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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Politics’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.
Source: The Niagara Independent

The federal election and all its craziness and vitriol are now behind us.  Canada has spoken and it has given the Liberal Party a mandate (sort of) to form a government.  Canadians gave “Team Trudeau” the opportunity to form a minority government meaning that the opposition parties in the collective have more seats than the Party who formed the government.

So, the hard part for Canadians is over. We voted and we spoke! And Canadians spoke loudly!!  In fact, the outcome of Election 43 gave us back Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister, but not like he was in 2015.  Gone are the selfies, the sunny ways, the virtue signaling and in its place is a legacy of apparent divisiveness and anger heretofore unseen in Canada.

In the weeks following the conclusion of Election 43, I’ve heard pundits and social media warriors suggest that the Liberal Party does not have the moral authority to form a government in Canada, because they did not win the popular vote.  Yes, the facts weigh out, the Conservative Party of Canada received more popular vote than the Liberals and although that may be true, it means nothing! We simply don’t elect governments in Canada by virtue of who gets the popular vote!  The way government are formed in Canada is by the number(s) of seats a Party attains through a first past the post voting process.  The Liberal Party garnered the most seats and therefore can form government.  Enough said!

So, by the time this little screed gets read, Prime Minister Trudeau’s Cabinet has been sworn in and the Parliament of Canada is officially back in session in Ottawa.  The Government’s Speech from the Throne will have been delivered and we’ll know what the plan is for this Government and this 43rd parliamentary session.

Many political observers, pundits, social media wizards and those in media have suggested Canada might be in for a rough ride in the coming years.  Western alienation, they say, has produced a political movement there,  Quebec nationalism, they say, is on the rise and the climate change agenda remains the single biggest issue to face Canadians.

For this political observer, with this Cabinet I think the country will be just fine!  Let me explain.

If we believe everything we read on social media, this is the worst Cabinet ever!  Some say the Cabinet is too big, some say it’s too politically correct with 18 men and 18 women and therefore not merit based,  others say the west is shut out while still others say Ontario and Quebec will now get everything because the lion’s share of Liberal seats are there.

Consider too, however, that the opposition parties, who actually outnumber the government, will now have a role to play to ensure that Justin Trudeau’s government performs effectively for ALL Canadians because, as we know, governments serve ALL Canadians and not just those who voted for them.  And, I submit too,  they have a long row to hoe to do well as an effective opposition.  The Conservatives have a leader on the ropes, the NDP have no money and therefore no ability to attract attention, the Bloc is seemingly happy in its new role as power-broker and the Greens and Independents are –  there!

So, here’s the thing.  The Liberal government’s executive council is not as bad as social media seems to be spewing and media and political observers have parsed the appointments as if the very composition of the Cabinet determines the future pathway for Canada. Here’s the reality, the composition of a Cabinet is a tough job for the Leader of a Government.  Region, gender, race, creed, and every other aspect of Canadiana MUST be included to make an executive council truly reflective of our great nation.  We expect that as Canadians.  This Cabinet IS reflective of Canada in a profound way, with the exception of not having representation in Alberta or Saskatchewan.  And that glaring dearth is likely the most problematic issue facing the Prime Minister and his Government going forward. Those two provinces in particular are critical to stability in Canada given the apparent increase in alienation and the massive support for the oil industry and pipelines.

That notwithstanding, I think the Prime Minister has appointed an executive Council whose collective stewardship will address the challenges we face as a nation and , I venture to say, we may have stable minority government for the coming years – based on the actions of this government and the circumstances facing the opposition parties.

Juxtaposed against the politics played in the mid-2000’s when Canada was governed with minority Governments who basically did nothing of substance – except politics – we have a Government whose culture is activist.  Even now, the government is seemingly prepared to do the work that needs to get done.  Because, in 2019, the political agenda cannot be ignored.

At the centre of the agenda is climate change AND economic prosperity (and that will include building pipelines)- a political dance that takes the likes of deft political tactician(s) to resolve.  The Prime Minister who had been criticized for being too hands on with respect to every policy file of his Government, in effect, has appointed very good stewards to Cabinet – roles to manage the dance and do the job(s) that need to get done.

Unlike the United States, Cabinet Ministers in Canada must be elected to serve.  It’s against that backdrop that I offer a few highlights on how Trudeau’s Cabinet will fare.

