Wilson-Raybould rejects criticisms she may have helped Conservatives win the next election

https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/5138977/
WATCH ABOVE: An extended walk and talk with former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould rejects the idea that by raising concerns about the SNC-Lavalin scandal, she may have helped boost Conservative prospects in the fall election campaign.

In an interview with the West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, the now-independent MP for Vancouver-Granville said that while she understands concerns from her former caucus about how the scandal will impact their re-election chances, she thinks that is beside the point at the heart of the controversy.

READ MORE: Wilson-Raybould says anonymous leaks ‘trampling all over’ the confidences she still vows to uphold

“I don’t see myself as helping Andrew Scheer win the next election.,” she said, speaking from her Vancouver-area riding.

“I spoke my truth, I stood up for what was right and my belief in the institutions of our democracy and the necessary nature of those institutions remaining independent and upholding the rule of law … if politics ever overtakes the right thing to do, then we’ve lost already.”

WATCH: Video coverage of The West Block’s exclusive interview with Jody Wilson-Raybould

https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/5138974/

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Trudeau threatens Scheer with lawsuit over SNC-Lavalin comments

PM’s lawyer sent letter to Opposition leader about remarks made concerning the SNC-Lavalin matter


Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he stands by his criticisms of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after receiving a lawyer’s letter threatening a lawsuit. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has received a lawsuit threat from the prime minister regarding comments he made about the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Scheer says he received a letter from Justin Trudeau’s lawyer on March 31.

The letter from Trudeau’s lawyer Julian Porter took issue with what they term inappropriate comments in a statement made by Scheer on March 29 in response to new documents tabled in the justice committee from former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould.

“The statement contained highly defamatory comments about Prime Minister Trudeau,” it reads.

Trudeau has been under fire for the last two months over allegations that there was pressure on Wilson-Raybould to interfere in criminal proceedings against Quebec construction giant SNC-Lavalin. In an appearance before the House justice committee, she said top government officials asked her to help ensure a special legal deal was extended to the company.

She later provided emails, a written statement and a taped recording to the committee. MORE

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Scheer says PM’s lawyer threatened him with libel suit over SNC-Lavalin affair

Andrew Coyne: The real scandal in the Lavalin affair is Trudeau’s attempts to pretend it’s not a scandal

The real scandal is the determined — and, it would appear, largely successful — campaign on the part of the prime minister and his officials to normalize their conduct


In this file photo taken on March 07, 2019 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media at the national press gallery in Ottawa, Ontario.Lars Hagberg / AFP

Where is the scandal here, ask the worldly-wise? No money changed hands, no crimes were committed, not even a whiff of sex. When it comes down to it, isn’t this all just a disagreement between a couple of cabinet ministers?

This is the scandal in the SNC-Lavalin affair. It isn’t just that the prime minister and a phalanx of other senior government officials — including his principal secretary, Gerry Butts, his chief of staff, Katie Telford, and the clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick — quietly tried to derail the prosecution of a company with a long history of corruption and an even longer history of donating to the Liberal party; that they pressured the former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to have prosecutors drop charges of fraud and corruption against the company in favour of a “remediation agreement” for which it had already been deemed ineligible; or that they did so, by the former attorney general’s account, for explicitly partisan reasons.

It isn’t that the crimes of which the company is accused — bribing officials in the bestial Gaddhafi regime in Libya, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars — makes this one of the most serious cases of alleged corporate corruption in Canadian history; or that the case is regarded as an important test of Canada’s willingness to prosecute companies alleged to have engaged in corruption overseas, as a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials, after years in which we were regarded as international scofflaws.

It isn’t that the legislation providing for remediation agreements — also known as deferred prosecution agreements, they are a kind of plea bargain wherein a company admits guilt, pays a fine and restitution, but avoids a criminal conviction — had only just been passed, tucked deep inside an omnibus bill, in response to a massive public and private lobbying campaign by SNC-Lavalin; or that, when the director of Public Prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, declined to offer the company the escape hatch it had spent so much money to obtain, it mounted yet another furious lobbying campaign to have her decision overturned.

It isn’t normal. More, it must not become normal

It isn’t that when caught Justin Trudeau and his people lied about it (“the allegations are false”); that when they were done lying about it stonewalled, deflected and obfuscated; that they repeatedly smeared, or encouraged others to smear, both the former attorney general and the former Treasury Board president, Jane Philpott, who resigned from cabinet rather than participate in this sordid campaign; that they muzzled both women by selective application of solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality, even as they ignored these constraints themselves; that they shut down two parliamentary committees rather than hear all the evidence from these and other relevant witnesses; and that after all this, when there was nothing to be achieved by it but sheer humiliation, kicked them both out of caucus.

