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Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

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OTTAWA — Jody Wilson-Raybould recommended in 2017 that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nominate a conservative Manitoba judge to be chief justice of the Supreme Court, even though he wasn’t a sitting member of the top court and had been a vocal critic of its activism on Charter of Rights issues, The Canadian Press has learned.

Well-placed sources say the former justice minister’s choice for chief justice was a moment of “significant disagreement” with Trudeau, who has touted the Liberals as “the party of the charter” and whose late father, Pierre Trudeau, spearheaded the drive to enshrine the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Constitution in 1982.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal discussions about a Supreme Court appointment, which are typically considered highly confidential.

For her part, Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself.”

In an email, she characterized the matter as part of the normal process of appointing a Supreme Court justice, which involves “typically CONFIDENTIAL conversations and communications — back and forths between the PM and the AG (attorney general) on potential candidates for appointment.”

She said she’s “not at liberty to comment” on the “veracity” of what the sources said occurred, adding, “Commentary/reporting in this regard with respect to a SCC appointment(s) could compromise the integrity of the appointments process and potentially sitting justices.”

The issue suggests Trudeau may have had reasons unrelated to the SNC-Lavalin affair for moving Wilson-Raybould out of the prestigious Justice portfolio earlier this year — a cabinet shuffle that touched off a full-blown political crisis for the governing Liberals.

Wilson-Raybould has said she believes she was moved to Veterans Affairs as punishment for refusing to intervene to stop a criminal prosecution of the Montreal engineering giant on bribery charges related to contracts in Libya. Trudeau has denied the SNC matter had anything to do with the decision.

She resigned a month later amid allegations she was improperly pressured by the Prime Minister’s Office to interfere in the SNC-Lavalin case, triggering a furor that has engulfed the Trudeau government ever since. The PMO refused to comment on the story Monday.

The issue, the sources say, arose after Beverley McLachlin announced in June 2017 her decision to retire that December after 28 years on the high court, including 17 as chief justice.

Her retirement meant the government would have to choose a new chief justice and find another bilingual judge from western or northern Canada to sit on the nine-member bench.

Trudeau created an independent, non-partisan advisory board, headed by former Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell, to identify qualified candidates to fill the western/northern vacancy and submit a short list of three to five names for consideration.

According to the sources, one of the names on the eventual list was Glenn Joyal, who had been appointed in 2011 by former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper as chief justice of Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench.

Wilson-Raybould then sent Trudeau a 60-plus-page memo arguing that Joyal should not only be added to the top court but should be named chief justice as well.

Only once before in Canadian history — in 1906, when Sir Wilfrid Laurier appointed his justice minister to the top judicial job — has a prime minister chosen a chief justice who was not already sitting on the Supreme Court.

Wilson-Raybould’s pick puzzled Trudeau but he became disturbed after doing some research into Joyal’s views on the charter, the sources said.

Joyal had criticized the judiciary for broadly interpreting charter rights and expanding them to apply to things not explicitly mentioned in the charter or, in his view, intended by provincial premiers when they agreed to enshrine a charter in the Constitution.

The Supreme Court’s liberal interpretation has led to things like legalization of same-sex marriage, the right of women to choose to have an abortion and the legalization of medical assistance in dying, among other things ­— developments Trudeau has celebrated.

In a January 2017 speech to the Canadian Constitution Foundation’s Law and Freedom Conference, Joyal echoed conservative arguments that the top court has usurped the supremacy of elected legislatures to determine social policy.

The charter, Joyal argued, was the result of a compromise between Pierre Trudeau and premiers, most of whom had originally opposed inclusion of a charter in the Constitution. The compromise was intended to maintain a balance between the judiciary and the legislative branch of government, with provisions allowing governments to limit or override rights altogether in some circumstances.

Since then, judicial interpretation of the charter has ignored the intentions of the drafters and “led without question to a level of judicial potency that was not anticipated back in 1982,” Joyal said in the speech, a video of which is available on the foundation’s website. That, in turn, has resulted in a “less potent and less influential legislative branch that seldom has the final word.” 

“With the ‘constitutionalizing’ of more and more political and social issues into fundamental rights, the Canadian judiciary has all but removed those issues, in a fairly permanent way, from the realm of future civic engagement and future political debate,” he said.

Joyal was particularly critical of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of section 7 of the charter ­— the section which guarantees everyone the right to life, liberty and security of the person and under which the top court struck down Canada’s abortion law and the prohibition on medically assisted death.

