Category Archives: Politics

Khadr Affair Entwined in NAFTA

I believe Peter Kent was utterly correct in bringing the Khadr affair to the attention of the Americans. If I were an American politician, I would definitely be concerned that my northern neighbour has not only rewarded a convicted terrorist for his crimes but is poised to do something similar again. A political solution may be needed. No more congenial relations until the domestic and likely international security issues are resolved.

 

The bipartisan common front to defend Canadian interests in crucial NAFTA negotiations is being tested by a cross-border Conservative campaign savaging Justin Trudeau for making a generous federal payout to Omar Khadr.

Some senior Liberals, including the prime minister’s principal secretary, have taken to social media to accuse the Conservatives of fanning anti-Trudeau sentiment in the United States just as Canada is preparing for the Aug. 16 launch of talks to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement.

However, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was unrepentant Thursday, arguing that if there’s any American backlash over the Khadr payment, Trudeau has only himself to blame. He dismissed any linkage to the NAFTA talks as a desperate Liberal tactic.

“It’s no surprise that they’re desperately trying to latch onto another angle of the story to deflect attention from the core of the matter which is that this (Khadr payment) was a personal decision by Justin Trudeau to go above and beyond what any court order ever indicated was the responsibility of the government,” Scheer told a news conference.

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“Vetting” Did Not Uncover Julie Payette’s Assault Charge, Apparently

Oh, boy:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a “deep and extensive” vetting process showed no issues that should prevent Julie Payette from being Governor General — but he still refuses to say whether he’d discussed with Payette her past legal issues.

Pressed Thursday by reporters over whether he’d talked to Payette about two police matters from 2011 that have come to light via media reports, Trudeau was vague. “The conversations I had with Mme. Payette centred around the extraordinary service, her vision of the country, her vision of the role that she would fulfill as Governor General, and demonstrated to me her extraordinary strength in being one of our great Governor Generals,” he said.

“The vetting process is deep and extensive, and raised absolutely no issues that would prevent her from being Governor General.”

 

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MP Cheryl Gallant Appalled By Khadr “Fake News”

Aren’t we all?

Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant is accusing media outlets, including seemingly the Citizen, of putting out “fake news” in regards to their coverage of the federal government’s $10.5-million settlement with Omar Khadr.

“Whether it’s the Toronto Star, CBC, Globe and Mail, CTV or even the National Post, editorialists and columnists have been tripping over themselves in a rush to justify Justin’s payout to Khadr,” Gallant said, in a video posted to her Facebook page last week, against a backdrop that included media signs including the Ottawa Citizen logo.

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American NAFTA List Hints at Tough Negotiations Down the Road

The Trump administration has released its broad goals for a new North American Free Trade Agreement in mostly vague language that offers just enough specific clues to point to potentially tough negotiations ahead.

The U.S. says it wants more exports of its dairy products, wine and grains; freer trade in telecommunications and online purchases; new rules on currency manipulation; an overhaul of the dispute-settlement system; and more access for U.S. banks abroad.

A Washington-based trade expert who advises the Canadian government didn’t flinch when asked what this means for NAFTA talks, which are scheduled to start next month: “Longer, rather than shorter,” said Eric Miller, a consultant at Rideau Potomac who advises Industry Canada.

“It will be pretty intense and hard-fought. … Don’t expect it to be finished in less than eight months,” Miller said. “And expect Canada to have to fight hard for issues it cares about.”

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On the Korean Peninsula

A scheme defrauds North Korean defectors of their savings:

A few months after fleeing her destitute homeland for a more decent life south of the border, Park, received a tempting offer from a fellow defector: She could transfer money to her family in the North for a commission fee.

Haunted by memories of her three starved children and old mother living in Hyesan in the country’s far north, the 44-year-old Park eagerly handed over 20 million won ($17,800) to a broker — only to find out a month later that not a single penny had reached her family.

“It was all of my savings,” said Park, who arrived here several years ago and agreed to speak to The Korea Herald on condition her full name not be published.

“I had spent months to find this guy, but to no avail. It is just outrageous to think that other defectors like me would easily fall prey to this kind of fraud, getting their savings wiped out.”

In line with the constant influx of North Koreans here, the tally of their remittances is expected to be rising. As of March 2017, a total of 30,490 have resettled in the South, according to the Unification Ministry.

No official data on their remittances is available, however, given a government ban on South Koreans from wiring money to the North. The brokers sneak the funds through acquaintances, which is also illegal in China.

According to a 2016 survey from the Seoul-based Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, around 58.5 percent of 400 surveyed defectors in the South have sent money back home. Twenty-six percent, or 104, said they did so last year, with the average amount nearing 2.35 million won.

Scum.

