Trudeau Liberals lose first vote of 43rd parliament
A Conservative motion to create a Canada-China relations committee to study the current relationship between the two states has passed, with the help of every party but the Liberals.
The Conservative call to action interestingly came on the one year anniversary of the detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in torture-like conditions in China.
While the defeat at the combined hands of the NDP, some Greens, the Bloc, and Conservatives will not cause a defeat, as it is not a vote of confidence, it will likely send signals that there could be troubles when it comes to the negotiations needed to keep a minority government lasting.
With the vote passed, there will be a formation of a special House of Commons committee with a mandate to hold hearings on Canada-China relationship, “including, but not limited to consular, economic, legal, security and diplomatic relations.”
The committee will include 12 members, of which six will be liberal and six opposition.
The committee will have all the powers of a normal House committee.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
Denis Tsarev and Sabrina Zuniga are co-founders of Truth and Consequences.
I have worked on several political campaigns in Toronto, always helping a Conservative candidate. Here, a Conservative candidate can rarely expect to win the majority of the votes in a riding. At most he/she can hope there will be a split between the NDP and the Liberal votes, helping him/her win with just a bit over one third of the vote. Part of the reason is the central campaign not explaining to the public the ethical values of conservatism.
In my lived experience, at school, university and work, I have been surrounded mainly by those who are not politically involved and do not follow current events closely. However, when a political issue comes up in a conservation, most of my acquaintances would eagerly exhibit their moral aversion to anything associated with conservatism. If I would say that I am a conservative or support some conservative policy, they would look at me as if I just told them I came from Mars.
So why am I a conservative after all? Because I firmly believe that the key conservative principles, such as government transparency and promotion of free market economy, have not only proven themselves to be effective at solving many of our societal and economic problems, but also have strong ethical foundations.
My opponents, and many average people living in Toronto, firmly believe the opposite; namely that conservative principles are inherently unethical and selfish, are aimed at benefitting the rich at the expense of the poor, perpetuate inequality and poverty, or some other cliche phrase that the left often uses to define us.
Clearly, this popular perception does not result merely from how well each party campaigns during election periods, whose leader performs better on the national debate, or whose three policy points on a flyer sound most convincing. This perception is formed by the public beyond and outside of election periods. And this is why I argue that as conservatives, we need to work harder between elections on getting our message out, explaining and defending our values.
The left side of the political spectrum is much more than just the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Green Party. It’s an ideological movement that has permeated many spheres of our society, including education, academia, media and journalism, entertainment and much more. It seems to have also managed to convince the majority of people that its principles are the right principles.
The left leaning political parties simply claim to represent these principles and promise to implement them. Their focus is not to help the voters discover and accept these principles, but to solicit the votes of the people already inclined to share these views on the ethical level. The NDP, Liberals and Greens seem simply to compete at who represents these principles the best and who will have better capacity to implement these once in government (or who will be able best to prevent conservatives from coming to power and hindering their implementation).
Hence, it seems appropriate to denominate the left-leaning political parties not as movements of their own, but simply as political arms or the tip of the iceberg of a movement already existing, wide and populous, with its already formed and solidified ideological, theoretical and ethical frameworks.
Conservatism in Canada seems to operate very differently. It has the manifestation of registered political parties, often well-organized, well-funded, and capable of carrying out strong campaigns during election periods.
However, what it lacks is a strong movement, with its own ethical and theoretical frameworks anywhere closely comparable in magnitude to those of the left.
The Conservative Party is the tip of the iceberg without the iceberg itself.
Each election conservatives appeal and concentrate on practical political and economic issues, current events, the mistakes and scandals of the Liberals and/or NDP, and specific government policies. Outside of the rather small core base of committed conservatives, this approach might win the support of the people who both have no strong ideological preferences and are also tangibly experiencing the negative effects of Liberal or NDP policies, or benefitting from Conservative policies, if they happen to be in government.
Conservative strategists often emphasize the fact that most voters don’t pay attention to and don’t care about politics outside of election time, and therefore they don’t want to discuss ideas in depth.
While I agree that many people don’t pay attention to specific policy outside of election times, in the back of their minds, people all the time do care a lot about the more profound aspect of politics–the ethical and ideological frameworks.
The average voter may not know the platform of each party, their policies on taxation, budget or trade, but the average voter always wants to make the ethically “right” decision, “to be on the right side of history” and to feel like he or she is doing something good for society.
There is absolutely nothing wrong or misguided about this. Wanting to be ethical and helping society are really important human qualities.
During the federal 2019 election, the Conservative campaign focused the most on the issue of affordability, with the recurring line “putting more money in your pockets” featuring in many materials and statements. However, while canvassing door to door, I noticed that this did not resonate well with many, if not most voters here in Toronto.
