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Lilliput and Brobdingnang

Tip O'Neill, the Boston Irish Democrat five times elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, regularly clashed with Ronald Reagan on U. S. national and international policies, but his most famous remark was “All politics is local politics.” This is one of those generalizations which sounds persuasive, but with its negation doing so as well. Political leaders and movements of the smallest and largest scale get regularly entangled. Furthermore, their relative and absolute scale also influences their real impact and their media depiction. But it is still constantly forgotten that, as Alfred North Whitehead once observed, we can be provincial in time as well as space. It is too little recognized that the preoccupations of the moment often resemble those of the huge and tiny folk portrayed in Gulliver's Travels. Consider the world's amazement at the phenomenon of Donald Trump. We are compelled to take half-seriously this most grotesque product of democracy: a giant of wealth, of entertainment, of fatuous utterance and bad taste, and now of political and military power. This June, adding another spectacle for Swiftian analogy, the Premier of Quebec has decided to renew a cry from Lilliput. While myself having once participated in our earlier Lilliputian endeavours, I had hoped they were ending. I once hoped this might also be true of Philippe Couillard, but alas, he has just announced his intention of trying to relaunch a Canada-wide discussion on "the five minimal constitutional demands" of Robert Bourassa, over three decades ago. Brian Mulroney's 1987 Meech Lake Accord, intended to meet those demands, failed to achieve the all-province ratification it required in three years, and that was followed by five more years of dreary federal and provincial alarms and excursions, to no useful consequence. Premier Couillard and his advisers can scarcely have expected this rehash… 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

Ontario Liberals screw over the middle class once again

As the daughter of a man who runs his own business, I am familiar with the various expenses that a business owner is hit with. Some of it is expected, and others – not so much – such as this $15 an hour minimum wage increase being brought in by Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne. The Liberals are proving once again that they have less knowledge of how the economy works than a university student with no business background (I’m willing to admit it) aside from her family experience. How could they come out with this ridiculous plan? Maybe the rest of us are idiots for giving the Liberals the benefit of the doubt – yet again. ‘They couldn’t possibly increase it to $15/hr,’ I told myself. ‘People are overreacting. It’ll likely be a one-or-two-dollar increase at most,’ I reassured myself. Alas, alack, the Liberal Boogeyman strikes again. With an approval rating clocking in at just 12% back in March, it seems Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is desperate to claw her way back up the ranks. Though she first appeared on the scene as a progressive government official and a role model to young girls, we can now see her for the common crook she is. My father is one of many hardworking entrepreneurs who believe in competitive wages. All his employees without a lick of experience were started at $15/hr, with all equipment, certification, training, and union fees fully paid for. This is a great act of generosity in the construction business where often, purchasing one’s own equipment and getting certified can cost people hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of dollars. —————— More from the PAH:   Trudeau’s reckless spending is hurting Canada by Katerina Gang Donald Trump is Canada’s useful idiot on supply management by Tom Kott Legalize weed, but not… 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

Donald Trump is Canada’s useful idiot on supply management

There are few controversial policy issues that unite Canada’s editorial boards, but when it comes to supply management, everyone is on the same page. The National Post, Globe and Mail, Sun newspapers, and the Toronto Star have all come out in favour of abolishing the dairy and poultry cartels. The central impetus for all is the unfair burden it poses on consumers. The system implemented under Pierre Trudeau forces Canadians to pay twice as much for four litres of milk as Americans do. For Canadian families, the rigged price policy translates to $585 more doled out annually for groceries than under a fair market environment. On this they agree, but opinions differ on the role the United States should have on getting this domestic policy abolished. The National Post’s Andrew Coyne, as one recent example, adopted the Montreal Economic Institute’s view that Donald Trump’s recent attacks on Canada are something we can milk for our own benefit. Ending supply management could be chipped in as an exchange for, say, ending the nonsensical tariff on softwood lumber. It’s a win-win, right? Supply management should be abolished regardless of what the Americans think, but there’s an opportunity to gain even more benefits now that Trump has decided to plop himself into the debate. That opinion is not shared by the Toronto Star. The mere fact that Donald Trump – a man “not known for his enthusiasm for careful study” – is opposing Canada’s rules surrounding diafiltered milk is enough to call for resistance of America’s influence. Sure, supply management should end, they say, but “that move should not come as a capitulation to Trump’s extemporaneous extortions.” The ends do not justify the means. Even a blind mouse finds some, err, cheese every once in a while. The bombastic reality TV star in… 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
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