How Canada’s Flag Could Impact the Vote!

It could be political; maybe generational; or it reveals a stark difference in values … between a school teacher, the son of a former Prime Minister, and a 12-year Canadian Defence Forces veteran , son of a former Ontario MLA.

This goes far beyond the differences between Justin Trudeau and Erin O’Toole on the economy, the environment, social policies or Indigenous relations.

And it has received a lot of media play … seen, heard and read about by millions of voters.

It’s about the meaning and respect for our country’s flag … which should fly proudly and at full mast throughout any country: lowered only to half-mast in exceptional circumstances to grieve or totally removed, God forbid, if ever surrendered to a foe.

Canada’s flag (and its predecessors) have a very proud history … admired and respected worldwide.

We wear it on our lapels, our backpacks, our hats, our luggage and find ourselves searching for it in the crowds when we watch any international sport event anywhere in the world … and feel pride whenever we spot it.

The Maple Leaf means something!

It is more than a piece of cloth: it symbolizes who WE are; how WE live; what are OUR values; and, how WE keep trying to get better and meet those standards.

In fact, the Maple Leaf is so well thought of, some American wear it as a lapel pin instead of their own when travelling abroad!

But that does not mean we are perfect. (There I am, a typical Canadian, apologizing again.)

That’s why Canada’s flag was lowered to half mast on all federal buildings across the land on May 30, on orders from Prime Minister Trudeau after hundreds of unmarked children’s graves were discovered at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Canada grieved.

Now, more than three months later, the Maple Leaf is still down … at half mast, on orders of the Prime Minister, who said last week it is going to stay down.

” When we decided to bring down those flags to half-mast, we made the commitment that we would not raise them again until we have worked enough with Indigenous communities and leadership to make a clear determination that it was time to raise them again and continue the hard work of reconciliation,” Trudeau explained.

Now it has become political.

Trudeau will not return the Maple Leaf to full mast without the PERMISSION of the First Nations.

Terrible!

NO group: no racial constituency ; no ethnic population, no religious community …. no one not elected by the Canadian people should have VETO POWER on when the Canadian flag flies at full staff ! EVER!

ONLY the Prime Minister of Canada has the right to order flags on federal properties flown at half mast … and for Trudeau to GIVE AWAY the power to decide when it can be raised again is disgraceful!

Looks like the Canadian flag means more to many other Canadians than it does to our own Prime Minister.

Canada has become the only democratic country in the world where its flag has been flown at half-mast for more than three months … with no indication when it will be raised!

Keeping the Maple Leaf down so long is PANDERING and it DISRESPECTS the sacrifices that so many Canadians have made to keep the Maple Leaf PROUDLY flying high over our land.

I believe it’s a CHEAP VOTE-BUYING attempt by Trudeau … which should be repudiated by all Canadians, including First Nations leaders.

It’s an invitation to blackmail.

If Indigenous leaders REALLY want reconciliation … not more disrespect, more resentment and more resistance from other Canadians … they should reject Trudeau’s shameless patronizing divisiveness and declare they want no part in deciding how/when Canada’s flag flies.

First Nations’ members who are also proud Canadians … including thousands who are veterans … deserve better.

Apparently, Erin O’Toole gets that.

The Conservative Leader has been unequivocal: the Maple Leaf would be restored to full mast after Sept 30, the national day of commemorating Truth and Reconciliation, if he become Prime Minister. 

“I’m very proud of our country, despite the scars from our past,” O’Toole said.

“I do think we should be proud to put our flag back up,” he said while speaking to reporters in Ottawa on August 26. “It’s not a time to tear down Canada — it’s a time to recommit to build it to be the country we know it can be.”

I agree.

What happens if, before the First Nations feel enough of their demands are met and give PERMISSION for our flag to be raised, Canada faces a major tragedy or death of a renowned citizen?

Will Trudeau order the Maple Leaf be lowered to quarter-mast?

He has to go!

Harv Oberfeld

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Posted in British Columbia, International, National | 14 Comments

Canadians Deserve Another Debate: Featuring ONLY the Top Two Contenders

Canadians should watch Political Debates as if they are job interviews.

