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Political parties, whether in government or opposition, introduce policy proposals on a fairly steady basis. Some ideas will be praised, while others will be criticized. That’s to be expected in the day-to-day world of politics.

One of the keys to success is for parties and leaders to take both of these reactions to heart and see if there are ways to improve or build upon the proposed policy measure. Anything that’s good can always be made better. If it’s rejected outright, then it’s up to party leaders and senior leadership to either figure out what needs to be improved, or if the best course of action is to scrap the policy and head back to the drawing board.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has never grasped the fine art of these two skills that every politician needs to learn. This isn’t to say his Liberal government hasn’t occasionally changed certain policy directions. The problem is their mediocre and ineffective leader seems to believe most of his ideas are great right off the bat, and the avalanche of bad ideas he’s proposed since taking office in 2015 don’t need to be tinkered with.

In fact, Trudeau’s natural reaction when a policy has been criticized is to double down rather than accept the deficiencies and fix them.

Here’s a recent example.

When the Liberals unveiled the April 16 federal budget, it included a tax hike in capital gains. In Section 8.1 of Budget 2024, they announced their intention “to increase the inclusion rate on capital gains realized annually above $250,000 by individuals and on all capital gains realized by corporations and trusts from one-half to two-thirds.” They attempted to brush away any and all concerns. “Only 0.13 per cent of Canadians with an average income of $1.4 million are expected to pay more personal income tax on their capital gains in any given year,” the same section noted. Several items that would have affected ordinary Canadians remained exempt, including the sale of principal residences.

Why had Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland targeted capital gains? Her predecessor, Bill Morneau, had rejected previous calls to look into this matter. “This was very clearly something that, while I was there, we resisted. We resisted it for a very specific reason – we were concerned about the growth of the country,” he said at a post-budget Q&A session with the accounting firm KPMG, and it’s “clearly a negative to our long-term goal, which is growth in the economy, productive growth and investments.” Putting Morneau’s wealth and financial status aside, he made the right decision.

Freeland took a very different tact. “We are making Canada’s tax system more fair by ensuring that the very wealthiest pay their fair share,” she told the media. Instead of doing things that could potentially help the Canadian economy, such as reducing the size of government and introducing broad-based tax relief, the Finance Minister decided to use the age-old political tactic of soaking the rich under the guise of tax fairness.

She’s wrong, of course. Adjusting the tax levy from 50 percent to 66.7 percent on profits for capital gains over $250,000 for individuals, trusts and corporations doesn’t just hurt roughly 0.13 percent of the population. It hurts the other 99.87 percent, too.

Higher taxes and lower take-home pay increases the role of the state, reduces economic liberty and personal freedom. They also minimize the impact of free markets and private enterprise, and cripple economic growth and stability. In the case of capital gains, which refers to the sale of an asset (ie. house, building, stock shares) that has increased in value since the initial purchase, Ottawa reduced an individual’s annual investment earnings. Targeting capital gains was therefore a clear sign the Liberals have little to no respect for individuals and companies that are profitable and contribute to Canada’s overall economic engine.

The Trudeau government was immediately condemned by the business community. Major industry associations like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce spoke out against the capital gains tax hike. The Canadian Medical Association said the proposed changes “will have adverse effects on physician recruitment and retention across the country.” The Mining Association of Canada suggested the tax hike will “significantly reduce” the value of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for investors and companies.

Moreover, a Nanos Research survey for Bloomberg News conducted between April 28 to May 1 revealed that 45% of respondents felt the tax changes “will lead to decreased investments and innovation, which will weaken the economy.” This was the majority viewpoint, as 38 percent supported the proposal and the remaining 17 percent were unsure. It’s also worth noting 46 percent of Canadians ages 18 to 34 opposed the tax increase, while those aged 35 to 54 were at 48 percent.

Most Prime Ministers and their senior advisers, irrespective of political stripe, would look closely at these numbers and comments. They would realize that significant adjustments to the capital gains tax hike would be required, and would start the process immediately.

What did Trudeau do? You guessed it: he doubled down on this unpopular proposal. The PM actually released a short video on May 13 to justify his position. It was as ignorant and ill-informed as his government’s decision to target capital gains in the first place.

There are many reasons why the Liberals are getting clobbered in the polls. Trudeau’s inability to understand what Canadians want from their government, and to change proposed policies that a majority of Canadians dislike or believe will hurt the economy and their communities, are two of them.

Michael Taube, a longtime newspaper columnist and political commentator, was a speechwriter for former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.


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The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.


This content is restricted to subscribers

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.


This content is restricted to subscribers

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.


This content is restricted to subscribers

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.


