Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday October 3, 2018
A historic vote in Quebec for every party, a tougher provincial puzzle for Trudeau
Everyone made history Monday in Quebec.
For the first time in Quebec’s history, the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), led by François Legault, won power taking a commanding 74 seats in the 125-seat national assembly.
The 12-year-old left-leaning separatist Quebec Solidaire hit historic highs in seats won — 10 — and in popular vote — 16 per cent. The party is also no longer confined to downtown Montreal but planted its first flags in Quebec City.
The other two parties made the kind of history one tries to avoid.
The Liberal Party of Quebec, with just under 25 per cent of the popular vote, has never fared worse in a general election since its creation at Confederation. Same thing with the Parti Quebecois: worst showing since its creation in 1970.
Quebec’s history-making election, though, followed a trend: yet another Liberal majority government in a provincial capital finds itself on the outs.
This trend is significant beyond Quebec’s borders and could impair the ability of the Liberal government in Ottawa to get as much done as it might wish on its domestic agenda in the final year of its mandate.
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened his first First Ministers’ meeting, he would have looked around the room and seen many allies. Canada’s biggest provinces were all led by Liberals all of whom were leading majority governments: B.C.’s Christy Clark (Liberal in name, at least), Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne, Quebec’s Phillippe Couillard. Atlantic Canada’s four premiers were all Liberals and they, too, commanded majorities. If stuff was going to get done and done quickly, then all was in place.
But at his next meeting with the premiers, perhaps his final such meeting before he himself must face the electorate next fall, Trudeau will see quite a different crowd. Clark, of course, was replaced by a New Democrat in British Columbia who is hostile at worst and cool at best to Trudeau’s agenda while Wynne, Couillard and New Brunswick’s Brian Gallant (one assumes) have or will soon be replaced by right-of-centre premiers hostile to some of Trudeau’s core policies.
Two of those new premiers, Ontario’s Doug Ford and, now, Quebec’s Francois Legault’s have solid secure majorities. (Continued: Global News)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday November 23, 2017
U.S. NAFTA auto proposal faces criticism from Canada and Mexico
The United States negotiating team found itself squeezed at home and abroad during NAFTA talks on Monday, with various actors from Canada, Mexico and within the U.S. pressing it to reconsider demands called unworkable and unworthy of serious bargaining.
The Canadian and Mexican governments have refused to produce a counterproposal at the current round of talks on auto policy and are instead delivering a presentation on the self-inflicted damage they claim it would wreak upon America.
Their case was bolstered within the U.S. Senate.
A major auto association told a hearing that the current proposal could induce companies to leave this continent and simply pay import tariffs. This was on the same day that 18 U.S. senators sent a letter demanding the administration conduct an economic analysis before making any changes to NAFTA.
The U.S. stunned its partners by demanding that car companies quickly transform their supply chains to boost North American content; ensure half of a car’s parts come from the U.S.; use a new, stricter formula for calculating the origins of a car’s components; and do it all within a year.
“No vehicle produced today could meet such an onerous standard,” the Senate hearing was told by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
“This proposal is unprecedented and would have significant ramifications on our industry and the U.S. economy, as a whole.”
The U.S. negotiating team is urging people to tone down the rhetoric.
It apparently views such proposals as a starting point. An American source familiar with the talks pointed to evidence of the U.S. willingness to negotiate in good faith: the very broadly phrased list of American objectives published online last week.
In a few cases, that list includes specific numbers — like the demand that Canada relax its duties on online purchases by $780. In the case of automobiles, though, there are no numbers — just a reference to a desire for U.S. content in cars.
The source said this is normal in negotiating. But what’s less normal, the source said, is the public rhetoric by the Canadian side, with talk of red-lines and non-starters that will make it harder to advance negotiations.
The Canadians adopted a deliberate strategy at this round of proposing nothing on the hardest issues.
Instead, they will deliver a presentation and demand details. Along with Mexico, Canada will press the American side for clarity on how the auto proposal would work, with the subtext of that conversation being their belief that the proposal would not, in fact, work at all. (Source: Toronto Star)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday October 8, 2016
Conservative leadership hopeful Brad Trost questions Andrew Scheer about social conservatism
Saskatchewan Member of Parliament and Conservative leader hopeful Brad Trost says his policies make him a true social conservative choice.
“I’ve got about five or six policy platform items that will be of interest to social conservatives,” Trost said in Ottawa on Monday.
Trost wouldn’t go into detail what his policy platform planks will be but would only say “euthanasia, abortion and a couple of other issues,” will be included.
“These are things I believe. When you see my policy platforms they will demonstrate they are social conservative proposals that are not only popular inside the Conservative party but the general public.”
First elected in 2004, Trost has been vocal on many issues, including same-sex marriage.
Recently, Trost’s campaign started running ads with a picture of two fingers side by side, with the message “Marriage is the union of one man, one woman.”
He’s also taking aim at fellow Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer, who also recently entered the leadership race. Trost says that comments he’s read of late leads him to believe Scheer is not a true social conservative.
When Scheer launched his leadership campaign last week, he indicated that abortion and same-sex marriage were issues he considered resolved within the party and he would not re-visit them.
“I don’t think he’s taking a pro-life stand in this campaign,” said Trost. “I’m not sure if Mr. Scheer is a social conservative. That’s something he’s going to have to deal with. One of the social conservative groups referred to his statements the other day as pro-abortion.”
In response to Trost’s latest volley, Scheer simply said “no comment.”
Trost also sounded off on Harper’s time as Prime Minister, saying the he doesn’t believe Harper was a social conservative either. (Source: CBC News)
By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday October 10, 2015
Thanksgiving gatherings fuel election discussion
It’s the burning question for Canada’s federal party partisans this Thanksgiving weekend: Which turkeys will get cooked?
Advance polls open Friday for voters wishing to get an early jump on the Oct. 19 election, but the real action may take place around dinner tables, TV sets and camp or cottage closings.
Since long before this 78-day election campaign began, the October holiday weekend has been circled on calendars as a crucible where the fortunes of Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau could be forged: Far-flung families gathering together to talk turkey, just as voters begin focusing on who should form the next government.
This year’s 11-week campaign actually encompassed three statutory holidays. It began Sunday Aug. 2 on the Civic Holiday weekend, ambled through Labour Day and now will reach a crescendo on Thanksgiving.
All the political parties have also been blasting their supporters with Thanksgiving-themed messages, ramping up the urgency of closing the deal.
And Facebook partisans have been having a field day.
One typical jibe making the rounds shows a classic roast turkey with the caption: “Thanksgiving: An opportunity to talk your family out of voting Conservative. You’ll probably ruin dinner but you may just save Canada.”
Mike Marzolini of Pollara Strategic Insights, a former Liberal party pollster, says the Conservative platform was winning over engaged voters in late 2005.
Marzolini predicts what he calls “some interesting opinion changes” this weekend, but strongly warns against reading much into any holiday polls.
He’s been doing daily tracking of federal and provincial campaigns since 1985 and says he’s thrown out an entire holiday weekend of polling more than eight times.
“What I know from experience to be absolutely true is that all polls conducted over a family holiday weekend are wonky — without exception.” (Source: CTV News)