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The Conservative Party of Canada today released its full 160-page election platform — an ambitious agenda that promises billions of dollars in new spending to prop up an economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike past Conservative platforms, this one embraces a robust role for government in the economy through large cash injections to help businesses weather the pandemic crisis over the next two years.
The multi-billion dollar plan has not yet been costed; the party says the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has not finished studying the numbers.
Party leader Erin O’Toole said a Conservative government would balance the budget in ten years’ time. The federal deficit for this fiscal year alone is expected to be $381.6 billion.
“You’ll probably notice ideas that you haven’t heard from Conservatives like me before. It’s time for Conservatives to take inequality seriously, because that’s becoming more of a problem in our country,” O’Toole says in the opening paragraphs of the document.
A Conservative government led by O’Toole would end the Liberal party’s plan to create a national child care program; the party would instead flow money directly to parents to cover those costs.
The platform also promises to spend much more money on health care by boosting the annual growth rate of the Canada Health Transfer to at least six per cent from its current rate, which is tied to how much the economy grows in a given year with a floor of three per cent. The party says the more generous health transfer to the provinces would cost the federal treasury nearly $60 billion over the next ten years.
But the centrepiece of the plan is a promise to create a million jobs. To accomplish that goal, the party is offering even more money than the Liberal government has budgeted for the country’s pandemic-struck employers — part of a push to recover all jobs lost over the last 18 months.
Since the last vote in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of nearly 27,000 Canadians and pushed unemployment rates to levels not seen since the 2008-09 financial crisis.
For businesses: ‘investment accelerator’ and a hiring subsidy
Through its Canada Jobs Surge Plan, the party is promising that a Conservative government would pay up to 50 per cent of the salaries of new hires once the existing Canadian emergency wage subsidy (CEWS) is phased out. Before the election was called, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland extended the CEWS program until the end of October.
To spur business spending, the party vows to create a “Canada Investment Accelerator,” which would provide a 5 per cent tax credit for any capital investment made in 2022 and 2023.
It also would introduce something called the “rebuild Main Street tax credit,” which would provide a 25 per cent tax credit on amounts of up to $100,000 that Canadians personally invest in a small business over the next two years.
And as part of the proposed “Main Street business loan,” a Conservative government would provide loans of up to $200,000 to small and medium businesses in the hospitality, retail and tourism sectors to help them “get back on their feet.” Up to 25 per cent of such loans would be forgivable, depending on a company’s revenue.
The party maintains the government’s current Canada emergency business account (CEBA) program, which offers $60,000 loans to virtually all small businesses, is “too small.”
To support restaurants, the Conservative party is promising a billion-dollar benefit. For one month, a Conservative government would provide a 50 per cent rebate for food and non-alcoholic drinks purchased for dining in at restaurants between Monday and Wednesday.
To help ailing retailers, a government led by O’Toole would implement a “GST holiday” — a month-long break on federal sales tax — sometime this fall. All purchases at a retail store would be tax-free for a month.
He said these sectors have been “hanging on by a thread” because of public health measures like lockdowns. The Conservative plan, O’Toole said, “will help them them thrive and help us get a growing economy. We want to make sure we help some of the people hit hard, some of the vulnerable.”
O’Toole’s team is also promising to deliver a “raise” to low-income workers by doubling the existing Canada Workers Benefit up to a maximum of $2,800 for individuals and $5,000 for families. The party also is promising to pay the money as a quarterly direct deposit rather than a year-end tax refund. The program is only available to individuals earning less than $24,573 a year, or families with household incomes of $37,173 or less.
The Conservative government would scrap the $30-billion Liberal child care program — which the government has said would reduce child-minding costs within five years to just $10 a day per child, nationwide — and instead convert the existing child care expense deduction into a refundable tax credit to cover up to 75 per cent of the cost of child care for lower income families.
Provinces that have signed child care deals with the federal government would be able to keep the initial tranche of money that already has been paid but, moving forward, a Conservative government would direct most child care funds to parents themselves.
“This will massively increase the support that lower income families receive and provide more assistance to almost all families. We will also pay out the deduction over the course of the year so that families do not have to pay the cost of child care and then get the money back later,” the platform reads.
