Author Topic: Canadian Politics 2021  (Read 6434 times)

dubsartur

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Canadian Politics 2021
« on: January 12, 2021, 02:53:34 AM »
So, last spring's observation that Canadian politics were in a quiet phase were a bit premature, although this government has run things more or less as expected.

According to a briefing for the Privy Clerk, the 46 year old reservist who broke into the gardens of Rideau Hall with loaded firearms on 2 July 2020 "was seeking to have the prime minister arrested for his policies related to firearms restrictions and COVID responses."  Apparently he left a note in his car saying something about a communist dictatorship.

There is growing anger at politicians and officials who traveled outside Canada over the holidays while telling the public to stay home and not mingle outside their household, and at provincial governments which are handling the epidemic especially poorly.  For many Canadians, spending a few weeks or a few months somewhere warm and sunny every winter is a treasured routine.  Parties which saw this coming and issued warnings to their caucuses tend to have less members to apologize for. 

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2021, 12:07:53 PM »
I still think Canadian politics feels from an international viewpoint like it's in a quiet phase: but that's compared to other countries, more than to the rolling average.

(Also, given that the governing party is governing as a minority, in a pandemic, it's interesting things aren't much more rowdy).

Looking it up, I note from a short Wikipedia browse that the Canadian senate seems to have undergone a number of changes in recent years, with lots of appointments to nominal independents such that there are now two independent groups which comprise over half the seats or some such, with the Conservative and Progressive (post-Liberal) groups combined amounting to less than the bigger independent bloc. Do you have any thoughts on that?
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2021, 11:01:27 PM »
I still think Canadian politics feels from an international viewpoint like it's in a quiet phase: but that's compared to other countries, more than to the rolling average.

(Also, given that the governing party is governing as a minority, in a pandemic, it's interesting things aren't much more rowdy).
The people who like to gossip about Canadian federal politics suspect the Liberal minority government will call an election sometime this year while people are thinking about the pandemic not WE Charity or the RCMP.  There is also likely to be trouble when the provinces which handled the pandemic worst ask for federal funds and the other provinces point out that their taxpayers will be paying for someone else's screwups.  I think things are hot in Nova Scotia after the mass shooting and the mob burning of an indigenous fisher's buildings while police officers watched and did not intervene.

I think that the Greens and NDP are short of funds, the Conservatives and Greens recently changed leaders, and so they have been reluctant to risk forcing an election.  The Conservatives also have to deal with Trump BoJo and Ford making "Conservative" look bad (and even Jason Kenny in Alberta is in some trouble as COVID cases explode and MLAs take sunny vacations while telling constituents to stay home).


Edit: also, don't forget that Canada is being pushed to take sides in a great power game between China and the USA with the American tariffs and the house arrest of Huawei executive Meg Wanzhou.  And the new Trudeau government does not seem to have a clear, consistent vision of what to do with power, every few months they throw a new idea on the table but they don't always follow up and none of them has the drama of the program that he was made prime minister the first time to carry out.  So the federal government seems to be trying to avoid sudden movements which might overturn the canoe or send the log-driver headfirst into the river.

Looking it up, I note from a short Wikipedia browse that the Canadian senate seems to have undergone a number of changes in recent years, with lots of appointments to nominal independents such that there are now two independent groups which comprise over half the seats or some such, with the Conservative and Progressive (post-Liberal) groups combined amounting to less than the bigger independent bloc. Do you have any thoughts on that?
The Senate of Canada is an odd institution with a 17th-century flavour.  Traditionally, it was a place to give sinecures for party loyalists, and had a large elderly contingent who just go through the motions and collect the benefits while their professional staffers do the work.  Liberals and central Canadians (ON/QC) have the most chances to hand out these sinecures, so Conservatives and western Canadians (BC/AB/SK/MB) tend to lead the calls to reform or abolish it.  Its not something I follow like electoral reform or how to turn the Prime Minister into less of an elected dictator.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2021, 03:46:45 AM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2021, 07:08:19 PM »
On 3 July, the maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI on the mainland and Newfoundland and Labrador which entered Confederation circa 1949 under Joey Smallwood) created an Atlantic Bubble where anyone from outside the participating provinces would have to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.  Due to the arrival of COVID variants, the explosion of cases in Alberta, and the number of tourists visiting BC for winter sports, British Columbia has been debating closing its borders to other provinces in the same way.  There are questions whether this would survive a constituional challenge in court.

