Canada loses twice as U.S. ends sanction-waivers on Iranian crude
Canada’s reliance on foreign oil, and the federal government’s continued support of the Iran nuclear deal after the United States’ withdrawal, will hurt us both short and long term—first economically, second in relations with our superpower neighbour.
On Monday the U.S. cut sanction waivers to major buyers of crude oil from Iran —Japan, South Korea, China, India and Turkey—in an effort to pressure the regime to halt its nuclear program and state sponsorship of terror.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says “we are going to see more of the same from this Prime Minister” after his discussion with Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, after Conservative leader Andrew Scheer also met with the PM.
Both men expressed “disappointment” in their individual conversations with Trudeau.
“Today I did not hear a commitment to moving forward with those items” of importance to the people of Saskatchewan,” Moe told reporters afterwards, namely to “put the carbon tax on pause to see if the province can achieve those kind of results, and replicate them if other provinces so choose.”
Scheer went into his meeting declaring that the country “Is more divided than it’s ever been”, then coming out noted “a little disappointed” that he’ll have to wait more than three weeks to face-off against Trudeau in the Commons.
Parliament will reconvene on Dec. 5 for selection of Speaker of the House to be followed by a Throne speech given by the Governor General, in which Trudeau will present his plan for the country that will hold the Commons’ confidence, or not.
After MPs are sworn in, the first order of business is electing a speaker which is open to any member who is not part of cabinet or a party leader. The last time a speaker was elected and a Throne speech given on the same day was in 1984, after Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservatives won the most seats in history.
Following the Oct. 2019 general election, Trudeau’s Liberal Party came up 13 seats shy of a majority with 157, and could be propped up by either the New Democrats’ (24 seats) support, or the Bloc Quebecois (32 seats). Scheer and the Conservatives occupy 121 seats, an overall gain from the previous parliament.
But before a Speaker is elected, Canadians will have a fortnight and a day to ruminate over Trudeau’s cabinet choices for this 43rd Parliament.
With Liberal stalwart Ralph Goodale and Amerjeet Sohi among party casualties in #elxn43, there are important Public Safety and Industry portfolios to fill for Trudeau’s Nov. 20 announcement next Wednesday.
During his brief remarks made after greeting Scheer this morning, Trudeau promised “affordability for Canadians, growth for the middle class and the fight against climate change.” – or as Moe described it, “more of the same”.
Trudeau’s words came off glib compared to Moe’s straightforward ask that Trudeau put “policy in place to get our goods to market…beyond the Trans Mountain pipeline”.
“That is how we create wealth in our province and that is how we ultimately share it with the rest of the nation,” Moe told reporters.
Scheer also said he wants Trudeau to revisit a “national energy corridor” and “demonstrate a roadmap for Trans Mountain to be completed to show western Canadians that there’s going to be progress on that.”
On Nov. 8, Trudeau had individual meetings with Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King.
Disclosure: Garnett Genuis is the Conservative MP representing Sherwood Park–Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta.
One of the most important and formative experiences for me on the road to getting into politics was competitive debate—in both high school and university. I would strongly recommend this activity as optimal preparation for anyone considering the same path.
Competitive debaters compete to defend a point of view. They very often will defend a point of view that is not their own.
Every competitive debater is taught early that an essential characteristic of good debate is something called “clash”. Clash is when arguments are made to directly counter the arguments made by the other side—to show that, even on their own terms, the other side’s arguments fail. The alternative to a good debate characterized by clash is a bad debate which resembles two ships passing in the night—essentially, debaters doing their own monologue without much reference to what others are saying.
Debate in the Canadian Parliament has come to be characterized by the near complete absence of meaningful clash. MPs deliver prepared speeches one after the other that cast arguments on their own terms and play to their own social media following. It is extremely rare that an MP would use his or her speech to deconstruct the arguments of a previous speaker.
Clash is essential in good political conversations, though, because a neutral listener has a hard time weighing out who is right and who is wrong if meaningful refutation and deconstruction of arguments does not take place. If we are to be what Edmund Burke thought Parliament should be—the “deliberative assembly of one nation”, then we must talk to one another and about one another’s arguments.
