Splitting the Canadian political left in the age of Trump
In the dying minutes of 2019’s inaugural question period, Erin Weir, former New Democrat MP sitting in exile, mocked the Canadian government for recognizing “an opposition MP declaring himself President of Venezuela.”
“I wish I had thought of that,” said Weir tongue-in-cheek. “I am going to resist the temptation to declare myself Prime Minister of Canada.”
Already in economic tailspin, Venezuela has been in political turmoil since May of 2018 following a protested election that saw late-President Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor Nicolas Maduro win nearly 70 per cent of the vote.
Skyrocketing inflation and mass unemployment have made millions of Venezuelans their country’s primary export, after oil. For those who hadn’t yet fled, Maduro’s swear-in on January 10th was cause for mass protests, some of which gave way to street battles with authorities.
After nearly two weeks of unrest, on January 22nd Canada joined Australia, United States and the Lima Group of 12 South and Central American nations in backing Juan Guaido, National Assembly president, as interim leader, “supporting his commitment to lead Venezuela to free and fair presidential elections.”
Predictably, a host of authoritarian regimes including Russia, China, Cuba and Iran have backed Maduro.
“Is Canadian government policy now to endorse coups?” asked Weir of the government.
A week ago, in condemning the violence of the Maduro regime NDP leader Jagmeet Singh provided a milquetoast advisory – by New Democrat standards – against supporting American interventionism.
“Canada should not simply follow the U.S.’s foreign policy, particularly given its history of self-interested interference in the region,” Singh said in a statement amidst ambiguities like leaving leadership decisions “in the hands of Venezuelans,” while “advocat(ing) for the United Nations to be involved.”
But Weir, who still wants back into the NDP after being punted last year under a cloud of unproven harassment allegations, just cut to the chase.
In the process, however, he handed the ruling party another opportunity to differentiate itself from the NDP – on a range of issues, the Liberals appear nearly indistinguishable from New Democrats; whether it be support for the Iran nuclear deal; immigration policy or plugging Canada into IPCC global warming/carbon tax sinkholes.
With her government neck deep in another diplomatic crisis with China, Foreign Affairs minister Chrystia Freeland seized on Weir’s question. “If the NDP members cannot take a firm and clear stance on the fight of the people of Venezuela for democracy, I do not know what they can take a clear position on.” Freeland proclaimed, bashing the third party for “defence of a dictatorship that has killed hundreds and injured thousands of peaceful protesters.
And even within the confines of Liberals’ and New Democrats’ shared distaste of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Freeland found room for nuance prefacing her onslaught by urging Weir to ask former colleague Niki Ashton, “the member from Churchill” for an apology to Canadians for tweeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now supported ‘Trump’s regime change agenda and Brazil’s fascist President’.
After their Commons exchange, Weir clarrified his remarks in an interview.
“I did not say that Guaidó declaring himself president was a coup. I did ask whether the Canadian government would support coups against all the other governments around the world whose democratic legitimacy could be questioned,” he said. “It’s one thing to challenge or criticize foreign governments. It’s quite another to start recognizing alternative governments of foreign countries. Where does that end?”
If the purported end game were a total annihilation of the Venezuelan economy, six years of Maduro’s transitional rule following Chavez’s death the country has practically reached that point.
Through Chavez’s 14 years in power and the quasi-dictatorship of Maduro, Venezuela’s sovereign debt grew to $150 billion while the government printed currency to cover increased costs of providing enhanced domestic services.
In 2018, inflation hit 80,000 per cent as prices doubled every five days on average.
Following question period Freeland strode into the Commons’ lobby and doubled down on the tough talk, describing the Maduro regime as “illegitimate” while announcing talks with the Lima Group in Ottawa on Monday, February 4th, to search for a political solution.
Meanwhile, the United States has implemented sanctions against the South American petrol-state, and has warned the Maduro government against jailing political opponents and closing bank accounts belonging to Guaido; threats Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek Saab has already made.
Late yesterday the Venezualan courts slapped a travel ban on Guaido.
It’s day 334 of detention for Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, held captive by China in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018.
Meng’s wanted in the United States for charges related to the Chinese tech-giant’s violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, allegedly conducting business with the rogue Islamist state through a front company in Hong Kong.
Shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, he withdrew the United States from the ‘Iran nuclear deal’, favouring sanctions and sabre rattling to prevent Iran from enriching uranium and building nuclear weapons.
Caught between two economic and military superpowers, Canada got a bit of reprieve this week, at least our pig farmers did, after China lifted its embargo on Canadian pork while similar, retaliatory prohibitions remain for our canola and beef.
If these problems weren’t enough, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s previous government delayed a decision whether to allow Huawei 5G technology onto our domestic telecommunications network – the United States has already banned it over national security concerns.
During a CBC interview aired Monday with Susan Rice, the former U.S. national security advisor to President Barack Obama echoed these concerns and said Huawei 5G presented a clear and present danger.
“It’s hard for me to emphasize adequately, without getting into classified terrain, how serious it is, particularly for countries involved in the Five Eyes,” said Rice who explained threat, then suggested the signals intelligence alliance (Five Eyes) between U.S., Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia would be jeopardized if Canada went ahead with Huawei 5G.
Huawei isn’t the only company that can provide 5G, purportedly capable of 10 gigabytes-per-second of data transfer that can activate a Bluetooth ‘internet of things’ world where all gadgets are operable via smartphone.
But Huawei’s current proliferation in the marketplace and its ties with the Chinese Communist Party, as The Post Millennial previously reported, raise questions about why the Trudeau government dithers on this national security front.
“It gives the China the ability, if they choose to use it, to access all kinds of information, civilian intelligence, military, that could be very, very compromising. As much as I disagree with the Trump administration on a number of things, on this their concern about Huawei, I believe they’re right.”
Rice went on to say that if Canada were to allow the technology on its telecom infrastructure that would forever change the security relationship between our countries.
“That would put the security collaboration which serves the security interests of every Canadian and every American, into jeopardy,” Rice said. “It can’t be done. I don’t see how we can share (intelligence) in the way we have. It’s not a joke. It’s truly serious.”
National security concerns about Huawei 5G are not new – New Zealand and Australia have followed America’s lead, while UK and Canada dither – despite warnings from intelligence experts, and now the former U.S. national security advisor.
Adding more complications to the diplomatic mess, and the Trudeau government’s inability to make a decision on Huawei 5G – one Rice’s interview indicates should be a no-brainer – is the extent to which Huawei has wormed its way into Canadian university research, and the money mainland China students pay to attend post-secondary here.
According to internal documents from the University of British Columbia obtained by National Post, after Meng’s arrest, faculty and administrators were more worried about losing Chinese students, related Huawei research deals and estranging faculty from China, than national security or the university’s integrity.
Huawei research sponsorship at UBC is currently worth $9.5 million and mainland China students make up nearly 10 percent of total enrolment at the university; 5,717 or approximately one-third of all international students at the school.
In the day’s following Meng’s arrest as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport, teachers and admin contemplated a PR strategy to combat commentary in media critical of Canadian universities’ relations with Huawei.
On December 10, the same day Kovrig and Spavor were arrested in China – the pair have since been accused of espionage – Paul Evans, an Asia expert at UBC’s public policy school wrote colleagues proposing they decide whether to be “proactive or reactive” to events that could impact research cash or students from the communist regime.
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s staying power on Dancing With The Stars is really bothering the media and the program’s judges, and after President Donald Trump tweeted support for his old employee during Monday night’s episode, the social media floodgates burst with triggered viewers.
About an hour into the two-hour broadcast Trump boosted Spicer’s spicy tweet-ask for supporters to vote strategically and up to 30 times, right before and during the reality program that features celebrities making earnest attempts at ballroom dancing.
According to the rules, dancing pairs who wind up on the bottom of judges’ scorecards can live to dance another day with the help of live voting by home viewers.
Even Trump’s son Don Jr. got into the Twitter action in support of his dad’s former director of communications who resigned from his White House role in July of 2017, barely seven months on the job, but a relatively good run compared to some of Trump’s other former aides.
The support from the POTUS inevitably resulted in the usual triggered suspects, who under the influence of #TrumpDerangementSyndrome cannot separate having some fun via a modern-day incarnation of “Dance Fever”, with politics and reality in general.
Other Twitter users were taking great glee in the chagrin of DWTS personalities.
Washington Post, which has joined entertainment rags like US Magazine and People in chronicling and critiquing Spicer’s dance floor technique and aplomb, described DWTS panel reaction as “genuinely frustrated” by Spicy’s “less than stellar” ability.