No, the real scandal is the determined — and, it would appear, largely successful — campaign on the part of the prime minister and his officials to normalize their conduct: as if monkeying around with criminal prosecutions was all part of the usual give and take of cabinet government, or at worst a misunderstanding between people who “experienced situations differently.” MORE

 

Here’s what the carbon tax means for you

The federal carbon tax is now in effect in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick. The tax increases the cost of fossil fuels in order to reduce consumption, thus lowering Canada’s carbon emissions.

Many Canadians are confused about the carbon tax and how it will affect them. Here are some answers to common questions about this new tax.

What is a carbon tax?

A carbon tax is a levy applied to fossil fuels based on how much carbon dioxide they release when burned.

Coal, for example, releases more carbon pollution than natural gas to produce the same amount of energy. The federal carbon tax will raise the price of coal more than the price of natural gas.

The carbon tax doesn’t apply to hydroelectricity and other energy sources that don’t release any carbon pollution.

Why is the tax being applied in only four provinces?

The federal and provincial governments (with the exception of Saskatchewan) previously agreed to establish a consistent Canada-wide price on carbon pollution. The agreement gave provinces flexibility to devise their own policies, as long as they covered the same sources at the same carbon price. If they didn’t, the federal government would step in.

In 2018, all provinces satisfied the federal government’s conditions except for Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, where the federal “backstop” carbon tax is being applied. MORE

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Is Alberta’s carbon tax working? Take a look for yourself

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‘This is a wake-up call’: swift action needed on rising seas, experts say

Waves pound the shore on a closed section of Highway 207 in Lawrencetown, N.S. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.Waves pound the shore on a closed section of Highway 207 in Lawrencetown, N.S. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Worrying figures released this week on the rising seas in Atlantic Canada should prompt governments and citizens to move more swiftly to protect coastal buildings and vital transport links, say flooding experts.

Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo, said in an interview Friday that projections of 75 centimetres to one metre of relative sea level rise for the East Coast by the end of the century are “a wake up call and a call to arms.”

He was reacting to Chapter 7 of Canada’s Changing Climate Report, which includes a survey of federal science on sea level rise under various emissions scenarios developed by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Feltmate points to the study’s predictions for quadrupling of flooding along the Halifax waterfront as sea levels rise 20 centimetres over current levels by mid century.

Blair Greenan, a federal oceanographer who oversaw the oceans chapter of the report, said in an interview that without any adaptation measures, flooding during Halifax storms will be noticeable in just a decade as relative sea level goes up about 10 centimetres.

“It will probably have doubled,” he said during an interview. “It is an important point that southern Atlantic Canada is the highest risk area in Canada for sea level rise.”

MORE

RELATED:

https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/3252474/
The federal study also highlights the vulnerability of the Chignecto Isthmus – a low-lying, 20-kilometre band of land which joins Nova Scotia to New Brunswick, said Feltmate.

Trudeau blasted in House over handling of N.S. natural gas project

Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw woman says government ‘continues to oppress our people’ on Alton Gas project


Hannah Martin, a member of Nova Scotia’s Millbrook First Nation, asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the controversial Alton Gas project in her home province during the Daughters of the Vote event in Ottawa. (CBC)

A Mi’kmaw woman from Nova Scotia criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government’s handling of a controversial natural gas project at an event Wednesday on Parliament Hill.

Alton Gas plans to store natural gas in underground caverns located north of Halifax at Fort Ellis. The company plans to pump water from the Shubenacadie River to an underground site 12 kilometres away, where it will be used to flush out salt deposits and create up to 15 caverns.

The leftover brine solution would then be pumped back into the river over two or three years.

“I’m here to condemn the behaviour of the Canadian government, who continues to oppress our people and to oppress our grandmothers who are on the [Shubenacadie] River, living according to our traditional ways of life as Mi’kmaw people,” said Hannah Martin, who is originally from Tatamagouche, N.S., and a member of Millbrook First Nation.

Protesters have gathered at the site for several years, arguing that the plan poses dangers to the traditional fisheries of the Mi’kmaq and risks harming the river used by Indigenous populations for thousands of years.  MORE

Montrealers take to the streets to protest Quebec’s proposed religious symbols ban

Bill 21 would ban some public employees from wearing symbols of their faith


Thousands of people gathered in downtown Montreal on Sunday to protest Quebec’s proposed Bill 21. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Thousands of protesters gathered in downtown Montreal on Sunday afternoon to protest the Quebec government’s Bill 21 — proposed legislation that would ban some public employees from wearing symbols of their faith.

“Quebec is not France, long live the difference!” protesters chanted in French while clapping their hands and cheering.

Protesters gathered next to the Berri-UQAM Metro station before marching down René-Lévesque Boulevard.

