Canada federal election October 21, 2019 part 2

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NorthReport
WWWTT

Thanks for wasting my time with that stupid asinine huffingtonpost article North Report! The conservative MP that made the complaint is an idiot. 

Next time I see a link from huffingtonpost, I won’t click

NorthReport
voice of the damned

https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/border-1-1.png?w=640

"Hello. Would you be interested in reading a copy of the Watchtower?"

NorthReport

This SBC Lavalin story now looks like it will end up being the ballot box issue in the next election It is obvious that Trudeau is not comfortable with strong women Do they have time to change their leader before the election must be the question on many Liberal minds now?

NorthReport
NorthReport

Pardon my French, Prime Minister, but you’re f#*ked

 

  • Justin Trudeau's political problems deepened when SNC-Lavalin's CEO contradicted his staff's claim that 9,000 jobs were at risk without a deferred prosecution agreement.

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  • Justin Trudeau's political problems deepened when SNC-Lavalin's CEO contradicted his staff's claim that 9,000 jobs were at risk without a deferred prosecution agreement.ADAM SCOTTI/PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE

Yesterday (March 20), Justin Trudeau tried to minimize the English language media’s coverage of his SNC-Lavalin scandal coverup by answering only in French during yet another Question Period preoccupied with the controversy.

Pardon my French, prime minister, but if you think that your efforts to coverup, stonewall, “re-communicate”, or “change the channel” on your role in authoring the LavScam fiasco will work, they won’t. It’s getting clearer by the day that you, sir, are f#*ked.

Not just because the courageous Jane Philpott has today sent the LavScam crisis to Defcon 1 with her pleas to the prime minister in Macleans to allow herself and Wilson-Raybould to be fully heard, saying that "There’s much more to the story that should be told."

Not just because the Conservative chair of the House of Commons ethics committee has served notice that his forum might rightly continue with the investigation into that scandal, which the Liberal majority shut down on the justice committee. Including, I might add, through a breach of privilege that Conservative MP Lisa Raitt so powerfully outlined yesterday.

Not just because Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes has now quit Trudeau’s caucus in protest of his abusive treatment of her and in support of women like Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, who felt obliged to quit his cabinet over his attempted abuses of justice. Fake feminist that he is, indeed.

 

 

 

Not just because of the ongoing investigation by the ethics commissioner and the increasing likelihood of an RCMP investigation into questions relating to potential criminal obstruction of justice and/or breach of trust concerns. Concerns that flow from the prime minister’s personal conduct and direction in trying to pressure his former attorney general into intervening in a criminal prosecution that she repeatedly said was not something she would do, and which would have been unprecedented in Canadian history and possibly also illegal.

Not just because of the political motives that clearly underpinned the “sustained and inappropriate political pressure” that Trudeau and his senior lieutenants allegedly brought to bear on JWR in trying to help his Quebec “Crown jewel” avoid a criminal trial on bribery and fraud charges.

But also, because, it is now apparent that Trudeau and his minions either deliberately or inadvertently misled JWR with false information, to try to bend her to their will in granting SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement.

And because if that false information was ever known to be untrue by Trudeau or his designates, it also negates the central argument that they supposedly marshalled in the “public interest” in advocating for a DPA. Which, if true, suggests that the main reason they fought for that special deal for the company was most likely to help the Liberals’ electoral chances in Quebec—not to prevent job losses that were never going to happen.

And if that were proven to be the case, that it was a self-serving political imperative and not the previously cited “public interest” imperative that was at the root of the pressure at issue, that may well amount to obstruction of justice and/or a breach of trust under the Criminal Code. Then again, as Trudeau’s folks like to stress, I’m not a lawyer.

Today, SNC-Lavalin’s president and CEO, Neil Bruce, told BNN Bloomberg that he never said 9,000 jobs would be lost without a DPA.

“That’s incorrect and we’ve never said that,” Bruce said.

“I’ve never talked to the prime minister about a DPA or about jobs,” he insisted.

“To the Prime Minister’s Office, we have lobbied, as you would expect a CEO or the company to do,” he added.

Bruce further told the Globe and Mail that (contrary to what Trudeau & Co. have been saying) the issue was never whether SNC’s 9,000 Canadian workers would lose their jobs, but rather, only for whom they would continue to be working.

“Yes, the 9,000 people will get a job. I have no doubt whatsoever about that,” Mr. Bruce said. “But they’ll be working probably for a U.S. company." 

Wow.

With those words, Bruce has effectively implied that Canada’s prime minister is either a liar, or was hopelessly ill-informed by his senior staffers. Either way, it begs for an RCMP investigation and for a thorough review by the ethics committee.

https://www.straight.com/news/1216926/martyn-brown-pardon-my-french-prim...

NorthReport

The Jane Philpott shocker, neuroscience, and questions about the character of Justin Trudeau

 

But here's the central question facing Canadians.

Is Trudeau a con artist—or, as Macleans suggested, an "imposter"? Or did he genuinely believe he was acting in the public interest when he claimed that 9,000 jobs were in jeopardy if SNC-Lavalin didn't obtain a deferred prosecution agreement?

Here's what we know now.

Yesterday, SNC-Lavalin's CEO, Neil Bruce, rejected Liberal suggestions that 9,000 jobs could vanish without a DPA.

Bruce told Radio-Canada that many of his company's Canadian employees would be snapped up by other engineering and construction companies.

That was also pointed out on this website last month by B.C. resident Phil Le Good. He keeps a close eye on the construction and engineering sector.

Yet the 9,000-jobs line was repeatedly peddled in the media.

The next bombshell on this story came from a former senior cabinet minister, Jane Philpott.