To wit, DWTS judge Len Goodman on Spicer’s time on the program and in the wake of the contestant’s Monday night first-round jazz dance stylings to Styx’ “Come Sail Away”:
“We keep throwing you out the boat and the viewers keep throwing a life preserver.”
Spicer’s execution of the cha-cha in the “dance off” was also, less than stellar.
But don’t take it from the DWTS judges, or even The Post Millennial; the storied Gray Lady, or as POTUS refers to them, “the failing, fake news New York Times“, went a step further than WaPo and dispatched their chief dance critic Gia Kourlas to batter Spicy.
Noting it takes at least ten years to create a “real dancer”, Kourlas goes on to describe Spicer’s dance muse with the seriousness of critiquing Mikhail Baryshnikov.
“Mr. Spicer isn’t trained, of course, but he has revealed much about his soul’s weather through his dancing. He hides behind an egregious smile, parting his teeth to make it look as though he’s been caught mid-laugh,” writes Kourlas.
“That smile seems meant to distract from his plan of attack: never actually performing a dance, but conquering it.”
Yes. We all understand that Sean Spicer cannot dance, which Kourlis makes clear in the title of her NYT piece.
And how do we know this? Because he is a contestant on a fish-out-of-water reality show that takes non-dancers and tries to polish them up a bit for fun, like a low-rent, made-for-TV Pygmalion.
So lighten up, everbody. And vote for Spicy! DWTS semi-finals begin next Monday night on CTV and ABC networks.
A Trump reelection ad aired during the World Series game 7 on Wednesday night, promoting U.S. President Trump’s record in office the past three years.
“President Trump is changing Washington. Creating 6 million new jobs. 500,000 new manufacturing jobs. Cutting illegal immigration in half. Obliterating ISIS. They’re caliphate destroyed. They’re terrorist leader dead,” the narrator of the ad starts, referencing the latest raid on ISIS that killed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Despite it being a little over a year before the U.S. 2020 general election, the election campaigning is in full force.
The premium ad buy for major sporting event means millions of Americans saw the ad on TV and social media. The Washington Post noted this is a more aggressive early reelection campaign blitz than previous incumbent administration’s have waged.
The ad then goes on to bash the Democrats for focusing on impeachment.
“But the Democrats would rather focus on impeachment and phoney investigations, ignoring the real investigations. But that’s not stopping Donald Trump. He’s no Mr. Nice Guy, but sometimes it takes a Donald Trump to change Washington.”
American President Donald Trump is attempting to capitalize on the raid that killed ISIS leader, Al-Bagdahdi in Syria on Oct. 26. Since the raid, Trump and his administration have been vocal on social media, even sharing a classified video of the raid with the American public.
The first of a series of controversial incidents came on Wednesday when the President tweeted a photoshopped picture of the dog that helped kill the ISIS leader receiving a medal of honour. Despite the photograph being an obvious fake, some hard-hitting journalists made sure to inform the public that this image was not real, much to the ridicule of their right-leaning counterparts.
After the journalists realized the blatant obviousness of all this, they then criticized the Trump administration for sharing the photoshopped picture that removed a Vietnam veteran out of the photograph and replaced him with the dog. This came despite the veteran who was photoshopped out telling the New York Times that he interpreted the tweet as Trump recognizing the dog’s heroism.
After the noise from this died down, to milk the story, or to distract us from the on-going impeachment issues, Trump then decided to disclose the name of the dog, Conan, who chased the ISIS leader into a corner where he then committed murder-suicide. The dog’s name was still classified before when Trump first released a picture of the dog.
“…Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week!” Trump tweeted late Wednesday night. The dog was named after late night comedian Conan O’Brien, according to Newsweek.
Thank you Daily Wire. Very cute recreation, but the “live” version of Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week! https://t.co/Z1UfhxsSpT— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2019
The American Presidential election is famous for its long campaign, and this raid will serve as an effective tool for convincing the American public that this administration is competent in foreign affairs. This is evident through Trump’s inclusion of the footage of the raid in a reelection ad released Wednesday.
Nevertheless, Americans across the country are concerned primarily for the welfare of Conan the dog. This brave dog survived a raid on ISIS where he cornered and killed Al-Bagdahdi. But will he survive the mainstream media?