Debunking Poilievre’s Tweets, Part 2

Skippy vs somone with talent and experience...
This is a continuation of my debunking of a small sample of Pierre Poilievre’s (aka Skippy’s) 2022 tweets. His tweets are presented in italics; my responses follow in roman text. See if you can spot in his words 1) His lack of knowledge about the subject; 2) Blatant lies; 3) Disinformation; 4) Vapid libertarian piffle; 5) Hubris.

Please read Part 1 for an introduction and previous comments.

Apr. 13: Let’s put an end to #JustinFlation so we can give Albertans, and all Canadians, back control of their lives.
Sigh. He keeps whipping that dreary MAGA-hat slogan, without saying what control we lost, when it vanished, or how we get it back (aside, that is, from voting for him as party leader). Nor does he explain how any of this will end inflation. Or why ending inflation would change the mysterious-yet-ancient control we allegedly lost to Justin Trudeau. Bumper-sticker politics are not policies or platforms, and only the most gullible fall for such twaddle.
And no, the government is not solely responsible for inflation, nor can it stop it by changing leaders or political parties, or even by stopping printing money. As noted in a recent Zoomer article:

…why do conservative politicians like Poilievre want us to believe we can solve this problem by getting the central bank to stop printing money? This is the kind of “zombie idea” that won’t die, in spite of being proven wrong, because its simplicity is so politically appealing.

Apr. 13: First Trudeau imposes a carbon tax. Then he hikes his carbon tax – after saying he wouldn’t – to make driving more expensive. Now he wants to slap thousands in new taxes on anyone who buys a truck. Join, vote, to axe the carbon tax & axe the truck tax.
Flat out lie: there is NO truck tax planned or otherwise. As noted in a recent CBC story:

What the Conservatives describe as a “truck tax” does not exist. No Liberal minister is known to have expressed an interest in implementing such a policy.

A column in the rightwing Toronto Sun claimed the Liberals were “planning to hit Canadians with a big new tax on their trucks and sport utility vehicles. Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe all tweeted their condemnation.” But like so much of the indignation from the right aimed at stirring up their base into an indignant, insurrectionist rage, it’s just rightwing bullshit.
As for the carbon tax, it was always designed to be  “revenue-neutral” — meaning that the tax will have, on average, no impact on consumer pocketbooks. In most cases, in fact, consumers stand to make money through rebates.

“In Canada, over 80 per cent of households come out as winners with the carbon tax and rebate program,” Mildenburger told TWN.

Where is Skippy’s platform for dealing with climate change? For reducing our collective carbon footprint and reducing greenhouse gases? Oh, right: libertarians think climate science is a liberal conspiracy aimed at making them turn in their pickups for a used Prius.

Skippy's snake oilApr. 13: Liberals lied to workers so they could keep playing politics on vaccine mandates. Thousands of families now go without paycheques because of a personal medical decision. End vaccine mandates. End them all now. See my earlier comments.
Lies? About the virus’s lethality? It’s spread? The need to control it to save our nation’s public healthcare system? About keeping people working by following simple public health guidelines like masking and vaccinations? Skippy continues to ride on the long-debunked anti-science bandwagon.
And let’s be clear: the officials telling everyone about the virus, its effects and spread have all been doctors and epidemiologists, not politicians. The Liberals (and provincial premiers) have merely followed the advice of the experts, rather than getting it from some basement-dwelling YouTuber. In fact, thousands of experts worldwide have all recommended similar if not identical strategies: masks, social distancing, and vaccinations. Instead, the right turns to Youtubers, Fox “news,” and QAnon conspiracy spreaders for their medical advice.
The anti-mandate/pro-pandemic comments from the far-right really underscore the antisocial ideology behind them. They basically want the “freedom” to do as they please regardless of the effect their actions have on others. Skippy seems fine with people getting sick, and suffering long-term effects or even dying from the virus, as long as he and his followers have their long-lost “freedom” to avoid personal responsibility for their actions.

