Liberals reject Conservative C-69 amendments as ‘propaganda war’ set to ramp up over anticipated TMX approval
As the Liberal government stands firm on contentious environmental legislation, including a west coast tanker ban, longtime insider Bill Gallagher warns that a summer of discontent in British Columbia awaits after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approves the Trans Mountain expansion (TMX).
“Never has a Canadian resource project been met head on by an alignment of four separate agendas: the provincial government’s against it, it has all the lower mainland municipalities against it, and then some,” Gallagher told The Post Millennial.
“It has a profoundly motivated eco-activist movement against it. What you might call the culture zeitgeist – it’s a brand thing, a lifestyle. And then you have the coastal Natives against it.”
Gallagher is a veteran regulatory lawyer and negotiator who’s worked for the federal government, before consulting both industry and Indigenous groups. He’s also author of two credible books about the intersection of resource interests and Indigenous rights in common law. His first, Resource Rulers, draws this thread through 150 Indigenous court victories in litigation over development and land use matters.
“If I had my old (federal job) back, I would go to (a proponent’s) management or the board of directors and say ‘meet your new partners, so-and-so First Nation, they’re going to have an equity interest … but if you don’t like it, tell us now – because you can kiss your project goodbye,’” said Gallagher
“That’s the way it should’ve been 30 years ago and that’s basically what (Environment minister Catherine) McKenna is saying: right projects will not have a problem,” he added.
Wednesday during question period, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer sparred with the prime minister over a letter Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and five premiers sent the PM, ringing doom over the federation if Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 were not amended or pulled altogether.
Senate Conservatives earlier tabled 100 amendments – informed by the oil and gas industry and provinces – one of six bundles that were also supplied by the Independent Senators Group, and from Senators’ Grant Mitchell, Mary Jane McCallum, totalling 220.
A sub-committee comprised of seven senators whittled them down to 187, Energy committee members supported them and the Senate presented the entire package to the House of Commons on June 6.
While McKenna was confronted by Conservative senators during the upper chamber’s Energy committee review of C-69, following question period she delivered a rebuke to their proposed alterations on the floor of the Commons.
“We will be rejecting changes that weaken the amendments, limit Canadians access to the courts, increase political inference in decision and limit Canadians’ input into the process,” said McKenna. “(And Those) that make it option for our obligations on fighting climate change… and make it easy for future governments to ignore our constitutional duty to consult Indigenous peoples.”
McKenna told parliamentarians that her government could accept only half of the Senate’s proposed changes that included none of the Conservative amendments the party deemed crucial to salvaging the bill. A bill that Scheer promises to repeal if his party forms the next government.
Earlier in the day, Kenney told a Montreal lunch crowd that Québec needed Alberta oil – a nod to the scuttled Energy East pipeline – in similar fashion to the UCP leader’s previous overture after winning the provincial election in April. As premier François Legault did then, the Québec leader responded by again rejecting any new oil pipelines.
Taken with the Government of Alberta’s $1.65 million “Yes to TMX campaign” that has produced double-page ad spreads in The Globe and Mail, Gallagher called Kenney’s ongoing politicking, “part of the huge propaganda war going on this country ” that would likely stir discontent in B.C.’s lower mainland.
He described Bill C-69’s naysayers as playing a game of retrenchment whereby they acknowledge Indigenous jurisprudence yet insist, as the six premiers’ did in their letter to the PM; “that the country can’t work this way.”
“These two bills are chock-a-block filled with Native rights protections,” Gallagher said. “Set up to respect Native land rights, which they have won in successive court cases and the very thing that’s shutting down projects right across this country.”
“And if the oil industry can’t live with it, then the oil industry is systematically shooting itself in the foot.”
Kenney’s full-court press against the tanker ban and C-69 “is fun to watch”, remarked Gallagher who warned, “if he’s successful, he will also have killed Trans Mountain.”
“The tanker ban is the ticket for Trans Mountain to access and bring bitumen through the port of Vancouver. Without it and the protection of the rest of the coast, there’s no way bitumen is going to transit through Vancouver,” said Gallagher who expects resistance to TMX to spread well beyond Indigenous litigation.
“This is going to be a cultural pushback that we haven’t seen in Canada before and the Natives – you’ll barely hear the drums,” he said. “it’s going to be a yuppie, millennial event of people who feel their lifestyle and their environment is under threat. While they’ve used the Natives very adroitly up to June 18th, after that I think they’re going to take over.”
Nunavut’s Conservative Senator Dennis Patterson who spearheaded the push for the spurned amendments provided the following statement to TPM after McKenna’s speech in the House.
“Every Conservative amendment was designed to bring transparency and certainty to the review process, including the addition of a privative clause where certain decisions at certain levels would be final and not subject to a legal challenge,” Patterson wrote in an email.
“These amendments were all flagged by industry and the provinces as key in order to maintain investor confidence and stability in the Canadian economy.”
On “Trans Day of Remembrance” this year, numerous politicians and celebrities used the occasion to virtue signal on social media. They repeated the claim-turned-mantra from LBGT activist groups that there is an “epidemic” of trans homicides motivated by transphobia and racism in the U.S.
Chelsea Clinton, doing what the Clintons do best, weighed in vapidly on Nov. 20: “Since 2013, more than 150 trans people have been murdered in the U.S., the majority Black transgender women. On #TDoR2019, we remember and honor the lives lost, hold their loved ones in our hearts and must commit to doing all we can to end this epidemic of violence and hate.”
Though the sentiment is valid, the claim she repeats is not. There is no “epidemic” of violent homicides against trans people in the U.S. How do I know? From data released by the Human Rights Campaign and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
I responded to Ms. Clinton: “The U.S. is one of the safest countries for trans people. The murder rate of trans victims is actually lower than that for cis population. Also, who is behind the murders? Mostly black men.”
