OTTAWA — New Brunswick voters are heading down a potentially bumpy road with hidden twists, but the recent electoral odyssey in British Columbia could provide a useful roadmap.
And, as in B.C., the ultimate navigator on the journey might be the lieutenant-governor, highlighting the considerable — though rarely used — powers the unelected viceregal representatives enjoy.
Brian Gallant is exercising his right to show the Liberals can govern New Brunswick despite winning just 21 seats, compared to the Tories’ 22, in Monday’s provincial ballot.
Gallant met Tuesday with Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau to discuss the election, in which two smaller parties won three seats apiece.
The next step will be to recall the legislature for a throne speech and see if his government enjoys enough support from other members to govern and pass legislation.
B.C.’s Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election when no party won a majority of seats. Clark convened the legislature, but her Liberals were defeated on a confidence vote just seven days later.
Clark stepped down and asked the province’s then lieutenant-governor, Judith Guichon, to call a fresh election. Instead, Guichon invited NDP Leader John Horgan to form a minority government and he has since governed with the support of Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver’s handful of members in a sometimes uneasy partnership.
What if, like Clark, Gallant fails to attract enough ad-hoc support to see his legislative plans through?
It would suddenly be up to Roy-Vienneau to examine the situation and decide whether another election would be worthwhile.
She would consider whether it was appropriate to have another ballot so soon and, in the alternative, whether Tory Leader Blaine Higgs could fare any better in cobbling together support, said Don Desserud, a University of Prince Edward Island political science professor and native New Brunswicker who keeps a close eye on the province.
“That’ll be a very interesting constitutional question for our lieutenant-governor to answer, but that is part of the job. It rarely happens, but here we are,” he said Tuesday in an interview.
“These are the sort of things that once in a while remind us that we do have a system that was created in the 19th century, and some of the institutions we have are somewhat arcane.”
Lieutenant-governors can pass their entire term without having to make a crucial call on a government’s fate, he noted. “But it does bring to mind the fact that this is a very important position and should be thought of that way.”
In late 2008, Michaelle Jean, the governor general at the time, was thrust into the centre of a political drama when the opposition parties in Ottawa forged a plan to defeat the Conservative minority government of Stephen Harper on a non-confidence motion, just six weeks after a general election.
But the motion — fuelled by the government’s controversial fiscal update — did not come to a vote, as Jean agreed to a prorogation of Parliament on condition it reconvene early the following year.
Harper created an ad-hoc advisory committee to help choose the next governor general, David Johnston, in 2010. He built on that process two years later with a permanent, non-partisan advisory committee on vice-regal appointments, but the Trudeau Liberals shunned the panel after coming to office in 2015.
Making the viceregal positions elected offices would require a constitutional amendment with unanimous consent of all of the provinces, Desserud said.
That would be a steep challenge, particularly given the lack of appetite on the part of successive federal governments to even think about reopening the Constitution following Brian Mulroney’s ill-fated attempts.
However, Desserud suggests there may be “more transparent ways” to appoint the governor general and their provincial counterparts.
“It would at least be worthy of a debate and a discussion.”
— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press
Pfizer documents challenge Health Canada COVID-19 vaccine narrative
From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy
By Ray McGinnis
Dr. Theresa Tam and senior federal health officials walked onto a stage this fall, socially distanced. Each wore masks, addressing an empty room.
Have they been living in a bubble?
The New York Times reported on February 21, 2023, that wearing masks did nothing to protect people from the COVID-19 virus.
Reporting on a rigorous and extensive study, Oxford epidemiologist Tom Jefferson said, “There is just no evidence that they [masks] make any difference. Full stop.” Jefferson said that even if one were to don an N-95 mask that it “makes no difference – none of it.” The microscopic hole in an N-95 mask was 35 microns. The much smaller droplet from the C-19 virus was 0.15 microns and could easily float through the N-19 mask hole. And why would a mask only be needed to protect us in public when we are not eating or drinking?