Note that in all of his bumper-sticker comments, Skippy does not offer an alternate solution to masks and vaccinations that would also protect the health of Canadians, protect the freedoms of those who are vulnerable or who do not wish to suffer infection, nor offer credible ways to save our medical system from collapse when the case counts rise. But a broken healthcare system would allow him to bring in a US-like for-profit healthcare system, and bankrupt working Canadians for treatment. Libertarians cream their jeans over that dream.

Apr. 14: To take control of your life, you need the freedom to own a home. Build more homes. Print less money.
Apr. 14: Stop printing money. Start making more of what money buys: food, energy & homes.
In an article in The Tyee, Jaqueline Best called Skippy a “Quack Monetarist” for his unrealistic and long-debunked economic notions (his “crayon economics”), adding,

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher capitalized on public anxiety around rising prices by bringing their conservative governments into power on the promise of getting tough on inflation using monetarism.
We should not be too surprised, then, to see the legacy of this outdated economic policy living on in members of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Poilievre has resurrected the age-old theory — let’s call it quack monetarism — that inflation is caused by too much money circulating in the economy and that the solution is to reduce the central bank’s money creation. Inflation has never only been about money; central banks can’t just wave a magic wand and get it down again.

For more on his quacky economics, see here. No, you CAN’T just stop printing money and make inflation magically disappear. Simply saying “Stop!” won’t do it. As noted in Zoomer Magazine:

Poilievre has resurrected the age-old theory — let’s call it quack monetarism — that inflation is caused by too much money circulating in the economy and that the solution is to reduce the central bank’s money creation. Inflation has never only been about money; central banks can’t just wave a magic wand and get it down again… American banker Henry Wallich famously responded to Friedman’s statement by replying, “inflation is a monetary phenomenon in the same way that shooting someone is a ballistic phenomenon.” In other words, an excess of money may be partly to blame for inflation, but if you want to truly solve it, you need to understand the underlying causes of the problem.

Understanding the causes is not in Skippy’s playbook. Stopping to examine, to read, and to study the issues would interfere with his rage tweeting.

Apr. 16: 40 years after old Trudeau brought in the Charter, his son leads an attack against it.
Ideological piffle that suggests Skippy hasn’t actually read the Charter, or if so, doesn’t grasp the meaning of the first clause (see notes, below). Mandates for the safety of the majority, mandates to protect Canadians from infection and death are NOT attacks on anyone’s freedoms. And yes, they are allowed in the Charter.**

Apr. 16: The gatekeepers separate the landed aristocracy from a new permanent tenant class. This is the single biggest cause of the wealth gap. We must remove the gatekeepers.
Skippy’s obsessive use of the term “gatekeepers” has a cult-like ring to it. He never identifies who this mysterious cabal is, but it smells like the alt-right New World Order /Illuminati conspiracy claptrap. Mysterious, secretive cabals who manipulate the levers of the economy from the shadows… (doesn’t that remind you of some old anti-Semitic beliefs?)
I am also worried about his “landed aristocracy” and a separate “permanent tenant class” remark. That sounds like a fixed caste or feudal social structure to me. But that would also fit well with the libertarians’ ideal of a Mad-Max world.

Apr. 16: Trudeau wants to limit what you can see or say on the internet.
More rightwing codswallop. The right gets in a lather over the internet whenever a rightwing poster gets fact-checked or censored, entirely ignoring that all the major platforms are operated by very rich, for-profit corporations who make billions off their users. The right doesn’t think these entities should be dealt with by the government like other media, but screams bloody murder if one of these private corporations makes even the slightest effort to moderate the racism, pornography, and misogyny online. And then they blame it on the liberals or democrats.

