Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Mid-Week Post

Now, the rest of it ...

Pierre's son is terribly miffed that Trump made fun of him in front of everyone:

On Sunday, CBC invited CBC Ottawa Bureau Chief Rob Russo, actually quiet the fine journalist, to discuss Trump and his twitter tirade.

At 4:15 in the clip below, Russo starts to describe how the meeting, the bilateral between Trudeau and Trump is going so well that Trump waives his demand of a sunset clause. The Americans had been demanding that NAFTA expire and need to be reaffirmed every five years.

This is a bombshell that I have not heard elsewhere and quite frankly it seems to have escaped CBC how important this is.

I listened back to Trump’s news conference as he left the G7 and he said that he still wanted a sunset clause but left open the possibility of a longer timeline, said negotiations were going well and the two sides were close. ...

Trump reportedly left the meeting thinking he had made a deal with Trudeau and had made a gracious gesture. Then Trudeau came out and sounded like he was fighting in his news conference when asked about the sunset clause. ...

In Trump’s mind, the decision to waive the sunset clause had been a generous act of reconciliation. Yet Trudeau publicly denigrated him just to score political points with Canadians.

Trump was livid. He found it duplicitous and humiliating. Indeed, Kudlow claims Trump was even fretting that it made him look weak just as he was going to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

So, Trump’s team is not arguing that Trudeau said something new or different at the press conference. Their claim is that at the bilateral meeting everyone agreed to move on, but that Trudeau then cheated on the agreement. This was the trigger for Trump’s tweets.

So there's that.

Also, the supply management scheme has gone on long enough and benefits only a few.

To wit:

Canadians can’t even bring cheaper beer across provincialborders, so how can the government be promoting free trade around the world?

A while back, I wrote about an outrageous Supreme Court decision that “upheld an absurd fine imposed by New Brunswick against Gerard Comeau. Comeau’s ‘error’?  Buying cheap alcohol from another province. For that, Comeau was fined for ‘violating’ New Brunswick’s statist liquor monopoly, meaning he’ll have to pay money to the government in order to uphold a monopoly he already pays for through his taxes.”

The ruling was just the latest of many examples showing how Canada doesn’t have free trade between Canadian provinces.

In many cases, it’s easier for provinces to trade with US States or other countries than it is to trade province to province.

And yet, even as we lack free trade within our own country, the government is posturing about supporting free trade around the world.

While much of the foreign press hasn’t pointed out the hypocrisy, here in Canada we need to ask why our country is focused on ‘free trade’ with other nations when we can’t even trade freely at home?

Internal trade barriers take money out of the pockets of Canadians, and weaken our domestic economy. Ironically, this makes us much more reliant on foreign trade, which makes us far more vulnerable to other countries.


Supply management limits production on dairy, eggs and poultry.

Defenders of the system say it keeps markets from getting saturated, keeps prices stable and ensures a steady income for farmers.

In other words, it is price fixing.

It can easily be compared to the scandal grocery stores got themselves embroiled in after they got caught fixing bread prices.

Why do we think price fixing by grocery stores is bad, but just fine when it’s done by the government and farmers? ...

Public policy think tank Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) reported: “”Supply management disproportionately hurts the poorest Canadians,” explains Mario Dumais, associate researcher at the MEI and former economist for the Union des producteurs agricoles. “This system imposes an additional cost of $339 a year on the poorest households. As a proportion of income, this represents a negative impact that is five times greater than for rich households. This policy is therefore heavily regressive.”

Economists Ryan Cardwell, Chad Lawley and Di Xiang at the University of Manitoba determined those numbers when they studied the impact of supply management on households.

In their report Milked and Feathered: The Regressive Welfare Effects of Canada’s Supply Management Regime, Cardwell concluded that it is “… notable that all three national political parties staunchly support a system that impedes access to healthy foods, particularly for poor consumers. 

Such a policy counteracts poverty-reduction measures and healthy-eating initiatives that are undertaken by various levels of government.”

Mark Milke is author of Tax me I’m Canadian: A Taxpayer’s Guide to Your Money and How Politicians Spend It. In a piece in Maclean’s he took Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to task for supporting supply management.

(Sidebar: this Andrew Scheer.)

“Supply management is a relic of 1930s Soviet central planning influenced by Karl Marx,” Milke wrote.

“It never should have been introduced into Canada. So let’s call supply management what it is: Marxist economics applied to dairy cows.”


Support for supply management is a difficult issue to poll, largely because the Canadian public has only the dimmest awareness of the status quo. Yet judged by their actions, culture and temperament, it does strain credibility to believe that there exists a broad-based constituency in favor of paying more for a basic staple in order to further benefit a province already widely resented for its coddling by Ottawa.

Yet this is the trade-war hill that Trudeau has chosen to die on. He has alienated the entire western half of his country through bungled oil and pipeline policies, and now his path to a second term in next year’s election seems increasingly tied to maintaining the goodwill of Quebec.

Americans do not have spotless hands when it comes to using unfair measures to protect their own sacred industries, yet it’s a myth to believe Canada has ever had much interest in running hard in the opposite direction, and embracing the sort of unqualified economic integration with the United States equivalent to that enjoyed among member nations of the European Union, or one American state to another.

Justin can score some points from this but only for a while. 

No one applauds a Grabby-Sam who has tanked another industry and another trade deal. 

Also in "weakling government" news:

Over five weeks, the British submarine HMS Trenchant travelled beneath — and broke through — Beaufort Sea ice alongside two U.S. submarines. 

It was there as part of the Arctic and Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018, a U.S. Navy submarine arctic warfare exercise involving U.S., Canadian and British armed forces.

