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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

Constraining personal identity is not the government’s job

      Tom Kott is CEO of the Prince Arthur Herald, having previously served as Editor-in-Chief from 2012-2014. He studied political science and history at McGill, and now works in public relations with HATLEY Strategy in Montreal. Follow him on Twitter @TomKott.   Last week, Québec Solidaire Member of the National Assembly Manon Massé presented a private member’s bill that would allow minors as young as 14 to alter the sex marked on their birth certificates. This reform would bring Quebec laws in line with those in Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia, where such changes are already allowed. Transgender youth in Quebec already have the right to legally change their names to reflect the sex with which they identify. The new bill seeks to remove the burden that transgender teens feel when forced to choose between their legal identity and how they truly feel. In an op-ed that appeared in the Montreal Gazette, Kimberly Manning gave the example of a young student losing 20 minutes on a high school entrance exam to decide whether to check the M box or F box. This type of hardship is one that most people will never be able to comprehend, myself included. The world is changing, and the notion of identity is much more fluid that it used to be – which is arguably a good thing. The days where people are discriminated against based on their identity is waning away. But this evolution puts into question the government’s role in our lives. If we agree as a society that people have a right to freely determine their own identity, which is so far the trend, then what authority does the government have to stop it? And in that case, why should the law affect some people differently than others? It seems archaic then that couples in Quebec… Read More

Was the Duffy scandal to blame for Harper’s demise?

    Alex Whalen is the CFO of the Prince Arthur Herald. He is a native of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, and studied Business at UPEI before finishing his law degree at Dalhousie University in 2016.  There are many factors that go into the result of a federal election. With six months having passed since the most recent one, we can say on reflection that many of the factors going into its result have become clear. None is more important to understanding the unravelling of Stephen Harper’s government than the appointment of the now-reinstated Senator Mike Duffy. A final chapter in that drama unfolded in an Ottawa courtroom recently, as Duffy went 31-for-31 in defeating charges of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust. The names Stephen Harper, Mike Duffy, and Nigel Wright are forever connected as a result of the $90,000 cheque made to the embattled senator for the repayment of improper expenses. Wright, the former chief of staff in the Harper PMO, was chastised in Justice Charles Vaillancourt’s decision. There are many positives to take from Harper’s time in office. This is not meant to be an endorsement nor an indictment of the decade in power. However, if you look closely at the decision to appoint Duffy in the first place, it is clear that this was the seed of Stephen Harper’s demise. The Duffy scandal didn’t singularly bring down the government, but the style of decision-making that led to the appointment was what plagued the Conservatives through the end of their mandate. From day one, the Duffy appointment had the hallmarks of other Harper blunders: short sighted, hyper-political, and sometimes lacking a big picture. Harper found himself in a tough spot in December 2008. Having long advocated an elected senate prior to becoming Prime Minister, he was hesitant… Read More

The return of Ross Perot

Even though Donald Trump has effectively claimed the Republican Party nomination for president, for much of the party’s elders and donors, his victory is still being treated as a hostile takeover. Neither George H.W. Bush nor his son George W. , the last two Republican presidents, will be endorsing Trump, and the last two Republican presidential candidates, John McCain and Mitt Romney, will not be coming to the Cleveland convention in July. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, said that he could not support Trump until the New York businessman changes his tone and demonstrates that he shares the party’s values. Trump will be getting so little help from establishment Republicans that he will in effect be running as the equivalent of a third party candidate. Maybe that’s as it should be, because his political forebears are not the previous Republican presidents, the two Bushes and Ronald Reagan, but Ross Perot, who ran as a third party candidate in 1992 – and whose politics in many ways mirrored those of Trump. Perot was the billionaire entrepreneur who formed the Reform Party and took on both George H.W. Bush, the Republican incumbent, and Democrat Bill Clinton. Perot ran the most successful third party presidential campaign in the United States since 1912 and for the better part of three months, he was ahead of both Bush and Clinton. He won an astounding 18.9 per cent of the popular vote, though he carried no states and therefore won no electoral college votes. Still, in 31 states he garnered more than 20 per cent and in nine, over a quarter of the total. His voters shared the fiscal conservatism of the Republicans and the social moderation of the Democrats but were angry with both parties when it came to their domination by special interests… Read More

Larry Wilmore, the N Word & the Usual Suspects

Here’s where we stand in Einstein’s Relativity Theory. (That would be comedian Bob Einstein, also known as Super Dave.) The theory states that stuff getting shot out of a cannon can go anywhere. To wit, GOP nominee Donald Trump referenced a National Enquirer story linking Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael, and Lee Harvey Oswald. Naturally, legacy media lost their minds. CNN’s Jake Tapper almost blew a fuse box refuting the story. Forget that the Enquirer has, in fact, broken a number of the legit political stories the past decade (John Edwards’ infidelities, Jesse Jackson's love child, Hillary Clinton's brother selling presidential pardons) that legacy media have missed. Anything that attaches to Trump in the media is now a clown car for the punditry to drive. Is it a rude move? Absolutely? Is it a low blow? Perhaps. Should we join the braying mob before the facts emerge because it’s the Enquirer? Hey, it’s Trump. Still, there is outrage. Or OUTRAGE. Or there was till Cruz pulled the pin on his campaign Tuesday after being pulverized in Indiana. Now no one cares about Oswald or Rafael of the Enquirer anymore. So let’s pivot to the bunfest known as this past weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. This is the annual trade gathering where the people who cover the president assemble to be skewered by the same president. This was Barack Obama’s last WHC dinner, and so there was an expectation that the transformative guy would be loaded for bear. (Er, that’s if he didn’t hate hunting and guns— which he does.) You can watch his speech here. Understand that, like Shelly Berman in the Catskills, Obama was born to play this room. His entire presidency has been one extended Colbert Report bit. So after the usual repartee about how he’s been treated by the… Read More
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