Skippy is likely referring to Bill C-10, passed in spring 2021. The government argued that platforms like YouTube were just like other broadcasters. Thus they should obey the same rules and ensure Canadian content is promoted in Canada, and they should contribute to Canadian content producers. Just like the rules that govern all TV and radio stations in Canada. But critics worried it would also allow the government to censor the internet. According to the Globe & Mail, the bill

…is meant to level the playing field between internet streaming services, such as Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and Netflix, and traditional broadcasters such as CTV, Global and private radio stations.
The bill updates the Broadcasting Act, which is Canada’s existing legislation aimed at promoting and developing Canadian producers and creators. It also requires broadcasters to support cultural industries financially. Traditional broadcasters are regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or CRTC, an independent administrative tribunal created in 1976. It supervises broadcasting in Canada by issuing licences and enforcing federally approved policies such as Canadian content rules.
The original Broadcasting Act, however, dates back to 1991 – before the internet changed the way media is shared and consumed. Since the legislation that oversees this regulatory regime hasn’t been updated for the internet age, streaming services currently don’t have to abide by the same rules.
Bill C-10 is supposed to fix this imbalance. It would subject web giants broadcasting in Canada to the same regulations as traditional broadcasters, which would mean they would have to offer certain amounts of Canadian content on their sites, and contribute financially to the production of Canadian cultural industries.

In response to subsequent concerns raised by the Conservatives and NDP, in May 2021, the Liberals introduced an amendment to the bill to ensure user-generated content was not regulated. A subsequent review by the Justice Department “concluded that the bill and its amendments do not infringe on freedom of expression as outlined in the Charter.” The Cons still huffed and puffed and promised to repeal the bill so these offshore corporations would have free rein to do as they please (until, of course, they try to censor a rightwing user).

While the bill may be somewhat flawed and some parts need reworking, its intent was to support and help fund Canadian artists, writers, and musicians.

Skippy’s comment about Trudeau is just more of his disingenuous malarky. But to be fair, The G&M story notes the government was also working on a second bill to regulate “online harms, such as hate speech and the non-consensual sharing of images  known as revenge porn.” A recent CTV story notes it’s still in the works, and the government has assembled a panel of 12 experts to help “rework the bill aimed at ensuring the kind of behaviour that is illegal in-person, is also illegal online.” It adds,

The government had identified five types of content as of particular concern: hate speech, child exploitation, the sharing of non-consensual images, incitements to violence, and terrorism.

You have to wonder if THIS is what Skippy objects to. And then you have to wonder why anyone would object to such regulations. Or why he thinks such content should be allowed to circulate freely (more on this, below).

Apr. 20: Toronto gatekeepers at it again. City Hall proposing homebuyers foot 50% hike in development charges, up to $45000 on single-family homes. Withhold funding to big city politicians who inflate housing costs. Fire gatekeepers. Build homes. Now.
Does Skippy even know why municipalities have development charges? To pay for roads, snowplowing and sanding, sidewalks, expansion of water and wastewater infrastructure, expanded police services, expanded school services, expanded emergency services, expanded recreational facilities, expanded waste pickup and disposal, expanded transit services, libraries, parks … all the things required to accommodate growth and increased population. Toronto has a paper explaining the charges here. It notes:

Approximately 74% of the residential development charge revenues are for “hard” infrastructure such as transit, roads, water and sewers, and police and fire facilities and 26% are for parks and community infrastructure including parks development, indoor recreation centres, libraries, child care centres, affordable housing and paramedic services.

A 2013 article in the Toronto Star about the charges noted:

BILD (the Building Industry and Lane Development Association) agrees with the principle that growth should pay for growth and it is important to understand that the people who come to live in this region will pay for the infrastructure they require to live here.

The point of these charges is: growth pays for itself. The costs to build all that necessary infrastructure and to expand the services and support to accommodate new growth are not heaped on the taxpayers, but are incorporated into the costs of building. If the charges get reduced, the difference will end up being paid for by the municipal taxpayers. Municipalities aren’t charging these fees to get rich or to inflate housing costs.

April 21:Why am I running for Prime Minister? To give you back control of your life. To make Canada the freest country on earth. So anyone who is prepared to work hard can fulfill their dreams.
No, you’re NOT running for Prime Minister. You’re a candidate in the Conservative Party leadership race, which doesn’t even get decided until September.
And the rest of it is just your usual bumper-sticker rage piffle.
Work hard? You’ve had a six-figure salary as a public official since you were 25 and as far as I can tell have never held an actual, paying job. You have two homes in Ottawa, a condo in Alberta, and a condo in Orleans. You’ve never had to struggle to make ends meet. You get paid even if you don’t show up in Parliament. You don’t punch a clock. Many of your basic living expenses are paid for by the taxpayers. You have a gold-plated pension already that is higher than the salary of many working Canadians. You haven’t the foggiest notion of what real work is all about.

