Most memorable moments from the 2019 Canadian Leaders’ Debate
Canada’s only English-language debate with all parties present took place tonight, and it did not disappoint.
Off the bat, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer got Trudeau with a remark about Trudeau’s infamous blackface incident.
Liberal Transport Minister Marc Garneau is “very concerned” by the anti-pipeline protestors who have blocked the tracks between Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, according to CBC News.
These protests have crippled Canada’s infrastructure, particularly due to the fact that the protestors are blocking one of the busiest intersections of the countries transport network.
The protestors have blocked the tracks in Bellville, Ontario, which serves as the epicentre for all routes between Canada’s two largest cities and the capital of the nation. All passenger trains and freight trains have been blocked.
CN has chosen to shut down all train travel until the dispute is resolved, despite the fact that the train company received an injunction to remove the protestors from the tracks.
These protests have effectively shut down all passenger travel between these cities, and are having a significant impact on the transport of food and commercial goods. The effect on the economy if this blockade continues will be severe.
These protests have been ongoing since Thursday when demonstrators began to gather at the tracks. Since then, the protests have only gained more traction and attracted more demonstrators to the scene.
The demonstrators say that they are standing in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en chiefs. However, the northern B.C.First Nation officially supports the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
So far, Via Rail has had to cancel 157 trips in the Toronto-to-Montreal corridor: 24,500 passengers have been affected.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be flying to the Caribbean to court support for Canada gaining a seat on the UN Security Council, according to Global News.
Trudeau also plans to speak to the Caribbean leaders about climate change. Although, Canada’s prospective seat will be a more prominent issue during these meetings.
This comes after Trudeau’s trip to Ethiopia, where he attempted to garner support for Canada’s new role in the world with government leaders in the African Union.
During his Africa trip, Trudeau also granted a $10 million package to empower African women. Having said this, the more cynical commentators have seen this as a ploy to improve Canada’s chances of receiving a seat at the Security Council.
Canada is not the only country attempting that is attempting to procure a seat at the table. Both Ireland and Norway are also vying for a seat in the Security Council. The country that receives the most votes will occupy the seat for a two-year period.
Canada has not sat on the UN Security Council since 2000 under the leadership of Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
The Department of Canadian heritage, which is run by the Liberal Member of Parliment Steven Guilbeault, is paying journalists to write stories on climate change, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
When launching the Local Journalism Initiative in 2019, the then Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said that “our government is committed to ensuring Canadians everywhere continue to have access to accurate, diverse and relevant news.”
Despite this, these state-funded subsidies have gone towards writing stories on climate change. The Canadian News Media Association, for example, was paid $14.4 million last year.
As well as this, the Yukon-based publication The Narwhal received a subsidy after writing, “It seems like British Columbia is always on fire… The Narwhal tracks government commitments to climate change and separates the wheat from the chaff.”
The Narwhal then went on to publish stories like ““Meet The Alberta Climate Activists Who Say They’re Not Scared Of Jason Kenney.”
Another publication that received a subsidy was Nunavut-based Nunatsiaq News, who also received a government grant to pay for a journalist to cover “the effects of climate change on the Arctic.” Likewise, The Winnipeg Free Press was given a grant so that they could hire a reporter who was dedicated to climate change.
the Local Journalism Initiative is a key component of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to revive the ailing industry of journalism in Canada. In 2019, Trudeau committed nearly $600 million in what has become the controversial media bailout.
A sailboat is said to be in irons when the sails are unable to generate power and have stopped in a no-go zone. The wind is at that point working against the boat.
It is critical to look at the dynamic demographic change of our country and where the Conservative Party of Canada and our base is in relation to this change. It is clear we may soon be in such a position as irons, sailing directly into the winds of demography. However, if we are able to effectively expand our base and gain new Conservative voters, we will be able to turn our party around and use the demographic shifts to fill our sails. I am not an identity politics advocate. What I am concerned about, and the purpose of this article, is to make the point that regardless of one’s background, faith, gender, sexual orientation, generation or ethnicity, Canadians must feel welcome on our big Conservative boat.