O’Toole said he would do away with the Liberal plan because it doesn’t help all parents.
Critics maintain the Liberals’ approach to child care funding unfairly punishes parents who care for their own children. Cardus, a faith-based think tank, has said a program focused on publicly funded daycare spaces “devalues the work parents and other caregivers do outside of an institutional setting.”
The Conservative leader said his tax credit would “help all parents.
“All parents — immediately, not some years from now. Parents know what’s best. We’re going to help all families and lower income families will have 75 per cent of the costs covered. We’re going to empower families.”
WATCH: Conservatives release election platform:
The party projects that a family with an income of $30,000 would receive up to $6,000 to cover child care costs, more than the $1,200 they can claim today. The party says that, under its plan, a family with an income of $50,000 would get $5,200.
O’Toole to ban foreigners from buying homes for two years
Beyond job-creation measures and child care, the detailed platform includes a number of populist-minded measures — a tougher regulatory stance on cell phone companies, a crackdown on grocery price fixing and new legislation to “open banking so Canadians can connect with fintech companies that can provide a better offer for banking services.”
A Conservative-led government would also order the Competition Bureau to investigate bank fees. O’Toole said he would allow foreign telecommunications companies to offer cell phone service to Canadians to drive down prices, “provided that the same treatment is reciprocated for Canadian companies in that company’s country.”
To address the issue of affordable housing — Canada’s sky-high average real estate prices are typically higher than those in Western countries — O’Toole would ban all foreign investors from buying homes here for at least a two-year period.
In the last federal budget, the government pitched a one per cent tax on foreign-owned vacant homes to reduce home price inflation driven by foreign nationals scooping up Canadian homes.
The platform also includes O’Toole’s climate plan, which calls for a reworked version of the existing carbon pricing regime. Instead of sending tax money to Ottawa, the Conservative plan would see the levies paid on fossil fuels banked in personal “low carbon savings accounts.”
“Our plan will ensure that all Canadians can do their part to fight climate change, in the way that works best for them, and at a carbon price that is affordable,” the platform reads.
During the Conservative leadership race, O’Toole promised to privatize and “defund” the TV and online division of CBC while leaving CBC Radio and the French-language services of Radio-Canada untouched.
In the platform document, however, O’Toole said a government led by him would instead “review the mandate of CBC English television, CBC News Network and CBC English online” and “assess the viability of refocusing the service on a public interest model like that of PBS in the U.S., ensuring that it no longer competes with private Canadian broadcasters and digital providers.”
No politics in election map revision, co-chairs say – CBC.ca
Two former politicians co-chairing a commission redrawing New Brunswick’s provincial election map say there’ll be no politics involved in their work.
Former Liberal premier Camille Thériault and former Progressive Conservative MP Roger Clinch say they will stick to the letter of the law that requires them to come up with 49 new ridings roughly equal in population.
“Our mandate is very, very clear. It had absolutely nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with gerrymandering,” Thériault said Wednesday as the commission launched its website. “We’re there to follow the piece of legislation that has been put in place.
“We will continue to look straight forward and not think or talk politics, but do what’s best for New Brunswickers within the legislation that we are under.”
Provincial law requires that an independent commission be appointed every 10 years to redraw the 49 electoral districts in the province to reflect changing population numbers.
The new map will take effect for the provincial election scheduled for Oct. 21, 2024, and will have to shift some districts to account for rapid urban growth in the province.
In June, Green MLA Kevin Arseneau alleged the process would involve political trade-offs between the co-chairs to craft ridings beneficial to their former parties.
The three parties in the legislature were asked to suggest names for the commission, but the Green nominees were not chosen because the party refused to have their choices vetted by Premier Blaine Higgs’s office, as the PC and Liberal names were.
“The people on the commission are all very well-respected people, I think, and I don’t think there’s any bias on anyone’s part toward any particular party,” Clinch said.
The six-member commission will hold 12 in-person public meetings and two virtual sessions to sound out New Brunswickers about the new map starting Aug. 23 and continuing to Sept. 15.
“People will dictate to us what they think it should be,” Clinch said. “We have rules and regulations to follow.”
