Thursday, March 9, 2017

Revolts, polls and upsets, not good days in Trudeauland

Revolts, polls and upsets, not good days in Trudeauland

Mark Bonokoski Today at 4:30 PM

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Houston, Texas on Thursday, March 9, 2017. CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
While he has never worn a signature rose on his lapel like his late father, the bloom is finally starting to fade in the rosy and “sunny ways” projected by Justin Trudeau.
While he has never worn a signature rose on his lapel like his late father, the bloom is finally starting to fade in the rosy and “sunny ways” projected by Justin Trudeau.

The opinion polls have him slipping but, in another sign that all is not going well in Trudeauland, his Liberal backbenchers defied his expressed wishes in the House of Commons Wednesday evening the moment his back was turned.
This was a first.

Before heading off to Toronto to meet the board of the New York-based investment giant, BlackRock Inc., the prime minister had made it implicitly clear to his caucus that he believed Bill S-201 — an Act to Prohibit and Prevent Genetic Discrimination — was “unconstitutional” because insurance-company regulations are provincial matters and not under federal jurisdiction.

It didn’t matter. His backbench MPs collectively ignored him, and used their free vote to outlaw genetic discrimination in all scenarios, and see its banishment included in the Canadian Human Rights Act as well as the Canadian Labour Code.
When the final vote was tallied, it wasn’t even close.

Bill S-201 cleared its final legislative roadblock by a vote of 222 to 60.

Only members of Trudeau’s cabinet, coveting their special place in Trudeau’s pecking order, voted lemming-like against it, along with the usual suspects of Bloc Quebecois MPs who naturally saw it as yet another infringement on Quebec’s right of self-governance.

While Trudeau campaigned on having more free votes in the Commons, however, this one had to hurt.

If so, why then did he not have the vote “whipped,” forcing his MPs to vote in sync with his wishes? Or was a free vote, its outcome almost certain, Trudeau’s way to weasel out of an uncomfortable relationship with insurance companies?
And, if so, what was that relationship?

Without question, insurance-company lobbyists had worked long and hard to convince Trudeau and his advisors that Bill S-201 had to be shot down so their clients would not be restricted from using the new technologies of genetic fingerprinting to determine if health- and life-insurance applicants were hiding some debilitating disease in order to game the system like thieves in the night.

Evidence of this already happening to any noticeable scale is apparently non-existent, although the legislation banning genetic discrimination will undoubtedly face court challenges.
Insurance companies, after all, are not without some valid arguments since a mere drop of spit on a stick can reveal the odds of an insurance applicant’s likelihood of being a very bad risk.

But forced genetic testing? It smells vaguely of Nazism.
Another sign that not all is well in Trudeauland happened the same evening that genetic discrimination was outlawed by Liberal backbenchers going against their leader’s stated wishes.

In the safe-as-houses Montreal riding of Saint-Laurent — a Liberal riding forever and former Trudeau cabinet minister Stephane Dion’s personal fiefdom since 1996 — the Liberals’ preferred candidate was shuttled out the door for an unknown 26-year-old high school teacher with no political cred.

Not only did Yolande James, a former Liberal cabinet minister in Jean Charest’s Quebec government between 2007 and 2010, not win the nomination, the Radio-Canada political commentator came in last among the three candidates vying for the chance to replace Dion.

Was this payback for the Liberal Party’s outright rejection — with no reasons given — of Alan DeSousa, Saint-Laurent’s popular mayor for the last 15 years, and the audacity of the party then parachuting in a big-name riding outsider like Yolande James?

If so, then Emmanuella Lambropoulos, a young school teacher on no one’s political radar screen was the benefactor, and Yolanda James was the one seen scurrying out of the reception hall without comment when she learned she had come in dead last.

Karma, as they say, is a bitch. 

Mark Bonokoski


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