April 21: Under my plan, big cities with overpriced real estate & 500,000+ people will need to boost home building by 15% to keep getting their full federal infrastructure funds.
First, the infrastructure funding comes through the provinces, not directly to the cities and is usually combined funding.
Second: who are you to decide what is or isn’t “overpriced” in any market? That sounds awfully Big Brother for someone in Ottawa with several homes of his own to dictate what housing prices should be in another province.
Third: So you think being a gatekeeper, using bullying and intimidation, are how you should deal with municipalities. Cities might not warm to your threats.
Fourth: how can a municipality require private contractors to build within their borders? Municipalities do not have any such authority.
Fifth: this is myopic, short-term thinking. Most big municipalities exist in a co-dependent regional framework and need to work together on growth and development issues.
Sixth: If minimum wages remain low, low-income earners and seniors on fixed incomes will NEVER be able to buy their own home no matter how many get built. You cannot solve housing by ignoring their basic financial needs while catering to those who do have the money to buy. But you have no platform to address that.

And what about the increased demands on transit, transportation corridors, healthcare services, infrastructure, utilities, water, parking, the environmental degradation, the labour shortages the construction industry is currently facing… who pays for them, if not the development charges?

What about prohibitions on bonusing? Municipalities are generally prohibited from offering incentives, gifts, advantages, tax breaks, or assistance to commercial and industrial businesses. Section 106 of Ontario’s Municipal Act says,

…a municipality shall not assist directly or indirectly any manufacturing business or other industrial or commercial enterprise through the granting of bonuses for that purpose… Without limiting subsection (1), the municipality shall not grant assistance by, a) giving or lending any property of the municipality, including money; b) guaranteeing borrowing; c) leasing or selling any property of the municipality at below fair market value; or d) giving a total or partial exemption from any levy, charge or fee.

There’s precious little a municipality can do to encourage, let alone force, a developer to build more houses. But still, you threaten cities with your wrath if they don’t comply.

Like Trump, Skippy doesn’t seem to think things out before he rage-tweets.

In response, More Neighbours Toronto tweeted:

There is no reason that cities like Toronto, Mississauga, and Hamilton should be subject to new federal rules, and not Vaughan, Markham, Durham, or Halton. This is a regional problem and it requires fair policies that recognizes the interconnectedness of municipalities.

And Adam Lockett tweeted:

Pierre Poilievre: ‘We must stop all overreach by the Federal government! Freedom!’ Also Pierre: ‘As Prime Minister, I will extend the reach of the Federal government into municipal zoning decisions!’

Ironic, isn’t it, that Skippy rails on against the “gatekeepers” and for “freedom” but then promises that under his regime Ottawa (or rather, he will) will become a gatekeeper until municipalities comply with his dictates. How very Big Brother of him. And by the way: Global News  recently published a story titled, “Pierre Poilievre among the dozens of MPs with rental property amid housing crunch.” It notes:

Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre is among the dozens of MPs who own rental property even as he blasts the unfairness of Canada’s housing market for young Canadians, Global News has learned.
Poilievre, the perceived frontrunner in the party’s leadership race, has made housing unaffordability a central part of his campaign so far, and has frequently criticized what he calls the “gatekeepers” keeping homes out of reach for home-buying hopefuls.
At the same time, the 42-year-old Conservative politician – who has drawn a six-figure public salary since he was 25 years old – co-owns a Calgary-area rental property through a real estate venture called Liberty West Properties Inc.

Poilievre’s second home in Ottawa is rented to another Conservative MP: Michael Cooper, who files expense claims for this rental. Taxpayers reimburse Cooper who pays Skippy: the privileges of being an elected official. Skippy’s wife also owns a condo in Orleans that she rents out.