After the first round of meetings, they’ll draft a proposed map that they’ll then take out to a second round of consultations before coming up with a final version within 90 days.
The law requires the commission to calculate the average number of voters in each riding, known as the “electoral quotient.” Thériault said the figure they’ll use is 11,714.
In the new map, each riding’s number of voters must be “as close as reasonably possible” to the quotient, though the commission can deviate by up to 15 per cent to accommodate what are called “communities of interest” and other factors.
In “extraordinary circumstances” such as the need to ensure fair linguistic representation, the commission can deviate from the quotient by up to 25 per cent.
The last redrawing included the creation of Memramcook-Tantramar, which prompted complaints from francophones in the new riding that they were losing their majority-francophone constituency.
At the time, the law allowed only a five-per cent deviation from the average, so the new commission now has more leeway to put the village in a mostly francophone riding.
“We will probably hear from the people in Memramcook,” Thériault said. “But I’m not prejudging how they feel 10 years later.”
Thériault said ideally he’d like to “tighten” some of the sprawling rural ridings in the province, such as Southwest Miramichi–Bay du Vin, which can take more than two hours to drive from end to end.
He also mentioned the expanded footprint of St. Mary’s First Nation in Fredericton, divided between two provincial ridings, as an example of the “housekeeping” the commission may do when it considers “communities of interest.”
But he said the commission isn’t going in with any fixed assumptions and will be guided by the goal of getting as close as possible to the quotient.
“What we’re saying is that we will take into consideration what New Brunswickers have to say,” he said.
“We will be very transparent. And the ultimate goal here is to try and achieve the 11,714 electors for a riding, which we know probably is impossible to do.”
Last weekend newly elected Liberal Leader Susan Holt said she would wait to see the new map before deciding where she’ll run in the next provincial election. In 2018 Holt was defeated as a candidate in Fredericton South by Green Leader David Coon.
Thériault said those considerations won’t matter to the commission.
“The redrawing of the electoral map will not be done to provide seats to anyone or any party,” he said. “It will be done in the best interests of New Brunswick.”
U.S. politics engulfed in threats following police search at Trump's home – CBC News
A Republican former U.S. attorney general is pleading with his fellow Americans: cool down the ill-informed speculation threatening to engulf the country’s politics.
The police search at Donald Trump’s Florida residence has prompted a surge in inflammatory rhetoric reminiscent of the volatile weeks after the last election.
It’s included violent threats against officials, vows of political retaliation against the FBI, comparisons to Nazi rule and social-media musings about civil war.
Alberto Gonzales is urging people to withhold judgment until we learn more about what actually prompted Tuesday’s hours-long search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
The attorney general under George W. Bush told CBC News he feels sympathy for his former department: the Justice Department avoids, as a general rule, discussing investigations, in part to protect the reputation of its target.
Since there is no guarantee charges will be laid following a search, Gonzales said, it’s unfair to a suspect to rush out and describe what you were investigating.
This, he concedes, puts his former department at a disadvantage by creating an information vacuum that in this case is being quickly filled with speculation.
“There’s a lot here we don’t know yet.… People need to wait. People need to be patient. I have a great deal of confidence and faith in the department. I’m not saying it doesn’t make mistakes from time to time. It does, it may. Nonetheless, I would give the benefit of the doubt to the department. Let the department move forward and do its job.”
Such calls for patience are falling flat.
Heated rhetoric, threats increase
The nation is awash in furious speculation from every strata of American society, from anonymous accounts to high-ranking members of Congress.
Why did FBI agents scour the former president’s home for classified documents? How sensitive were they? Did Trump show them to anyone? Did any non-Americans see them? Is it connected to a broader investigation? Is it a smear job to stop Trump from running for president again?
Is this all about mishandled documents? Authorities aren’t talking and Trump has refused to release the search warrant, which could offer clues.
Republican politicians have largely closed ranks around the former president and threatened everything from defunding the FBI to grilling law enforcement at committee hearings.
They channeled the rage of the grassroots supporters who idolize Trump, like one protester outside Mar-a-Lago who told Reuters on Tuesday: “You feel like you might be in Venezuela or China or Russia or even in Hitler’s Germany.”
