Tag Archives: Justin Trudeau

Sometimes the view from the front row is…meh

Empty Seats

You can give me front row seats for an Elton John show, a performance at the Stratford Festival and a seat in the first rows along the 1stor 3rdbaselines at a Toronto Blue Jays game.

I have a front row seat, not to be confused with a front bench seat, every day for Parliament in Ottawa.  For most of my two years on Parliament Hill the words, the shouting and innuendos from the benches have meant nothing to me, but just part of the theatrics of question period.  Recently something changed, and not in a good way – the tone has changed from the government side.

Up until MPs returned from a two week break in April what happened in the house was pretty predictable.  For the last two weeks the government has been particularly spiteful when answering a question from the Opposition Conservatives. It reached a new low on Wednesday (the 25th) on the occasion of Prime Minister’s day in Question period.  I don’t know what got into the Prime Minister; maybe he was still fired up from the Liberal convention the previous weekend.  You might have seen this video produced by the Conservative Party and posted on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cpcpcc/videos/10156311860774204/, it has a few clips from the Liberal where Justin Trudeau thinks he is still campaigning against Stephen Harper.

TrudeauIt is more than that, on that particular day, the TV in my office almost flew out the window (with a little bit of help) because of Trudeau’s angry and spiteful answers during question period.  Most of the controversy revolved around the discovery that the Canada Summer Jobs was funding jobs to protest and disrupt the Trans mountain pipeline.  This is controversial because the Liberals prevented many good organizations from receiving jobs funding because they don’t agree with the Liberal values attestation.

Back to question period, of the 22 questions asked to the Prime Minister, Trudeau responded 11 times using the phrase “Harper Conservatives” or named Stephen Harper.  If I think back to that recent Liberal convention I would have to imagine that Trudeau thought he was still talking to his Liberal base only this time in the House of Commons.  He probably was, why else would be invoked the name of Harper if Trudeau had to use the trump card he thinks has with Canadians.  It worked in the 2015 election when Canadians were looking for someone else that Stephen Harper.

In 2018, he could only be naming Harper as much as he had in the House because he needs a distraction from pipelines, the cost of a carbon tax on Canadians and the fallout of the Canada Summer Jobs program. He is daring everyone to remember Harper and have them forget his shortcomings. Watching Trudeau that day, it wasn’t what Trudeau said, but the how he said it.  I cannot put into words the anger and spite in how the Prime Minister’s the words came out.  It was not like anything I have heard before, even worse than I heard Kathleen Wynne resurrect the history of Mike Harris in Queens Park.  I cannot put into words that do justice to describe the smugness of the Trudeau grin, the extreme spite of his words and daggers in Trudeau’s eyes in his efforts to deflect from his government’s problems to a Prime Minister he hopes Canadians still like less than him. I will not forget it.

It was during Question Period on that day that Trudeau showed his true self, most Canadians won’t see it, most Canadians will not even know it happened because it is just 50 minutes out of a day of 24 hours. As Trudeau and his team are forced to defend their inactions, lack of success and poor judgement expect to hear more of Stephen Harper after all the 2019 election is only 541 days away.  Trudeau has learned well that it’s easier to campaign using the name of a person who is not running (Harper) than it is to face your true opponent (Scheer).

So call this a promise kept, doing politics differently, because I do not remember any other Prime Minister acting out like a spoiled little boy as Trudeau did this week and blaming it on someone else. For that, this is one front row I prefer to watch from afar, or on mute.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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Apologies to Chris de Burgh

Liberals in Red

Trudeau and Wynne are fading away, on Election Day

81% here, want Wynne to go awayDon’t touch the hard drives

Everyone knows Hydro rates are way too high

All Ontario wants is for Wynne to say bye-bye

The past seven days have been monumental for Liberals, or rather against them. Two8600113
polls have come out that indicated the Liberals are in trouble. The first poll, a national poll indicated that only 33% of Canadians would vote for Justin Trudeau, putting him back in the seats of the opposition. The poll had 38% of Canadians voting the Conservatives back into government. Even more striking is that in Ontario that same Ipsos – Global News Poll had the Conservatives grabbing 43% of the voter preference. Ontario is the key for any party to sit on the government side in Ontario.

