Four wounded in three stabbing incidents overnight in Ottawa—some suspects in custody, some at large
Ottawa Police responded to three separate stabbing incidents Monday night that left 3 victims injured.
The first stabbing occurred at 7:41 pm on Augusta. One man was injured in this incident, but police haven’t managed to find the suspect.
Without mentioning 71,000 jobs the Canadian economy shed in November, Finance Minister Bill Morneau stood in the House of Commons’ West Block foyer on Monday to announce a measly tax cut that would provide earners of $50,000 “with tax savings of close to $300 in 2023.”
Twenty million Canadians would benefit said Morneau, of the Liberals proposed increases to allowable personal income before taxes from $12,300 to $15,000.
In the wake of disastrous fall job figures reported last week by Statistics Canada, the minister touted “the lowest levels of unemployment we’ve seen in a very long time, but as we know, there continues to be economic anxiety and economic challenges.”
Asked about Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s demand for A Fair Deal for Alberta within Canada, banner advertisements purchased for the front page of today’s Ottawa Sun and Citizen editions, Morneau said he hadn’t read them yet, “but I will have a meeting with the Alberta Minister of Finance this afternoon and we will listen.”
“It’s important to listen, to consider their challenges. Their challenges are true. So we will listen and work together to improve the situation across the country, including Alberta,” said Morneau.
Across the street from Parliament, Kenney was about to address the Canadian Club in specific terms about the anxiety and challenges his province faces, having shed 175,000 jobs since 2015–18,000 in November alone – on the cusp of meetings with Morneau.
“There cannot be a strong Canada without a strong Alberta… our ability to play that role in the future is at risk. That puts Canada’s prosperity at risk,” Kenney warned during his speech, reiterating the province’s “net contribution(s) of $630 billion to the rest of Canada since 1961”, by way of federal income tax transfers.
By Kenney’s estimation, this wealth transfer from Alberta, which the federal government redistributes to other provinces in the federation equalled $55,000 for each man, woman and child in Alberta.
The Alberta premier went on to outline “the fair deal” his province seeks includes “a firm and fast deadline for TMX… and to make it a priority to bring First Nations into the project as an equity partner as soon as possible.”
As three separate indigenous groups are lined up to buy a stake in the existing 1,150 km pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. and a proposed $7.5 billion expansion, Morneau and the government have been silent on such a deal, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise last June for unlimited Indigenous ownership.
On this front, the Alberta premier lines up squarely behind federal Conservatives; either want more tidewater pipelines and new environmental legislation (bills C-69 and C-48) repealed, what Kenney and his Ottawa cohorts label as pipeline killers.
Scrapping this legislation–C-69 that revamped resource project assessments and 48, the northwest coast oil tanker ban–said Kenney, would allow the province a freedom “to develop our resources at a fair market price.”
Kenney has been beating the TMX drum for some time and shortly before Trudeau’s summertime green light for the project, the premier issued his demands in another ad-buy, this one splashed on the front pages of the Globe and Mail.
“Let us take seriously these challenges in a province that has done so much (for Canada). Let’s not make the mistake of diminishing or deriding (them),” Kenney told the Canadian Club on Monday morning.
Less than an hour earlier at Morneau’s tax cut scrum, the overall benefit was cut down to size in a brief back-and-forth with Mona Fortier, the Middle Class Prosperity minister and associate minister of Finance.
Reporter: “Have you looked at how much it’s going to save a person on their pay cheque? It’s at $300 a year. What’s that per pay cheque?”
Fortier: “Well, you know with this pay cheque will help to–with the $300 or $600 for families it will help ends meet and help families have access to more activities after school.”
Reporter: “It’s $11.50. Everybody knows…”
Fortier: “Well it’s still money that is combined with all of the measures that we’ve put in since 2015. It will help families cover some costs that they want to send their kids to camp or to put money aside for retirement.”
Conservative MP Jeremy Patzer is the representative for Cypress Hills—Grasslands (Saskatchewan).
In delivering their Throne speech, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals unveiled what could have been an opportunity to acknowledge the mounting difficulties Western Canadians are facing. Especially the millions of hard-working Canadians who are employed, or rather, were employed in the energy industry. Instead, what we heard was a complete disregard for the real threat facing national unity today: the collapsing energy industry.
On election night, Prime Minister Trudeau went on national television and told Western Canadians, “I hear you.” The throne speech made it very clear, he is not listening.
This was an opportunity for the Liberal leader to demonstrate he has heard the concerns of Saskatchewan and Alberta, who routed every Liberal candidate in their provinces and prevented any new ones from being elected. This was an opportunity for him to show that he has heard our message, which was strong and clear, and that he plans to switch tracks in this minority Parliament.
At the very least, I expected the speech to mention the production of a National Energy Corridor to help get our resources to market and unite our country. Instead, we received more of the same from a PM rich in rhetoric but thin in deed.
Western Canada—and I believe all of Canada at large—expected to see a government that had learned from the disastrous mistakes of its own past, that would work to heal our regional divides, that would strengthen our position on the world stage, that would get Canadians back to work in hard hit regions, and that would give hope to the millions of Canadians who continue to feel abandoned by Justin Trudeau. The Liberal government’s Speech from the Throne was an opportunity to bring Canadians together and express a renewed vision for national unity. But, there was nothing of the sort.