In the same speech, Burke told voters in 1774: “Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament.”
It is very important for all members of the newly constituted 43rd parliament to reflect on the importance of clash and on Burke’s advice. If we are going to work together, then we must first be able to talk together, and disagree substantively, while seeking to persuade each other to change our perspectives. People who cannot argue together well will generally struggle to work together well. We must also denominate our conversations in terms of the common good, not the narrow particular interests of one group over another.
There are a few reasons why this will be particularly difficult in the 43rd parliament. The third largest political party exists explicitly to advance the interests of one region of the country over the interests of the rest of the country. The Bloc cannot be expected to seek to advance the national interest of a nation that they seek to break apart. Though less explicitly, the governing party has and will likely continue to pursue a strategy of ignoring the development needs of western Canada. When parties run regional instead of national campaigns, they are talking past some parts of the country they think they can ignore, and only talking to parts of the country that they think they need.
It has always been interesting to me that Justin Trudeau briefly did competitive debating as a student as well. However, he stopped competing early on, noting: “I discovered I had a serious limitation for either a debater or a lawyer. I wasn’t able to argue for something I didn’t passionately believe in.” Unfortunately, an inability to dig into, understand and defend views that are not yours is not just a limitation for a debater or a lawyer—it is also a limitation for a parliamentarian and for a leader. In the privacy of one’s own mind or as an intellectual exercise, one should be able to defend things that one does not believe in order to understand and argue against those same things later. A nation as diverse as Canada particularly needs leaders who are capable of understanding and responding to different modes of thought than their own.
I hope that we will be able to raise the quality of clash in upcoming parliamentary debates, but I worry that there are a variety of cultural factors, as well as institutional ones, that are working against us. We live in an age of social media filtering, where people easily get only the information that confirms their pre-existing biases. But more broadly, our culture has for a long time lacked a common understanding of what constitutes the common good—and so we generally treat political opinions as if they were expressions of individual emotive preferences as opposed to substantive deductions about facts. There are no short-term solutions to these problems but treating opinions as opinions instead of as feelings would be a good start.
For Conservatives, we can take some pride in the fact that our support grew across the country, and that we tried to speak in terms of national ideals and projects. Inevitably those ideals and projects were more popular in some places than in others. In this new Parliament, Conservatives must maintain a truly national orientation. I will defend the interests of my own riding, but I will seek to do so in terms that are persuasive to people in other regions and in other parties. Pursuing an idea of separatism in the west, which will never come to fruition, is not a good way to be persuasive to people in other regions. It is especially dangerous in an environment where our primary complaint is the land-locking of our resources.
I am not particularly optimistic about the amount of meaningful clash that will be on display in the next Parliament, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised.
It’s day 334 of detention for Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, held captive by China in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018.
Meng’s wanted in the United States for charges related to the Chinese tech-giant’s violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, allegedly conducting business with the rogue Islamist state through a front company in Hong Kong.
Shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, he withdrew the United States from the ‘Iran nuclear deal’, favouring sanctions and sabre rattling to prevent Iran from enriching uranium and building nuclear weapons.
Caught between two economic and military superpowers, Canada got a bit of reprieve this week, at least our pig farmers did, after China lifted its embargo on Canadian pork while similar, retaliatory prohibitions remain for our canola and beef.
If these problems weren’t enough, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s previous government delayed a decision whether to allow Huawei 5G technology onto our domestic telecommunications network – the United States has already banned it over national security concerns.
During a CBC interview aired Monday with Susan Rice, the former U.S. national security advisor to President Barack Obama echoed these concerns and said Huawei 5G presented a clear and present danger.
“It’s hard for me to emphasize adequately, without getting into classified terrain, how serious it is, particularly for countries involved in the Five Eyes,” said Rice who explained threat, then suggested the signals intelligence alliance (Five Eyes) between U.S., Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia would be jeopardized if Canada went ahead with Huawei 5G.
Huawei isn’t the only company that can provide 5G, purportedly capable of 10 gigabytes-per-second of data transfer that can activate a Bluetooth ‘internet of things’ world where all gadgets are operable via smartphone.
