No regard for Saskatchewan or Alberta in Liberal Throne speech
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.
The Trudeau government spent over $1.4 million in legal costs in their failed attempt to prosecute Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. Normal was exonerated and has since retired.
The Canadian Press reports that the revelations came in a written response by Justice Minister David Lametti to a question from Conservative MP Erin O’Toole. “Lametti did not provide any further details about the costs—including whether the figure included Norman’s legal fees, which the government has said it would pay.”
“To the extent that the information that has been requested is protected by solicitor-client privilege, the federal Crown can only reveal the total legal costs related to the case,” Lametti wrote in answer to O’Toole. “Based on the hours recorded, the total amount of legal costs incurred amounts to approximately $1,425,389.68, as of Dec. 9, 2019.”
The number that was spent on the RCMP investigation is unclear.
Vice-Admiral Norman was charged with breach of trust in March 2018. He pled “not guilty” and his lawyers maintained that the case against him was politically motivated.
Eventually, the charges were dropped after Norman’s lawyers presented evidence to crown prosecutors that convinced them that there was no reasonable chance he would be convicted.
Conservative Defense Critic James Bezan condemned the Liberals for the use of taxpayer’s money, calling the treatment of Norman a “witch hunt” and adding: “Canadians deserve to know how much was paid in compensation both to cover his costs as well as damages for this malicious mistreatment of vice-admiral Mark Norman, one of our top-ranked officers who was just doing his job.”
A new report by the Fraser Institute shows that any province can force other provinces and the federal government to renegotiate the constitution.
In what will be a welcome report to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, the Fraser Institute made a particular note of equalization payments—finding that the payment system could be restructured.
Speaking to the Fraser Institute, Professor Rainer Knopff stated, “If Alberta charts the correct course, it can bring otherwise reluctant governments to the table to discuss fiscal federalism.”
Equalization has long been a point of contention between Western Canada and Ottawa—so much so, that Premier Kenney is considering a provincial referendum on the subject of removing equalization payments from the constitution. If Kenney is successful, the referendum may trigger the “duty to negotiate” is there is also an element of succession.
Last year, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Yves-Francois Blanchet, suggested that Quebec had disproportionally sent money to Quebec to pay for pipelines. In reality, Alberta got the short end of the stick, despite unemployment skyrocketing and industry leaving.
Alberta has long been fueling Canada’s gas pumps nationwide, but since world oil collapsed in 2014, thousands of displaced energy jobs migrated south of the border.
According to a new interview with Calgary-based Osprey Informatics COO Paul Ritchie, moving jobs to Houston was a move that the lone star state has welcomed him with open arms.
The company opened its Houston-based office in January and is budgeted to do a sizable 10 percent of its business out of the states in 2020. That 10 percent, though, is expected to bring in 70 percent of the company’s business, and Canada only 30 percent.
Ritchie told Global News that the move was a no brainer.
“I wouldn’t have left Canada without the opportunity that sits in front of us right now.”
“Canadian companies are so well respected that it’s not even a blip in the road when you’re dealing with somebody. It’s like, ‘Oh, you’re a Canadian company—it’s going to be good, and you’re going to be nice to me.’”
Ritchie says it’s not just individuals who’ve made the moves—companies, large and small, have flocked to states with more welcoming attitudes towards oil work.
“We all know the big names that have left. There are hundreds of smaller companies that are very significant employers here in Calgary that, 50, 60, 70 percent of their revenues are coming out of the United States and they had no choice.”
“This isn’t something that they wanted to do, but if the business is in the U.S. you are going to go where that business is.”
Oil analysts say Ritchie’s case is far from unusual. Tim Pickering with Auspice Capital Advisors Ltd. said there’s definitely an energy exodus happening.
“It’s just a lot easier in Texas in a lot of ways,” Pickering said. “There’s no real edge to being in Alberta and that’s painful to say.”
Ritchie went on to say that the move was a welcomed change in his life, and that he was excited to move to a city like Houston, which reminded him a lot of the city Calgary used to be 15 years ago.
“Houston has a Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Consulate is there, they have three trade commissioners there. They are very active in pushing Canadian companies to the U.S. market.”
Scholz said conversations are happening all over the province in businesses, wondering if it’s worth it to keep their head offices in Alberta.
For how much longer can the CBC call itself Canada’s public broadcaster if the Canadian public don’t actually watch its broadcasts? I suspect this question may have seemed frivolous even a decade ago—though now, in 2020, it may just be too tantalizing a question to shrug off.
Fewer and fewer Canadians consume the public broadcaster’s programs. The CBC’ supper hour broadcast, for instance, has now faded to a meagre 329,000 viewers (close to the number of newcomers added to Canada’s population every year, yet CBC’s viewership still declines). These figures are starkly revealing: what has happened to our supposed national treasure?
Despite being pressed with the mandate to unbiasedly “”inform, enlighten and entertain” Canadians with Canadian content, the CBC is now pleading with the CRTC to let them broadcast less Canadian programs. As Toronto Sun columnist Brian Lilley mused, “Isn’t that why [the CBC] exists?”
Perhaps the abysmal ratings and their muted Canadian pessimism could be forgiven if the CBC was not so chronically possessed with pro-Liberal bias. It is not unreasonable to suggest that all public broadcasters have some degree of bias: they recruit largely from a university educated, metropolitan demographic—however, the Canadian broadcaster, in particular, seems utterly unapologetic in their support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Take, for instance, Rosemary Barton who up until last week hosted the CBC’s flagship show, The National. Before Barton’s pyrrhic “promotion,” the presenter gleefully revelled in any opportunity to defend her darling Trudeau. Worst still, Barton then apparently thought it was a brilliant idea to have her name on a CBC lawsuit against the Conservative Party during a federal election.
Despite widespread criticism, the CBC has made no attempt to learn from its mistakes of the last election. This was proven, once again, by the public broadcaster wheeling out Richard Decarie, (a leadership no-hoper from Quebec) to represent the social views of Canadian Conservatives.
Decarie who, rather impressively, managed to embarrass the majority of the party, confirmed the prejudices of Canada’s Laurentian elites by happily suggesting that “LGBTQ” was a “Liberal” term and that being gay was a “choice” on CTV.
Almost instantly, Decarie was quickly condemned by all serious Conservative leadership contenders. And yet, despite this, and despite the fact he has never held elected office, the old reactionary was stirred from bed yet again the following day and given more airtime from CBC than some other minor candidates would hope to achieve in an entire leadership contest. It’s hard to think of another reason CBC decided to have this bigoted man–not even yet fully registered in the race–a platform other than to besmirch the Conservative Party of Canada as a whole.
As a conservative, I often find myself romantically defending dilapidated and tired institutions that have lost all practical purpose in the modern world. Perhaps, for the sake of a free-thinking Canada, conservatives should get serious about dismantling the CBC–an institution so out of touch with modern Canada despite taking billions of dollars in taxpayer money.