She told Macleans magazine that there's more to the SNC-Lavalin story than has been revealed to date.

She's particularly troubled by the government's insistence on muzzling former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Trudeau's cabinet has refused to waive cabinet confidentiality after January 14 so Wilson-Raybould can tell more of her story to the Commons justice committee.

"If nothing wrong took place, then why don’t we waive privilege on the whole issue and let those who have something to say on it speak their minds and share their stories?" Philpott declared to journalist Paul Wells.

Moreover, Philpott said it was an "insult" for Finance Minister Bill Morneau to suggest that she quit cabinet as an expression of personal friendship with Wilson-Raybould.

So there you have it: two of the most powerful women in Trudeau's cabinet—one a medical doctor, the other a former prosecutor—have walked out on him.

A third, Celina R. Caesar-Chavannes, has quit the Liberal caucus.

Caesar-Chavannes has an undergraduate biology degree from the University of Toronto, an MBA in health-care management, and an executive MLA. She's also been an international research consultant.

These are three very well-educated women, one of whom has extensive experience dealing with offenders in the criminal justice system. Two others have a keen interest in science and health care.

What are their conclusions about Trudeau that the public might not be aware of?

https://www.straight.com/news/1217036/jane-philpott-shocker-neuroscience...

Pondering

Trudeau didn't claim that SNC-Lavalin said anything about jobs. 

TORONTO — SNC-Lavalin's local employees will be forced to work for foreign competitors if the embattled engineering firm is barred from bidding on federal contracts, diminishing its role as rare Canadian global champion, the company's CEO said Wednesday.

https://www.thespec.com/news-story/9232017-snc-lavalin-ceo-says-employee...

and...

https://business.financialpost.com/news/whats-next-for-snc-lavalin-five-...

Though it is not known if SNC itself made such a threat, shifting headquarters to another jurisdiction — with the United Kingdom being the most likely destination — would not be out of the realm of possibility for the company. SNC already has significant operations in the U.K., where in 2017 it bought WS Atkins plc, a design, engineering and project management consultancy, for $3.6 billion. While a move might appear to offer SNC a fresh start and give it the opportunity to negotiate future concessions from a different, potentially more accommodating government, most company watchers see the option as more of a bargaining chip than a real plan. “Moving could reduce the uncertainty, but I just don’t see how this happens,” ....

Quebec Premier Francois Legault has weighed in, warning that the company could be susceptible to a takeover or significant job attrition given its weakened state. Those concerns raise the possibility that one or more of the major players in Quebec could step up and buy the company outright. 

Trudeau never said that SNC-Lavalin claimed jobs would be lost. I don't need the weatherman to tell me there is still a chance of snow in Quebec before summer. 

The point of putting SNC-Lavalin on trial is to do harm to the company as punishment. When companies are harmed it usually results in job losses below the board of directors and executive level. 

Apparently the Conservatives and the NDP don't give a shit that the actual criminals who perpetrated the crimes are laughing all the way to the back. 

The important thing is to punish the company and workers not the wealthy people that run it. I bet executive compensation has even gone up throughout all this. 

This is all political theatre intended to distract and keep people bickering over all kinds of little shit while corporations continue to abuse their power in Canada and the rest of the world. 

Trade deals should obviously contain mimimum corporate taxation rules. Subsidizing industries is against the rules because it creates unfair advantages. Tax breaks are a massive form of direct subsidy. I can't believe that all the brilliant people negotiating trade deals didn't think of it. To state the obvious trade deals are being written for corporations not people under the guise of lowering prices for consumers. 

So yeah, I still don't see the point of punishing people who had nothing to do with the corruption at SNC-Lavalin instead of punishing the actual criminals who did the bribing. It is "instead of" because there is no hoopla over the executives. There is no political or media focus on that aspect of the story. Maybe smoke and mirrors is the better expression. 

We are all earnestly debating what the Liberals and Conservatives want us to be debating with the aid of the MSM.

bekayne

NorthReport wrote:

The Jane Philpott shocker, neuroscience, and questions about the character of Justin Trudeau

 

But here's the central question facing Canadians.

Is Trudeau a con artist—or, as Macleans suggested, an "imposter"? Or did he genuinely believe he was acting in the public interest when he claimed that 9,000 jobs were in jeopardy if SNC-Lavalin didn't obtain a deferred prosecution agreement?

Here's what we know now.

Yesterday, SNC-Lavalin's CEO, Neil Bruce, rejected Liberal suggestions that 9,000 jobs could vanish without a DPA.

Bruce told Radio-Canada that many of his company's Canadian employees would be snapped up by other engineering and construction companies.

That was also pointed out on this website last month by B.C. resident Phil Le Good. He keeps a close eye on the construction and engineering sector.

Yet the 9,000-jobs line was repeatedly peddled in the media.

The next bombshell on this story came from a former senior cabinet minister, Jane Philpott.

She told Macleans magazine that there's more to the SNC-Lavalin story than has been revealed to date.

She's particularly troubled by the government's insistence on muzzling former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Trudeau's cabinet has refused to waive cabinet confidentiality after January 14 so Wilson-Raybould can tell more of her story to the Commons justice committee.

"If nothing wrong took place, then why don’t we waive privilege on the whole issue and let those who have something to say on it speak their minds and share their stories?" Philpott declared to journalist Paul Wells.

Moreover, Philpott said it was an "insult" for Finance Minister Bill Morneau to suggest that she quit cabinet as an expression of personal friendship with Wilson-Raybould.

So there you have it: two of the most powerful women in Trudeau's cabinet—one a medical doctor, the other a former prosecutor—have walked out on him.

