My annual review as seen in today’s issue of the Hamilton Spectator (plus some extras)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday December 21, 2017
Trudeau violated multiple conflict laws when he accepted a family holiday to Aga Khan’s island
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated ethics rules in accepting vacations to the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas, according to parliament’s conflict of interest watchdog.
Conflict of Interest Commissioner Mary Dawson said Trudeau broke multiple conflict laws in accepting a family vacation at Bells Cay in December 2016.
And in a report released Wednesday, she faulted the prime minister for hitching a ride on the Aga Khan’s private helicopter to get to the island.
Trudeau knew well the extent of the Aga Khan’s official dealings with the federal government and that should have been a red flag, Dawson wrote.
“Mr. Trudeau failed to arrange his private affairs in a manner that would prevent him from being placed in a conflict of interest. Neither Mr. Trudeau nor his family should have vacationed on the Aga Khan’s private island,” she said.
In a hastily called press conference in the House of Commons Wednesday, a contrite Trudeau apologized and said he will be clearing all future personal travel with the ethics commissioner.
“(The report) makes it very clear I should have taken precautions and cleared my family vacation and dealings with the Aga Khan in advance,” Trudeau told reporters.
“I’m sorry I didn’t.”
He told reporters that he because he viewed the Aga Khan as a friend – even though Dawson stated they rarely talked – he didn’t think the free vacation would be a conflict, saying that he sought a location where he could enjoy “quality family time.”
“On this issue of a family vacation with a personal friend, it wasn’t considered that there would be an issue there. Obviously, obviously, there was a mistake,” he said. (Source: Toronto Star)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday December 13, 2017
Liberals’ byelection wins signal problems for Andrew Scheer
Monday’s Conservative loss of South Surrey-White Rock, in a by-election there, combined with the lacklustre NDP scores points to a pattern. The B.C. riding had not elected a Liberal since 1972. And while Trudeau did recruit a popular candidate, the Conservative tasked with holding the riding — Kerri-Lynne Findlay — was a former Harper minister.
Buoyed by two upset byelections victories over the Conservatives this fall and with a solid shot at winning back Outremont from the NDP if and when Thomas Mulcair retires in the New Year, few in the Liberal backrooms will lose sleep over the fact that overall, the Conservatives increased their vote share in three of four ridings on Monday.
Scheer cannot win the next general election in the face of a Liberal juggernaut in Quebec and B.C. And he won’t have much of a shot at toppling Trudeau unless the NDP reverses its decline.
The two parties to the left of the CPC are communicating vessels. A lost vote for the New Democrats is almost always a vote gained for the Liberals. It usually takes a split in the non-conservative vote for the Conservatives to win government.
Throughout the fall — Trudeau’s most difficult political season to date — the New Democrats and the Conservatives have been telling themselves that buyer’s remorse was about to catch up to the Liberals.
It seems both opposition parties had been inhaling their own question period fumes.
In the end the only seeds of buyer’s remorse that may have been planted in the mid-mandate byelections would pertain to the opposition’s leadership choices. (Source: Toronto Star)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday December 12, 2017
Liberals reach deal with the provinces on sharing pot tax revenue
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau has reached a deal with his provincial and territorial counterparts on a formula for sharing pot tax revenue.
The agreement gives the provinces at least 70 cents on the dollar, a sizable increase from the 50-50 framework proposal Morneau had announced last month.
Heading into today’s meeting with Morneau in Ottawa, provincial ministers had insisted on a greater share, arguing the provinces and municipalities would shoulder the majority of costs for police enforcement, health care and education programs once marijuana becomes legal in July.
A formal statement confirming the agreement is expected soon.
Asked about the deal this afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated that the objective is to restrict access to young people and to remove profits from criminals.
“That means getting the balance right in terms of both pricing and the ability to properly monitor it in our communities,” he said.
Before the deal was reached, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said some provinces felt uneasy about the uncertainty of how the pot legalization program will roll out.
“Some provinces get annoyed that we didn’t ask for this, didn’t provide for this, you’re imposing upon the provinces and we have no flexibility,” he said. “So the federal government has to come up with some of that flexibility to provide some support to the provinces and municipalities that are being affected.” (Source: CBC News)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday December 9, 2017