Tax cuts Liberal government’s ‘first act’, reconciliation and climate change top goals: Throne speech
Climate change, economic prosperity and indigenous reconciliation will continue to be the now-minority Liberal government’s focus according to Governor General Julie Payette’s Speech from the Throne–an outline of the ruling party’s agenda and authored by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“In this election, Parliamentarians received a mandate from the people of Canada..to fight climate change, strengthen the middle class, walk the road of reconciliation, keep Canadians safe and healthy, and position Canada for success in an uncertain world,” said Payette.
Conservative MP Jeremy Patzer is the representative for Cypress Hills—Grasslands (Saskatchewan).
We are now entering the second year of living under Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax regime in Canada. The beginning of a new year is a good time for us to step back and reflect on how federal policies are affecting the lives of everyday Canadians. At the same time, we are only a few months away from an annual carbon tax hike coming in April.
While firmly believing that this tax is generally harmful and ineffective, I want to focus on a telling feature of the Liberals’ so-called plan for reducing Canada’s carbon emissions. When the Liberal government first introduced their carbon tax in the last parliament, they reassured Canadians that it would be revenue neutral. Related to this claim, they announced that Canadians would receive a rebate in proportion to the amount collected from each province. According to them, it should acknowledge and adequately offset the costs of the tax on consumers.
Right before the end of 2019, we learned that the government is walking back their previous projections for the rebate a family of four could receive. Coincidentally (or not), the rebate happens to be going down for all the provinces that have not gone along with putting their own carbon tax into place. My home province of Saskatchewan is getting the biggest decrease in rebate money.
While the cost-increasing effects of the carbon tax can hurt many vulnerable members of our society, it is particularly making life harder for families and seniors. I have seen and heard about the damage it is causing my constituents and others living in rural Canada. I come from a riding and a region of the country where, along with making everything more expensive, the carbon tax is delaying economic recovery and draining away our agricultural and resource-based economy.
Of course, this is just another insult added to injury. The Liberals have also said that most households would receive more money back than they are paying under the tax, despite some indications to the contrary. After regularly spending extra for home heating or driving long distances in a part of the country where both are necessary, the full compensation through a rebate is questionable at best. On top of that, there have also been farmers calling attention to paying hundreds of dollars in additional tax for drying their grain after a difficult harvest year, which must be done if they want to make a living. Is there real compensation for them?
Considering all this, it gives us a perfect picture of how Canadians can expect the carbon tax to work in actual practice. As the tax rate and costs are on the rise, there is less support for taxpayers and struggling families. So far, the carbon tax rebate is turning out to be another letdown.
As tax season approaches after the first year of living under this policy, we are left to wonder if this discouraging trend will continue.
The RCMP intercepted 16,503 people illegally crossing into Canada from the U.S.-Canada border in 2019, according to new federal government data.
The number of people entering Canada via the border at unofficial ports of entry declined in 2019, but the total number of people making asylum claims jumped from 55,040 in 2018 to 63,830 according to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada.
The increase is due to more and more people flying to Canada and then making asylum claims upon arrival at airports across the country.
The Safe Third Country Agreement between America and Canada means asylum seekers are supposed to make refugee claims in the first safe country they enter, but when individuals cross illegally into Canada they are able to bypass the agreement.
The Trudeau government dragged its feet on doing anything significant to address the spike in illegal border crossings, first changing the wording to “irregular border crossings” and accusing critics of stoking xenophobia.
But in the lead-up to the 2019 election, after government internal polling showed the vast majority of Canadians polled didn’t approve of people crossing into Canada illegally, the Liberals promised to change legislation to curb the influx.
The spike in illegal border crossings began around the time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that Canada welcomes those looking to find a new home and when U.S. President Donald Trump was cracking down on illegal immigration in America.
The National Post via an access to information request found that their was a deluge of inquiries across the world to Canadian embassies of people inquiring how to immigrate to Canada after Trudeau’s tweet in early 2017.
According to reports, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen’s briefing notes in December stated their are no formal plans setup with the U.S. to address the loophole to the Safe Third Party Agreement.
A dangerous Ottawa sex offender has been set free by accident and is still on the loose.
