Trudeau minister says they found fake news this election
Karina Gould, Trudeau’s Minister of Democratic Institutions, has said in a statement that Canada needs to do more to fight against online disinformation, only days after the federal election.
Although the government did not state precisely how much disinformation circulated during the election, Gould did say that the government is currently deliberating on improvements that could be made to safeguard the level of information for the next election according to the CBC.
The Trudeau government has been forced to apologize after attempting to to hide nearly $200,000 that they gave to an environmental group, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
The Liberal’s Natural Resource Minister Seamus O’Regan had to tell the public that he was “deeply sorry” after a Conservative MP discovered the supposed cover-up.
The Trudeau government paid the Pembina Institute $182,958 in contracts and $1.7 million in grants between 2017-19.
O’Regan now has some egg on his shirt after previously saying that they paid the Pembina Institute nothing, suggesting that the government did “not [grant] any contracts to the Pembina Institute.”
Before all this was revealed, Liberal MPs called the accusation baseless. Soon after this, however, O’Regan had to admit that the government had made an error in not publishing this money.
In a statement, Minister O’Regan said that he was “discussing the matter with my department officials to ensure this does not happen again … I know now that a mistake was made and this information was false. I am very sorry for that. I am deeply sorry.”
Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole has mocked Trudeau, saying that an empty building in Calgary should be renamed the “Trudeau Tower.”
On Sunday, Teck Resources announced it was withdrawing their oilsands mine application after years of political delay from a disinterested Trudeau government. Although Teck Resources diplomatically blamed “political turmoil,” it remains unclear whether the Liberal cabinet would have offered the final approval.
“Teck’s decision to withdraw the Frontier mine application is more devastating news for Albertans, Indigenous people and all Canadians,” said Conservative leadership frontrunner and former Harper minister Peter MacKay to the bad news for economic development.
Thanks, in large part, to the government’s pipeline inaction, the Albertan economy has suffered. In January, for instance, data revealed that Alberta’s economic activity was at its lowest since the 2015-16 recession. As well as this, the province lost more than 18,000 jobs in January, despite the rest of the country adding over 34,000.
“The fact that Teck Resources has publicly announced that it is pulling its application for a $20 billion Frontier oil sands project is further proof that Trudeau cannot or will not fight for Canada and Canadian jobs,” said Conservative MP and leadership candidate Marilyn Gladu, who used to work in the oil and gas industry for years.
Erin O’Toole has been vocal about the damage Trudeau has done to the province. After Teck Resources pulled their application for the oilsands mine in Alberta, O’Toole said “We’re watching our economy crumble as the government stands by.”
“Thousands of jobs, billions of dollars of investment and billions more of government revenue just disappeared because of Trudeau’s failure to uphold the rule of law. ”
Canadians are tweeting about Teck Resources oil’s withdrawal of their application for their Alberta sand mines project—a cancellation that has Canadians polarized.
The withdrawal came as political and civil tensions grew higher and higher, with the company saying in a statement that “the growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved … It is now evident that there is no constructive path forward for the project.”
Across the web, celebratory posts could be seen from environmentalists and activists who saw the cancellation is a victory—a win which would cost the struggling province several thousand jobs.
The majority of the tweets with the hashtag #TeckMine are made up of disheartened Albertans, who feel as though the project’s downfall lays at the hands of a federal government that doesn’t speak for them.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reacted by saying “The withdrawal of Teck’s Frontier Mine application is more devastating news for the Canadian economy, especially for Albertans & indigenous people. This decision is clearly the result of federal regulatory uncertainty & the current lawless opposition to resource development.”
Trudeau was due to make a decision about the future of the Teck mine project this week.
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.