Bernier’s People’s Party and Quick Ontario update

Bernier’s People’s Party has signed up a lot of members, over 30,000 and he does seem to be drawing large crowds.  Despite this he is only polling between 1-4%.  My guess is the party will go nowhere for two reasons: 1.  Defeating Trudeau trumps all other considerations for those on the political right and the Scheer led Conservatives are better positioned to do that than the Bernier led People’s party; 2. Amongst swing voters, Bernier’s views are way too ideological and extreme.  He is essentially Tim Hudak on steroids and while a minority would love to see government dramatically reduced, most Canadians generally believe in a balance between laissez faire capitalism and socialism and its simply which direction one leans, not about being purely one or the other.  While I support some of his ideas like ending corporate welfare (although I think exceptions should be made during recessions in which failure to bail them out would make it deeper), lowering income taxes, and allowing greater private sector role in health care, others like eliminating magazine restrictions for firearms and abolishing the capital gains tax I do not.  More importantly I believe Bernier is making decisions based on ideology not evidence and I don’t care which side of the spectrum you are on, we are never well served when one blindly follows a certain ideology.  Instead I prefer a leader who looks at what works and doesn’t and goes based on that and what side of the spectrum the policy falls on is secondary.  On supply management for example, I am not a fan of the system, but the reality is that as long as the US and EU continue to subsidize their agriculture; it is either keep the current system or move to subsidizing ours and I prefer the former as it doesn’t cost taxpayers a single cent.  Having a truly free market system in dairy, poultry, and eggs may sound nice, but only works if all our trading partners move to such system and that seems unlikely in the forseeable future.  So this is a case where unlike Bernier, I put pragmatism ahead of ideology.

In Ontario politics, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MPP, Amanda Simard has quit the PC caucus over the cuts to Francophone services.  I support her decision since although my view on the changes are a bit different, I believe the job is an MPP is first and foremost to represent their constituents not their party.  If we didn’t have such rigid party discipline like the UK has, it would be possible to oppose an individual government decision while still remain in the party.  I’ve long believed this is something we need to change.  On the French language services changes, the part about eliminating the commissioner seems ill advised as this just creates anger and division while meagre savings.  If there were huge savings, I might say it was a fair trade off, but there are not.  Due to the sensitivity of minority language rights, I believe any changes should only be made after consultations and likewise the benefits from cutting those services must outweigh the harm from reduced access to service in their language and the divisions it creates.  In this case, I do not believe that threshold has been met.  On the cancellation of the French university, that makes a bit more sense, especially considering Toronto’s Francophone community is barely 1% of the population.  I still nonetheless do support the idea of a French university, but due to Ontario’s fiscal situation, I can understand postponing it until after the budget is balanced.  I also think Ottawa as opposed to Toronto would probably be a more logical place to create one as Ottawa does have a large Francophone population unlike Toronto.  Perhaps expanding an existing college or university and creating a Francophone section would be more cost efficient.  Still even if I agree with this decision, I think the government should have consulted Francophones first and perhaps even explored the possibility of having the federal government who is unconcerned about the deficit or Quebec government who has a healthy surplus funding it.  That being said, I think with the tough decisions the province has ahead, Ford was absolutely the wrong choice as leader and while not likely to happen, I really do hope for the sake of the province the party dumps him sooner than later as I believe he is a stain on conservatism and asides from the rabid base who always vote Conservative, he just tars all conservatives in a negative fashion amongst centrist swing voters.

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