The sex offender, who’s name is Brendan Wayne Spurrell, was a convicted child predator and was awaiting his trial for sex assault and death threats. It is unclear how the Ottawa police could have accidentally let Spurrell go free.
Spurrell, who is 22-years-old, is wanted on a plethora of charges. The Ottawa police consider him to be dangerous.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, a spokesperson for Ottawa Police stated that Spurrell “is still wanted and we are actively asking the public for any information if they have seen him to contact us. If they do see him, he is considered dangerous … there is an ongoing investigation [about how he was released by accident] by the provincial police.
In an announcement, the Ottawa police commented that “Spurrell was in court on January 13 and was not to be released. Circumstances of his release are being examined by provincial authorities.” They went on to ask the general public for “information on his current whereabouts … Please do not approach him.”
In 2019, Spurrell was sentenced to two years behind bars for sexually assaulting a child. He later was released on parole, however, he was later charged again with sexual assault.
The Liberal government is discussing introducing a new set of online rights in the wake of many Canadians’ privacy being breached. This would include compensation for victims of online fraud.
When such legislation will be introduced remains unclear, and there is little information on what the compensation would look like, but the government says fines for those found guilty of breaching someone’s personal data are certain.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has assigned mandate letters for Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault in order to curb the problem, asking them to work on a “digital charter” that would usher in new legislation to compensate Canadian victims of data breach, according to the CBC.
“It will be significant and meaningful to make it very clear that privacy is important. Compensation, of course, is one aspect of it,” said Bains, explaining that the government would like “to demonstrate to businesses very clearly that there are going to be significant penalties for non-compliance with the law. That’s really my primary goal.”
Compensation for victims would encourage private companies to take these issues more seriously according to privacy lawyer Ryan Berger, of Lawson Lundell in Vancouver. “It will incentivize organizations … to take steps to protect that information and ensure that, for instance, health information is encrypted,” he said. “So right now, there aren’t the sorts of financial implications for them if they fail to do that.”
It is a pressing issue, about 57 per cent of Canadian online reported experiencing a cyber security breach in 2018 according to Statistics Canada.
Lifelabs, a medical services company reported that approximately 15 million customers in Ontario and B.C. could have had their private information accessed during a data breach last month.
The Quebec financial institution Desjardins Group faced a similar scenario a few months earlier when an employee with “ill intention” gathered 4.2 million client’s information and shared it, resulting in a class action lawsuit for both companies.
Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy said, “This is becoming a real challenge for courts and businesses to manage.”
“So one of the questions when I see ‘with appropriate compensation’ — I wonder, are they thinking of something other than class-action lawsuits? Are big companies going to be asked to have reserve funds to pay out compensation? Is there going to be a fixed chart of compensation?”
One avenue to preventing privacy breaches would be the government’s talk of a “right to be forgotten” or “right to erasure” law by calling for the “ability to withdraw, remove and erase basic personal data from a platform.”
In 2014 the European Union passed a law that allowed citizens to ask Google to remove web hits that popped up upon their name being searched if they felt they were problematic. The case was brought about by a Spanish lawyer who fought to have material about his past debt troubles scrubbed from the search engine.
Web hits aren’t usually deleted if they are considered, “inadequate, irrelevant or excessive” under the new law but they rather they are hidden by the tech giants in process call de-indexing or de-listing.
Minister Bains said his department will study the EU version of the law as well as a California’s when drawing up the possible model for a Canadian law.
“I find it a little bit odd that they’ve framed the right of erasure in what I think are pretty narrow terms compared to what the emerging standard seems to be internationally,” she said. “There’s a certain lack of clarity here that I think is, well, maybe deliberate, but in some ways I think maybe it’s a bit of a muddled message too.”
A survey conducted last year by an Angus Reid Institute found that 51 per cent of Canadians were in favour of a right to be forgotten online and the right to have search results changed. Not everybody agreed, with 23 percent claiming that erasing negative information would mean “erasing history and facts.”
“I want to hit the ground running. This is a priority for me and our government. We want to move forward to start to see aspects of the digital charter reflected in legislation and new policies and programs as well,” said Minister Bains. “The goal is to work with opposition members sooner rather than later in presenting this legislation in a timely manner.”
There is currently no timeline as to when the proposed legislation would be brought into place.