Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Mid-Week Post

Your middle-of-the-week frozen treat ...

I will wager that Andrew Scheer has never had an ethics probe launched against him because his company stood to benefit from a pension plan unlike some financial ministers one could mention:

Morneau faced off against Scheer in question period hours after the minister unveiled the pricey deal to salvage the British Columbia pipeline expansion project. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was not in the House of Commons to answer questions on the move.

(Sidebar: a trust-fund slacker whose work experience is almost solely being a substitute drama teacher was not at work during that exchange. How interesting.)

Scheer said the prime minister was cutting a cheque with taxpayers' money for "shareholders in a Texas-based company," while at the same time claiming he wants to attract investment in Canada. Scheer asked how much of the $4.5 billion will be invested back in Canada.

"With no business experience, I understand the member opposite might not understand what we're talking about," Morneau shot back before arguing that the Kinder Morgan assets will create long-term value for Canadians.

But Morneau's personal dig spurred outbursts from the Conservative benches. After House Speaker Geoff Regan asked for cooler heads to prevail, a Tory MP told him to "calm down daddy's boy." 

The remark, which drew applause from Conservatives, was an apparent dig at how the finance minister's former company, human resources firm Morneau Shepell, was founded by his father.

Surely Mr. Morneau would like to apprise the Canadian taxpayer of the mounting costs of this debacle in the interests of transparency.

As the Conservatives demand to know how much the carbon tax will cost Canadian families, the Trudeau government claims they can’t release that info until September.

However, that means the Trudeau government is asking Parliament to support legislation before it is even known what the financial impact of that legislation will be on Canadians.

According to the CP, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said “details on how much people will pay will only be determined in September after each province reveals their individual approaches to applying the policy.”

Farmers in Saskatchewan see a twenty-two percent decrease in their income

Saskatchewan farmers are seeing less income, according to a new report released by Statistics Canada this week.

The province's farmers saw a 22 per cent decrease in total net income from 2016-2017, with nearly a billion dollar decrease from the previous year.

Canada as a whole saw a 2.5 per cent decline, the first country-wide downturn since 2013 and only the second decrease since 2009.

Four provinces besides Saskatchewan saw decreases: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.

(Sidebar: the last four provinces were not only the first provinces of the Dominion of Canada but voted Liberal in the last federal election.)

Well, it took him long enough:

In the document, the PCs reiterate a number of promises already laid out by their leader, Doug Ford, including a pledge to cut taxes for the middle income bracket and businesses, reduce the price of gasoline by 10 cents per litre. They also promise hundreds of millions of dollars for various infrastructure projects.

The plan reveals how much each commitment is expected to cost, but makes no mention of the at least $6 billion of "efficiencies" Ford has previously said a PC government would find. It also makes no mention of when a PC government would balance the province's budget.

Oh, that pesky detail.

But it would hardly need balancing if people didn't put Kathleen Wynne into power, so there's that.

Yes, the country's security is for sale. Just ask Justin:

Chinese telecom giant Huawei was founded by a former engineer in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and has been singled out as a noteworthy cybersecurity risk in Congressional testimony by the heads of the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency in the United States. Of particular concern has been the prospect of Huawei equipment being integrated in the next generation of Internet 5G wireless networks that will be ubiquitous within a few years.

Even with extensive testing, understanding the function of every line of software or every piece of hardware in these systems is difficult. Yet the criticism of Chinese companies – whether owned explicitly by the state or not – increasingly heard throughout Western capitals is that they are not legitimate commercial enterprises, but unapologetic agents of the Chinese state and, even more worryingly, of the Communist Party of China. 

Who knows what surveillance or even sabotage functions might be built into such networks by a Chinese state that must consider that Western governments might eventually become potential or actual military adversaries? 

If an Aecon, under Chinese SOE control, building Canadian infrastructure caused Ottawa national security heartburn, you’d think that having Huawei at the heart of building the backbone of our most sensitive communications infrastructure would cause gastroenteritis.

Instead, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale seems rather sanguine, telling journalists last March that an eye is being kept on Huawei and it does not pose a national security threat to Canadians.

I’m glad he thinks so. His optimism is not shared by Ward Elcock, John Adams and Richard Fadden, all former heads of the main agencies charged with this country’s national security, including CSIS, CSE, the Department of National Defence and others. Every one of them has gone on record warning against allowing Huawei to play any role in the development of this sensitive communications infrastructure. 

I'm sure Venezuela will take another dictatorship's idle threats seriously:

Canada will impose targeted sanctions on 14 Venezuelan officials, adding to its previous moves to put pressure on President Nicolas Maduro’s government, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday. 

When the police arrest someone commenting on the rampant abuse of girls and the authorities' complete refusal to do anything about it, people of any socio-political persuasion should be so appalled that they take to the streets:

One of Britain’s most notorious anti-Muslim campaigners was arrested for disrupting a trial last week and was sentenced that same day to a year in prison, which the judge ordered news media not to report on.

The gag order backfired, turning English Defense League founder Tommy Robinson into a sort of free-speech martyr to conservatives such as Donald Trump Jr. and Roseanne Barr before the gag order was lifted Tuesday. ...

U.S. websites ignored the ban. Conservative outlets and alt-right blogs accused the British media of abetting a coverup. Drudge blasted the arrest across its front page, and 500,000 people signed a “Free Tommy” petition. The movement swelled until hundreds marched in London over the weekend.
“How can we tell you what you’re doing wrong, when we can’t even talk about it?” one protester screamed at a police officer.

Meanwhile, the Independent and Leeds Live went to court to legally challenge the gag order – in part by arguing that their competitors were already violating it.

The newspapers won their challenge Tuesday, the BBC wrote, and everyone is now free to report that Robinson will be serving a 13-month prison sentence for interfering with two trials – one last year and one last week.

The abuse of girls was covered up for years by the same police force that arrested Tommy Robinson. His bluster did not get him arrested. That he exposed the revolting behaviour of the authorities did.

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