Cartoons are posted below but the most recent one is at least one week late.
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday October 11, 2019
Liberal climate plan offers the most hope
The critics who claim this federal election is devoid of big issues have got it wrong.
The challenge of fighting climate change stands out like a mountain that rises above a noisy, crowded plain.
On Election Day, the opportunity is here for this country to move up that mountain as never before, just when the calls for action around the world have reached a crescendo and as scientists warn time’s running out to avert an eventual catastrophe.
Fully aware of this, the main four national parties are all offering an action plan. But while each has its merits, after weighing the pros and cons of each party’s proposals, this newspaper believes the Liberals’ strategy is the most substantial, balanced and workable.
Despite what some well-meaning ideologues insist, Canada cannot meet its carbon emission targets — far less the utopian dream of no net emissions — overnight or in a few years. Not unless it wants to shut down its fossil-fuel-dependent economy, which no government would ever do.
The Liberals realize this and are trying to marry environmental necessity and economic reality. The policies they’ve enacted over the past four years are on track to taking Canada more than halfway toward meeting its Paris Agreement commitment. That would see this country reduce its carbon emissions in 2030 by a full third from what they were in 2005.
So far, the Liberals have imposed a carbon tax on provinces, such as Ontario, which have not put a price on carbon emissions. Implemented in April at $20 a tonne — about 4.3 cents a litre of gas at the pump — the tax will rise to $50 a tonne by 2022 and possibly more after that. If re-elected, the Liberals would also regulate the carbon content in fuels.
In sharp contrast, the Conservatives would axe the carbon tax, ignoring the fact that because most Canadians receive more in a carbon-tax rebate than they pay out, their pockets are not being picked even as they’re being encouraged to change their energy-consumption habits. The Conservatives’ approach also flies in the face of what most economists have long agreed: pricing carbon works from every perspective.
The Conservative plan to invest more in green technology and force large companies to spend more on such solutions if they fail to meet new emission standards would take Canada into unknown territory. It’s impossible to say how much emissions would fall under these initiatives or if they’d fall at all.
For their part, the New Democrats would keep the carbon tax while cancelling the rebates to millionaires. The party would also aim for a more ambitious emissions reduction — 38 per cent below 2005 levels — by 2030. Persuasive details for how this would happen, unfortunately, seem lacking.
As for the Green party’s commitment to even higher carbon taxes, more aggressive reductions in emissions and an end to the expansion of all pipelines including the Trans Mountain project, it ignores the serious economic fallout it would surely create.
The Liberals’ plan is far from perfect and, indeed, is still a work in progress. But while they’ve been criticized for buying the Trans Mountain pipeline and trying to expand it, the Liberals realize the race to stop climate change will be more like an ultra marathon than a 100-metre dash.
Canada needs to be in this for the long haul. And it must be economically healthy enough to keep running. Better than their rivals, the Liberals realize these truths and, on this issue at least, have the best plan. (Source: Hamilton Spectator Editorial)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday October 10, 2019
Turkey Begins Offensive in Syria After U.S. Stands Aside
Turkey has begun its military offensive into northeastern Syria to force back Kurdish militants controlling the border area, days after President Donald Trump said the U.S. wouldn’t stand in the way.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of the operation, code-named Spring of Peace, on Twitter and said it would also target Islamic State. Russia, Iran and a top EU official urged Turkey to act with restraint amid concerns that renewed chaos in Syria would lead to a jihadist resurgence and push the Kurds, America’s allies in the fight against IS, into the arms of President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkey has battled Kurdish separatists for years and had repeatedly warned it would not allow the creation of a Kurdish proto-state on its immediate border. Once it seizes the area, Turkey plans to resettle 2 million Syrian refugees, most of them Arabs, in the border zone, further complicating a combustible situation.
A small forward group of Turkish forces first entered Syria early Wednesday at two points close to the Syrian towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, according to a Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Turkish planes and shells pounded the towns as the incursion began. Residents fled though Kurdish forces had vacated positions before the attack, which is expected to involve tens of thousands of soldiers backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers from NATO’s second-largest army.
Turkey’s advance follows a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy. Trump told Erdogan in a phone call on Sunday that dozens of American troops who’d been working closely with Kurdish forces in the fight against Islamic State would pull back, effectively clearing the way for a Turkish incursion.
The White House statement appeared to surprise allies at home and abroad. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said they would defend their “own people,” potentially relegating the battle against Islamic State.
The Kurdish YPG militia that forms the backbone of the SDF has been one of America’s closest partners in the fight against Islamic State and is holding thousands of jihadist fighters and their families in camps and detention centers in northeastern Syria.
