“The word ‘brutalize’ is now employed quite wrongly to mean harsh or cruel treatment meted out by the strong to the weak…but in fact it means something subtler, namely the coarsening effect that this exercise of cruelty produces in the strong.” – Christopher Hitchens
In his book, Why Orwell Matters, Christopher Hitchens explores George Orwell’s time as a policeman in Burma where he was engaged doing “the dirty work of the Empire.”
Immediately upon his arrival in Burma, Orwell witnesses a white policeman savagely kicking an Asian man which elicits murmurs of approval from a group of British onlookers.
Hitchens explains that this illustrates two forms of brutalization. The white policeman brutalized the Asian man and the British onlookers had become brutalized, coarsened, by that act of cruelty.
We’re very aware of the first form of brutalization but are blind to the second, in fact we justify our collective brutal acts (the victim, those idiots wearing masks, had it coming) or excuse it (we’re frustrated by covid and acting out our stress).
Before we get to the connection with Pierre Poilievre, we’re going to take a slight detour to discuss an act of brutalization that occurred in Victoria BC.
The inner-city neighbourhood of James Bay was besieged by trucker protesters every weekend starting in January 2022. The residents, many like the man dying of cancer and his desperate spouse, were trapped in their homes, beyond the reach of ambulances, at the mercy of angry protesters who blasted their horns, gunned their engines, and screamed at them if they ventured outdoors. All this was justified (in the eyes of the protesters) because they were protesting restrictions that had been lifted months ago.
In March the police set up blockades to prevent the truckers from entering the neighbourhood. The protesters responded by gathering on the perimeter, standing their trucks, and screaming “honk, honk” at all and sundry.
Consider the lunacy of this.
If James Bay had been a worksite and an employer demanded the protesters come into work on their days off and perform a repetitive, stupid task, outdoors in the pouring rain for hours on end, he’d have been cited for violating OH&S and labour laws.
And yet, the protestors had been so brutalized, their humanity and compassion so coarsened. that they continued to intimidate the residents of James Bay (while also making assess of themselves).
Enter Pierre Poilievre
After test driving Andrew Scheer, a social conservative masquerading as a centrist of sorts, and Erin O’Toole, a sorta-centrist pretending to be a hard-right conservative, the CPC finally elected a guy they could all get behind, the pugilistic, belligerent Pierre Poilievre.
Poilievre won by blaming Trudeau (it’s the government’s fault and if it isn’t, they’re not doing enough to fix it) and then going one step farther. He whipped up his supporters’ rage, fear, and frustration by pandering to conspiracy theorists, hobnobbing with the trucker convoy, attracting the support of extremists like Diagonal, and hitting all the right notes with the anti-vaxxers.
He appears to take no responsibility when the angry horde interprets his call to action as permission to carry on with blockades and continue to harass and intimidate healthcare workers, politicians, journalists, and ordinary people going about their daily business.
This is irresponsible and dangerous and has to stop.
This time is different
Just to be clear, politicians of all stripes try to tap into the public’s fears to garner votes, and yes, everyone is frustrated by the years of uncertainty over covid, inflation, the high cost of food, fuel and housing, but this time it’s different.
Why? Two reasons.
One, Poilievre’s behavior is more extreme than anything we’ve seen in the past. (No conservative politician in their right mind would have been caught schmoozing with the crowd blockading downtown Ottawa, let alone arguing their case on their behalf).
Two, we’re at a point in history unlike any other. The country is coming out of a pandemic that upended the global economy. Russia is fighting what appears to be a losing war with Ukraine, making Putin even more unpredictable. The EU is under stress, the UK is reeling, the US is on the verge of a major meltdown and authoritarian governments are on the rise around the world.
This is the time for Canadian politicians to pull the nation together so we are prepared to meet the challenges facing us; this is not the time to brutalize its citizens and enflame us with half-truths and conspiracy theories.
Because unlike George Orwell, who escaped the brutalizing effect of colonial Burma, we have nowhere to go. Canada is our home and we cannot allow Poilievre or anyone else to brutalize its citizens in a ruthless quest for power.