Moving Chrystia Freeland out of Global Affairs and into the role of Intergovernmental Affairs is a stroke of brilliance – she has proven herself to be an effective negotiator and her style and presence are calming. The honourific as Deputy Prime Minister will serve her well when she interfaces with Premiers – especially those in the west.  Look for a well-crafted plan to have the much-needed buy-in from the provinces for the pipeline project that WILL be implemented.  Look for her to also engage effectively with the opposition in the House of Commons for support.

Keeping Bill Morneau in Finance is a signal that the bureaucracy and “the street” have confidence in his ability to be the steward of Canada’s economy.  His big challenge is going to be re-building confidence in the middle class who appear to be dogged by CRA at every turn.  Look for Morneau to spend more time looking to create a foreign investment environment and associated opportunity for Canadian business to flourish.  He will need to work the phones with his Cabinet colleagues, the opposition and international organizations to continue to be successful.

The shift Catherine McKenna endured from environment to infrastructure is not by accident.  Her assertive style and her inimitable ability to create alliances will serve the government well as it deftly moves from the sustainable and traditional resource-based economy toward building green jobs and the new economy. She has the right temperament and massive appeal – she’ll do well.

David Lametti is likely the most intellectual in Cabinet. At a time when the Prime Minister needs to rely on stability – he gets it in spades with Lametti as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.  He understands the subtlest of nuances related to the law, but the Constitution is a fluid entity requiring a strategic and knowledgeable steward to ensure it gets the attention it deserves. Niagara Region is originally his home so I’m biased – not bad for a boy from Port!  But look for good things from him.

Seamus O’Reagan is an unusual appointment to Natural Resources Canada in this writer’s opinion.  Ideally the role at NRCAn is suited for a MP from the north or the west where natural resource management is bred in their DNA.  He is from Newfoundland – albeit a province with a rich off-shore oil industry- but I think the Prime Minister is taking a chance putting him in the role to deliver on the promise of natural resource economies being preserved in Alberta.  Look for his role to be tough in the early going.

Filomena Tassi, Hamilton MP comes into her second term with an increased role to play in Cabinet.  As Minister of Labour, she’ll have to steer the labour unrest in the rail industry as well as manoeuvre with her other cabinet colleagues on delivering on the promise of jobs in western Canada.  Her strength of character is a strong suit – look for her to do well in the role.

Vancouver based Jonathan Wilkiinson has been boosted to Environment and many think that because he’s a BC MP, he’ll cow-tow to special interest against the pipelines.  Not so, I think his strong record in the private sector dealing with First Nations and in the innovative green industry will serve him well.

Francois-Phillipe Champagne has big shoes to fill as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs.  BUT, remember, he was a sort of under-study to Chrystia Freeland in the last government.  Plus, he’s a brilliant team player and likeable – look for him to do well in the role – especially as Canada strives to deliver on the new ‘NAFTA’ and other trade deals globally.

Patty Hajdu as Minister of Health is another interesting choice.  Consider though that she is from Thunder Bay and innovation and integration are not buzz-words there – they are the reality of that environment.  Look for her to bring a lot of that inspiration to the role – especially that she has to consider the “Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance” at time when provinces are more cantankerous than ever.

Marie-Claude Bibeau is the new Minister of Agriculture.  She’s inherited a ministry that has been male dominated.  Look for her to bring a kinder-gentler atmosphere and the possibility of helping to re-invigorate the sector.  Her international experience will serve her well – plus she has an extraordinary network to help.

Mona Fortier is perhaps the single most head-scratching appointment.  Her entrée to the role (from her CBC interview) made Canadians light up on social media – she could barely describe what being Minister for the Middle Class meant.  But let’s consider this – she’s associate Minister of Finance – and that gives her the ability to re-calibrate from a disastrous introduction to re-working the file with her Minister (Morneau) to build the kind of confidence the Government has been asking Canadians to accept since they were elected.

That’s a glimpse of that we can expect from this Cabinet in the months and years ahead. Oh sure, social media will have its expected field day hammering at Trudeau and his gunsills,  but if the Government does its job well and condenses the noise and nonsense we may finally see good and effective government.  And that’s what Canadians voted for!!

- Marc Kealey

TVO: The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 @ 01:06 PM

Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario
The Agenda: June 4, 2018

The Ontario Liberal Party has been in power at Queen’s Park for 15 years and Kathleen Wynne has been the premier for last 5, until now. Over the weekend, just days before the election, Wynne gave a concession speech and encouraged voters to elect either a PC or NDP minority government. The Agenda welcomes Kathleen Wynne to discuss that decision and why voters should still consider the Liberal platform.

