Singh calls Trudeau’s withholding of SNC-Lavalin report ‘troubling’


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks at the 2019 Climate Caucus Summit in Vancouver, B.C., on Aug. 13, 2019. Photo by Stephanie Wood

Justin Trudeau has decided not to release a report by former Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan on the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Instead, the prime minister will wait until the federal ethics commissioner, Mario Dion, releases his report, expected in early September.

New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh called Trudeau’s decision a “cynical” and “troubling” move, in comments at an event in Vancouver on Aug. 13.

Singh told National Observer that Trudeau may be hoping to minimize the negative impact from Dion’s report by releasing McLellan’s at the same time. He also questioned the independence of the report, given that Trudeau’s government commissioned McLellan.

“The ethics commissioner is independent, and that report might be very scathing, and the timing to blunt the scathing report with one that’s paid for by the government is troubling,” he said.

National Observer requested comment from the Prime Minister’s Office but a spokesperson said they had nothing to add.

Trudeau’s withholding of McLellan’s SNC-Lavalin report ‘cynical’ and ‘troubling,’ says Jagmeet Singh.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trudeau revealed that the government had handed the report over to Dion. “We have provided that report to the ethics commissioner to allow the ethics commissioner to finish his own investigation,” he said when asked about the report at an event in Toronto.

“We will be releasing the report at the same time as the ethics commissioner makes his report public.”

The prime minister appointed McLellan in March to look into the SNC-Lavalin affair, and whether the roles of minister of justice and attorney general should be separated.

This issue became central after former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould said she was inappropriately pressured by the PMO to push a deferred prosecution for SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal engineering company facing charges of fraud.

Wilson-Raybould said pressure from the PMO she received as justice minister interfered with her position as attorney general.

In a phone call with former clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, Wilson-Raybould called pressure from the PMO “political interference” that could breach “prosecutorial independence.”

Singh said the scandal shows the Liberals’ priority is “covering themselves, and their wealthy and powerful and connected friends.” MORE

How a wealth tax could help Canadians


Jagmeet Singh reaches out to delegates as he leaves an NDP convention stage with Gurkiran Kaur on Feb. 17, 2018 in Ottawa. File photo by Alex Tétreault

Canada’s NDP has proposed a one per cent tax on wealth over $20 million as part of its election platform. The party doesn’t include much detail yet but estimates it could generate several billion dollars a year.

Pundits have been quick to pounce on a wealth tax as too extreme, difficult or costly. A National Post column last month asked: “What is the problem to which creating a wealth tax is a solution?”

Growing inequality is the problem.

The richest families in Canada are now more than 4,400 times wealthier than the average family, according to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

This widening gap has gone hand-in-hand with declining social and economic mobility. The CCPA found that family dynasties are more likely to keep their money in the family than they were two decades ago thanks to light taxes and loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy, while Statistics Canada recently reported that family income mobility has declined since the 1980s.

The idea of a wealth tax sparked more interest earlier this year after Democratic leadership contender and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a two per cent tax on those with more than US$50 million in assets, with the rate rising to three per cent for fortunes over US$1 billion.

“The Ultra-Millionaire Tax” would target all assets, from closely held businesses to residences outside the country. Warren estimates it would bring in US$2.7 trillion over a decade ⁠— revenue she would use to reverse staggering inequality in the country through measures such as universal child care and free tuition at public colleges.

Rising disparity is a global problem, and it’s not just progressive politicians who are pointing out the need for increased taxes on wealth.

Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — hardly left-wing organizations — have highlighted growing inequality of wealth as a problem and suggested that countries increase taxes on wealth and capital.

Some argue that wealth taxes would lead to a mass exodus of wealthy entrepreneurs, hurting Canadian investment. Yet, an OECD study found that wealth taxes led to little in the way of real declines in investment and aren’t necessarily bad for the economy. MORE

RELATED:

Canadian dynasties richer than ever as wealth gap continues to widen: study

Inside the Race to Unify Progressives Behind a Canadian Green New Deal

The Pact for a Green New Deal in Canada, which was launched in May by civil society, Indigenous and environmental groups across the country, explicitly rejects moving cautiously to address the climate emergency

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This election is ‘a huge opportunity to change the future of the country,’ says Nayeli Jimenez, a Vancouver-based climate organizer. Photo by Dexter McMillan for The Tyee.

Here is one worst-case climate change scenario for Canada’s upcoming federal election: The Liberals, NDP and Greens offer emissions-fighting plans that are difficult for the average voter to distinguish from one another, leading to a fractured, confused and unmotivated climate vote, while the Conservatives rile up a base unified by its single-minded opposition to climate policy.

“The great fear is that two or three parties compete over the same progressive voters and a consolidated Conservative party basically just walks up the middle and grabs a majority,” Kai Nagata, communications director for the B.C.-based Dogwood Initiative, told The Tyee.

This new federal government immediately scraps Canada’s carbon price, as Tory leader Andrew Scheer has promised. The Conservatives, which have yet to announce any plan replacing that policy, then go to work with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford to dismantle any environmental limits on oilsands production and fossil fuel consumption. At a time when we desperately need to be cutting greenhouse gas emissions, they go into overdrive instead.

For the next four years Canada continues to warm twice as fast as the rest of the world, smashing new records for destructive wildfires, flooding and Arctic sea ice loss. And as the global economy shifts away from fossil fuels, the hundreds of thousands of families who depend on the oilsands teeter ever more precariously on the brink of economic catastrophe — with no plan to assist them if and when demand for Alberta’s high-cost bitumen disappears.

Canada’s climate left is trying to conjure up the grassroots progressive energy that in the U.S. has turned the Green New Deal into one of the most electrifying issues of the 2020 presidential election.

By Oct. 20, activists hope to overcome internal divisions and unify behind a made-in-Canada Green New Deal; push leaders like the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh into unapologetically aggressive positions on climate change; and elect enough politicians prepared to address the crisis that we end up with a progressive minority coalition able and ready to transform Canada’s economy. MORE

RELATED:

Young Canadians launch website tracking climate commitments of federal parties

 

Jagmeet Singh’s call for fossil fuels ban leapfrogs the Leap Manifesto

“The NDP is coming late to the issue of dealing comprehensively with climate change. Can it compete effectively with Elizabeth May’s Greens on this front? We shall see.” – Thomas Walkom

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on May 7 in Ottawa. “The NDP is coming late to the issue of dealing comprehensively with climate change. Can it compete effectively with Elizabeth May’s Greens on this front?” asks Thomas Walkom.
Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats have discovered climate change. 

The party had been reluctant to take too uncompromising a stand on global warming for fear of alienating potential voters. That reluctance has gone.

Now the NDP is calling for an end to the entire fossil-fuel industry in Canada.

“The future of our country cannot involve fracking,” Singh said Monday in Ottawa, referring to a controversial method of drilling for oil and natural gas. “It cannot involve the burning of any fossil fuel.”

He said Canada must adhere to carbon reduction targets that are much stricter than those proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government if it to seriously fight climate change.

And he declared that he now opposes ambitious plans by British Columbia’s NDP government to build a massive liquefied natural gas project in the province’s north.

[In the past] the Leap Manifesto’s call to ban any new fossil-fuel energy projects, from pipelines to fracking, was seen as too radical. No more. Now, with his call for a Canada free of fossil fuels, Singh has outleapt the Leapers. MORE

 

Workers must be at the centre of shaping Canada’s ‘Green New Deal’

“..perhaps the biggest and most immediate challenge is to ensure working people get engaged — that Canadians can spot a sham deal, and know a real Green New Deal is focused on improving their lives. Even the most artful federalism and smart policy crafting won’t amount to much if those it aims to benefit don’t want it.”

An idea has been developing. Perhaps three of the biggest threats to our societies – environmental destruction, public austerity and economic inequality – stem from a single problem: a rapacious economic model that assumes everything, including people, is a resource to be consumed. Until there’s no more.

