Who is it going to be? The pro-corporate, pro-Tar Sands, pro-imperialism, pro-austerity, pro-inequality, pro-etcetera-lots of bad things Liberals?
Or the pro-corporate, pro-Tar Sands, pro-imperialism, pro-austerity, pro-inequality, pro-racist, homophobic, christo-fascist Conservatives?
Or the semi-pro-corporate, pro-Fracking, semi-pro-imperialism, excluded by our electoral system NDP?
Or the pro-corporate, pro-Tar Sands Greens?
Or the racist fuckwads of shit-head Maxime Bernier's Canadian National Socialist Party?
Let's face it; these parties are representative of just how fucked our society is. We're dominated by capitalism, which at its base is an inhuman system. We're a society based upon the theft of Native lands. We're a cultural and economic colony of the USA. (At least English Canada is, culturally.) And, there's a lot of stupid, or ignorant, or both people in this country. Racist, deluded, hypocritical, selfish.
Perhaps all those activists who don't care for electoral politics are right. Perhaps their extra-parliamentary marches, demos, forums, websites, actions, etc., are the way to go. Except for the fact that they've shown themselves to be pretty much useless. Occasionally every party but the Conservatives (and sometimes even the Conservatives) feel obliged to mouth words to make people feel good about them. But does anything ever really change? There are some limits on the depredations of the oligarchy, but will it be enough to stave off the ecological nightmare that is looming over us?
I think we need to articulate a clear, achievable vision for this country. One that speaks to individuals' self-interests while also putting a halt to our more insane, destructive behaviour. And this must be accompanied by a clear plan for how to get there. Everything else is just spinning wheels.
OTTAWA—Six party leaders squared off in a sometimes frenzied, sometimes humorous, sometimes confusing debate in Gatineau, Que. Monday night.
While there was plenty of substantial (and relatively honest) disagreements on policy and politics over the course of the two-hour debate, the Star catalogued a few questionable claims from all six party leaders taking part in Monday’s debate.
Here they are, in the order the leaders’ fielded questions Monday night.
Justin Trudeau, Liberal leader
The claim: Trudeau said the Liberals have brought Canada “three quarters” of the way to its emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement, which is 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
The facts: The latest national tally of emissions is from 2017. It says Canada emitted 716 million tonnes of greenhouse gas that year — just two per cent lower than in 2005. Moreover, the federal government projects that measures in the Liberal climate plan — including the carbon price, methane regulations and more — will reduce emissions to about 592 million tonnes by 2030. That’s only about 20 per cent below 2005 levels, or two thirds of the way to the target. The Liberals claim, however, that future technological improvement and impacts of incoming public transit expansions and more will ensure Canada closes the gap and exceeds the 2030 target.
Jagmeet Singh, NDP leader
The claim: Singh accused Trudeau’s Liberals of giving away $14 billion to big corporations so they could buy jets and limousines.
The facts: Last November, the Liberals announced in their fall economic update that they would spend $14 billion on a slew of tax measures for Canadian businesses. These measures allowed companies that invest in “clean energy” to immediately write off spending on new equipment and machinery, while other businesses could now write off capital spending more quickly. These changes were explicitly designed, the Liberals said, to boost manufacturing and clean energy production. The NDP has attacked the measures as irresponsible corporate giveaways ever since, claiming it would help big businesses buy more jets and limos.
Andrew Scheer, Conservative leader
The claim: “We’re going to pay for those (tax cuts and credits) by cutting corporate welfare and reducing Canada foreign aid budget by 25 per cent.”
The facts: Scheer has proposed cutting foreign aid and reviewing “corporate welfare” to find $3 billion in savings per year. But Conservatives have already announced spending that exceeds those savings, according to independent costing of their promises by the Parliamentary Budget Office.
Verdict: Misleading. The two cuts Scheer mentions, if fully implemented, would go some of the way to paying for their spending — but wouldn’t cover the whole bill.
Elizabeth May, Green leader
The claim: May defended her party’s “fully costed” election platform, and said it was approved as responsible by former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page.
The facts: Initially, Page and his team at the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy gave the Greens a failing grade in all three categories of assessment: transparency, “realistic economic and fiscal assumption,” and “responsible fiscal management.” Days later, after receiving more information about their assumptions from the party, Page revised his assessment to give the party a passing grade. However, the institute still found the party failed on fiscal responsibility, because of the uncertainty surrounding the dramatic changes the party is proposing in the short term.
Verdict: Misleading without context.
Yves-François Blanchet, Bloc Québécois leader
The claim: Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet accused the Conservatives of speaking against Quebec’s secularism law, Bill 21, in English Canada but saying they would “protect” the law in Quebec.
The facts: For his part, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has consistently said — in English and French — that a Conservative government would not intervene in court challenges against the law. Scheer’s Quebec lieutenant, Alain Reyes, told reporters Sunday that electing a Conservative government would “impede Justin Trudeau from contesting Bill 21.”
Verdict: Misleading. The Conservatives’ position has been relatively clear on Bill 21 — they would not intervene.
Maxime Bernier, People’s Party of Canada leader
The claim: “Canada receives more immigrants per capita than any other Western country.”
The facts: According to 2015 figures from the World Economic Forum, Canada does have a higher percentage of immigrants compared to other Western countries — but not the most. Australia (28.2 per cent) had a higher percentage than Canada (21 per cent). But in terms of absolute numbers, Canada ranks below a number of countries in the number of immigrants.
Alex Boutilier is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @alexboutilier
Alex Ballingall is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @aballinga