Alberta, with a similar population to BC, has 11,096 active cases as of 18 January whereas BC has 4,331 as of 20 January.

The Atlantic Bubble burst as one province after another dropped out.

I think that many outsiders don't understand BC's policies, which seem to be grounded in a philosophy of anti-authoritarianism.  Many people who get paid to share their opinions are authoritarians at heart who just want to be the ones giving advice in smoke-filled room or being humbly petitioned to grant access to their contacts.  Health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been clear about the philosophy underlining her recommendations.

The federal Conservatives are going to vote whether to expel MP Derek Sloan from the caucus for accepting a $131 donation from white nationalist (and CPC member) Frederick Paul Fromm. Edit: A majority voted to expel him under the Reform Act which some of the linked papers discussed in the Canadian Politics 2019 thread.  Earlier in this year Sloan was in the news for asking whether British-educated, Hong Kong born, Han-ancestry chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam "works for Canada or for China."  So the donation may be a pretext for MPs who have spent time in private with Sloan and have a good idea what he says when the microphones are turned off to get rid of him.

Edit: The premier of BC John Horgan announced on 21 January that:
Quote
The review of our legal options made it clear we can't prevent people from travelling to British Columbia. We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians.  If we see transmission increase due to interprovincial travel, we will impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers."

Since the four maritime provinces already did this, Newfoundland passed a court challenge, section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has a "subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society" clause, and section 10 of the Emergency Program Act of British Columbia allows a minister during a state of emergency to "control or prohibit travel to or from any area of British Columbia;" that wording is confusing.  People arriving in BC from other countries have to quarantine for two weeks.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2021, 06:07:00 AM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2021, 03:30:48 AM »
This one might interest Exilian members: a long form podcast on Internet service in rural Canada, and how companies like xplornet have effective monopolies and collect government subsidies without providing service similar to in big cities https://www.canadaland.com/podcast/353-dinosaur-internet/  Even in big cities in Canada, usually there are only two or three telecom companies, and services like cell phones are more expensive than in most rich countries.

I am not sure how long the explosion of streaming video and high-bandwidth gaming will last given the need to drastically reduce energy and resource consumption to limit climate change, but if the powers that be want everything to be online, they have to provide everyone with sufficient Internet service.  (For example, the big five Canadian banks were very aggressive in pushing electronic bank statements in the 2010s, because printing them and mailing them costs a dollar or so per customer per month and sending them electronically costs a fraction of a cent).

The Prime Minister says that improving rural Internet services is a priority but he hasn't set any goals within the current election cycle, just "by 2030."  But at least this is an example of how rural people in Canada deal with corporations and different levels of government to cause policy changes.

The United Conservative Government of Alberta is boiling because they bought their Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico for several billion dollars and the new POTUS is fulfilling his promise to revoke its hastily-granted permits.  They need better-paying markets for their oil to pay their public service and help their friends get richer, the US produces all the fossil fuels it needs so cancelling one pipeline from a place with 0 electoral college votes is not a big deal.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2021, 06:38:22 AM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2021, 12:44:15 PM »
How much of a problem will cancelling Keystone be for the federal Canadian government? Is it the sort of thing where Trudeau will be blamed for not making the case effectively to Biden/where do the Canadian public outside Alberta stand on this sort of issue?
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2021, 05:16:17 PM »
Edit: Former astronaut and governor General of Canada Julie Payette has resigned after a report concluded that she created a "toxic" work environment.  She was another of the women or racialized people who were proudly appointed or celebrated by the Trudeau government but ran into trouble (although this seems self-inflicted, whereas the Auditor General's resignation was Trudeau's fault).  The Prime Minister's Office does not seem to have asked two previous employers where she resigned after being accused of shouting at or threatening employees and went over an independent board established by the Harper government to choose candidates by explicit, publicly available criteria.  Her letter of resignation was perfect Trudeau-speak ("While no formal complaints or official grievances were made during my tenure ... I still take these allegations very seriously ... We all experience things differently")

The governor general represents the crown in federal ceremonial matters like the lieutenant governors do provincially.