A third, Celina R. Caesar-Chavannes, has quit the Liberal caucus.

Caesar-Chavannes has an undergraduate biology degree from the University of Toronto, an MBA in health-care management, and an executive MLA. She's also been an international research consultant.

These are three very well-educated women, one of whom has extensive experience dealing with offenders in the criminal justice system. Two others have a keen interest in science and health care.

What are their conclusions about Trudeau that the public might not be aware of?

https://www.straight.com/news/1217036/jane-philpott-shocker-neuroscience...

Brain scans? Isn't phrenology enough?

voice of the damned

It's reasonable to conclude that people with these particular anomalies are likely to be less trustworthy than the average person. At the very least, they're likely to have less empathy.

Isn't that something Canadians deserve to know the next time they walk into the ballot box?

It raises a legitimate question whether anyone entering federal politics should have to undergo this screening.

If we're allowed to have access to their financial-disclosure statements, why not their brain scans?

Especially if this holds the prospect of ferreting out con artists.

WTF, Straight?!

NorthReport

The Liberals need to seriously consider changing their Leader, and all the trashing of the NDP does is ensure the Conservatives will form the next government in October, as Leger has just released a poll that is showing the Liberals trailing the Conservatives is picking up momentum.

 

NorthReport

Rumours abound today that Wilson-Raybould and Philpott were told to stay away from the House of Commons. If true it is absolutely outrageous that sitting Members of Parliament were told not to attend Parliament.  

Singh's approach to this continuing and apparently growing SNC scandal, which is to hold a public inquiry is the right one. 

NorthReport

On and on it goes, where it stops nobody knows!

As MPs pull all-nighter, Philpott breathes fresh life into SNC-Lavalin scandal

https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2019/03/21/mps-continue-voting-maratho...

NorthReport

Another day, another Liberal scandal?

Political interference may have helped scuttle investigation of Canadian corporation

Ottawa MP Andrew Leslie intervened in independent process to support wealthy ‘friends’

 

In the end, the complaint was rejected, after Liberal MP Andrew Leslie intervened on behalf of the companies’ owners, Jamilah Taib Murray and Sean Murray. The NCP initially criticized Leslie’s involvement, then erased any reference to it from a revised final report.

But this wasn’t the first time the committee had made what was supposed to be a final decision.

In the wake of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the case highlights Canada’s hands-off approach to regulating multinational corporations, and the ease with which powerful companies can call on political allies in government to intervene in ostensibly independent processes.

The OECD’s top anti-bribery official has criticized the handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair, arguing that it amounts to “interference with prosecutorial autonomy.” While the NCP is far from a court of law, it is the forum for oversight of Canadian multinationals’ adherence to OECD guidelines, which “represent the only multilaterally-endorsed comprehensive code of conduct that 48 countries including Canada, have committed to promote.”

For his part, Leslie doesn’t see a problem with his intervention in the NCP process.

“I would consider them, among many, to be my friends,” Leslie told Ricochet regarding his relationship with the Murrays following a meet-and-greet event in his riding in early December 2018. “The corrected record will show that it’s the MP’s responsibility to advocate on behalf of their citizens.”

Contacted again by Ricochet before publication, Leslie declined the opportunity to comment further. A staffer said the MP had “nothing to add to the story.”

 

https://ricochet.media/en/2553/political-interference-may-have-helped-sc...

NorthReport

Liberals’ caucus decisions murky despite law meant to clarify membership and expulsion

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2019/03/20/liberals-caucus-deci...

NorthReport

We're for the middle class - right!

Refugee board chair’s car and chauffeur raise eyebrows

Mar 20 2019 — Nicholas Keung —  — The head of Canada’s refugee board has been given a car and chauffeur at a time his office is stretched trying to tackle a surge of asylum seekers entering from the U.S., the Star has learned. Richard Wex, who was appointed chair of the beleaguered Immigration and Refugee Board in July, is the first person 

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2019/03/20/refugee-board-chairs-car-...

 

NorthReport

NDP’s Blaikie doing very well Live presently on Power and Politics on the CBC

NorthReport

Renters get screwed over once again, this time by Trudeau

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2019/03/20/New-Budget-Cult-Home-Ownership/

NorthReport

Canadian are owed the truth and Trudeau will pay the price for his antics. What in the world is Trudeau afraid of that will come out?

https://www.hilltimes.com/2019/03/21/shenanigans-jaw-dropping-report-colour-marathon-house-vote/193463

 

NorthReport

Remember Wilson-Raybould using the term ‘Saturday Nite Massacre’ This scandal has been ongoing now for 7 weeks and obviously is still going to be in the news as Philpott stated she will be continuing to speak out on the SNC scandal

One thing is abundantly clear: If the Liberals were not terrified about what could come out into the public realm Wilson-Raybould and Philpott would have been booted out of the Caucus weeks ago

This appears to be a much bigger issue than the Liberals are letting on and some people are now wondering if the government could fall over this SNC scandal

https://www.hilltimes.com/2019/03/21/shenanigans-jaw-dropping-report-colour-marathon-house-vote/193463

NorthReport

It’s time to tell the rest of the SNC-Lavalin story

https://www.thestar.com/politics/political-opinion/2019/03/21/its-time-t...

NorthReport

I hope Jagmeet keeps talking with Jody & Jane. That would be the 3 Js, eh!

The Liberal caucus isn't worthy of Jane Philpott

 

To know Jane Philpott is to understand the devastating impact her condemnation of the government's SNC-Lavalin behavior registers on the prime minister and his foot soldiers.

This medical doctor turned Liberal rookie MP is not a coattail-clinging, talking-point-reciting lightweight in the caucus. She was extremely popular and has consistently displayed lofty principle and public service dedication in three difficult ministerial assignments.

