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CPC Leadership – The Case for Kevin O’Leary

Despite not having officially announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, business magnate Kevin O’Leary is effectively in the running. On Monday, O’Leary held a luncheon for Conservative Members of Parliament in Ottawa. At the luncheon, attended by roughly 20 Conservative Members of Parliament and Senators, O’Leary delivered a speech. Throughout his speech, O’Leary took shots at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, dubbing him “surfer dude.” He expressed frustration over the management of the economy, and said he can beat Trudeau in 2019. Can he? Right now, it’s hard to definitively answer that question. Considering Trudeau is only in his first term, that will be a daunting task, but O’Leary will shake things up more than any of the other 14 declared candidates currently in the race. And that alone makes him a top contender for the Tory leadership. What does “Mr. Wonderful” bring to the race? While he doesn’t need an introduction as much as the other candidates, it’s worth going over O’Leary’s background first. His background differs greatly from the other candidates, and indeed other prominent politicians. That in itself is one of his potential strengths. Kevin O’Leary was born to an Irish father and a Lebanese-Canadian mother in 1954 in Montreal. After his father’s early passing, O’Leary took his mother as a source of inspiration. He often credits her with teaching him about savings, and inspiring him to make the jump into the world of business. In addition, O’Leary was inspired by seeing the frustrations and hardships a middle-class family, and even more so a single mother, often face. After studying business and years working in the world of business, O’Leary was involved in deals worth millions of dollars, if not more, by the 1990s. As an outsider, Kevin O’Leary can appeal to… Read More

EDITORIAL: Liberal survey makes a mockery of democratic reform

At all cost, governments must prevent the people from asking, "What do they take us for?". This is the question provoked by the latest iteration of the Liberals' however-we'll-spin-it-this-week strategy on electoral reform. invites Canadians to answer a few dozen questions – or perhaps more accurately: a dozen questions asked a few different ways – about their values regarding the electoral system and other matters of democratic reform. Unfortunately, the poll avoids the most important matters of concern to both sides of the electoral reform debate, and should not be taken seriously as an effort at advancing the discussion. This survey would not have been so terrible had it not seemed so obviously an effort to make a pesky election promise go away. The Prime Minister has already said – in a French-language interview with the Devoir from October – that ditching first-past-the-post is now less important, given that it has delivered his own party to power instead of Stephen Harper's. This confirms a disappointing but fundamental insight about the politics of electoral reform: first-past-the-post is an unmatchably convenient system for the party that has won power. To any such party, dismantling FTFP rightly appears against its self-interest, and using bad excuses to keep it in place seems politically justifiable. Directly polling the population was once treated by the government as some kind of offence to the country's minority groups – this is the reason for which Minister Monsef would not entertain a referendum. Now, the Liberals' chosen alternative – community outreach and a cross-party committee – has produced recommendations for a referendum with an option to allocate parliamentary seats in better proportion to the popular vote. The government's language has implied great respect for Canadians and their democracy. It is time that the government's actions live up to its words. Neither… Read More

Max Aitken and the limits of unidirectional power

The Canadian who did most to change the world in the first half of the 20th century did so as a a British tycoon. Max Aitken, First Baron Beaverbrook (1879-1964), a small pixie in appearance, was a phenomenon of energy. Son of a Scottish clergyman, growing up in New Brunswick, he made his first fortune in Canada as a bold and adventurous company promoter and stockbroker, becoming a millionaire before he was thirty. He left permanently for Britain in 1910 and became a Commons MP less than a year later. He then set about becoming the richest and most politically influential of the British press barons. He built the Daily Express, from a circulation of 40,000 when he acquired it, into a giant, with hundreds of thousands of readers by the end of the 1920s; after 1945 it reached daily sales of almost 4 million, highest of any newspaper in the world. By then, he owned as well a large string of other newspapers and businesses, and maintained a dozen luxurious homes in England, France, Canada, and the U.S., famous as well for his many affairs and for the lively conversation of his dinner table. Aitken was both a whirlwind business expansionist and a writer of real talent. Near the end of his life, over eighty and dying of cancer, he still sometimes telephoned orders to his employees, barking “You gotta gotta say...” I knew some Daily Express reporters in London in the early 1960s; an otherwise irreverent crew, they all held "the Beaver" in awe. They recognized his astuteness about what readers wanted, and his own literary gifts. His many books included three brilliant ones about British politics in the First World War. He also hired other first-class writers, including Evelyn Waugh, who lampooned him in two of his… Read More

