On a Saturday edition of FTB Fridays, Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss the recent deal between Jagmeet Singh’s NDP and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, François Legault and the upcoming Quebec election and the ongoing Ukraine invasion.
Jagmeet Singh and the Federal NDP struck a deal with Justin Trudeau’s Minority Liberal Government to support them electorally when it comes to confidence motions until 2025, giving the Libs a defacto Majority Government. In exchange, the NDP (and Canadians) get dental care gradually implemented until everyone earning less than $70 000 a year is covered by 2025, a Canada Pharmacare Act passed by the end of 2023 and other New Democrat priorities that, until now, the Libs have only given lip service to, actually worked on.
This is exactly how minority parliaments can produce good results. It’s also another smart political move on the part of Singh and a surprisingly cautious one on the part of Trudeau. Or, as some commenters have put it, a tyrannical power grab.
Allow me to address the last group first: I won’t bother explaining how parliamentary democracy works or even go beyond seat counts and mention that in 2021, the total combined vote percentage for the Liberals and NDP was 50.44%, compared to 48.65% if you add up the percentages the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois, the People’s Party and (why not) the Green Party got. You won’t think anything but what you want happening is legit.
I will, though, ask you what’s worse: a defacto Trudeau Majority until 2025 with free dental or a proper Trudeau Majority until 2027 with nothing but what the Liberals want? Because the latter is exactly what we would get if there was an election next year with Pierre Poilievre leading the Conservative Party (CPC).
A right-wing CPC Leader might please the party base, neutralize the People’s Party and win a handful of seats in the Prairies, but even tacit association with or presumed endorsement of the unrest in Ottawa would destroy the party’s chances in the 905 and 519 area codes, the riding-rich areas surrounding Toronto, where federal elections are generally decided in Canada. Also, Poilievre’s flirtation with hard social conservatives would cause some progressive-minded voters to not risk voting NDP and select the Libs out of fear.
So, the question I have for fellow progressives and NDP supporters who may be less than thrilled at the prospect of the New Democrats propping up Trudeau is a slightly altered one (I already assume you understand how parliamentary democracy works): Would you prefer supporting three years of Liberal rule with key NDP policies being enacted or Liberal rule until at least 2027 with no concessions and a weakened New Democrat caucus?
Some opposition members have also dubbed this a “power grab” by Trudeau. They’re wrong, of course. If this is a power grab by anyone, it’s by Singh on behalf of those who support NDP policy.
The “on behalf of” part is crucial. This isn’t a formal Coalition Government. Don’t expect NDP MPs to occupy cabinet posts. It’s the policies that have power, policies that when implemented Trudeau may very well get credit for.
Yes, that’s a risk, but it’s a calculated one and a worthwhile one to take. Singh is getting things done and doing an excellent job as an opposition leader. While he won’t get the full credit if and when these plans are implemented, he is showing the power of voting NDP and giving New Democrats a larger voice.
Sure, these wins aren’t perfect (I, for one, would have preferred immediate coverage of all dental for everyone under the Canada Health Act) and they aren’t confirmed wins yet. Quebec Premier François Legault has already promised to challenge dental care and pharmacare on provincial jurisdictional grounds and says other premiers such as Doug Ford will do the same (Let’s make “Legault wants me to have a toothache” an election year slogan, shall we?).
Regardless of the outcome, though, it is a great step forward for Singh and the NDP. I am surprised why Trudeau jumped on, though. He could have waited a year and got the majority he was setting himself up for.
Maybe he thought that Poilievre wouldn’t win the CPC nom after all (Jean Charest is polling well) so he decided to play it safe. Maybe he thought that he could get some popular policies through and use the NDP deal as political cover for his corporate donors who may not like some of them.
Or maybe, for Trudeau and Singh, this is about exactly what they said it was: stability.
Regardless, I’m really starting to like the possibilities minority parliaments have to offer.
So Jean Charest is running to be leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Yes, THAT Jean Charest. The former Quebec Premier and Maple Spring antagonist who lost power after over a decade because people took to the streets en masse after he refused to budge an inch.
I have three thoughts on this completely expected announcement last week (the fact that he caught COVID and is campaigning from home was a bit of a surprise, but doesn’t change my thoughts on him) :
1. I despise Jean Charest
He is the living embodiment of bourgeois arrogance and austerity for everyone but the rich. Charest was kicked “dehors” but wasn’t someone supposed to find him “un job dans le Nord”? I guess that didn’t work out and instead we have the most undeserving and undesirable of political comebacks.
