Archive for category Justin Trudeau
It’s been no surprise that Canada has long been in a housing bubble. Foreign investors from China have been buying up property in Canadian cities for years, and reselling them to Canadians for way more than the property is worth. China seems to be intentionally creating a housing bubble in Canada. What Chinese investors are doing is buying up property, and immediately reselling the property to the highest bidder even before the closing date of the first sale. This cycle can repeat as much as 3 or 4 times prior to the closing date of the first buyer, artificially driving up the costs of real estate property. There are signs that the artificially created housing bubble is about to burst.
Last month the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (Canada’s financial watchdog) stated that Canadian banks need to be stress tested against a 30% drop in housing prices, echoing concerns from the Bank of Canada in June. Last week Chinese media has been warning investors in that country to pull out of the Canadian real estate market, and is expecting a housing crash one that could rival or even be worse than the US housing market crash of 2008.
In 2010 the director of CSIS Richard Fadden warned Canadians in an interview with the CBC that the biggest risk to Canadian security wasn’t from terror groups but from foreign powers that are infiltrating Canadian politics and influencing public servants, fueling a growing concern about economic espionage. Little was done to correct the housing bubble by the Conservatives when they were in power. Little has been done by the Liberals either since they have taken control of the House of Commons last year. Vancouver recently passed laws to increase taxes on foreign real estate investors to help curb the growing concern regarding this artificially created bubble, however there are a lot of doubts whether or not it will work.
Why hasn’t anything been done to completely correct this bubble and warn off concerns of economic espionage? Governments of all levels seem to be cashing in on the taxes of these sales, that’s one reason. The other is because any major correction in the housing market could see that bubble burst with fears of major economic instability. This leaves Canada’s economic future purely in the hands of China, in which it seems they are now moving to burst this bubble intentionally by warning off that country’s investors.
Canada shed 31,200 full time jobs last month. While our prime minister is running around the country shirtless, there has been no word on what our federal government is doing to curb the current housing crisis it inherited from the Conservatives. As result of the current series of warnings and years of inaction, we could be in for a very rough ride ahead. Ontario will be hit particularity hard. A large segment of our population, and many businesses here in Ontario can’t even afford to keep the lights on. Gas rates set to rise as well. There also has been absolutely no word from the Ontario government on what they plan on doing to also head this expected downfall in housing prices, and economic instability as a result.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement mostly negotiated in secret by quite a few governments bordering the pacific ocean. Canada has been a part of these negotiations and is committed to ratifying the treaty. Both US presidential candidates are now on the record against this treaty, while current US president Barack Obama has vowed to ratify the treaty in his lame duck session of his second term. So what exactly is the TPP?
I’ve come across a recently posted video on youtube that very clearly explains the TPP and concerns regarding the ratification of the treaty in the below video. Warning that this video is also NSFW and contains strong language:
For those of you who want an in-depth policy and law look at the concerns of ratifying the TPP; Canadian Internet law expert Michael Geist has an excellent in depth series of blogs on quite a few concerns with ratifying the TPP for those of you who like your policy research. I’ll be writing my own series of blogs on the TPP in the coming months as well.
Protection Our Constitutional Rights Should Be A Priority For Trudeau As A Result Of Trump Nomination
(Anti-terror bill C51 just took on a whole new face with Donald Trump’s nomination for US President)
Has anyone noticed that one of the major policy promises the Trudeau Liberals were elected on seems to be missing in action? When Justin Trudeau took office it seems like the mad rush to legalize pot was more of a priority than our charter rights. Just this spring the government announced plans to legalize pot by spring of 2017, yet the government hasn’t committed “yet” to looking at our draconian anti-terror legislation which was a major issue due to the Liberals position of support for the legislation prior to our election last year.
During the 2015 federal election campaign Trudeau and fellow Liberals were blasted over their support for the Conservative lead anti-terror bill. Trudeau committed to voters that if elected he would overhaul the bill, rather than scrap it, too ensure it was compliant with Canadian Charter rights. Around the same time the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression launched a charter challenge on the bill.
