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Monday
Oct162017

Shooting Yourself In The Foot

“Let’s keep shooting ourselves in the foot” should be the slogan for the Liberal Party over the last few days.

First bring in tax reforms that hurt small business owners and farmers; then scramble to find an out that tries to make you look good, while still protecting the family trusts of the rich like Trudeau and Moreau.

Second have the same minister who screwed up the tax reforms get caught owning a villa in France that he somehow had a lapse of memory about and oops he forget to declare it to the Ethics Commissioner.

Third, stories are out that the same minister did not put all of his shares and assets into a blind trust to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. I find that very interesting as one of my PMO staff owned one share in a company (it was a birthday gift) and he was ordered to either sell it or put the one share in a blind trust.

Fourth, just weeks before Remembrance Day ceremonies announce that ridings only deserve two wreaths, in spite of the fact that some ridings have several ceremonies. I can think of at least four in my riding. Then of course back track when everything hits the fan.

I guess Liberal ministers and their staff haven’t yet learnt that one of the unwritten rules for new ministers is to double check the policy proposals a department brings to you, especially if it represents a policy change. Ask to see the entire file, including ones that go back to previous governments. I can remember doing that and finding out that the policy presented to my minister as brand new; had in fact been rejected by the previous Conservative minister as well as several Liberal ministers.

Not a good couple of weeks for the Liberals as they have certainly handed the Conservatives and NDP plenty of ammunition to chip away at Liberal credibility.

Sunday
Oct152017

I MISPLACED MY FRENCH VILLA

Wouldn’t you know it; our finance minister got caught hiding a French villa.  Mind you, Morneau claims it is all a mistake, just a minor bit of forgetfulness.

I don’t know about you, but, I would certainly know if I had a villa and while most of us will never be as rich as Morneau, I am pretty sure you would remember if you had a cottage or maybe a winter home in Florida.

If this was Question Period, the real fun would be in keeping this alive for a bit longer. If you are an opposition party, it doesn’t hurt to pile onto an already damaged minister, wounded by his planned tax reforms and a horribly executed communication plan.

Let’s start with a few simple questions:

1. When did you last visit the villa?

2. How many days did you stay there?

3. How many times have you stayed at the villa?

4. Have members of your family used it?

5. As you own the villa through a corporation there should be records, letters or emails detailing when you stayed there, will you table those records in the House of Commons?

6. How many other villas or properties do you own outside of Canada? Will you table a complete list of them in the House?

Easy but fun questions to ask because each one casts doubt on the minister’s credibility and implies he is hiding something. Plus each one lays a trap- and his answers will give opposition researchers and good investigative reporter’s lots to research and double check on while shredding his credibility in the House. Any failure to completely answer these questions, any attempt to duck these questions, any use of dumb talk points simply makes the minister look worse.

If the opposition parties are up to their game, between his tax reform proposals and his missing villa, they could make it a week of hell for the finance minister. Plus any attempt to change the channel with a few minor tweaks of his tax reform package (a good news story) will get buried with negative villa stories. It could be fun in Question Period.

 

 

Monday
Oct022017

The Stage Is Set For 2019

With the NDP electing Jagmeet Singh as their new leader we have seen the stage set for an interesting federal election in 2019. In a way it is the passing of the political torch from the baby boomers to the younger generation.

Not only is Singh a match for Justin Trudeau on the charismatic meter, but he is also a smarter politician. Up until now Trudeau has pretty much had things his way with media coverage, especially that of the younger generation of reporters. Now he has competition. This will be interesting to watch as we move towards 2019.

The issue for the Conservatives will be how to garner media attention when the focus will be on the other two showboats. How will the Conservatives make dull and low key the alternative? This is not to say that they can’t. The Conservatives can present policies that are attractive and reflect what the voters want. They can be the opposite of the “spend my tax dollars” Liberals and NDP, but it will be a lot of work.

In the past the Conservatives have always benefited from a strong NDP, stealing votes from the Liberals. My attack team was often told to leave the NDP alone even when we had a good issue, and that included when in the election war room. During elections we could respond to individual riding requests, but there was no concerted effort to go after their national campaign or leader.

For the next week or so it will be all about Jagmeet Singh, the new kid on the block. After that things will level off and it will be back to the trenches for all three political leaders. The election in 2019 is still a long way away.

Saturday
Sep022017

The Two Silver Spoons Don't Get It

Liberal arrogance will be Justin’s downfall, just as it was for his father and other Liberal government’s. For those who have been around for a while, we all remember Liberal government’s breaking major election promises, not just the minor ones that can be set aside or postponed for economic reasons. Why would Canadians be surprised that this Liberal leader who campaigned on helping the middle class and improving small business would double cross Canadians?

