Category Archives: #cdnpoli

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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True North

Justin Trudeau, Donald TrumpOnly in Canada would the rudeness of our Prime Minister to a departing guest be raised – admittedly by Warren “Lying Jackal” Kinsella – to a question of Canadian patriotism. Our Minister of External Affairs has wagged her stubby little finger at the Donald and called his response to Trudeau’s rudeness “inappropriate”.

In so far as there is any thinking at all in Ottawa I suspect some bright light in the PMO, in the wake of Ford’s victory in Ontario, has had the idea that the way for Trudeau to win the next election is to try and cast that election as an opportunity for good Canadians to vote against the monster Trump. It is just the sort of idea which will emerge from a gender-balanced brain trust a bit high on soy. Because decent, good Canadians hate Trump and if Trudeau is seen to stand up to the orange ogre we will all troop to the ballot box in Trudeau’s support. While I think that is unlikely, it is really all these clowns have left.

Which is very bad news for Canada. Because Trump is not kidding on tariffs and could care less if all the Canadas rise as one in support of the Little Potato. As I pointed out below, at virtually no cost to the American economy, Trump can pretty much wipe out the one bit of manufacturing which exists in the so-called “Golden Triangle”. And if Ms. Freeland thinks he is inappropriate now, imagine how fast her finger will have to wag if he hits oil and lumber with the same sort of across the board tariff.

A lot of diplomacy and trade strategy can be learned in a school yard. Six grade one students are unwise trying to take on the kid in grade seven. While they might be able to slow him down they can’t actually hurt him, but one solid punch from the big kid and a little kid is laid out flat. Is that fair? Of course not. But it is how the world works.

Poking a bear is never, ever, smart.

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Things just got real

Justin Trudeau, in a bizarre performance at the final press conference of the G-7 conference, managed to thoroughly piss off Donald Trump. To the point that Trump called him dishonest.

Now the Donald is going to be occupied with North Korea for the next few days and, at a guess, having withdrawn America’s consent to the G-7 communique may simply forget Trudeau’s deeply cowardly remarks. (It is cowardly to say things about a person when they have left the building when you had the opportunity to say them to that person’s face.) That is the best Trudeau can hope for. More likely, Trump will have detailed a hard man in a suit to run the numbers on Canada’s trade with the US and find out just how many cars we send south every year. These are not hard answers to find and when those numbers go back to Trump there is very little to stop him from dropping a 25% tariff on those cars.

I said over at Kate’s that the Americans see trade negotiations as business, the Canadians see them as politics.

From a business perspective, a 25% tariff on cars made in Canada will lead to more cars being made in the US. The transition will be a bit uncomfortable for a number of large US companies but in the overall American economy, it will be a blip.

In Canada? In Canada, more specifically Ontario, the destruction of the auto industry would be a full scale, all hands on deck, disaster. Realistically, the auto sector is Ontario’s largest private sector employer and the largest manufacturing sector. Being priced out of the US market would kill tens of thousands of well-paid jobs.

Trump has taken the measure of Trudeau and his tiny, annoying, Minister of External Affairs, Chrystia Freeland and concluded they are featherweights. Which means that Canada is potentially screwed because Trump has no faith in our leadership. You don’t call people dishonest publically if you plan to do business with them.

It is unlikely that Trudeau will be aware of just how badly he has failed for a few days. The Canadian media are heavily invested in a narrative which has Justin standing up to the big, bad, Trump. Trudeau’s tone-deaf advisors are, no doubt, revelling in the fact they got lots of “gender” language into the communique.

It will take a few days for the more sober side of the media to realize what peril Trudeau has put us in. And a few more for the geniuses in the PMO to figure out that Trump is not playing the same game as they are.

When they do figure it out the question will arise, “What the fuck do we do now?”

As I am quite sure Butz and his posse read this blog I have a simple suggestion.

Normally, I would have suggested they get in touch with Simon Reisman who negotiated both the Auto-Pac and NAFTA. Alas, Reisman is dead.

Second best by a long shot? Brian Mulroney. A man I have next to no time for but who a) managed to get Canadians onboard for NAFTA, b) was a quite successful Canadian Prime Minister, c) is wired into both Trump World and broad swaths of corporate America.