Susan: Thanks for another great blog. I think Pierre Poliveire is very cunning and is using anger, fear, and manipulation to garner support. Unfortunately, people are falling for it. Inflation is an issue that is worldwide. How can Pierre Poliveire deal with this issue? Many different factors are causing inflation to be at the level that it is. Canada is still doing better in comparison to other industrialized nations, in relation to inflation. Also, housing prices are very high, all over the world. How will Pierre Poliveire reduce the higher costs of housing? Pierre Poliveire was in the CPC, when housing prices were very high, and the CPC did nothing about this. The trucker blockades and protests in Ottawa were costing us a lot of money. Pierre Poliveire supported that too. I know someone who told me they won’t support Pierre Poliveire, because of that. Another issue is that Pierre Poliveire is a career politician, like the current leader of the UCP is. How can he relate to what ordinary Canadians are facing? Also, Pierre Poliveire, like the current leader of the UCP, get a really good political pension, upon retirement. A certain amount of it is tax exempt. I’ll leave this very short comedy video from This Hour Has 22 Minutes. It’s not very long in duration, and is about 2 minutes.
Dwayne: I don’t believe Alberta politicians get a pension when they retire. That all changed when Ralph Klein was in power
Mary-Lou: That’s not true. There are more than one reason for this. In the case of the current leader of the UCP, he was in federal politics for many years. He does get a pension upon retirement – and a very large one too, when he hits age 55. Brian Jean was also in federal politics as an MP for long enough to qualify for a political pension. Those are for federal political pensions. In the case of Alberta provincial politics, Ralph Klein cleverly switched things around to make it look like politicians in Alberta don’t get a pension when they leave, or retire from politics. This was an election related gimmick, years ago to try and keep the Alberta PCs in power, in the early 1990s, after the electorate was fed up with the Alberta PCs making so many very costly mistakes. It’s some type of a severance package for politicians in Alberta. In one of his earlier books on politics in Alberta, Mark Lisac explained that very well. Mark Lisac used to be a political columnist for the Edmonton Journal. Politicians in Alberta still get something, after they leave, or retire from politics, after meeting the 8 years (2 term) minimum requirement. They wouldn’t end up with nothing. Prior to Ralph Klein making that up, anyone who was an MLA prior, still gets a political pension, after they leave politics in Alberta. Ralph Klein used different ploys to keep the Alberta PCs, and himself in power, over the years, and the pension removal shell game was one of them.
Mary-Lou: I don’t know why my comment got posted under Anonymous.
Mary-Lou, I too thought Alberta politicians didn’t get a pension anymore. I checked the MLA remuneration page on the Leg Assembly webpage, but it’s not an easy thing to navigate so I defer to others.
Alberta MLA’s get a ‘handshake’ from Albertans with their, ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you.’
“In 1969 the Member of the Legislative Assembly Pension Plan was established by the MLA Pension Act to provide a contributory pension plan for Members of the Legislative Assembly. Participation in the MLA Pension Plan was voluntary and a minimum period pensionable service was needed to qualify for a pension. This pension plan closed to new Members in 1989 with active participation ending in 1993.”
with added bonuses derived from their committee work, etc.
Dwayne: that was a great clip! Thanks.
As you point out PP is quick to pump out glib quips like “Justinflation,” His supporters love it because it gives them someone to blame. They’re free to react emotionally and they don’t need to take the time and effort to understand what’s really going on. I’m no expert by any means, but even I know that inflation is not (as PP suggests) the result of Justin spending too much money which then forced the Bank of Canada to print money which then resulted in inflation which boosted the price of everything.
I read a comment in the Globe today where the writer said the trouble with emotion is it doesn’t think. Bingo!
Susan: I thought I’d share some more music. Here is a fitting song, by the Canadian jazz/rock group, Lighthouse, who were famous for the songs, One Fine Morning, and Sunny Days. This song is Man, Woman, Child. It was written by Skip Prokop, who was the group’s drummer, lyricist and singer. He then switched to guitar for this album. This has a more rock edge to it. It is from 1974.
Thanks Dwayne. A spot of music now and then is always a nice change.
The last thing Canada needs is another fear monger, Pierre Poliveire. If that’s the best they can offer… gesh! Thank you Susan for another interesting column!