If you were scanning the Trudeau cabinet for high-calibre material before her resignation, Jane Philpott would be the solid frame holding up a lot of cracked balsa wood doors and shelving.

That’s why her Maclean's interview was arguably even more destructive to the Trudeau government's innocence-proclaiming narrative than the original incendiary Jody Wilson-Raybould testimony. Unlike the former attorney-general, Philpott had no personal skin in the game.

Yet she flat-out insists there's more to the SNC-Lavalin scandal and accuses the PMO of shutting down the story before it can be fully told.

Remember, this is not a Conservative MP seeking blood in an election year. This is a Liberal seeking re-election who abandoned ministerial perks and pay on principle and speaks out knowing the painful price will be caucus isolation.

Compounding the damage she has inflicted this week is the shredding of economic arguments bolstering the prime minister's strange fixation on saving SNC-Lavalin from itself. Top SNC Lavalin executive Neil Bruce brushed aside the prime minister's claim that sparing the company from a trial is vital to protecting jobs and its Quebec headquarters. That’s simply not the case, Bruce said.

And so, from within caucus and from their supposed strongest ally in the private sector, the Trudeau government continues to be badly battered by controversy without an end in sight.

The Liberal-engineered justice committee shutdown was not successfully dwarfed by a goodie-laced budget which has already been largely forgotten.

And imagine the discomfort for Liberals now as they're forced to shut down a second investigation, this one by the ethics committee, to probe what two of their own colleagues say is an unfinished story.

As for Jane Philpott, her fate is still to be determined. She has spoken her truth to the highest power – the general public.

For that, she'll become a pariah whose principled position will stand in unfavorable contrast to fellow MPs obediently carrying the increasingly tattered Liberal flag into an election they might not win because of her.

Perhaps Jane Philpott should simply quit the Liberal caucus. They're not worthy of her.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/don-martin-s-blog/don-martin-the-liberal...

NorthReport

The political party approach to politics has destroyed proper representation in Canada's Parliament

The stifling conformity of party discipline

​Seeking information, offering suggestions, arguing, saying no — these are all things that backbenchers should be doing regularly inside caucus.​

 

 

http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/march-2019/the-stifling-conformi...

NorthReport

'He's not a bad person, but …' scandal-hit Justin Trudeau turns voters off

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/21/hes-not-a-bad-person-but-j...

NorthReport

With the Liberals dropping off in the polls, perhaps it is too late for that!

Will Trudeau call the federal election early?

https://www.thestar.com/politics/political-opinion/2019/03/20/will-trude...

NorthReport

Probably my biggest concern about where we are headed

Growing list of Liberal hypocrisies risks ushering in right-wing populism to Canada

 

 PMO/Adam Scotti

 

With their recent actions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government risk creating the conditions for right-wing populism to flourish in Canada.

The trend is becoming clear in the West: if the choice is between out of touch, elitist, neoliberal corporatists, or right-wing populists, the right-wing populists have a good shot.

The defense against nationalist populism is not to mock and scoff at its adherents or call them a "basket of deplorables." It is, as the Liberals promised, introducing an honest, transparent and ethical government that shows enough respect for the electorate to make an earnest attempt at fulfilling its promises. However, the Liberals are beginning to demonstrate the type of arrogance and hypocrisy that led to the rejection of Clinton in the U.S. and delivered the Brexit vote in the U.K.

Across Europe and the U.S., establishment politicians have their backs against the wall because of their inability to defend free-trade and globalization, because of their links to shady financing and crony capitalism, but mostly because of their doublespeak. The electorate can handle a questionable policy here and there or a few contradictions in words and action -- what they are in no mood for is the kind of hypocrisy that takes them for dummies.

Surely the Liberals have taken stock of Brexit, Trump and the rise of the so-called "alt-right." There are some international journalists who frame Trudeau and Canada as the last bulwark in the West against the fascist mobs overturning the global liberal order. Yet we all heard the "Lock her up" chant in Alberta last month -- and we know the political ideology behind it.

Canada is not there yet, but we are nearing the precipice. It is not insignificant that we see the boundaries of our political discourse pushed to the far right by certain Conservative leadership candidates. Nor is it insignificant that Rob Ford held the mayorship of the largest city in Canada. If the general slide of western democracies toward cultural and economic nationalism hasn't served as a warning, the Liberals might be more disconnected from the changing political tides than any of us can imagine.

Our prime minister trumpeted his own party's "Open and Accountable Government" guide. He then proceeded to make a mockery of it with ongoing cash-for-access fundraising. Overall donations (and foreign donations) to the Trudeau Foundation have skyrocketed in the past two years, from $172,211 in 2014 to $731,753 last year. The electorate is right to be suspicious of why all this new money is flowing into the Trudeau Foundation.

Justin Trudeau lectures Canadians about women's rights and calls himself a feminist. He then sells $15 billion of weapons to the Saudi Arabian internal security force and delivers a press release from a gender-segregated place of worship. He says we are not at war with ISIS, yet we get reports that our special forces are regularly engaged in ground combat alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq.

The Liberals said 2015 would be the last first-past-the-post election, then they did everything they could to make sure it couldn't happen. Critics were right to point out the whole process was a charade.

The electorate turned on Hillary Clinton for her influence peddling, arrogance and disconnection from the masses -- and it is fair to say that in many circles, the same general narrative is fortifying around Trudeau.I t's as if Trudeau is taking cues from one of Clinton's unreleased speeches to Wall Street, unearthed in her hacked emails: "So, you need both a public and a private position."