 

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South Korean President Moon Jae-In pulls a Trudeau:

South Korea’s defense ministry began preparations for a full-blown environmental impact assessment on the ongoing deployment of the US THAAD missile defense system Tuesday, a ministry official said, a move that will inevitably delay its operation.

The move came one day after President Moon Jae-in personally ordered a thorough study on the environmental impact of the advanced missile shield, which, when fully deployed, will consist of at least six rocket launchers with 48 rockets designed to intercept aerial threats flying over the peninsula.

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Freeland Thinks That Canada Can Assume A Larger Global Role

You take out what you put in, Chrystia:

Canada will seek to play a larger role on the world stage as the United States retreats, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Tuesday, in remarks underscoring strains between Washington and its closest allies.

Freeland spoke in the wake of recent NATO and G7 summits where U.S. President Donald Trump upset world leaders to such an extent that German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed doubts about the reliability of the United States.

Freeland, noting that “international relationships that had seemed immutable for 70 years are being called into question,” stressed the value of bilateral ties with the United States, traditionally seen as Canada’s closest friend. She also made clear those bonds might loosen.

“The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” she said in an address to parliament outlining her foreign policy vision.

“For Canada that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order,” she said.

 

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John Robson: “Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau are adopting the same bad habits as former kings”

Unaccountable leaders are unaccountable:

Of course, the Liberals’ tax on beer, wine and liquor is a small thing. Beer matters, but it’s a tiny portion of annual revenue. And even if it escalates automatically, they still have to get the budget passed every year. It is far more worrisome that Parliament rubber-stamps budgets without, since Trudeau Sr., having committees scrutinize the estimates properly, part of the process whereby MPs were converted, not always reluctantly, into coloured tiles across which the ambitious step to executive power. But as a symbol of the irrelevance of Parliament it matters.

It also matters as precedent. As Ivison notes, if they get away with it this time they may try it on other items in the next budget. And maybe not just at the rate of inflation. After all, spending keeps going up faster.

Even though the guy in charge no longer wears a crown, MPs need to stop passing budgets they haven’t even read, allowing the $300-billion executive juggernaut to roll over them annually in a manner not even the most supine Tory Parliament would have done for a Stuart king. They certainly mustn’t let the annual requirement slip away.

So the less Bill Morneau worries about how James II tried to free himself from the need to go to Parliament every year, the more we should.

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Alberta’s PCs and Wild Rose Party Merge

O Dio …

Sources have told The Canadian Press that Alberta’s two conservative parties have struck a tentative deal to merge.

The two party leaders — Brian Jean of the Wildrose and Jason Kenney of the Progressive Conservatives — are expected to speak to the deal at a news conference later today.

Any deal would still have to be approved by a majority of members in both parties.

The Wildrose has previously said it will need 75 per cent or more of its members to OK the deal while the Progressive Conservatives say they will require a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one.

A group of representatives from both parties has been meeting for the last two months to hammer out a deal.

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Trump as the first post-modern president?

From David Ernst at the  Federalist:

If politics flows downwards from culture, then it was only a matter of time before a politician mastered the role. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump cracked that code.

Tony Soprano, Walter White, and Frank Underwood: The fascinating antihero who has no illusions about the elite virtue signallers who deplore him:

At least I don’t pretend to be decent; you people, on the other hand, have the gall to pretend that you’re any better than I am. Let’s dispense with the fiction that you would have treated me with any less contempt if I had bothered to live up to any of your standards of decency in the first place, and acknowledge that they have nothing to do with decency per se, and everything to do with power. Your presumption of any moral superiority is a willful, bald-faced lie, and I’m going to keep calling you on that crap until it puts me in the White House.

Post-modernist ethics is merely consumer choice on steroids:

Provided that the postmodern man believes in nothing and values nothing, one wouldn’t be unreasonable in concluding that he cares about nothing. But anyone who knows postmodern man also knows that nothing could be farther from the truth.

The striking contrast of Melissa Harris Perry and other commentators mocking Mitt Romney’s family for adopting a black baby, then tearfully apologizing for it shortly thereafter, smacks of a person who isn’t so much contrite as she is ashamed: she and her colleagues weren’t really thinking when they made fun of the Romneys, and let their true sentiments show. How else could someone who unmasks the implicit racism in something so trivial as Darth Vader’s character make a mistake like that? It shows that all the righteous fury that these folks direct at other people for doing things just like this is an affectation: a contrived performance put on for other purposes.

And those purposes are?

The answer is that the postmodern man ultimately finds satisfaction in the only thing that is left for him: power. Moral superiority is an undeniable source of power over other people, and postmodernism’s moral imperative offers it cheaply to anyone who accepts its premises. The power to shut others up by merely insinuating that they are a bigot is subtle, but its potency is difficult to overstate.