Ah, the hypocrisy of Poilievre! Castigate others for doing what you do. There’s a good critique of Skippy’s puerile housing and real estate policies by John Loring on spacing.ca, which notes in part:

… Poilievre would never countenance policy measures that might actually dent the affordability crisis, like taxing the capital gains on principal residences and using those funds to build housing; making massive investments in co-op housing; clamping down on the real estate industry’s conflicts of interest; or bringing back the somewhat dubious tax credits that financed so many affordable rental apartment buildings in the 1960s and 1970s.
The point is that Poilievre’s suspect claims about kick-starting the construction of housing priced for ordinary folk are no more credible than his contention — debunked by every economist this side of Jupiter — that bitcoin can be used as a hedge against inflation. The millions of Canadians who struggle with this reality every single day — Pierre and his family not among them — deserve so much better.*

Apr. 21: With so much land & so few people, housing should be cheap in Canada. But our housing bubble is 2nd-worst in the world. Makes no sense. My plan will force big city politicians to build more houses, or they’ll lose funding.
Apr. 22: Big city politicians have made severely unaffordable housing even worse. Under a Poilievre government, they will need to approve more housing, or lose funding. Remove the gatekeepers. Build more houses.

Force municipal politicians to do your bidding? Who’s the gatekeeper now, Skippy?

Land? A vast amount of land in Canada is in the north. I can’t see people flocking to a new housing development in, say, northern Saskatchewan, or Nunavut. Much of Canada’s undeveloped land isn’t even serviced by roads, let alone electricity, water, and wastewater. Who will pay for the costs of providing all the services and support these would require? (See my comments on development charges, above).
Much of the open land in lower latitudes is occupied by crucial farm and grazing lands that provide Canada with our basic foods. Does Skippy want to pave it all over and put housing developments on that farmland? That way, we’d have to buy more of our food from foreign nations and corporations, making it even more expensive than it is now, and contributing to the rising inflation he says he opposes.
And you have to wonder just where “big cities” have available land for large-scale housing developments? Will Skippy demand cities start paving parks and conservation areas in order to build houses on that land? His housing “plan” seems so very Soviet…
And lest we forget (since Skippy obviously doesn’t know it): the federal government cannot tell municipalities what to do, or even fund them directly without provincial approval. Municipalities are under provincial jurisdiction:

A user called “Seeds in Putin’s Pocket” replied to Skippy:

So, are you saying that if you become PM, you’re going to override your authority to push asides provincial Premiers to enforce your own agenda? Sounds pretty…autocratic to me. Also, what’s that $425k mortgage you just took out on your rental about?

Harper pulls Skippy's strings...Apr. 22: Secrecy. Censorship. Control. All 3 becoming Trudeau govt trademarks putting us in step with countries like China & North Korea. Stop this Liberal attempt to control what you see & say on the internet.
Skippy, it seems, is becoming increasingly extreme in his attacks and his lies. Comparing any Canadian government, party, or political leader with ones in China or North Korea is meant to be divisive and polarizing.
It’s a flat-out lie, and sounds somewhat desperate, but also very much like Donald Trump’s campaign and later tweets. And we all know Trump was Putin’s puppet, owing loyalty to the Kremlin rather than to the USA, and he will likely be moreso if he wins another term in 2024. So the similarity in their methods, their insults, poor political understanding, and their lies makes me wonder: is Putin or another foreign actor also pulling Skippy’s strings (aside, that is, from Stephen Harper…) as they did Trump’s?

As for the alleged censorship: our government created a panel to investigate ways to monitor and control online “harm” — child pornography, revenge porn, hate speech, terrorism, cyberbullying. The EU, UK, US, German, French, Indian, Brazilian, and Australian governments (and others) have all either passed or are working on similar legislation that is intended to protect people from abuse but also protect their rights to free speech. It’s a complex, tricky task to ensure online safety doesn’t override dissent. Instead of suggesting ways to make it work or offering alternatives, Skippy screams “censorship” at Trudeau. Does he really think these things represent free speech?

