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Election 1 yr away; Battle on Carbon Pricing Favors Liberals

We have seen Conservative Governments in Ontario and Saskatchewan balk at carbon pricing and the Federal Conservatives basically trying to use the old “tax on everything line” they used with success against Stephane Dion’s Green Shift a decade ago, cancelling climate change fighting programs and/or failing to offer (viable) alternatives.

At the moment, the governing Federal Liberal Party’s climate change plan appears to give them both the moral high ground on fighting climate change, as well as a factor in popular support.

Two polls to point to to show this: Innovative Research published this poll on the Federal Liberal Carbon Tax (views in Ontario specifically) and highlighted it on Twitter. This poll shows that while the “populist base” of the Ontario Conservatives remains adamantly opposed to carbon pricing, the class of Conservatives that Innovative calls “Deferential” is more split on the topic.

Also today, perhaps not so coincidentally, a new poll from Nanos Research shows the Liberals enjoying a double digit lead on the Conservative Party.

If the Federal Conservatives under Andrew Scheer are so eager to make the federal carbon tax/ carbon pricing scheme an election issue, they need to do more then bash it; they need to show Canadians an alternative plan to fighting GHG emissions, something they so far have failed to do, though Scheer keeps promising one “soon” (TM). (Ford’s government hasn’t published their proposals to fight GHG emissions either, by the way)

It must be a pretty complex “plan” if they can’t release it yet; or maybe they don’t have one yet… or they’re waiting for an election campaign so there will be less time to scrutinize it. Alternatively, they could just tell us what they probably believe: there’s no such thing as man-made climate change or if there is, we can’t or don’t want to do anything about it. If we can’t do it for free.. its not worth doing!

That might not go over well with the electorate.

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Canada signs on to new NAFTA.. er… USMCA trade deal

It’s not a perfect deal, and there are some things in it I’m not totally happy about (ie the pharmaceutical companies getting 10 year patent protection on drugs vs the 8 years it had been), but given who was in the Oval Office, and given what we saved (Chapter 19 dispute resolution panels will still be in place and supply management is still intact, despite giving up some more market access), I think most Canadians will be relieved we got a deal signed and they’ll be able to live with this deal.

It is notable that Conservatives who were recruited to help the Trudeau government with this deal have come out praising the government for their ability to get it signed. Statements like this by former Prime Minister Mulroney and Harper cabinet ministers James Moore and Rona Ambrose wil make it a tad awkward for Andrew Scheer, Michelle Remple, Pierre Polievre and the usual CPC attack dogs for attacking a deal their former colleagues and a former Conservative PM has just endorsed and applauded the Liberal government for signing. Andrew Scheer and his most prominent MP’s best play may be to be bi-partisan on this.

Big congratulations to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her team of Canadian negotiators for getting a new trade agreement in a very hostile environment.

As for Trump; if he wants to trumpet how this is a “new” deal and not just a refining of the old one, and wants to rename it.. let him have his day.

Personally.. I hope Trump will now ignore us for the rest of his time in office.

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Flawed Ford Logic On NWS Clause

Of all the scenarios out there where I’d envision a provincial government in Ontario invoking or trying to invoke Section 33 of the Charter (the “notwithstanding clause”) to override court decisions based on the Charter… a situation involving a BIll that shrinks municipal government in Toronto wasnt in my top 100.

SO in one sense, I find it farcical Premier FOrd is using a sledgehammer from the Charter to push through what he wants the size of Toronto City COuncil to be. On the other hand, it shows (as he warns himself) that he will be willing to use it in far more serious matters of legislation.

Take note: Mike Harris, the former PC Premier of Ontario, another hard-nosed Conservative, once said he didn’t think the NWS Clause should ever be used to override court decisions the government didn’t like. Ford went there and broke Ontario precedent.

The other thing about this whole affair is the flawed logic and his advisers are taking about the political strategy behind this. Apparently Doug Ford and his advisers are trying to use his use of the Notwithstanding Clause to show how bold and tough he is.. and contrast that to Trudeau (because apparently, Doug also wants to be involved in federal politics as well as municipal.. I’m surprised he has enough time to be Ontario Premier).

One part of this strategy perplexes me: this quote from an “anonymous PC Source” who’s obviously in Doug’s inner circle:

“This is showing bold leadership. Trudeau could have (invoked the) notwithstanding (clause) on the pipeline, but he didn’t,” the source said, referring to the Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling”

The only way Trudeau could have used the Notwithstanding Clause on the pipeline is if the Fed Court of Appeal used something in Section 2 or in 7-15 for making the ruling that they did. I’ve scanned over the Federal Court of Appeal’s full ruling ..I don’t see any mention of Section 2 or 7-15 being used as a reason for that court’s verdict. Nor can anyone else, I’ve asked.

Note to anonymous Ford adviser: The NWS Clause can’t be used to override every court decision that goes against you.If you’re going to try to claim the Pipeline ruling could somehow be overturned by NWS Clause.. you’re going to get shut down very fast in public.