Still in Ontario, a  Toronto Sun Poll says that 81% of Ontario voters do not want Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals in government. The poll showed that 44% of Ontarians would vote for the Ontario PC Party, 24% support the Ontario NDP. Only 19% support Kathleen Wynne. These are astounding numbers and may have a dramatic effect on ridings that normally are never considered in play for either of the current opposition parties. These are numbers that turn the red seats blue in South Western Ontario and Eastern Ontario. These numbers turn Liberals seats in Toronto to a toss up. For purposes here, I’d like to look at two ridings in Ottawa; Ottawa Centre and Ottawa Vanier.

For the Liberals, the two ridings are tales of two candidates. One that is strong and possibly the next leader of the Ontario Liberals, the other won in by election little more than 2 years ago by a less than strong candidate.

In Ottawa Vanier, in 2014, the Liberals had a 33% cushion on PC Martin Forget and in the 2016 by election that cushion dropped 19%. By election results showed erosion by the Liberals to the Ontario PC’s. NDP support remained steady between 2014 and 2016. The Sun poll, if it holds, is a sign that even a virtual stronghold like Ottawa Vanier is now a possible gain for the Tories. Under Madeleine Meilleur the riding would stay Liberal. With MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers campaigning for Wynne, Ottawa Vanier is no longer a liberal guarantee.

Onto Ottawa Centre, where I ran twice for the Ontario PC Party. Reading these poll results makes a two-time candidate like me almost giddy with the possibilities. In 2014 my team and I increased the PC vote to within striking distance of the NDP for second place in the riding.

Yasir Naqvi’s plurality in the riding is at risk based in these new polling results and in a best-case scenario, even puts his leadership bid at risk – if he cannot keep the riding. Why? In analysing poll results from 2014, the Liberals made gains on the left taking votes from the NDP. With the Liberals constantly moving left in policy, it’s going to be difficult for the Andrea Horwath to move to the right to capture back some of the vote they lost between 2011 and 2014.

With numbers like 81% and 44%, the Ontario PC Party has the chance to claim not only two ridings previously out of reach for generations, but also seats in Orleans, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell and Ottawa South.

Who gains? The PC vote? There’s a lot a room to have the Tories move left with a progressive platform while not forgetting our conservative values. A platform like the People’s Guarantee with a new leader will do just that.


Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

They’ll be back soon, what to look for in Queen’s Park and on Parliament Hill this fall Pt. 2

 

Last week, part one of this two part blog, focused on the return to Queen’s Park by Ontario’s MPP in the session that will be crazy busy as all parties start to position themselves for the June 2018 provincial election. In part two, a look at the return to Ottawa of MP’s as the Trudeau Liberals hit the halfway point in their mandate.

While a federal election won’t come before October 2019, there is positioning taking place. All three parties will start to think about that election as dynamics have changed. Gone is Rona Ambrose and in comes Andrew Scheer and the NDP start the midway session of the Liberal mandate without a permanent leader.

LPCLet’s begin with the government and what we might expect from the Liberals. First, we’ve been told there will be no proroguing this fall. Main reason is that recently announced new Governor General, Julie Payette, will not have been sworn in. We will have to wait until the New Year for a new speech from the throne. The Liberals will want to get the old speech and promises made in that speech, like electoral reform off the legislative books.   In the meantime, they have big legislation that needs to get through the house, the most important of which, will be the legalization of marijuana. Everyone will be watching to see what that Bill looks like and to what lengths the Bill will protect Canadians, especially young Canadians.

Trudeau and his team will have to continue to navigate through the Presidency of Donald Trump, especially now since NAFTA renegotiations have begun. How will Canada respond while Trump tweets about what he doesn’t like and what he expects to be in NAFTA2? The Liberals have given themselves some breathing space with the opposition by bringing onboard for advice and counsel, former PM Brian Mulroney and most recently with the NAFTA Advisory Council appointments of Conservatives Rona Ambrose, James Moore and former NDP Chief of Staff to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Brian Topp  – an all-star Team Canada approach to the negotiations. How this works out for the government is yet to be seen. It is going to be one of the biggest challenges the government will face leading to the 2019 election.