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The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.


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Most Canadians think differently about political and economic issues. Some prefer an increased role for the state, while others desire smaller government and less intrusion. Some support higher taxes and more public services, while others want lower taxes and more private sector involvement. Some trust the free market economy wholeheartedly, while others are more skeptical. Some believe our country to be more involved in foreign policy matters, while others feel we’re too involved as is.

You get the drill.

When it comes to national safety and security, there has historically tended to be a meeting of the minds. Most Canadians believed the government in charge, be it Liberal or Conservative, was committed to protecting our nation’s borders. That they opposed totalitarian states, rogue nations and terrorist organizations. That they would always defend the cherished principles of liberty, freedom and democracy.

All of this changed soon after Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister.

In March 2016, Stéphane Dion, a former Liberal leader and Trudeau’s first foreign affairs minister, spoke at the University of Ottawa about his government’s approach to international affairs. “The guiding principle that I will follow in fulfilling this mandate is something I call responsible conviction,” he said. Dion claimed his government “shares the same conviction as the previous government, but it assesses the consequences of its chosen method of promoting this conviction differently.”

Trudeau and the Liberals would maintain some policies that former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives championed in office, but would move away from the “disengagement” position. Early foreign policy goals included: a renewed focus on multilateralism and the United Nations, recognizing that severing ties with Russia and Iran had had “no positive consequences for anyone” and needed to be re-opened, promoting the fact that “human activity-induced climate change is one of the worst threats humanity is facing,” and taking a different tactic to fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Dion was replaced in Feb. 2017 by Chrystia Freeland, who is now the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. She was followed by François-Philippe Champagne, Marc Garneau and, most recently, Melanie Joly. Through it all, the ridiculous, obtuse concept of “responsible conviction” has continued to permeate in Liberal-minded foreign affairs. That’s why Trudeau and his ministers have fumbled this file time and time again.

Here are some examples. The Liberals refused to support the Conservative motion that ISIL’s actions should be declared a genocide until the UN report about the Yazidis confirmed the obvious. The Trudeau PMO crafted a eulogy of Cuba’s Communist tyrant Fidel Castro that depicted him as a “remarkable leader” and “larger than life leader who served his people.” Trudeau and his family embarrassed themselves in India by taking photo-ops with costume after costume. Ottawa wasted inordinate amounts of time trying to get a UN security council seat in 2020, and failed. Trudeau has had strained relations with two U.S. Presidents, Donald Trump (Republican) and Joe Biden (Democrat). Canada was left out of the important AUKUS security pact between the U.S., Australia and UK.

What’s been happening with Canada-China relations has been equally abhorrent. This includes Huawei Technologies and the Meng Wanzhou affair, the two Michaels and the PM’s uncomfortable tete-a-tete with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 in Bali, Indonesia.

There’s also the ongoing saga of accusations of Chinese interference in our democratic election process in 2019 and 2021. It’s been a mess for months, including the removal of Liberal MP Han Dong from the party caucus and the short, disastrous stint of former Governor General of Canada David Johnston as an independent special rapporteur.

Look at what’s happened to Conservative MP Michael Chong, too.

In early May, the Globe and Mail’s Robert Fife and Steven Chase published contents of a July 20, 2021 Canadian Security Intelligence Service report. It revealed Canada was viewed as a “high-priority target” by China, and mentioned that an MSS officer had attempted to obtain information about an MP’s relatives “who may be located in the PRC, for further potential sanctions…to make an example of this MP and deter others from taking anti-PRC positions.” Fife and Chase revealed that Chong was the unnamed MP.

Trudeau was asked by reporters about this. “We asked what happened to that information, was it ever briefed up out of CSIS? It was not,” he said on May 3. “CSIS made the determination that it wasn’t something that needed (to) be raised to a higher level because it wasn’t a significant enough concern.” Chong would have none of this. “I have just been informed by the national security adviser that the CSIS intelligence assessment of July 20, 2021 was sent by CSIS to the relevant departments and to the national security adviser in the PCO,” he told Parliament on May 4, “This report contained information that I and other MPs were being targeted by the PRC. This contradicts what the Prime Minister said yesterday.”

When reporters went back to Trudeau, here’s what he said: “I’m not going to go into details on that. I shared the best information I had at the time both to Chong and to Canadians.”

Yeah, sure he did.

Here’s the $64,000 question. Do the Trudeau Liberals truly believe they’re protecting Canada’s safety and security? They may think they are, but the political record tells a very different story.

Michael Taube, a longtime newspaper columnist and political commentator, was a speechwriter for former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.


This content is restricted to subscribers

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.


This content is restricted to subscribers

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.