Despite this disappointment, I am excited to be a part of Andrew Scheer’s Conservative team in Ottawa. We are ready to tackle the challenges ahead. We will continue to fight for Canadians and hold to a vision of a Canada that is stronger when we work together. We will offer real solutions that will allow nation-building infrastructure projects, like the Trans Mountain pipeline, to get built, rather than let innovative ideas die as a result of government dithering and red tape.
As the Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills—Grasslands, I was elected to serve my constituents, not prop up Justin Trudeau’s agenda. I will continue to work hard every day to ensure that all Canadians can have confidence that this country is one for all of us. Canada’s Conservatives, under Andrew Scheer, have heard your voices. We are here to serve all Canadians, from Coast to Coast to Coast, including Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Tax cuts Liberal government's 'first act', reconciliation and climate change top goals: Throne speech
Climate change, economic prosperity and indigenous reconciliation will continue to be the now-minority Liberal government’s focus according to Governor General Julie Payette’s Speech from the Throne–an outline of the ruling party’s agenda and authored by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“In this election, Parliamentarians received a mandate from the people of Canada..to fight climate change, strengthen the middle class, walk the road of reconciliation, keep Canadians safe and healthy, and position Canada for success in an uncertain world,” said Payette.
The governor general declared climate change to be the “defining challenge of the time”.
“From forest fires and floods, to ocean pollution and coastal erosion, Canadians are living the impact of climate change every day. The science is clear, and it has been for decades,” Payette said.
“A clear majority of Canadians voted for ambitious climate action now. And that is what the Government will deliver… and it will do so in a way that grows the economy and makes life more affordable.”
Reducing Canada’s emissions to a net-zero position by 2050 and planting two billion trees over the next decade are among the government’s climate action goals, according to the speech.
On the subject of “middle class prosperity”, Payette said most Canadians can expect a tax cut.
“As its first act, the government will cut taxes for all but the wealthiest Canadians, giving more money to middle class families and those who need it most,” she said.
“The Government will also act on housing…(and) continue its crucial investments in affordable housing. It will also make it easier for more people to buy their first home.”
The Throne speech also reiterated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise to cut cell phone bills by 25 percent, “more support for students” and a national pharmacare plan; each yet to be defined in more concrete action.
The speech also promised to “walk to road of reconciliation” with Indigenous people that includes “co-develop(ing) and introduce legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the first year of the new mandate.”
While the legislation to implement the UN declaration died in the Senate, Trudeau appears intent on following the province of British Columbia, which passed legislation to adopt the declaration in November.
The Liberal minority will also forge ahead with “banning military-style assault rifles and taking steps to introduce a buy-back program.”
“Canadians have seen firsthand the devastating effects of gun violence. Too many lives lost, too many families shattered,” said Payette. “It is time to show courage, and strengthen gun control.”
The “uncertain world” also loomed in the Throne speech.
According to Payette, the government will position Canada “as a coalition-builder… with like-minded countries to put Canada’s expertise to work on a global scale in… the promotion of democracy and human rights, the fight against climate change… and the development and ethical use of artificial intelligence.”
The senator behind a new faction in Parliament’s upper chamber says #WEXIT was “tangentially” behind this, the latest attempt at non-partisan independence in the Canadian Senate.
In an interview with The Post Millennial, former Conservative senator Scott Tannas and leader of the nascent Canadian Senators Group said the move is geared toward having a say in committee picks, non-partisan research, and also suggested it could be a bulwark against “group-think”.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in this group at all, who thinks Wexit is a great idea, or it’s time has come. We’re all there to fight for Canada,” said the Albertan senator. “But in the context of making sure our regions are protected and advanced.”
The Canadian Senators Group also includes Doug Black (Alberta), Robert Black (Ontario), Larry W. Campbell (B.C.), Stephen Greene (Nova Scotia), Diane F. Griffin (P.E.I.), Elaine McCoy (AB), David Richards (New Brunswick), Josée Verner (Quebec), Pamela Wallin (Saskachewan) and Vernon White (ON).
Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, referred to the appointed legislature that provides regional oversight for government bills with power to introduce laws unrelated to spending, as chamber for “sober second thought”.
However, in contemporary politics and on the Main Street circa 2019, opinions on the Senate range from a desire for greater accountability (some provinces like Alberta actually hold non-binding votes for senate-appointees), to its abolishment altogether.
And for nearly 150 years, senators were appointed by the sitting prime minister, and for the most part showed unbroken partisan loyalty to their caucuses. But that all changed in April 2014 when Trudeau cut existing Liberal appointees in the Upper Chamber from the national caucus.
The rookie leader had been at the Liberal helm for barely a year before making this nation-changing decision – one that Dale Smith, a parliamentary reporter and author of a book on how Canada’s Westminster government operates, describes as “a slow moving train wreck ever since.”
“It goes back to when Trudeau kicked out his senators and said it was about wanting more independence in the Senate, it was really more about a bunch of (spending) audits coming out,” Smith told TPM. “It was like killing two birds with one stone, independent senators and not dealing with any blowback the Auditor General finds.”
That report by Auditor General of Canada Michael Ferguson, delivered in June 2015 after examining 116 senators’ expenses, found 30 to contain inappropriate claims (more than a dozen senators opted for arbitration to square accounts) and referred nine to RCMP for further investigation. No charges from Ferguson’s determinations ever materialized.
However, his audit was launched over questionable living expenses claimed by Stephen Harper appointees Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy, as well Liberal Senator Mac Harb, that resulted in charges against all three.
The Crown ultimately withdrew prosecution of fraud-related charges against Brazeau (July 2016) and Harb (May 2016), shortly after Duffy beat four of 31 counts of bribery, fraud and breach of trust that actually stuck and that the public prosecutor pursued at Ontario Superior Court.
Trudeau’s decision to abandon his Senate caucus occurred barely three months before Duffy was charged by RCMP, one of which included accepting a “bribe” from Harper’s then chief-of-staff Nigel Wright for $90,000 to cover disputed housing expenses. Strangely, Wright was never charged for tendering the cash.
After winning a majority government 18 months later Trudeau continued his senate-reform in January 2016, by way of Order-in-Council, establishing an advisory board to weed through applicants for “independents” to fill Senate vacancies.
By March of that year, the Independent Senator Group was formed; an amalgam of Trudeau’s original castaways and destination for new blood. It had also become haven for embattled Harper appointees tapped for the Senate, including Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin, who has now thrown her lot in with Tannas’ new venture.
But the senator from High River Alberta at the Canadian Senators Group vanguard, a former insurance agent whom Harper tapped for the Senate in 2012, distributes blame for the Senate’s current state of affairs evenly between the current prime minister and his antecedent.
“I saw the decision that Harper made not to fill 20-some senate seats he had (before leaving office). And both of those decisions, the one by Harper and one by Trudeau, had an enormous impact on where the Senate is today,” said Tannas when asked about the Trudeau effect.
“In my view, both things have accelerated what we’re seeing in the Senate now, to where we’re at a tipping point, where changes will become permanent changes.”
In rare public criticism of what’s come of the institution in the wake of Trudeau’s decision, Senate Director of communications Karine Leroux made the following comments about this recent turn of events in an email to TPM:
“We are currently living through the repercussions of Prime Minister Trudeau’s ill-thought-out idea of Senate reform. While he was leader of the third party opposition, Justin Trudeau miscalculated the need of having senators move forward the government legislation in the Senate. He failed to see the long term impact and implication of not recognizing the needs of having a Government Caucus and an Opposition Caucus. (Formation of the Canadian Senators Group) is the second example in the last two weeks that shows Trudeau’s ‘non-partisan and independent Senate’ isn’t working.”
The first example is the resignation of Trudeau appointee Senator André Pratte, who made his official intentions known on federal election night Oct. 21. His reasons: he could not fulfill his role “to the level of excellence expected”.
In the days following, Pratte penned an op-ed published by establishment media where the ex-senator blamed the Trudeau government for failing to codify rules of Senate independence in a regime that still included whipped Conservatives, and criticized Liberals for “exercising pressure on independent Senators so they vote a certain way.”
“One difficulty is that the new practices have not been enshrined in the rules of the Senate and in the Parliament of Canada Act. Consequently, it would be easy for a future government to return to the old system, where the Senate was a pale copy of the extremely partisan House of Commons,” writes Pratte.
“Another issue is that partisanship and the ‘party line’ are still very much present in the Senate. Conservative Senators are members of the national conservative caucus. They are whipped. Their agenda is to obstruct all government legislation, as much as the rules allow. And the rules allow quite a lot.”
A glaring example of “party line” Senators would be Liberal-friendly pollster Donna Dasko, appointed to the Senate by Trudeau in June 2018. Earlier this year, Dasko was slammed by Conservative senators for misusing her budget to commission a poll touting public support for Trudeau’s Senate reforms.
While the Independent Senators Group held an outright majority in the previous Senate, the emergence of the Canadian Senators Group resets the ISG’s balance of power to a plurality.
The so-called Independent Senators Group still holds 49 of the Senate’s 105 seats, but there remain 27 aligned with Conservatives, nine still representing as Liberals, six independents and 11 from the Canadian Senators Group. There are also three vacancies; one in Saskatchewan and two in Quebec.
From Tannas vantage, after nearly seven years in the Senate, his purportedly non-partisan CGS is a chance to get senate independence right. While the group welcomes additional members, it has pledged to cap membership at 25.
“We don’t all agree on our politics by any means. We are centrists most of us, centre-left or centre-right. But what does unite us is the approach to the job. We want good solid research that we can count on as being independent and fact-based that we can sandwich between the sales job from the government about why the bill is so wonderful…(and) from the Opposition about why it’s a terrible bill,” said Tannas.
“It will be up to us to work together to gather the facts, but come to our own views independently and to transmit those views, to be transparent about our decisions individually and be accountable individually, as opposed to in any kind of a group-think environment.”