NDPStill to be determined is who will be leading the third party.  A new leader should be selected by the time the house comes back from its Thanksgiving break. Will it be the familiar face of either Nikki Ashton, Guy Caron or Charlie Angus? Will newcomer to the federal scene Jagmeet Singh be leading the NDP from the balcony of the House of Commons? The deadline for new memberships is August 17th, when those numbers are announced; just who might lead the NDP could be clearer. Until that happens, Tom Mulcair will remain in the front benches leading the NDP. What direction the NDP takes when Mulcair is gone will depend on who becomes leader. Until then, expect to see the NDP fight the fight as the third party and trying to remain part of the headlines until after the leadership is decided.

CPCAndrew Scheer had a few weeks as leader in June following his rise to the leadership in May at the federal leadership convention in Toronto before the House rose for the summer.  Last month Scheer took the first steps in defining what his leadership will look like with the forming of his leadership team, which includes Candice Bergen staying on as House Leader and Lisa Raitt, former leadership candidate, now taking her place beside him as Deputy Opposition Leader. Still to be come is the shuffling of his shadow cabinet and where he plans to place his leadership supporters, leadership opponents and the current members that have critic roles; this will help define an Scheer era of conservatives. With the Conservative caucus set to meet in Winnipeg the first week of September, hopefully the shuffle will take place before the end of August.

Will the Conservatives be an opposition party, or will they be a government in waiting. There is a difference in how strategy will be formed. As a government in waiting what will Scheer Conservatism look and sound like? It cannot be about using ‘elbow gate’ as a reason to show JT is still not ready, nor can they use foreign policy blunders as a means to expecting the world and Canada’s part in it to fall apart. Scheer will have to define what a Conservative government would do, what action would be taken? Will the Conservatives start to work the themes that Andrew Scheer brought up during the leadership? Will we see ideas from other leadership candidates creep into policy? How will the return of the Parliament shape how Canadians and the government see Andrew Scheer? These are going to be the biggest questions for the party to decide. I expect this upcoming session will be all about Scheer showing his teeth without showing his hand.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

 

How Trudeau blew his advantage 

Parliament rose for the summer on June 21, 2017. It was not the best of times for Justin Trudeau; it may have been the worst of times. It may have been the best of times he’ll have compared to what is coming up for him when the MP’s return to Ottawa on September 18, 2017. The reason? Andrew Scheer will be settled into his role as the leader of the Conservative opposition with a shadow cabinet he’ll select. A few weeks later after the return of the house, the NDP will also have a new leader in place to face off against Trudeau.

In my view the period leading from the election to the end of the current session of Parliament should have been clear sailing for the Liberals. They have the majority and what seems the platform the voters wanted and they had the good will of Canadians willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The biggest advantage the Liberals had for the 1st two years was that the leadership of the opposition parties in house at the start of the four-year mandate would not be the same when the election would come in 2019. Form the outset it seemed that there could be nothing to stop the Liberals. I don’t think they ever considered that they would be their own worst enemies.

Rather than get to work and pass the legislation they promised, what has Justin Trudeau done? They’ve backpedaled on their biggest election promise – election reform. The Liberals tried to change parliamentary procedure, not once but twice. Trudeau has been caught vacationing where he ought not to have, fundraised with rules he said on the campaign were unfair and transparent appointments turned to partisan nominations. All of this and more led to disruptions in the house by the opposition, extended attacks in Question Period, numerous votes to “have a speaker be heard”, endless amendments to government bills, filibusters in committee and motions that would take hours to vote on during midnight sittings in the House of Commons.

How could’ve all this happened? One word; underestimation. Trudeau and the Liberals underestimated that Rona Ambrose would rally and unite the Conservatives in opposition. Trudeau underestimated that Tom Mulcair would not go quietly.

While the Liberals underestimated the strength of the Conservatives, they returned to the opposition benches with 30+ new first time MPs who wouldn’t have the legacy of Stephan Harper to defend. The Liberals also got greedy; it caused them to ignore parliamentary tradition and try to ply their muscle at a time when it wasn’t needed. The muscle would be best saved for when both the NDP and Conservatives would be in the House with new leaders.

The first 199 sitting days of the Trudeau mandate were just the warm up for what is about to come. The Conservatives have Andrew Scheer honing his skills this summer as their leader and the NDP have five candidates vying to bring back the honour of Jack Layton (Read: Saving the House that Jack Built). Day 200 of Trudeau 2.0 will come September 18, 2017, that is the day that the real game of politics begins.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

 

Happy Cannabis Day

Pot FlagThe Trudeau Liberals checked off another box today from their 2015 election promises. Legislation was introduced to legalize the use of recreational marijuana.