Justin’s fawning for Castro

The most telling indictment of the death of Fidel Castro this past week came not from a network TV savant but from an anonymous partier in Miami’s Little Havana. Asked how Castro’s brutal regime should be portrayed by the media, he said, “You didn’t see anyone trying to launch a Toyota Prius flotilla to go from here to Havana, did you?” Indeed. But watch CBS/PBS pool boy Charlie Rose in Cuba parsing his language over the death of Castro. The poor man can’t seem to form the word “murderer,” “Global reputation”, “hero to some” and “enormous political figure” come tumbling from his lips, but making note of the blood-soaked ground beneath him seems to escape the poor man. He can’t bring himself to condemn evil. No one in Rose’s respectable press row would ever describe the death of Hitler or Mussolini or Augusto Pinochet without some descriptives about mass murder, torture or watching snuff videos of their terrified victims. Those crimes were true about them, and their place in history is blackened by these inhumanities. These crimes were also true of Castro over a period of 50 years. His history is drenched with death. But like Bernie Sanders’ pals in the Kremlin, Fidel was part of the Great Project. For the generations brought up on the romance of revolutionaries in the Spanish Civil War or Bethune’s China, Papa Joe Stalin was a man of a “shaper of destinies.” Just ask the 10 million he starved to death in the Ukraine what they thought of the destiny Stalin decreed for them. Charlie Rose can’t seem to form the word “murderer,” “Global reputation”, “hero to some” and “enormous political figure” come tumbling from his lips, but making note of the blood-soaked ground beneath him seems to escape the poor man. He can’t… Read More

Parental Alienation Syndrome in the Pitt-Jolie affair?

As all the world knows, Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are not only divorcing after 12 years together, they are not on speaking terms as a result of Jolie’s immediate bid for sole custody of the couple’s six children and refusal to give Pitt more than the most meager, supervised access to him. By all accounts, Pitt was caught completely off guard by the swiftness and hostility of Jolie’s actions. US Magazine reported that Pit was “totally crushed” by the split and “can’t believe” how his life has changed so dramatically. It took weeks to get his legal act together and file (Nov 4) for joint physical and legal custody of his children. The whole story has yet to be revealed. We have no idea if Jolie’s vague claim of “abuse” of the children or that the “health of her family” was at stake have merit. What we do know is that Pitt cooperated fully with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), voluntarily submitting to multiple drug tests, entering therapy and agreeing to all recommendations. According to a reliable source close to the investigation quoted in In Touch magazine – yes, but only at the hairdresser, and by the way, magazines like this and the National Enquirer are more trustworthy than many other sources, because they get sued so often they are very careful about fact-checking – one of the children made an allegation of abuse, then “in a follow-up interview he had trouble recalling what had happened and basically recanted the story.” The source added: “This was very concerning to social workers for obvious reasons.” I will predict that neither of the two will come off looking like an angel, but there are plenty of non-angels parenting children in intact households. If in fact the… Read More

EDITORIAL: Castro was a test, and Trudeau failed

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's fawning statement for the deceased Fidel Castro is an embarrassment to our country. In portraying one of the 20th century's cruellest dictators as a flowery figure, he has brought gratuitous ridicule upon Canada and supported his critics' portrayal of him as a bubble head. Some of his remarks are so hilarious, they could be easily confused for satire. Being Cuba's "longest serving president" might have meant something if Castro had ever stood for election. A "legendary" orator? Only if one considers six-hour long, cult of personality nonsense to be entertaining theatre. Maybe Trudeau should have asked Jean Chrétien, who was hosted by Castro on a state visit to Cuba in 1998, how great a speaker he was. Trudeau makes Castro out to be some kind of bold policy reformer, delivering the indigent from poverty despite his "controversial" political style. But of course Castro is responsible not for the achievement of a prosperous country but the conversion of one of Latin America's richest nations into a poor and decrepit country. The resorts where Canadian tourists vacation do no justice to the damage wrought by communism. The prime minister should need no reminding of Castro's totalitarianism, nor of the mass murder, torture and imprisonment that befall dissenters to Cuba's Stalinist government. Nor should he be ignorant of how close the Cold War powers came to liquefying the planet in 1962, ushered in by Castro's insistence that his Soviet patron threaten to strike the United States with nuclear weapons stationed in his country. One might have been able to forgive the prime minister had he confined his remarks to the personal instead of the political. While in office, his father developed a friendship with Cuba's dictator and America's local adversary, producing a fondness that Justin clearly inherits. The younger Trudeau might have… Read More
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