Maybe he feels that others in Quebec may remember his political exit in 2012 more than anything else, which could be why he chose to launch his campaign in Alberta. That or a desire to appeal to the party base. Either way, typica crafty, slimy Charest.
2. He’s the Conservatives’ Best Chance of Actually Winning
Sadly, it’s true. The first time he ran for Conservative leadership (it was the PC party then, not the CPC), Charest lost his bid but was one of only two MPs to keep their seat when Jean Chretien wiped the Kim Campbell-led party off the political map.
Unless Quebec decides to collectively do something unexpected (which they do every few decades or so), federal elections in Canada are decided by hockey moms and dads in the 905 and 519. Charest can play to that crowd, a right-winger cannot.
And Charest is the one with name recognition. Sure, in Quebec it’s complicated, but that’s not the case everywhere else, like in Calgary where he announced his candidacy.
3. He Won’t Win the Nomination
Pierre Poilievre will most likely get the nomination. He’s Justin Trudeau’s dream opponent. Getting the CPC base to replace Erin O’Toole with a far right winger was part of his reasoning when he called the last election.
Canada is a center-left country and Trudeau knows it. Neo-Cons like Charest or right-wingers in centrist clothing like Harper can win here. Right wingers like Poilievre only appeal to the base which can maybe swing a few ridings and are thinly spread out across the rest. Just ask Maxime Bernier (or maybe don’t, that guy doesn’t need any more attention).
So it may be a little premature to dust off those old anti-Charest posters, but then again, who knows.
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government invoked the Federal Emergencies Act to counter anti-vaccine mandate and anti-health restriction protests centered around the trucker convoy. This is the first time in Canadian history that the act has been used.
Passed in 1988 as a replacement for the War Measures Act (used in both World Wars and by the current Prime Minister’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau during the 1970 October Crisis), the Emergencies Act gives the Federal Government temporary powers to “take special temporary measures that may not be appropriate in normal times” and to supersede the jurisdictions of provincial and local authorities in order to deal with an “urgent and critical situation” (in this case a “public order emergency”).
The measures taken, though, must fall within the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Government must declare which areas of the country the emergency extends to, unless it applies to all of Canada. In this case, Trudeau promised to geotarget the scope to places like the City of Ottawa, where big rigs have been parked and some protesters and residents have had altercations since the convoy first arrived two weeks ago, and other sites where traffic is blocked.
Both Quebec Premier François Legault and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet have stressed that they think the measures should stop at the Ontario/Quebec border, pointing to the fact that anti-vaccine mandate protests in Montreal and Quebec City already ended peacefully. Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, meanwhile, says that the fact Trudeau had to resort to this unprecedented measure shows a “failure in leadership”.
Jason C. McLean and Special Guests Dawn McSweeney and Jerry Gabriel start with Quebec’s second curfew which begins on New Year’s Eve and then talk about some of the top news stories of 2021.
Monday is Election Day in Canada. Host Jason C. McLean and Special Guest Samantha Gold discuss the latest polls, whether or not calling this election was a good idea, the youth vote and more.
Follow Jason C. McLean on Twitter @jasoncmclean
Jason C. McLean and Special Guest Dawn McSweeney go through some of the week’s top news, roundup-style.
The US leaving Afghanistan
The 2021 Canadian Federal Election
OnlyFans dropping explicit content
Forced sterilization of Native women in Saskatchewan
Gatineau boy’s father denied human rights complaint
It’s official. After a quick 36 day campaign, Canadians will head to the polls on September 20th. This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Governor General Mary Simon to dissolve the current Minority Parliament in place since October 2019, which she did.
As Trudeau seeks a Majority, his Government’s handling of the pandemic will most likely play a dominant role in the five week campaign. The current pandemic situation will also directly effect the election itself, with all poll workers masked, a fresh pencil for each voter, hourly cleaning and some provinces not allowing schools to be used as polling places. Whether or not voters themselves will have to mask up depends on the current provincial health rules in place where they live.
While Trudeau had hoped to pass legislation allowing for three days of voting, it came off the table when Parliament was dissolved. Voting will be limited to election day, advanced polling days and mail-in ballots, which Elections Canada expects a significantly larger than average number of.
Trudeau argued that this election is necessary to give voters a say in the COVID recovery: “In this pivotal, consequential moment, who wouldn’t want a say? Who wouldn’t want their chance to help decide where our country goes from here?”
While the opposition parties all say they are ready, they are also critical of the decision to call the election. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called it a “selfish” election and argued that Trudeau is calling it “to be able to do less, not more” for Canadians in need, referring to the fact that his party was able to push the Minority Government for more in the COVID support benefits like the CERB and CRB.