But Huawei’s current proliferation in the marketplace and its ties with the Chinese Communist Party, as The Post Millennial previously reported, raise questions about why the Trudeau government dithers on this national security front.
“It gives the China the ability, if they choose to use it, to access all kinds of information, civilian intelligence, military, that could be very, very compromising. As much as I disagree with the Trump administration on a number of things, on this their concern about Huawei, I believe they’re right.”
Rice went on to say that if Canada were to allow the technology on its telecom infrastructure that would forever change the security relationship between our countries.
“That would put the security collaboration which serves the security interests of every Canadian and every American, into jeopardy,” Rice said. “It can’t be done. I don’t see how we can share (intelligence) in the way we have. It’s not a joke. It’s truly serious.”
National security concerns about Huawei 5G are not new – New Zealand and Australia have followed America’s lead, while UK and Canada dither – despite warnings from intelligence experts, and now the former U.S. national security advisor.
Adding more complications to the diplomatic mess, and the Trudeau government’s inability to make a decision on Huawei 5G – one Rice’s interview indicates should be a no-brainer – is the extent to which Huawei has wormed its way into Canadian university research, and the money mainland China students pay to attend post-secondary here.
According to internal documents from the University of British Columbia obtained by National Post, after Meng’s arrest, faculty and administrators were more worried about losing Chinese students, related Huawei research deals and estranging faculty from China, than national security or the university’s integrity.
Huawei research sponsorship at UBC is currently worth $9.5 million and mainland China students make up nearly 10 percent of total enrolment at the university; 5,717 or approximately one-third of all international students at the school.
In the day’s following Meng’s arrest as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport, teachers and admin contemplated a PR strategy to combat commentary in media critical of Canadian universities’ relations with Huawei.
On December 10, the same day Kovrig and Spavor were arrested in China – the pair have since been accused of espionage – Paul Evans, an Asia expert at UBC’s public policy school wrote colleagues proposing they decide whether to be “proactive or reactive” to events that could impact research cash or students from the communist regime.
If you listened to the message being pushed by Canada’s elites, you might think that Canada has a substantial role in the world, that other countries listen to us, and that we are “big players.”
But all of that is a delusion.
A delusion that Canada’s elites appear to be increasingly mired in.
In all the areas of tangible power, whether economic, military, or diplomatic, Canada is falling behind, and getting even weaker.
Our economic growth is weak, way below that of our neighbour to the south. Our energy industry is crumbling, with the US, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Iran, and other oil-producing countries the biggest beneficiaries of our self-inflicted damage to our own energy sector.
Our military is basically non-existent, resulting in a situation in which we not only can’t defend ourselves but can’t contribute in any meaningful way to our alliances like NATO.
And when it comes to diplomacy, Canada’s elites are stuck in a pathetic “soft power” delusion, where they think we somehow “punch above” our weight, yet have no evidence to back that up. In fact, our economic and military weakness is the main cause of our diplomatic weakness, as can be seen in how Communist China feels free to treat our Citizens and our nation like garbage while facing no repercussions.
Now, Canada, of course, has the potential to be an economic power, and our high level of technological advancement could give us the ability to have an efficient and effective military. That would boost our diplomacy, and give us some real power and influence in the world.
But that won’t happen so long as the elites in our political and business class continue living in a fantasy world rather than waking up to Canada’s severe challenges and weaknesses.
If our country can’t even get our own resources to market if we can’t keep our own country unified if we can’t defend ourselves, and we can’t stand up to countries that mistreat us, why would anyone respect Canada at all?
Canada’s elites attempt to distract from our weakness by repeatedly comparing our country to the United States, thinking that somehow makes our weakness and vulnerability acceptable.
Even worse, the mismanagement of Canada by the elitist class makes us far more dependent on the United States, which would be hilarious if it wasn’t so ironic and hypocritical.
At the end of the day, Canada is a country that is squandering our potential on a massive scale, and other countries must be stunned to see us do so little with so much. For that to change, we must reject the delusions being pushed by the corrupt elites and wake up to the reality of what Canada really is, and what Canada should be.