Beverly, I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks.
Thanks, I needed this.
A shot of reason and compassion does a world of good in these trying times.
You’re welcome NeilK.
Thank you Susan. I have never read this use of “brutalisation” prior to this. Thank you for bringing this up. This is so important we must focus on measures of dealing with this. This is not an acid drip, it is a never-ending acid wash.
You’re welcome Mike. I hadn’t come across the term used in this sense until I started reading Hitchens’ book. I’ve always liked Hitchens. He dedicated this book to Robert Conquest, who he described as a “premature anti-fascist, premature anti-Stalinist, poet and mentor, and founder of ‘the united front against bullshit.’
So you know you’re in for an interesting read!
Yes, Hitchens is always worth paying attention to even though I have yet to read his book. If Hitchens says Conquest is worth heeding, then Conquest is worth heeding.
I am alarmed at the electoral success of trollish in Canada, the USA and Europe, especially Canada and Sweden and Italy for example. Would ne’er think it possible, yet there it is.
How did this come about? I can think of two causes: the art of politicking has gone way overboard in trivialising anything and everything that does not come out a given political actors mouth or political side; the “good guys” slag the other guys.
I wonder if it’s possible to match up any unfiltered person’s unfiltered heartfelt issue with troll comments on the issue. I am trying to show how trolling hurts us all and needs to be identified and ignored. Absorbing all that has to be bad for our personal health, society’s health and the health of the body politic.
Mike Klein: your last sentence illustrates how brutalization coarsens society.
I agree that politicians of all stripes fall prey to it. I, for one, see no value in tweets from one politician ridiculing another politician’s haircut or tweeting a politician’s statement in the House out of context. This kind of behavior is (as you said) trivialising and misleading. Nothing good will come of this.
It’s been a long, long time since Canada saw any kind of leadership from any party. If no one talks about policies to improve things, then its very easy to just “tear it down”. Let’s be clear though. Eliminating the deficit by Chretien and Martin was “tear it down” too. They sold CN. No one talks about building for the future. Leadership should be talking about establishing transportation in the west — not for just oil and goods, but for people. There isn’t even a bus from Winnipeg to Calgary. The planet is on fire, and Trudeau has done nothing of value. Into this vacuum comes the ghost of Preston Manning. Oil companies and others work to eliminate labour, and governments are just fine with that. Any surprise that people flock to destruction posing as leadership?
LG, I wish I could say you were wrong. I’ve been disappointed by three “progressive” governments: Notley here, Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, and John Horgan in BC.
Trudeau turned out to be a “Machine” politician, utterly controlled by the party and its corporate sponsors (I could be unkind and say “corporate masters” instead). He did OK in the Covid crisis; on environment, the jury’s still out. Horgan was supposed to be center-left, but after escaping the Green influence, he’s shown himself just as much a corporate-controlled machine politician as Trudeau.
Notley was actually worse. She didn’t even try to control the worst damage of the Calgary oil guys. I was naïve to think Notley would not be captured. Heck, she was “captured” even before becoming premier. Her party did some good things in social services—they didn’t interfere with AHS for four years—but environment and climate change? Minor tweaks and fiddling around the edges, which was promptly destroyed by Jason Kenney and the climate-denialist UCP.
The Green Party under Elizabeth May showed early promise, but only a handful took them seriously. I voted Green in two federal elections—but the party has imploded. I have no alternative but to vote NDP, federally and provincially.
We may have better choices in municipal government. Sometimes local government can take the lead, even if senior levels undermine local initiatives.
We still have to figure out who can lead, who’s willing to follow, and who refuses to get out of the way. Good luck, friends. We’re gonna need it.
LG and Mike J: I was wondering whether the federal NDP would be able to capitalize on the concerns you’ve both expressed here, unfortunately I don’t think Jagmeet Singh can pull it off.
My family and I were out of the country during the rise of Jack Layton, but will take someone with Layton’s gravitas to capture the imagination of the public who’ve grown tired of the Trudeau Liberals.