Both Trudeau and Clinton engaged in cash-for-access fundraising, leading to personal donations to their family foundations. Both seem hopelessly out of touch with the electorate -- Trudeau with his celebrity persona, and Clinton with her millions received for giving speeches to Wall Street. Both may not have entered the public theatre, or have had success there, without a recognizable family name. Both talk a lot about the middle class, but neither seems to have much understanding of the sensibilities and struggles of those without university degrees.

Trudeau deserves credit for making some bold headway on certain files, such as the legalization of pot, and striking a climate deal with the provinces. However, Trudeau's political instincts are drifting so far out of touch these days that it seems he is either unaware of the pressure western democracies are facing, or he is arrogant enough to believe that his image-over-substance approach is enough to stem the tides of right-wing populism in Canada. Wishful thinking.

The antidote to right-wing populism lies not in labelling its adherents racist, xenophobic or sexist, but rather in providing a clear alternative in a transparent and ethical government that shows enough respect for its electorate to not speak from one side of its mouth and govern from the other. Trudeau still has time to redirect the story, but for now, an undeniable narrative is taking root around him -- and the result could be dangerously close to an upswing in nationalist populism.

Hailing from Newfoundland, Greg Squires is an educator, writer and adventurer who is interested in the intersection of education, culture and politics, with an eye for media criticism. He has lived and worked in multiple provinces, the U.K., Qatar and the U.S.

Please chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Image: PMO/Adam Scotti

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/views-expressed/2017/01/growing-list-lib...

NorthReport

Bring back Gerry Butts

Why did the PM's ex-principal secretary go, while others are allowed to stay? Either nobody did anything wrong, or everybody did.

https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/bring-back-gerry-butts/

NorthReport

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NorthReport

Trudeau needs to come clean with Canadians

Jagmeet Singh presses Trudeau on prescription drug costs, SNC-Lavalin

https://globalnews.ca/video/5077248/jagmeet-singh-presses-trudeau-on-pre...

NorthReport

NDP surges in poll, but Jagmeet Singh's own rating stays in single digits

https://www.burnabynow.com/opinion/blogs/ndp-surges-in-poll-but-jagmeet-...

NorthReport

Trudeau tries, and fails, to change the channel on SNC Scandal

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-trudeau-tries-and-fails...

NorthReport

Trudeau's budget misleads pensioners whose companies go bankrupt

 

 jasonwoodhead23/flickr

The Trudeau government's last budget before the fall election has produced a scattershot series of measures designed to burnish its progressive credentials. It has everything from aid for first-time home buyers to the beginnings of a national pharmacare program to more generous loan repayment terms for students.

But the budget is a big-time fail for one group the government promised to help: workers and pensioners for companies that go bankrupt.

When Sears Canada folded its tent in 2017, its non-Ontario pensioners lost 30 per cent of their income. That is because, as it stands now, if a company goes bankrupt the workers and pensioners are at the back of the line when it comes to dividing the spoils. The preferred creditors are the banks and other financial institutions that have lent the company money. Those businesses often get everything that's owed them, plus interest. Pensioners and active workers who have contributed to pension plans get the leftovers, sometimes nothing at all.

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and seniors' groups such as the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) have long urged the government to make pensioners preferred creditors, to give them "super-priority status" in the event of bankruptcy or insolvency. That would put them at the front of the line. The government has chosen to not heed that advice.

Nor have the Liberals taken up the suggestion that they institute, federally, what Ontario has provincially: mandatory pension insurance to look after pensions and benefits in cases of bankruptcy. It is because of that insurance plan that Sears' retirees in Ontario were protected.

In last year's budget, the Trudeau Liberals promised to do something about situations such as that of the Sears Canada bankruptcy.

They bemoaned the fact that we see "companies, such as Sears Canada, entering the insolvency process with substantial unfunded pension liabilities. As a result, workers and pensioners … are faced with unexpected financial losses that impact their retirement security …"

The Liberal promise of 2018 was to seek "feedback" from pensioners, workers, and companies, and take a "whole-of-government, evidence-based approach" towards what it called "assuring retirement security."

Interested groups came up with some robust suggestions, including Ontario-style mandatory pension insurance and front-of-the-line treatment for workers and retirees.  

Tinkering, but no real change for pensioners, despite confusing language

Budget 2019 does not deliver either of those or any other effective solutions. In fact, it does very little to protect pensioners and employees in the event of bankruptcy. It offers some micro-measures that play around on the edges of the problem. But nothing in the Liberals' 2019 budget will prevent another Sears fiasco.

However, if you were to read the relevant section of the budget document, on page 67 to be exact, you could be forgiven for believing it tells workers and retirees the exact opposite -- that the government intends to fully protect them in the case of bankruptcy.

The relevant section of the budget document is called "Protecting Canadians' Pensions." It states, in black and white, that the government "will protect Canadians' hard-earned benefits by clarifying in federal pension law that if a plan is wound-up, it must still provide the same pension benefits as when it was ongoing."

That sentence seems to mean: Do not worry, pensioner, if your company declares insolvency or goes bankrupt, we, the government, will make sure you continue to receive exactly the same pension and benefits you have been receiving.

Sadly, that is not the case.

That statement in the budget does not, in fact, enunciate a new policy on bankruptcy. It only affirms what is already the case for companies and employee groups that jointly and voluntarily decide to wind up their defined benefit pension plans. (Defined benefit plans are those that provide a guaranteed pension payout to retirees, as opposed to defined contributionplans which are, in essence, glorified retirement savings plans, which do not guarantee any specific level of pension benefit.)

Current federal law provides that all retirees and workers who are part of a defined benefit plan at the time of a voluntary wind-up must continue to get exactly the payments and benefits provided by the plan. Any new regime only applies to those who are hired after the wind-up.

But here's the rub. This law only governs companies that are a going concern, not those that are going bankrupt.

When bankruptcy happens, we do not get an orderly, rules-based wind-up of a pension. We get something grimmer: termination. And in such case, bankruptcy law, not pension law, applies. Without belabouring the point -- federal bankruptcy rules put workers and retirees at the end of the line, after all of those preferred creditors, who must be paid first.

Salutary small measure, but a 'missed opportunity' according to the CLC

What the 2019 budget does provide for is more openness and transparency in the bankruptcy process, and more flexibility for companies going bankrupt.

There is, for instance, a specific measure that will give bankruptcy courts the "ability to review payments made to executives in the lead-up to bankruptcy." That might prevent outrages like the Sears case, where executives got generous bonuses, while the company stiffed retirees.

The budget also allows company pension plans to "transfer the responsibility to provide pensions assets to an insurance company through the purchase of annuities." This measure, the 2019 budget says, will better protect retirees' pensions from the risk of employer insolvency.

Those measures do not get at the heart of the issue, which is the fact that those receiving pensions and those contributing to pension plans have scant protection in the event of bankruptcy.

The CLC has praise for a number of the budget's measures, such as one that will allow low-income seniors who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement to earn up to $5,000 rather than the previous $3,500 before any of their pension income is clawed back. But the labour group considers the paltry and minimalist announcement on bankruptcy and insolvency to be a "missed opportunity."  We can expect groups representing Canada's seniors to concur, once they have had a chance to study what the government is offering.

The budget does make vague reference to planned but non-specified changes to several  pieces of legislation that govern bankruptcy. However, the cruel fact for workers and retirees whose companies might go bankrupt is that there will be little time to make any of those changes before the October election.

Bankruptcy law is of great interest to big banks and other major financial players, and you can be sure the government will tread very lightly indeed when those powerful institutions are affected.

Any changes to the bankruptcy regime will certainly raise alarm bells on Bay Street and throughout the halls of financial power in Canada and elsewhere. If and when this or any future government looks at even tinkering with bankruptcy law, in any way that could have an impact on the "rights" of lenders and investors, you can be sure there will be many, many months of consultation first.

What is most disappointing about the measures in budget 2019 that deal with bankruptcy and pension plans is not their minimalist nature. What is most disturbing is the misleading way the government has announced them.

When the budget states that the government will "clarify" federal pension law, it means just that -- clarification of what exists, not creation of something new. The government plans to reaffirm that in cases where going-concern (not bankrupt or insolvent) companies move from a defined benefit pension plan to another regime, all those inside the plan must be protected. That's all the Liberals plan to do: reaffirm what is already the case.

The current law does nothing to protect workers and retirees in cases of bankruptcy. For those folks, there are only some marginal, minimalist measures in this year's budget, despite the confusing language that might lead some to think the government is doing a lot more than it is.

Karl Nerenberg has been a journalist and filmmaker for more than 25 years. He is rabble's politics reporter.

Photo: jasonwoodhead23/flickr

Help make rabble sustainable. Please consider supporting our work with a monthly donation. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

FURTHER READING

The collapse of Sears Canada should bring change

The downfall of Sears Canada seems tragic and unnecessary, and the devastating blow to its employees should not have been allowed to happen.

Bill Morneau’s ethical challenges and scary pension reform

The finance minister is the sponsor of the now notorious Bill C-27, which would allow federal agencies and crown corporations, such as the CBC and Canada Post, to set up a new kind of pension system for their employees.

SEARS CANADA

PENSIONS

BANKRUPTCY

CA

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NorthReport

 

It's taboo to talk about Canada's real corporate scandal

Matthew Behrens

February 22, 2019

POLITICS IN CANADA

 Adam Scotti/PMO

While the SNC-Lavalin scandal has torn another strip off the "sunny ways" prime minister, there's another corporate scandal that makes the financial figures in that case -- mere hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud and bribes -- seem like pocket change. But no major political party will touch it, which speaks to the manner in which an all-party commitment to bedrock Canadian militarism squelches democratic discourse and strangles any opportunity for real economic justice.

The corporate scandal you won't hear about on the campaign trail is the largest procurement project in Canadian history, one that will result in forking over at least $105 billion in corporate welfare to war manufacturers for a completely unnecessary fleet of Canadian warships.

With every political campaign comes the costing question: how will modest investments in daycare, housing and pharmacare be paid for when Canada struggles with debt and deficits? But the question that will not be asked is whether voters want to mortgage their grandchildren's financial future for a project that will line the pockets of Irving Shipyards and the world's largest war profiteer, Lockheed Martin.

On February 8, the Canadian government awarded the design contract for those warships to Lockheed Martin. Even working from the false assumption that these warships are needed -- no logical rationale has been provided -- critics have pointed out that the design proposed by Lockheed Martin has never been built and tested; hence, any real sense of the cost (and such megaprojects have a way becoming sinkholes for billions robbed from the public purse) is conservative at the estimated $105 billion. Once committed, there is no way the government will say no when Lockheed Martin and Irving Shipyards call out for another $10-$30 billion in "unforeseen costs."

In addition, the lives of Canadian sailors (which have never been a concern for those who order them into conflict from their safe bunkers in Ottawa) will be at risk as well. These megaships, with a limited life expectancy of 25 years, will likely be sitting ducks vulnerable to advanced warfare techniques that will be light years ahead of the eventual finished products. Indeed, as former Canadian navy commander Ken Hansen wrote in December 2018, by the time these warships sail the high seas, they will be essentially obsolete against high-tech weapons systems that remain the world's most maddening annual investment.

