Even With Fewer Seats, Justin Trudeau Should Try To Form Minority: Elizabeth May

 

Image result for elizabeth mayGreen Party Leader Elizabeth May says not enough is being done to tackle climate change, and the future is at risk if that doesn’t change.(Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Elizabeth May has high hopes for the 2019 federal election.

OTTAWA —  If the 2019 election ends up in a minority situation but the Tories have the most seats, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May thinks the Liberal government should try to form a new  government with support from other parties.

In an interview with HuffPost Canada’s politics podcast ‘Follow-Up,’ May said that if the campaign results in a hung Parliament, “yes, of course” the party in power should try to convince the governor general that they can hold the confidence of the House.

“We’re now up to 17 elected Greens across Canada. And that’s pretty cool.”

May thinks the party’s support is due in part to the public’s increasing concern over climate change but also to “a general disillusionment with the idea that any of the old three parties tend to disappoint and will say one thing in an election and something else afterwards.”

“I don’t think that, you know, adherence to ignorance is really something that encourages voters to support you.”
—Elizabeth May

She remains concerned that support for her party could swing back to the Liberals or the NDP during a campaign when voters are told a vote for the Green candidate would indirectly help elect a Conservative member. But she’s hopeful “fear factor voting” has prompted enough voter remorse that Canadians will feel free to vote for candidates they believe in.

What’s more, May said, is that while Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer may represent the same policies as former prime minister Stephen Harper, he is less polarizing a figure. Not that she thinks he should become prime minister. She calls him “unfit to govern” due to his position on climate change. MORE

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The war on women is still on

 

Planned Parenthood rally. Photo: American Life League/Flickr

On Wednesday, in the wake of the majority vote by 25 white Republican men in the senate of one of the most impoverished states in the U.S., #AlabamaAbortionBan was trending both south and north of the Canadian border. Also trending, #Talabama.

That’s because the Alabama abortion ban is one of the most draconian revocations of women’s rights since women won the vote, a ban that would force even 11-year-old victims of rape and incest to carry to term.

As for Ontario Premier Doug Ford, he just couldn’t deal with the topic. He ducked NDP MPP France Gélinas during question period by tapping one of his ministers, who also dodged the question by talking about — what else? — the “job-killing, regressive carbon tax.”

Later, Ford’s office issued a statement saying “the government will not re-open the abortion debate.”

Yet.

Meantime, in Alberta, Jason Kenney got the blessing of anti-choice groups in his successful run for the premier’s post. And, although he too has said he won’t re-open the debate, recall that he was the founder of the “Pro-Life Caucus” on Parliament Hill. What’s more, he appointed Adriana LaGrange, the former president of Red Deer Pro-Life, as his education minister.

So the war on women is still on and my side is still losing.

We don’t have equal pay. Lawmakers are trying to strip us of the right to control our bodies. And, when we do make babies, we have little access to safe and affordable child care. It’s no wonder there are so many struggling single mothers and children who go hungry — in Canada, in 2019.

It’s obvious, let women work and everybody profits, and that includes government coffers via taxation. It’s been proven in Quebec.

But in Ontario, Ford has cut child-care centres’ general operating funding, which helps pay child-care workers, by $40 million. He has also slashed the capital funding portion, which is used to build new centres, by $93 million, leaving only $10 million in the kitty. That’s a full-frontal assault on women’s rights, and a short-sighted one as well.

This week, Oxfam Canada urged federal parties to put publicly funded child care on the ballot. Citing a 2017 International Monetary Fund study, Oxfam reported that a 40 per cent reduction in child-care costs would result in 150,000 highly educated stay-at-home mothers entering the workforce. This would increase Canada’s GDP by two percentage points, or $8 billion a year.

But there’s little chance this will happen, even in another “feminist” Justin Trudeau government. (Remember years and years of child-care promises by the federal Liberals in the ’90s?) But at least Trudeau openly stands firm on abortion rights.

As for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, there’s no chance at all. In fact, given his “pro-life” beliefs, even abortion rights are at risk. In Canada, the war on women is escalating, but slowly and stealthily, as Conservative governments form majorities across the country. MORE

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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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Conservatives embrace populism, rage at Trudeau, talk separation at annual gathering


Danielle Smith, a former Alberta MLA for the Wildrose Party and Progressive Conservative Party and now a Global News Radio host, shakes hands with Ontario Premier Doug Ford on March 23 in Ottawa. Photo by Kamara Morozuk

Two or three decades ago, Preston Manning’s Reform Party was seen as embodying a right-wing populist movement in Western Canada that advocated for shrinking government by cutting social welfare and culture programming.

