One of the most infuriating things about many politicians and governments during this pandemic is their perceived need to defend indefensible positions right up until the inevitable moment they change their minds. Classic example: In question period on Friday, just a couple of hours before the Liberal government barred foreign nationals who have visited any of seven southern African nations within the past two weeks, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra wasn’t just rebuffing Conservative demands that such restrictions be implemented. He was also trying to score partisan points off the very suggestion. “Forgive me for not taking advice from the Conservative Party that (sic) they can’t even ask their own MPs to get vaccinated,” he sneered. He alleged the Conservatives had also asked for the PCR test requirement before entering Canada to be scrapped, and waxed incredulous. “Do they want to open the border or do they want to close the border?” The Conservatives had indeed called for an end to the PCR-test requirement, albeit only at land border crossings. But it was the Liberals who actually ended it, albeit only for Canadians who have been away for less than 72 hours. It was also the Liberals who eliminated mandatory on-arrival testing, which Ontario Premier Doug Ford, among others, is now demanding be reimplemented.
Supporters in London gathered to show solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people on Friday night, who are fighting a natural gas pipeline project in British Columbia. The rally, titled Allies in Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en, happened at 6 p.m. across from the Aeolian Hall where Indigenous singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie was scheduled to play later that night. Around 40 people came out to show their support and listen to two Mohawk activists who had recently travelled out to the Gidimt’en checkpoint in northern B.C. to stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. The two were among those arrested at the most recent blockade that was taken down by RCMP. “I have seen river poisoned, I have seen a river contaminated beyond repair, so when I saw this pristine, untouched, alive water source I know we had to do something to protect it,” said Mohawk activist Layla Staats. Staats said she has been working on a documentary about water and boiled water advisories on reserves, which is what prompted her to want to go out to the camp with fellow members of her community. “This is not just about their river, this is not just this fight, this is not just them alone, and we are all standing together to say this is not right, to say there is no consent, and when we say no it needs to be heard.”
Gas prices are expected to drop by at least 10 cents per litre in most of Canada this weekend after the price of oil plunged Friday, one analyst says. Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said prices will drop by either 10 or 11 cents by Sunday depending on a province’s tax system. “This is right across the country, with the exception of the Maritime provinces — Atlantic Canada — which have a regulated system, so they may have to wait unfortunately until next week,” he told Global News. McTeague said provinces with an HST system will see a net drop of 11 cents per litre at the pumps come Sunday. He said Quebec will also see a 11-cent drop. Provinces with GST will see a drop of 10 cents per litre, he said. “What we saw today was panic on the world markets as a result of the COVID variant coming out of South Africa,” McTeague said. Energy stocks took a beating Friday as the price of oil fell more than 13 per cent. But McTeague says he doesn’t expect the drop in gas prices to last. “There is a strong sense, and I would agree with that, that it’s overdone and when U.S. American energy traders get back to work Monday morning after their long weekend, we may very well see the prices move back up as early as Wednesday,” he said.
While the experts say it’s not Ottawa’s fault, it’s still the government’s problem. It’s hard to point to a single factor behind rising prices. Droughts in Canada and other countries reduced crop yields. The pandemic reduced production in manufacturing plants as consumers emerged from lockdowns with money they’re both willing and able to spend. “What we’re seeing around the world is supply chain bottlenecks,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said this week when asked by a reporter if the Liberals’ plan to spend another $100 billion on post-pandemic programs is to blame for the jump in inflation. “We are seeing higher energy prices. Energy is a global commodity. When those prices are higher in one country, they are higher around the world. We’re seeing a basic challenge that shutting down the world’s economy turned out to be a much simpler process than turning the global economy back on.” But for a government that remains relentlessly focused on what it likes to call “the middle class and those working hard to join it,” inflation isn’t some abstract economic concept. It’s making life less affordable for those very same people.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his two minutes on the world stage at the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP26) to urge other countries to follow Canada’s example and impose an escalating carbon tax on their citizens and businesses. Trudeau called for other countries to join together and introduce a series of carbon taxes that would cover 60 percent of global carbon emissions by 2030. His solicitation went unanswered. Apparently, it makes no difference that these carbon taxes are a greater burden for lower-income Canadians. A Finance Canada analysis on the carbon tax recently concluded that “increases in transportation fuel and home heating expenses would disproportionately impact lower and middle-income households [and] those living in single detached households or those without control over the energy efficiency of their dwellings that use heating oil.” AND THERE IS MORE… the GST is collected on top of all of the various carbon taxes. The federal government is taxing its carbon taxes – and pocketing it. In 2019, the CTF estimates Ontarians paid $243 million in GST on top of carbon tax charges. For Canadians, the government’s green agenda and its carbon tax regime means more taxes and higher costs of living. We’re to drive less, lower the thermostat, and still pay increasing taxes to fund Canada’s and the UN’s climate change programs.
Liberal cabinet ministers deflected concerns about the surging price of milk by saying they’re focused on other issues, such as housing and childcare. “Indeed, that’s why we’re working on affordability,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday when asked about rising dairy costs. An investigation published by Global News on Tuesday showed a recent record-breaking increase to the price of milk paid to farmers would have been about 20 per cent less if the normal method for setting prices was used. The investigation also found growing discontent among restaurant and retail groups over how prices are set. Mary Ng, minister of international trade, echoed Trudeau’s remarks when asked to comment on concerns about the rising price of milk. “Affordability really matters,” Ng said. “And this is why we are very focused on affordable childcare as well as why we’re very, very focused on affordable housing. But we’ve also been clear: this government is going to protect the supply management sector.” Supply management is a government-controlled system that imposes quotas for how much milk farmers can produce and guarantees a minimum price for all the milk they sell.