But there is a bit of a problem with diversity and inclusion in our party. Currently, one only need look at our caucus during question time to realize that the party does not reflect the composition of modern Canada. Considering the shifting national demographics, this is a serious issue. Following the result of the 2019 federal election, it is evident that we cannot form a government as a party unless we win more seats in the Greater Toronto Area (the “GTA”). The GTA is one of the most diverse regions in the country. According to Canada’s 2016 census, 48.76% of people living in the GTA identify as a visible minority. Having grown up in a diplomatic background and having lived in several different cities and countries, I appreciate how the diversity of the GTA enriches all our lives in ways that can only be experienced in a few other cities in the world. I believe this diversity presents a wonderful opportunity for our party. By expanding, deepening and diversifying our base, we will indeed gain more votes. Just as importantly, we will acquire new volunteers. We will be able to raise more funds. More diverse perspectives will enable us to craft stronger and better policies.
Many people from immigrant backgrounds are in fact conservative in outlook and so are more closely aligned with the values of our party such as fiscal conservativism, opportunity, self-reliance, faith and family. Moreover, many new Canadians have escaped political tyranny and economic injustice that is the antithesis of conservative tenets such as: respect for the rule of law; robust capitalism; fairness; and personal freedom. Our principles are inherently Canadian values and are the reason that for so many generations, people have sought to build lives here.
I am a proponent of ‘one-nation’, inclusive, conservatism that originated under former Conservative British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. ‘One-nation’ conservatism involves a strong commitment to social, political, and economic inclusion as well as the preservation and promotion of traditional national principles and established institutions. This combination of ideals was fostered in Canada by notable conservatives such as John Diefenbaker and Robert Stanfield. I know that today, these beliefs are held by most Canadians also.
Another former Conservative British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was defeated after his first run for parliament in 1997. Upon reflecting on his loss, he realized that the Labour Party landslide victory was an indication of how much the UK had changed and that the UK Conservative Party needed to adapt. I was studying in Durham, England in 2009 when after 12 years in the political wilderness, the UK Conservative Party finally came back to power by forming a minority government. This breakthrough was partly due to the fact that the party had become more representative of Britain. This success and strategy were built upon over the years. Common sense conservative policies were adhered to and “one-nation” Tory themes were employed. As a result, in December 2019, the party under the leadership of Boris Johnson secured its best election result since 1987. Seats were won in some of the staunchest Labour Party ridings. For example, the UK Conservative Party won in what was the very safe Labour Party seat of Sedgefield. This was the former riding of Tony Blair, the Labour Party’s longest-serving prime minister.
So, how do we ensure that more Canadians not only cast their vote for the Conservative Party of Canada but also become part of our base? First, we must persistently and actively pursue inclusion. We cannot win hearts and minds if diverse communities are seen as only passengers; they must also become part of the crew of our big Conservative boat. Second, as a millennial, I believe we must work to reach out more, particularly to younger people who overwhelmingly voted for progressive parties in the 2019 federal election. This is important. Millennials comprised the largest voting bloc in the last election. Young people must be persuaded that Conservative ideals have everything to do with tolerance, inclusion, diversity and opportunity. Opening doors of opportunity has always been crucial to building wealth and generating economic growth. Young people understand this and want the opportunity to do better than their parents.
Therefore, I believe that most Canadians are “one-nation” conservatives: they believe in greater social, political, and economic inclusion for all; they believe in our core national principles as a country such as peace, order and good governance; and they have a healthy respect for our national institutions. As Conservatives we win when we successfully sell our values, as the victories of Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper show. With full sails that are powered by the vibrant and diverse make-up of our country, our big Conservative boat will be propelled forward. Our destination will be victory.
William Luke is the principal lawyer of Luke Law Firm, a Toronto, Ontario based criminal defence firm. He stood as a nomination contestant of the Conservative Party of Canada for the 2019 federal election in the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence.