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On the Way to the 2019 Federal Election

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Trudeau half as popular as he used to be

According to a new survey, Trudeau’s approval rating is a net negative 23 per cent. When he was elected in 2015, Trudeau had a net plus 34 per cent rating


It was in July 2017 that Justin Trudeau graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, accompanied by the headline: “Why Can’t He Be Our President?”

Fast forward 18 months and Canada’s golden boy prime minister has seen his approval rating fall below that of the much-maligned U.S. president, Donald Trump.

Real Clear Politics has a rolling average that gives Trump a negative 9.7 per cent rating (42 per cent of respondents in opinion polls approve of the president; 51.7 per cent disapprove).

According to a new Angus Reid Institute survey, Trudeau’s approval rating is a net negative 23 per cent (just 35 per cent approve; 58 per cent disapprove).

When he was elected in 2015, Trudeau had a net plus 34 per cent rating — nearly twice as many people approved of him then as do now.

The ARI poll is not the last word on the subject. It suggested Andrew Scheer is now considered best prime minister by more people than support Trudeau, a finding at odds with the latest Nanos Research poll on the same question (in the ARI survey, Scheer scored 33 per cent against Trudeau’s 27 per cent; in Nanos, Trudeau recorded 37.4 per cent, against Scheer’s 25.6 per cent). But, while the numbers may be up for debate, the trajectory of Trudeau’s fortunes is not.

What has happened to nearly double the number of Canadians who disapprove of their prime minister over the past three years?
Half of respondents to the Angus Reid survey said they are worried the economy will worsen over the next 12 months. But there is more to it than that.

Trudeau offered some hints at his year-end press conference in Ottawa on Wednesday. At one point he was asked why Canada has not been more vocal in securing the release of three Canadians being held by the Chinese, apparently in retaliation for the arrest of the chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver earlier this month.


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On 12/28/2018 at 5:19 PM, deicer said:

Of all the opinion pieces I have read, this one hits every nail on the head.  It has something for everyone!  Enjoy....


OMG...that’s twice this year I’ve caught myself nodding my head in agreement with one of your posts. Guess it’s time to book into a healing lodge for treatment before this gets out of hand.

Edited by Jaydee

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Trudeau’s Christmas message.....Almost 6 times as many dislikes as likes!  Could be a good year after all.




Edited by Jaydee

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  • Calgary Sun
  • 31 Dec 2018
  • BRIAN LILLEY Guest Columnist
img?regionKey=nMsv3TZlNEqN96nNZlpSKQ%3d%3dCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wraps up his year with a press conference in Ottawa on Dec. 19. Inset, Trudeau and family play dress-up during his India visit in February. ADRIAN WYLD /THE CANADIAN PRESS

As we head into 2019 and the looming federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might just be wishing that 2018 never happened.

Trudeau ends the year in a position few would have expected a year ago, his job approval rating sits below that of U.S. President Donald Trump.

A Forum Research poll shows just 38% of Canadians approve of the job Trudeau is doing. Trump, meanwhile, sits at around 42%, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls.

It’s a big drop from the

51% approval that Trudeau had two years ago at the end of his first year in office.

Some of that drop can simply be attributed to Trudeau being in office for three years. It’s common for voters to be less excited about a politician the longer they are around. But some of this drop has to do with Trudeau bungling his way through 2018, starting with his trip to India.

It was supposed to be a feel good trip, an attempt to boost relations with the largest democracy in the world. Instead, it turned into a series of embarrassing photo ops of Trudeau and his family dressed like extras in a Bollywood movie.

“Too Indian for even for an Indian,” is how one Indian media outlet described Trudeau’s wardrobe during the trip.

Inviting terrorist

While the photo ops were bad enough, inviting a terrorist to dinner made things worse.

So, too, did blaming the Indian government for Trudeau’s bad decisions.

After it was revealed that Jaspal Atwal, a man convicted of the attempted murder of an Indian politician on Canadian soil, had been invited to attend events with the prime minister, Trudeau’s office blamed “rogue elements” in the Indian government for Atwal’s presence.

No wonder there has been a chill with India since February!

Meetings between ministers, visits from officials, all cancelled.

Tariffs on Canadian agricultural products increased instead of being removed since the visit.

That trip came just months after Trudeau was snubbed in

China and rebuffed in his attempts to push forward on freer trade with that country.

As we close out 2018, Trudeau is again at odds with China, albeit not for doing the wrong thing but the right thing.

After an extradition request from the United States for Meng Wanzhou was honoured by Canada and the Huawei executive arrested in Vancouver,

China became irate.

As I write, two Canadians are still in jail after being arrested in retaliation on what are seen as trumped up charges. A third Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, has just been ordered retried on a 2016 drug smuggling conviction because the Chinese court deemed his 15-year sentence too lenient.

Prosecutors want the death penalty.

While Canadian officials were right to honour the extradition request from the Americans, as we would expect them to honour our own, Trudeau had done nothing on this file. The PM admitted that he has yet to pick up the phone and call Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“No, I have not reached out to speak,” Trudeau told Global News in a year-end interview.

He said he has no plans to do so.

I mean, why interrupt your vacation in Whistler to speak up for the lives of Canadians?

Trudeau came to office telling the world, “Canada is back.”

It was his shorthand for saying that Stephen Harper had diminished Canada on the world stage and he would restore our honour.

Well, so far he has managed to anger India,

China, Australia, Japan and Saudi Arabia among other countries.

Trudeau has tried to play the spat with Saudi Arabia as part of a rightsbased foreign policy.


Trudeau was only too happy to sell the Saudis light armoured vehicles made in Canada and to oversee a domestic energy policy that ensures we continue importing Saudi oil.

At least we’ll always have Paris.

Trudeau remains on good terms with French President Emmanuel Macron who has a lower approval rating than Trudeau and is facing attacks from the left and the right as well as a popular uprising movement called the Yellow Vests.

No one will be shocked that Trudeau and Donald Trump are hardly on good terms and many Trumphating Canadians will be fine with that. In fact, I expect Trudeau to use that fact as a campaign ploy in the upcoming election.

But like or hate him, Canada has to deal with Trump to ensure continued access to the biggest consumer market in the world and the main destination for Canadian exports.

And somehow Trudeau managed to screw this up as well.

Yes, we got a new NAFTA deal but one where Canada cedes ground in all sorts of areas, including autos and dairy, and got nothing of substance in return.

While Trump’s team went into the negotiations with a long list of items they wanted action on, items that would help their farmers and manufacturers, Trudeau sent Chrystia Freeland into the talks with an order to get chapters on gender and indigenous issues into the deal.

As for actual trade issues, it seemed like the policy was to keep as much of the old deal as possible and try not to lose too much.

So forgive me if I don’t join the rest of the media in singing the praises of Freeland and Trudeau for signing onto a deal that sees Canada surrender ground in several areas while gaining in none.

We also still don’t have tariffs on Canadian steel or aluminum removed but we did learn from American officials that Canada could have at least avoided the steel tariffs if we stopped letting Chinese steel pass through Canada to the United States as if it were Canadian steel.

While the Americans asked us to stop this practice in April, 2017, we announced on May 30, 2018 that we would look into it, the evening before the tariffs kicked in. In December, the government announced it would seek contractors to help with this issue.

Trudeau could have acted sooner and protected Canadian jobs, but that would have angered China, the country whose basic dictatorship he admires.

Along the way in 2018, Trudeau also called Canadians upset over the transfer of child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic to a healing lodge “ambulance chasers.” His government has defended giving veterans benefits to a cop killer who never served in uniform while actual vets wait.

He has defended Statistics Canada grabbing all your data and every banking transaction you make as necessary for government planning.

The government he leads bought a pipeline at an inflated price, promised to get things moving for the summer construction season and then did nothing. We still don’t know when or if the Trans Mountain pipeline will ever be built.

Border fail

He has also failed to secure the border from people crossing illegally, costing taxpayers billions in the process and putting a strain on shelters and social services in Montreal and Toronto as 40,000 people have crossed in the last two years.

As we head into 2019, Trudeau is giving provinces like Ontario and Saskatchewan the gift of his carbon tax, a tax he will charge the GST on. He wants you to think you will get more money back than you pay but the numbers don’t add up.

Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are all challenging the tax in court, which means Trudeau will keep the issue front and centre through the election. I wouldn’t want to be one of the 79 Liberal MPs in Ontario seeking re-election with a promise to make everything voters buy more expensive, but that is what they will do.

When Trudeau was elected in 2015, most observers, myself included, thought he would easily be in for two terms. The man’s popularity was sky high.

Now, 10 months out from the election, Trudeau could easily lose, Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives could take power.

Trudeau is loved in Atlantic Canada, parts of Quebec and in downtown areas of cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Beyond that, there isn’t much love.

After the disaster that was 2018, Trudeau is leading a divided Canada, one that may make him a one-term leader come October.


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January 1, 2019 4:30 am

Updated: January 1, 2019 12:48 pm

ANALYSIS: This election year, volatile electorate could bedevil Trudeau’s Liberals, Scheer’s Conservatives

2017-foyer-hed-serious.jpg?quality=60&st By David Akin Chief Political Correspondent  Global News

Canadian voters unhappy with the political status quo have always been willing to shake things up and in 2019, there’s a better-than-even chance that a preference to turn electoral politics upside down will be a major factor in the country’s 43rd general election.

Volatility and unpredictability among a growing group of voters across the country, who are ready to take new chances with their ballots, promises to be one of the biggest challenges with which the two leading establishment parties — Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives — will have to contend.

This recent trend in volatility first emerged in Alberta on May 5, 2015. Fed up with the status quo in the province, Albertans dumped a Progressive Conservative party that had ruled the province since 1971, sending it to third place in the legislature and vaulting the New Democratic Party — in Alberta! — into government. Albertans may be ready to shake things up once again this year and, for the second consecutive time, choose yet another party — the United Conservative Party of Alberta — that has never held power in that province.

But that trend — an electorate ready to try new kinds of change — was also on full display elsewhere in the country in 2018.

READ MORE: Trudeau rules out early election, 2019 federal vote to go ahead on Oct. 21

Let’s work east to west, starting in New Brunswick last fall. In the province’s general election on Sept. 24, just under 70 per cent of those who voted cast a ballot for one of the two mainline parties, the New Brunswick PCs or the NB Liberals, meaning nearly one-third of voters went for something different.

By comparison, in the 2012 New Brunswick election, only five per cent of voters went for something new and 95 per cent went through either the red door or the blue door. A significantly larger number of New Brunswickers rejected that binary choice in 2018, electing representatives of the new People’s Alliance of New Brunswick and boosting the number of Green MLAs.

The move towards new parties and new choices gave New Brunswick its first minority in nearly 100 years and has shaken up what for generations has been a relatively moribund political culture.

 Let’s move east to Quebec where, a couple of weeks after New Brunswick’s election, Quebecers kept up their reputation of having one of the country’s most dynamic political cultures, vaulting a party that had never held power — the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) — into majority status while brutally punishing the two establishment parties, the Quebec Liberals and the Parti Quebecois (PQ), which had traded power and punches for a generation.

Meanwhile, the PQ no longer has official party status in the National Assembly. As the PQ fell, the social justice torch it once carried has been picked up by Quebec Solidaire, a newish party that grew its base outside of downtown Montreal and now has footholds in the Quebec City region.

READ MORE: As 2019 federal election looms, Pierre Poilievre rejoices in agitating the Liberals

It did not seem to matter to Quebecers that the incumbent Liberals were running budget surpluses and were ready to reward Quebecers with tax breaks and new spending. It was time for a shakeup, and CAQ leader Francois Legault was in the right place at the right time.

The mood in Ontario last spring was the same: time for a change. A year ago, the PCs were led by Patrick Brown, who advocated a carbon tax. The PCs were right around 40 per cent in the polls. Then the PCs appeared to shoot themselves in the foot with a palace coup that saw Brown exit in scandal and Doug Ford take over. He hated a carbon tax, but it didn’t much matter. On election day, with a new PC leader whose policies were, in many key aspects, the exact opposite of the previous PC leader, the PCs won with 40 per cent of the vote.

But though that change at Queen’s Park had seemed inevitable for at least two years prior to the vote, the way the change was made suggests even the doughty, dependable red-or-blue Ontario voter can be convinced to look around at all available options.

READ MORE: It’s advantage Liberals going into 2019, with Conservatives needing a Trudeau stumble: Ipsos poll

The Ontario Liberal Party, which had been one of the most successful political institutions in western democracy, was absolutely thrashed, not even getting one in five votes, losing official party status and dropping to third place in the legislature. Clearly, many voters who sustained that party for generations did something they never did before and voted for a different party. That might have been been — and clearly was, in many cases — marking a ballot for the candidate of Andrea Horwath’s NDP. It might even have been for Ford’s PCs. But in one riding —  Guelph — voters found a new choice and elected Ontario’s first-ever Green Party MPP.


Indeed, the choice of voters in Guelph and two New Brunswick ridings should be worrisome to Trudeau’s Liberals in the same way that the rise of Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada is worrisome to Scheer’s Conservatives. Both of these parties have the potential to peel away support from the establishment parties, which could make a big difference in tight races.

In Guelph and the New Brunswick ridings of Memramcook-Tantramar and Kent North, Greens won where the kind of Liberal most closely aligned with Trudeau’s Liberal Party has deep roots.

Indeed, if Trudeau’s Liberals seem to be particularly vulnerable as this election year begins, it is on their progressive flank.

Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats have so far been unable to make much of this vulnerability, but there is some indication that Elizabeth May’s Green Party could have more success peeling away those who voted for Trudeau in 2015 based on his progressive promises, only to have been disappointed by his timid progressive agenda when it comes to climate change, electoral reform or pay equity. Trudeau is now promising pharma care in the future. Will progressive voters take him at his word again, swing back to the NDP or look to the Greens?

As for Scheer and the Conservatives, they are rightly worried that Bernier has established People’s Party of Canada riding associations in all 338 electoral districts in the country. The PPC may not win a single seat — Bernier may have to work hard to win his own seat in Beauce — but even if the PPC wins just a few thousand votes in ridings where the Conservatives will need every single ballot to beat a Trudeau Liberal then any hope Scheer has of winning vanishes.Consider the Greater Toronto Area riding of Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, a riding like many of those that ring Toronto or other major Canadian cities in English Canada, where the choice is either Liberal or Conservative.

Here, in 2015, Leona Alleslev, running for Trudeau, beat a Conservative incumbent by just under 1,100 votes with more than 51,000 votes cast. Alleslev has since crossed the floor to join Scheer’s Conservatives, and her job this year will be to close the very gap that she created in 2015. That means she has to hold all those who voted for Stephen Harper in 2015 and now turn around 600 or 700 voters that went for Trudeau four years ago. Given the current state of polling, she does not have much margin for error.

Now put Bernier’s party into the mix of a riding like Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill. If the PPC candidate there takes just two per cent of the popular vote from right-of-centre voters who, like Bernier, want to shake up the status quo, that would represent 1,000 voters that likely would have gone to Alleslev and Scheer, preserving or even widening the gap that helped Trudeau’s candidate squeak by four years ago.

READ MORE: Pipeline politics to affect economy, two elections in 2019: economists

The Conservatives are praying that the NDP or the Greens can boost their game in the dozens of ridings like this one to counter any leakage the party will likely experience to Bernier’s PPC.

Of course, in close races here and in more than three dozen ridings across the country, both the Liberals and Conservatives will focus heavily on getting their base out to vote.

But the growing group of voters ready to take some chances by casting a ballot for a shakeup will be the big challenge for the Liberals, the Conservatives and, to a degree, the NDP. And that group of voters represents an opportunity for smaller and newer parties.

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On 1/1/2019 at 9:21 AM, Jaydee said:

Trudeau’s Christmas message.....Almost 6 times as many dislikes as likes!  Could be a good year after all.




 Check out his Christmas message on YouTube for the past 4 years.  Dislikes Growing exponentially!


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From the BBC

Justin Trudeau: Three challenges facing him in 2019

A lot has changed for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau since he swept to power almost four years ago. What hurdles does he face as he heads into another election year?

Shortly after he was elected, Justin Trudeau grabbed international headlines for a breezy quip explaining his gender-balanced cabinet: "Because it's 2015".

The come-from-behind ascent of the young leader marked a new era of progressive Liberal politics in Canada after voters ousted a Conservative government that had been in power for nearly a decade.

His government has kept some promises since: it overhauled the child benefits scheme, legalised recreational cannabis, and gave parents the option of taking an extended parental leave.

But there were fumbles along the way: a disastrous overseas trip to India, broken promises on electoral reform and on short-term deficits.


Now, heading into his fourth year in office, his government is sounding a little less breezy and looking a little more battle-scarred.

It's not surprising to see a politician nearing the end of his or her mandate hit "a patch of malaise or quicksand with the electorate," says Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, a not-for-profit national polling firm.

"We all remember what felt like the never-ending honeymoon, but his approval has been deteriorating over time."

With a federal election scheduled for next October and analysts warning of possible trouble ahead, what are the challenges facing Trudeau as he seeks a second mandate?

Short presentational grey line

1. Some Canadians feel left behind

The economy is motoring along nicely. Unemployment is at its lowest in decades, and inflation is on target at just over 2%.

Canada also managed to clinch an updated - though still to be ratified- free trade deal with the US and Mexico after months of uncertainty that spooked businesses dependent on the North American partnership.

US President Donald Trump, Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend USMCA signing ceremonyImage copyright Reuters Image caption Canadian PM Justin Trudeau managed to clinch a deal in 2018 on a new Nafta

But not everyone is feeling confident about the future.

In fact, pollster Darrell Bricker says Canadians are uneasy about things taking a turn for the worst.

"People are feeling like they're left behind, they feel like they're not connected, they're feeling overwhelmed, and they're concerned that their economic position seems to be declining from generation to generation" says the CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.

"It's something that's really emerged over the space of the last three years. It's the affordability issue."

There are warnings of a possible economic downturn and more market volatility.

Interest rates have been exceptionally low for a decade in Canada, leading many households to a build up debt, mainly from mortgages, and major cities like Toronto and Vancouver have seen house prices skyrocket.

Bricker notes interest rates are expected to continue their slow rise this year, meaning indebted households now just getting by could face more financial hardship.

"For Sale" sign is pictured in the front yard of a house in Toronto, Ontario, CanadaImage copyright Reuters Image caption Rising interest rates could cause problems for some overextended homeowners

For Trudeau, who campaigned on the promise to help "the middle class and those working hard to join it", that could spell trouble.

Angus Reid's Kurl says that continued budget deficits - the finance department says government books could be in the red until 2040 - have also been worrying some Liberal supporters enough they are now drifting towards the Conservatives or into the "undecided voter" camp.

Still, the prime minister's political opponents - right-leaning Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer and left-leaning New Democrat Party leader Jagmeet Singh - have so far failed to capture the public's imagination.

Bricker says the question is whether they can "get on people's radar" between now and next October.

Short presentational grey line

2. Oil could be his undoing

Oil and the environment have been giving the Trudeau government headaches for months.

Trudeau's new national carbon pricing plan - a signature policy in the effort to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets - is facing opposition from a number of provincial governments affected by the plan. Two are going to court over the scheme.

It's also a deeply divisive issue among the electorate, which hasn't escaped the notice of Trudeau's political foes.

Trudeau promised the carbon tax revenues would be returned to many households through various rebates, but people are worried about an increase in petrol and heating bills.

On New Year's Day, when the price on carbon came into force, Scheer held a news conference warning that its "single achievement will be making everyday essentials more expensive for all Canadians".

Trudeau's green credentials have also been roiled by his government's efforts to get a major pipeline expansion built.

Greenpeace activists scaled two entrance pillars to drop banners at the Canadian High CommissionImage copyright Courtesy Greenpeace Image caption Greenpeace activists scaled two entrance pillars to drop banners at the Canadian High Commission

Environmental groups are angry at the Liberal government's support of Trans Mountain, a pipeline expansion project they see as entrenching Canada's reliance on oil.

Analysts say new pipelines are necessary to deliver the country's landlocked oil to the coast because it would allow companies to sell the commodity for higher prices overseas.

Despite the Trudeau government's support, the Trans Mountain expansion is currently under review following a court ruling that quashed federal approval of the project.

Canadians from the oil-rich province of Alberta are angry. The province recently ordered cuts to crude oil production to help tackle tanking oil prices.

Frustrated oil workers and supporters have staged a number of protests in recent weeks.

Alberta has never been a stronghold of Liberal votes, but Kurl says Trudeau's failure to get a major infrastructure project built has lead to the question: "Is this someone who is actually in control of the country?"

"It starts to worry the business community, it starts to worry Bay Street investors" if the federal government is unable to build the projects they back, she says.

Short presentational grey line

3. Trudeau's weakest issue?

Migration and immigration aren't the top concern for most Canadians - issues like health-care and the economy hold that spot.

But that doesn't mean Canadians aren't worried about their southern border.

In the past two years, over 38,500 migrants have crossed the border illegally in order to turn themselves over to authorities and make refugee claims.

A group of asylum seekers cross the border illegally from the United States into CanadaImage copyright Toronto Star via Getty Images Image caption Thousands of asylum seekers have crossed into Canada at the Quebec border

The sheer number of asylum seekers has strained the resources of government and community organisations. The wait-time for hearings by Canada's refugee board has edged up to an average of around 20 months.

The federal government is somewhat limited in what they can do to prevent the phenomenon, though they have launched media campaigns among targeted communities warning that asylum is not guaranteed.

But with a report projecting that supporting and processing the asylum seekers could cost taxpayers over C$1bn, there is a growing sense the file has been mishandled.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen is one of the least popular ministers in Trudeau's cabinet, according to the Angus Reid Institute. Two provinces, Quebec and Ontario, are asking the federal government for a combined C$500m to cover the costs of accommodating the asylum seekers.

The Liberals have a weakness here, says Kurl, with voters from all parties identifying it as a poor issue for Trudeau.

Kurl calls it a "lurking vulnerability" given the subject tends to bubble up into public consciousness in late summer when migrant numbers have jumped in the past - and this year just in time for the next election campaign.

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John Ivison: Trudeau sounds resigned to his inability to solve Canada’s border-crosser problem

‎Today, ‎January ‎3, ‎2019, ‏‎3 hours ago | John Ivison

Justin Trudeau appears to have given up hope of reducing the flow of people crossing from the United States illegally to claim asylum, and is test-driving fresh rationalizations on why a migrant surge might not be such a bad thing. The new line from the Prime Minister is that the flow of asylum seekers may prove an economic boon for Canada.

“The fact that we have extremely low unemployment, we’re seeing labour shortages in certain parts of the country, (means) it is a good time to reflect that we are bringing in immigrants who are going to keep our economy growing,” Trudeau said in a pre-Christmas interview.

The statement came in response to a question about a contention by his predecessor, Stephen Harper, that an immigration system that is legal, secure and economically driven will have high levels of public acceptance, while the “irregular” migration phenomenon has made the system less secure and less economically driven.

It is clear there are labour shortages. A Business Development Bank of Canada study in September found four in 10 small- and medium-sized companies struggling to find new employees. But an orderly immigration system aims to match the skills of newcomers with the demands of employers. The free-for-all at the border is a triage situation. The only thing economically driven about it is the desire of the migrants crossing illegally to have a higher standard of living than they had in their country of origin.

Who can blame them? But it’s no way to run a country.

To claim this abuse of process will help the economy to grow is the latest attempt by the Trudeau government to justify its loss of control over the Canada-U.S. border. In November, Bill Blair, the border security minister, tried to sanitize the situation by pointing out that 40 per cent of migrants crossing illegally are children, suggesting that Canada is merely living up to its human rights obligations.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scratches his forehead as he listens to a question during an end of session news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018.

Neither argument can rationalize a situation where the integrity of the immigration system is being violated.

Trudeau pointed out that the Liberals have injected extra resources ($173 million in budget 2018) to ensure that everyone who arrives in Canada, even if they cross between official border crossings, is given a full security screening. “There are no loopholes or shortcuts, in that our immigration system continues to apply to everyone who arrives in this country,” he said.

This is true. The flow of migrants, mainly from Nigeria and Haiti, is costing the federal government a pretty penny — $340 million for the cohort of migrants who arrived in Canada in 2017, according to a November report by the Parliamentary Budget Office — not to mention straining provincial resources (the PBO estimated a cost of $200 million each for Ontario and Quebec). Such generous provision has attracted yet more asylum shoppers — year-over-year numbers suggest more people crossed illegally into Canada between January and September this year (15,726) than in the same period last year (15,102).

The endless appeals process means there is a massive backlog that is likely to require reform to reduce.

But at least the government has some control over the process once migrants have claimed asylum. When it comes to reducing the number flowing across the border, the Liberals appear accepting of their impotence.

Blair’s mandate letter gave him the lead role in talking to the Trump administration about “modernizing” the Safe Third Country Agreement, which states migrants claiming refugee status must make their claim in the first “safe” country they arrive in — Canada or the U.S.

A family from Haiti approach a tent in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, stationed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as they haul their luggage down Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., Monday, Aug. 7, 2017.

A loophole in the pact with the Americans means it does not apply between official points of entry.

But there appears to have been little progress on closing the loophole since public safety minister Ralph Goodale met then-homeland security secretary John Kelly in March, when they agreed to “monitor the situation” at the land border. Blair visited Washington in November to meet homeland security officials and his office says talks are “ongoing.”

They are likely to remain so.

No matter how much money the government spends trying to process asylum claims, a solution requires cooperation from the Trump administration — and that has not been forthcoming.

Even under Obama, there was no interest in extending the Safe Third Country Agreement to anyone crossing from the U.S. — a move that would increase the number of asylum claimants south of the border. There is likely to be a similar lack of concurrence about joint border enforcement patrols to stop people crossing in the first place.

But the agreement is currently as useless as a pulled tooth. There can be few issues of greater importance in the cross-border relationship and the point should be made forcefully in Washington whenever the Americans want something.

Canada’s consensus on immigration is in jeopardy, as economic migrants ignore this country’s laws and its borders.

Trudeau sounds resigned to being bound in an insoluble quandary. The upshot is that he is trying to promote an uncontrolled migration system as one that is not only orderly, but is of net benefit to Canada.

It is going to be a tough sell.

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On 1/2/2019 at 10:33 AM, Jaydee said:

 Check out his Christmas message on YouTube for the past 4 years.  Dislikes Growing exponentially!



( up to 12,000 dislikes now to only 700 likes  17/1 against ) 

As of January 2, 2019, the YouTube video has over 9,700 dislikes compared to only 650 likes. 

That’s a disapproval ratio of FIFTEEN to ONE.

Viewers were not impressed with the Prime Minister’s arrogant tone and phony demeanor, according to the 1,700 mostly negative comments. 

What’s even more disturbing than Trudeau’s preachiness, however, is the partisan message embedded into this Christmas message. Part way through the holiday greeting, Trudeau starts listing off his own partisan accomplishments in office. 

2019 is a federal election year, but it’s odd for the PM to mix partisan politics with a religious message to all Christians and Canadians. 

“We’re also thinking of the hard-working Canadians families who might be struggling to make ends meet this Christmas. Our government is working to make things a little easier for you, whether it’s putting our first ever national housing strategy into action, supporting seniors, or putting more money into the pockets of nine out of ten Canadian families.”

“We [the Liberal government] will always stand with you, because that’s what Canadians do.”

Is a Christmas message really the time to be touting your own government programs, using torqued partisan data? 

What is most disturbing of all about this video is that is found on the CBC’s YouTube channel. 

Not the Liberal Party of Canada. 

Not Justin Trudeau’s personal account. 

But the supposedly independent, non-partisan, unbiased public broadcaster of Canada.

Why on earth is the CBC broadcasting Trudeau’s partisan Christmas message? 

WATCH the full video here


Edited by Jaydee

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you dont bite the hand that feeds you


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‎Today, ‎January ‎4, ‎2019, ‏‎9 minutes ago

‘He knows the rules’: NDP MP cries foul over Trudeau fundraising video shot in PM’s parliamentary office

‎Today, ‎January ‎4, ‎2019, ‏‎41 minutes ago | Maura Forrest

OTTAWA — NDP MP Charlie Angus is criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for shooting an end-of-year fundraising video in his office on Parliament Hill, in violation of rules that prevent MPs from using parliamentary resources to raise money.

The video, posted to Trudeau’s Facebook page on Dec. 28, shows the prime minister in his Centre Block office, flanked by two Canadian flags. “You are at the heart of this movement for positive politics — and you know what’s at stake,” he says, addressing his supporters. “That’s why I’m asking you to join tens of thousands of Canadians who have already donated this month by chipping in before our Dec. 31st deadline, so we can start 2019 strong.”

The post contains a link to the Liberal Party website, where supporters are asked to make donations.

The problem is that members of Parliament are governed by strict rules about keeping their parliamentary work separate from fundraising and campaigning. According to the members by-law of the board of internal economy, which governs the House of Commons, parliamentary premises like Centre Block can’t be used for partisan activities, including “solicitations of contributions and solicitations of membership to a political party” or for “activities related to a member’s re-election.”

Angus said filming a fundraising ad in the prime minister’s office was a “bush league” move from someone who should have known better. “He knows the rules. This is not rookie backbencher activity. This is the prime minister of the country,” he said. “He seems to believe that because he’s Justin Trudeau, prime minister, rules don’t apply.”

Angus said the rules are very clear, especially for something like a direct fundraising appeal, and he was surprised by the decision. “The prime minister has enormous resources to do his outreach, and the Liberal Party has enormous power and capacity to do fundraising,” he said. “It is such a direct financial ask. To me, it makes it seem that they don’t really care that rules are in place.”

In an email, Liberal Party spokesperson Braeden Caley said the video was filmed in the Centre Block office “due to Mr. Trudeau’s time constraints in his other important work as prime minister.” He said the party “is in the process of making an appropriate reimbursement” that will be complete by early next week, but didn’t say what the reimbursement will be.

He also confirmed that the video was filmed using Liberal Party equipment, “not with parliamentary resources, equipment or expenditures.”

Caley argued that the Liberals are not the first to use Parliament Hill offices for partisan purposes, pointing to a 2015 pre-election ad featuring former prime minister Stephen Harper working at his desk. However, Conservative Party spokesperson Cory Hann confirmed that ad was filmed at the prime minister’s official residence at 24 Sussex Drive, which isn’t subject to the same rules.

Angus said he plans to send a letter to the board of internal economy asking for a review of the fundraising video. The Liberals hold a majority on the board, which consists of seven MPs from all three major parties, but Angus said even a “finger-scolding” could be worthwhile.

“They do have an obligation to ensure that all parliamentarians follow the rules.”

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Why Trudeau might lose.

Justin Trudeau may face a surprisingly tough election fight this year. His worst problem is not the winsome dimples of Andrew Scheer (a man few of us would recognize if we bumped into him). His problem is that after three years of exposure, the charm has worn thin. He is often glib. He strikes a lot of voters as fatuous and superficial. He’s smart enough, but it’s a mean old world out there and people understandably wonder if he’s up to the challenges that Canada is facing. He can’t make tough choices. Instead, he tells us we can have it all – pipelines along with carbon taxes, and substantial deficits which he swears are being spent on good investments. Not everyone is buying it.

The disenchantment with Mr. Trudeau has driven his party’s popularity down to about 36 per cent in the polls – only two points ahead of the Conservatives, as noted by UBC professor Richard Johnston.Mr. Trudeau’s own approval rating is lower than U.S. President Donald Trump’s. A new Nik Nanos poll says that 35 per cent of Canadians approve of the Trudeau government’s performance – about the same percentage who approved of Stephen Harper’s performance in 2014.

My hunch is that Mr. Trudeau will win. But he does have weak spots. Here are the biggest ones.

Alone in the world. Canada may never have been so isolated as we are today, former diplomat Lawrence Herman argued in the Globe. Mr. Trudeau’s initial foreign-policy goal was to declare to the world that Canada was back and punching above its weight again. Instead, we’re the ones taking the beating. Our Saudi Arabia relations, for example, were fractured by a Chrystia Freeland tweet. We are now also on the outs with Russia, China and India, and even our relationship with the United States is troubled.

And most recently, in what appears to be retaliation for our arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou , the Chinese are planning a retrial for convicted Canadian drug smuggler Robert Lloyd Schellenberg. One possible penalty: execution. It’s a brutal world out there. And with so many of our foreign relationships in tatters, Mr. Trudeau is going to have to find a better way forward than lecturing about his favourite subject – gender.


Fractured at home. Western alienation is nothing new, but this time it’s serious. According to an Ipsos poll, only 18 per cent of Albertans believe that “the views of Western Canada are adequately represented in Ottawa,” and many are upset because Quebec gets billions in equalization payments and they don’t. Many of their grievances are legitimate. Mr. Trudeau promised Albertans a “social licence” to build pipelines, in exchange for carbon taxes. Trouble is, they got the taxes but not the pipelines.

The Liberals often seem as if they are doing everything they can to block more resource development. Under the notorious new Bill C-69, for example, project proponents must now take into account “the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors.” (What that has to do with pumping oil is a total mystery.) And if the Trans Mountainextension doesn’t have shovels in the ground by election day, Mr. Trudeau will simply have proved, once again, that he can’t get stuff done. Alberta’s United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney will ride this anger right into the premier’s office this spring, and will be a mighty thorn in Mr. Trudeau’s side.

That pesky carbon tax. Mr. Trudeau is heading for the worst of all worlds – a carbon tax that’s too low to change behaviour, but high enough to irritate people . Most people think we should do our bit to stop climate change, but many of them also wonder what difference Canada can make in the big scheme of things. (Answer: None.) Mr. Scheer will warn that the Liberals will just keep raising the tax higher. Meantime, the sanctimonious preaching of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has become seriously annoying.

Debts and deficits. Canadians don’t mind government deficits when times are tough. But in good times like these, most of us want our budgets balanced. Instead, Mr. Trudeau ran a $19-billion deficit last year, with no commitment to a balanced budget any time in the future. Few people are thanking him for that.

Our porous borders. Potentially explosive. Unless we find better ways of managing our borders, our current backlog of 64,000 refugee claimants will grow even larger. Most claimants won’t be accepted, but all have the right to a hearing, meaning that the process can stretch out for years. As a result, the removals process is severely underfunded. If Canadians begin to believe our borders are out of control, Mr. Trudeau will pay heavily.


The Justin factor. Mr. Trudeau’s biggest asset is also his biggest drawback – his celebrity, his charm and his (now not so youthful) vitality. We like having someone on the cover of Rolling Stone. But in this increasingly unstable world, what people really want is someone whose skills are more than just performative. Is he up to it? That will be the ballot question.



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Will the bill ever come due for Justin Trudeau's Liberals?


Let’s face it: If this government thought a balanced budget by 2040 was good news it would have dressed Justin Trudeau up in a sherwani and invited the press pool to watch him dance out the explanation.

More to the point, if you think this bunch — having blown their balanced budget pledge by 22 years after a mere three in office — are going to suddenly get a grip on their finances, then I have a pipeline to the West Coast to sell you. (OK, bad example.) “


January is a sobering time.

Pickled by excess Christmas drink, more North Americans are now observing “dry January,” the month-long no-booze bandwagon started here in the United Kingdom, i.e. by a people who know their way to the bottom of a bottle (and have a reason to know how to find it, thanks to Brexit).

And then there’s the debt.

Retailers might be moaning about anemic sales, but most of us still have stonking credit card bills thanks to the stress of carrying Santa’s can. Even those without kids still have mounting deficits as they Amazon their way to happiness. But none of us can outrun the bill; it always comes due.

Unless you’re Justin Trudeau; if you’re this Liberal government, the bill never comes due.


Fine. That’s not exactly true. There’s an outside chance this government will balance its budget. In the year 2040. You probably missed that bit of Yuletide cheer buried in a Friday-before-Christmas news release from the Department of Deficit Finance.

Picking the (dead of) night before Christmas to drop some shocking news tells you everything you need to know about what this government thinks of its own fiscal management; namely, that it sucks worse than a $5 Secret Santa gift. That was re-gifted.

Let’s face it: If this government thought a balanced budget by 2040 was good news it would have dressed Justin Trudeau up in a sherwani and invited the press pool to watch him dance out the explanation.

More to the point, if you think this bunch — having blown their balanced budget pledge by 22 years after a mere three in office — are going to suddenly get a grip on their finances, then I have a pipeline to the West Coast to sell you. (OK, bad example.)

The knock on Trudeau Junior was always that he was more Margaret than Pierre, but with the West on fire and the deficit ballooning I’m not sure that’s true. You have to judge the man by his record, and right now Justin Trudeau is penning a sequel that draws on all of the worst plot points from the first Trudeau go-round. Right down to the peeved premiers.

Given how hard the Chrétien and Martin-era Liberals worked to restore a reputation for fiscal sanity, it’s shocking to see how blithely Justin Trudeau now belches out the dollars: $50 million tweeted at Trevor Noah; double the personal security costs of Stephen Harper; a fleet of expensive watercraft for the summer residence at Harrington Lake; $600 million for the “free” press; and $1.6 billion in “assistance” to the oilpatch. And that’s all from the past month or so. The Trudeau government is the rich boyfriend who thinks he can buy his way out of any problem by pulling out the AMEX Black card. Only he’s doing it with your money, the cad.

Even the Liberals’ signature achievements for the middle class (and those working hard to join them™) consist of little more than buying them off with their own money. Yes, the debt-to-GDP ratio might be on a downward trend as Liberals like to point out, but that’s only because times are good.

And that’s the point: We’re in this fiscal mess now, when the sun is shining. What happens when — not if — things go south? How many more years will the balanced budget date be pushed back then? Odds are I won’t be alive to see it (and I’m only 43).

Trudeau’s cavalier attitude to the nation’s finances ought to be punished heavily at the ballot box. Remember: Trudeau pinky swore he would run “modest” deficits and then be back to balance before the next election. That’s this year. Being two decades out isn’t close; it wouldn’t even count in horseshoes or hand grenades.

If Donald Trump weren’t alive — or, at least, not the U.S. president — more people would probably wake up to the fact that Trudeau’s government has been terrible in deed, if not in word. Yes, he says nice things and sounds like he means it, but at what cost?

Indeed, there is so much red ink about it’s hard to spot the blood around the chalk outline where NDP “leader” Jagmeet Singh’s body ought to be. But, then again, why do we even need Singh? Trudeau is our first NDP prime minister: the oilsands are plugged, government spending is exploding, and pot is legal.

All of this should — I repeat should — provide an open goal for Andrew Scheer. That Trudeau keeps trying to bait him into culture wars is proof that substance isn’t the preferred Liberal battleground. Culture is an itch Scheer mustn’t scratch.

With Trudeau spending like a drunken sailor, Scheer needs to stay sober and ripple the back of the net.


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India’s PM calls Stephen Harper “leader” during meeting to discuss India-Canada relations

This isn't the first high-profile trip Harper has attended since the release of his latest book

Stephen Harper met Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on January 8th to discuss the state of India-Canada relations and global cooperation.



Harper is currently in India attending a global conference called “Raisina Dialogue”, India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics. He is set to deliver a keynote presentation at the conference.

In July, Stephen Harper made a visit to the white house to meet Donald Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow.

The former Prime Minister has made several such high-profile visits as of late after releasing his latest book “Right Here, Right Now”. 


The prime minister’s tweet is in stark contrast to Modi’s message regarding Justin Trudeau’s visit in February of 2018. The Indian PM chose to post a nostalgic message about the delight of meeting the Prime Minister’s kids instead of the trip’s successes.

Justin Trudeau’s visit to India, meant to strengthen India-Canada ties was a disastrous public affairs nightmare that ended up further cooling the relations between the two countries.



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Former PM Stephen Harper (who was dressed in a dark suit) has friendly meeting with the Indian prime minister

Harper’s pop-in seemed to have much less drama than a certain visit by the current Prime Minister

main-art.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w=780Indian prime minister Narendra Modi meeting with former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.Prime Minister's Office, India

In India for an international summit, former Canadian leader Stephen Harper dropped in on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday for a visit.

Harper gave Modi a copy of his new book, the two strolled around some ceremonial gardens and then discussed “co-operation among democracies,” according to the office of the Indian prime minister.

The warm visit between the two comes only 10 months after a disastrous India visit by the sitting Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau.Over nine days, Trudeau received widespread mockery for repeatedly being photographed in formal Indian dress. He was unable to meet Modi until well into the visit and his team accidentally invited a convicted terrorist to a Canadian diplomatic event, fuelling Indian accusations that Canada remains a hotbed of Sikh separatist terrorism.