Health Canada continues to encourage the public to get COVID-19 boosters this fall. The agency asserts: “It’s considered safe to get both your COVID booster and a flu shot at the same appointment.” They are also “reviewing updated booster shots for children six months and up.”
However, release of the Pfizer Documents reveals people would be wise to avoid getting anymore boosters.
During its brief clinical trials, and in the first 12 weeks of the mRNA vaccine rollout, Pfizer compiled over 55,000 documents that related to clinical trials and other research the company conducted. The company hoped these documents would be sealed from public view for 75 years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration supported keeping the data secret.
Nevertheless, a US court disagreed. The documents began being released in 2022. Steve K. Bannon hosted whistleblower Dr. Naomi Wolf on his War Room podcast. Together, they issued a call for medical and scientific experts to examine the documents. Project manager, Amy Kelly divided 3,500 highly trained specialists into teams. And they went through the material with a fine-toothed comb Their findings are published in the War Room/DailyClout Pfizer Documents Analysis Reports.
The teams learned that Pfizer had many reports of serious adverse events after the initial 12-week rollout – 158,000 – that they had to hire an additional 2,400 full-time staff to manage the caseload.
A Pfizer Safety Branch Report concluded that by February 28, 2021, 1,223 people had died because of the vaccine.
Pfizer did not disclose all of its vaccine ingredients. In fact, a news story reports: “Health Canada Confirms Undisclosed Presence of DNA Sequence in Pfizer Shot.” The Epoch Times explains that the Simian Virus 40 DNA sequence is in some of the the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, citing scientists who warn that it can be carcinogenic.
It seems that Pfizer kept sloppy records of the clinical trials. Pfizer Documents Investigation Team 5 reported: “a great deal of data… [is] missing from Pfizer’s analysis of adverse events that were reported after the Pfizer mRNA vaccine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration…. The outcomes of almost one-quarter (22%) are not known.” They added, “Pfizer’s 3.7% fatality rate for the adverse event cases with known outcomes doesn’t include patients that Pfizer said had not recovered at the time of the report (30 April 2021).”
Team 1 reported that from December 1, 2020, “Pfizer was aware that the vaccine…had limited efficacy.” They reported that:“1,625 serious cases of vaccine ineffectiveness….” This included 136 people dying of COVID-19 related pneumonia after getting the Pfizer shot.
Team 3 examined what Pfizer did to ensure the safety of their vaccine. Did the vaccine stay in the arm, or did it travel to other places?
It was known that the engineered nanomaterials in the vaccine can cross or bypass the blood-brain barrier. What were the implications for the central nervous system? Team 3 discovered that: “This evaluation was never done in the Pfizer safety and efficacy trials… it is impossible to know whether the vaccine is safe in this arena. Pfizer did not prove the safety of the nano-lipid delivery system for the brain:” They just didn’t look under that rock.
In March 2022, the Journal of Pediatrics reported that the Seattle Children’s Hospital at the University of Washington had 35 cases of myocarditis in children within one week of receiving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Team 1 reported that it was clear to both Pfizer and the FDA that by June 2021 there was a “serious problem of myocarditis in adolescents following mRNA vaccination….” Nonetheless, the FDA went ahead and issued the Emergency Use Authorization to include teenagers, and they did not mention the risks.
The Pfizer Documents also reveal that by February 28, 2021, they knew that serious stroke adverse events were occurring after vaccination. Pfizer observed 275 patients who had a stroke post-vaccine….“Strokes are life-altering events. Even Pfizer categorized all the reported stroke as serious.” Nonetheless, even after Pfizer examined the stroke adverse events, they offered an upbeat assessment: “This cumulative case review does not raise new safety issues.”
And what did Health Canada say?
Journalist Rodney Palmer reported to the National Citizens Inquiry that the Government of Canada reported that by “March 3, 2023, [there were] a total of 427 reports with an outcome of death…reported following vaccination.”