Remember Chretien was going to cancel the GST, then double crossed Canadians and kept the tax. Remember how Justin’s father did the same thing with campaigning against wage and price controls and then when elected he immediately double crossed Canadians and imposed the very thing he had won an election on by campaigning against them. Double crossing Canadians seems to run in the Trudeau family.

I come from a middle class family; I have spent most of my working life in the middle class. I know what it is like to scrape and save for a used car, because we couldn’t afford a new one. I know what it is like to struggle to put kids through university and I know how hard it is to save for a house and have to watch mortgage interest rates rise (at one time up to 23%) to the point  where my friends had to turn the keys to their homes over to the bank. Tell me Mr. Morneau and Mr. Trudeau when was the last time either of you had to save your pennies for anything that mattered in your life?

That is what it is like being in the middle class. Unlike the “two silver spoons” (Trudeau and Morneau) who only know the theory about being middle class- we lived it and we are living it now. I have owned a small business which at one point had 14 staff. I know the hours it takes and the dedication as well as the suspense as you watch to see if you have made a profit. I didn’t have a million dollar trust account to pay my bills.

Yet our “two silver spoons” who have given away billions of our taxpayer’s dollars, to groups all over the world now find they need cash- where are they going to get it? From the middle class, and small business- the very people they promised during the election to help.

Liberal arrogance comes through loud and clear with the Finance minister’s comment that “these changes are happening. We are not going to change our minds.” Really? So your consultation period is a sham and just a BS attempt to give yourself a couple of talk points for Question Period when the House returns.

Here let me write your Question Period the answer for you.

“I would like to thank the Honourable member for his question, but as he is aware we are presently consulting with Canadians and small business leaders across the country. It is too early to give the Honourable member an answer.”

There you go I just saved your staff and PMO a few hours of work. Your answer will be all BS as you have already decided to act irregardless of what you hear in your sham consultation process.

Pierre Trudeau was infamous for giving Canadians the “Salmon Arm Salute”. The voters remembered that one. Justin Trudeau’s arrogant response when questioned on these attacks on the middle class and small business replied “I will make no apologies for this approach” That was Justin’s “salmon arm salute” to our present generation of Canadians, the middle class and small business entrepreneurs.

Canadians do remember these things and we do remember when Liberal Prime ministers and their governments double cross Canadians. Eventually their arrogance will catch up to the two silver spoons. Just you wait and see.

Monday
Aug282017

Shuffle? What Shuffle? 

Ottawa awoke from its summer slumber today when Trudeau or perhaps more accurately his PMO staff decided to put together a small cabinet shuffle. At least it had those inside the Ottawa bubble chattering about it quite a bit. I would guess that the rest of the country just tuned it out and got on with their summer.

It was an interesting shuffle because of the break-up of the former Indigenous Affairs Department into Indigenous Services and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

The former department had a lot of issues which ranged from the legislation they had to follow, to the mindset in the department itself. I have watched very competent ministers and a Prime Minister (both Liberal and Conservative), who wanted to make progress become frustrated time and time again. It is a tough issue to deal with.

By moving one of his best ministers from Health to Indigenous Services   the Trudeau government is signaling that they have moved indigenous issues to the forefront of their agenda as they begin the slow ramp up to the next election. Politically it is a good move, the government will get positive comments, hopefully a more constructive dialogue will develop and if successful before 2019 it can translate into a lot of votes for the Liberals.

 Jane Philpott has a good reputation as someone who can get things done. By adding her to the mix, Trudeau is also signaling that minister Bennett simple wasn’t up to the job- that is no surprise to those who have followed the antics on the Hill over the years. Putting partisanship aside for the moment, I hope that this step translates into real results for our First Nations and soon.

The other major change includes the vaulting of a minor player into the top line Health portfolio. You don’t get to do that without some heavy players backing you. It will be interesting to see how Ginette Petitpas Taylor works out and it will be interesting to watch how she defends the government in key areas of health concern including the marijuana legislation. The other changes were pretty minor although Seamus O’Regan to Veteran Affairs will be one to watch as there are plenty of unsolved issues awaiting him there.

If this wasn’t the long awaited “big” shuffle it means that somewhere down the line there will be one. Every cabinet has dead wood and under-performing ministers and Trudeau’s cabinet is no exception.

The new ministers have a few weeks to get ready for the Fall session. Then they will be observed and, measured by the opposition parties and the public. Their fate and their political futures will be decided in short order.

Today is a day to congratulate them on their appointment, regardless of partisan strip it is an amazing achievement. I wish them well- up to a point.