Lately, however, right-wing populism has been associated with the nationalist, anti-immigrant and authoritarian tendencies of leaders like U.S. President Donald Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Concern about keeping climate change in check less vocal than concern about maintaining a prosperous oil industry, @ottawacarl reports from the Manning Networking Conference, an annual conservative meetup.

Conservative leaders Jason Kenney of the Alberta United Conservative Party and Andrew Scheer of the federal Conservative Party have also been accused lately of being too tolerant of white nationalism.

None of that, however, stopped the conservative leader of Canada’s most populous province from grasping the mantle of populism during an appearance on stage Saturday at the Manning Networking Conference, an annual right-of-centre gathering in Ottawa.

“If you want to call me a populist, sure. But I call it listening. Listening to the people. Not the full-time protesters, not the activists,” said Ford, who received a standing ovation. MORE

Canada’s official Opposition lacks the climate plan to govern


Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, pictured here in Ottawa on Dec. 6, 2018, has not released a climate plan. Photo by Alex Tétreault

We are at a critical juncture in our country’s history.

In the years to come, our children and grandchildren will ask us how our generation’s leaders could be so short-sighted, so selfish, as to spout the rhetoric of climate leadership, reconciliation, and even economic prosperity to the public, knowing full well that they were condemning future generations to a planet with crumbling life support systems.

“Failures of the current federal government notwithstanding, let us be clear: the official Opposition lacks the climate plan to govern.” writes @ColtonKasteel

Failures of the current federal government notwithstanding, let us be clear: the official Opposition lacks the climate plan to govern. Opposition politicians vaguely acknowledge the realities of climate change, yet advocate for corporate-friendly policies that large industrial emitters would have been hard-pressed to write themselves. These members of Parliament claim to accept the realities and urgency of the climate crisis, yet pander to extremist and uninformed views out of some misguided and dated sense of party/doctrinal devotion. Ottawa has been populated with MPs who offer no credible solutions to our climate challenges and do little except recite their favoured ideology.

Politicians who capitalize on public frustration by masking their agendas in ‘for the people’ rhetoric may pretend to care about Canadians, but in reality they rely on spurious statements and scapegoating tactics. Their refutation of carbon taxation combined with a dedication to ideologies of neo-liberalism and free market economics are entirely incongruous. Market-based solutions are, after all, rooted in conservative ideology. Peer-reviewed research has shown time and time again that this policy offers the lowest-cost method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The only alternatives would be to impose direct regulations on emitters and households, or do nothing to mitigate climate change; both of which will cost taxpayers far more than a carbon price. MORE

LANA PAYNE: The Conservatives have a racism problem

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, March 28. — CP file photo
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer – Canadian Press

No one should be surprised that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is playing footsie with racists and refusing to condemn acts of hate and threats of violence.

His social media feed contains an endless litany of hate-coded messages, inaccuracies and sometimes downright lies. His party’s infinite attack against asylum seekers is just one of the ways they are stoking xenophobic fears.

It’s the latest political trend for conservatives across the world. History shows it is nothing new.

Too often racialized people are exploited as scapegoats when incompetent and ineffective politicians are unable or unwilling to do anything to fix challenging economic and societal problems. Blame the victims, the vulnerable, the exploited, the newcomer, Indigenous people. Too many politicians have had success based on this nasty recipe.

It’s much easier apparently to blame the newcomer than do something about rising inequality and wealth concentration or tackle climate change.

It is also dangerous. You may win an election, but in the end all you have achieved is a divided nation, divided by hate rather than united by the possible, by friendship and compassion.

There are so many issues crying out for a good debate in this country. The state of homelessness and affordable housing; the lack of affordable childcare; the rising costs of post-secondary education; the impact artificial intelligence and automation will have on the future labour market; how we can best meet the needs of an aging population; or the shift towards a greener economy and a truly just transition for workers; democratic reform. Pick one. Pick another.

ndeed, from all appearances he has had no trouble cavorting and courting with Yellow Vests or appearing on a stage with white nationalists and smiling through it all as if he was attending a potluck at the local Legion hall.

He has refused to denounce the Yellow Vest elements within the United We Roll group who have accused the prime minister of treason, called for violence against Justin Trudeau and who have been spewing hate and violence against immigrants. He has refused to condemn statements by one of his own Senators who asked the truckers participating in the United We Roll rally to “roll over every Liberal left in the country.”

This is a matter of character. And Andrew Scheer has obviously decided that lining up with racists is preferable to finding some political courage and condemning the indefensible. MORE

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