Friday, June 08, 2018

For a Friday

Aaaahhh, glorious day ...

Last night, fifty-eight percent of Ontario voters decided on fiscal conservatism over becoming Venezuela:

Doug Ford said Friday he's working with Ontario's outgoing Liberals to ensure a smooth transition to power — a process he said would take three weeks, involve the help of those who've worked at the federal level and see the formation of a strong Progressive Conservative cabinet.

The premier-designate, who secured a majority a day earlier with a slew of populist promises, said his first order of business would be to scrutinize the province's books.

"We have to see the financial situation that's been left behind, and over the next couple days and weeks you're going to hear from us, but the most important thing is getting our fiscal house in order," Ford said. "We'll be out looking for an auditing firm to go into the province to go line item by line item. I always believe in third party validation."

Mr. Ford will find out, as Mike Harris did, that he has an enormous, almost insurmountable mess to clean from the previous and completely unapologetic government:

As she began to speak, Doug Ford did likewise across town. TV stations reduced the Premier to a small box at the bottom corner of the screen. Few heard Ms. Wynne deliver her own funeral oration in real time. 

That was a shame. 

(Sidebar: yes, you fawning sycophant, it is a shame. Run along and cry some more.)

She hadn’t given many memorable speeches during her five years in charge, but this was four-fifths of one. 

Speaking in Obama-esque, big-tent terms – a style that already seems nostalgic – Ms. Wynne did a cinematic turn through the province. 

(Sidebar: that makes her sound more pathetic, but, please - continue.)

She used Steinian repetition to link each sentence – “Some of you …”

“Some of you have just started a new business … Some of you build cars … Some of you forge steel …”

No point scoring. No little jabs. No Us and Them.

And no apologies for being a corrupt, vile, unfeeling, heartless b!#ch who helped destroy one of the nation's economic engines.

That is why it is enormously emotionally gratifying that her and her fellow travellers have lost their official party status:

Wynne’s Liberals dropped so many seats in the election after 15 years in power, they lost official party status.

Of 124 seats, the Liberals won just sevendown from 55 at the time of the legislature’s dissolution, and one short of the eight required to be a ‘recognized party’ under the Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Below is a video clip from after it was determined that, thanks to Wynne, the Liberals had lost official party status and that Doug Ford was premier-elect with seventy-six seats:

Oh, wait! That's not the clip!

Anyway, when Ford finally assumes the office of premier, he should de-register the Liberals completely, abolish party subsidies, punish the water-carrying popular press and go further than this:

One of the obvious reasons for the big victory of Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives Thursday night was completely overlooked during the just-completed election campaign.

It was a new law in Ontario that for the first time restricted third-party advertising during the campaign to $100,000, and to $600,000 for the six months prior to the election.

That eliminated a huge advantage the Ontario Liberals enjoyed in the 2007, 2011 and 2014 elections, where there were no limits on third-party advertising and public and private sector unions spent millions of dollars relentlessly attacking whoever the PC leader happened to be at the time.

No special-interest group or person should be so powerful that they or he or she can sway an election or plot the course of a country. The Liberals may want it but that's just not how things are done in a democracy.


“We have won more seats than we have held in a generation,” Horwath told her cheering supporters.

“While the results did not get us there this time, I invite you to join us and together we’ll continue to fight to bring change for the better to Ontario.”

If Andrea Horvath had won the election, Ontarians would be eating their children by Christmas (SEE: Venezuela, North Korea).

In other news ...

No, Justin is afraid of running out of conditioner:

The problem with that is that Trudeau really needs to secure a deal with Trump on the North American Free Trade Agreement to keep those jobs numbers on track and head off the kind of electoral insurrection just witnessed in Ontario.

Trump upped the ante Thursday night with a tweet that accused Trudeau of being “indignant” about U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum but omitting that “they charge us up to 300 per cent on dairy that is hurting our farmers and killing our agriculture.”

That was typical hyperbole — Canada remains the largest market for American farm exports at around US $20 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Americans have their own trade-distorting farm tariffs — 350 per cent on tobacco; 132 per cent on peanuts — and an overall trade surplus with Canada, once services are included.

But Trump is right that Canada has been hypocritical when it chides him for protectionism but shelters its own dairy industry behind tariff walls. He is now fixated on the issue and it seems there will be no deal without major concessions on market access. Promisingly, Trudeau said on U.S. television last week that there was “flexibility” on farm access that was promising. ...

Trudeau is reaching that part of his mandate where he can no longer please all of the people all of the time. Tough decisions are being forced upon him and one of them should be to grant the U.S. market access on dairy, if that is what is required to strike a new NAFTA deal and forestall the 25-per-cent import tariff on autos Trump has threatened.