It very well could be that the government is waiting on the decision of the charter challenge (which can take years if not decades) before Canadians can expect any meaningful changes to the bill. The lack of response from the Liberal government to protect Canadians constitutional rights should be way more of concern now especially with Donald Trump being nominated the republican nominee for president state side. Most of our Internet traffic routes through the US than back to Canada, and the US is no stranger to its mass collection of data that crosses its boarders.
Back a few years ago the collection of data to root out possible terror attacks was front and center of a global debate on personal privacy online. Heading up that debate was a former National Security Agency (NSA) systems administrator Edward Snowden who leaked several documents to journalists detailing the mass invasion of privacy in the US and around the globe. Snowden came out strong on ones right to privacy. On the other side of that debate was General Michael Hayden who stated that collection of data was necessary to protect the US homeland from attacks. Now even Hayden is extremely concerned about what a Trump presidency could bring (especially at time index 5:07 in the below video):
It’s not just nukes the world needs to worry about, it’s how our private data would be used by the US under Trump; I would even state under Hillary Clinton as well. In the face of what is happening in US politics right now, Canadian law makers need to assure Canadians that our data remains private, secure, and out of the hands of foreign countries. We need immediate action on bill C-51 as a result.
The Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, Court Martial Appeal Court and Tax Court are preparing to take the Canadian government to task on ensuring independence from the federal government regarding its data. Under the past conservative government, all these levels of the courts were to submit to a super-IT department as of September 1st of last year that would see all government services including Canadian courts using the same IT department. The move by the last government to amalgamate IT services was seemingly to save money and streamline IT security.
According to the Supreme Court of Canada, one super IT department could threaten its independence from Government. Briefing notes obtained by the Canadian Press last week, and provided to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau days after taking office, shows the courts are gearing up for a constitutional challenge on data independence. The briefing stated:
“[The courts] must maintain control of their data, not only because of concerns about confidentiality, but also because an independent judiciary cannot tolerate having its sensitive information controlled by a separate branch of government.”
The briefing notes also warned that if the Government doesn’t backtrack on this soon, it could face legal action and likely a constitutional challenge by the top judges in Canada. Advice given to Trudeau on how to handle this situation by his advisers was redacted in the briefing notes.
Prior to September 1st last year when these new IT rules came into play, top court officials wrote a letter to senior bureaucrats in the Conservative government demanding that agents of Parliament such as the Auditor General, Privacy Commissioner and Information Commissioner should be exempt from amalgamated IT services. Yesterday, the new Liberal government went before the Supreme Court asking for a six month extension on right to die legislation. Should the court deny that extension, this spat over IT services and data independence could end up being an interesting back story.
I’ve been fairly critical of the media’s role in this election. From the consortium threatening to pull Conservative Ads on false copyright pretenses, to political favoritism in the Munk Debates, and now the situation with the former National Post editorial editor Andrew Coyne when the post refused to post his endorsement of a political candidate.
I called last nights big win for the Liberals hours prior to the election taking place. From the looks of things, the Conservative progressive vote (which is based around civil liberties) and the anti-conservative vote went to the NDP at the very beginning of the campaign as a result of the Liberal support for Bill C-51. I think the tipping point for the Conservative progressives was the Liberal policy on TPP and trade in which the Greens and NDP wanted to kill. All of the poll numbers suggested to me that’s when the NDP and Conservative vote started to go down, and Liberals went up at the time of the signing of the TPP. Last night the anti-conservative vote, voted strategically and rallied behind the Conservative progressive move to the Liberals and oust Harper.
Besides getting screamed at for hours after my call for a Liberal win from my conservative friends on Facebook (too which now owe me a bottle of rum), this was a big shocker to some. Did big media have any pull in the election? It’s quite clear throughout this election that the consortium has been acting inappropriately. The Globe debates were some of the most horrible debates I’ve ever seen with Conservative leaning questions, and statements from the editor of the Globe (who’s editorial board ended up supporting the Conservatives days before the election). Not to mention the lack of coverage Elizabeth May’s responses to debate questions on social media as a result of her being left out of several debates. I think it may be too soon to tell to see if traditional media had the impact they were hoping for.
