O’Toole condemns Iran for killing 63 Canadians, Conservatives react
Several Conservative Party figures have reacted online to the news that Canadian Flight 752 was downed by an Iranian missile.
Conservative MP, Canadian Armed Forces veteran, and potential party leadership hopeful Erin O’Toole commented on the situation on Twitter.
The comments posted only hours after Prime Minister Trudeau addressed media confirming that intelligence from allies showed the flight was taken down by an Iranian missile.
O’Toole stated that Iran shooting down a civilian aircraft “is nothing short of madness,” directly condemning Iran and their regime.
“Whether it was intentional or not, it was an incomprehensibly reckless act that has forever scarred Canadian families and communities,” O’Toole said on Twitter. “Canada must work with our allies to apply pressure on the Iranian regime to submit to a complete investigation so that Canadian families can find justice and closure.”
Other responses from the Conservatives included reaction from Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner, who brought up questions about the crash site and it’s security.
“How is the crash site being secured? What is Canada doing to ensure that it won’t be compromised? What will the process be for repatriating the remains of Canadian citizens? All questions that the government need to answer.”
Others, including former Harper cabinet member and MP Pierre Poilievre and CPC leader Andrew Scheer, gave direct condolences to those who lost their lives.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also called for an investigation to be conducted into the plane being shot down.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also gave his sincerest condolences, telling Canadians that his government “will not rest” until answers are found.
“The families of the victims, and all Canadians want answers. I want answers. That means closure, transparency, accountability, and justice. And this government will not rest until we get that,” stressed Trudeau to the media.
The majority of the 176 victims were connecting to Canada, including 63 Canadian citizens. The victims included students, families, professors and newlyweds.
CBC has filed a claim with the Department of Industry to trademark the word “Oh” and “Radio-Canada Oh-dio” with the department’s intellectual property office.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Erin O’Toole recently called for the privatization of the publicly funded TV service.
CBC’s potential new “Oh” marketing campaign is reminiscent of the network’s earlier attempts to boost sales with previous trademarks such as“Fall for CBC” in 2014, “Canada’s Own” in 2011, and “Trusted, Connected, Canadian” in 2001.
In 2013 the public broadcaster sued a Montréal cable station for $50,000 over the trademark “Ici” (“here”) which they used for their French-language service according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“Our public broadcaster is stuck in the past,” said O’Toole in a campaign video on February 14. “An O’Toole government will modernize and reform the CBC,” said O’Toole. “We will end funding for CBC digital and we will cut the CBC English TV budget by fifty percent. Our plan will phase out TV advertising with a goal to fully privatize CBC English TV by the end of our first mandate.”
The CBC receives $1.2 billion grant per year from the government, however, their English-language television ad revenues fell 37 percent last year.
O’Toole said he would keep CBC French-language services and the Crown broadcaster’s national radio network as it is.
In 2017 a Conservative bill to privatize the CBC as an entire corporation was brought forth but was defeated.
Former Conservative MP Brad Trost was a sponsor of the bill, “The Mulroney administration philosophically should have done it, just as the previous Harper administration philosophically should have been prepared to privatize the CBC,” said Trost, in an interview at the time. “Someone needed to take the first steps to get things going.”
“The late former finance minister Jim Flaherty actually broached this subject a few times in the past,” said Trost. “He spoke to me about how it was one of his wishes to privatize the CBC. Jim and I discussed it.”
Bill C-308 An Act To Provide For The Incorporation Of The CBC would have reorganized the network under the Canada Business Corporations Act with plans to have a final sale within the following three years. The bill was shot down in the Commons by a vote of 260 to 6.
A group of four Albertan, Conservative Members of Parliament have signed the “Buffalo Declaration,” which demands a series of reforms to the Canadian constitutional arrangement.
The four MPs are Michelle Rempel Garner, Blake Richards, Glen Motz, and Arnold Viersen. They are asking for the federal government to recognize Alberta or the Buffalo region as a “culturally distinct region within Confederation.”
The Buffalo Declaration says, “the Eastern political and business class never intended for Alberta to be equal in Confederation. They intended for us to be a colony, providing wealth and raw resources without having an equal share in prosperity and power.”
The Buffalo Declaration’s demand to be recognized as “culturally distinct” echoes to what Quebec similarly demanded in the late 1980s and early 1990s during constitutional discussions. In this, la belle province asked for Ottawa to recognize it as a “distinct society.” This was, however, a largely symbolic gesture.
The Buffalo Declaration is also demanding that there should be balanced representation in parliament. As a result of Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system, Ontario and Quebec receive a substantial number of seats in the Canadian House of Commons—leading to allegations of disproportionate representation.
More startlingly, however, the Buffalo Declaration is demanding a series of reforms in the Constitutional arrangement that they see as necessary for equity between the provinces.
They have, for instance, demanded that the federal government should recognize the “the devastation the National Energy Program caused to the people of Alberta.” As well as this, they want to see more power given to Alberta in their taxes, cross-provincial funding, and trade sovereignty.
“The status quo of the Equalization program is fueling western alienation,” They said. “An immediate change to the Equalization program should include treating all resource revenues in each province/territory the same under the program.”