For many, that’s the analysis creating enthusiasm about a Green New Deal. In simplest terms, a Green New Deal is an economic strategy to boost jobs and wages through decarbonizing the economy. But it’s also much more complex, aiming at the core structural problems that got us here.

Recently, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has been publicly expressing his support for the concept. He’s pledged a federal green retrofit program that would create jobs for trades workers, cut carbon emissions, save people money and improved the quality of our homes lives. He’s promised tax changes on high-wealth Canadians to address inequality and bring in new revenue.

With a federal election this fall, Singh’s policy-designers need to press ahead. But even while there needs to be speed, caution is required if a Green New Deal is to succeed.

Those determined to reverse austerity, inequality and environmental damage need to help Canadians be clear that there’s a huge difference between a Green New Deal and a Green Neoliberal Deal. Something new that reproduces the same old downward pressure on wages, the same tax unfairness, the same lobbyist machine at the heart of the system – and the same bonanza pay-off for investors — is no Green New Deal.

We’ve been living in the neoliberal model for so long it’s easy to forget there are others. From the 1940s to the 1970s, Canadian governments developed a model based on a national economy with social safety nets, high taxes on high incomes and laws supporting workers’ collective bargaining, among other features.

For Green New Dealers, economic structures matter. The results of an economic model – how gains are shared, where investment is targeted – greatly depends on who sets the rules. Green New Deal architects need to bring together the political coalition they need to be the change they want. MORE

NDP angling to put progressive policy on the agenda as the House resumes

 

Watch the video Here

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In an interview with The National’s Rosemary Barton, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh made it clear his main goal heading into the 2019 federal election is to “make people’s lives better.” (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC News)

OTTAWA – With just seven weeks left before Parliament adjourns ahead of the fall federal election, NDP Leader and Burnaby South MP Jagmeet Singh is angling to put a trio of progressive policies on the federal agenda.

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period, Singh said that his three focuses will be housing, pharmacare, and spelling out his Canadian version of the “Green New Deal” put forward by U.S. lawmakers.

“We need more housing. Canadians are struggling with it; I’ve heard so many stories. Pharmacare for all. I really want a plan that lifts up everyone, that covers everyone in Canada. And finally, a Canadian version of a Green New Deal. We need to really take action on climate change,” Singh said.

Now, with talk of the Green party gaining momentum, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s brand damaged in the eyes of some progressive voters, and the countdown to the campaign already on, Singh is promising more details on his party’s “bold” policy propositions in the coming weeks.

Among them, his own take on a Green New Deal.

“What I want to do is move towards full investments in green energy, ending all investments at the federal stage, immediately ending all subsidies to fossil fuel sectors, and moving towards investments in renewable energy,” Singh said. MORE

 

Trudeau’s Dumb Expulsions and Strange Compulsions

JWR and Philpott are gone. So are any illusions about the PM’s allegiance to corporate masters.

Jody Wilson-RaybouldNone of this needed to happen. Jody Wilson-Raybould was kicked out of the Liberal Party of Canada caucus on April 2. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick, Canadian Press.

They got Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Jane Philpott too, but this is just the beginning.

You know you are in trouble in politics when your damage control is more damaging than what made it necessary.

…What should bother Canadians about the PM’s …stand on SNC-Lavalin is not just a one-off. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was the first federal leader to argue that Trudeau is not the champion of the middle class he claims to be, but rather a consistent corporate cheerleader. He talks the talk for the environment, Indigenous rights, and human rights; but for Big Business, he walks the walk.

Canadians saw Trudeau the corporate cheerleader in Houston, where he told a group of Texas oilmen that no country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and leave it there.

They saw the same thing when the PM dismissed the solid opposition of coastal British Columbians to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, and instead paid the Texas oil company $4.3 billion for this leaky relic and vowed to get the expansion to tidewater.

They saw it again on Canada’s East Coast, where Trudeau denied that Ottawa had environmental jurisdiction over a project that plans to dump toxic pollutants from a kraft pulp mill owned by Northern Pulp into prime fishing grounds in the Northumberland Strait.

