 of the 2018 federal budget.” Michael Wernick’s SNC-Lavalin problem Mcleans

Read the whole thing because it is a very clear look at how this scandal tracks back to the PMO, PCO and Finance with Jody Wilson-Raybould principled decision essentially being roadkill in the drive to extricate SNC from its own folly.

And there, of course, is the real scandal. No one is disputing that SNC broke all sorts of laws in pursuit of its business interests. What is in issue is what the consequences of that lawlessness should be. The Deferred Prosecution Agreement language is an attempt by a private company to create its own get of jail free card. That the Trudeau government would even entertain, much less pass, such legislation, makes its systemic corruption obvious.

Long before the Liberal establishment – from the Prime Minister on down – behaved badly toward Wilson-Raybould it had already betrayed the Canadian electorate by enshrining a sweetheart deal in the Criminal Code.

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Amateurs

The great and the good huddled in a Commons Committee to consider how they would investigate the allegation that Prime Minister Trudeau or his gunsels leaned on the AG, Jody Wilson-Raybould with respect to the SNC-Lavalin affair (as the CBC so delicately puts it).

Here’s a hint lads: you call all the people who were involved or who might have been involved. Otherwise the “investigation” is a farce from the go.

Here’s the other hint, people notice this stuff.

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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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No PR for BC

Well, that was crushing: 61% of the 41% of eligible voters who actually voted rejected proportional representation and opted to stick with “first past the post”.

Assorted lefties and millennials were unhappy. But, really, they have only themselves to blame.

I rather like PR but none of the options presented on the mail-in ballot was worth having. Because the lefties who supported PR wanted to ensure that the PR they would have would avoid the possibility of actual “representation” for any but the NDP and the Greens while increasing the voting efficiency of those Green and NDP votes.

I will leave it to voting wonks to explain the three useless choices presented as the PR alternatives; rather I will pay attention to a very simple idea which was, of course, not included.

Reduce the total number of MLAs elected by electoral districts by, say, one half. So the 87 current electoral districts would shrink to 43. Then take the 44 seats that would open up and run a province-wide list system with a threshold of 2.5% of the votes cast. So you would have one vote in a First Past the Post race in your electoral district and 44 votes to distribute to the 44 slots on the “At Large” lists. [And I would not allow a “straight ticket” single vote…you’d have to vote 44 times or once – because vote plumping would be encouraged.]

Essentially this is the system the Australians use to elect their Senate and it allows a wide variety of candidates to take a run for office with a decent chance of winning.

It would also be a wonderfully upsetting experience for the current parties.

Ezra Levant was happy to see the FPTP system retained but wistful because he would have run a Rebel slate and thinks he could get 10%. (Maybe, I rather doubt it.) But what would happen is that a ginger group of half a dozen to a dozen “list elected”

MLA’s could represent everyone from my own favourite Wine Tax Freedom (WTF) Party to a party composed of First Nations people and on to Christian Fundamentalists and Antifa. With a 2.5% threshold, you can pretty much guarantee the First Nations party would hold four or five at-large seats. So could a Teacher’s Party or a Resource Extraction Party (see Suits and Boots). Recent immigrants to British Columbia could run their own lists as could Aged Bald White Guys such as myself.

But this sort of radical democracy was not on the table in this referendum. Too scary for the NDP and the ultra-conservative Greens.

Because real Proportional Representation was not on the ballot PR lost.

Too bad.

(I might add that it was a huge mistake for the pro-PR forces to entirely align with the left and the greens. Essentially that alignment turned the referendum into a pseudo-referendum on the current Red/Green coalition. That is never a good idea on what is actually a process question.)

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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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