Trudeau outlines plan to pass trade deal

After the new North American free trade deal approved by U.S. Senate, the Canadian government plans to ratify the deal next week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke Tuesday in a news conference after a three-day cabinet retreat in Winnipeg, saying that it’s the government’s utmost priority to push forward with the Canadian-U.S.-Mexico agreement, known domestically as CUSMA, as millions of jobs depend on the new trade pact.

“On Monday, we will present a ways and means motion, and on Wednesday we will table legislations to ratify the deal,” said Trudeau, describing what will take place next week.

In order for the Liberals to pass this legislation in a minority government, they will neeed the support of another party in the House of Commons. Trudeau had expressed is hopes that all parties will negotiate and cone on ratification together.

“What we are doing is reminding everyone in the House and across the country of how important it is to secure the most important trading relationship for future generations.”

CUSMA has been on the top of the list of government priorities that were discussed during the cabinet meetings in Winnipeg.

The cabinet ministers also listened to expert guest speakers, who discussed other important matters including the fight against climate change, the current state of the country’s economy and pressing global affairs, among other critical matters facing the new minority government.

The trade deal, a result of a year of sometimes rocky negotiations with with the Trump administration, has been passed in the U.S. Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature. It has also been approved in Mexico.

Justin Trudeau said in Winnipeg “we are going to make sure we move forward in the right way and that means ratifying this new NAFTA as quickly as possible.”

Conservatives who are the main opposition, are generally supportive of the deal, but have vowed to grill the Liberals over its specifics when the House of Commons resumes sitting on Monday.

Quebec’s religious symbols ban survives ruling

Quebec’s contentious law banning religious symbols for public employees survived a key ruling on Thursday by the province’s Court of Appeal, however, it is not the final say on Bill 21 as more legal challenges await.

The court refused a motion by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the National Council of Canadian Muslims to suspend the law. The CCLA and NCCM argued the law was outside Quebec’s jurisdiction, was vague and violated rights guaranteed in the constitution. 

Quebec’s government claims the law aims to preserve secularism in the Francophone-dominated province. It specifically bans civil workers such as teachers and government service workers from wearing crosses, hijabs and other religious attire while working.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the bill claiming discrimination and that it is unconstitutional. Thursday’s 2-1 decision does not legally impact four separate lawsuits filed on a similar basis.

New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh came under fire during the federal election campaign for refusing to say he would intervene on the legislation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was not certain either, and said his government “might” intervene.

All three of the justices wrote in their decision that the law is causing “irreparable harm” to those impacted, particularly women, CBC reported.

 

Trudeau conciliatory after election, will not form coalition

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who will keep the position after his Liberal Party won a strong minority, acknowledged on Wednesday his loss of support from the previous election with a conciliatory tone but ruled out a formal or informal coalition with another party.

It was during a half hour press conference at the National Press Theatre that Trudeau said his new cabinet will be sworn in on Nov. 20 and feature once again gender-equality as he aims to rebuild a broken image after a rocky year that saw Liberal polling drop.

Many analysts and political pundits have pointed out that a minority government — when a party receives less than 170 seats in the House of Commons — is not all bad.

Universal healthcare, the Canada Pension Plan, student loans, the official flag and more came about under Liberal minority governance, specifically Mike Pearson. Stephen Harper brought about tax reform, the Accountability Act and more with his first, minority term.

Trudeau confirmed during the early afternoon press conference that his government would charge ahead with the contentious Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. The New Democrats, who are viewed as natural progressive allies to the Liberal minority, are opposed.

For his first moves, the prime minister said “our first priority will be to continue to lower taxes for the middle class”, legislation that could gain support from the Conservatives.

“We will also act on medically assisted dying as requested by the courts,” he added, a move that likely would be backed by the New Democrats.

Election results show that Liberals stay in power

The prime minister of Canada will remain Justin Trudeau, at least for the time being.

The intensity of the election results kept many individuals within Canada watching until the end of the campaign despite where they are from. 

The numbers of the seats were going up and down between the different parties that were involved in the Federal election. 

Within the first hour and a half, there were only five parties that filled the seats in the House of Commons, which were the Liberal Party, the Conservatives Party, the Bloc Québécois, the New Democratic Party, and the Green Party. 

After the first hour and a half, there was a seat for a third-party organization, which managed to keep the vote until the end of the election campaign. 

The People’s Party did not manage to snag any seats in Ottawa.

The turnout in total came out to be 64.9 per cent and it was a loss of 3.3 per cent. 

The results came out with Liberals having 156 seats, Conservatives having 122 seats, 32 seats for Bloc Québécois, 24 seats for the New Democrats, three seats for Green party and one Independent, Judy Wilson-Raybould. 

The Conservative Party actually beat the Liberals in the popular vote because they had a total of 5,866,327 votes while the Liberals had a total of 5,609,477. 

After a four-hour election results period and the close amount of votes between the Conservatives and the Liberals, CBC declared a Liberal minority government at 2:09 a.m.

What happens if there is a minority government?

On Monday evening, Canada will make its choice for which party will form the next government, however, it may not be the party that receives the most seats that ends up running the country if they only win a minority.

