I don’t know much, but I know this: if you want to do something about climate change, the best and cheapest option is a carbon tax. You might not like it, but it’s true. There’s nothing better. A carbon tax works.
So it made me sad to see Jasveen Rattan, our Conservative candidate, say “Climate change is a real, global problem that will require decisive action at the federal level. It is time for Canada to act as a real leader and bring forward new, innovative solutions.” (My emphasis.)
The Conservatives’ platform is bizarrely Marxist. They propose “emissions standards for major emitters”. They want to manage industries and set standards and targets, like Soviet commissars did. If they want this to work (which I doubt) it will be much more expensive than a tax.
It’s a far better idea to let the market figure out how to avoid pollution or pay for it. It’s sad that the free-market, fiscally-prudent Conservatives can’t figure that out.
The Liberals created a carbon tax, and there is no reason for a new solution. Taxes let the free market come up with efficient solutions to a negative externality. They cannot be improved upon—it’s a mathematical fact.
With great uncertainty and mixed polls, the October 21 general election is anyone’s to win or lose. After nearly four years of a Trudeau Liberal government, local MP, Ahmed Hussen is hoping for a second term. During the last election, a dump Harper movement coincided with a charismatic photogenic new Liberal leader. If that wasn’t enough, the NDP leader talked more like a Red Tory than the rabid socialist his opponents would have preferred. People had their doubts about Trudeau but gave him a chance and he won a majority government.
As the next election looms, the NDP and Tories have new, young leaders – Trudeau at 47 is the old man to Singh’s and Scheer’s 40 – even though Andrew Scheer is looking more and more like a young version of one of his Tory predecessors – John Diefenbaker.
Sadly, this time around, there is no clear and compelling reason to vote for any of the three main leaders (realistically, neither the Green Party’s Elizabeth May nor the People’s Party’s Maxime Bernier will form a government). During the last election campaign, Trudeau made and later ignored important promises. His promise of electoral reform was broken when the party realized that it meant fewer elected Liberals. On the Aboriginal file, he’s been less than stellar but in fairness the job is monumental and will take a lot more effort, time and money to deliver. Other negatives are his virtue signalling prissy mode, the firing of two cabinet ministers and his cringe-worthy trip to India. Justin’s costume changes are gifts that will keep on giving during the campaign. On the plus side, he’s almost universally hated in the prairie provinces.
Trudeau’s major achievements are that he legalized cannabis, instituted a carbon tax and didn’t give away the (non-dairy) farm during NAFTA negotiations.
In the meantime, Andrew Scheer promises to be the reddest Tory ever and wants us to believe he would fail to pick out Doug Ford in a police line-up.
Leading the NDP is Jagmeet Singh, a dynamic and charming man who, judging by recent polls, is failing to connect with the people of Canada. Fundraising is also becoming an issue for the NDP and a lack of money will hurt them in the final stretch of the campaign.
York South-Weston has been a Liberal riding since its formation in 1979 with two brief exceptions. Liberal John Nunziata (and brother of Councillor Frances Nunziata) was kicked out of the party and sat as an independent from 1996 – 2000 and more recently, Mike Sullivan unseated multi-term Alan Tonks in the Jack Layton propelled orange wave of 2011.
To win in York South-Weston therefore, it takes a compelling candidate plus a small red wave, large orange wave or a never before seen blue tsunami. Interestingly, for the 2019 election, it looks like a small beige wave is on the way. This should favour the incumbent.
The major candidates:
Incumbent Liberal Ahmed Hussen is currently making up for lost time in the riding and has increased his local presence considerably in the past few weeks. He has adopted the ‘meet, greet and feed’ style of Doug Ford in his latest encounters with constituents.