In this bill, Trudeau is sitting pretty atop the pyramid of responsibility, he has the least to lose and the least to pay for an issue that in the Provincial Elections of 2011 and 2014 was not raised. Even during my short time campaigning municipally in 2010, this was not an election concern. In the federal campaigns of 2011 and 2015, I don’t recall legal marijuana being listed as a top concern in Ottawa Centre and other ridings, whether it was in Toronto or Ottawa that I helped a candidate in.

While the Liberals have the greatest to gain and the least to lose it’s the two lower tiers that will have to work the hardest to make the legislation work. This is legislation that as far as I can tell was not top of the page in Queens Park, Ottawa or Toronto City Hall or any other provincial legislature. As the responsibility drops, there’s more to lose. The cost of enforcement falls to municipal and provincial police forces; the provincial justice system has to try the cases. Distribution will flow through individual provincial manners much like alcohol and with different provincial policies for health and healthcare it just gets messier.

If the federal government really wanted to take control of legal pot – they could do it all alone using federal institutions that are currently in place. Let’s leave the Provinces and Municipalities out of it. It’s not unrealistic to think that the federal government could do this all on their own, with few exceptions.

Growth and production regulations for of cannabis and cannabis products would fall under the Health Canada, while the Canadian Food Inspection Agency would team up with Agriculture Canada to regulate the growth, collection and inspection of the efficacy and safety of the product going out to Canadians. Health Canada would be responsible for education on the use of pot and the awareness of its use’s effects.

The federal government can rely on Canada Post for distribution of the marijuana to customers, either through mail or in Canada Post outlets. This eliminates the need and legality of others owning the pot dispensaries.

Enforcement falls in to the laps of RCMP; the CBSA could be expanded to include the law’s enforcement and on federal lands (parks and Parliament Hill) wardens and Parliamentary Police Forces would pitch in. In some other cases other levels of policing could be contracted and invoice the federal government when arrests are made. These policing costs would merely be a line item in the larger legal marijuana budget. Criminal cases would be tried solely in federal courts and convictions to be served in federal penitentiaries.

The same concept works for the treatment of cases for marijuana related ambulatory trips to the ER’s, stays in hospitals etc., Provinces can bill the federal government and receive payment through healthcare transfers.

Through all of this, the beauty is that the federal government keeps all the money; there would be no need to share any of the revenue from the sale of the marijuana.

Does this scenario make it more difficult for people who want to smoke it get it? Maybe, but that’s not my issue, more importantly though it makes it simpler to know who is supposed to do what.  It would all fall on the federal government – no one to blame (or praise) for the success or failure of legalizing pot goes to any other level of government.

The bottom line is this; it’s easy to come up with an idea and tell someone else to take care of it. But courage is to take ownership, 100% ownership. In a 2017 Trudeau world, there is no room to take 100% ownership of any problem, there is always someone else.

Now what can we do to move the date of legalization away, far away from Canada Day?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

The Trudeau Revolution

 

18 months into the mandate, we are well into the Trudeau Revolution. We should have sensed a bit of this with the Prime Minister’s public admiration of Chinese ‘democracy’ and Cuba’s Fidel Castro. There were little wee signs of it from the beginning, perhaps to put a gloss over it all – but we are now into a full blown revolution that will change the shape of Canada.

After years of Conservatives and Liberals watching money and working towards a balanced budget after the First Prime Minister Trudeau. The 2nd Prime Minister Trudeau is determined to take us down the road a second time. The Trudeau Revolution has blown up the bank, in 2019 after the full four years of a Trudeau mandate 5 years of Trudeau budgets deficits will be $142B and the Federal Debt will be $755B. A debt of $1Trillion is in our sights and you might want to look away but when you look back it’s in the rear view mirror and it is approaching fast. While being handed a balanced budget in 2015, the Trudeau Revolution is now primed to have Canada having to work and wait for its next balanced budget until 2055.

But the Trudeau Revolution doesn’t stop at the dollar and the deficit.

The government has tried once to push a parliamentary procedure through, Motion 6 was introduced last May.   Motion 6 was designed to limit opposition debate and let a Minister of the government determine when a debate would end. It was withdrawn following protests from opposition parties and the battering the government took during Question Period on the motion.