If one party wins 170 ridings, which translate to seats in the House of Commons, than they win a majority and it’s game over: they form the next government and win have no issue passing legislation as long as their number remains 170 or above.

However, should one party win the most seats, but fall short of that magic 170, then they will hold a minority government and will need the support of at least other members of parliament or parties to pass laws.

A minority government is also vulnerable to losing power. If party A wins a minority but party B and C have 170 or more when combined, they could create a coalition and form a governing alliance.

This happened in British Columbia where a coalition of New Democrats and Greens overthrew the ruling Liberal Party which was reduced to a minority in the last provincial election there.

Growing talk in the media over the past week regarding a coalition between the Liberals and New Democrats has taken up a lot of air time, but Trudeau has dismissed the rumours, saying he is focused on electing a “progressive government”.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said on the weekend that he would “absolutely” be open to forming a coalition with other parties, such as the Liberals, to stop Andrew Scheer and his Conservative Party. He aimed to walk it back on Monday by stating his focus was on getting NDP votes.

The Liberals and Conservatives have been relatively tied in amalgamated polling as the New Democrats move up in polling. As of Wednesday morning, the Liberals and Tories are hovering around 32 per cent and the New Democrats have risen to 17.4 per cent.

At one point, it appeared that the Green Party would surpass the New Democrats when they were hovering around 11 per cent.

But percentages of the popular vote do not equal seats. Right now, the CBC Poll Tracker has the Liberals at 40 per cent and the Tories sit at 43 per cent for probability of winning the most seats but not a majority. The Liberals are at 11 per cent and Tories at 5 per cent for winning a majority.

This is what is most likely if there is a minority government, according to what the pundits and analysts are saying: if the Tories win a minority, the Liberals and NDP could team up in a coalition to form a “progressive” government.

However, if the Liberals form a minority, it is unlikely that there would be a coalition, but the New Democrats could be an ally to pass legislation.

Opinion: Consider the Green Party

OPINION

Chris Johnston,
Letter to the Editor
Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
Opinion Policy

I am typically not one to discuss politics.

I am not a card carrying member of any party but I am motivated by the ongoing effects of climate change and young voters who demonstrated remarkable leadership and a clear vision of what they want during the climate strike from the elected officials after the upcoming election.

Please be aware that this is in the Green Party platform online.

The Green Party promises to “make college and university tuition free and forgive federal student debt”

This was also reiterated by Ms. May on CBC when she spoke with undecided voters on technology and innovation.

Hopefully, upon receiving this information your fellow university students will then pass it on to their parents and family for their consideration.

In this era of pocket book politics (tax credits and handouts to put money in your pocket offered by political parties), there is no other promise that offers to put more money in the pockets of students and the parents that pay to support them.

What difference can Canada make where we are such a small part of the climate change problem on a population basis but a big part of the problem on a per capita basis? We can assume a leadership role in the world by providing a model upon which other countries can move from fossil fuel emitters to using renewable energies so we can get to an overall zero carbon dioxide emission.

To those of you who plan to vote Green Party, please make sure that you cast your ballot on election day. 

To those of you who are considering a vote for the Green Party, please vote Green so that we can start on a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to make a livable planet well into the future. Using an analogy, I would rather fix the “leaky roof” now and not wait until later when the house is flooded and not fixable.

To those of you who do not plan to vote Green, if there was ever one election to change your vote, please make it this one.

Our climate crisis has worsened under the governments to date and we need the smartest peoples of all parties to work in “a cross-party inner cabinet to deal with climate change” and “limit global warming to a level civilization can survive, and mitigate the impacts of climate change on Canadians”, citing the Green Mission Possible.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Chris Johnston

Federal race tight entering the final week of the campaign

ANALYSIS

With the Canadian federal election just over a week away, voters have now had a month to observe the campaign trails and familiarize themselves with this electoral seasons batch of potential leaders of the nation.

If you’re like me, you would have begun evaluating your options much earlier due to the tense nature of the political sphere and pressing issues of our modern world.

Early voting has already taken place on campuses across the country since Oct. 5, and the last day to vote will be on election day, Oct. 21.

The last election took place in 2015, where Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won 54 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons. Representing Canada during the past four years, national and global politics has become very divisive.

The Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party have elected new leaders in Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh respectively, in hopes to overtake Trudeau’s Liberals in this year’s election.

New entries also include the Bloc Quebecois current leader Yves-François Blanchet, and the newly formed People’s Party of Canada governed by former conservative Maxime Bernier. The Green Party is sticking with Elizabeth May who has been serving as leader since 2006.

But for now, let’s focus on the parties that are expected to obtain the most seats in this election: the Liberals, the Conservatives and the New Democrats.

It’s always easy to scrutinize the sitting party as their decisions, mistakes and dishonesty will undoubtedly receive national attention — and Trudeau has faced his attacks from both sides of the political spectrum.

From unpopular decisions such as the small business tax changes, scandals such as the SNC Lavalin affair, and criticism of his inability to take responsibility for his actions, all competing parties are hoping to pounce on this opportunity to win seats.

