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Katerina Gang

Katerina Gang is the Managing Editor of the Prince Arthur Herald and studies Journalism at Concordia University.

Were election rules broken at the CPC convention?

The Conservative Party of Canada is currently under fire for potential voter fraud stemming from discrepancies in its claimed voter turnout, compared to the strikeout lists sent to each campaign. There was a 7,466 vote discrepancy between them. This has cast doubt on the legitimacy of Andrew Scheer’s May 27th victory, especially by Maxime Bernier’s supporters. However, after having attended the leadership convention last month, another potential voting scandal that no one has yet addressed looms in my mind: passive electioneering. Passive electioneering involves wearing or distributing campaign materials within polling stations. Section 166(1c) of the Canada Elections Act explicitly states that “no person shall, in a polling station or in any place where voting at an election is taking place, influence electors to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate.” Yet at the 2017 Conservative Leadership Convention in Toronto, I was handed a “Voters’ Guide” a mere 20 feet from the voting booths, inside the polling location. This Voters’ Guide was not obvious campaign material, and only bore its organization’s name—Campaign Life Coalition—in small font on the bottom of the pamphlet’s back. This pamphlet “disqualified” all but two socially conservative candidates—namely Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux. Campaign Life Coalition, a social conservative organization that promotes pro-life and traditional values, created the pamphlet for its own supporters and distributed it to them by mail and online. Jeff Gunnarson, a representative from Campaign Life Coalition, said, “when designing the guide, there was no discussion at the time how we would be distributing it at the convention—except that we would bring copies with us.” “We designed the guide’s front page in such a way that it would not be immediately identifiable coming from Campaign Life Coalition.  We wanted people to pick it up and… Read More

Scheer’s Path to 2019

On May 27th, the Conservative Party of Canada chose its new leader—and it chose Andrew Scheer. With over 140,000 votes cast, according to the Conservative Party, and the underdog candidate receiving only 50.95 per cent of the vote on the 13th ballot, it is clear that the more than year-long race has been divisive. Andrew Scheer is a safe choice for the Conservatives. He has been described as “Harper with a smile” by supporters and adversaries alike. And there is a lot of good in that; Stephen Harper was a unifier for two right-wing parties, allowing the creation of a “big blue tent” that could form a cohesive conservative government. However, if the Conservatives want to win in 2019, they will need more than just Harper 2.0, as so many non-Conservative Canadians seemed to show disdain for Harper in 2015. There’s a lot of good in Scheer that sets him apart from Harper. Scheer is a prominent supporter of free speech. Scheer voted against M103, which, according to a Forum Research poll, 86 per cent of Canadians stood against. Scheer has also pledged to cut federal funding from schools that disallow uninhibited freedom of speech. Considering a 2016 Angus Reid poll showed 76 per cent of Canadians believe “political correctness” has gone too far, this could be helpful come 2019. Scheer has also pledged to crack down on illegal border crossings from the U.S. and reform immigration policy to prioritize the economic and demographic needs of Canadians. Scheer even spoke about combatting “radical Islamic terror” in his acceptance speech—a contrast to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s policy of simply “being open and respectful” even in the face of national security threats. Scheer’s fiscal policy has a solid base. He has pledged to cut taxes on utilities, saying in his acceptance speech… Read More