After all, what we’re really doing is deciding who will manage our funds, our future and even the laws that will govern our lives for up to the next five years.

Canada’s federal annual Budget, due to the Covid pandemic, now tops $650 BILLION! The deficit is running over $350 BILLION; the total debt is more than $1 TRILLION!

And the Leader and party elected Sept. 20 will decide how/where all that will be spent and how WE are going to pay for it.

They will also what new laws, rules, regulations, restrictions should be imposed on us … and, hopefully, what new benefits we may see as well.

Make no mistake about it: elections are about hiring those who will have great impact on our lives.

Thursday’s English Language debate (and Wednesday’s French language debate) had five applicants for the top job: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau; Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole; NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh; Green Leader Annamie Paul; and, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet.

Having watched both these interview sessions in their entirety, plus another French language more limited debate last week, I still came away with no clear decision, on who would singularly be best for the Prime Minister’s job.

BUT I did evaluate only two candidates as realistically being up to the task of FILLING the top job: Trudeau and O’Toole.

Singh offered everything to everyone: a platform that proposes a “vision”, but that lacks details of exactly what/how the NDP would provide national pharmacare; daycare; dental care; 500,000 affordable housing units; comprehensive new environmental controls; and, a huge increase in First Nations’ programs and spending.

You name it, the NDP Leader promised it. Christmas in September!

BUT as other candidates pointed out, Singh and the NDP have not fully costed out their platform! That is, they haven’t said exactly how all their promises would be paid for … other than “make the billionaires and Amazon pay their fair share”.

Sorry, in 2021, that’s just not a good enough job performance for any Leader or party that wants to take over governing the country. Surprising that they thought they could even get away with that!

Singh personally came across well as caring, compassionate, highly sympathetic to the plight of so many Canadians … a nice guy to sit down and talk political philosophy, life experiences.

Not ready for the top job!

Blanchet was interesting, sometimes amusing … a man in search of a divisive issue to bolster his campaign in Quebec.

But for most of the country, irrelevant.

Paul impressed: she was articulate, well prepared, personable … and no doubt benefitted from Canadians being able to hear her on Green policies, her background, beliefs, struggles … instead of the ongoing turmoil engulfing her executive team and party supporters.

Not a serious contender for Prime Minister’s job.

So we’re down to two serious candidates to lead the country.

Trudeau, in my view, was not at his best: he seemed nervous, even harried … but he was fast and effective on his feet and also had some pretty good pre-scripted lines aimed at O’Toole.

And he did get a number of chances to remind Canadians how he/Liberals “had their back” and doled out lots of support/programs during the pandemic, is committed to fighting climate change and funding $10 daycare right across the country.

On more than one occasion, Trudeau flashed some passion … a strong point of his, as he chastised O’Toole for promising to get 90% of Canadians vaccinated, but hasn’t even been able to get 90% of his own candidates vaccinated.

Effective? Sept. 20 will tell.

Because O’Toole also did well: considering he was largely unknown by most voters before the campaign.

Overall impression: he did fit the casting call as a Prime Minister … and that helped establish his credibility for filling the job. Seemed confident, competent and credible too … and, although very accountant-like, lacking much passion … at least he was not as cold, scary as some previous Conservative leaders.

O’Toole was also successful in rubbing Trudeau’s nose in the early election call, the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the failure to obtain the release of the two Michaels, and his weak dealing with China’s aggression, Uighur genocide and Hong Kong suppression.

But I doubt either of the top two candidates impressed enough independent-minded Canadians to be guaranteed the top job.

What Canada really should have, after the all-candidate debates, is one more: a RUNOFF final debate … bilingual … featuring ONLY the two leaders who lead the national public opinion polls one week before Election Day.

That be interesting and even allow for a decent exchange of policies/ideas … not just sound bites

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Follow @harveyoberfeld on Twitter for FREE First Alerts of new postings on this Blog. No spam, just alerts to new topics up for discussion.)

Posted in British Columbia, Media, National | 14 Comments