If Trudeau could get Mulroney to do it Mulroney would be going into the US with a serious, well thought out, everything on the table, pitch. Likely starting with first principles – no tariffs, no subsidies, no non-tariff barriers. Be prepared to dump dairy and end transhipment of Chinese steel. And pitch it to the Trump people as the template for the deals which could be made with the EU, Japan, India and so on. (China is a whole other thing.)

The key point here is that Canada has to move, and move quickly, away from the finger-wagging politics of gender inclusion and climate change to a hard-nosed business approach to getting the best deal we can with an America which is now willing to put its own interests first.

Our leverage is that, while Trump is perfectly willing to talk tough, he also seems to like having a few friends. Canada, notwithstanding our dolt of a PM, has been and could be the staunch friend Trump needs.

Mulroney might just be able to pull this off. Here’s why:

[Back story: Peter Newman released a set of transcripts of Mulroney “unbuttoned” without Mulroney’s consent.]

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MOGA!

Amidst the wailings and the lamentations at the Ford victory in Ontario, (and Dr. Dawg is pitch perfect outside the Twittersphere here) a singular fact has emerged: voter turnout, which had been in decline for two decades bounced up to 58%.

I have no idea whether or not Ford is actually a conservative or a populist (which are not the same thing) but what he is is very different from the run of Progressive Conservative leaders of the past few decades. Those leaders had a tendancy to reflexively adopt bien pensant thinking on things like climate change for fear of alienating perceived elites. Ford was never going to win the Annex or in Ontario’s university towns nor was he going to win a lot of votes from well paid members of public service unions so he was free to take a somewhat more reasonable, conservative, line. That, in turn, meant that real conservative voters, instead of staying home because voting would make no difference, seem to have shown up to the polls.

It will take a bit of analysis to see if that hypothesis is actually true – the question being the relative voting strength of the Conservatives in this election compared to the last two or three – but it is an idea that other conservative parties in Canada should be looking at. Running real conservatives on real conservative platforms might just bring disenchanted conservative voters out to the polls.

One other thought: contrary to received opinion, being dubbed a mini-Trump is not quite the kiss of death it was thought to be.  There are, I suspect, a significant number of Canadians who rather like Agent Orange but are unwilling to take the social risk of saying so in the Great Progressive North.

 

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Tit for Tattle

Oh Good, a trade war….we’re hitting the Americans where it hurts. This usually works out well.

Here’s a counter suggestion: total, real, free trade. No tarriffs either way on Canadian or US made and manufactured goods. An open border for evrything from steel to cheese. (And yes, the dairy farmers will scream…let’em.)

Canada is not going to win a trade war with its biggest trading partner. It is a silly idea and one which only the Liberals could come up with. But we could be creative and say, unilaterally, that we are eliminating all tarrifs and other barriers to US made goods. That would swat the ball back into Trump’s court.

So far as can be seen, the biggest US gripe about Canada is transhipment of Chinese goods. We can deal with that with a value add requirement.

Trump is never going to give an inch to retaliation. He’d rather die. But a better deal for Canada and the US, now we are talking.

And, best of all, cheap cheese and wine and all manner of good things.

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”….

Reducing Carbon “Pollution” – A Modest Proposal

It is easy to make fun of the Liberals and Catherine McKenna’s remarkably ill thought-out price on carbon “pollution” but what might work better? Well, obviously nuclear, especially given the advances in small, safe reactors; but that is a ten year program at minimum and would cost a lot of money. How can we cut Canada’s carbon pollution by over 2 million tons this year and for years into the future?

Here is a rather crappy looking spreadsheet which will, no doubt, break my blog. No matter.

It lists Canada’s top ten source countries for immigration, their per capita carbon footprint and the effect of having these people become Canadians with out 15.1 tonne per year per capita carbon footprint. You will probably have to scroll sideways to see the totals but, by brining in 165,000 extra people who, with the exception of our american friends, have lower carbon footprints than we do, we are adding 2.1 million tonnes of carbon a year to the load. Simply by closing the immigration door we would be saving that 2.1 million tonnes this year and for years afterwards.

