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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

Helping refugees vs. fiscal responsibility

What is the balance between settling the world’s refugees and the reasonable need and expectation that the Canadian government should be trusted to responsibly monitor Canada’s pocketbook? It’s a fair question. But before answering, let’s dispatch with the ridiculous notion that any questioning of anything to do with the resettlement of Syrian refugees is inherently racist. Ever since Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne said that opposing the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Canada was racist, anyone asking any questions has had to wonder whether they too would be so hyperbolically labeled. (Wynne’s rhetoric was so vile and unprofessional that even former Liberal cabinet minister and British Columbia Premier Ujjal Dosanjh denounced her.) Polls have shown that Canadians are overwhelmingly supportive of welcoming refugees into Canada, and all three political parties pledged to do more to settle refugees in the recent federal election. Canadians don’t reproduce enough to maintain a sustainable population level, we have long-relied on immigration to sustain and increase our population, and assisting people fleeing from blood-thirsty terrorists is a laudable goal. But that doesn’t mean that questions about the logistics, efficiency, and costs of doing so should be off the table from public questioning and scrutiny. Canadians should be able to expect that the government has their interests in mind – that the government will continue to be fiscally responsible regardless of how admirable the end goal is. A recent social media post currently making the rounds makes the following claim: “This morning’s Vancouver Sun states that Syrian refugees will be paid a meal allowance per person per day of $15 for breakfast, $16 for lunch, and $30 for dinner by the Federal Government. Thus, a typical family with four kids will receive $186/day or $5580/month for meals alone. This from a government that somehow cannot afford… Read More

Name changes show which ministries will deliver on Liberals’ priorities

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet have been sworn in. Ahead of this Prime Minister and these new ministers are weeks of departmental briefings on their current statuses, which areas will need the personal attention of the minister to get things done, and how the department plans to implement the new government’s vision.   Trudeau promised a leaner cabinet, which meant some ministries were on the chopping block to be eliminated, or, more likely, amalgamated with another ministry or group of ministries. Just as interesting as who was named is what those new cabinet ministers’ titles are, since it demonstrates the Liberal government’s likely priority areas for the coming weeks and months.   Cabinet titles changed: Minister of the Environment becomes Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Minister of Citizenship and Immigration becomes Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship. Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (which only recently saw its title changed from Indian Affairs) is now the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Minister of Democratic Reform is now Minister of Democratic Institutions. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is now Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Minister of Public Works and Government Services is now Minister of Public Services. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development is now Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development as well as another Minister of Employment Workforce Development and Labour.   Cabinet positions removed: There is no Minister for Official Languages. This position was formerly held by Conservative Minister Shelly Glover. There is no Minister for Multiculturalism. This position was formerly held by Conservative Minister Jason Kenney. There is no Minister of Industry. This position was formerly held by Conservative Minister James Moore. There is no Minister of Western Economic Diversification. This position was formerly held… Read More

Forget the hype – how the media and Opposition spun election law myths

There will be endless analyses in the coming days, months, and years, but remember this: everything the Opposition and media said about Stephen Harper and the Conservatives’ election strategy was wrong. All of the controversy over the Fair Elections Act and common sense election-related legislation has hilariously backfired — not against the Conservatives, but against the critics who went nuclear opposing it. Complaints about Conservative “voter suppression” were unfounded. Mr. Trudeau alleging that “Mr. Harper still has tricks up his sleeve,” in a thinly-veiled reference to inappropriate “robocalls” in the 2011 election, completely ignored reality. In fact, not only has the CRTC implemented strict new rules regarding the use of automated phone messages (under a Conservative government, mind you), but the simple mention of a “robocall” is bound to elicit such a visceral response that they simply won’t be used as they once were. The alleged controversy took care of itself and was a non-issue for the 2015 campaign, even though Mr. Trudeau pushed the issue. Myths about restrictive voter identification requirements “suppressing” and preventing non-Conservatives from voting were also exactly that: a myth. Rather, voter turnout hit 68.3 percent, the highest turnout in over two decades. It turns out, when you have reasonable standards to allow 38 different pieces of identification, people will overwhelmingly use those pieces of ID and just get on with voting. The vouching system remained — it was merely trimmed back to avoid one person from being allowed to vouch for an entire busload of people. Something tells me the Liberals are unlikely to complain about the result of last night’s election on the grounds of any non-Liberals not being able to vote. ID requirements were all clearly communicated by Elections Canada — online, in person, via mail, and over the phone. Speaking of this,… Read More

Balanced budgets and promises kept: the Conservative Record is clear

On Tuesday Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled Economic Action Plan 2015: Strong Leadership: A Balanced Budget, Low-Tax Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Security. This budget is only the latest in a long string of Conservative promises that have been made and kept, a proud record that will be easy to defend with an election only months away. The budget is balanced with a small $1.4 billion surplus, including a $1 billion contingency. That surplus is projected to grow to $4.8 billion by 2019-2020. Future budgets will be required, by law, to be balanced, but for exceptional circumstances. And in that case, cabinet and the Finance Minister will be required to table a plan to return to balanced budgets within a specific timeline. Canada’s debt will continue to be paid down until a 25 percent debt-to-GDP ratio is achieved. The majority of the budget is clearly focused on middle-class Canadians, the same group of people Justin Trudeau can’t define but claims to be a part of. Canadians will be able to save more in their Tax-Free Savings Accounts: up to $10,000 per year. Families will be supported with a suite of tax breaks: children under age 6 will receive $160 per month; children between 6 and 17 will receive $60 per month; couples will be able to transfer a portion of their income up to a $2000 benefit per year; and the Child Care Expense Deduction will be increased to $8000. In fact, the average Canadian family of four will save $6600 in taxes between Budget 2015 and all previous Conservative Government initiatives. On top of the $2.6 billion seniors have received from the Conservatives since 2006, Budget 2015 also pledges $42 million to create the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation. Compassionate Care Benefits will also be drastically… Read More

NDP missteps allow Liberals to continue to get away with vacuous nothingness

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s political slogan has been “building the team and the plan.” So far, his “team” will be forced to be pro-choice, pro-marijuana and his “plan” is legalizing marijuana, being against fighting terrorism, and placing a price on carbon. Seriously. That’s where the Liberals are at two years after electing Trudeau as their leader. The Liberals have yet to release a platform, or express any coherent plan about anything really. The scant positions they have released - being against fighting terrorism, implementing a carbon tax, and cancelling tax cuts for families and seniors - have gone largely underreported and unappreciated. All Thomas Mulcair has to do for the left-wing vote is not be Justin Trudeau, which we has done quite well and quite capably. The Liberals’ position of vacuous nothingness should be garnering far more attention than it has been – the Press Gallery has only started to actually seriously question Trudeau – but Trudeau has been ably abetted by a series of New Democrats’ missteps. First came the revelation that the New Democrats had spent millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money mailing partisan materials. Taxpayers’ money is provided to MPs for parliamentary mailings, not partisan mailings. The House of Commons pegged this cost at $1.3 million. Those included pro-NDP mailings into ridings undergoing a by-election, meaning Elections Canada is now investigating too. (I won’t hold my breath for a Council of Canadians campaign against the NDP’s “electoral fraud,” though.) Then came the revelation that the New Democrats had spent millions of dollars creating beachhead partisan offices in Quebec City, Montreal, and Toronto under the guise of being “satellite” parliamentary offices. The House of Commons pegged this cost at $2.7 million, and divided the cost between the 68 NDP MPs who were participating in this scam. The bill… Read More
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