Again, even assuming these are needed, what will Canada do after their 25-year life span is over? Spend another $105 billion?

The boondoggle that booted Wilson-Raybould

Canada's warship boondoggles are at the root of the current political crisis swirling around the Liberals. When Trudeau removed Jody Wilson-Raybould from the attorney general's office, he claimed it was a move precipitated by former Treasury Board president Scott Brison's decision to leave politics. But Brison's sudden disappearance from cabinet appears linked to the bizarre case of Vice Admiral Mark Norman, who was arrested by the RCMP for allegedly leaking cabinet secrets related to a Harper-era navy contract that went to Quebec's Davie Shipyards, an Irving Shipyards competitor. It appears that Brison undertook a strenuous campaign to halt the Davie contract on behalf of Irving. He is expected to be called to testify at the Norman trial later this year, but says his resignation has nothing to do with that upcoming court date.

As that court case continues to proceed at a snail's pace, efforts to receive further disclosure will likely unveil even more information about the corporate influence at cabinet level (which is standard practice in Canada, as we have witnessed in cases as diverse as the unending subsidies doled out to tarsands producers and companies like Bombardier, as well as the purchase of a $4.5-billion leaky pipeline last year and the $9.2-billion backstop of the Muskrat Falls megadam).  

While politicians of all stripes will express the usual consternation about corruption in politics, not a soul among them will focus on the new warship scandal. Unfortunately, the addiction to militarism that drives the NDP, the Liberals, the PCs and, in all likelihood, the Greens, will render this a non-issue in 2019 unless we make some noise about it. We saw this addiction in 2015, when Tom Muclair's NDP refused to call for cancellation of the $15-billion Saudi weapons contract. It was a poor decision that prioritized political power games over the lives of Saudi women being tortured in Riyadh prisons and Yemeni children who die at a rate of 10 an hour.

In 2019, there will be no referendum on whether Canadians wish to take on a $105-billion debt that will serve no social purpose whatsoever. Yes, there will be some well-paying jobs in the shipyards, but the majority of the gravy will go to investors in war industries. Imagine that public investment being directed toward renewable energy, clean water in all Indigenous communities, affordable housing, free child care, truly accessible health care, guaranteed annual income support and programs, the arts, tuition, and all the other underfunded programs people need to live decent lives.

Canada's contractor: Unending corruption

Part of the furor over SNC-Lavalin centres around whether a company can be an honest executor of government contracts when it has a high rate of scandal. The Transparency International group reports that even as maligned an institution as the World Bank has banned SNC-Lavalin and its subsidiaries for over 117 instances of corruption. SNC-Lavalin currently claims that it is in pristine shape because the guys involved in defrauding the Libyan people of hundreds of millions of dollars and spending tens of millions on bribes have departed the company. But SNC-Lavalin subsidiaries continue to make the list of banned companies as recently as October 2018, when the World Bank issued a five-year ban to four company branches. In January 2018, an additional five SNC-Lavalin companies were banned when the World Bank found them guilty of fraud and corruption.

But this is the way business has always operated. While SNC-Lavalin was successful in having Canadian law changed to try and protect itself from future prosecutions, the company that has received the Canadian warship design contract -- Lockheed Martin -- is the ultimate master class of corporate corruption.

The U.S. government's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database notes that Lockheed Martin has been found guilty of misconduct in 86 instances since 1995. It's an accepted price of doing business for war industries which can write off their penalties (Lockheed Martin received over $50 billion in U.S. weapons contracts in 2017, while the price for over two decades of bad behaviuor was a paltry $767 million in penalties).

Almost weekly, new misconduct claims arise. Indeed, a mere two weeks ago, Lockheed Martin was subject to a U.S. Justice Department complaint about false claims and kickbacks on a contract to clean up the devastated Hanford nuclear site in Washington State.

For those wondering about the due diligence undertaken by the Canadian government in choosing a company to design Canada's $105-billion warships, it is quite instructive to peruse the readily available public information that Ottawa is quite happy to ignore in plowing ahead. The list of complaints against Lockheed Martin pursued by the U.S. Justice Dept. is massive. It includes failure to pay overtime, falsification of testing records, mismanagement of retirement funds, groundwater contamination, nuclear safety violations at the Oak Ridge plant, contract fraud, deficiencies in radioactive work controls, nuclear waste storage violations, violations of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations, the unauthorized export of classified and unclassified technical data, the failure to comply with requirements for safeguarding classified information, false and fraudulent lease claims, age discrimination, producing defective software on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (a project to which Canada has maddeningly contributed over $500 million in corporate welfare), groundwater cleanup violations, Toxic Substances Control Act violations, overbilling and mischarging the government, wrongful deaths, retaliatory firings, PCB contamination, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, National Labor Relations Act violations, sexual and racial discrimination, procurement fraud, unfair business practices, nuclear reactor safety violations, emissions violations, and whistleblower retaliation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit last September claiming Lockheed Martin "violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits disability discrimination and retaliation for opposing it and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities unless it would cause an undue hardship."

Profit from torture and nuclear weapons

Then there's a little matter of torture, in which Lockheed Martin companies were found complicit early on during the so-called war on terror. Aside from the daily business of corruption, what Lockheed Martin actually produces -- the world's most dangerous weapons -- would appear to be in complete contradiction to all the Trudeau/Chrystia Freeland talk of a rules-based order founded on peace and respect.