Skippy's Apr. 22: People are dumping old watered-down woke politics down the drain to switch it out for a strong, refreshing movement that helps them take back control of their lives.
“Woke” is a term used by the right “as term of derision for those who hold progressive social justice views. In particular, the word’s right-wing connotation implies a “woke” person or entity is being performative or phony.” It’s also used to belittle those who won’t support rightwing racist, pseudo-Christian, or misogynist views, and who believe historical facts and science should be taught in schools instead of ideologically-cleansed versions that support the right’s biased perspectives.

As Altweb defines it:

“Being woke” is defined as “being conscious… understanding what’s going on in the community (connected to racism and social injustice)” by the Urban Dictionary… To put it another way, it involves being aware of delicate societal issues like racism.

As the Guardian noted,

…’woke’ has “…much to do with the issues of racial and social justice. Criticising “woke culture” has become a way of claiming victim status for yourself rather than acknowledging that more deserving others hold that status. It has gone from a virtue signal to a dog whistle. The language has been successfully co-opted – but as long as the underlying injustices remain, new words will emerge to describe them.”

The word was weaponized by the right to present themselves as victims of political correctness and to denigrate their opponents. Political analyst Ed Kilgore said, “Among conservatives, wokeness is an all-pervasive ideology of extreme identity politics on behalf of minorities and women which is oppressive towards traditional cultural views.”
Instead of standing up for those who oppose racism and misogyny in Canada, Skippy belittles them. Like Donald Trump, Skippy uses “woke” as a dog-whistle call to his followers.

Canada deserves better. Even the Conservatives deserve better than Skippy.

Don’t forget to read part 1, as well as my previous posts on Poilievre’s libertarian “freedom” myth and his quacky economics.)

~~~~~

* Loring also points out that owning a house isn’t a right:

Just to get these points out of the way, no one ever had a “right” to own a home in Canada, and property rights were excluded from the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As well, last I checked, the federal government doesn’t have the ability to direct municipal planning, unless Poilievre is proposing to repeal s. 91/92 of the BNA Act (he’s not, of course).

For more on the debate over property rights in Canada’s constitution, see the article here.

** The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be read by every Canadian. It states as its very first principle, and this is VERY important (emphasis added):

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Got that? Even our open, democratic society admits there may be restrictions necessary to preserve the greater good. And that includes healthcare mandates like masking and vaccinations. Skippy really ought to read it, too.

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3 Comments

  1. https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2022/04/24/conservatives-peddle-disinformation-as-they-decry-a-fictional-truck-tax.html?rf

    Conservatives peddle disinformation as they decry a fictional truck tax…

    From the article:

    The Alanis Morissette-level of irony in all this is that the existing excise tax on fuel-inefficient vehicles was brought in under former prime minister Stephen Harper in 2007. This salient detail seemed to have been edited out of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s opinion piece. It also went completely unmentioned by Conservative politicians like Alberta premier Jason Kenney and presumptive Conservative leadership front-runner Pierre Poilievre — even though they were members of the Harper government at the time.

    Cons lie. Anyone else not surprised?

  2. https://nationalpost.com/opinion/kelly-mcparland-pierre-poilievres-housing-plan-doesnt-hold-up-to-scrutiny

    There’s no need at this point to deliver the sort of detailed and fully costed policies required of a leader heading a national campaign. But the pledges he does make should at least stand up to a rudimentary examination…

    Even the Rebel-Media-wannabe NatPost is debunking Skippy’s bumper-sticker platform for housing…

    This is the same politician who is running on making Canada the “freest country in the world” by getting intrusive, overreaching politicians out of Canadians’ hair. Yet what else would you call it when Poilievre says that as prime minister, he’d withhold promised funding for infrastructure to specific cities unless local politicians bend to his will?

  3. A comment about Skippy from a Conservative on Twitter (emphasis added):

    Mitch Garber @mitchgarber Apr 24
    I represent Canada in attracting foreign investment and this is an embarrassment. And I’m a friend of Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney. This isn’t Canadian or conservative politics, it’s kindergarten.

    Even the Harperites think Skippy is a wingnut…

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