The Conservatives are expected to be the biggest competitor with new CBC polls giving them a slight edge of 140 seats to the Liberals 135 seats which wouldn’t constitute a majority but indicates a growth in opposing ideology.

This may also be attributed to the rise of Jagmeet Singh and the NDP who gained points on social media after his performance at the english language debates last week.

With the divisive nature of politics right now, the NDP and Conservatives may both steal seats from the Liberals as they are more pulled towards different sides of the “left vs. right” political spectrum.

Trudeau often points to Doug Ford and his unpopularity as premier of Ontario to deter voters from voting Conservative, while acknowledging that the rise in NDP popularity will make it easier for the Tories to win, stating “the only way to stop Conservative cuts is to vote Liberal.”

Things have been heating up during the campaigns, with a CBC analysis of press releases and tweets showing an increase in negative attacks from the Liberals, NDP, and Green Party.

This doesn’t quite match the data on the Conservative party that has put out the highest volume of negative attacks since the start of their campaign.

The Liberals are usually at the centre of the attacks, according to the CBC analysis, with the Conservatives pressing on taxes and affordability while the NDP, and Green Party are targeting the liberals environmental record. 

The Bloc Quebecois also seem to be playing a role as their polls in Quebec last week reached 27 per cent while Liberal support in Quebec dropped from 36 per cent in 2015 to under 34 per cent.

Though, the Conservatives aren’t immune to the division of votes as the PPC are expected to steal seats from the Conservatives. This is the first time a party with a more conservative ideology has entered the picture.

The numbers show a tight race but only election day will reveal who will form government and who could potentially hold the “balance of power”.

Conservative government likely as NDP rises: Polls

ANALYSIS

The Conservative Party moved ahead of the Liberals to take first place in terms of seat projection on Saturday, as the New Democratic Party rose to nearly 20 per cent in some polls — setting up the Tories for a likely minority government.

Jagmeet Singh and his NDP saw a boost following the official Leaders’ Debates on Tuesday and Thursday. Though the amalgamated Poll Tracker by the CBC finds the Tories and Liberals essentially tied near 32 per cent, the New Democrats have risen to an overall 15.8 per cent.

Reports across the country indicate the “#SinghUpSwing” is more than a hashtag, including right by Humber College’s North Campus in the riding of Brampton East, where The Hill Times reports there could be a significant breakthrough for the New Democrats.

The Liberals have suffered two major political affairs in the past year: the fallout of putting pressure put on the ex-attorney general to defer prosecution on SNC-Lavalin and the “brownface” scandal. Despite this, they were poised to snap a minority government.

This week, however, with gains by the Bloc Québécois threatening the Liberal strongholds in Quebec, the New Democrats building momentum in Ontario and the Tories shoring up support out west, Justin Trudeau’s chances of remaining prime minister are dropping.

CBC Poll Tracker late evening on Oct. 12, 2019.

The CBC finds that there is a 43 per cent probability of the Tories under Andrew Scheer forming a minority government, over 34 per cent for the Liberals. However, the pollster that manages the tracker, Eric Grenier, finds that if there is to be a majority, the Liberals are more likely to win it.

A “majority government” means that a party or coalition of governing parties hold an absolute majority of seats in the House of Commons and the leader of that party or coalition of parties is the prime minister. A coalition is when multiple parties team up to form a government.

If there is a minority government, then there could be a party or parties that hold what is known as the “balance of power”. This could mean a certain party joins in a coalition with another party or parties and votes with them or informally supports their government.

If the Conservatives win a minority, currently the most likely outcome of the Oct. 21 federal election, then the other parties could form a coalition to form a majority government and throw the Tories out of government. On the other hand, a party could join the Tories to create an absolute majority.

All these factors together with the unpredictability of the first-past-the-post parliamentary system, the tight race of the polls and the general uncertainty that comes with a federal election means that the result is essentially up in the air at this time.

Advanced polling has begun. Oct. 21 is election day.

Who do I vote for? Here are some resources.

On Oct. 21 or in advanced polling, students will be making a choice at the ballot box, but many wonder who they will vote for and we are here to help with resources.


Who do I vote for?

We all like Internet quizzes, right? Check out CBC’s Vote Compass — a really easily and quick quiz to match you with a party that could match your personal political beliefs, or the closest.

IGNITE, your student union, is also holding a federal election discussion event on Oct. 16 that could provide an opportunity to talk to other students about their choices and why they will make them on election day.


But who’s running?

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is the current prime minister, or incumbent, and is the top executive of the federal government. He is only there because his party has a majority in the House of Commons.

Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party is virtually tied with the Liberals and are the most likely of any party to knock out Trudeau’s team. The power of government has gone back and forth between red and blue since 1867.

Does anyone else matter? Well, in 2011, for the first time in Canadian history, the New Democratic Party came second place as the Liberals got obliterated at the ballot box and formed the Official Opposition.

Beyond the NDP, who sit at half-strength of the Liberals and Conservatives, there is the left-wing Bloc Québécois, dedicated to Quebec nationalism, and the new, controversial People’s Party of Canada.

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