Lockheed Martin executives have spoken unabashedly in defence of the Saudi regime's appalling human rights record. On June 23, 2016, the European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, Defenders for Medical Impartiality, and the Arabian Rights Watch Association filed a complaint against the Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin for alleged breaches of OECD guidelines. The companies' products were alleged to have contributed to human rights violations in Yemen by Saudi forces (last August, we learned, without surprise, that the missiles that murdered 40 Yemeni children was made by Lockheed Martin).

Perhaps it is also no accident that the Trudeau government's expressed opposition to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons seems to have been developed in the executive offices of their favoured weapons of mass destruction contractor: Lockheed Martin, which continues to develop the most dangerous nukes the world has ever known. Indeed, the U.S.-based multinational produces the Trident II (D5) nuclear missiles (on average the equivalent of 25 Hiroshima bombs) for U.S. and U.K. arsenals, along with Minuteman III nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles and the new Long Range Stand-Off (LRSO) missile. They are also a primary recipient of the trillion-dollar investment begun by the Obama administration in a new generation of nuclear weapons. 

As Forbes recently reported, "a single D5 equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles carrying nuclear warheads can destroy a small country such as North Korea. A handful of D5s could collapse the entire electrical grid, transportation network and information infrastructure of even the largest countries. And the Navy has hundreds of D5 missiles."

Addicted to militarism

While Lockheed Martin is quite the loathsome corporate entity, Irving is no lovey-dovey Canadian boy scout in the corporate world, instead acting as a privately held company to squeeze as many dollars out of the public purse as possible. As the National Observer reports, Irving and its subsidiaries "don't have to reveal any financial information to the public -- including how much they receive in government handouts, earn in profits, pay in taxes or invest. They also don't pay out dividends to shareholders -- only members of the Irving family presumably receive the wealth."

It was Irving that Scott Brison went to bat for in closed cabinet sessions that led to the arrest of Mark Norman. Meanwhile, the federal government and Irving teamed up to oppose a trade tribunal complaint that alleged the awarding of the warship contract violated a series of trade rules. In their defence, Canada and Irving argued that the warship contract is exempt from normal trade laws because they have invoked a  "national security exception" to keep the issue beyond the tribunal's jurisdiction.

What happens next is entirely up to everyone who lives in this land known as Canada. Are we willing to face up to how our addiction to militarism kills, whether it's the blood of Yemeni children being murdered with Canadian-made and exported weapons or the frozen bodies on Canadian sidewalks because Ottawa continues to invest the largest amount of discretionary funding into war instead of housing for all?

It's certainly a question that will only be on the table if we place it there.

Matthew Behrens is a freelance writer and social justice advocate who co-ordinates the Homes not Bombs non-violent direct action network. He has worked closely with the targets of Canadian and U.S. 'national security' profiling for many years.

Photo: Adam Scotti/PMO

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Do people who have lead a charmed life and who have not been subjected to being yelled at, or have had to deal with angry people, on an ongoing basis, have a clue about the consequences?

MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes leaves Liberal caucus following criticism of Trudeau

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NorthReport

What a bunch of Keystone politicians

Kinda reminds one of a Monty Python skit

Something like Faulty Towers

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2019/03/21/canadians-want-whole-story-on-snc-lavalin-says-former-cabinet-minister-jane-philpott.html

As SNC turmoil continues unabated, Team Trudeau narrowly avoids defeat in the House 

NDPP

NorthReport wrote:

  Retweeted

 Mar 18

Not often you get to see a Heritage moment in the making. cc ⁦

NDPP wrote:

"Canada to extend missions to Iraq and Ukraine': Nothing historic about our continuing   servicing of US imperialism nor NDP collaboration with it either. Nor 'progressive' indifference or even outright cheerleading for it.

NorthReport
NorthReport
Pondering

I'm actually getting a little tired of JWR and Phipott dropping hints and refusing to speak while remaining committed Capital L Liberals that fully support the Liberal agenda in every other way. Are they taking a moral stance or making a power play within the party? If what the Liberals did was so bad then sit as independents or join/support the NDP. As it stands their support is for the Conservatives. 

WWWTT

Pondering wrote:

I'm actually getting a little tired of JWR and Phipott dropping hints and refusing to speak while remaining committed Capital L Liberals that fully support the Liberal agenda in every other way. Are they taking a moral stance or making a power play within the party? If what the Liberals did was so bad then sit as independents or join/support the NDP. As it stands their support is for the Conservatives. 

This comment has merit!

NorthReport

People are talking about the possibility of the government falling over the SNC scandal, and it came close to falling last nite, if it hadn't been for the Speaker's bailing them out, so, so far, so good. Many Canadians including Liberal supporters know what Trudeau really represents now, and they want him gone.

FollowFollow @RadioCanadaInfo

More

L’ex-ministre fédérale de la Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould soumettra des courriels et des messages textes au comité de la justice des Communes

8:18 AM - 22 Mar 2019

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NorthReport

Murray Rankin gave an excellent overview on what has been going on about the SNC Lavalin scandal this morning on CBC radio in Vancouver. Too bad he is stepping down in October.

NorthReport
NorthReport
NorthReport

SNC-Lavalin failed to meet technical threshold for $1.6B LRT contract: sources

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/snc-lavalin-did-not-score-70-per-cent-minimum-lrt2-1.5064746

NorthReport

Wilson-Raybould to provide emails, texts and written statement on SNC-Lavalin affair

Liberal-dominated committee shut down study of allegations of political interference in criminal case

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/wilson-raybould-justice-snc-lavalin-1.5067543

NorthReport

If Jody and Jane quit, or or turfed from the Liberal Caucus, they will not be admitted to the NDP Caucus until they are elected as NDPers as the NDP does not accept Floor-Crossers.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

  Resign! Off with their heads!    

NorthReport

Scheer is Trudeau's biggest asset! 

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