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Canada’s Conservative Leadership Race Boils Down to Populism and Principles

By: Guest Contributor - Nov 8, 2016, 5:42 am
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Quebec MP Steven Blaney has entered the race (wikimedia).

By David Clement

Quebec MP Steven Blaney is one of the latest candidates to throw his hat into the ring for Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leadership. Blaney was expected to shake up the race given that he is the second Québécois candidate. Blaney sure did change the field, but for reasons that have very little to do with French being his first language.

Blaney’s first policy announcement was to ban the Niqab in citizenship ceremonies, voting stations and for civil servants. When asked about the unconstitutionality of such a proposal, Blaney responded that he would use the notwithstanding clause to ensure the bill passes regardless of what the courts rule.

This call to populism is concerning for two reasons. First, Canadians overwhelming rejected the identity politics play in their ousting of Harper’s Conservatives in the last election. Second, using the notwithstanding clause without support from the public or the courts is a level of heavy-handedness that borders on totalitarianism. As if this wasn’t enough, Blaney has now called for a Royal Commission on Canadian Identity, as if the fabric of the national culture is so fragile that it warrants its own inquiry.

What is depressing about the prospect of the CPC is that Blaney’s push toward populism was not the CPC’s first dance with paranoia this leadership race. The path to making a policy like a niqab ban or a identity commission even remotely salient was paved with Leitch’s unworkable, unreasonable and uncomfortable proposal to screen immigrants for “Canadian Values.”

Leitch’s proposal is unworkable because her plan would cost taxpayers an incredible amount of money. Having face-to-face screenings for every incoming immigrant would exponentially inflate the Ministry of Immigration’s budget, which would be a fiscal disaster considering that the Liberals are set to add over $100 billion to the national debt over the course of their mandate. Her screening proposal is unreasonable because there is no evidence to suggest that it is even needed.

Immigrants already go through an extensive screening process that includes background checks for criminal behavior. Moreover, the acts of terror that have occurred on Canadian soil have be carried out by homegrown terrorists, not immigrants. Those facts demonstrate the uncomfortable nature of Leitch’s plan. It is uncomfortable because it is a clear and pathetic ploy to drum up nativist paranoia.

Luckily for CPC voters, there is a principled alternative to the rise of populist nonsense. Maxime Bernier, who is officially the frontrunner according to recent polls, represents a clear and consistent vision for a Conservative Party and a country that embodies fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. Bernier’s economic platform is bold and includes numerous policies that other politicians haven’t had the courage to touch. Ending supply management, revitalizing healthcare, lowering personal income taxes, establishing free trade between provinces, abolishing the capital gains tax and lowering corporate taxes to 10 percent represent Bernier’s conviction and his steadfast dedication to the principles of freedom, fairness and responsibility.

Come May 2017, the CPC and its members will have to make an important decision. They carry with them the responsibility to define what the CPC will look like in the post-Harper era. Will the party be the official opposition that plays identity politics while scapegoating minorities and immigrants? Or, will the party shake this populist curse and get back to focusing on the economy, job growth and ensuring prosperity for future generations?

David Clement is a freelance writer based in Oakville Ontario and the Director of North American Programs for the non-profit organization Students For Liberty.

Getting to Know the Many Billionaires Behind Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

By: Nelson Albino Jr. - Nov 7, 2016, 1:00 pm
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EspañolUnited States Democrats accuse the Republicans of being "the political party of the rich." Both those who supported socialist Bernie Sanders as well as Hillary Clinton's supporters accuse Republican candidate Donald Trump of being the symbol of the "elite" since he is a famous billionaire himself. But we need to analyze things the way they are. We must analyze who is the candidate actually representing the "elite" so many fear. Hillary Clinton, the candidate of the Democratic Party, has received the most donations and support from billionaires; i.e. the "elite." The third richest man in the world, the famous billionaire Warren Buffet, supports her. The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has a personal fortune of US $60.8 billion. He has supported the Democrats for years, and has donated money to the Clintons for more than 15 years. Then there's George Soros. This billionaire of Hungarian descent is president of one of the world's most powerful vulture fund firms, Soros Fund Management. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Soros has a personal fortune that amounts to $24.9 billion and, according to official reports, has been used for donations adding up to more than $11.9 million just this electoral cycle. He is also the organizer of one of Clinton's largest political action committees, which has raised millions for the Democratic candidate. Another powerful billionaire who has financed Clinton's campaign is Haim Saban, whose personal fortune amounts to $2.9 billion. Saban owns 20 percent of Univision, the largest Hispanic television network in the US. Saban has held countless fundraising events for Clinton. Read more: US Expats in Mexico Fear Retaliation Should Trump Become President Read more: As US Elections Intensify, How Will Hillary Handle Her Husband’s Past? Saban asserted in an interview that he preferred not to be a free man than to be dead when asked about civil rights. Saban practically insinuated that "security" was more important than freedom. Oprah Winfrey is another major donor. With a personal fortune estimated at $3.1 billion, the TV host has endorsed Hillary Clinton as well as President Barrack Obama. Another powerful Wall Street billionaire who has invested his resources in bringing Hillary Clinton back to the White House — this time, as President — is James Harris Simons. Also a vulture funds manager, Simons' fortune is around $16.5 billion. He has been involved in a number of disputes, the most recent one being tax evasion. Michael Bloomberg has also supported Clinton. He's the former New York City mayor and owner of the powerful media company Bloomberg, LP. Bloomberg's fortune amounts to $42.7 billion, which makes him, according to Forbes, the eighth-richest person in the world. Even beyond powerful individual donors, there are large companies endorsing Hillary, especially big banks on Wall Street. The Clintons have received political donations from big banks since former President Bill Clinton occupied the White House in the late 90s. The Clintons have received over $120 million for speeches given to the international financial elite dating back to that time. Clinton definitely has the lead on Trump when it comes donations. While Clinton has raised $21.1 million only in billionaire PACs, Trump has managed to raise $1.02 million. According to Fortune, six percent of Clinton's donations come from billionaires, amounting to $373.3 million. In Trump's case, only 0.006 percent of his donations come from billionaires. Another thing that denotes demagoguery from the Democrats is their constant criticism of the CEOs of the most powerful companies in the nation. Democrats constantly accuse Republicans of being allies of the "powerful," for refusing to increase the federal minimum wage and arguing that CEOs earn too much. The interesting thing about all this is that none of the CEOs of the 100 largest corporations in the country have donated money to Donald Trump's campaign. Eleven of them have donated to Hillary Clinton. Clinton has reportedly received twice as many donations from executives of large corporations in 2016 than even President Barack Obama did during his campaign for re-election in 2012. There is no doubt that all these facts destroy the myth that the Democratic Party and its current candidate Hillary Clinton represent the middle class and those most in need. If there are people who believe in the so-called "establishment" or "elite," they might have an idea of who this "elite" expect to be president after November 8, and it's not Donald Trump. Clinton advocates and critics of Trump will say that I am a "right-wing Republican," but reality is reality, and there is no need to be an advocate for Donald Trump to realize that Hillary Clinton is not what she claims to be.

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