Five days later, I was informed by Twitter that I had violated its policy against “hateful conduct.” For stating a verifiable empirical claim, Twitter determined that I “promote violence against, threaten or harass other people” based on protected characteristics. I was given the option of deleting the tweet and facing a timed suspension, or appealing the decision while remaining indefinitely locked out of the platform. I chose the latter option.
My appeal was rejected.
Twitter’s decision to force me to accept a false reality in order to use its platform is chilling to those who value truth above dogma, as uncomfortable as the truth may be. The dogma of our day is the trans ideology—an authoritarian worldview replete with science and evidence denial. Among many things, it claims that sex is a construct and that trans people are being hunted down across America
So far this year, there were 22 homicides involving trans or gender non-conforming people in the U.S. That number has held relatively steady since the HRC, America’s largest LGBT lobbying group, started releasing annual reports four years ago. According to the HRC, there were 26 homicides in 2018, 29 in 2017, 23 in 2016 and 21 in 2015. The HRC provides the most comprehensive data set for trans homicides in the country. The FBI does not release numbers of trans people who are killed.
Though every homicide is a tragedy and victims are due justice, lying about the scale is politically exploitative and reckless. It prevents the public from accessing real problems honestly in order to advocate for real solutions. Worst of all, it harms the very people who need protection.
The average homicide rate of cis males in the U.S. is around seven per 100,000 from 2015–2018, according to FBI figures. The rate for cis females during this timeframe is 1.9. The rate for trans homicides since the HRC began tracking in 2015? About 1.7. (This rate was calculated based on the 2016 UCLA Williams Institute estimate of there being about 1.7m trans adults in the U.S.)
For a developed country, the U.S. has high homicide rates. That is undisputed. But if the rates of cis men being killed isn’t spoken about as an “epidemic,” then neither should the rates for trans homicides, which is significantly lower compared to the cis population.
And while much attention is focused on the victims being mostly black trans women, no attention is given to the fact that the majority of known homicide suspects and convicts are also black. This intra-racial violence is consistent with other homicides in the U.S.
Additionally, there is no evidence to support the narrative that trans people are being killed because they are trans. The overwhelming majority of trans homicides involve victims being killed in the course of high-risk behaviours like street prostitution and drug dealing. Cis women and cis men involved in these activities face similar risks.
While it may feel good to earn praise by hiding uncomfortable truths, those who ultimately suffer in this instance are trans people themselves. They are told to fear people around them, that they could be killed at any moment and are helpless in the face of omnipresent hatred. This is not compassion or empowerment.
I’m now back on Twitter, but only because I was forced to accept that on this platform, a journalist will be punished for telling the truth.
Liberal MP gets Twitter lashed for wishing people 'great month of December!' instead of 'Merry Christmas!'
Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to include tweets from 2018.
Liberal Member of Parliament (Ontario, Hamilton East—Stoney Creek) Bob Bratina received a lot more comments than likes and retweets for his Twitter post wishing his constituents a “great month of December!” instead of a “Merry Christmas!”
On Sunday Bratina tweeted a holiday-neutral, first-day-of-the-month greeting to people in his riding, “Wishing everyone in Hamilton East – Stoney Creek a great month of December!”
By the end of Monday, the tweet had 307 mostly negative, mocking comments compared to three retweets and 18 likes, a phenomenon called being ratioed (when a post gets overwhelmingly negative comments, meanwhile receiving far less positive engagement and shares).
Some Canadians on Twitter had fun lampooning Bratina’s politically correct festive cheer.
Others just wished Bob a “Merry Christmas!”
Interestingly, Bob has previously happily wished others a Happy Christmas in 2018.
The response online is not a surprise as December tends to bring out the so-called War on Christmas, where politically correct politicians and other members of the chattering class become Grinches, attempting to excise Christmas from greetings and celebratory events in attempts to be “more inclusive.”
Last Friday a guest host on CTV’s talk show The Social suggested Canadians towns should change the name of Christmas or Santa Clause parades with “Winter” parades. A couple of weeks ago a US town erased Christmas from its festivities, changing the “Annual Tree Lighting” to “Frost Fest”.
Outrage on social media over a recent discovery that Amazon is carrying products that many people are appalled by–Holocaust ornaments. It was the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum who first raised awareness of the tasteless line of products which include a decaled can-opener dawning a picture of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp as well as Christmas tree ornaments that show train track leading into a camp’s entrance.
The Museum contacted the retailer and demanded such products be taken down from the website to which Amazon concurred. Shortly thereafter the Museum discovered more products including a computer mouse pad that displayed the freight cars used to transport Jewish people and anybody the Nazi’s considered to be “undesirable”.
The Museum, which is located on site in Auschwitz, Poland described the products as “disgusting” and “disturbing”. Amazon has confirmed that they will keep watch for such products in the future and have them taken down and in certain cases, have the sellers’ accounts deleted. This prompted a public response from the museum to thank Amazon.
However, since then more Holocaust products have been posted, despite Amazon’s policy that “All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account.”
It seems Alberta is in for more cuts.
According to the CBC, Huskey Energy CEO Rob Peabody revealed on a conference call Monday that his firm will be cutting 370 jobs this year as it looks to reduce spending.
“What we’re seeing is that (the reductions) will generate forward savings of about $70 million … per year,” said Peabody, adding the company will take a charge against earnings of $70 million in the fourth quarter to account for the cuts.
“We’re going to continue those efforts to capitalize on the fact we’ve created a more focused and a simpler company.”
While these cuts will provide roughly $70 million in savings, overall spending for 2020 and 2021 will be cut $500 million due to worsening market conditions.
The split will be heavier in 2021, with over $400 million coming in cuts.
Huskey stock has fallen by over 40% in the last year.