Taking place about 200 kilometres off the Alaskan coast in the Beaufort Sea, the exercise was designed, in part, for the U.S. Navy to practise and test the operational and tactical capabilities of its submarines under ice. ...

The Royal Canadian Navy, however, cannot make the same claim about its submarines.

Canada's fleet of submarines, bought 20 years ago from the British Royal Navy, didn't join the latest ICEX operation. The Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Windsor, Victoria, Chicoutimi and Corner Brook aren't designed for those kinds of under-ice uses. 

Unlike their nuclear counterparts, Canadian submarines are limited to open water and near-ice-edge operations, an acknowledged concession due to budgetary realities. This is in part because they're diesel powered boats, and must come up for air periodically.

Both the U.S.and British navies have nuclear-powered submarines with the capacity to stay underwater for as long as a crew's food supply lasts. They can confidently travel under arctic ice.

Still, the Royal Canadian Navy has been involved in ICEX since 2011, according to naval communications adviser, Jennifer St. Germain. This year, Canada offered a "modest contribution" to ICEX 2018, sending "a naval communicator to support the exercises." That's one Canadian among a sea of many U.S. Navy and Royal Navy personnel.


The overwhelming number shows that many people see a need for Canada to have a stronger national defence.

While some have claimed that Canada is “too big to defend” and we “can’t afford a strong military,” that is totally incorrect.

Russia has about twice the landmass of Canada, and their GDP is $1.28 trillion, while Canada’s GDP is $1.53 trillion.

So, we have less land to defend than Russia, and we have a bigger economy from which to fund our military. And Russia is widely seen as having either the second best or third best military on earth after the United States and (possibly) China.

That means Canada clearly has the capability to have a top-tier military.

The issue is simply that we don’t spend much on it. That is a political choice, not an unavoidable reality. We spend about 1% of GDP on our military – which is towards the lower end of our NATO allies.

By contrast, Russia spends 4.3%, the US spends 3.1%, and other top spenders like China and Saudi Arabia spend 1.9% and 10% respectively.

So, if Canada brought our military spending up to 2.5% or 3% of GDP we would have a very respectable military capable of defending our country. And while that would be somewhat expensive, building up our military would create so many jobs and generate so much investment that it would help grow our economy dramatically.

The Trudeau Liberals are seeking to weaken Canada’s anti-terror laws.

In a 168-125 vote, the Liberals approved legislation that will make it more difficult for Canada’s security agencies to disrupt terror plots.

The original anti-terror laws had been passed by the Conservative government in the wake of the radical Islamist attack on Parliament Hill.


Surprising the opposition, Liberals in the Commons passed a strongly-worded Conservative motion condemning the Iranian regime on Tuesday.

The move saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and much of his caucus rise to agree to “strongly condemn the current regime in Iran,” to call on the government to “abandon its current plan and immediately cease any and all negotiations or discussions” to restore diplomatic relations, and to immediately list a branch of Iran’s military as a terrorist entity under Canada’s Criminal Code — an action that not even the United States has taken.

It's almost like Justin was thinking how much supporting Iran would cost him politically.

A stoned electorate is easy to manage:

The federal government is rejecting several Senate changes to its cannabis legalization bill, setting the stage for a possible showdown between the Senate and the House of Commons.

The Senate has proposed 46 amendments to The Cannabis Act, and while the government is accepting some of them, it is passing on several major ones.

According to the House's order paper, the changes the government plans to reject include:
- Affirming the provinces' right to ban home cultivation of marijuana.

- Banning branded promotional items such as T-shirts and hats that display logos of marijuana producers.
- Establishing a public registry of all cannabis companies' directors, officers, controlling parent corporations or trusts, and their directors, members and shareholders.

The House still has to debate and vote on the plan in the coming days. Then C-45 will return to the Senate, where senators will have to decide whether to give up their fight to make these changes.
While precedent suggests the Senate will go along with what the elected House of Commons decides, some senators have suggested they might not be prepared to back down this time.

I hope that she wins:

Lindsay Shepherd, the teaching assistant who rose to prominence after she was controversially disciplined for showing her class part of a TVOntario program on gender-neutral pronouns, is suing Wilfrid Laurier University, two professors, and a manager of the school’s Diversity and Equity Office.

She claims harassment, intentional infliction of nervous shock, negligence, and constructive dismissal. The “attacks” on her “have rendered her unemployable in academia,” she claims, and forced her to abandon her career plans for further graduate study and teaching.

The statement of claim, which seeks $3.6 million, was filed Tuesday in Waterloo, Ont., and as yet no statements of defence have been filed.

An Indian chess player refuses to wear a head scarf in Iran:

A female Indian chess player said Wednesday she has decided to not participate in an Asian championship being held in Iran next month because she could not comply with an Iranian rule requiring women participants to wear a headscarf.

Soumya Swaminathan, a former world junior girls champion, said she found the Iranian law to be in direct violation of her rights and the only way to protest that was to not go to Iran.

Oh, dear:

Saskatchewan RCMP say they are preparing to talk to Crown prosecutors about potential charges in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, but they can’t say exactly when that will happen.

Police say they are still investigating the April 6 collision. They have previously said that a semi-trailer unit was in a rural Saskatchewan intersection when the truck and the junior hockey team’s bus collided while the Broncos were on their way to a playoff game in Nipawin.

“We’re still working through a number of reports, data, interview material for the investigation,” Supt. Derek Williams said Tuesday. “We are just waiting for some expert reports to be completed and peer reviewed so we can have a good discussion with our provincial Crown prosecution team here in the province.”

Sixteen people — including 10 players — were killed and another 13 players were injured. The driver of the semi-trailer was not hurt. He was taken into custody immediately after the collision and released later that evening.

And now, a dog eating watermelon. Enjoy:

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