Researchers of online chatter say the intensity of anger has spiked to levels resembling the environment before the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol.
It includes talk of murdering the judge who reportedly authorized the search warrant, along with the heads of the FBI and the attorney general.
Online calls for civil war
Alex Friedfeld, an investigative researcher at the Anti-Defamation League, said regular citizens are hearing from conservative opinion-makers that America is slipping into tyranny and they’ll be targeted next.
And the response, he said, has been an instant surge in violent rhetoric across multiple online platforms, especially smaller websites without teams of content moderators.
“It’s large amounts of people openly fantasizing about using violence to target their perceived enemies,” Friedfeld said in an interview.
“People are saying they’re fed up, that it’s time for a civil war, that they have to fight back now, otherwise they’ll live in tyranny.”
One difference from Jan. 6, he said, is there’s no physical rallying point, no place for a mob to gather right now.
That will change if Trump ever gets charged.
A police lieutenant in one U.S. city told CBC News that colleagues are already having informal discussions about how to secure the courthouse if there’s a Trump-related case there.
‘Lock and load’
Friedfeld said it’s an obvious risk. He predicted that prosecutors would have their personal information leaked on the internet and would face a deluge of threats.
“Everyone on the prosecution will need to be protected,” he said. “Physical security is going to be paramount.… There will be people advocating for violence against the people trying to prosecute Trump.”
Another researcher, Daniel Jones, said the inflammatory rhetoric comes from three groups.
One he describes as entertainers — media personalities who crave attention. In that category he includes Fox News prime-time shows excoriating “Biden’s FBI.”
“We’re seeing things like, ‘Lock and load.’ … ‘This is a civil war,'” said Jones, the lead investigator in the U.S. Senate’s report on torture in the CIA, and a researcher with the non-profit, non-partisan group Advance Democracy.
“[We’re seeing] direct threats against that judge [who reportedly signed the warrant]… [And stuff like], ‘Attorney General Merrick Garland should be executed and assassinated.'”
Republican calls for defunding FBI
The third and final group he identifies, the one he calls most disappointing, comprises mainstream politicians who should know better.
Some Republicans have been repeating Trump’s line that perhaps police planted evidence at his home.
That includes the Georgia Q-Anon peddling firebrand, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who told One America News Network she’s thrilled by how many of her lawmaker colleagues are siding with her.
“I usually fight with my Republican colleagues, because I don’t think they’re strong enough,” she said.
“But I am hearing things that I am so happy to finally hear come out of their mouths. Because when we take back the majority and we are in control in the House of Representatives, we are going after the Department of Justice; we’re going after the FBI. We’ll control the budget that funds everybody’s program and everybody’s paycheques.”
‘A federal judge authorized this search’
Republicans on Capitol Hill say the outrage is not merely performative, as a public declaration of fealty to Trump in order to placate their grassroots.
They say they truly believe authorities, and the media, aggressively target conservatives while ignoring transgressions from Hunter Biden and Hillary Clinton.
The most senior Republican in the House of Representatives had a message about what his party will do if it wins a majority in this year’s midterm elections and gains power over congressional committees.
Party leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy said in a statement that he would call Garland to committee hearings and demand he preserve all documents about the case.
Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, told Fox News that his party will scrutinize the actions of law enforcement.
“You better have explanations ready,” he said. “Because you cannot weaponize our institutions for political gain. That is the destruction of democracy.”
The eruption of outrage underscored the extent to which the Republicans are truly, deeply Donald Trump’s party now.
Meanwhile, George W. Bush’s attorney general offered his faint plea for people to trust law enforcement.
“A federal judge authorized this search,” Gonzales told CBC. “That means something, as far as I’m concerned.”
Politics Briefing: Nishnawbe Aski Nation opposes possible location for nuclear waste storage site – The Globe and Mail
Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a resolution on Wednesday “vehemently” opposing the possibility of an underground storage site for nuclear waste, which could be built between Ignace and Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation in northern Ontario.
Chiefs expressed deep concern over the possibility of such a site during discussions at NAN’s annual Keewaywin Conference, which is being held in Timmins. Ignace, as well as Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, would hold the approval power for the project if their region is ultimately selected. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is also still considering South Bruce in Ontario as a possible location for its deep geological repository, which would see spent nuclear fuel stored roughly 500-metres underground.