 

Rank Country Number Percentage Carbon emissions per capita Total As Canadians Net Carbon Pollution
1 Philippines 50,846 18.70% 1.1 55,931 788,113 732,182
2 India 39,530 14.50% 1.9 75,107 612,715 537,608
3 People’s
Republic of China
19,532 7.20% 7.7 150,396 302,746 152,350
4 Iran 11,669 4.30% 8 93,352 180,870 87,518
5 Pakistan 11,329 4.20% 0.9 10,196 175,600 165,403
6 Syria 9,853 3.60% 1.6 WB 2014 15,765 302,746 286,981
7 United
States of America
7,522 3.00% 16.1 121,104 116,591 -4,513
8 France 5,807 2.00% 4.6 WB 2014 26,712 90,009 63,296
9 United
Kingdom and Colonies
5,451 2.00% 6.5 WB 2014 35,432 84,491 49,059
10 Nigeria 4,133 2.00% 0.5 2,067 64,062 61,995
165,672 Canadian Emissions 15.5 586,061 2,717,941 2,131,879

 

Can’t wait for Minister McKenna to announce the cessation of immigration from all countries with per capita carbon emissions less than Canada’s.

Take Time for this Minister

Catherine McKenna was on Evan Solomon’s CTV show and Evan asked a slightly difficult question about her carbon tax and its opponents.

“”I have no time for folks who are like, you know, ‘We shouldn’t take action,'” she said. “I don’t have time for politicians that play cynical games about climate action.” and “”I have time for Canadians who disagree with me, and I have conversations with them all the time…. But I don’t have time for politicians that pretend that climate change isn’t real.”

There are really only three questions which the Minister and the rest of the Liberal Government should be asked:

  1. How much will the proposed per tonne price on “pollution” reduce the emissions of this “pollution”?
  2. How much will this reduction – if any – reduce global temperature in, say, 50 years? (And with what degree of certainty?)
  3. How much will the “price on pollution” effect the Canadian economy?

Now these are basic questions and make no assumptions about the reality or unreality of “climate change”. They are certainly questions which a competent Minister proposing a significant tax should be able to answer. Now the answers will, necessarily be qualified: plus minus 10% is a reasonable standard. But the Minister has to be able to attach numbers to her proposals.

Otherwise she really will deserve the nickname “Climate Barbie”.

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Colten Boushie – The Crown gets it wrong

The not guilty verdict in the Colten Boushie case has managed to elicit wildly inappropriate tweets from our Prime Minster and the Minister of Justice – and thank you for making an appeal all the less likely.

From what I have read this was a huge error on the part of the Crown.

The error began when the Crown charged 2nd degree murder. A charge which requires intent. Proving intent in a melee is next to impossible. A wiser, less political, Crown would have charged manslaughter which does not require intent.

The defense, rather courageously in my view, decided to claim “the gun did it”. This is not a position criminal lawyers tend to take simply because it can be refuted with decent forensic evidence and the sheer implausibility of a gun “hang firing”.

The Crown’s job is to block the exits. One of those exits was the gun firing itself and Stanley having no intent. It appears, and I have not read the transcript, that the Crown was content to prove that the gun in question killed Colten Boushie. Which might have worked in manslaughter but falls short in 2nd degree murder. In 2nd degree murder there has to be an intention on the part of the accused to cause the death of the victim. Absent that intent there is no case to meet.

Lefty friends, as they lament the end of the “reconciliation” effort, are happy to point out that the jury which acquitted was “all white”. They are waving the bloody shirt and convinced that a jury of Saskatchewan peers could not render a fair verdict. Besides being deeply racist, it is a dog which will not hunt.

The Crown was aware of the jury and the likelihood that they would seize any reed, no matter how thin, to acquit a man who was doing nothing more nor less than they would have done if a group of drunk Indians arrived in their yard. Which meant the Crown needed to refute every exonerating theory, no matter how unlikely, for the win. The Crown failed to do that and so Stanley walked.

The “#justiceforcolten” hashtag will loom large for a few days. But the fact is that Colten got the justice the Crown was able to argue for. Is it enough? I don’t think so. Not because the jury got it wrong, rather because the jury understood Colten all too well and managed to find a hole in the Crown’s case. A better Crown would have bolted the “hangfire” door. A better Crown would have understood the jury he was given and the fact that Colten was operating within a context of First Nations crime against farmers. A better Crown would have resisted the political pressure and charged manslaughter.

Every death is a tragedy. But Colten Boushie was a tragedy waiting to happen. The jury understood this without having to be told. They found a way to justice. The Crown let them. It’s done.

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History

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