This fall and winter season was politically turbulent both domestically and globally. Rising anger on the part of populations who see their governments as either indifferent to their concerns or actively hostile to their best interests coloured every major news event.
Here is a look at some of the major stories from Fall 2018, and a look ahead into 2019 from our Canadians for Democracy and Prosperity team.
Trade with China
Canada’s decision to detain a high-ranking executive with China’s Huawei Technologies at the request of the United States in preparation for a request for extradition is the latest salvo in the ongoing US-China trade struggle.
US Trade policy under President Trump has upended decades of status quo and addresses a serious public policy issue for not just the United States, but also Canada when it comes to trade with China.
China’s protectionist approach to allowing access to its own domestic markets by other countries has created an unsustainable imbalance in trading relationships between China and the West. The United States tough need measures to address this longstanding grievance will fundamentally shape the global trading framework for decades to come.
Moreover, Chinese companies face increasing scrutiny as threats to national security given the Communist state’s aggressive and pervasive intelligence gathering programs. Their role as quasi-state actors makes them susceptible as vehicles for spy operations. Prime Minister Trudeau was warned several times by multiple governments about Huawei state-sponsored espionage with regard to their 5G technology implementation, and chose to ignore those warnings.
Ultimately, Canada would be well-advised to support the United States as it seeks to address this trade problem which has serious implications for both countries.
Global Migration Compact
Late this fall, Canada signed onto the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. The Compact seeks to establish a set of common principles for the increasing number of migrants arriving in countries through irregular immigration channels. While officially nonbinding, the Compact itself nonetheless commits signatories to observing specific practices regarding the disposition of migrants once they arrive at a border or port of entry. From the Canadian perspective, the Compact is influential towards the ongoing issue of irregular migrants arriving in Canada from the United States – a growing public policy problem.
The nature of the Compact, like many UN documents, is that while proponents claim it is nonbinding in nature, it is a significant step towards the loss of Canadian sovereignty over its borders and immigration programs. In the same way that membership in the European Union requires member countries to freely allow the mobility of individuals across their national borders, this Compact emboldens the UN to play an increasingly powerful role in setting immigration policy.
Under the current Liberal government, who are currently campaigning aggressively for a seat for Canada on the United Nations Security Council, following through with the provisions of the Compact remains a strong likelihood, and in keeping with their failure to effectively address illegal immigration into Canada from the United States.
Alberta and the Canadian Federation
Canada in general will benefit from the economic success of what is happening in the United States, including their strong GDP growth, record low unemployment, and their success in bringing back overseas jobs to their industrial heartland. However, the energy crisis in Alberta is leading to a notable rise in both western alienation and discussion regarding Alberta’s place in the Canadian Federation.
The complete failure of the Liberal government to secure new export pipelines for Alberta oil, along with the rejection by other provinces of pipelines – and our energy sector as a whole – are leading Albertans to question the benefit of remaining part of Canada.
The situation has been exacerbated by the Trudeau Liberal government’s decision to unilaterally extend the current equalization formula for an additional four years, ignoring requests from prominent Albertan politicians (including Opposition leader Jason Kenney) to renegotiate the formula to reflect the tough economic times currently facing our province. The current formula would see $1.4 billion in equalization payments from Albertans paid to Quebec in 2019 alone.
Albertans have always held fairness as a core value. The lack of fairness seen in funding the Canadian Federation through equalization, generated from our energy sector, while in turn being spurned by other provinces and the federal government rankles Albertans who have always considered themselves to be proud Canadians.
Separatist sentiment in Alberta may be partially placated by the election of the United Conservative Party and Jason Kenney in Spring 2019, however the real determinant will be the outcome of the next federal election in October 2019. If Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government are re-elected, separatist sentiment will likely continue to rise in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. Merely having a referendum on equalization to “call Ottawa’s bluff” will not be enough of a stand for many Albertans who are struggling and looking for representation. Our young entrepreneurial population and resources would gladly be welcomed elsewhere should the federal government and other provinces continue to ignore Alberta’s cries of concern.
Moreover, those who would be quick to denounce Alberta separatism as the purview of only the extreme or the fringe should look to the rest of the world for examples of countries who are choosing disruption over a dissatisfactory status quo. Riots in France have forced once-popular president Emmanuel Macron to reconsider his country’s carbon tax, the resignation of the Belgium PM and possible fracturing of his coalition as a result of his support for the UN Migration Compact, and the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union show that radical change is only impossible until it comes to pass.
Heading Into 2019
As 2018 comes to a close, Canadians for Democracy and Prosperity are already looking towards the next year, and the major changes to the political landscape which will accompany both an Albertan and Canadian general election.
On behalf of Canadians for Democracy and Prosperity we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous Happy New Year.
With warmest regards of the season,
Canadians for Democracy and Prosperity