Unfortunately, Canadians are still living in a bubble with little understanding of the adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
Glencore-Teck deal reveals the irony of coal: Profitable and vital, yet endlessly shunned
From the MacDonald Laurier Institute
By Heather Exner-Pirot
Coal is not going anywhere, and while some countries will benefit, Canada will not be among them
In many ways, the US$8.9-billion deal Glencore has struck for Teck Resources’ coal assets represents an elegant split that plays to each company’s strengths.
Teck, the Canadian miner, can now focus on its core base metals business, in particular copper, as it bets on strong returns in the years to come. Swiss commodities giant Glencore can build up its coal empire, adding the steelmaking coal assets to its vast thermal coal trade.
But the deal also reveals how coal has its own set of rules. Despite how profitable and strategic Teck’s coal resources are, they will soon come under foreign control. It is hard to imagine this unfolding the same way for any other commodity.
Coal is an essential, ubiquitous material. It is the workhorse of the global power sector, accounting for more than a third of global electricity generation. And it is indispensable in steelmaking. The burning of coke, a coal-based fuel, produces the carbon monoxide needed to convert iron ore into a liquid, alongside high temperatures. The majority of steel in the world is made with coking coal, also known as metallurgical coal.
Owing to its carbon intensity, it has a terrible reputation. Investors and shareholders, not to mention Western governments, shun it. Teck’s intention to spin off its coal business is linked to shareholder desires to see a decoupling of its metals and coal businesses out of environmental concerns, which have weighed on its valuation. Even as it pursues Teck’s coal assets, Glencore is doing the same; it plans to separate its metals and coal businesses within two years and sought Teck’s premium steelmaking coal to make its other coal holdings more palatable.
But shareholder distaste for coal is increasingly divorced from its economics. Coal is still highly profitable. Last year witnessed high prices and record demand, in part owing to the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Both Teck and Glencore benefited greatly. Teck earned record profits of $4.9-billion, with coal accounting for 75 per cent of that. Glencore’s core profit rose 60 per cent to a record US$34.1-billion, more than half of which came from coal production.
Teck’s steelmaking coal assets in B.C.’s Elk Valley are world-class – high-quality, with decades of reserves and a low carbon intensity relative to other deposits. Glencore’s deal for them will see it partnering with Japan’s Nippon Steel and South Korea’s PISCO, who will take minority stakes. The fact that the deal includes two of the world’s biggest steel producers is evidence that these coal assets have long-term customers. This deal is not about Teck unloading a bad asset; it is about removing the ESG noose around its neck.
That’s poor justification for letting such vital assets end up in foreign hands. Yet the federal government will likely let the deal happen.
Federal scrutiny of foreign investment and takeovers in our domestic mining sector has grown of late, as the need for friendly sources of critical minerals grows. As The Globe and Mail reported last month, Canadian firms have mainly been the targets, rather than pursuers, of acquisitions in the sector in the past decade. Canada has toughened the Investment Canada Act as a result.
While the Teck-Glencore deal will raise similar concerns, it has been designed to skirt them. Teck’s news release could have been written by Ottawa. It aligns with the federal government’s recent Critical Minerals Strategy and commits to remaining a Canadian-based miner focused on “future-oriented metals,” “an electric vehicle battery recycling facility” and support for “junior Canadian mining and exploration companies.” It also preserves B.C.’s coal mining jobs and revenues.
There’s a parallel universe where a G7 country protects its most exquisite metallurgical coal deposit, required to produce a critical material for any advanced economy, energy system or military. That introduces policy to reshore and build up its domestic steel industry in an era of growing geopolitical turbulence.
The world in 2023 is not this place. And Canada is not that G7 country. Indeed, the world view of the current federal and B.C. governments sees the decline of coal as both imminent and necessary. There is no way they will make the argument that the material is a strategic resource that must remain under Canadian ownership.
But coal is not going anywhere. Some countries will benefit, economically and strategically, from controlling it. Canada will not be among them.
Heather Exner-Pirot is the director of energy, natural resources and environment at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.
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