How much of a problem will cancelling Keystone be for the federal Canadian government? Is it the sort of thing where Trudeau will be blamed for not making the case effectively to Biden/where do the Canadian public outside Alberta stand on this sort of issue?
Since the scraps of revenues after the international oil companies have feasted go to the provincial government, and since Alberta is a one-party state (federal Conservative MPs with the occasional NDP or Liberal, United Conservative Party MLAs with a NDP opposition) very little.  The Québecois are always careful not to let any one federal party feel entitled to their votes, like Norwegians always reminded the oil companies that the oil and gas is not going away and if they don't want to deal Norway will still be there when their other suppliers have dried up.  And Jason Kenny was already loudly positioning himself against the Liberal government (Albertans have grudges against the federal Liberals since Trudeau the Elder), so he does not have many favours to draw on (especially when he may need help paying for pandemic recovery).

The jurisdiction issue is why pipeline politics are so nasty in Canada.  Building the pipeline to Vancouver means First Nations protests in BC, and a risk of breakages in BC and its coastal waters, so Albertans can get richer.  And its easy for people in other parts of Canada to wag their fingers at Alberta and not talk about how Canada has one of the highest energy consumptions per capita in the world, was one of the places were petroleum culture and car culture was born, and has not been reducing its emissions for the past 30 years.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 09:24:05 PM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2021, 10:10:51 PM »
Crikey, the CBC has rolled out "falsely claimed" to describe the premier of BC's explanation why he can't requite visitors to quarantine if six other provinces (the latest is Manitoba) already have.  I don't have a firm opinion on the wisdom of such a policy, but I'd like to hear a clear, direct statement of the government's thinking rather than evasions of responsibility to "legal advice" or "geography."

A committee recommended against introducing a Guaranteed Minimum Income in BC, while the city of Vancouver is calling for the federal government to decriminalize small-scale drug possession.  Overdoses killed more people than COVID in BC in 2020, in part because of disruptions in drug supply.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 11:58:43 PM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2021, 11:51:55 PM »
BC has decided to continue (not change) its "work and public school goes on but no mixing households" pandemic restrictions indefinitely.  The trouble with that strategy is that numbers of cases are no longer dropping and the more infectious variants have appeared in western Canada.  Its asking the population to spend another six months in isolation until enough people are vaccinated.

The reservist who broke into the grounds of Rideau Hall with a M-14, two shotguns, and two handguns has pleaded guilty to several charges.

One of the marginalized MPs who left the federal Liberal caucus before the last election has come out with a gossipy memoir.  I have to say that I do not see or hear about intense anti-black racism in western Canada, the way First Nations and Métis friends tell me they get followed around stores by suspicious staff, but its possible that things are different in Ontario and she is certainly entitled to describe her experiences. 
« Last Edit: February 06, 2021, 12:30:41 AM by dubsartur »

Pentagathus

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2021, 03:32:41 PM »
“As a strong Black woman, I didn’t think you needed help.”  Hahaha that sounds like something I'd expect Steven Crowder or Milo Yanopolis to come out with.
As someone who knows almost nothing about Canada and has paid hardly any attention to Canadian politics I'm not particularly surprised by any of this (except perhaps the account of a woman telling her not to steal her wallet, although of course that might not have been meant in a racial context at all). Trudeau always gave me the impression of being a great PR man but probably not a great leader. I definitely got a style over substance vibe from him.
TBF I'm not sure why Trudeau should have been expected to support her in that first instance, telling some to "check their privilege and be quiet" really isn't an acceptable way to respond to criticism, particularly coming from someone who holds political office.

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2021, 01:51:08 AM »
“As a strong Black woman, I didn’t think you needed help.”  Hahaha that sounds like something I'd expect Steven Crowder or Milo Yanopolis to come out with.
I am glad I am picking some amusing things to link!  I try not to be serious all the time, because politics is pretty silly. 

One long-term issue for the Liberal party is that their current revival is centered around Justin Trudeau, and he will almost certainly step down as party leader sometime this decade.

Just to add to the excitement after the mass shooting in New Brunswick, the woman who was living with the shooter is one of three people being charged with providing him with ammunition after his ban on possessing a firearm.   :o  That could be a case of a spouse abuser sending abusees on errands, or even more complicated.