While Trump said Turkey would become responsible for the detainees, who include foreign fighters from Europe, it was not clear if there was a mechanism in place to transfer them to Turkish custody. Trump was criticized at home for a decision that could see Islamic State fighters escape or regroup.
A number of Trump allies, including Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, said the move was “a shot in the arm for the bad guys.” Analysts said a U.S. pullback could ultimately play into the hands of Russia, whose military intervention helped turn the tide of the Syrian civil war in favor of Assad. As the Turkish offensive got underway, the Associated Press reported that the YPG had asked Russia to mediate talks between them and the Assad government. (Source: Bloomberg)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday October 9, 2019
Can Jagmeet Singh build on debate-night momentum? It’ll be difficult, experts say
Experts say Jagmeet Singh, of all the federal party leaders, came out on top after Monday’s official English-language debate, but they caution it’ll be difficult for the NDP leader to turn that momentum into votes.
Doing so would involve breaking a campaign narrative established over the last month that paints the 2019 federal election race as a neck-and-neck battle between the Liberals and the Conservatives, according to McGill professor Daniel Béland.
“The challenge is that it’s widely perceived — and it’s true — that it’s a race between two parties, and it’s also a debate about who should not be the next prime minister,” said Béland.
Monday night’s event was the first and only English debate featuring all six federal party leaders in the 2019 election campaign.
Singh went into the evening “relatively unknown” to many of the Canadians watching and he made “an excellent first impression,” according to Anne McGrath, a longtime senior NDP staffer and now public affairs associate at Hill+Knowlton.
In what turned out to be a chaotic and time-crunched debate, experts agree Singh stood out during those two hours for his positive messaging and a few choice zingers.
Throughout the debate, Ipsos measured Twitter sentiment and volume regarding the party leaders, parties and issues exclusively for Global News.
According to the measurements of attitudes towards the leaders, Singh started strong and was the only leader to finish the night with a “net positive rating,” the results showed.
The question now is whether and how Singh can make that strong performance benefit his party — which has remained a distant third in the polls so far — in the lead up to Election Day.
A debate performance can end up meaning nothing or everything to an election campaign, according to Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.
“What typically happens is what we see on the debate and then what everybody says happened afterwards. And it’s the ‘what-everybody-says-afterwards’ that tends to have a bigger impact,” Bricker said. “We’ll know later in the week when we start seeing polling results coming out whether or not he’s actually moving ballots.”
Nelson Wiseman, professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said he thinks that it’s “unlikely” Singh’s performance will move the needle significantly but he likely accomplished “cementing” support among New Democrats who may have been “wavering.”
While Singh is far behind the Liberals and Conservatives, Béland noted the NDP has pushed ahead of the Green Party in the polls in some provinces, which wasn’t the case just a month ago. Re-establishing a solid third-place standing is “an important thing” for the party, Béland argued.
“The NDP should emphasize the fact that if there’s a minority government, the NDP might have the balance of power and that’s something really important,” he said. (Global News)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday October 8, 2019
Ford government dodges CUPE strike but more education labour woes ahead
After narrowly averting a massive strike by 55,000 educational support workers, Premier Doug Ford’s government will now turn full attention to teacher negotiations.
Talks between the province and several unions are ongoing.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), l’Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) represent over 160,000 teachers currently without a deal.
ETFO is currently in the process of gauging whether or not an appetite exists for job action. The union is taking strike votes with members across the province. If a majority approves, 78,000 teachers, occasional teachers and other education professionals could be in a legal potential strike position as early as November.
Laura Walton, who headed up CUPE talks with the province, said after their deal was brokered Sunday that the union stands in solidarity with ETFO and other labour groups.
Walton also indicated CUPE made few concessions in bargaining.
The deal still needs to be ratified by members, a process which could take a month. However Walton’s message to Education Minister Stephen Lecce was clear Sunday.
“Thanks for opening the piggybank and allowing us to get the services that we needed for our students, they’ll thank you too.”
Lecce responded to Walton’s statement Monday.
“I think what we have done is we’ve opened up classrooms in Ontario and I think that’s the focus and I think we’ve done so within our mandate to be fair,” he said on Global News Morning. “I think that all parties in the province of Ontario could leave this negotiation with a sense of incremental achievement on their priorities.“
Sources with knowledge of the negations told Global News the government essentially “caved to political pressure.”
The deal happened amid a federal election where Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has been seen as distancing himself from Ford due to the premier’s low approval ratings. (Global News)