Ontario election, Senate reform in court, Canada’s middle class, Ron MacLean, & the Keystone Pipeline Blues

Apr 23rd, 2014 | By Counterweights Editors | Category: In Brief

Premier Wynne and her sometime supporter, NDP leader Andreas Horwath — has this dynamic duo ended at last!

So much is going on north of the Great Lakes these days that it’s hard to focus on any one thing.  So here are quick notes on five things animating the late-afternoon water-cooler debates among we counterweights editors on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 :

(1) On Monday Susanna Kelley, empress of the excellent ontarionewswatch.com, posted “ONW EXCLUSIVE: HORWATH, AIDES DECIDE TO FORCE SPRING ELECTION .” The key message is that Ontario New Democrats will almost certainly vote against Ms Wynne’s Liberal minority government after the May 1 budget (a week tomorrow), and precipitate a fresh Ontario election only two and a half or so years after the last one. This has been called “a complete fabrication” by Ontario NDP house leader Gilles Bisson. But it matches the gossip some of us picked up at dinner with our favourite Toronto NDP activists over the Easter holiday weekend.

On Evan Solomon’s CBC TV show last night!

(2) The Supreme Court of Canada will unveil its much-awaited wisdom on the constitutional requirements of Senate reform in Canada this coming Friday, April 25 — a mere two days away. What will PM Harper do with the Court’s decisions? Does anyone apart from us few in Ontario and maybe twice as many in Alberta really care? (We are insanely hoping the answer is YES.)

(3) Yesterday (Tuesday) both the Globe and Mail and the New York Times reported on how “Canada’s middle class now world’s richest, study suggests” and “The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest.” Evan Solomon’s excellent CBC TV news show spent far too much time last night debating the dubious proposition that all this has anything to do with the economic policy skills of the Harper Conservative Government. And doesn’t anyone on TV read newspapers any more? All the anti-Harperite voice had to do was cite Deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal of CIBC World Markets, as already cited in the Globe and Mail article : “It is not that we are doing great (we are not), it is that the US is doing much worse.”

(4) Now that at least radical separatism or sovereigntism etc etc has been dealt who-really-knows-just-what-kind-of blow by the April 7 Quebec election, it is almost comforting to hear that there is nonetheless a new issue about “French-Canadian referees” in the NHL playoffs. See “Ron MacLean won’t be reprimanded over Quebec refs comment … CBC commentator said French-Canadian referee should not be assigned to Montreal Canadiens playoffs.” Does that also mean that refs who live in Toronto should not be assigned to Leafs’ playoff … oh wait a minute, the Leafs are never in the playoffs anyway. And again, who cares?  We do, however, want to make clear that we passionately support the  Montreal Canadiens as the only Canadian team in the Stanley Cup playoffs this year. And we are proud that just around the corner from our head offices in Toronto, a resident hockey fan has a Canadiens flag flying in front of his or her house. We also saw a Canadiens flag flying from an automobile on Queen Street East in Toronto this morning, just east of Kew Gardens.

(5) Today, Michael Den Tandt at Postmedia News is arguing that Canada’s love affair with US President Barack Obama is “unrequited. It always has been. And the indefinite shelving of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline linking Alberta’s oilsands with the Texas Gulf Coast … is the incontrovertible evidence.”  Here, others among us believe, the limitations of the Harper government and its supporting apparatchikdom are nicely laid bare. See, on the one hand, from the NewYork Times : “Keystone Pipeline May Be Big, but This Is Bigger … US Emission Rules Would Far Outweigh Impact of Keystone Pipeline.” And on the other hand, remember that Stephen Harper has talked a lot about how many good things his new trade deal with Europe will bring to the Canadian economy. And see this recent report, from CTV News : “Canada’s oil and gas industry catching Europe’s eye: Polish ambassador … The issue of Canadian energy exports to Europe came up during Harper’s visit to Germany last month, but Chancellor Angela Merkel was less than enthusiastic because Canada lacks the infrastructure to actually move the products.” If Mr. Harper really wanted to stand up for his country, he would be worrying about that  — and letting our American brothers/sisters/cousins/whatever worry about infrastructure in the USA!

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