_ _ _


Premier Wynne Admits Defeat
The Agenda: June 4, 2018

This weekend, Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, stepping ahead of her abysmal poll numbers, admitted defeat in Ontario’s 42nd general election. Wynne said that she would not be leading the province once the votes were tallied, but that party supporters should remain steadfast to prevent a PC or NDP majority government.

The Agenda gathers a panel to discuss what this surprise announcement means for an election only days away and the future of the Ontario Liberal Party.


Political analyst Marc Kealey says the Liberals
will do better next week than anyone thinks


source: CP24 News
(click to open video in new window)


CP24: Emotions drive vote

Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 03:04 PM

Political analyst Marc Kealey says research suggests people already know who they want to vote for based on their emotions

source: CP24 News
(click to open video in new window)


Tallying the Score – Impact of Canada’s New Vaping Regulations, Part 1


Tallying the Score – Impact of Canada’s New Vaping Regulations, Part 2



Perspective of Campaign 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 @ 11:10 AM

Please click the link below to read K&A’s perspective of Campaign 2015:


John Turner proposed the formation of the Arctic Youth Corps

I really became a Canadian when I got to know Canada north of the 60th parallel… I have never felt more Canadian than when alone with my thoughts in the remote northern vastness.’ — Former Prime Minister John Turner

Roderick Benns from Ottawa Life Magazine writes:

Former Prime Minister John Turner has canoed every river in Canada that empties into the Arctic Ocean. As a young parliamentary secretary to Arthur Laing, the minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources under Lester Pearson, he came to know the northern reaches of the country intimately.

While it is the current prime minister, Stephen Harper, who now garners arctic headlines, perhaps the Liberal Party should be reviving a policy idea Turner brought forward to the Pearson government in the 1960s.

Turner accompanied Laing on a trip to the Arctic during two consecutive summers, in 1963-64, and he was deeply affected by what he saw. From Cape Dorset to Port Burwell and many other Arctic communities, Turner saw the Inuit people in a realistic—although precarious—light. They were leaving their old ways behind, but yet not sure how to embrace the opportunities of capitalism that southern Canadians simply took for granted. As his biographer, Paul Litt, has pointed out, Turner wanted the Inuit to develop their own commercial enterprises, so they could run self-sustaining businesses. He believed in encouraging southern Canadian investment in the north.

Part of what Turner saw as a disconnect between the Inuit way of life and southern Canada was the lack of opportunity for the two to ever meet. It was this lack of connection—and the fact that there was no capacity to make it happen—that weighed heavily on him when he sat down to come up with policy options for the Pearson government.

One of his most inspired ideas has been lost in history’s pages – although it was both exciting enough and practical enough for the Pearson government of the day to include it in the 1965 Speech from the Throne. Turner proposed the formation of the Arctic Youth Corps, modelled after the United States’ Peace Corps.

In the US version, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to work at the grassroots level, in an effort to create sustainable change in communities. Turner’s vision was to see the potential for young people from southern Canada to get to know the northern realities of their country. He knew that it was sustainability that was needed in the arctic and that such a program might go a long way in building economic and social bridges between north and south.

He also knew that young Canadians who served in the Arctic Youth Corps would carry this knowledge into subsequent generations. It would be a legacy of real value passed on from one generation to the next.

In a recent interview with Turner, it was clear he believed the Arctic Youth Corps remains a viable idea, declaring that it would “open up the eyes of our young people to our great north.”

While he gives Prime Minister Harper credit for “taking a great interest” in Canada’s arctic, he also notes that “we haven’t done as much as we should.”

Turner says transportation development, education, and a broad range of business opportunities needs to be encouraged in the far north so it can attain its potential. Showcasing what the Inuit people can do with a hand up in infrastructure matters will be important. The Arctic Youth Corps could be a crucial, bridge-building link that is also relatively cost effective, compared to many other arctic initiatives.

Like many who have visited the Canadian arctic, Turner was never able to free himself from its pull. His personal interest remained, even when he moved into other political portfolios. Given Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s teaching background and his interest in Canadian youth, he could do worse than to revive a celebrated – albeit forgotten—policy idea from the most senior Liberal statesman in Canada.

Click here for the original article.
- Marc Kealey