I really hope Ford or his advisers openly claims that Transmountain could have been forced through with NWS Clause (as the anon PC Adviser claimed in the Star article). It’ll be easily refuted and show how ridiculous this group is .

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Time to walk away from Trump, Ministers Freeland and PM Trudeau

Social media these days goes very fast, as you know from reading Twitter. BLogs can seem a bit slow in that respect. By the time I post this.. it may be outdated or overtaken by new events.

That being said, this is an inflammatory a piece as you’ll ever see about Trump’s “off the record comments” regarding Canada and NAFTA negotiations:

You can read the summary here from the excellent Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale’s Twitter feed:

 

How the Canadian government stays in talks now and gets a deal without being branded as surrendering to Trump I don’t know. The Canadian public was giving the Trudeau government a lot of leeway on NAFTA, saying if they failed..they’d be blaming Trump and the US a lot more then they would Trudeau and Canada according to a published Abacus poll. That # should go even higher now wit these remarks.

Unless the Trump team decides to dramatically go against their boss and actually start negotiating in goo faith, rather then trying to insult us or bring Canada to its knees.. we should walk away. This Friday “deadline” was artificial to begin with.. but if Trump decides to go ahead and cancel the deal and try to get Congress to go bilateral with Mexico.. so be it.

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Doug Ford & The Ontario PC Govt hates a carbon tax? Propose a climate change plan

So Ontario’s Environment Minister Rod Phillips met with Canadian Environment Minister Catherine Mckenna. Minister Phillips was rather defiant in his tweet about never accepting Canada’s carbon tax put on the province, while Minister Mckenna was much more diplomatic.

The bottom line is:  Ontario had a cap and trade plan in place (not a carbon tax, as Ford and his government tries to keep misleading the public into equating the two as the same thing. They removed it.

Ford and his government supposedly believe climate change is real. If so,  the Ford Conservative government has until September to come up with a climate change plan to reduce carbon that meets the Canadian government’s requirements for avoiding the federal carbon tax being imposed upon the province

. How about producing a plan, Minister Phillips, and Premier Ford?  I mean, beyond the 30 million you’re apparently budgeting to fight a probable losing court case.

Am I optimistic such a plan will come froward from Ontario’s Conservative government?  When the Environment Ministry gets renamed to take “Climate change” out of its description, I’m skeptical

 

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Mad at Donald Trump? Money talks (to him)

I don’t think I need to go into details again to my readers about Donald Trump’s  antics at the G7, or him and his advisers basically equating Prime Minister Trudeau to the modern day equivalent of Benedict Arnold because horrors, publicly stating again that we disagree with and would be retaliating against US tariffs with our own somehow makes Trump look weaker to the North Koreans.

Instead, I’ll just post this here for folks who want to get Donald Trump’s attention the only way possible: at his bottom line.

Scott Gilmore of Macleans has a nice little list of everything Donald Trump or family owns or has a business connection with.

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Ontario Election Post-Mortem. ON Election 2018=Fed Election 2011

Some thoughts/observations on last night’s result;

The NDP had momentum 2 weeks ago, but obviously lost it at the end, as their final percentage of votes was 3-5% lower then most final polls had predicted. (I believe Ekos and Mainstreet were the closest in their final polling of NDP numbers.).  The end result reminded me of the Federal Election in 2011, where Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff floundered, the NDP of Jack Layton then for a brief time looked like big challengers, only to fade down the stretch.

What happened?

  • I think that some of the NDP’s candidates being highlighted for radical positions did not help, (while Ford’s candidates problems didn’t seem to affect his polling), nor did Horwath failing to counter PC and Liberal attacks on her position towards legislating strikes back to work.
  • The Liberals ended up at around 19%. While it still only gave the party 7 seats and a loss of official party status, the core Liberal vote stuck with the Liberals, and the vote percentage  was high enough to cost the NDP several seats.  It also appears  moderate/centrist voters were not convinced to switch to  the NDP  either, and chose to hold their noses and vote for the PC’s, even with Ford as leader.

Some other thoughts;

= The fact some are saying the Liberals did better then expected (ie getting 7 seats as compared to only 1 in some riding predictions) shows you how bad of a night it was for the party, now without official party status in the legislature.  There will need to be some reflection done; some cleaning house and bringing in new people is needed. Perhaps no one who was leader could have prevented a defeat last night after being in power for 15 years, but the damage done could have perhaps been lessened, and the campaign strategy a lot different.

– Congrats to the Green Party, who elected their first ever MP to the legislature from Guelph (my old alma mater), their leader Mike Schreiner.  We again see parallels to the 2011 Federal Election; The Green Party gets their leader elected; a historic election where they elect a candidate to the Legislature/Parliament. when ironically, as back in 2011, a government is elected with a very hostile attitude to the environment or environmental policy. I believe Mr. Schreiner will have plenty of opportunities to call out the new Ford government on this.

What now?

Well, we will now see what Ford and his party were not prepared to show in the election campaign; how they intend to pay for all their promises – which if implemented will grow the deficit a lot larger then what the NDP or Liberal platforms would have.