All parties now have the shortest amount of time allowed by law to make their case.
Featured Image by Coolcaesar via WikiMedia Commons
Jason C. McLean and Special Guest Samantha Gold discuss the upcoming Montreal Municipal election (with an emphasis on the Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Montreal Nord boroughs), the possibility of a fall Federal Election and Quebec’s new vaccine passport.
See Samantha’s mural outside of the Union United Church
Follow Jason C. McLean on Twitter and Instagram @jasoncmclean
Jason C. McLean and Special Guest Dawn McSweeney discuss some of the week’s top news stories:
Quebecers can move up their second vax shot and things are re-opening. Is Montreal getting back to normal?
Trudeau appointed Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General. Is this just a deflection? Should he tax the churches?
After Game Four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Montreal Police teargassed the crowd outside the Bell Centre without warning. What was their excuse and does it hold up?
Host Jason C. McLean and Special Guest Niall Clapham Ricardo discuss Canada’s Parliament voting for the Conservative Party motion to declare China’s treatment of the Uighur minority a genocide. Is this genuine concern for what is a real and tragic situation or is it political brinksmanship setting up the next Cold War? Are we ignoring other atrocities in China and around the world? Are we conveniently forgetting our own capitalist interests in the situation?
Follow Niall Clapham Ricardo on Twitter @NiallCRicardo
Follow Jason C. McLean on Twitter @jasoncmclean
Canada’s COVID-19 numbers may be improving and the vaccine rollout continues, but the pandemic is still very much here with new variants of the virus showing up. That reasoning has prompted the Federal Government to extend recovery benefits.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced several extensions in a press conference early this afternoon. The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and Employment Insurance (EI) are all affected:
- CRB (as well as the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit) will be extended to cover 38 weeks. It was previously covering 26 weeks.
- The CRSB will now cover four weeks of missed work at $500. It previously covered two weeks at that rate.
- EI availability will now be extended to 50 weeks. It was previously 26 weeks.
Trudeau applauded the province’s efforts to fight the pandemic but cautioned them against re-opening too quickly. He also repeated his promise that every Canadian who wants to be vaccinated against COVID will be by the fall.
Jason C. McLean and Special Guest Dawn McSweeney go through the week’s big news stories:
Quebec Premier François Legault injects himself into the campus “free speech” debate and considers restricting English school enrollment.
What Montreal events and festivals will go online in 2021 and which will happen in person?
Ted Cruz leaves Texas freezing.
Justin Trudeau’s new gun control measures.
Dawn Mc Sweeney is an author and FTB contributor, follow her on Twitter @mcmoxy
Jason C. McLean is the Editor-in-Chief of ForgetTheBox.net, follow him on Twitter @jasoncmclean
The Government of Canada wants to render the roughly 1500 assault-style guns they had previously banned last May effectively useless as a firearms. This is coupled with a buyback program for the banned weapons that were purchased legally before their sale was outlawed and red flag laws.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announced Bill C-21 in a press conference, joined by Bill Blair, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, who had tabled the bill in the House of Commons this morning, as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and others.
The Executive Order that followed the shooting spree in Nova Scotia banned the sale, use and transport of these military-style weapons, but it only affected those not yet in circulation. People who had legally bought these firearms prior to the ban were given an amnesty while the government figured out what to do next.
With Bill C-21, all weapons included in the May ban but purchased before it came into effect can no longer be legally fired (at a gun range or anywhere), transported, transported, sold or bequeathed to another person. Those, such as gun collectors, who want to keep their weapons, must store them in a safe way and will be held responsible if criminals end up with them.
This is meant to be incentive for people to take part in a buyback program and sell their now legally useless guns to the government. Details and cost of this program will be worked out in the coming months as the bill makes its way through Parliament.
The Government also wants to enact red flag laws that will allow friends, family and neighbours to report potentially dangerous situations (domestic abuse, self-harm) where a gun is present and have that gun taken away before it can be used.
C-21 would also allow municipalities to ban guns, handguns in particular, on their territory.
Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss the federal, provincial and municipal governments’ responses to the COVID pandemic. They cover the curfew, museums re-opening, summer street terrasses, outsourcing benefit service and more.
Dawn McSweeney is an author and occasional FTB contributor. Follow her on Twitter @mcmoxy
Jason C. McLean is the Editor-in-Chief of forgetthebox.net Follow him on Twitter @jasoncmclean
On the latest FTB Fridays, host Jason C. McLean and guest panelists Samantha Gold and Jerry Gabriel take a look back at 2020 covering federal and provincial politics, the US Election, streaming services and, of course, COVID.
Happy New Year!