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May 3, 2019

Ten reasons NOT to vote for the Trudeau Liberals in October

The Canadian Charger

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1. NAFTA

The new NAFTA / USMCA agreement was signed on November 30, 2018 and proclaimed as “a good deal for Canada.” Yet the punitive US tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel exports are still in place. The business community is being left in limbo. Five months (and counting) later, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada won't ratify the USMCA until US tariffs are lifted. Since the Liberal government agreed to a six-year review of the USMCA, the US will have plenty of leverage over us: does “Agree to our stipulations, or we’ll withdraw from the agreement” sound familiar?

2.  CHINA AND VENEZUELA

Justin Trudeau came to power with a Canada-China free trade agreement near the top of his wish list, but despite continued efforts to negotiate one, our relationship with the PRC is actually worse now than before the Trudeau Liberals came to power.

A case in point: After purchasing $2.7 billion worth of Canadian canola products in 2018 (approximately 40% of our total production) China abruptly banned further canola imports, claiming unproven “quality” issues. Until 2018 China was the largest single market for Canadian canola; its sudden (and politically motivated) decision poses a significant economic threat to our farming industry.

Overall, canola exports contribute approximately $26.7 billion annually to our economy and the industry employs more than 250,000 people, according to Brian Innes, VP of public affairs for the Canola Council of Canada (CCC).

“The impact is huge,” he said. “To put it in perspective, agri-food is one in seven jobs in the country, and canola is the largest source of farm income in agriculture, so canola is a big part of what we do … And most of what we are able to do … comes from exports.”

Meanwhile, Venezuela has become another Trudeau foreign policy débacle that’s unnecessarily costing the Canadian taxpayer money. Despite Canada being a founding member of the Lima group – supposedly promoting democracy in Venezuela – our government has been anything but transparent in revealing which opposition groups it supports. Back in 2010, Eva Golinger, America’s foremost researcher on funding to the Venezuelan opposition, claimed that Canada was playing a growing role in that troubled country. According to a 2010 report from the Spanish NGO Fride, “Canada is the third most important provider of democracy assistance” to Venezuela after the US and Spain.

3.  CANNABIS

In a big rush to meet his self-proclaimed deadline, Justin Trudeau failed to adequately address many concerns about cannabis legalization that were raised months, even years, ahead by municipalities, law enforcement agencies, employers, scientists and doctors. In mid-October 2018, government officials confirmed they have no conclusive test to determine if someone is driving high, leaving front line law enforcement in limbo. Several police forces across the country now refuse to use government-approved test devices. Moreover, the Trudeau government has not addressed safety concerns raised by employers, workers and Indigenous communities. There have been no explanations as to how the Liberal plan will keep marijuana out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals.

4.  CLIMATE CHANGE

Prime Minister Trudeau has kept his promise to fight climate change with a carbon tax. The federal carbon pollution rate will be $20 per ton this year, and rise $10 per ton annually until it reaches $50 per ton in 2022. But it is far from an equitable solution, since the poor spend more of their disposable income on fuel, heat and groceries than the rich. Rebates are issued long after the fact. Because too little time was spent consulting the provinces, Trudeau faces possible carbon tax court challenges from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, with more likely in the near future.

5.  FIRST NATIONS

Shortly after becoming Prime Minister in 2015, Trudeau promised a radically new relationship with Indigenous and First Nations peoples all across Canada. But the recipients of his good intention have little or nothing to show for it. In November 2017, then Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott announced Ottawa would provide $170,000 for a feasibility study on a long-term treatment centre in Grassy Narrows, as well further funding to “design, build and operate” such a facility. It also promised a similar treatment centre for the Wabaseemoong, or Whitedog nation, which has also suffered the health effects of chronic mercury poisoning. Construction of the proposed 20-bed Grassy Narrows facility was to have begun late in 2018, but no ground has yet been broken. Media reports said that in December Minister Philpot held discussions with the community and that the project was supposed to get underway around June of this year. So far nothing has been confirmed. Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle said the community must put the money into a trust to ensure that future governments don’t suddenly remove it. Justin Trudeau's mocking quip to protestor Lana Goldberg, “Thank you very much for your donation” as security was escorting her out of a $1,500-a-plate Liberal fundraiser at the Laurier Club on March 27, gave Canadians a “true colors” glimpse of a careful, crafty and entitled politician who casually claims “concern” over what Canadians struggle with in their daily lives, but doesn’t act on it. Ms. Goldberg was attempting to raise awareness about mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows. The First Nations community has battled with mercury poisoning in its local water supply for decades after an upstream pulp and paper mill dumped thousands of pounds of effluent into the English-Wabigoon river system during the 1960s and early 1970s. Ms. Goldberg was represented an advocacy group called Free Grassy Narrows, working to secure a long-term care facility for victims of mercury poisoning.

