Early February updates

SNC-Lavalin Scandal

We are just receiving news today about potential obstruction of justice on the part of the PMO and the PMO overrode justice minister Judy Wilson-Reyboud to cut a deal.  Its early days and we will have to see how this plays out.  With people having a low opinion of politicians and this being somewhat complicated, I would not be surprised if this goes nowhere.  But if it gets any legs, it just might make the election even somewhat more competitive.

Nanaimo by-election

Good showing for both NDP and BC Liberals while disaster for Greens and BC Conservatives.  NDP won, which is quite unusual for a governing party in BC and only happened a few times in the past 50 years.  And to top it off they even increased their share of the popular vote.  At the same time the BC Liberals saw a bigger jump in the popular vote than the NDP and if you applied a uniform swing it would more or less re-produce the results of 2005 and 2009.  Also best BC Liberal showing in this traditional NDP riding since 2005.  On the other hand the Greens collapsed in half suggesting much of their support is returning to their traditional support so with PR defeated, it is looking more and more likely this is the best the Greens will ever have it.  BC Conservatives only got 2% thus suggesting unless another nail biter like 2017, they are unlikely to make a difference in who wins or not.  Also on another note, apparently Wilkinson has asked three MLAs to not run again while with their new website is trying to attract more millennials, women and minorities.  I believe this is a good thing as while the BC Liberals did a good job while in power on balance, it is time to turn the page and bring up a new generation of BC Liberals rather than stick with the old guard and also ensure the party is as representative as possible of 21st century BC.

Trudeau, taxes and trust fund

Tories are making a big deal about how Trudeau is a trust fund boy who doesn’t understand what the average Canadian faces.  As someone who like Trudeau comes from a privileged family, I think it is true many in these situations don’t fully understand the struggles of the average person, but that shouldn’t disqualify them from running.  After all they can appoint a strong finance minister who hopefully is attuned to those concerns.  As for taxing the rich, I think we need to move beyond whether it is a good idea as the left says or bad as right says and instead figure out what is the optimal top marginal rate and then adjust accordingly to match.  In some cases like Ontario today, it is too high and needs to go down, while a few years ago in Alberta when they had the flat tax, it was too low so it was right to go up.  For a modern developed country with a modern social welfare system, I think having both a progressive, simple, and competitive tax system is necessary.  As such the top rate should be over 40% when you include all levels of government, but ideally in the low 40s, only over 45% if you face a large deficit like Alberta and Ontario do, but BC doesn’t and only over 50% in case of natural disasters and wars.  We also should recognize that entrepreneurship and success are things we should celebrate, but at the same time understand it is important to have a social safety net to look after those who fall behind.

Quebec single tax form

Scheer is promising to meet Legault’s demand of a single tax form managed by the province of Quebec.  I support the idea of a single tax form as that will make it easier for taxpayers, but I believe this should be done by Quebec handing over responsibility to the CRA as every other province and territory has done, not having CRA transfer federal taxation responsibility to them.  Once we allow one province to do this, we could see other provinces do this and this would make tax treaties and dealing with tax evasion more difficult.

Canada’s stance on Venezuela

I am no fan of the Trudeau government, but fully support their stance on Venezuela which is as per constitution recognizing Guaido as the legitimate leader not Maduro and calling on Maduro to respect human rights and call free and fair elections shortly.  I am shocked and appalled some in the NDP and some unions like CUPE are defending Maduro.  It appears ideological label is more important to them that actual policies.  I have been critical of people on both right and left who judge leaders base on ideological labels rather than actual policies.  One can be a social democrat and still abhor Maduro and his abusive dictatorship and repression of the Venezuelan people, just as one can be a conservative and dislike right wing populists with authoritarian leanings like Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban, and Salvini of Italy.

 

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