At the same time Trump is stalking Trudeau’s nightmares, Ford’s sweeping victory in Ontario ridings that voted Liberal in the 2015 federal election will only add to the torment.

The most striking thing about the premier-designate’s win was how convincingly he won seats in Etobicoke, Mississauga, Oakville, Vaughan, Markham, Newmarket, Pickering, Whitby and Ajax — the arc of suburban cities around Toronto that voted solidly Liberal in the federal election less than three years ago.

The question the parties will now be seeking to answer is: was this pent-up desire for change specific to provincial politics? Was Kathleen Wynne’s well-deserved trouncing because of an accumulation of scandals, cost overruns, hypocrisy, accounting tricks and tendency to place the interests of the Liberal Party over the province?

Or, could it be voters are getting fed up of the incessant identity politics also engaged in by the federal Liberal Party? If that is the case, the canary is bereft of life in its cage and the Trudeau Liberals had best take a leaf out of the populist Ford playbook.
Before last night's provincial election, former premier Kathleen Wynne attempted to paint herself as a victim for the growing unrest seen in Ontario. Justin, too, depicts Trump as the bully sorely in need of a global thrashing.The truth is that Justin is an incompetent, unserious hand puppet who finds himself unable to to please his backers and an angry electorate all the time. The Ontario election may just be another death knell for the Liberals, just like a sex scandal:

Everything old is new again, an expression that certainly applies to the story now taking on a new life on social media about claims of Trudeau’s “groping” of a young female reporter 18 years ago while visiting the Kootenay-area town of Creston Valley, B.C., (Pop: 5,300).

The editor of Creston Valley Advance certainly wasn’t impressed with Trudeau’s alleged sexual manhandling of his reporter, and even wrote an editorial about the incident—headlined, “Open eyes”— which is just now heating up Twitter.

The woman who answered the phone at the Advance remembers the incident, but not the name of the reporter.
The newspaper’s publisher, Lorne Eckersley, responded to an email while on vacation, stating “the editorial is authentic” and was written by an editor who worked at the Advance before his time.

The newspaper led off its editorial with what it called Trudeau’s one-day-late “apology” to the unnamed reporter, which wasn’t an apology at all but more like some high-society toff looking down his nose at someone who was obviously a lesser being.

For this is what Trudeau reportedly said to the offended young woman: “I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national newspaper, I would never have been so forward.”

Say what? That it’s somehow okay to be inappropriate with a young reporter from a small-town weekly, but not to a reporter who might be also making a few extra bucks by stringing her story to a national newspaper?

What would be hashtag be for that? #MeTooButNotYou?

Or #MeTooDepending?

It's like there is a pattern.

But ... but ... the government is seriously vetting illegal immigrants:

Government data shows thousands of asylum seekers came into Canada illegally across the Canada-U.S. border through last year and the first quarter of this year, but only a fraction were removed from the country during that time.

Between Jan. 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 only 135 individuals who made an asylum claim following an irregular entry were removed from the country, says information provided to the Commons committee on immigration.  

During that same period, more than 5,000 asylum seekers arrived through unofficial entry points.

The government says border officials can only remove failed refugee claimants after they have exhausted all legal options available to try for refugee status, including applications to the Immigration and Refugee Board, appeals and other administrative measures.

Japan is hoping that Trump will raise the issue of Japanese abductees during the talks with North Korea:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has plenty to worry about ahead of Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un next week, including the prospect of a deal that undermines Japan’s six-decade security alliance with the U.S. and leaves the island nation vulnerable to attack.

But it’s another issue that will top Abe’s agenda when he meets Trump for less than two hours at the White House on Thursday: The fate of 12 Japanese citizens abducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Japan wants progress on the abductees to be given the same weight as demands over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs in Trump’s negotiations with Kim.

“I will discuss with the president about the issues of nuclear weapons and missiles, and most importantly the the abduction issue,” Abe told reporters on Wednesday before leaving. “I hope the U.S.-North Korea summit will be a success.”


Birds of a feather, as they say:

Chinese President Xi Jinping gave visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin China's first friendship medal on Friday, calling him his best friend, underscoring the close ties between the two despite deep reservations many Western nations have of Putin.

Putin is in China for a weekend summit of the Chinese and Russian-led security bloc the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the port city of Qingdao, but dropped by Beijing first for talks with Xi.

Meeting in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Xi lauded their relationship.

"No matter what fluctuations there are in the international situation, China and Russia have always firmly taken the development of relations as a priority," Xi told Putin at the start of their formal talks.

Xi then awarded Putin China's first ever friendship medal, on a large gold colored chain, an event carried live on state television.

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