Image result for quebec bill 21 protest
People hold up signs as they march during a demonstration in Montreal, Sunday, in opposition to the Quebec government’s newly tabled Bill 21. – Graham Hughes , The Canadian Press

Sunday’s protest is the latest of several events organized since the bill was tabled in late March. Many community and political groups have voiced opposition to the bill, saying it will reduce religious freedoms in the province. MORE

Are we really okay with Jason Kenney?

Jen Gerson: The UCP is supposed to win back this conservative province. But it’s becoming clear that more and more Albertans are uneasy with what the party represents


Kenney speaks to the media after the 2019 Alberta Leaders Debate in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday, April 4, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan)

Since the writ has dropped, I have been slow to write about what has become a clear and malignant “bozo eruption” problem within the United Conservative Party. Other media outlets and columnists are already offering reporting and insight into the numerous examples of UCP candidates who have publicly offered dodgy, racist, or homophobic comments in various fora. UCP leader Jason Kenney appears to have promptly dropped every problematic candidate and nominee to date.

But Jason Kenney’s disastrous interview with radio talk show host Charles Adler on Wednesday night was uncomfortable, and even disturbing to listen to. It warrants dissection.

Kenney’s vow to dump bozos seemed to last only until he found a bozo he couldn’t eject after the deadline to replace him had passed; the leader has decided to stand behind Mark Smith after an extensive sermon was released in which he questioned whether homosexual love was “good love,” obliquely comparing it to pedophilia. MORE

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What happened when Oslo decided to make its downtown basically car-free?

It was a huge success: Parking spots are now bike lanes, transit is fast and easy, and the streets (and local businesses) are full of people.


[Photo: Åsmund Holien Mo/Urban Sharing]

If you decide to drive in downtown Oslo, be forewarned: You won’t be able to park on the street. By the beginning of this year, the city finished removing more than 700 parking spots–replacing them with bike lanes, plants, tiny parks, and benches–as a major step toward a vision of a car-free city center.

Without those parking spots, and with cars banned completely on some streets, few people are driving in the area. “There are basically no cars,” says Axel Bentsen, CEO of Urban Sharing, the company that runs Oslo City Bike, the local bike-share system. The city’s changes are designed, in part, to help improve air quality and fight climate change, but the difference in the quality of life is more immediate. “The city feels different faster than you can feel the difference in [cleaner air],” he says. “You can see that you’re actually reclaiming the space and can use it for other purposes than parking cars.”

Oslo first pedestrianized some streets in the city center in the 1970s, and invested heavily in public transportation in the 1980s. In 2015, when a progressive political coalition came to power in the city council, they started planning a more significant transformation. At first, they called for a full ban on cars because the majority of residents in the city center didn’t drive. But when business owners objected, worried that they’d lose customers and have problems with deliveries, the government changed focus to remove parking spots–a slightly more gradual approach. For now, there are still parking garages on the periphery of the center. MORE

COULD A GREEN NEW DEAL MAKE US HAPPIER PEOPLE?


Photo illustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept, Getty Images

FOR AS LONG as climate change has been a part of America’s national consciousness, it’s been talked about in dire terms, evoking images of some hellish, Mad Max-style dystopia. The title and much of the content of David Wallace-Wells’s recent book is a variation on the same theme, stirring up hundreds of pages of images worth of an “Uninhabitable Earth” to make the case that the conversation has not been dire enough.

In describing the nature of the problem, drastic terms are of course necessary. Annihilation looms, and the chaos it threatens to bring about — stronger storms, more fearsome floods, unbearable heat — is truly the stuff of nightmares. But the apocalyptic framing of the problem has also shaped how we talk about solutions to it. From carbon taxes to consumption cuts, climate policy has long been framed as an issue of stiff-lipped sacrifice: What will we have to give up to save our skins? The right takes this characterization to extremes, accusing climate hawks of wanting to ban cars and hamburgers and throw civilization back into the Dark Ages.

While its critics like to pretend otherwise, the Green New Deal — an economy-wide mobilization to decarbonize the United States as soon as possible — turns that question on its head, asking instead where we need to invest society’s vast resources.

But could a plan to curb emissions also make us happier? Could the things we cut back also be the things that make us miserable?

A growing body of research, though, points to some more unexpected reasons why a Green New Deal could make us more cheerful.

If you buy scientists’ claims that an economy-wide mobilization is the only thing that can stave off full-blown catastrophe, there are some obvious reasons to believe that a Green New Deal — the only call for that on the table — will make us happy, at least in the long run. Averting civilizational collapse, that is, is a happier outcome than the alternative. Provisions like a federal job guarantee, improved public transportation, and reining in pollution could improve millions of lives in the shorter term. A growing body of research, though, points to some more unexpected reasons why a Green New Deal could make us more cheerful. MORE