The bad takes continue to roll in on the Canada Summer Jobs brouhaha – so many bad takes – all of them written by straight white men who can’t fathom that these “sincerely held” religious beliefs that women and LGBT people shouldn’t be allowed to have equal rights, are in fact actual points of contention rather than some kind of Liberal Party demand for ideological orthodoxy. There seems to be not a clue that the governing party’s values are such that they have the gall to suggest that if you believe that women or LGBT people don’t deserve equal rights and you actively campaign against those rights, then maybe you don’t need taxpayer funds.
This isn’t to say that the government has done a stellar job of communicating this effectively, nor have they done a great job in drafting the wording of this attestation they want groups to sign. That’s fair criticism, and even pro-choice groups are saying hey, maybe you should clarify that language a bit so that you’re not freaking out the religious groups, and of course, the minister is obstinately saying no, I’m good with the wording as it stands – and I’m sure that they’ll be true to form and back down and agree to amend the wording after they get in another two or three weeks of self-inflicted damage, particularly after a week or two of mind-numbingly repetitive questions in QP about how this is all about feeding Christians to the lions, or some such bullshit – but we’ll hear all about it, and the Liberals will let this self-inflicted damage carry on until then.
This having been said, I’m at the absolute limit of my patience over the assertion of the pundit class that “if it had come from Conservatives but in reverse, there would be an uproar across the land.” That’s a quote from Chantal Hébert on The National on Thursday night.
[At Issue in 60] Andrew Scheer goes to Washington to help Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s NAFTA efforts — and are Ottawa’s new funding rules for summer jobs imposing government values? It's the weekly #AtIssue remix. pic.twitter.com/6EK14tZYoo
— The National (@CBCTheNational) January 19, 2018
There was uproar when the Conservative defunded anything to do with abortion internationally, and if you remember then-Senator Nancy Ruth’s blunt advice to women’s groups to “shut the fuck up about abortion,” it was well-meaning advice to stop poking the bear (for which she was unfairly castigated and her words being taken entirely out of context). Let’s not pretend that outrage didn’t happen then. Meanwhile, there was a hell of a lot less outrage when the Conservative defunded any LGBT festival or group that used to be funded, and the one time that they did give tourism funds to Toronto Pride, they got so petty about damage control that they literally trotted out Brad Trost to ritually humiliate the Minister of State, Diane Ablonczy, in order to placate their social conservative base.
Funny, I don’t recall a huge uproar when the Conservatives defunded all manner of GLBT groups that used to get successful grants. https://t.co/VhJczMRNvI
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) January 19, 2018
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) January 19, 2018
“Two wrongs don’t make a right!” was the common Twitter response to this, and no, they don’t. My point, however, is that every single government engages in this kind of thing based on their values, and we can’t pretend that they don’t, or that this isn’t unique to the Liberals, nor can we pretend that the Liberals are getting an easier ride than the Conservatives did, because there wasn’t that outrage across the land when LGBT groups lost funding, or when HIV/AIDS service organizations lost funding, or when the Harper government pissed away millions in funds from the Gates Foundation in HIV prevention because they engaged in petty bullshit around local politics over facilities. Some of us covered those fights, and they didn’t get weeks of coverage or a plethora of terrible hot takes in national newspapers because that government was petty and ideological as opposed to inept about their communications strategy like the current one is.
- Justin Trudeau visited the Pigangikum First Nation in Northern Ontario, and reiterated his promises for ending water advisories on all reserves by 2021.
- The government’s two-year infrastructure spending plan will be more like five years (because they need to wait for the invoices coming in in order to pay them).
- The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that an air passenger rights advocate can bring a challenge to airline obesity rules before the CTA’s tribunal.
- The former railway workers responsible for the Lac Mégantic disaster were acquitted of charges of criminal negligence causing death.
- A Fininsh company is warning that negotiating with Davie shipyard about icebreakers without opening it up to competition won’t be tolerated.
- The Sea Kings are officially being retired on the East Coast.
- TPP talks resume next week in Toyko, the first since the big signing confusion that happened at the APEC summit.
- PSAC wants paid leave for public servants dealing with domestic violence.
- The new Lobbying Commissioner is deciding whether or not to continue an investigation into fundraising actions by the late Barry Sherman of Apotex.
- Liberal Senator Charlie Watt will resign after being elected to lead Makivik Corporation, the group representing Inuit in Northern Quebec.
- Andrew Scheer apparently returned from Washington spooked about the future of NAFTA, and is now encouraging more efforts by the government.
- Conservative MP David Sweet is calling for a public inquiry into “training schools” for delinquent children, where abuse went on (that he was subjected to).
- Chantal Hébert cautions Scheer to keep his head down and his mouth shut on the NAFTA file.
- Andrew Coyne says it’s time to either charge VADM Mark Norman or to let him go back to work.
- Susan Delacourt muses about the public and private activities of party leaders, between unpublicized fundraises and Jagmeet Singh’s public wedding proposal.
- My weekend column looks at the strict limits that any MP parental leave would require, lest it turn into the hollowing out of Parliament.