I listened to Poilievre’s speech with horror.
Horror as he was able to effortlessly spout numerous meaningless but effective sound bites. Horror as I now am convinced that there is a much better than 50% chance that he will win a majority in the next federal election, which must be held by October 2025.
I now truly fear that Canadians will be hoodwinked by his style in much the same way that Americans were hoodwinked by a man many consider to be one of America’s worst terrorists, President Ronald Reagan.
During the 1980 U.S. presidential election, polling consistently confirmed that the issues raised by incumbent President Jimmy Carter were of much higher importance to the U.S. electorate, than the issues raised by his opponent, Reagan. More importantly, the position taken by Carter on those issues was overwhelmingly preferred over Reagan’s position on those issues. In spite of that, Reagan went on to win a convincing victory. Why? Simply because of his style – folksy, likeable, and mildly humorous.
Let’s take a brief look at not how Poilievre says what he says but rather the actual substance of what he says.
Poilievre says he will make life more affordable for Canadians. Sounds great. Who can be opposed to life being more affordable? He then goes on to say that government overspending is a major cause of inflation and that he will reduce inflation by reducing government spending.
This is cover for what he will actually do if elected – slash and burn government programs, programs that help those genuinely in need.
He fails to mention that even the Bank of Canada has determined that government spending has little or no effect on a nation’s inflation rate. Even the argument that budget deficits cause inflation has been questioned by no less than the International Monitory Fund (IMF).
There are of course two ways of balancing government budgets – slash and burn spending on much needed programs or raising revenue.
Changing tax policies to more effectively tax wealth and capital, including finally implementing an estate tax to capture even a small portion of the enormous inter-generational wealth transfer, occurring now and predicted to continue for the next 10-15 years, in and of itself would likely eliminate all of the current deficit and much of government debt.
So, (a) reducing government spending is just a cover for cutting social programs and (b) is not necessary at all if instead revenues are increased.
Then there is Poilievre’s ‘axe the tax’ plan – no more carbon tax.
Leading economists around the world and institutions such as the IMF tell us that carbon pricing is the most effective and efficient way to encourage us to reduce our carbon footprint.
The current federal carbon tax plan is not a cash grab. For provinces and territories that have their own carbon pricing systems (such as B.C.), any further direct proceeds to the federal government are returned to their jurisdiction of origin. Governments opting for the federal system receive all proceeds back. Further, the federal government provides Climate Action Incentive Payments to all households within the federal system. It is a revenue neutral tax.
When asked what concrete steps he will take to lower Canada’s carbon emissions, Poilievre is short on details. He proposes the elimination of the carbon tax now without having presented any alternatives that would be as effective.
His election as Prime Minister would only accelerate the date at which planet Earth’s climate is predicted to collapse.
Poilievre also promises he will go hard on crime. Canada already has an incarceration rate far above that of many other countries with a lower crime rate. Unfortunately, Poilievre chooses to make community crime a sound bite rather than what it is — primarily a function of social conditions.
And his cutting of social programs will just make matters worse.
However, let me say this – and you will be very surprised – I have no problem with very long jail sentences for some types of crime. By far Canada’s worst crimes are those committed by oil and gas companies. Their actions will, by an order of magnitude, kill far more people than the type of crimes Poilievre talks about. Ditto tobacco companies and pharmaceutical companies that irresponsibly promote addictive opiates. I call for the immediate incarceration of all those responsible.
The prospect of a Pierre Poilievre majority terrifies me. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to make our best efforts to share the truth about Poilievre as widely as possible. If there is any hope to be found, it’s that there are still two years to go until the next federal election.
In a future blog, I will drill more deeply into Poilievre’s positions on issues. To be continued.
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (September 12, 2023): 418.36ppm
One year ago (September 12, 2022): 416.00ppm
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