Category Archives: Politics

Promises, promises: The Liberals made a lot, maybe too many

Only the naive person views the politician without skepticism. But a politician’s words are still important, not least because what he or she says they will do is generally in line with what they do.

That’s the finding across three studies of campaign promises dating back more than 70 years, though there are differences in methodology. More often than not, federal governments in Canada keep their promises.

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Cambodian Supreme Court Dissolves Opposition Political Party

The last time something like this happened, a bunch of Cambodians died:

Cambodia’s Supreme Court ordered the main opposition party to be dissolved on Thursday, dealing a crushing blow to democratic aspirations in the increasingly oppressive Southeast Asian state. The decision clears the way for the nation’s authoritarian leader to remain in power for years to come.

The verdict, which was widely expected, comes amid a growing push by the administration of Prime Minister Hun Sen to neutralize political opponents and silence critics ahead of elections due in July 2018.

Chief Judge Dith Munty, who is a senior ruling party member, announced the nine-member court’s unanimous ruling.

He said 118 opposition party members would also be banned from politics for the next five years.

The government accuses the Cambodia National Rescue Party of plotting a coup and has called for its dissolution for weeks. The opposition staunchly denies the allegations and says they are politically motivated — a position backed by international rights groups and independent analysts who say no credible evidence has emerged to back the claims.

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Financial Portfolios Still A “Man’s World” Laments Fruitcake

 

Oh, dear:

Women remain underrepresented in economic and finance ministers’ offices, a political sphere that former cabinet staff say continues to be an “old boys’ club” and especially unavailable to women at the senior level.

Long before and after Michele Austin worked as a chief of staff to Conservative minister Rona Ambrose, she noticed women weren’t in finance files.

“Prime ministers, no matter what their party, turn a blind eye to putting women in charge of economic portfolios federally,” she said. “Women’s perspectives on the economy and the bottom line are incredibly important. If you think of who makes purchasing decisions in households, it’s predominantly women, so they need to have a voice at the cabinet table.”

 

Like the genius of Climate Barbie or the crying acumen of Chrystia Freeland?

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Column: “Don’t trust the Liberals to run their own promise tracker”

Well, obviously:

The government’s launch of its own online promise tracker on Tuesday tells us that either the Liberals are incredibly naive or they think that of us. It’s hard to know which is worse.

 

The Liberals are performing like four different kinds of crap.

That is the assessment of someone who isn’t a Liberal.

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Provincial Finances Are Much Worse Than Reported

Oh, joy:

The official balance sheets of provinces across the country mask billions of dollars in debt related to a series of megaproject follies being pursued by provincial governments and government-owned power utilities. While their debt doesn’t officially appear on provincial balance sheets, taxpayers will be left footing the bill when the electricity rates needed to pay them off become so economically crippling and politically unpalatable that they will require a bailout.

A chorus of auditors general and ratings agencies have questioned this trend of masking liabilities, but have seen their warnings ignored by political leaders determined to bury the risk of pet megaprojects.

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Why Did Trudeau Skip A TPP Meeting?

Even a Liberal water-carrier has trouble defending Trudeau:

The irritation of the other delegations — “the Canadians screwed everybody” was one of the kinder remarks — was widely reported, and if it is now maintained that Canada was never going to sign last week and everyone should have known that, it remains unclear how they could have been led to believe otherwise.

Diplomats generally do their utmost to make meetings between leaders as dull as possible: any disagreements are worked out ahead of time, behind closed doors, with a view to ensuring there are no unpleasant surprises on the day. Yet that does not appear to have been the case here.

 

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The Russian collusion narrative is falling apart. There will be many embarrassed politicians in the near future

Well, it seems that things are falling apart, the center is not holding.  There are those on the left who will not abandon the “dossier” fiasco.  As late as Oct. 7, 2017 the Guardian described it as “one of the most explosive documents in modern political history.”  This “dossier” was an obvious fraud and no one in the intelligence community believed otherwise.  People who claimed it might possibly have value were deceiving the public. They did this because it was the only thing they had to justify an investigation of the Donald Trump campaign.

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“Canada pushed for Airbus deal as Bombardier courted China”

Anything for Bombardier:

The Canadian government encouraged Bombardier to make a deal with Airbus SE for its CSeries planes to thwart a potential venture with Chinese investors, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

It signaled its preference for Airbus after Bombardier failed to reach an agreement with Boeing Co earlier this year that would have given the U.S. company a stake in the CSeries jetliners, according to the sources. The Canadian government’s role has not been previously reported.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration took a calculated risk in steering Bombardier toward Airbus, according to the sources. It helped save a key product for Bombardier and likely resolved a brewing trade dispute with the United States, but potentially set back efforts to improve trade and economic ties with China.

The deal with Airbus came at a critical time for Bombardier. Its $6 billion CSeries program, already losing money, had become the subject of a trade dispute in which Boeing charged in a complaint to U.S. authorities that the jetliners benefited from Canadian government subsidies and unfair pricing.

Bombardier had considered a Chinese partnership as early as 2015, after talks about a possible merger with Airbus became public and fell apart. This year, as negotiations with Boeing over a CSeries partnership faltered and concerns about the future of the program mounted, Bombardier’s interest in a deal with China intensified, two sources said.

The prospect of such a deal raised concern within the Canadian government, two of the sources said, where officials believed jobs or technology could be “siphoned away” to China. They also expressed uneasiness about what some saw as inadequate Chinese safeguards against intellectual property theft.

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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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