In the wake of the visit, Public Safety Canada began listing “Sikh extremism” as a Canadian terrorist threat, spawning accusations even from within Trudeau’s own cabinet that the measure was a capitulation to overblown Indian government fears.


Harper was in India to attend the Raisina Dialogue, an annual geopolitical summit sponsored by the Indian minister of external affairs.

With Modi a more conservative Indian leader, he was more drawn to Harper while the latter was still Canadian prime minister. In 2015, Harper hosted Modi as the first sitting Indian prime minister to visit Canada in more than 40 years, signalling an end to decades of frosty Indo-Canadian relations that began in the 1970s after New Delhi clandestinely used Canadian technology to build a nuclear bomb.

In a Twitter message after their Tuesday meeting, Harper called Modi “the most significant leader of India since Independence.”

Harper appears to have made all his recent Indian appearances in the same dark Western-style suit, although he occasionally swapped out a red tie for a blue one.

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Six ways Justin Trudeau will try to deceive voters on the border crisis during the 2019 election

Before heading into another election I thought it would be a public service to point out our prime minister’s manipulative tendencies when it comes to the refugee crisis.

With the help of Toronto immigration lawyer Sergio Karas from Karas Immigration Law, I was able to arrive at the following six tactics.

Take this as a warning and use this as a guide to know that the government is deceiving you.

Despite the fact that illegal crossings are taking place on a daily basis, the federal government has failed to curb the influx of illegal immigrants. Instead, the Liberals have devoted taxpayer funds to expedite the crossing process, including building temporary shelters and making it easier for people to cross into Canada and handing out hush money to residents most affected by the crisis.

Most Canadians believe there is, in fact, a crisis.

This is going to be a big issue in the election, the reason is because the public has lost confidence in the immigration system. That’s not good. It’s never good, when the public loses confidence in the government,” said Sergio Karas.

You just have to look to Toronto to be able to tell that it’s a crisis. The local and provincial governments are at at their wit’s end trying to accommodate the influx of refugees, and the homeless shelters are overflowing.  

Despite all that, the federal government is ignoring the opinion of the average Canadian unless it’s to their benefit. You would think that with an election around the corner, Justin Trudeau would consider it wise to be honest with Canadians and provide them with a solution. Except that will be the last thing he will do.

“They’re going to try to bury the issue as much as possible and obviously the Cons will bring it up. They are going to start to claim that the inflow is going down, which is not true, and also they’re going to start to claim that they’re taking measures to reduce the backlog,” said Karas.

The Liberals think they have the cat in the bag. The media has been promising them that they’ll win the election and it’s gotten to their heads.


1) The Liberals will keep it out of the news

Justin Trudeau will try to make the election about something else and the mainstream media will be sure to assist him.

They’ll say it’s about the carbon tax. They’ll avoid talking about immigration and shame any politician who decides to bring it up.

It’s a “high-risk, low-reward” election issue, claims the CBC.

“They’re going to plant articles in the media saying that the flow at the border has been greatly reduced. People are missing the point here, the regular flow at the border is just half of the total refugee claims because a lot of refugee claims are being made at regular points of entry. People are flying in with passports, people are coming in with visitors visas and making inland claims. The border flow is just half the story,” said immigration lawyer, Sergio Karas.

“The issue seems to have disappeared from the front pages. The danger is that when a trend is established, say that people are crossing the border regularly, it will be in the news for a while only and after a while it becomes routine and the media loses interest but also, not only that, the trend becomes established and it becomes acceptable. This is the way you enter Canada.”


2) Trudeau will blame it on somebody else

Instead of taking responsibility for his direct culpability in the border crisis, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will try to push the blame onto the last administration.

He’ll say Harper is at fault. He couldn’t possibly have done anything wrong. The Liberals have only been dealing with what they were handed.

Before the Liberals came into power Canada had an internationally renowned immigration system. It was a system that worked. What do we have now?

We have an open border and a divided country.

3) He’ll conflate immigration with asylum

Another tactic of the Liberals will be to distract Canadians by pointing to their successes in the immigration system. They’ll say they reduced the wait times in immigration streams like the spousal sponsorship program. They’ll say that the immigration system was a mess before they arrived.

Don’t be fooled — this is an attempt to distract from the real problem. Immigration is only half of the story. Immigration and refugee processing are handled by separate entities.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen is happy to wax his minor trophies in immigration before addressing the elephant in the room, which is the asylum and deportation backlog.

Behind closed doors, the cabinet is scrambling to attempt to patch up the mess they have created.

“They need to process these claims and under the current system it’s just impossible. Even if they hire 500 members of the board, you can just imagine, one member can process a claim a day, or let’s say 150 claims a year,” said Karas.

“Some claims are complicated — they take a number of sittings just to process. So it’s just impossible for a member to process more than a normal rate. How many members do you need to process 50k-65k claims?”

Without changes to improve efficiency and productivity of the asylum process, wait times and backlogs will only continue to grow. This situation is not sustainable,” said Hussen in a leaked memo.

4) Trudeau will claim it’s beneficial for the economy

The oldest argument in the book in support of Justin Trudeau’s disastrous open border approach is that it will help with our economy.

It’ll benefit you in the long run, don’t be so ignorant. 

Illegals only want jobs, you can’t deny them that. 

Is it really so beneficial when the very refugees we’ve allowed into the country are now suing our federal government for tens of millions of dollars? Or when economists are predicting that our economy is headed for the dumps and tough times are ahead?

Unsurprisingly it’s dust off Justin Trudeau’s shoulder, who will happily step out of his prime minister costume as soon as his act is over, while our children and our children’s children will have to pay for his mistakes.

5) He’ll call his critics racist

The best tactic to confound the public is to start vilifying your opponents. It puts your enemies on the defensive and gives you the upper hand.

The Trudeau Liberals have resorted to the name-calling tactics better suited for an elementary playground.  

He’s called the opposition “ambulance chasers“, while his immigration minister has called his opponents “not Canadian“.

“They’re going to have to do something in order to keep this out of the news, until after the election which will be very hard considering the Conservatives would hone in,” said Sergio Karas, “And this issue would play very well in certain parts of Quebec. Given the importance of this issue during the electoral campaign especially in certain areas of Quebec where a lot of Liberal seats are at risk.”

All the while our prime minister has the audacity to point to his opponents as the aggressive and demeaning party.

6) He’ll consult the “experts”

Usually these experts are global financiers with an invested interest in refugee operations, open border academics, non-profit asylum lawyers or bought-and-paid for journalists.

It’s the illusion of opinion, it’s the farce of expertise.

The federal government takes cues from organizations like The Century Initiative, a group of financial moguls hellbent on surging Canada’s population to 100 millionthrough whatever means possible by 2100.

They’ll be experts like Dominic Barton, a financial consultant who has spent a decade living in Asia and has a main residence in London, U.K.

Throughout the election Justin Trudeau will point to all kinds of experts to justify his claims, while ignoring the opinions of Canadians the whole time.