Back here in Alberta it’s a crap shoot. If Danielle Smith ends up the leader of the UCP we’re in for a world of hurt. While I agree with your criticism about the Notley government’s snail-like pace in transitioning off fossil fuels, I still support Notley’s NDP. At least they understand the rule of law, the separation of powers and the division of powers under our Constitution.
Susan, I’m hoping the Jagmeet Singh can keep the pressure on the Trudeau Liberals, at least for another year. (That should be long enough for PP’s surge in popularity to wear off when people see him in attack-dog mode again.)
Singh’s party is currently concentrating on health care (thank God) and the affordability crisis, especially for non-wealthy Canadians (for which also, thank God). We can hope that the next disastrous storm or wildfire will move the climate crisis higher up their priority list.
Here in Oilberduh, Notley simply doesn’t dare challenge the oil oligarchs. It’s shameful, but we can’t escape this trap yet. So we’re stuck with the choice of Notley (smart and energetic, but utterly captured by corporate interests) or Danielle Smith (articulate, great at snappy one-liners, but ignorant and nowhere near as smart as she believes). The other parties are a waste of oxygen. So….
Notley it is. For lack of a better choice. We can hope she’ll do better (no rookie mistakes this time!) in 2023.
Mike: I agree with you. The people of Alberta are not ready for a nuanced discussion about shifting away from fossil fuels, just like they’re not ready for a reasonable discussion about implementing a PST, so Notley does what she must. Given the slate of candidates who’ve been nominated across the province I don’t think we’ll see the rookie mistakes we saw back in 2015.
I don’t think Trudeau is 100% perfect, but if it came down to picking between him and fucking Pierre, I’d pick him in a second. Pierre appears to be yet another Putin-style conservative who wants “his way or the highway” style-rule over Canada…
Kelly, agreed. What bothers me the most is how these politicians dupe the electorate again and again. Baffling.
Little PP in Ottawa and Danielle Smith in Alberta. What could possibly go wrong?
Two would-be autocrats fighting over who gives the orders. Maybe the vipers will start fanging each other.
Jaundiced Eye and Mike J: Here’s the ironic part. PP’s supporters here in Alberta believe that all their troubles will be over if PP becomes the PM. What they fail to take into account is that PP will no more put Alberta first than Steven Harper did. Why? Because to stay in office PP needs solid support from Ontario and Quebec. The combined population of Ontario and Quebec is five times greater than that of Alberta. We’re a peanut province in the grand scheme of things.
I believe the GTA alone has more voters than the Prairie provinces combined.
😊 “peanut province”? Better than a banana republic, I guess.
True, PP will have to either move toward the center or alienate central and eastern Canada. He’ll sweep Oilbeduh and Saskatchedumb, probably rural Ontar-eye-oh as well. Everything else? Not likely.
Unfortunately reality testing is no longer a Conservative strength (I think you’d have to go back to Robert Stanfield for that; a bit before my time.)
With luck we’ll avoid a Con-troll minority, leaving us with another bout of Trudeau (ugh), backstopped by the NDP. Even better if Justin steps down before he has to be forced out, but that’s probably too much to hope for. God (Allah to Zeus, your choice) help us if the Cons recapture Alberta and then take Ottawa.
I have missed your commentary. Thank you. Right now what I wish for is the liberal government to refine their messaging. My reasons are so we can hear and repeat the good that is happening. The liberal messaging is necessary so people can stand by something. Maybe it’s me being so distracted by the awful actions of a minority but chances are there are many of us.
Thank you Pinky! You make an excellent point about the liberals refining their message. For whatever reason, those who tear us down get more air time than those who bring us together.
I was listening to a CBC interview with Ralph Goodale who was in London for the Queen’s funeral. He said that back in 1973-74 the Queen was visiting Saskatchewan and talking about Canadian citizenship. She said Canadian citizenship was a very gentle thing, Here we don’t ask people to deny their forebears, we just ask everyone to honour and respect the religions and cultures of others. Goodale said that in three sentences the Queen summed up the Charter of Rights and Freedoms years before it came to pass.
We live in a remarkable country. We can’t allow people like PP to steal it away from us.
“[T]hose who tear us down get more air time than those who bring us together.” Well, of course. Anger generates more clicks.
