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Unofficial Opposition

Tue, September 19, 2017   |   Author: Peter Vogel   |   Volume 24    Issue 38   

Why should our government face opposition? Your list of reasons might be very long! The moral shortcomings of our current government are many, but most of our MPs and the media seem to approve regardless. There are, however, a few notable exceptions:

My most recent Communique critiqued the latest “tax reforms” of the Liberal government; some farmers and many doctors are also opposing them, but so is one courageous Liberal MP! We don’t see MPs criticizing their own governing party too often. Congratulations Wayne Long (Saint John-Rothesay), bravo!

While the mainstream media seems to praise our Prime Minister to no end, there are times when they also question and critique our government. Lately, there have been a number of articles questioning the expenses that the Prime Minister and/or his cabinet have racked up. The story that won’t go away is the trip that the Prime Minister and his family, and a few other friends took to the Caribbean last year for their Christmas vacation; the initial estimate of expenses for security etc. was $127,187 but CBC(!) reporter Elizabeth Thompson recently discovered, through an access to information request, that the cost was closer to $215,398, a mere 70% higher than initially disclosed.

And that is not all! Writer Michael Harris (not to be confused with the former Premier of Ontario) roundly criticized this government (and others) for treating themselves like royalty by flying wherever they wish on their personal time and expecting the taxpayer to pick up the tab for the necessary (but expensive) security costs that go along with their exotic trips.

A more in-depth report by Sheila Gunn Reid was recently published by The Rebel on the expenses of various cabinet ministers and their assistants; in fact, there are copies of 264 pages of expense receipts accessed by the Rebel through an access to information request. A few of the most extravagant expenditures are $5,400 to fly our finance minister to London, and a $400 expense claim from his special assistant for water taxi charges in Venice. These things add up and are paid for by taxpayers like you and me. We know that operating government costs money, but frugality in the small things adds up to big savings for everyone.

The NDP is to the left of the Liberal Party, and as such, we expect them to criticize the Liberals, but for the wrong reasons, from the opposite perspective. However, now and then they also oppose the direction of the government in a way that we can agree with. Don Davies MP (Vancouver-Kingsway) recently criticized Bill C-45 which will legalize marijuana: “At least one third of the market is going to be kept illegal, and moreover the one thing they are going to legalize is actually the most unhealthy way to ingest cannabis, which is by smoking.” True!

And now we come to the Conservative Party; they are in the position of being the Official Opposition to the government, and yet there are complaints that they are not opposing frequently or forcefully enough. Since late May, the leader of the Official Opposition is Andrew Scheer. While he is fairly new in the role, he has made a few decisions that can be critiqued. He is working to promote a positive image of himself and his party, but being in opposition requires some negative critique. As such he is opposed to the $10.5 million dollar payout to Omar Khadr, the wave of asylum seekers who are illegally crossing our borders, and the aforementioned tax reform policy. These issues are worthy of opposition and many Canadians agree that poor decisions have been made on these issues. The question we should ask is if the Conservative opposition are opposing these things because it is popular to do so, or because there is a moral issue at stake.

This takes us to a very important question: what issues will be of the greatest concern to the Official Opposition? We know because Mr. Scheer has appointed his shadow cabinet, which Campaign Life has evaluated. Those with a green light are reliably pro-life, those with an amber light are less-so, and those with a red light are not pro-life at all. Most of the appointments are amber-light MPs, and most of the cabinet posts are related to issues of moderate to little moral significance. There are a few exceptions, though; the “Ethics” position was given to Peter Kent, who has a red light warning; Kelly Block, on the other hand, who is a strong pro-life MP, was given Transport. Who would you rather have handling these files?

A number of the MPs chosen are former Leadership rivals; Maxime Bernier, who finished second; Erin O’Toole, who finished third; Michael Chong, who finished fifth; and Lisa Raitt, who finished eighth, was chosen to be Deputy Leader. None of these are strong social conservatives, and most are rated red light. Discouraging though is the fact that Brad Trost, who finished fourth in the leadership race and is a strong pro-life, pro-family candidate, was left out of Scheer’s shadow cabinet.

A leader will often be defined by those who are closest to him/her. Andrew Scheer is not doing as well as could be hoped. He is trying to present a positive message to Canada, but he is not sending a positive message to social conservatives based on his appointments so far.

CHP Canada continues to present a principled opposition in Canadian politics. We do this by bringing to light the issues and decisions that some would prefer to hide. We measure decisions not only by their political expediency but by their moral consequence.

We need your help to continue as the unofficial opposition! Your donations show that you care about these issues and your membership makes you part of the principled opposition that Canada needs!

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