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2021, 08:29:08 PM »
The civilian Serious Incident Response Team of Nova Scotia decided that under the circumstances, the RCMP officers who fired five rounds at an occupied firehall with their carbines (Colt M4 clones I think) during the mass shooting at Portaupique did not commit a criminal offense.  The local fire department is not happy

My province, in the fullness of its wisdom, intended to space the two doses of the vaccine four months instead of four weeks apart to get maximum use out of their limited supply.  Of course, we could eliminate the virus in about two months with a COVID-0 strategy, no vaccines required ...

Here is a very BC story, about a man associated with the Hells Angels biker gang who died under suspicious circumstances and turned out to have lived a double life: he told two women he was away for business for half the week and alternated houses.  Both women want a share of his estate.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2021, 09:54:29 PM by dubsartur »

Pentagathus

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2021, 09:05:57 AM »
Peak Chad behaviour.

Regarding Trudeau, has his public popularity actually received much of a backlash from some of his scandals, or is it more the case that people who were already opposed to him use it as an occasion to say "see, we were right" and people who were likely to support him are still going to support him because he's the leader of the liberals and they'd prefer a liberal leader who appears hypoctrical in power rather than a conservative of any kind?

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2021, 01:55:27 PM »
So, his approval has fluctuated quite a bit, and can be found here - by and large he was popular in his first couple of years, quite unpopular in 2019, and has recovered to more or less neutral post-pandemic: https://angusreid.org/trudeau-tracker/

Voting intention kinda mirrors this: after a decent win in 2015, the Liberals didn't win the popular vote in 2019 but did win most seats, and more recent polling shows them four to six points up on the Conservatives. It seems that the map/vote distributions currently are good for the Liberals so they tend to win more seats per unit votes than the Conservatives do. That I guess strengthens the negative partisanship argument of "if you don't want a Conservative, stick with us".

One thing I'm not sure about is why the NDP didn't play much harder on electoral reform after 2019, at least as far as I can tell. The logical play would seem to me to have been to offer Trudeau pretty good coalition terms in exchange for him actually completing his abandoned 2015 pledge to reform the electoral system: any sort of PR could double their seat shares and would likely lock them into a usually-in-government status.



Another random thing that dubsartur may be able to speak on: why are the Canadian Conservatives better than e.g. their UK counterparts at winning in some cities? Especially e.g. Calgary and Edmonton where they're quite dominant by the looks of the 2019 results. I dunno, it just feels unusual to have a right-wing party dominate an urban political landscape in the modern Anglosphere.
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2021, 01:21:50 AM »
I also don't know why the NDP did not push harder on electoral reform after the 2019 election, other than that they were short on funds and scared of another election.



Edit: Keep in mind that the election was in on 21 October 2019.  So there were only four months before the pandemic hit, all of them in an Ontario winter when the party leaders were exhausted from campaigning.  And unless we were at those meetings, we just can't know what was said and offered.



I'm not qualified to speak about the voter base of the federal Conservatives, but I would point to two factors.  They are a very disciplined party which works hard to keep its wilder voices in private.  If the Liberals' doubletalk is promising voters social democratic policies but promising rich Canadians and multinationals that they won't lose anything, the Conservatives' is speaking to the mass of voters about keeping deficits low, house prices high, and naughty people in jail while convincing the religious radicals and the libertarians and the firearms fondlers that they will get some of what they want as long as they stay in the big tent. 

Second, the federal Conservatives are a merger of the old Ontario-based federal Conservatives and the Reform party which was a prairie based revolt party.  The merger created, for one brief and smelly moment, the Conservative-Reform Alliance Party.  So they have historical advantages in Alberta, and older Albertans have grudges against the federal Liberals in general and Pierre Trudeau in particular for threatening to redistribute their oil revenues.  When I was living in Alberta, in my riding the Conservative candidate got 60% of the vote without actually visiting the province during the election campaign.

Peak Chad behaviour.

Regarding Trudeau, has his public popularity actually received much of a backlash from some of his scandals, or is it more the case that people who were already opposed to him use it as an occasion to say "see, we were right" and people who were likely to support him are still going to support him because he's the leader of the liberals and they'd prefer a liberal leader who appears hypoctrical in power rather than a conservative of any kind?
Each time it has, so support was falling before the pandemic.  A lot of votes for the Liberals are instrumental, they and their spearbearers in the media tell stories about wasted votes.  Around 2013, it seemed like the NDP and Liberals might switch places, all it would need would be for the NDP to form government in Ottawa once.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2021, 04:00:39 AM by dubsartur »