The court’s liberal interpretation of that section “has become, particularly in recent years, the single most fertile source for the discovery of new rights and the de facto constitutionalization of political and social issues,” he said.

Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s advice. He ended up appointing Sheila Martin, a judge on the appeal courts of Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, to fill the vacant western Canadian seat on the bench. Sitting Supreme Court Justice Richard Wagner was elevated to the role of chief justice.

Shortly after Trudeau told Wilson-Raybould he did not support her choice, the sources said Joyal withdrew his name from consideration.

In a statement Monday, Joyal makes no mention of the former minister, saying he submitted an application for consideration for the Supreme Court in 2017, only to be forced to withdraw his name for personal reasons related to his wife’s health.

“I fear that someone is using my previous candidacy to the Supreme Court of Canada to further an agenda unrelated to the appointment process,” Joyal said. “This is wrong.”

Wilson-Raybould’s advocacy of Joyal for the top judicial job may not come as a total surprise to some Liberals, who’ve privately noted what they consider her conservative, restrictive approach to charter rights in a number of bills, including those dealing with assisted dying, impaired driving and genetic discrimination.

Jane Philpott, as health minister at the time, was jointly responsible with Wilson-Raybould for the assisted dying legislation. She quit the cabinet earlier this month in solidarity with Wilson-Raybould, saying she no longer had confidence in the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press


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Economy

In a “Staggering Precedent” Trudeau government dodging parliament with massive “inflation tax” on Canadians

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Federal Conservative Pierre Poilievre has released video from a recent Question of Privilege in the House of Commons where he explains how the Federal Liberal government has been dodging parliament to significantly raise taxes.

Instead of going further into debt or raising taxes to pay for a massive increase in government spending, the Trudeau government worked out a deal with the Central Bank.  Every week the Central Bank prints billions of dollars that go directly to government coffers.  Without a single vote and without consulting Parliament, the federal government is effectively raking in the largest tax increase in Canadian history.

By printing money at this unprecedented rate, the federal government is responsible for driving up Canada’s inflation rate resulting in price hikes for virtually all goods and services.  Poilievre calls it an “inflation tax”.

In this short video, Poilievre describes how the inflation tax hurts low and middle income Canadians, while increasing the value of assets owned by the richest Canadians.

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Alberta

New opinion surveys reveal overwhelming majority of Canadians support our Oil and Gas industry

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News Release from Canada Action

We are very excited to share some recent and encouraging polling results today. According to a July 2021 public opinion survey conducted by Research Co, new data shows that Canada’s public perception of our responsible energy industry is very positive.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Almost three in four (73 percent) Canadians polled agree Canada should be a preferred global supplier of energy because of its climate and environmental record.
  • Nearly seven in ten (69 percent) say they have personally benefited from the oil and gas sector.
  • 70 percent agree that resource development could help alleviate systemic poverty within Indigenous communities.
  • Two thirds of Canadians (66 percent) support Canada’s role as a global oil and gas supplier.
  • Almost three in four Canadians (73 percent) acknowledge Canada’s prosperity is supported by the oil and gas sector and that Canadian oil and gas production helps fund important social programs like health care and education.

Referring to the fact 73 percent of Canadians polled also agreed it’s essential First Nations be included in project development to establish long-term revenue sources for their communities, JP Gladu, acting Executive Director of Indigenous Resource Network, noted the following:

Taken collectively, this is all exceptional news for all of Canada’s natural resource industries. Your support for our positive, fact based message about why the world needs more Canadian energy and resources is helping make a difference.

A Majority of Canadians ‘Agree’ that Canada Should be a Preferred Global Supplier of Energy: POLL

two thirds of canadians support canada's role as a global oil and gas supplier

A new public opinion survey conducted by Research Co. on behalf of Canada Action has found that a majority of Canadians across the country support the vital oil and gas sector! The poll, released on July 14th, showed that 68% of participants ‘agree’ that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand, while two-thirds (66%) support Canada’s role as a global oil and gas supplier versus just 19% who were opposed.

Additionally, almost three in four Canadians (73%) acknowledged Canada’s prosperity is supported by the oil and gas sector and that the industry helps fund important social programs such as healthcare and education.

“It’s a strong and very welcome result, and one that shows most Canadians feel proud of the work their energy sector is doing to enhance its record on ESG criteria. The results also show most Canadians believe the world needs more Canadian energy and are aware of the importance of the sector to the prosperity of families and communities right across the country,” said Cody Battershill, Canada Action founder.

