Bloc plays autonomy card while NDP defends marginalized in Throne speech responses
The parties that could potentially hold the balance of power in the Liberal’s minority government had very different takes on Thursday’s Throne speech when they responded in the House of Commons, Friday.
While the separatist Bloc Quebecois stood in defence of Quebec’s autonomy, the New Democrats assumed their traditional role as defenders of the poor and marginalized.
Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet took particular issue that the speech lumped Quebec in with provinces and territories as one of “the regions of Canada.”
“Let’s make something clear. Quebec is not a region of Canada. Quebec is the land that the Quebec nation shares with a number of First Nations,” Blanchet told the House of Commons, reminding MPs of his party’s raison d’etre.
“Although we may not be aiming specifically for this… Quebecers know that the Bloc is a party based on the concept of independence.”
Blanchet also said that in defending Quebec’s autonomy on matters of healthcare and environmental assessments, “The Bloc is not only representing the national assembly of Quebec but also the voices of the other provinces.”
The separatist party leader also said that Quebec voters turned to his party “because they can’t identify with any federal party.”
“They’re not all sovereigntists, but they’re nationalists,” he said.
Bloc support at the polls tripled their seat count (10-32) in the Commons while the number of NDP candidates were nearly cut in half, from 40 down to 24.
New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh, whose enclave was relegated to fourth party status after October’s election in a Bloc-surge, accused Liberals for “profiting off student debt” while waiving government loans to corporations.
Singh was also skeptical about the Throne speech’s promise to lower the cost of telecommunications services by 25 percent.
“In Canada we pay…some of the highest cellphone and internet fees in the world. It’s not a coincidence because the government has allowed the telecoms to do this,” said Singh.
“Access to the internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity…(and) the cost of cell phone and internet services are impeding people in their everyday lives.”
Affordable and available housing, as well as making good on a national pharmacare plan that consecutive Liberal governments have paid lip service to, also formed Singh’s response to the Throne speech.
“Across Canada people are making difficult choices every day, about cutting their pills in half or going without the life-saving medication that they need,” he said.
“What is it going to take for the Prime Minister to keep his word and to deliver pharmacare that covers all Canadians?”
The New Democrat leader also suggested that Trudeau talked the talk on indigenous reconciliation, which also prominently featured in the Throne speech, but that the government’s actions fell short of walking the walk.
“I can’t wrap my head around it,” said Singh. “(They) ignore a human rights tribunal ruling, delay the funding to end the discrimination and continue to take indigenous to court.”
At the beginning of October, the federal government filed for judicial review of a Canadian Human Rights tribunal ruling ordering $40,000 in compensation to First Nations children taken from their communities under the on-reserve child welfare system.
A new report by the Fraser Institute shows that any province can force other provinces and the federal government to renegotiate the constitution.
In what will be a welcome report to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, the Fraser Institute made a particular note of equalization payments—finding that the payment system could be restructured.
Speaking to the Fraser Institute, Professor Rainer Knopff stated, “If Alberta charts the correct course, it can bring otherwise reluctant governments to the table to discuss fiscal federalism.”
Equalization has long been a point of contention between Western Canada and Ottawa—so much so, that Premier Kenney is considering a provincial referendum on the subject of removing equalization payments from the constitution. If Kenney is successful, the referendum may trigger the “duty to negotiate” is there is also an element of succession.
Last year, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Yves-Francois Blanchet, suggested that Quebec had disproportionally sent money to Quebec to pay for pipelines. In reality, Alberta got the short end of the stick, despite unemployment skyrocketing and industry leaving.
For how much longer can the CBC call itself Canada’s public broadcaster if the Canadian public don’t actually watch its broadcasts? I suspect this question may have seemed frivolous even a decade ago—though now, in 2020, it may just be too tantalizing a question to shrug off.
Fewer and fewer Canadians consume the public broadcaster’s programs. The CBC’ supper hour broadcast, for instance, has now faded to a meagre 329,000 viewers (close to the number of newcomers added to Canada’s population every year, yet CBC’s viewership still declines). These figures are starkly revealing: what has happened to our supposed national treasure?