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Why Justin Trudeau will be spending a lot of time in B.C. in 2019

Both the Liberals and Conservatives are hoping for gains in British Columbia in this year's federal election. They'll need them.+

British Columbia is key to the Liberals' re-election hopes — and to the Conservatives' plans to topple them

Éric Grenier · CBC News · Posted: Jan 09, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 5 hours ago

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in British Columbia today, a province that could play a significant role in a Liberal victory in October's federal election — or form an integral part of a path to government for Andrew Scheer's Conservatives.

Trudeau is in Kamloops to speak at two separate events: a party fundraiser and a town hall with local citizens. The visit puts him far from the scene of two pending byelection contests in the ridings of Burnaby South in the Greater Vancouver region and Nanaimo–Ladysmith on Vancouver Island. But those are just two of the many electoral battlegrounds dotted across the province.

The Liberals won 17 seats in B.C. in the 2015 federal election and picked up another from the Conservatives in a byelection in 2017. The New Democrats took 14 seats, the Conservatives held on to 10 and the Greens retained one (leader Elizabeth May's seat in Saanich–Gulf Islands).

Support hasn't shifted dramatically in the province since the last vote. The CBC Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polls, puts the Liberals at 34 per cent support in B.C., down one point since 2015. The Conservatives sit at 32 per cent, a gain of just two points, while the New Democrats have slipped three points to 23 per cent.

At nine per cent, the Greens are up marginally over 2015. Maxime Bernier's People's Party, at just under one per cent support, has not had much of an impact.

The trend line has been generally flat in B.C. for some time, with each of the parties wobbling back and forth around their 2015 benchmarks. But the province has become more competitive in recent weeks. The Liberals generally scored between 35 and 37 per cent in the province last fall and enjoyed a seven to 10-point lead over the Conservatives. They have now dipped below the 35 per cent mark as Conservative support spikes.

Whether this is a blip or a real trend remains to be seen — the two parties were also in a close race throughout the spring and summer of last year — but B.C. already had a significant number of potentially close races before the margin closed between the two parties.

Liberals, Conservatives need B.C. in October

The Poll Tracker currently projects that the Conservatives are now in a position to win 17 seats in B.C., with the Liberals down to 15 and the NDP down to nine. May is projected to hold her seat of Saanich–Gulf Islands.

But many seats are in play. The projection model suggests the Liberals are in the running in as many as 22 ridings, with only nine seats considered relatively safe. The Conservatives' range is from nine to 26 seats and the NDP's range is from three to 16.

For the Liberals, this means that B.C. is one of the few regions of the country where the party has some prospect for gains. They could emerge with fewer seats even in the current polling environment, but they could also win a few more. That would go a long way toward compensating for losses the party is poised to suffer in Alberta, the Prairies, Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer likely needs to double his seat count in British Columbia if he is to form government in 2019's federal election. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)Only in Quebec do the Liberals look likely to gain seats, but Quebec alone might not be enough to secure enough new seats for Trudeau to hold on to his majority government. That's where B.C. comes in.For Scheer and the Conservatives, B.C. is one of the provinces offering the best prospects for gains based on where the polls stand today. And the party will need them; any election that results in a Conservative win will feature a significant contingent of Conservative MPs from B.C. Without doubling his party's representation on the West Coast, Scheer is unlikely to reach the 170 seats required for a majority government.British Columbia is also the province where the NDP has its highest rate of support. After Quebec, where the party has sagged, B.C. is home to the largest number of its MPs. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is relying on B.C. to give him a seat in the House of Commons in Burnaby South's upcoming byelection — but he's also counting on the province to make up for some of his party's expected losses in Quebec.Regional battlegrounds from the Island to the InteriorThough the Liberals are polling more strongly in the Vancouver region — a Mainstreet Research poll in the fall gave the party a 12-point edge over the Conservatives there — they also have some opportunities in the B.C. Interior. So Trudeau's visit to Kamloops is no coincidence.The riding of Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo was won by Conservative MP Cathy McLeod by 4.8 points over the Liberal candidate, who finished third in a tight three-way race in 2015. Kamloops itself was primarily a NDP-Liberal battleground in 2015, while the Conservatives dominated the rest of the sprawling riding. Winning over some of those NDP votes in Kamloops would help deliver the riding to Trudeau in October.The neighbouring riding of Central Okanagan–Similkameen–Nicola was won by the Conservatives by just 2.4 points, putting it high on the list of potential Liberal gains in B.C. Only Burnaby South, won by the NDP's Kennedy Stewart by just 1.2 points, ranks more highly as a Liberal prospect.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took part in a town hall in Kelowna, B.C. in September, 2017. The party scored an upset in the riding of Kelowna–Lake Country in 2015. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)As many as 13 of British Columbia's 42 ridings are considered toss-ups by the Poll Tracker's projection model at this point, with the Liberals looking to gain at the NDP's expense in Greater Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. The Conservatives are in the running to pluck both Liberal and NDP seats in the southern interior and the Fraser Valley — the latter region a key target for Scheer's Conservatives.Though the Greens have slipped in the polls over the last few weeks, they could also make some noise on Vancouver Island. An early test of the federal party's Island support could come in the Nanaimo–Ladysmith byelection.But British Columbia is not merely a province that could shape the outcome of the federal election — it could be a focal point for some of its key debates. Tuesday was a stark reminder of that, as protests in Ottawa that followed arrests by the RCMP at the Gidimt'en camp in northern B.C. forced the prime minister to move the location of a speech to Indigenous leaders.Though this particular action was not related to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, B.C. is ground zero for opposition to that project as well. Much of the opposition comes from Indigenous groups in the province (though, as is the case for British Columbians as a whole, that opposition is far from unanimous).That's a complicating factor for a government that says it wants to build pipelines while fostering a new relationship with Canada's Indigenous peoples — and to appeal to B.C. progressives who want action on climate change and protection for the province's vulnerable coasts.So today's visit to Kamloops is just the start for the prime minister. Expect to see him — and his opposition rivals — in British Columbia a lot more throughout 2019.

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Andrew Scheer would make the best PM

A new Angus Reid poll shows that for the first time since he won the election in 2015, Trudeau is not considered the best federal leader to run the country. Conservative Leader Scheer now holds that honour — with 33% of respondents choosing him and 27% picking Trudeau. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May came in third with 7% and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh got a dismal 6%. (The other 26% didn’t know.)



The poll also shows the Liberal prime minister’s popularity has taken a hit. His approval rating has sunk to 35%, compared to 46% this time last year. His disapproval rating now sits at a whopping 58%, which is the highest of all four of the party leaders.

Even younger Canadians appear to have become somewhat disillusioned. Now only 42% of 18-to-35-year-olds approve of the job Trudeau is doing, down from 52% last December.

The poll points to Trudeau’s “problem-plagued” India trip, irregular border crossings and the Trans Mountain pipeline debacle as some of the reasons for his decline.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey of 3,239 Canadian adults between Dec. 12-18. It is accurate to within +/- 1.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Edited by Jaydee

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