Canada Oil and Gas Sector Generated 493 Billion Government Revenues 2000-2018-02

Between 2000 and 2018, approximately $493 billion in government revenues were generated by Canada’s oil and gas industry, capital which has been used pay for schools, hospitals, roads and the workers that make these projects possible/operational. Every Canadian has benefitted from oil and gas in some way, shape, or form; nearly seven-in-ten Canadians (69%) of participants also acknowledged that Canada’s oil and gas sector has benefitted them personally.

Nearly three-in-four Canadians (73%) also agreed that global markets should prioritize jurisdictions like Canada that are leaders in climate action and environmental protection. This is a logical choice as Canada’s oil and gas industry ranks number one for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices among nations with the largest oil reserves, and of the world’s top 20 producers, 2nd for governance and social progress and 4th on the environment.

“Given the world requires $525 billion of new oil and gas investment per year just to meet current demand, we think we ought to push for Canada to receive a sizeable share of this investment,” Battershill added.

68% of canadians agree that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand

Canada’s world-class ESG performance shows that our nation is home to one of the most environmentally conscious and sustainable oil and gas industries in the world. With future supply gaps on the horizon, it only makes sense that ESG-focussed investors look to Canada as a choice supplier for as long as the world needs oil – and it will for many decades to come.

73% of participants also agreed that it’s essential First Nations be included in project development to establish long-term revenue sources for their communities.

“These are heartening results. Indigenous nations and businesses want to be partners in resource development. This poll shows there’s widespread support to work together for the benefit of all,” said JP Gladu, acting Executive Director of the Indigenous Resource Network.

Below is a summary of all poll results collected by Research Co.

Poll Results:

73% of canadians agree that Canada's oil and gas sector helps fund social programs like healthcare and education

Two-thirds of Canadians (66%) support Canada’s role as a global oil and gas supplier, while one-in-five (19%) are opposed

– Almost seven-in-ten Canadians (69%) say the oil and gas industry has benefitted them personally

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that global markets should prioritize jurisdictions like Canada that are leaders in climate action and environmental protection

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that Canadian oil and gas products help fund important social programs like healthcare and education for Canadians

– More than seven-in-ten Canadians (72%) agree that sustainability measures are better served when energy is sourced from Canada compared to less environmentally friendly jurisdictions

three quarters of Canada believe that global markets should favour sustainable oil producers in Canada

Seven-in-ten Canadians (70%) agree that Canada should be the choice recipient of investments due to its climate leadership and environmental policies

– More than two-thirds of Canadians (68%) agree that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand

– Over three-in-five Canadians (64%) agree that investing in Canada’s oil and gas sector makes sense if you value climate leadership, social progress and transparency

Fewer than half of Canadians (45%) were aware that Canada is a leader for environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices among countries with the largest oil and gas reserves

– More than two-in-five Canadians (43%) were aware that Canadian energy companies are global leaders in carbon capture, utilization and storage

70% of Canadians believe Canada should be a choice recipient for investments due to ESG leadership

– Just over two-in-five Canadians (41%) were aware that Canadian natural gas exported to Asia can reduce global emissions by displacing coal power usage

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that global markets should prioritize jurisdictions like Canada that are leaders in climate leadership and environmental protection

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that Canada should be a destination of choice for energy investment due to its climate leadership, worker safety and environmental policies

– More than two-thirds of Canadians (68%) agree that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (74%) think Canada should act in a similar fashion to Norway when it comes to energy practices, as the nation has said they will continue to maximize the value created from their oil and gas reserves

Canada ESG Record vs. Top Global Oil Exporters

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that Canada’s prosperity is supported by the oil and gas sector practices

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that it is essential that First Nations be included in project development to establish long-term revenue sources for their communities

Seven-in-ten Canadians (70%) agree that Systemic poverty within Indigenous communities could be alleviated with resource development

– Almost seven-in-ten Canadians (69%) agree that Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada should play a role in supplying our energy to meet domestic and global demands

More than half of Canadians (56%) agree with the decision related to the TMX expansion, while one-in-five (21%) disagree, and a similar proportion (22%) are undecided. Support for the decision is highest in Alberta and Atlantic Canada (each at 63%), followed by Ontario (57%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (56%), British Columbia (55%) and Quebec (52%)

– Over three-in-five Canadians (62%) think the Indigenous communities support the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) project

– More than three-in-ten Canadians (31%) are more likely to support the Trans Mountain expansion upon learning of the views of Indigenous communities, while 7% are less likely to support. More than two-in-five (47%) say their position has not changed as a result of this fact

Results were based on an online study among 1,000 adults in Canada, conducted July 7 to 9, 2021 and weighted for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

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