…which is all the more reason to preserve and strengthen the qualities Queen Elizabeth articulated.
How the actual do things like this happen:
SJHarper deserved the ‘Ordure of Canada’, not the Order. PP deserves even less than that.
GoinFawr and Carlos: Good question. I have no idea!
Your analysis of the firestorm reeks of authenticity, accuracy and a prediction of scary days to come.
Thanks Tom. 🙂
Could not send as a reply to GoinFawr so try again
Yes GoinFawr a great question. Here is a man that pretends to be a democrat, is now the leader of the International Democratic Union and supports Victor Orban from Hungary, a country no long considered democratic by the European Union.
There are lots of people to choose from. People not only really devoted to Democracy but to Canada. I can find many kids with down syndrome working in places like MacDonald’s that much more deserve the Order of Canada.
Thousands of nurses and doctors that went through the awful pandemic working non stop, but no Justin Trudeau and probably the Governor General think Harper deserves one – what a travesty.
We just go from a bad political in crisis system to worse and for the most part all caused by awful quality politicians and political parties.
Incredibly, they form commission of inquiry to figure out why the system is the way it is. They just have to wake up to get it.
As far as Pierre Poilievre I better not say what I think because I would have to use those nice W&%T&F that we need to avoid here.
It is a disgrace that the Conservative Party elected this person with 68% of the vote – REALLY?
Carlos, I think the fact that Pierre Poilievre got 68% of the CPC vote is a clear reflection of who remains in the party, as opposed to how people who identify as conservative actually feel.
Switching to the provincial side, last week I saw ads put out by the conservative PAC Shaping Alberta’s Future bad mouthing Danielle Smith, presumably because they are concerned about the effect a nut job in the premier’s chair could have on Alberta’s business environment.
If Ms. Smith does in fact win the leadership, it will be interesting to see if we see the same massive advertising for the UCP in the lead up to the general election that we saw in 2019.
Bob Raynard: I’ve seen similar stories in the press indicating that the business sector is extremely worried about the prospect of Danielle Smith as UCP leader because if she implements the Alberta Sovereignty Act it will drive away business. These CEOs may be free market enthusiasts, but they’re not blind ideologues. They won’t invest in a jurisdiction fraught with uncertainty and instability.
It will be interesting to see how Smith (assuming she’s elected) backs away from her #1 campaign promise when faced with the prospect of investment fleeing the province.
I think you are absolutely right but it is concerning because they are the Conservatives that will form government if they win the elections.
Bob Raynard: I read somewhere (and can’t find it now) that PP sold so many new memberships that the PP types outnumber the moderate conservatives something like two to one. So, yes, I agree. PP embodies the “new” CPC (shudder)
Carlos: I’m as dismayed as you are and have been thinking about what we have to do to shift the public’s perception of the progressive parties.
I’m not sure why conservatives voters feel safer with the “free market, small government, personal choice, individual trumps community” party instead of a party that believes we should focus on the greater good, work together and treat each other decently and with respect.
Perhaps we should focus on younger voters who have realized they’re never going to live as comfortably as their parents. They may recognize the value of community and public good. I don’t know.
First, what strikes me about the Conservative Party is how in recent years it has vacillated back and forth between being very right wing and trying to appear more moderate, likely not satisfying anyone. It was as if post Harper the party did not know what it wanted to be and I think some of the rejection by the voters was because they felt it was a wolf trying to be in sheep’s clothing. Well I suppose by choosing Poilievre as leader, they have at least made a clearer choice. No more trying to be nice or moderate.
Second what strikes me about Poilievre is how he is so quick to jump on the fashionable cause of the moment – for instance bitcoin, the vaccine protesters and now inflation. Well, bitcoin has turned out to be a dud, the vaccine protesters did not get that much mainstream sympathy and I suspect inflation will eventually abate. No doubt, Poilievre will find some new causes to milk when the well runs dry one these ones.
I suppose that part of being an opposition leader is to hammer the government of the day on whatever current issues or problems the country is struggling with. So, I think he will probably be an effective opposition leader and hold the Liberal government’s feet to the fire. If they haven’t already figured it out, they will probably soon realize they will have to up their game if they want to stay in power. However there is also a saying that voters tend to reward effective opposition leaders by keeping them in that role.
In part that is because voters can sense opportunism and an opposition leader that only focuses on a list of grievances, without putting forth a better vision of how they can solve the problems they bring up. Everyone can be a critic and some like Poilievre can be very effective critics, but we elect governments to solve problems, not to just loudly complain about them. Being Leader of the Opposition is a job that comes with considerable scrutiny and being an effective critic is only half the job.
Dave: Excellent points.
I think Poilievre will spend the next year or two dividing his time between scoring points as the Opposition leader and toodling across the country trying to increase his base. He needs more than a pack of Trudeau-hating extremists to win the next election. He’ll try to appeal to moderate conservatives by sounding like the reasonable PM-in-waiting while at the same time giving his pit bulls the freedom to attack the Liberals and the NDP at every opportunity, rather like Jason Kenney who stayed above the fray but allowed his comms staff to attack his critics left, right, and centre.
My biggest worry with politicians like PP is they think they can open Pandora’s box and control the evil they’ve unleashed. They’re wrong.
I think that’s what Orwell was getting at when he said he had to get out of Burma before the brutalization of his job as a policeman desensitized him to the harm he was inflicting on those less powerful than himself.
We’re becoming enured to rabid extremists. That’s not a good thing.
extremists like *Diagolon
That new CCCP (conservative convoy conspiracy party) leader is amusing working out policy unopposed, alone in his echo chamber of fans.
Backward , ignorant, incomplete, crude, deceptive.
Wish it was a new low but it remains the conservative normal only now all those shower thoughts hit youtube and are gobbled up by folks that blame everyone else but themselves for their problems.
lungta mtn: agreed!
I’ve run out of patience with the CCCP (great acronym) and with those who excuse their behavior by claiming the CCCP act this way because they feel unheard, ignored, and left behind.
In my view the CCCP act this way because they’re a bunch of immature entitled people who don’t understand that PP is manipulating their emotions to get into power. I mean really, who’s more likely to bail you out if you lose your job, the Liberals/NDP or the Milton Friedman spouting PP?
You said milton
I went to this one first
Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten (born July 4) is Bart Simpson’s best friend.
You are 100% on about the vacuous slogan anger farming .
pp whispers “Justinflation” and his fan club cheers, jeers and breaks into tears ….political platforms at the CCCP best.
Thank you for this.
Joan, you’re very welcome!
Thank you, Susan. Your comments that PP “appears to take no responsibility when his angry hordes interpret his call to action…” ,is frighteningly similar to an important warning in a column in The Star: “We’ve seen his type before”.and the example of a recent ‘dust up’ with a reporter, used as a solicitation of funds to fight the terrible media.
Thanks Verna. This dust up with David Akin was interesting because Akin is seen as a conservative-friendly reporter, but even he didn’t like the idea of Poilievre calling a press conference but refusing to let the press ask questions.
This reminds me of something the former editor of The Guardian said the other day. He was talking about the fact no one in the UK is talking about Brexit anymore (ie. has it delivered on its promises, and if so at what cost). The Torys won’t talk about it because they were the idiots who called the referendum in the first place; Labour won’t talk about it because they opposed Brexit and as a result lost a bunch of seats to the Torys and the BBC won’t talk about it because they don’t want the Tory’s to cut their funding. If no one is talking about it, how will the public understand whether it was a success or a failure.
It’s interesting to note how politicians like PP, Harper, and Trump all want to to control the press. The mere fact they want to do should raise a huge red flag in the minds of all citizens, progressive and conservative alike.
Wonderful column, Susan! You. alone, seem to be able to put it all together and give us hope for a framework to work our way out of this retrograde morass!
Question: Re the Order of Canada …. HOW did Stephen Harper qualify as a “Companion”!
Thank you Jane. Re: your question…I haven’t the faintest idea!!!
My first reaction was, “but surely the moderate Conservative voters (for lack of a better term) will see the light and steer clear of this disaster.” Until–right after PP’s victory–a long-time friend (through a shared craft group; we avoid politics) who is a retired nurse and a decent person, but a known Conservative, announced on Facebook she is absolutely over the moon with joy at having PP at the helm. She’s anticipating a huge Conservative victory next time around.
This makes me really nervous. If she’s fooled and co-opted into this horrifying agenda, what hope is there for any of them to see reality?
(sorry if this is a duplicate. My first response vanished)
Susan D: Like you, I’m at a loss to explain how politicians like PP garner support from people like your friend. Perhaps they have to see PP in action before they understand they’ve been sold a bill of goods.
One of my friends is a nurse. She was the only nurse on her floor who did not support the UCP in the last election. The rest of the nurses could not believe she preferred Notley to Kenney. However they had a change of heart when the UCP announced they wanted to cut nurses’ pay by 3% in the middle of the pandemic. Then they were livid. Whether they come back to the UCP with a new leader remains to be seen.
This makes me think the nurses (like so many voters) weren’t paying attention when the UCP and NDP announced their policies. They didn’t ask the UCP how they were going to reduce the budget without reducing services, including the cost of providing healthcare to the province.
So we’re back to the problem of voting intelligently, not emotionally, right?
Skippy Poilievre, never had a job outside of politics but still regards himself as a regular working stiff, like you and me. He qualified for a full pension when he was 31 years of age and believes Natives need to learn the value of hard work.
Jaundiced Eye: the Globe reported that when PP was 19 he entered an “As Prime Minister” essay contest and was a finalist. His prize was a 4 month internship at Magna. That was his one and only non-political ‘job.’ He didn’t apply, he didn’t interview, he didn’t have to meet any performance targets, he won the job as a prize. That’s pretty sad when you consider how he’s portraying himself as a representative of the working class.
And yes, his comments after Harper’s apology for residential schools were appalling. The Globe reported he said “Some of us are starting to ask, ‘Are we really getting value for all this money [$4 billion] and is more money really going to solve the problem? My view is that we need to engender the values of hard work and independence and self-reliance.” Harper made him apologise in the House and, as they say, the rest is history.
Since 2012, Members of the Legislative Assembly who have served a minimum of 3 months in that fiscal year shall receive a retirement investment amount equal to 13 per cent of the Member’s indemnity allowance. In addition, a Member who has served a minimum of 3 months in that fiscal year may make a contribution to the Member’s RRSP account up to 3.65 per cent of their indemnity allowance, and the Legislative Assembly Office shall contribute an amount to the member’s RRSP account that is equal to the contributions made by the Member.
The above is clipped from Alberta’s MLA renumeration outlined for public view. When MLA pensions were ‘abolished’ – what happened was the pension plan closed to new membership – instead, Alberta MLA’s pension obligation were changed to RRSP’s. Then the ‘indemnity allowance’ as outlined above came into being. Note that the annual ‘indemnity allowance’ for Alberta MLA’s is north of $122,000 per annum. 13% of that is a hefty chunk of change. Note that Alberta taxpayers are funding both the ‘retirement investment’ as well as a portion of the RRSP contributions an MLA can make above & beyond the retirement investment amount. From the MLA point of view they have little desire to return to pensions, not least because the money being poured into their retirement investments & RRSP’s are completely under their control. They leave office, those funds go with them. A bird in hand & all that.
Linda, thanks for the information. Also, a thank-you to Ralph Klein, the master of manipulating ignorant Albertans. Ralph was ignorant and stubborn, but he had a gift of political cunning (I don’t call him “smart”).
Who else could convince Oilberduh he was sorry for his “gold-plated pension” and hey, folks, I’m gonna abolish it–while rigging the new system to be even better for himself?
You are welcome Mike. This information is available, but not exactly crystal clear without a bit of backdrop. I find it ironic but unsurprising that those MLA’s whose retirement income is under their control have shown themselves willing to play fast & loose with public pension funds, which is why the very concept of them getting their hands on CPP contributions made by Albertans makes my blood run cold.
Friends, here’s a warning. The UCP under Danielle Smith will be even worse than we feared. This just in at CBC:
Note the section “No more net-zero talk.” Todd Loewen has just proved himself an idiot. Danielle Smith hasn’t said Word One about net-zero since the first “leadership” debate–when every other candidate attacked her for agreeing with (gasp!) Trudeau.
If this doesn’t push the smart people into the “Anyone but Danielle” camp, I can’t imagine what will.
Remember, friends: net zero is coming, and it’s only the start. If we don’t manage this transition on our terms, the rest of the world will do it TO US.
Further down, there’s some good news for a change; the UCP is only denying climate-change in public. Behind the scenes they’re subsidizing some big carbon-mitigation projects:
• Carbon capture and storage, up to $131M in subsidies https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-carbon-capture-kenney-1.6253997
• Hydrogen-production plant, preliminary agreement for “blue hydrogen” from methane https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/cda-alta-hydrogen-1.6059241
• Petrochemical industry initiatives, minimum project size $50M for “grant” approval https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-petrochemicals-incentive-program.aspx
• Methane-leak reduction program, driven by the federal government https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-ottawa-methane-regulations-1.5791337
• Carbon tax on large polluters, ALSO driven by the federal government https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/ottawa-accepts-alberta-tier-plan-carbon-pricing-1.5386955
Note that all these programs are supporting the oil and gas industry. This is “business-as-usual plus carbon reduction.” Would have been great 30 years ago; now? At best it’s very close to too late.
Thanks for the links Mike. As you point out, this is a ‘business-as-usual-plus-carbon reduction’ plan…it’s a start I guess but until the executives and shareholders see the potential for making big money during and after the transition, progress will be slow. Meanwhile the climate change crisis gets worse.
Mike: thanks for the link. All I can say is once again Smith, Loewen, et al are out of step with the industry. Electing a government that is determined to stick its head in the sand will do us no good whatsoever.
I see that Andrew Scheer has attacked the Bank of Canada in an opinion piece, dutifully carried by Post Media. Look for more of these attacks by Little PP’s “Leadership Team” on our institutions. Skippy used to smear the Bank himself, before he was declared leader of the CPC. Poilievre can now appear Statesman like, above the muck, to give the illusion of a Prime Minister in waiting. It is interesting that Scheer is giving us lessons on the role of the Bank of Canada, considering his only work experience outside of politics, was as an errand boy at an insurance firm.
Jaundiced Eye: you nailed it. That’s exactly what PP is doing now. He’s trying to portray himself as the sharp witted Opposition Leader who can impale Trudeau in the House and then stands back as his minions slig mud on his behalf.
I don’t know if you caught the clip of a CPC MP Garnett Genuis railing on about Trudeau being out of touch with the little guy who can’t afford to put gas in his car. What made it interesting wasn’t Genuis’ rant but the fact the camera caught Michelle Rempel Garner who was sitting right behind Genuis. Not only did MRG cover her eyes with her hand, but when the rest of the CPC MPs leapt to their feet to give Genuis a standing ovation, she refused to get to her feet. She looked like she was mortified.
The deep divide between the so-called moderate CPC and the extremists is becoming more and more apparent with each passing day.
Mr. Genius isn’t living up to his name….
Garnet Genuis, never was a man more incorrectly named!
What I find most amazing about this PP guy is that he does not even talk about the environment. That is to him a conspiracy from the left.
So are Canadians now going to vote in climate deniers pretending to be green? Are we crazy enough to, after witnessing what has been happening around the world and here, prefer to vote him in for another 4 years of nothing on the climate front?
I think if we do it, we are all a bunch of idiots and we do not deserve any respect internationally.
Carlos, from everything I’ve read Russia’s war with Ukraine has set back the climate change mitigation effort by at least 5 years. This is very concerning because if we’ve learned anything from the fuel shortages in Europe it’s that no country can afford to be dependent on fossil fuels. The time to diversify into renewables and sustainable energy is now.
Thank you for that article.. It really is a warning to us that Poilievre does not have our country’s best interests at heart!!!
What accurate descriptions of little pp, the conservatives, and the brutality for which they stand. Keeper for sure! Thanks susan.
J Sommer, you nailed it.
GoinFawr: remember the old saying about lying down with dogs and getting fleas. PP’s been leader for less than a week and already the Diagolon guy is issuing rape threats against PP’s wife. It’s nuts.
I’m glad someone pointed out the true meaning of brutalise