Trudeau’s reckless spending is hurting Canada

  Earlier this month, the Fraser Institute released a report stating that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spent the second-most per capita on programs of any prime minister.   While former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper did edge out Trudeau to claim the title of largest spender, the circumstances around these figures are important to consider, according to the Fraser Institute.   “Per-person spending spiked 18.5 per cent to its highest point in Canadian history ($8,375) during the recession of 2009 under the Harper government,” reads the report. “However, per person spending then declined by a cumulative total of 13.1 per cent between 2009 and 2014.”   When Trudeau took office in October 2015, he immediately began raising the budget. Unlike the year Harper raised per capita spending, which was in the midst of the Great Recession, Trudeau came into power during a time of relative prosperity for Canada.   “Looking back at government spending in Canada since Confederation, this year stands out because unlike most other spending spikes, there’s no recession or war to explain it,” said Jason Clemens, the Fraser Institute’s executive vice-president in a news release. And yet, this increase in Trudeau’s spending is the third largest since World War II So far, according to the report, Trudeau has increased annual per capita spending by 5.2 per cent – a significant increase over Harper’s average of 1.3 per cent per year. Indeed, Trudeau’s newly announced 2017 “gendered” budget is projected to allocate $8,337 per capita, falling just dollars short of Harper’s recession-era stimulus budget.   Conservative Party interim leader Rona Ambrose said that Trudeau’s budget "misses a critical opportunity on behalf of Canadians to respond to Trump's aggressive move forward to reduce taxes on both businesses and individuals. There are no tax breaks here on income taxes,… Read More

Canada is giving up on free speech

Recently, Canada’s members of parliament voted in favour of a motion to condemn Islamophobia in Canada, to the chagrin of free speech advocates.   The motion, presented by backbench Liberal MP Iqra Khalid and known as M103, maintains that parliament will attempt to quell instances of hate and fear and provide suggestions for parliament going forward on how to achieve these goals within 240 days.   M103 passed in a landslide victory, and was supported by the Trudeau government. Almost all Liberal MPs voted in favour of the motion, with only Gagan Sikand choosing to abstain. The NDP lent its full support. Conservative Party MPs, however, voted overwhelmingly against it. In this case, the Conservative Party had Canadians’ interests at heart.   A Forum Research poll found an overwhelming majority of Canadians were against M103. Only 14 per cent of Canadians asked said they supported the motion in its current form. Many wanted words clarified, terms changed, or the focus broadened to all religions—but these concerns fell on deaf ears.   The motion has the potential to greatly limit Canadians’ right to free speech. Our laws already protect identifiable groups—including those bound together due to religious affiliation—against hate speech, according to sections 318, 319 and 320 of the Criminal Code.   The motion has failed to define what exactly constitutes “Islamophobia.” Current and former MPs have asked for a definition of the term to be included in the motion, or for the wording to be changed to intolerance of Muslim individuals rather than Islam—things the Liberals refused to do.   Irwin Cotler, MP for Mount Royal from 1999 to 2015, supported a rewording of the motion. “I would have preferred that Islamophobia had been defined,” said Cotler. “I don’t think there would have been any concern at the notion of… Read More

Rick Peterson – Fiscally Innovative, Socially Accessible

  Rick Peterson entered the Conservative Party leadership race Oct. 18, 2016. Over the last six months, the private sector underdog is all about innovation and invigorating the economy—he’s one of the only candidates consistently debating serious policy.   Peterson has proposed significant tax cuts across the board. A 15 per cent, flat personal income tax, coupled with a 0 per cent corporate income tax (CIT), he believes, will provide one of the largest economic stimulus plans in Canadian history. And we’re going to need it. The U.S. doesn’t have a value added tax, so this 15 per cent rate is as low as they can go. In Canada, to maximize the competitive advantage, we would need to go to zero per cent, During now-President Donald Trump’s campaign, he promised to reduce the American business tax to 15 per cent—“taking [their] rate from one of the worst to one of the best,” a campaign press release purported. On Feb. 27, 2017, Trump reiterated his intent to cut business taxes.   Charles Lamman, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute, noted in a Nov. 28 Vancouver Sun article that such a move would be disastrous to Canadians, as it would “dramatically reduce the competitiveness of our business tax regime.”   According to the same article, Canada’s combined average federal-provincial corporate income tax rate is currently 26.7 per cent—significantly lower than the U.S.’s 38.9 per cent. Should Trump implement his tax plan, however, their rate is projected to fall below 20 per cent. [caption id="attachment_7742" align="aligncenter" width="570"] -RBC Capital Markets[/caption] In order to keep our competitive edge, Canada has to do more than slightly lower its CIT. Maxime Bernier, another leadership hopeful, has suggested lowering the CIT from 15 per cent to 10 per cent—but this might not be enough.  … Read More