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Daniel Dickin

Daniel Dickin is a columnist for The Prince Arthur Herald. He obtained his B.A. in law and political science from Carleton University in 2011 and is in his second year of M.A. studies at Athabasca University. @DanielDickin

Liberals have dragged national anthem into a debate of process Why shouldn’t Canada’s national anthem be changed?  It’s quite simple: “in all thy sons command” was written to honour the Canadian soldiers (yes, Canadian men) who died during World War One. It’s not sexist or exclusionary to recognize what should be a proud but somber moment of Canadian history – as Barbara Kay opined three years ago. But if such a concise explanation can be offered in two sentences, this debate would have long been over, and the Liberal Party wouldn’t be using a dying MP to push its agenda. Instead, the debate has become larger than Canada’s national anthem: it’s become about the Liberals’ abuse of parliamentary process. The Liberals have broken almost every rule in the book to shove these changes through Parliament without giving Canadians a say. As Conservative MP Peter Van Loan pointed out during third reading debate on June 10, the Liberals have broken almost every rule as they ram this bill through the Commons. The bill was referred to the heritage committee and, on less than 48 hours’ notice, could call but one witness to testify about the bill – for about 40 minutes. That was enough, declared the Liberals, who shut down any other witnesses or any other dates to hear testimony. And when normal things happened – like Conservatives using their rightfully-allocated time to actually debate the bill, or standing rules requiring that the bill’s sponsor be present to move their bill – criticisms ran wild, condemning the “blocking” of this “dying MP’s” private member’s bill. Not once did the Liberal government consult with Canadians about whether they want to see their national anthem changed. Many reasonable questions can be asked of this bill: ·         Is it “time” to change Canada’s national anthem? Why? Why not? ·         Shouldn’t Canadians have a say in determining their national anthem?… Read More

The Trudeaus’ exceptionalism

The Trudeaus aren’t like the rest of us. Most of us aren’t endowed with $1.2 million inheritance funds, $1 million Mercedes sports cars, $20,000 watches, or attractiveness so dashing as to distract from almost any substantive questions of the Trudeau government. These are just statements of fact – not envy. And these observations aren’t new: we’ve long-known that the Trudeau family is exceptional. This isn’t illegal or terrible, and we shouldn’t punish wealth. But Justin’s belief that he’s exceptional and special should not extend into the public sphere of how government and Parliament are run. Since becoming Prime Minister, this exceptionalist attitude has crept into the public square, damaging Parliament and offending the sensibilities of otherwise reasonable Canadians. Call it the Trudeau Exceptionalism Doctrine. The first hint of the Trudeau Exceptionalism Doctrine was when Trudeau – the supposed champion of the middle class – hired personal nannies for his children as if they were staffers of the Prime Minister’s Office. Canadians were confused. “Shouldn’t your $340,000 salary cover child care for your kids? Can’t your wife – who has no official role and is not a government employee – look after your kids?” were just two of the many reasonable questions asked during that period. But the Trudeaus are exceptional, and so the $100,000-per-year NannyGate controversy subsided. More recently, we saw Sophie Grégoire complain that she was overworked and needed “a team” of assistants. The personal assistant, the family chef, and the two taxpayer-funded nannies are just not enough. She needs a larger empire. But the wife of the prime minister has no official role; she’s not Canada’s First Lady and she’s free to act as she chooses, whether taking up employment, a speaking circuit, or being a full-time wife and mom – but we shouldn’t pay for it. As… Read More

