Roundup: A failure to communicate

The state of the “debate” around this latest round of tax nonsense in Canada has me despairing for the state of discourse in this country. From the CRA’s opaque memo, to the Conservatives’ disingenuous and frankly incendiary characterization, followed up by terrible government communications and attempts at damage control (Scott Brison doing the rounds on the political shows last night was painful to watch), and throughout it all, shoddy and inadequate reporting on the whole thing has me ready to cast a pox on all of their houses. If anything was more embarrassing than Brison’s inability to explain the issue while reciting well-worn talking points on the middle class, it was David Cochrane quoting the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and asking if MPs need to reconsider their own benefits in light of this.

Hermes wept.

It also wasn’t until yesterday that CTV came up with an actual good fact-check on the issue, what it actually relates to (including how it relates to a 2011 Tax Court decision), and how it’s not targeting the bulk of the retail sector. But that took days to get, during which time we’ve been assaulted by all manner of noise. News stories in the interim that interviewed MPs and the Retail Council of Canada were distinctly unhelpful because they did nothing to dissect the actual proposals, which were technical and difficult to parse, so instead of being informed about the issues, we got rhetoric, which just inflames things. And I get that it’s tough to get tax experts over a long weekend, but Lyndsay Tedds tweeted a bunch of things on it that should have pointed people in the right direction, rather than just being a stenographer for the Conservative hysteria/government “nothing to see here, yay Middle class!” talking points.

Here’s a look at how the government scrambled to get a better message out around the Canada Infrastructure Bank, in order to combat those same media narratives. Because apparently neither side is learning any lessons here.

Good reads:

  • From Washington, Justin Trudeau said that they are ready for anything when it comes to NAFTA, while Stephen Harper advised to start planning for its demise.
  • VICE got a copy of the PMO’s guide to the Trump cabinet, but the redactions don’t exactly make it terribly illuminating reading.
  • RCMP officers at the irregular border crossing in Quebec were administering a “values test” to incoming Muslim migrants. They have been ordered to stop.
  • Delta Airlines says that they still plan to buy those Bombardier C-series jets, and that they don’t expect to pay the added tariffs as they won’t stand up to appeal.
  • Prison assessments deemed racist and sexist are being challenged at the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • Here’s a look at the demand for documents as part of the new warship procurement process.
  • Robert-Falcon Oulette thinks the House of Commons should have simultaneous interpretation of Indigenous languages. But which ones make cut?
  • The ISG will now start voting on whether to accept new members into their caucus.
  • From Saskatchewan, a tale about private emails being used by government in order to thwart Access to Information laws.
  • Manitoba got a legal opinion about fighting the federally mandated carbon tax, and it’s not good for them trying to fight it.
  • Further digging into past social media posts of the Conservative nominee tapped to run to replace Rona Ambrose is pretty brow-raising stuff.
  • Martin Patriquin tries to sort through why Donald Trump is so manic about trade deficits.
  • Chantal Hébert says that the Catalonian separatist movement shouldn’t spark a revival in Quebec sovereignty. Has she told the Bloc?

Odds and ends:

Tristin Hopper takes a tongue-in-cheek look at Andrew Scheer’s sex appeal as compared to Trudeau and Singh.