6.  PIPELINES

After promising pipelines to relieve pressure on Alberta, whose oil producers are forced to sell crude at a discount due to lack of shipping capacity to serve the US market, there are still no new pipelines in sight. In June 2018 the Trudeau government passed Bill C-69, creating a new Impact Assessment Agency and replacing the National Energy Board with an agency called Canadian Energy Regulator. The intention was to introduce new timelines and concrete steps by which oil companies and governments could move new energy projects forward. But Chris Bloomer, president of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association disputed government claims that the new legislation will speed up the review and approval process. “We cannot see that timelines will improve. We expect them to be longer,” he told the Commons Environment Committee. He also predicted that the federal plan would only increase difficulties and uncertainties. “Instead, it introduces a new regulatory agency and unique new processes and information requirements that have never been tested.” He continued, “Science and fact-based assessments can now be obscured by the layering … of assessments that are ill-defined, fluid and open to potential strategies of delay and obfuscation … by groups opposed to any project.” Even prior to Bill C-69, which the pipeline industry says will stop any future projects, this Liberal government killed two major routes. Northern Gateway was cancelled, despite regulatory approval, when Trudeau declared a ban on oil tanker traffic off the British Columbia coast. Of course, that hasn’t stopped American tankers from shipping Alaskan oil through those same waters. He also killed off Energy East by abruptly changing the rules. Suddenly Energy East was told they would have to account for both upstream and downstream emissions; according to Trans Canada Pipelines that was the deal-breaker. 

7.  SNC-LAVALIN

Testifying at the House of Commons Justice Committee on Feb. 27, 2019, former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould said: “For a period of approximately four months, between September and December of 2018, I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney general of Canada.” After weeks of obfuscating, prevaricating and deflecting around Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s concerns, Trudeau was asked if he intended to apologize for what unfolded in the SNC-Lavalin case. Instead, he continued to emphasize his belief that there was “no inappropriate pressure,” adding as an apparent afterthought, “I’m obviously reflecting on lessons learned through this.”

8.  MCCALLUM AND DION

Many mistakes that have marred the Trudeau government's first term can be attributed to lack of experience. Not only Justin Trudeau himself, but many of his closest advisers were relatively new to the game. Yet the Prime Minister apparently found it easy to dispatch two senior Liberals who had solid experience “in the trenches.” John McCallum was exiled to the role of ambassador to China and Stephane Dion was sent to the political outfield as Canada's representative to the European Union. They are undoubtedly useful in such roles, but needed far more at home.

9.  JANE PHILPOTT and JODY WILSON-RAYBOULD

When two high-profile cabinet women, Minister of Veterans Affairs (and former Attorney General) Jody Wilson-Raybould and Treasury Board head Jane Philpott, criticized him for lack of leadership, Trudeau expelled them from Caucus. The resulting vacuum is all too evident as there is no one to fill the huge spaces they left. 

10.  REFUGEES

It has long been raised at every level of government that most, if not all, of Canada’s major refugee resettlement cities – Toronto in particular – do not have adequate social service, health and housing facilities to accommodate the refugees that Prime Minister Trudeau has welcomed into the country. While it is indeed a noble cause to help those in need, and in danger for their lives in many cases, it is simply poor planning and inefficient prioritization to neglect the basic-needs issues – both human and material -- required to properly integrate these people into Canadian society.

These are only ten reasons but unfortunately there are many more. Each one profoundly affects all Canadians as we look toward the challenges of the upcoming October election. Now is the time to think about their impact and how it will affect our voting decisions.

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