In six months, the Liberals have gone from sunny ways to governing hypocrites

Oh, how quickly the sunny ways have come and gone from our nation’s capital. Take, for example, the parliamentary proceedings of just one day, April 19, 2016 – the six month anniversary of the Liberals being elected to office. The day started on a poor note for the Liberals.  Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has been on the defensive for more than two weeks now over her hosting of an intimate and private fundraising event at a Toronto law firm, and Conservative MP Michael Cooper moved that the House of Commons debate why Wilson-Raybould wasn’t following her own Prime Minister’s guidelines to avoid actual and potential conflicts of interest. The entire day was filled with Liberal MPs and ministers apologizing for and defending the minister. Mere months ago, these then-candidates were elected under the banner of hope and transparency and “better is always possible.” But on this day, what the Justice Minister did was apparently good enough. But the debate went even lower when the Democratic Institutions Minister spoke. Maryam Monsef boldly complained that those mean Conservatives were really debating this issue because the Justice Minister is a successful aboriginal woman. She implied, several times, that the Justice Minister’s race was true reason for the day’s debate. It was something else to watch an MP who was elected just six months ago on a positive message come so close to complaining of racism in the House of Commons – no less the MP who is also in charge of Canada’s democratic institutions. The day only continued to get worse for the Liberals. Speaker Geoff Regan, a Liberal MP, ruled that the Liberals had potentially committed a prima facie breach of privilege by leaking advance copies of the assisted suicide bill to members of the media before that bill was tabled in the House of Commons. “There was a… Read More

The Liberals have already amassed a decade’s worth of scandals

Governments come and go when the people get tired of them. The recently-deposed Conservatives were removed from office because some people thought they were big meanies, and because Canada had been doing well for so long that, hey, why not lose a couple thousand jobs and depress the economy for a few years? Before that, the Chretien-Martin Liberals were caught stuffing their friends’ pockets with taxpayer money for mysterious “advertising” contracts. But those governments took a decade each for people to tire of them and decide that it was time for change. That’s one of the most impressive things about the Trudeau Liberals: in a short 120 days, they have amassed a laundry list of scandals that could have easily sunk the governments before them. It started with the promise that the cabinet would be 50-50, equal parts men and women. In fact, the cabinet contains 16 men and 15 women, which is not 50-50 unless you settle with being off by a few people for the fun of it. While this might be dismissed as no big deal, the attitude that it shows can be used for all of the other scandals as well: “we made the promise, we didn’t meet it, but, meh, close enough. It’s 2016, am I right?!” That was quickly followed by NannyGate, perhaps the most hypocritical of all the scandals so far, wherein Trudeau hired two full-time nannies to take care of his kids at public expense. Contrary to the Liberals’ rebuttals, the scandal wasn’t an issue with nannies or public servants. The issue was that a self-acknowledged multi-millionaire who claimed “rich families like mine” didn’t need and shouldn’t receive child care benefits was getting us to pay for two – two! – full-time nannies for his kids. Or consider the environment file. One… Read More

The Ontario Tire Stewardship scandal

It must not be easy being a Liberal in Ontario these days. The governing party is failing at every turn, the province is drowning in debt, and the leader has made increasingly concerning categorizations of her opponents as “racists” or “homophobes.” The notoriously anti-conservative, pro-Liberal Working Families Coalition seems to have completely disappeared from the web since their appearance in the 2014 election. Even Kathleen Wynne’s political staffers have fled the provincial capital for the national capital, hoping that Team Trudeau will offer them a better chance of remaining employed past the year 2018. (Team Trudeau is formerly Team McGuinty.) The Liberal scandals have compounded into at least a full book’s worth of material, and a summary of those same scandals that I wrote this spring shows no sign that the Liberals have learned their lessons or attempted to change course. Just since this spring we’ve seen two of the Premier’s staff criminally charged for allegedly deleting emails surrounding the gas plants scandal. We’ve seen the Deputy Minister who worked to revamp Ontario’s sex education under then-Education Minister Kathleen Wynne sentenced for child porn crimes. Debt continues to climb. Our credit rating was downgraded (again). Even missing snow plows the government (read: taxpayers) paid for have become a scandal in recent months! When the government spends multiple Question Periods trying to explain its snow plow financing scheme, it can no longer focus on big, important issues, for instance health care or education. The above list should be reason enough to throw the bums out. What will it take for Ontarians to finally demand change and elect someone else? The Opposition Conservatives and New Democrats have shot themselves in the foot in previous elections by failing to properly articulate this horrible record, allowing the Liberals to change the message into, “Yeah, but what… Read More
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