Aug. 31, 2019
Aug. 22, 2019

The Oct. 21 federal election is now less than 60 days away and the outcome of this national vote may be something we have not seen before. That’s what national polls seem to be indicating when the final ballots are counted.

We always know we were getting either a Conservative government or a Liberal government with a few so-called fringe parties sprinkled in. 

Over the years we have had the CCF/NDP and even the national Social Credit Party along with various Quebec local parties. We never really took the smaller parties seriously except them to be the fly in the ointment when the government of the day got too comfortable. They were never really able to greatly influence any significant changes or legislation.

For the first time in living memory, voting for The NDP could see them in the driver’s seat, if the most recent polls are to be believed. Right now it appears nobody will be able to form a majority government, so will either have to rely on the “friendship” of one of those parties, or form a binding coalition. (We know all about that in B.C.)

Really all we can go on that this point, but less than two months from actually voting, is to look at the polls and try to determined which one is the most accurate. The Calculated Politics poll is an aggregation of all public polls in Canada. One thing they do show is what Ontario and Quebec do basically determines who will be in charges of the country. It’s turning out to be a dead heat at the present time. The Liberals are holding onto Ontario and Quebec, putting them in the driver’s seat regardless of what the rest of Canada does. Basically, it has always been that way. That’s the way this country leans – the east is Liberal, the west tends toward the Conservatives.

Recent largesse, via the Liberal gravy train, has been going top speed and they are not finished yet, greasing Quebecers’ palms in fine style. Within the past two weeks there was $1.3 billion for transit in Montreal plus another $50 million for a grand park in Montreal. Oh, there was also the $1.2 billion for Quebec City transit. They also announced a big chunk for helicopters at Comox, but that was actually a dressed up re-announcement of something they had promised earlier.

Based on the latest polling figures from today, the Conservatives have a miniscule lead over the Liberals, but within the margin or error it would be a tie or could switch either way. However, when those figures are translated into how many seats that would be, the Liberals have the lead at 163 seats compared to the Conservatives’ 135.

Here’s where it gets interesting. With about 14 per cent support nationally, the NDP could call the shots with the 26 seats they would get. They could prop up the Liberals with enough seats to form a majority coalition. It requires 170 seats to have a majority, and the projected 163 Liberals and 26 NDP would give them that. And there’s always the unknown factor with the Bloc Quebecois sitting at an expected 10 seats. The Green Party, with a projected four seats, is still a regional party based on Vancouver Island, still living in the comfort of knowing that Rome wasn’t built in a day. However, those four seats would double the number of Green MPs, a 100-per-cent increase.

When looked at from that angle, either the NDP or Bloc could play by supporting the party with the largest number of seats. Or they could reject a formal coalition and remain on the outside, being the tail that wags the dog. There’s much greater independence in living up to your principles by taking this approach. That would put NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and his MPs firmly in the spotlight.

The good part for pundits is that these figures will change from week to week, providing fresh grist for the mill. 

Aug. 19, 2019

Any fiddling with freedom of speech should be alarming to everyone, especially with a federal election campaign unofficially under way.

But Elections Canada has expressed the view that campaigning on any topic that is espoused by a political party makes you a partisan campaigner.

Discussing climate change during the coming federal campaign could be deemed partisan activity. An Elections Canada official has warned groups in a training session that because Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, has expressed doubts about the legitimacy of climate change claims, any group that promotes it as real or an emergency could be considered partisan, said Tim Gray, executive director of the advocacy group Environmental Defence.

Any partisan activity — including advertising, surveys, or any kind of campaign costing at least $500 — would require a charity to register as a third party for the election, an onerous requirement that could jeopardize a group’s charitable tax status, Gray said.

That may be good news for one side of the climate issue, but would shut down the alarmists spreading their religion to anyone would listens, and those who don’t. 

That should trigger many alarm bells – the policy could apply to virtually any issue that would be of public interest in the campaign, as long as a political party takes a stand on it.

A good example is federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh repeating his stance in opposition to pipelines. It’s not difficult to see how the above rule could be interpretted. If you favour pipelines and want to address the issue you have to register as a third party?

Or the federal Liberals’ stand on immigration – legal or otherwise. If you have a different view of the topic, would you or any group be shut out from commenting?

The regulation does apparently not apply to individual Canadians, but any organization or group spending $500 or more. Still, I am not ready to give up my right to freely campaign for or against any of the issues brought to the table by the parties. Whether to agree or disagree with the climate issue is my right as a citizen and I'm not prepared to give that up. My views on pipelines and any type of immigration are my rights as a Canadian citizen.

We can only hope this is a work in progress. If such regulation is truly in effect we don’t have free and open debate and discussion in the election. That is too much to give up.

 

Aug. 8, 2019

0808 - It’s always interesting to know how the other half lives, those who never have to worry about the next mortgage payment, have all the money and own just about everything in our daily lives. These people control not only our every-day lives, but in effect control how our country is governed, regardless of which party is temporarily and nominally in power at any one point.

And to think I played a role in the fortune of the richest man in Canada, David Thomson, from the early days when I worked for Thomson Newspapers. He’s listed at $46.3 billion – 27thrichest in the world.

Second richest on the list is Joseph Tsai of Alibaba Group with $13.3 billion, a retail operation similar to Amazon.

If you buy groceries you’ve helped Galen Weston become the third-richest person in Canada at $11.3 billion. He’s got his hand in Weston Foods. If that wasn’t enough of an income stream, Weston also heads up luxury goods retailers Holt Renfrew of Canada, Selfridges of the UK, Brown Thomas of Ireland, the De Bijenkorf department store chain in the Netherlands and the Ogilvy department store in Montreal. You know Weston Foods, the company that recently got millions from the federal government to replace refrigerations systems in their grocery stores.

Lovemoney.com has published a top-wo list of tycoons and what they control. It makes for interesting reading – https://www.lovemoney.com/gallerylist/64855/the-45-richest-canadians-and-how-they-made-their-fortunes

COMMENT - Editor@nanaimonet.com

 

 

Aug. 5, 2019

Aug. 5, 2019 – Another week, and more mass shootings in the United States. Now the airwaves are full of people fuelling exactly what creates mass murderers.

Mass shooters are mostly incited by politicians on both sides of the political fence spewing the hatred that mentally unstable people react to. Trump's vitriole, matched by the Democrats, is what keeps this going. Using trigger words like racist, hate, bigot, white supremacist is what tips off those who act on that. To an unstable mental state to them that often means a call to action. The politicians are all guilty.

In the two shootings on the weekend, one was a Trump fan reacting to the ongoing border dispute with Mexico. Although described as a registered Democrat, he supported Trump's constant border comments, finally taking matters into his own hands, gunning for Mexicans. He also posted about the degredation of the environment.

The Ohio shooter was reported to love the stance of Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and Antifa. Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spent the weekend inciting fragile people like that.

Instead of cleaning up their act they misdirect the discussion to gun control and the National Rifle Association. Their own constant hatred toward eachother is the real culprit. And even in the shadow of the latest home-grown terror, the vitriole only increased on the television news. Name-calling and the blame game is already priming the next shooter holed up somewhere in a dingy basement room with a computer, waiting for the right trigger words from them.

Will they learn? Not likely. It's always someone else's fault.

Also see John Feldsted. To comment, editor@nanaimonet.com

COMMENT editor@nanaimonet.com