“Northern Ontario is not a garbage can,” said Chief Ramona Sutherland of Constance Lake First Nation. “We work for seven generations of our people – I don’t want to pass this down to my son, my grandson, and then his sons.”
Chief Wayne Moonias, of Neskantaga First Nation, called the proposal disturbing, and said “the thought of having a nuclear waste site in our area, it’s just not something that we can live with … Our homelands are at stake with this proposal.”
A potential spill, Mr. Moonias cautioned, would not just affect the site itself. “It’s going to impact our river system. It’s going to impact our sturgeon. Our sturgeon is so important in our community,” he said.
The resolution called for Nishnawbe Aski Nation to take action to prevent the NWMO from placing any nuclear waste in NAN traditional territories, including forming a committee, engaging in civil protests and considering legal action.
Jennifer Guerrieri, a NAN staffer, said in a presentation Wednesday that a choice between the two potential sites is expected roughly within the next six months.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Marsha McLeod, who is filling in for Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
NO NATIONAL TRACKING – Canada does not have a national system for tracking or preventing shortages of nurses and other medical workers, which health leaders say has contributed to hospitals across the country temporarily shuttering emergency rooms and intensive-care units this summer. Story here.
ALBERTA EASES REGULATIONS – The Alberta government has eased some restrictions on the province’s four major universities that prevented them from forming new partnerships with entities or individuals linked to the Chinese government. Story here.
TRUMP HITS BACK WITH VIDEO – Former U.S. president Donald Trump has unveiled a new video to present himself as the best person to lead the country, following an FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate. Story here.
ANALYSIS OF TRUMP RAID – The Justice Department has never before requested, or received, a search warrant to go through the home of a former American leader. Story here.
ALBERTA AWARDS PRIZE – Alberta’s legislature awarded a prize to an essay that equated immigration to “cultural suicide” and argued women are “not exactly equal” to men. Story here.
DENTAL DEAL MAY FACE BUMPS – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Liberal government is working to meet its end-of-year deadline to deliver dental care coverage to children, but that providing new services is complicated. Story by the Canadian Press here.
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.
MINISTER FOR WOMEN IN WINNIPEG – Marci Ien, the federal minister for women and gender equality and youth, announced $30-million to support crisis hotlines across Canada on Wednesday.
SUPPORT FOR ACADIAN GATHERING – Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the federal minister of official languages, announced $4.6-million to help organize the next Congrès mondial acadien (Acadian World Congress), which will be held in August, 2024 in southwestern Nova Scotia.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
The Prime Minister is on a two-week vacation in Costa Rica.
No schedules provided for party leaders.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on Trump’s possible “rendezvous with reality:” “When the smoke clears, then, we are probably going to find that Mr. Trump is in a world of trouble. That it came to this, after all, was only because he refuses, more than 18 months after leaving the White House, to give up the documents voluntarily. Which suggests he is every bit as conscious as the DoJ of how explosive they are. And these aren’t the only legal perils he faces … One way or another, the odds are increasing that Mr. Trump will soon face his own Alex Jones moment, a rendezvous with reality.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on limited support for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Can Mr. Trudeau rise from the stupor in which he currently finds himself? It’s possible. He has a fairly long runway ahead of him thanks to the NDP. But a lot of the damage that has been done to the Trudeau brand is likely irreversible. The Prime Minister is many things, but stupid he is not. He can see what’s going on. The question is – what will he do about it?”
Elaine Craig (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on compensating women victimized by players: “Until we successfully press antiquated organizations such as Hockey Canada to change, we need to accept the inevitable. So why shouldn’t hockey parents pay a small amount each year into a fund to help compensate the women who will be sexually victimized by some of the kids currently being steeped in the sport’s toxic environment? Ultimately, here’s why we should be most angry: It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Why Disney's Earnings Report Is A Good Sign For The U.S. Economy – Forbes
Putin's War Hurls Russian Economy Back Four Years in One Quarter – Bloomberg
How To Invest Money To Secure Your Family's Future – The Seeker
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
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