Ignore advice of big government elites, Conservatives must remain taxpayers’ party
Pierre Poilievre is a six-term Member of Parliament, former Minister of Employment and the current Conservative Shadow Minister of Finance.
Lots of advice is pouring in for Conservatives these days.
Much of it from people who have never or will never vote for the party. They have concluded that the Conservative Party, which won the most votes in the election, is so unpopular that it must abandon its entire platform and the 6.1 million people who voted for it. The Globe and Mail, for example, has called for the party to drop its weird obsession with fiscal responsibility and low taxes.
Likewise, this headline recently blazed the pages of the Toronto Star: “Conservatives will pay for Andrew Scheer’s anti-tax stance.” Low taxes are not compatible with “a big-tent party in 2019 Canada, and we know from the past few weeks of federal election campaigning that voters are not won over by the concept,” wrote the paper’s federal finance columnist Heather Scoffield. “It’s an anti-tax, small-government dogma that hearkens back to Stephen Harper and channels Jason Kenney and Doug Ford,” she wrote, referring to three leaders who won majorities on tax-fighting platforms.
Premiers Kenney and Ford won victories in the last 18 months, with many seats in urban centres. But never mind, we’re told that their low-tax messages are unelectable or out-of-date. As for Mr. Harper, the Parliamentary Budget Officer calculated that he “reduced federal tax revenue by $30 billion, or 12 per cent. These changes have been progressive, overall. Low and middle income earners have benefited more, in relative terms, than higher income earners.” The policy helped win Harper three elections (including a majority) and become the longest-serving Conservative Prime Minister since John A. MacDonald. (We wouldn’t want to repeat that track record, would we?)
Canada already has four parties—the New Democrats, Liberals, Greens and Bloc—clamoring for bigger and more powerful government. The media believes Conservatives should become the fifth. It would not be without precedent. Past “conservative” leaders have embraced higher taxes. How did that work out for them?
When Prime Minister Joe Clark’s budget hiked gas taxes, he lost a confidence vote and an election after only nine months in office. When President, George Herbert Walker Bush, broke his “read my lips: no new taxes” pledge, he lost to Bill Clinton. Alberta Premier, Ed Stelmach, raised taxes on the energy sector by jacking up royalty rates and was gone as Premier within ten months. Ernie Eves raised taxes soon after becoming Ontario Premier and promptly lost an election, reversing the back-to-back majorities of taxfighter, Mike Harris. In the early 1990s, the federal Progressive Conservative government introduced the GST and went from a majority government to merely two seats. New Brunswick Premier David Alward’s 2013/14 budget raised taxes by $200 million and in the following year’s election he lost his government and half his caucus. Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government announced hikes to income, gas and alcohol taxes in the 2015 budget and two months later lost to the NDP, finished third place and ended their 44-year dynasty, the longest of any party in Canada’s history.
It is true that there are many factors that lead to parties or leaders losing office. But is it just an extraordinary coincidence that voters have promptly driven out of office every federal or provincial conservative leader who raised taxes in the last three decades?
No. It is no coincidence. When conservative parties support tax increases, they get crushed.
The reasons are clear.
First, how can a conservative candidate who supports tax hikes criticize the socialist parties for doing the same? If all parties are going to cost taxpayers more, the election becomes a bidding war where parties compete to offer the most generous government-funded goodies—a bidding war left-wing parties with no fiscal responsibility will win every time.
What we can believably offer is a chance for hardworking and ambitious people to build better lives for themselves, by keeping more of their earnings.
That is who we are. Without our best product (low taxes), we lose our customers. We become a baker without bread or a logger without lumber.
“How boring,” groans the left. Ms. Scoffield, for example, laments that low taxes leave no “room for big thinking on how to confront the next economic downturn, or how to take care of an aging society, or how to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing unless the private sector takes front and centre.” Confront the next downturn through tax hikes? Care for an aging society by raising taxes on retirement savings? Make housing more affordable by taxing the business that builds homes, or the worker saving to buy one? These ideas fulfil the socialist fantasy of making people helplessly dependent on government, but betray people’s desire to fulfil their own potential and chart their own destinies.
Low taxes are not a “gimmick”, like 30 cents off paper towels. Rather, they allow free workers and entrepreneurs to choose what to do with the fruits of their labour and enterprise. Costing people less is just the means. Empowering them to do more is the end.
A dollar can only be in one place at a time. Who decides where it goes?
The person who earned it or the politician who taxed it; the entrepreneur whose investments produced it or the politician who faces no real consequence for squandering it?
Whose dreams are fulfilled in the end, the family saving to start a business, buy a home or afford to make lasting memories taking the kids somewhere special; or the politician who dreams of buying himself a legacy with that family’s money?
Conservatives must be the party of human aspiration and free choice. That means ignoring the big-government cabal and always standing with the hardworking taxpayer.
Earlier this week a video was posted by the CBC’s Power & Politics that highlighted politicians including Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Boris Johnson, Princess Anne, as well as Mark Rutte gossiping about American President Donald Trump.
The video in question has been viewed more than 19 million times since it was published.
Throughout the video, Trudeau can be heard discussing the president’s team reacting to comments made by the president, seemingly forgetting that his own team had to deal with three cases of blackface in 24 hours during the recent Canadian election. Even that came after he and his party threw two women under the bus for standing up to the Trudeau government and demanding the rule of law be respected.
In response to the comments made by world leaders, Trump stated that Trudeau was “two-faced.”
Following the American response, nearly all Canadian federal opposition leaders called out the prime minister.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer accused Prime Minister Trudeau of having “poor judgment” and a “love of drama.”
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet stated that the “apparent lack of respect” for Trump “is shopping for some more troubles” with the United States.
Even the left-wing leader of the New Democrat Party leader Jagmeet Singh agreed with Trump that Trudeau was in fact two-faced. Noting that there was a clear difference between Trudeau in private vs Trudeau in public.
Outside of Canada, the President’s son tweeted out the following highlighting Trudeau’s willingness to put on blackface until he became a member of parliament.
The PM has stated that at the time he did not know to put on blackface was wrong. While the PM has claimed ignorance, according to the Toronto Star article, experts find it quite difficult to believe Trudeau’s claim that he didn’t know the act was wrong,
“It’s totally disingenuous,” says Rinaldo Walcott, director of the University of Toronto’s Women & Gender Studies Institute. “By 2001, when he would have been 29 years old, there would have been debates around these concerns.”
While the Liberals will likely ignore the two-faced nature of their leader, instead preferring to turn this fumble into an ad or campaign moment to fundraise off of some Canadians’ dislike of Trump, the truth is that this mistake does far more than harm Canada’s standings with our closest ally. Perhaps most worryingly, it displays the genuine two-faced nature of our now two-term prime minister to the entire world.
Whether it is the failed promises of electoral reform and limited deficits to a leadership style that focuses on dividing the nation or the shameful handling of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the many other times Trudeau has broken ethics rules, or perhaps the willingness to take indigenous children to court, there is a clear pattern of two-faced actions.
While Canadians have known that Prime Minister Sunny Ways will say one thing and do another, our closest ally appears to only be awakening to that reality.
As they become fully aware, we Canadians are left to deal with the repercussions, should the United States, for example, decide to reduce trade, increase tariffs, or heck just drag their heals on potentially worthwhile deals as they lose trust in Canadian leadership.
Sadly, if the Prime Minister’s first term shows us anything about the future, this may very well be just the beginning.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau found himself answering for behaviour unbecoming a G7 leader at the close of NATO meetings in London this week and the familiar explanation: He experienced it differently.
During his closing remarks and press conference Wednesday, Trudeau found himself answering for footage of himself, French President Emmanuel Macron, UK PM Boris Johnson and Dutch PM Mark Rutte sharing a laugh at a NATO wine and cheese, purportedly at Trump’s expense.
Trudeau said he told a story to the group at the Buckingham Palace function about getting caught up in the US president’s impromptu and extended engagement with mainstream media.
“Last night I made a reference to the fact there was unscheduled press conference before my meeting with president, and I was happy to take part of it, but it was certainly notable,” Trudeau told reporters the morning after many had reported the video as mockery of Trump.
In the video, a jovial Johnson can be heard saying, “So that’s why you were late?” as he turns toward Macron.
“And when you told Macron, ‘jaws drop’ what were you talking about?” asked another reporter of Trudeau and his story that was caught on mic.