And now, they see it once more with the PM and his minions interfering in an active criminal case involving SNC-Lavalin. That violates the heart of the judicial system: the complete independence of the prosecution service under the law.

If, as Singh has argued, the SNC-Lavalin scandal outs the prime minister as a corporate enabler, and not the champion of the middle class he claims to be, it has also sunk the Liberal caucus to a new low. MORE

RELATED:

No regrets in SNC-Lavalin affair, Wilson-Raybould and Philpott say

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh targets rich with proposal to raise rate for capital gains tax

NDP MP Peter Julian, left, looks on as NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on March 13, 2019. Singh wants to raise the tax paid on capital gains.
NDP MP Peter Julian, left, looks on as NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on March 13, 2019. Singh wants to raise the tax paid on capital gains.  (ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

OTTAWA—Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is unveiling his latest election pitch aimed at taxing the rich, promising to broaden levies on capital gains to reap billions more each year for health care, housing and programs to fight climate change.

Singh intends to announce the policy proposal Friday during his keynote speech at the Broadbent Institute’s Progress Summit, an annual gathering of progressive thinkers and New Democrats near Parliament Hill.

In an interview with the Star on Thursday, Singh said he wants to increase the proportion of capital gains profits that are taxed by the federal government. This “inclusion rate” is currently set at 50 per cent — meaning only half the profits people make by selling property or securities investments is subject to income tax. The NDP wants to increase that rate to 75 per cent, which Singh said party researchers predict would bring an additional $2.7 billion in tax revenue to the federal government each year. MORE

 

Jagmeet Singh stands up to hate and inequality

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speaks with media following caucus on Nov. 29, 2017 in Ottawa.

Commentator, historian and writer Christo Aivalis explores Jagmeet Singh’s first week in Parliament as the first racialized person to lead a major federal party in federal Canadian politics. In this Youtube commentary, Aivailis notes that, while Singh has much to offer, perhaps his key strength comes in how he is a steadfast enemy of both social intolerance and economic inequality.

But most important is how he links the two. The federal NDP leader states clearly that we will never rid ourselves of intolerance, prejudice, and distrust until we address systematic inequalities in the Canadian economy. In short, Singh is the alternative, both to Andrew Scheer and Maxime Bernier’s dog-whistle conservatism, and to Justin Trudeau’s disingenuous progressivism.

Tell Singh: NDP must run on a Green New Deal in 2019

Dear Jagmeet Singh,

Humanity faces a historic, existential challenge. Scientists say we have less than 12 years to reduce emissions by half, globally. Living in a country that has benefitted from greater per capita emissions than most of the world, we in Canada have an obligation to exceed that target and play a leadership role.

This isn’t about ideology. The laws of physics do not make political compromises.

It’s non-negotiable: we need to transform everything about the way we provide housing, transportation, and food. We have to stop extracting fossil fuels and break the stranglehold that industry has on our political system. And then we have to share our knowledge with everyone else.

The laws of physics do not make political compromises.

The right-wing political establishment, aligned with oil and gas interests along with  other extractive industries, will try to derail any such effort with racism and fear. That’s why we need to make sure the massive investments benefit the people first. Our ideas include a federal jobs guarantee, an expansion of Canada Post, free public transportation and a massive increase in green, non-market housing. (Read more of our proposal here.) The important thing is that we hit the targets science says we have to hit.

In the US, this frame – the Green New Deal – has already overcome tremendous odds to become a winning issue. Even Republicans support it. If you are looking for a popular policy framework that no Liberal campaign could copy, this is it.

Not only can the New Democratic Party win with a real transition plan; it has to.

WE EXPECT:
  • That the NDP create a credible plan to reduce Canada’s emissions by more than 50% by 2030, and base its next election campaign on it
  • That the plan link climate transition with the priorities of as many progressive social movements as possible, to achieve the broadest possible resonance
  • That the NDP bring representatives from social movements into its campaign decision-making in order to ensure broad mobilization

In short, we demand that you adopt a winning strategy, one that that will also ensure our survival.

With love and courage,