Mr Hussen has the power of incumbency. As Immigration Minister (and first ever Somali-Canadian in Cabinet), he has travelled extensively and rubbed shoulders with international leaders (not all of them savoury). His background is compelling having arrived in Canada as a refugee. Being a rookie MP and a cabinet minister is not for the faint of heart and Mr. Hussen seems to have coped well with the huge learning curve presented to him. I get the feeling his ambitions go beyond a cabinet appointment. On the negative side, Minister Hussen seems to run a pretty aloof and unresponsive operation and doesn’t live in the riding.
Yafet Tewelde is Ahmed Hussen’s main challenger. He has a solid organization and strong connections to YSW, not just as a resident. He’s been politically active in the community for a while. Mr. Tewelde is well educated and immigrated to Canada from Eritrea. Style wise, he’s as charming and talkative as Ahmed Hussen is quiet and reserved.
Tory nominee Dr. Jasveen Rattan is a successful and well-educated candidate with a compelling story having come to Canada as an infant. Her PhD is in recreation and leisure studies and she has been active as an organizer in provincial and civic politics.
Mr. Tewelde will need to run an exceptional campaign and Jagmeet Singh will need to connect with voters Jack Layton style in order to return York South-Weston into the NDP fold. Without that, it looks as if Ahmed Hussen will win another four year mandate.
As for Dr. Rattan, based on past results and barring a miracle, York South-Weston’s seat will have to be be a long term goal for her. The Harper years failed to register in YSW. She will need to make herself known during this campaign and stick around if she hopes to capture the seat in 2023 0r 2027.
Today, the first of what I fear will be many fact-findings on fibs, fabrications, and falsities.
First, Ahmed Hussen. Hussen made an outrageous and false accusation on July 1 that came to light this week. He accused the Conservatives of “dancing with racists” at a speech on Canada Day, which is also Somalian Independence Day. The Post Millennial picked up the story today.
Hussen told a crowd:
in an election year, one of the main responsibilities is what? To vote. And vote for the right leaders, the real leaders that bring people together, not divide you, not dance with white supremacists, but actually bring people together and confront hatred, confront Islamophobia, and prove once again that Canada is the best country in the world by making sure that everyone is represented.
Hussen has a history of baiting conservatives. He said that Lisa MacLeod’s criticism of his department was “irresponsible, it’s divisive, it’s fear-mongering and it’s not Canadian and it is very dangerous.” He’s also said that the Conservatives want to “militarize” the border. He’s long blamed the Conservatives for the problems in his department.
But implying last month that Conservatives would “dance with white supremacists” is an ugly slander. It is, in fact, irresponsible, divisive, and fear-mongering.
Yafet Tewelde said this week:
We are in a crisis. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. We need to stop talking and act now. #YSW#cdnpolipic.twitter.com/wEzyz0OGdJ
Not quite so. The lead author of this section of the IPCC report says this:
Please stop saying something globally bad is going to happen in 2030. Bad stuff is already happening and every half a degree of warming matters, but the IPCC does not draw a “planetary boundary” at 1.5°C beyond which lie climate dragons.
[If] we don’t halve emissions by 2030, will we have lost the battle and just have to hunker down and survive? Of course not.
No scientist I’ve read says that the next decades aren’t critical. None, though, says that there is a threshold in 2030. It’s more complicated than 240 characters allow.
Happily, I don’t have to wade through tax policy to figure the truth of this out. The Economist covered it last week. They said there’ve been tax cuts for the working and middle classes (and deficits for our children):
To stimulate growth [Trudeau] let a near-balanced budget move into deficit…. Most important, he has put money into the pockets of people on middle and low incomes. A means-tested child-benefit programme gives families on the lowest incomes C$5,600-6,600 a year per child.
More moolah came from cutting the tax rate on the bottom income bracket and raising it for the richest 1%. The government expanded a tax credit for workers on low incomes. Its critics claim that middle-class families are worse off because it took away some tax credits. In fact, says Mr Morneau, the finance minister, a family of four at the median-income level is C$2,000 better off
Technically, there have been small tax hikes: on the rich, and on carbon. But neither of these tax increases hurt the median Canadian. Rattan’s statement then isn’t entirely false, but it’s pretty close.