But that potency is difficult to overstate only if, like the RINO squishes, one agrees to be the sucker.

Most importantly of all, Trump understood that postmodern America loathes nothing more than a self-righteous fraud. Hence his reputation for “counterpunching” when confronted with breathless expressions of “offense.” Such was evident in his response to Clinton’s “penchant for sexism” remark by bringing up her husband’s history of sexual assault. Rather than doing what was expected and taking the high road, apologizing, and moving on, Trump opted to call his accusers out for the most certain fact that their professions of moral outrage are cynical power grab and nothing more. More.

Reality check: This sounds about right. It helps explain Trump derangement syndrome. The derangees thought they owned the antihero brand but it is Public Domain. More troublingly, Ernst’s analysis shows that their fanaticism can only grow and seek new targets until their reign of terror is halted. It will not stop by itself. It can’t.

See also: Is Trump derangement syndrome about something bigger?

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Monsef Apologises for Outburst

Known liar apologises for accusing MPs for “shirking their duties” on electoral reform:

Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef has apologized to MPs she suggested Thursday were shirking their duties on electoral reform.

Standing in the House of Commons on  Friday, Monsef said sorry for the behaviour her opposition critics denounced as “appalling” and “a disgrace.”

“Yesterday in this House, I used words that I deeply regret,” she said.

“And if you’ll allow me, I’d like to sincerely apologize to the members of this House, to Canadians and to the members of the special all-party committee on electoral reform. In no way did I intend to imply that they didn’t work hard, that they didn’t put in the long hours, that they didn’t focus on the task at hand. Mr. Speaker, I thank them for their work.”

On Thursday, the special committee of MPs studying electoral reform recommended holding a referendum to survey Canadians on whether they want to keep the current system or adopt a system of proportional representation. The committee did not specify the exact alternative model.

Liberal members on the committee disagreed that a referendum should be held.

The discord among committee members provoked a sharp rebuke from Monsef in the House.

“I have to admit I’m a little disappointed, because what we had hoped the committee would provide us with would be a specific alternative system to first past the post. Instead, they’ve provided us with the Gallagher Index,” Monsef said, referring to an academic equation that is used to quantify how well electoral system results reflect the popular vote.

“They did not complete the hard work we had expected them to,” she said. “On the hard choices that we asked the committee to make, Mr. Speaker, they took a pass.”

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Trump Angers China By Speaking With Taiwan

President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with the president of Taiwan, a move that will be sure to anger China.

It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

Washington has pursued a so-called “one China” policy since 1979, when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland. Under that policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as representing China but retains unofficial ties with Taiwan.

A statement from Trump’s transition team said he spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who offered her congratulations. It was not clear who initiated the call.

“During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties … between Taiwan and the United States. President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year,” the statement said.

A Taiwanese source with direct knowledge of the call confirmed it had taken place. The source requested anonymity to speak about it before an official statement was issued on it from Taipei.

The White House learned of the conversation after it had taken place, said a senior Obama administration official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive diplomatic relations involved.

China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Will Canada Adopt A Third Official Language?

The Liberal government has been quietly looking at the possibility of adding a third official language: Sign language.

Raising signing to the level of official language would be a major recognition, given that the use of sign language in Canada was “widely discouraged and even forbidden in classrooms” in the not-too-distant past, federal officials wrote in a briefing note to Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough.

Earlier this year, officials in Employment and Social Development Canada looked over sign language legislation in New Zealand, Scotland, Finland and Sweden as part of research about how the government could enact a similar federal law here.

The details are part of a briefing note The Canadian Press obtained under the Access to Information Act.

Such legislation, if enacted, would require federal information and services to be provided in English, French and sign language. In Canada, there are two types of sign language used by people who are medically deaf, hard of hearing, or prefer to sign: American Sign Language and la Langue des Signes Quebecoise.

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Scheer Is A Big Spender

Andrew Scheer led the way among Conservative leadership candidates when it came to spending the most to run his MP office in the first half of the year.

Scheer, a Saskatchewan MP and former Speaker of the House of Commons, spent nearly $263,000 on travel for himself and his family, salaries for employees, accommodation and per diems while in Ottawa, office leases in his riding, and other expenses.

 

Not to be outdone:

Justin Trudeau took a small army of 44 people with him for a three-day visit to Washington last March, at a cost of more than $25,000.

Carry on.

 

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RCMP charge 5 with fraud, money laundering after probe into OPP union

The RCMP have charged 3 former senior employees of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, a Toronto lawyer and a U.S. citizen with fraud over $5,000 and money laundering.

The charges follow a 19-month investigation by the RCMP Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Units into allegations of improper conduct, the RCMP said in a news release.

All references to Meatloaf have been removed;) Evidently he is now doing well.

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