What many people cared about was solving “big” problems like climate change, poverty, racism, and inequality and they were eagerly willing to contribute their tax dollars to help save the world.
I found many people at the door were indifferent to the policies aimed at “putting more money in their pockets”, and to some we came off as unethical and selfish, appearing to care more about tax credits than about helping the vulnerable and addressing the big problems and injustices. Many people admitted to highly disapproving of Trudeau over the scandals, but felt the Liberal party at least was tackling the right issues and was “on the right side of history”.
I know personally some people who are economically struggling, and admit that conservative policies will benefit them, but claim they will never vote conservative, because it’s unethical and “just wrong”.
The left is very good at exploiting the feelings of wanting to make the ethical choice even if the individual thinking this will be negatively affected. That’s why their message focuses so much on the big issues and appeals to people’s ethical and deep emotional, not immediate, considerations. They make people feel that by voting Liberal or NDP, they will feel morally good, be “progressive” and contribute to saving the world and that by voting Conservative, they will act selfishly and let the world down.
How can Conservatives counter this?
First we must note that the Liberals and the NDP are not trying to create new moral and ideological frameworks during election periods–they are simply appealing to and invoking the already formed popular perceptions about what’s right and what’s wrong that were instilled into the majority of people by education, media, entertainment, academia, etc.
The truth is Conservative policies and principles are not selfish and petty like our opponents try to portray them. The concepts of government transparency and accountability, strong work ethic, support of business completion, reduction of red tape, focus on reduced deficits and economic prosperity, strong foreign policy, freedom of speech and individual liberties, fair and effective justice and immigration systems, respect for the rule of law, and many more, are grounded on solid ethical values and are supported by strong fact- and logic-based intellectual frameworks.
I believe these are much more profound and have stronger ethical justifications than the principles the Liberal and the NDP parties focus on.
These principles have also proven effective at helping improve our society, promoting fairness and opportunities for all, helping those who are vulnerable and struggling, taking care of the environment and increasing the world’s prosperity. These are much more potent than the left’s common approach of throwing money at problems and setting up bloated non-transparent committees and programs to control people’s lives and speech.
Moreover, the conservative principles have a very long and profound intellectual history. Whether in economics, political science, philosophy, or another discipline, we have a broad foundation of writings by thinkers such as John Locke, Adam Smith, Roger Scruton or Jeane Kirkpatrick, dating as far back as the 17th century.
What needs to be done, therefore, is to make these basic conservative principles known, understood, and popular. We need to help people understand conservative values, both ethical and practical. We are a movement that promotes a set of values and aims at implementing effective solutions to help our society prosper. We are much more than just a registered political entity with leader X or Y that mails flyers to people when it’s election time.
To promote these ideals, individuals operating outside of the party framework, need to step up and be heard. Conservative think tanks and conservative-led educational projects are the step we need to invest in further.
Grassroots movements of smart conservatives do exist and we need to support them further here in Canada. I am proud to be a conservative and I want people to know why, so I am stepping up and speaking out. It’s not just about election hot topics, tax credits and Liberal scandals–it’s also about important and solid ethical principles.
I am not the only one. Wherever you are as you read this, find the organizations and individuals you want to support and help as much as you can. Share and spread the messages, talk with your neighbours, and don’t stop.
By working together and not seceding the political discussion, Conservatives can build a solid iceberg underneath its tip.
The Minister of Labour has announced that a $15 minimum wage is part of Canada’s future.
During Question Period on Tuesday, Liberal Minister Filomena Tassi told the House that the government “remains committed” to Canada’s workers, and that a $15 minimum wage is a part of the Liberal Party’s “plan for the future.”
The proposed $15 minimum wage may be an idea inspired by the Wynne government of Ontario, who had planned to raise the wage to $15. The wage was raised to $14, and the newly elected Ford government scrapped plans to raise it to the $15 figure. The sudden raise in the wage led to businesses closing shop, reduced hours for workers, layoffs and increased prices.
the New Democrats also made a $15 minimum wage a cornerstone of their platform in 2019. In a September 2nd Labour Day statement, the NDP stated that “Jagmeet and the NDP are committed to raising the federal minimum wage to $15 right away–and growing that to a living wage.”
It’s a change of tone for the party from back in 2016. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that they would not follow in provincial footsteps to raise minimum wages, at one point even rejecting that raising the federal minimum wage was apart of his governmen’ts economic strategy.
The head of Wuchang’s city hospital in Wuhan is still being treated for coronavirus according to health officials. According to the Chinese government, Dr Liu Zhiming is said to be undergoing resuscitation after contracting the deadly virus but is alive, despite some reports claiming he had died. Many Chinese citizens remain skeptical of the news that Dr Liu remains alive due to previous attempts to cover up deaths of medical personnel.