From the ashes of the withdrawn Motion 6 has come, from Government House Bardish Chagger, her ‘thoughts’ on the modernization of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons – the rules on which Parliament operates. Billed by the House Leader as a discussion paper and left at that for now it would have been fine. What made this document part of the revolution was the motion in the House Affairs Procedure Committee from Liberal MP Scott Simms to have the committee study the paper and come back with which recommendations on what to present to the House to implement.

At the heart of the issue is a government that wants to use its majority to push through procedural changes, when as a majority it has the power to get its legislation passed. With the changes to the Standing Orders, now the government wants to be able to do that, with less interference from the opposition parties.

This is not the first time in the short history of the Trudeau government this has happened. Remember Electoral reform? At first the Bloc Quebecois and Green Party’s would not be represented on the special committee on Electoral reform, then they were. Then the Electoral Reform report came out and because it didn’t reflect the view of the Liberal’s then Minister Monsef stated that the committee had not done “the heavy lifting’. Translated, it meant that the committee did not unanimously endorse a ranked ballot system. What the majority of the committee did endorse was a proportional system that was still to be determined. The Liberals scrapped electoral reform saying Canadians no longer had an appetite for changes in how we votes, many voters cast their ballots for the Trudeau Revolution because of electoral reform promises.

The government now has this to worry about. The House Affairs Committee has been filibustering since MP Simms introduced the motion to study and report back. The filibustering was one reason for the delay in the release of the Budget by Minister Morneau. Other points of order (which take precedent over everything in the House of Commons) were raised that caused further delay including the distribution of copies of the Budget to Liberal MPs before the Minister started reading his budget speech. Liberal MPs were seen taking and posting photos of the budget and the opposition filibustering in the house, things that are not allowed.

The filibustering in committee will continue on April 3rd when the House returns from a constituency.

To be transparent the changes in Standing Orders cover how MP vote in the House, to how committees work the more controversial of having a Prime Minister’s Question Period once a week (the other days he can sleep in) and eliminating Friday sittings of the House.

Beyond Standing Orders, the Trudeau Revolution will also include the recently announced legalization of Marijuana. How deep the revolution goes is yet to be seen, but it is clear that like his father Trudeau 2.0 means to leave a deep stamp on Canada for better or for worse.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

130: This could be a Pivotal Day

I witnessed in the House of Commons a day that could be pivotal for both the Conservative Party and the government.

Yesterday the Conservatives and Leader Rona Ambrose had enough of Justin Trudeau, his Ministers and their canned responses to Question Period.

Let’s set the stage. Lakeland Alberta MP Shannon Stubbs asked the Prime Minister about the loss of 200 jobs with the closing of the Immigration Canada office in Vegreville Alberta. The government has said it will offer all 200 employees a position in the new Edmonton office over 100 kilometers and one hour away from their homes.

Take a look at the moment I think could redefine how the Conservatives can be seen as an effective oppositition and a government in waiting.

https://www.facebook.com/ronaambrose/videos/10154239910033525/

In an unplanned moment during Question Period, the effects of the Opposition Leader calling out the Prime Minister for not caring and not paying attention to questions directed at him could be huge. In the house Trudeau was called onto the carpet by the Vice-Principal for not caring, letting his Ministers do all his talking with talking points and nothing original to say since Election Day in 2015.

The Conservatives now have to hold the government to account for not only for their actions, but for how they communication to Canadians. The Conservatives must demand more from the government on messaging and information and if the government does not then it is back to woodshed and another episode like yesterday.

Two challenges the Conservatives must face are to keep the pressure on the government in the manner that was displayed by their Interim Leader. The second is much more difficult, whoever becomes the Conservative Leader MUST learn from days in the house like this. Decorum in the House is all fine and good, but letting the government get away with talking points, answers that don’t match or answer a question must end. The new leader must be prepared to make Trudeau accountable for the poor performance of his Ministers AND defend the respect deserved of members of the opposition in the manner demostrated by Rona Ambrose.

This moment in what should have been a routine question turned into a moment where the Conservatives might be able to say that they are energized to defeat Trudeau and the Liberals in 2019.

I hope that ALL Conservative Leadership candidates have seen the video from Question Period and everyone should use this as a lesson as to how to treat the Liberals with every single question – take no prisoners and take no answer that consists of talking points or does not even come close to what was asked.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.