“We were all surprised and pleased to learn the next G7 would be at Camp David,” said Trudeau. “Every different leader has teams who every now and then have their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises, like that video itself for example.”
Notable surprises have been the hallmark of this NATO summit. Before Trudeau’s presser with Trump on Tuesday, Macron was in the POTUS’ sights where Trump asked the French president if he wanted his “nice ISIS fighters” back that the US has “under lock and key” in Syria.
Next up was Trudeau, where Trump cornered the Canadian PM on military spending in the context of NATO commitments.
During the 30 minute Q&A with media in attendance, Trump described Canada’s NATO readiness as an expression of annual two-percent GDP military spending as “slightly delinquent”.
It’s a figure NATO adopted in 2014, before Trump or Trudeau ever occupied high office in their respective countries, but one Trump uses as cudgel against alliance members who fall short.
The moment becomes awkward as Trump presses Trudeau, turns to an attaché for figures, and also made headline news.
And this morning, during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump described Trudeau as “two-faced” when asked about the Canadian PM.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t or wouldn’t say if he apologized to Trump, or even whether he learned anything about speaking out of school at such events.
However, Trudeau acknowledged that Trump’s military ask from NATO alliance members is legitimate.
“I think we saw from last year in NATO, that this is a concern that the States legitimately has that other countries need to step up,” said Trudeau, who continued to play defence on whether his actions had hurt relations with the Trump administration.
“I think people know the relationship between Canada and US is deep, and goes well beyond a relationship between prime minister and a president.”
The prime minister began his press conference lauding NATO and reminisced about the pride he felt when his late-father and PM Pierre Trudeau took him on an official visit of Canadian troops stationed in Europe during the height of the Cold War.
Trudeau also announced that Canada would be contributing six fighter jets and a frigate to NATO’s 430 Readiness Force; as the alliance describes it, 30 battalions; 30 air squadrons; and 30 naval combat vessels ready to use within 30 days.
WATCH: Trump calls Trudeau 'two-faced' in response to PM caught talking about POTUS to world leaders
At the second day at the NATO anniversary gathering US President Donald Trump called Justin Trudeau “two-faced” when asked by a reporter if he saw the video of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau caught on a hot mic talking to other world leaders about him behind his back.
“Well, he’s two-faced… And honestly with Trudeau he’s a nice guy, I find him to be a very nice guy. You know the truth is, I called him out that he’s not paying two percent [GDP on military] and I guess he’s not very happy about it,” Trump said at a press conference Wednesday.
“He’s not paying two percent and he should be paying two percent. It’s Canada, they have money.”
During the NATO anniversary celebration at Buckingham Palace, Trudeau was caught on a hot mic talking to other world leaders about Trump.
“He was late because he took a 40 minute press conference off the top,” Trudeau says in response to another world leader asking why he was late. Although Trump’s name is not included in the conversation, it’s a pretty clear reference to the US President’s press conference with the media earlier on Tuesday.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President of France Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and Princess Anne are all in the conversation, but mostly Trudeau can be heard talking.
“Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. He announced…” Trudeau followed up, with audio not catching the rest of his statement.
“You just watch his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Trudeau says in another part of the conversation. Johnson and Macron appear fairly animated in their talk with Trudeau, too.
The video was released by the CBC Tuesday night and has spread far and wide through social and traditional media (the CBC video has over 6 million views on Twitter alone and the New York Times picked up the story).
CBC journalist Katie Simpson pointed out that the exchange would like hurt the Trudeau’s administration’s attempts to not upset Trump. Trudeau’s staff have even set up a “friendship room” focused on Canada-US relations, with the main goal of figuring out how to get along with a mercurial and unpredictable US president.
The video captured the tail end of the first of a two-day NATO gathering.
Earlier on Tuesday Trump confronted Trudeau in front of reporters on how much Canada is spending on its military.
Trump called Canada “slightly delinquent” in its military spending, while Trudeau claimed, after getting help from aide during the press conference, Canada is spending 1.4 percent of GDP on military and that his government has increased spending by 70 percent. Many analysts disputed Trudeau’s figures, saying they do not reflect the actual amount of money the Canadian government is currently spending on defence. NATO itself estimates Canada is now spending 1.3 percent of GDP.
