Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday November 25, 2023
Poilievre’s Rejection of Ukraine Trade Agreement: A Disappointing Dog Whistle to Far-Right Supporters
In a recent House of Commons vote on the Canada-Ukraine free-trade agreement, all parties except the Conservatives endorsed the accord. The Conservative party justified their rejection by claiming that the agreement would require Ukraine to impose a carbon tax. However, this claim is false.
Chapter 13 of the agreement explicitly states that the parties will cooperate to promote carbon pricing and measures to mitigate carbon leakage risks. Nowhere does it mandate Ukraine to impose a carbon tax. Furthermore, the Ukrainian government approved the wording of the agreement.
It is disheartening to see the Conservatives use this fictitious carbon tax as an excuse to oppose stronger trade ties with Ukraine. One can’t help but wonder if this is merely a political strategy to appease far-right supporters who lean towards Trump, deny climate change, apologize for Putin, and support the fringe People’s Party of Canada (PPC) led by Maxime Bernier.
The Liberal party may be attempting to paint Mr. Poilievre as a Donald Trump clone, as Trump and his supporters have shown an irrational fondness for Vladimir Putin and opposed aid to Ukraine. Interestingly, Maxime Bernier, leader of the PPC and a self-proclaimed MAGA wannabe, also opposes aid to Ukraine, suggesting a troubling alignment of views.
Mr. Poilievre’s eagerness to win back the support of the PPC and elements within his own base, while also showcasing his unwavering opposition to carbon taxes, seems to have overshadowed his support for a democracy under threat. This decision not only provides the Liberals with political ammunition but also raises concerns about his readiness to lead the country.
While the Ukraine vote might not have a significant impact on the upcoming election, it is crucial to focus on pressing economic issues such as inflation, interest rates, housing shortages, and overall economic competitiveness. Canadians are looking for solutions to the challenges we face, and it is disappointing that Mr. Poilievre seems to have turned his back on Ukraine at a time when he needs to demonstrate his leadership abilities.
Rejecting the Ukraine trade agreement based on false claims of a carbon tax requirement is a disappointing dog whistle to far-right supporters. It raises questions about Mr. Poilievre’s priorities and his willingness to stand up for democratic values. As Canadians, we deserve leaders who prioritize the greater good over political posturing.