Despite being pressed with the mandate to unbiasedly “”inform, enlighten and entertain” Canadians with Canadian content, the CBC is now pleading with the CRTC to let them broadcast less Canadian programs. As Toronto Sun columnist Brian Lilley mused, “Isn’t that why [the CBC] exists?”
Perhaps the abysmal ratings and their muted Canadian pessimism could be forgiven if the CBC was not so chronically possessed with pro-Liberal bias. It is not unreasonable to suggest that all public broadcasters have some degree of bias: they recruit largely from a university educated, metropolitan demographic—however, the Canadian broadcaster, in particular, seems utterly unapologetic in their support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Take, for instance, Rosemary Barton who up until last week hosted the CBC’s flagship show, The National. Before Barton’s pyrrhic “promotion,” the presenter gleefully revelled in any opportunity to defend her darling Trudeau. Worst still, Barton then apparently thought it was a brilliant idea to have her name on a CBC lawsuit against the Conservative Party during a federal election.
Despite widespread criticism, the CBC has made no attempt to learn from its mistakes of the last election. This was proven, once again, by the public broadcaster wheeling out Richard Decarie, (a leadership no-hoper from Quebec) to represent the social views of Canadian Conservatives.
Decarie who, rather impressively, managed to embarrass the majority of the party, confirmed the prejudices of Canada’s Laurentian elites by happily suggesting that “LGBTQ” was a “Liberal” term and that being gay was a “choice” on CTV.
Almost instantly, Decarie was quickly condemned by all serious Conservative leadership contenders. And yet, despite this, and despite the fact he has never held elected office, the old reactionary was stirred from bed yet again the following day and given more airtime from CBC than some other minor candidates would hope to achieve in an entire leadership contest. It’s hard to think of another reason CBC decided to have this bigoted man–not even yet fully registered in the race–a platform other than to besmirch the Conservative Party of Canada as a whole.
As a conservative, I often find myself romantically defending dilapidated and tired institutions that have lost all practical purpose in the modern world. Perhaps, for the sake of a free-thinking Canada, conservatives should get serious about dismantling the CBC–an institution so out of touch with modern Canada despite taking billions of dollars in taxpayer money.
Trudeau’s cabinet is pushing through anti-gun legislation as quickly as possible, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
Speaking to reporters, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair stated, “There is no greater urgency than making sure our community is safe.”
The Liberal’s handgun ban will involve banning “assault rifles”, adding more regulations to the storage of firearms, and introducing a system that flags those who buy guns. As well as this, Trudeau hopes to “limit the glorification of violence by changing the way firearms are advertised, marketed and sold in Canada.”
Minister Blair has stated his intention to push through the bill as quickly as possible despite concerns from lawyers over potentially shoddy legislation. This legislation, for instance, may incriminate legal gun-owners through opaque red tape.
The Liberals are planning to push the legislation without through an order in council that avoids debate and any public consultation.
Blair’s office did not respond to request for comment last week after a petition to parliament calling the Liberals to scrap the new gun legislation received over 100,000 signatures from upset Canadians.
Rosemary Barton has finally been demoted by the CBC after the public broadcaster announced last week that it was giving up on the disjointed and ratings-killing four-anchor format for its flagship show.
CBC’s The National was revamped a couple years ago when Peter Mansbridge retired, and it has been losing its small viewership ever since, losing nearly 25 percent (about 124,000 viewers abandoning the program) by the summer of last year, despite the CBC spending a lot in promotional ads to sell Canadians on the new anchors and format. As the viewership has declined, so too has the CBC’s ad revenue.
Rosemary Barton has been scrutinized many times in the past for having bias as a reporter. The Post Millennial takes a look back at the eight times (there are far more examples) Barton showed bias for the Liberals while feigning to be a nonpartisan journalist above reproach.
1. Coming to Justin Trudeau’s defence
In a conversation with colleague Andrew Nichols about the similarities of the personal beliefs on abortion between Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, Barton was quick to dismiss the fact that Trudeau said he was personally against abortion as well.
2. “So do deficits even matter these days? I don’t think so”
Trudeau and the Liberal government have come under fire for their spending and bringing the nation deeper and deeper into debt with massive deficits racking up tens of billions in red ink. While anchoring the nightly news, Barton gave her “objective” opinion that deficits aren’t really a thing Canadians should worry their pretty little heads about.