On Wednesday morning Trump made UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wait several minutes for another meeting in front of cameras. Late Tuesday night Trump said he “enjoyed” his meeting with Johnson earlier in the day. The New York Times reported he also had a brief, reportedly friendly, exchange with Trudeau as well.
Last year Trump blasted Trudeau on Twitter after leaving a G7 summit held in Quebec, calling the prime minister “meek and mild”. Those comments were in response to a press conference in which Trudeau said it was insulting the US had put tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.
Canada 'slightly delinquent' on alliance military spend, cracks 'payment plan' joke: Trump-Trudeau at NATO talks London
Canada is “slightly delinquent” when it comes to defence spending, said United States President Donald Trump during a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of NATO talks in London Tuesday.
According to NATO figures, vis-a-vis individual members’ benchmark defence spending at two-percent of their Gross Domestic Product, Canada rang in below that level for 2019 at approximately 1.3 percent.
“But Canada, they’ll be ok. I have confidence. (They’re) Just slightly delinquent. Some are major delinquents, some are way below one percent and that’s unacceptable,” said Trump, who hinted at leveraging trade to get members to pony up.
This ‘two percent of GDP’ obligation of NATO alliance members, or what became an “aspirational goal”, was a watered down demand by U.S. President Barack Obama and Britain in 2014; then they wanted Canada to double its expenditure on defence.
Trump made the remarks when pressed to categorize Canada’s current military spending as it stacks up against others.
“We are talking to Germany tomorrow and they’re starting to come along. They have to. They have to. Otherwise if they don’t want to, I’ll have to do something with respect to trade. And with trade I have all the cards.”
Germany’s defence spending as percentage of its GDP is slightly higher than Canada, while Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium are below one percent.
“And that’s unacceptable and then if something happens, we’re supposed to protect them,” Trump continued. “It’s not really fair and it never has been fair.”
Trump rounded off the comments by quipping that “well, we’ll put Canada on a payment plan, I’m sure the prime minister would love that” in answer to a question about whether Canada “should have a plan to meet the two percent standard.”
“Where are you at? What is your number?” Trump asked regarding the NATO benchmark.
This caused Trudeau to repeat what he noted earlier in the press scrum: that Canada’s military spending would increase by 70 percent through the coming decade.
“Over these past years, including for the coming years including significant investments in our fighter jets, significant investments in our naval fleets,” Trudeau said.
“We are increasing significantly our defence spending from previous governments that cut it.”
While the Twitter universe lit up with conjecture, in the moment Trump was not interested in the minutiae of Canada’s incremental budgetary increases over the next 10 years and pressed Trudeau.
“Ok, where are you now?” Trump asked again.
Trudeau: “We’re at one-point-three-five.”
“One-point-three?” asked Trump.
“One-point-four, and continuing to move forward,” replied Trudeau who later reiterated Canada’s leading role in military operations in Latvia and Baghdad during the half-hour media confab.
“United States and all NATO allies know that Canada is a reliable partner. We’ll continue to defend NATO, and our interests.”
In addition to Trump’s expression of confidence in Canada, he added that “two percent is very low. It should be four percent.”
For the 2019-20 fiscal year, Department of National Defence budget allocation was $21.9 billion. In terms of “significant investments” Trudeau noted in Canadian air and sea power, two years ago Canada bypassed Boeing for interim CF-18s and instead paid $90 million for 25 Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18s. Retrofitting them is expected to run another three or four-hundred million dollars.
This was after Trudeau scrapped the former Conservative government’s sole-sourced contract to buy Lookheed Martin’s next-gen F35 fighter after defeating Stephen Harper in the 2015 election.
In July of this year, the federal government reopened the project and invited multiple companies, including Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin (F-35) and Saab to bid on a $22 billion contract to supply the Royal Canadian Airforce with 88 new fighter jets.
The Royal Canadian Navy is also in the throes of a major $4.3 billion rebuild, having already retrofitted several interim vessels and constructing four of six scheduled Arctic and offshore patrol ships.
A further 15 larger, surface combatant vessels based on “type 26 BAE warships” are also in the design phase, according Public Services Canada. The department estimates that construction could begin as early as 2020 with a $60 billion budget.