I think traditional media’s role here really depends on the break down of voter engagement. If the youth voted in big numbers, than traditional media and poll results had very little pull with voter intentions. Most in this age group get their media online and through social media. The Liberals had a strong social media presence in this campaign. I ran into it a few times, especially with MP Wayne Easter (which I congratulated last night on his re-election) debating C-51, not to mention many other potential Liberal MPs on the bill. The Liberals weren’t shy on social media, and came out fighting (and most without per-scripted talking points), unlike most of the NDP and Conservative hopefuls.
If the voter engagement was more balanced, than I think there needs to be questions put by Canadians on exactly how the media and/or lobby groups played a role in trying to intentionally sway voter intentions to the benefit of one or more parties. Do you think traditional media played a big role in the Liberal election win? Post your comments/observations below.
Let’s put it this way; we could have used the swagger and unexpectedness Donald Trump presented in last nights US Republican debates in the Canadian leaders debate. Instead, the first hour the Canadian debate consisted of Conservative leader Stephen Harper doing what he does best which is misleading Canadians on facts. Green Party leader Elizabeth May catching Harper on misleading facts (which is why she needs to be in every debate). Liberal leader Justin Trudeau attacking the NDP leader Tom Mulcair over a non-issue regarding Quebec separatism because he’s lost a tremendous amount of support to Mulcair over the anti-terror bill. Finally Mulcair looked like he was part of some alien race freaking people out on social media with his weird smile, and alien like black eyes peering into their living rooms when he looked directly into the camera when debating the other leaders.
The two that had the best body language in the debate were the two national debate veterans, May and Harper. Trudeau came across as a kid with something to prove (Liberals think his downfall is due to Harper’s attack ads, not his position on supporting the new anti-terror bill. Liberals are still tone deaf on that because they have nothing to fear but fear itself), and Mulcair just looked nervous for the first hour. On the other hand May seemed very well prepared, however didn’t do well in the first hour to inject her voice over the others. Harper was calm and cool to begin with, however came across as though he got annoyed at the fact he actually had to debate the other parties and defend his record.
Those of us who follow Canadian politics closely saw relatively nothing new regarding policy positions. Harper played the expected “steady as you go” position on the economy warning that the opposition parties would raise taxes and put the country in a horrible economic position. Mulcair and May made a good point that corporate taxes have remained low, and the Bank of Canada has been extremely worried in the past that these corporations are just sitting on the money they saved from tax breaks rather than creating jobs.
The environment debate which happened in the second hour, May just owned it and the other parties let her have the floor. May called Harper to account on his environmental commitments, getting Harper to admit that emission reduction targets will not be reached by 2020, but by 2030. May also questioned Mulcair on his support of pipelines, which Mulcair remained non-committal on, and May kept pressing him on.
On the new anti-terror bill, there are stark differences between the parties. Harper said it was necessary; Trudeau is for and against the bill; Mulcair starkly pledged to Canadians he would repeal the bill (looking directly into the camera with his alien like black eyes) and if new powers were needed, Mulcair consult the experts first. Essentially Mulcair wants proof these new powers would be needed, and how to implement them in a way that doesn’t impede the rights of Canadians. Trudeau actually did admit that he may have been naive in his support of the anti-terror bill, but continues to support it.
I think the major news from this debate that Canadians need to be aware of, is not what happened during the debates but after. May, Trudeau and Mulcair all took questions from the press after the debate. Harper didn’t take any questions nor did he appear before the press after which I found very bizarre and arrogant. We’re in an election Harper. Deal with it!
All in all, I think it was a good introduction to the party leaders to those who do not follow politics closely. I don’t think this first debate will have that much of an impact on voters. If your a conservative supporter, you’re likely to remain that way and same with the other party’s supporters. Mulcair needs to bring his style of debating that he has during question period to future debates. That’s where he shines, and Trudeau needs to stop bouncing around like a boxer and listen to Canadians more as to why he’s so low in the polls: