It’s year-end interview time, and Andrew Scheer gave a couple yesterday that gave me a bit of pause. First was his interview in the National Post, where off the bat, he lays out this gem: “I am younger, I am modern and I have a different take on Conservative principles than my predecessors.” But does he lay out what that different take is? Nope. Scheer says that he can offer “authenticity” like a Bernie Sanders or Ron Paul, which is…curious. He’s spent the week talking about how middle class he is, unlike Justin Trudeau. This immediately elicited some reminders from Twitter – that the only job he held outside of politics was working at his friend’s insurance company for six months, that he got elected at 25 and has a $3 million pension by age 38; his political career includes being Speaker and Leader of the Opposition, each of which comes with an official residence and a driver. So he’s authentically middle class. Later, Scheer talked about how he’s spent the past six months “setting down markers” about the Conservative approach. Markers like putting everything in a disingenuous or outright mendacious frame and treating people like idiots? Okay, then.
Meanwhile, over on CTV’s Power Play (starts at 8:15), Scheer went on about how Conservatives do better when they present a positive approach (which I totally see with the aforementioned disingenuous and mendacious manner in which they go about their role), and then added this: “We are actually more caring than Liberals because we actually care about results, and they just like to send signals and show their good intentions and they don’t care about what actually benefits people.”
— CTV Power Play (@CTV_PowerPlay) December 21, 2017
That’s…interesting. Because immediately preceding that was Scheer was outright virtue signalling about free speech on university campuses (which, I will add, is an issue that the alt-right has weaponized, and Scheer is playing directly into it). And if you look at the Conservative record over the past decade, it’s replete with sending signals that didn’t actually benefit people, whether it was tough-on-crime legislation that was either unconstitutional or created backlogs in the court system (as mandatory minimum sentences did), or gutting environmental laws (which only ended up in litigation and didn’t get any further projects approved), or their actions in making cuts to show that they had a paper surplus (which led to the massive gong show that is Shared Services Canada and the Phoenix pay system fiasco, not to mention the loss of capacity in a number of other departments). All of it was the very signalling that they criticize the Liberals for. So you’ll forgive me if I find Scheer’s particular assertions to be a bit unconvincing.
- It turns out that the “senior American official” that joined Justin Trudeau on his trip to the Aga Khan’s island was John Kerry, then-Secretary of State.
- Bill Morneau admits that his communication over those tax changes could have been clearer. Gosh, you think?
- Some Japanese officials express confusion as to what Canada’s objections are to TPP (but seriously, country of origin rules being in the air with NAFTA is a clue).
- Catherine McKenna has given Manitoba until the end of February to sign onto the federal climate plan, or lost its $66 million share of the clean energy fund.
- A high-level translator for the Ukrainian government, who was present for meetings with Canadian officials, has been arrested as a spy for Russia.
- With ISIS essentially defeated in Iraq, Canadian commanders are assessing what role our troops can play in the region.
- While the UN voted to condemn the United States over its declaration of Jerusalem as capital of Israel, Canada abstained.
- The opposition is demanding changes to whistleblower protection legislation. Scott Brison says they can make internal changes without changing legislation.
- The Senate Ethics Officer’s investigation into former senator Don Meredith’s alleged workplace harassment has been suspended pending an outside investigation.
- Kevin O’Leary’s former campaign chair is challenging Cheryl Gallant for the nomination of her riding.
- Jess Morgan suggests we cut down on future Cabinet ethics violations by simply annexing Turks and Caicos to create Canadian holiday destinations.
- Robert Hiltz reviews his predictions for the year. He got some of them right.
Odds and ends:
Programming Note: I’m taking a blogging holiday until the New Year. Thanks for reading, enjoy the holiday season, and I’ll see you in 2018.
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— Dundurn (@dundurnpress) December 21, 2017