Dr Li Wenliang died of coronavirus earlier this month. Wenliang was responsible for making knowledge of the coronavirus public and was punished for doing so by Chinese officials. His hospital denied any reports of his death initially before confirming it according to the Daily Mail.
All media outlets were instructed to suppress the coverage of the passing of Dr Li Wenliang. The news of this denial caused a great backlash from the public over the cover-up. Many took to social media to express their rage with the government however their posts were quickly censored.
“He wasn’t allowed to speak. He wasn’t even allowed to die,” wrote one person via the Chinese messaging app WeChat.
“Dr Li Wenliang was only allowed to ‘die’ after most web users had gone to bed,” wrote another person.
Dr Li’s family was paid just over $150,000 after Beijing ruled his death a ‘work place injury’ following the online backlash for the whistleblower.
Liu Fan, 59, was a nurse at Wuchang Hospital who died of the coronavirus after contracting the disease at work last Friday. It’s suspected that Ms. Liu became infected with the disease after failing to get a hazmat suit due to the shortage of medical supplies in Wuhan. The hospital has denied any such rumours.
The hospital released a statement urging all medical workers to protect themselves during work.
It continued: “All neighbourhood clinics need to enforce personal preventative measures according to requirement.”
“In this battle, the virus is cruel. We express our deepest condolences for comrade Liu Fan’s passing”
“We sincerely hope all medical workers remain healthy and will return safe and sound after the battle.”
Chinese authorities have said that those who died from contracting coronavirus in the line of duty should be named martyrs. The Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission said that family members of medical workers who’ve passed should receive financial compensation from the government.
Dr. Liu was the most high-profile medical worker to contract the virus and die and became even more famous after being reprimanded by police and accused of spreading “fake news.” It was in response to a social media post of Dr. Liu, warning of “SARS at a Wuhan seafood market” on December 30. Li’s post came two weeks before the coronavirus broke out in the city.
Kristina Shramko has decided to remain in Wuhan in order to stay with her cat, Kitya. Wuhan has been under lockdown since Jan. 23 in the wake of the coronavirus that began there and has now infected at least 67,000 people and killed more than 1,500. The majority of cases have been in the Hubei province, where the city of Wuhan, with a population of 11 million, is located.
China has so far quarantined more than 50 million people in the Hubei province and all transportation in and out has been shut down.
Shramko can leave her loft in Wuhan, although officers will check her temperature and she is required to wear a mask. Officers patrol the street and and shops to make sure that people comply with the precautions.
Shramko was born and raised in Vancouver and met her boyfriend in Wuhan during a month-long trip to the city. She moved there to be with him about a year prior to the coronavirus outbreak. Shramko’s boyfriend was not in Wuhan at the time of the shutdown due to a business trip. He isn’t allowed to return as per the quarantine rules, so he is currently staying with his family in another province.
Shramko had initially registered herself to be on an evacuation flight when Canadian authorities began chartering flights to get citizens back to Canada, however the strict no-pet policy forced Shramko to make the tough decision to remain in Wuhan to take care of her cat.
“I don’t know when the epidemic will be over so it’s kind of abandoning her in a way, even if I give her to a friend,” Shramko told Business Insider.
Shramko went on to describe the mental conditions of living in quarantine.
“After a month of just being alone and not having that much human interaction, it really takes its toll mentally,” Shramko said
“It’s pretty much a ghost town outside,” she said. “I live directly across from a huge mall and this mall was always packed with people. Even the street to get into the mall’s parking lot was always busy. Now, there are no cars at all and nobody outside.”
Shramko described many of the grocery stores shelves as being barren. She spends her time working on her YouTube channel, watching a Chinese version of Netflix, reading books and playing with Kitya.
She communicates often with her boyfriend and family back in Canada.
“They update me on what they’re hearing about the coronavirus in Canada and I let them know what’s going on in China,” she said.
The Chinese government has extended foreigner visas as a result of the epidemic, however money is getting tight for those forced to stay in quarantine.
“Nobody is working right now so there is no income,” Shramko said. “I’m trying to save as much money as possible since we don’t know when all of this will be over.”
Shramko was initially unphased by the coronavirus lockdown.
“In my mind, a super contagious and deadly virus just didn’t seem real,” she said. “It seemed like something you only saw in movies. After a few weeks, it really kicked in that this was a serious matter.”
Shramko said she understands the circumstances she’s in and doesn’t resent the Chinese government’s handling of the virus.
“I can’t say that I’ve put all my faith in the Chinese government, but I can say that they are doing their best,” she said. “It’s a highly contagious virus, so it’s hard to control.”
Shramko is getting restless to return to Canada now and wishes the government would allow her to take her cat on the plane.
“She’s been there for me throughout this whole quarantine,” Shramko said of her cat. “I should be there for her, too.”