3. SNC-Lavalin scandal was so early 2019
During the fall 2019 election Rosemary Barton steered an on-air conversation away from the SNC-Lavalin scandal, suggesting that they had already covered it so much, essentially implying it was beating a dead horse.
She also dismissed the RCMP investigating Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s involvement in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, in what could possibly be deemed attempted obstruction of justice, suggesting the RCMP were just “asking a few questions”.
4. Duffy expense scandal was totally Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s fault and deserved to be covered extensively for years
Back before Rosemary Barton was promoted to being the host of CBC’s Power and Politics, which she hosted for a few years before being promoted yet again to anchor The National, she and her fellow Liberal partisan, Katie Simpson, were riveted by Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s expense scandal, both breathlessly reporting from the trial, in which Duffy was found innocent of all charges. But they did their best to try to pin it on Harper in the lead-up to 2015 election, despite the initial scandal breaking in 2012. One would imagine the expense scandal was quite minor in comparison to a sitting PM potentially corrupting the justice system, but not for Barton.
Never mind that Harper’s chief of staff paid the money back, and then resigned when the media found out, it was far more scandalous than the SNC-Lavalin affair!
5. Trudeau’s poor attendance record at Parliament isn’t a big deal “because democracy and stuff”
Rosemary Barton routinely downplays the flaws of PM Justin Trudeau and the Liberals not only on air, but via Twitter. When Trudeau decided campaigning for the Liberal Party of Canada in a by-election was more important than being in Ottawa governing the country she gave her biased “hot take” that by-elections are important.
It’s hard to believe she’d be so charitable to Harper or Andrew Scheer.
6. “It’s literally how the parliamentary system works”
When polls weren’t looking all that rosy for Justin Trudeau, Rosemary Barton claimed that Trudeau would be able to stay on as PM in a minority situation even if the Liberals won less seats than the Conservatives, something that would be essentially unprecedented in Canadian federal Parliament.
“It’s literally how the parliamentary system works,” Barton incorrectly expounded on Twitter.
7. Fan girl selfie and stroll
These ones speak for themselves.
8. Suing the Conservative Party of Canada during the 2019 election
For some reason the CBC thought it was a good idea to sue the Conservative Party of Canada for using clips of the public broadcaster’s footage in an attack ad. Despite all parties doing this, and it being something the CBC itself does regularly (in what is totally legal and called fair dealing), the CBC pulled the trigger on suing the CPC, which ended up spectacularly backfiring.
To top it all off, Rosemary Barton and another CBC journalist were named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, until the CBC eventually had the sense to remove them from the lawsuit. Barton never definitively cleared the air on whether she agreed to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
However, during the 2015 election, Peter Mansbridge in a documented email exchange had CBC execs take legal action against the CPC for using a clip of Justin Trudeau giving a very poor answer about the Boston Marathon terrorists. Mansbridge was Barton’s mentor, is it too far-fetched to believe she took a page out of his Liberal partisan playbook?
The CBC, being shamelessly biased, decided it was appropriate to keep Barton on The National, as a debate moderator, and the lead anchor for the election-night coverage despite this very glaring conflict of interest coming to light.
Yet, Rosemary Barton audaciously claims she can’t be partisan, it’s impossible. In an interview with Duncan McCue for CBC’s Cross Country Checkup she was asked about how many people feel she has a bias with her reporting she replied, “I don’t mind criticism of my work. We are the public broadcaster… I think it’s important to hold me to account,” she said. “That said, I really don’t have a horse in the race. I don’t have a partisan bone in my body. It’s not the way I was raised; it’s not who I am.”
With the above examples it’s rather hard to believe that’s not who she is.
You’re allowed to have a personal bias, it’s impossible not to, you just shouldn’t bring it into your work if you’re the lead anchor of the public broadcaster’s flagship news show and you are going to claim you’re fair to all political parties.
Barton being moved to CBC’s chief political correspondent is a far better fit, especially now that the public broadcaster irrevocably branded itself Liberal during the 2019 election cycle.
Sometimes Barton does tell it like it is.