We’ll also not be done with the complaints over stuff like the 407 data breach, where apparently up to a quarter of the PC Party’s candidates are being investigated, and a lot of other things.   Doug Ford may not be exactly Trump, but he governs and campaigns like him and isn’t too concerned over such trivial things as policy or norms.  I think unless his “team” moderates his behaviour and impulses, you’re going to see a circus in Queens Park – maybe not the 3-ring circus as in the White House, but still a bit of a soap opera.

In closing, I leave you with this quote that got posted by Adam Goldenberg, who has worked on campaigns over the years:

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” — H. L. Mencken

Buckle up everyone.

 

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State of the Ontario Election Campaign

With around 2 weeks to go, Ontario voters are beginning to look more carefully and thinking a lot harder about whether they really want a Doug Ford led provincial government.  Some hard questions are now being asked about the promises Doug Ford has made and whether they actually will save Ontario  money (the answer appears to be no). Ford and the PCPO  also have some controversies popping up that have caught people’s attention.

That has led to some polls that shows the NDP and Andrea Horwath are suddenly being looked to as the  alternate “agents of change” in this election. It appears that progressive voters who are upset with the Liberals after 15 years in power and moderates who normally vote PCPO but are rather turned off by a Doug Ford led party are switching to the Ontario NDP, if these polls are an accurate barometer. We will of course have to see if other polls detect this trend or not.

Unfortunately for the Ontario Liberal Party,  their support is suffering as a result. They appear mired in the low 20’s in multiple polls, and the optics of Premier Wynne visiting and re-visiting ridings where the Liberals won by double digits in the last election (supposedly “safe” Liberal seats),  gives the perception the OLP is in survival mode of trying to keep their core seats.   I honestly believe that Wynne has suffered from the baggage of being in power for 15 years. If the government under her tenure had accomplished all that it – and she – did in its first term, rather then heading into its 15th year in power, she would probably be winning this election easily – even with the Hydro One decision being as unpopular as it was/is. I have a lot of political friends who are activists in the OLP who are doing their best to try and turn things around, but barring a major turn-around, the tide of change  appears to be too strong.

As it stands, the last Ontario Leaders Debate in the next week becomes unexpectedly crucial. Look for Horwath to be under double attacks from Ford (to try and get back his party’s flagging momentum) and Wynne (to try and stop progressives and soft Liberal voters bleeding any further to the NDP).  Look for attacks on NDP candidates and costing issues.

If Horwath can weather that storm (and she is able to effectively counter those attacks) that might be the clincher for her and the NDP.

(May I also state that if Christine Elliot or even Caroline Mulroney were PCPO leader right now. .they’d be winning this election in a walk)

 

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The Ontario Regressive Conservative Party.

Voters eventually get tired of governments, and the Liberals have been in power for a long time; combine that with a particularly questionable policy decision on partially privatizing Ontario Hydro which dramatically increased Hydro bills. The government’s attempts to subsidize some of the bill’s costs to consumers did not particularly assuage anger over the original move – and many voters are looking for change. I get that voter sentiment is such in Ontario that the current Ontario Liberal government is in serious danger.

That said, Ontario voters need to carefully look at their choices come the June election – and in particular look at whether they really want a Doug Ford government in power that’s beholden to the social conservatives led by Tanya Granic Allen – whose support (and her supporters support) led to Doug Ford’s capturing the PC Party Leadership.

Allen’s views are about as regressive as they come. She appears to be anti-Muslim, anti-gay, and anti-renewable energy/possible climate change denier. She supports turning back the clock on Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum to somewhere circa the 1950’s (as does Ford). It is not just Allen either that should concern voters. There are other candidates running for the Conservative Party that have equally questionable views.

Rest assured if the Ford-led Conservatives (forget the “progressive” part in this party) are elected, they will attempt to implement policies I honestly believe the majority of Ontarions would not agree with. Be also assured that if Allen managed to get elected and the Conservatives won, she would be likely given a cabinet post.

Ontario voters may be angry and may want a change in government, but they need to seriously look at whether they really want these Regressive Conservatives as the replacements.

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Q&A with Christina Monroe – running for LPC Party Secretary

The Liberal Party National Convention is being held in Halifax starting this Thursday. It will pass policy resolutions and hold elections for positions within the Liberal Party Board of Directors. One of these is Liberal Party National Secretary. This position (and many others on the BOD) are open due to the incumbents being “termed out”. The LPC BOD’s rules state that members may serve up to 2 consecutive terms (2 year terms) but no more – so they’re like the US President. They have term limits. 🙂

The job used to be called Liberal Party National Membership Secretary. The basic function of the LPC Party Secretary is to be responsible for all Registered Liberals – ie. ensuring Liberal EDA/PTB boards have meetings, making sure the Liberal constitution is followed, and so forth.

One of the candidates for Liberal Party National Secretary is Christina Monroe – you can find her candidate bios at her website. She took some time to answer a few questions I had to her regarding her candidacy and the position she is running for.

Continue reading Q&A with Christina Monroe – running for LPC Party Secretary

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