So far, this manifesto has only been signed by four Members of Parliament—despite Alberta having 25 members in the House of Commons. Nevertheless, it highlights the sheer degree of discontent that Western Canada has in their relationship with Justin Trudeau’s Ottawa.
O'Toole would make blocking 'critical infrastructure' a criminal offence and let police clear blockades
Erin O’Toole says that if he were to become prime minister, he would make it a criminal offence to block major railways, ports, bridges and highways through new legislation and without the need of a court injunction.
The Conservative leadership candidate would introduce a government policy where blockades are quickly cleared by police so it doesn’t get to the stage where “clearing them risks violence”.
“Peacefully protesting is a key type of speech that our government must protect,” read an O’Toole campaign statement, released on Thursday. “Intimidation and physically preventing people from going about their lives is different. It is a form of common law assault and should, in the appropriate situations, be treated as such.”
O’Toole’s new plan has come out at the same time that rival Peter MacKay deleted a tweet supporting Albertans who took it upon themselves to take apart a blockade. In the heavily criticized tweet, MacKay said he was “glad to see a couple Albertans with a pickup truck can do more for our economy in an afternoon than Justin Trudeau could do in four years.”
The tweets that MacKay posted after deleting his original showed a softened stance on the issue compared to the first, saying things like, “peaceful removal of debris deliberately placed on a railway that posed a threat to public safety.”
The plan released by O’Toole on Thursday blamed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the current state of the blockades that were started to show support for the Wet’suwet’en community.
“The Liberals are the party that began the Shut Down Canada culture by cancelling pipelines, banning tankers and bringing forward Bill C-69 over the objections of a majority of provinces,” noted O’Toole’s statement. “The illegal blockaders took their cues from the Trudeau Liberals.”
He added that Trudeau’s “weakness and indecision” led to the blockades. He also said that Trudeau has “made it crystal clear that he will not stand up for the rule of law but will instead bow down to those who want to shut down our economy.”
According to O’Toole, his plan will “get our economy moving and ensure that any group with a grievance will not be able to shut it down again at a moment’s notice.”
He noted that he would bring in legislation titled the Freedom of Movement Act as prime minister. This legislation would call transportation routes such as inter-provincial railways, national highways, international bridges and ports “Critical National Infrastructure to make it clear that the federal government takes responsibility for keeping them open.”
The legislation would make blocking “a railway, airport, port, or major road, or to block the entrance to a business or household in a way that prevents people from lawfully entering or leaving” a criminal offence.
Police would also be able to clear blockades without the need of a court injunction.
“Organizations should not have to wait for the courts and then see them ignored or have to endure more intimidation and loss before an injunction is enforced in order to simply continue operating legally.”
Courts would need to believe that the legislation goes hand in hand with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for it to be introduced.
O’Toole also said that he would “amend the tax code to remove charitable status from any group that has accepted foreign funds and has engaged in action related to the offences outlined above for blockading critical public infrastructure” and he would make the necessary efforts to “improve trust between Indigenous communities and law enforcement by creating and funding a specialized RCMP Aboriginal Liaison Officer position.”
He would also introduce a pilot program that will “deploy these specialized officers to communities that have high levels of off-reserve Aboriginal populations and/or a high number of missing or murdered Indigenous women cold cases.”
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer was not invited to a Liberal-led meeting of opposition parties after comments made earlier Tuesday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly invited Bloc Quebecois Leader Blanchet, Green Leader Elizabeth May, and New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh.
According to Green Leader Elizabeth May, Scheer was excluded from the meeting because of the “speech that Mr. Scheer gave following the prime minister’s statement was viewed as disqualifying him from participation in a discussion on how to find solutions.”
When Trudeau himself was asked about the matter, he confirmed that it was Scheer’s statements earlier that he deemed “unacceptable speech.”
Jagmeet Singh also called Scheer’s speech “reprehensible” and “divisive,” saying that the comments were “designed to pit some groups against another.”
The Conservative Party Leader did, in fact, have some strong words for Trudeau—though whether or not they were what other party leaders are calling them is up for debate.
Scheer had heavily criticized Trudeau’s inaction over the anti-pipeline blockades, calling them “the weakest response to a national crisis in Canadian history.”
“Let me be clear Mr. Speaker, standing between our country and prosperity is a small group of radical activists, many of whom have little to no connection to First Nations communities. A bunch of radical activists who won’t rest until our oil and gas industry is entirely shut down,” said Scheer.
“Now they may have the luxury of not having to go to work every day. They may have the luxury of not facing repercussions for skipping class, but they are blockading our ports, our railways, and our borders and roads and highways. They are appropriating an Indigenous agenda which they are willfully misrepresenting.”
Trudeau responded to the comments in the House of Commons later on Tuesday afternoon, explaining that it was the CPC’s deliberate misunderstanding of reconciliation that was behind the exclusion.
“The Conservative Party of Canada continues to demonstrate that it willfully and deliberately tries to misunderstand the reality of reconciliation in this country, and that is why they were excluded from a constructive conversation on how to move forward as a country on the path of reconciliation,” said Trudeau.
When asked by Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchett about if there was any timeline in place for the removal of protestors, Trudeau stated that the government was willing to meet with Wet’suwet’en to find a solution, again giving no details.