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CBC says Lewis could give O’Toole ‘headaches’ – no one else does

If interviews by the Western Standard are any indication, Eric Grenier is the only one asking this question.




CBC polls analyst Eric Grenier says Leslyn Lewis could cause Erin O’Toole “headaches,” but three political scientists and a political strategist say otherwise.

Last week, Diane Finlay resigned as the MP for Haldimand-Norfolk, effective immediately. A by-election in the solidly Conservative riding would allow Lewis to get to Parliament sooner than in a general election.

Lewis was acclaimed as the party’s candidate for the riding last October, as Finlay had already announced her intention not to run again.

The Jamaican-born Lewis moved to the Greater Toronto Area when she was five years old and went on to earn degrees in environmental studies, law, and business. Last fall she finished third in the Conservative Party leadership race. Even Grenier acknowledged in his CBC column, “as a Black woman from Toronto, Lewis represents constituencies the Conservatives would like to reach.”

How, then, could Lewis be a liability? Grenier suggested her social conservatism could turn off young women in urban and suburban ridings. He also hinted she could face criticism over last fall’s National Post op-ed where she accused the Liberals of an “authoritarian socialist agenda” that placed inconsistent restrictions during the pandemic (which Grenier said the provinces were responsible for). 

Lewis also wrote that she’d heard from Canadians who feared that “the Liberals will impose a social credit score, similar to the one that exists in China where people’s behaviours are monitored through 5G cameras.”

Grenier wrote: “It raises the question of whether the Conservatives would be better served by a quick byelection that puts Lewis front and centre and on the bigger stage of the House of Commons, or by having her as just one among 338 candidates in a general election — someone who may help motivate party members and volunteers, even if she doesn’t win the party any new votes.”

If interviews by the Western Standard are any indication, Grenier is the only one asking this question.

Jacqueline Biollo, often billed as a “Liberal strategist” on CTV political panels, has a favourable impression of Lewis.

“Leslyn Lewis is in her own right an up-and-comer,” Biollo told the Western Standard.

“She’ll bring thoughtful debate to the party, and perhaps in particular, O’Toole on policy issues such as the economy, the environment, seniors, the disabled, and veterans. She campaigned on a government that exists to serve the citizens and not the other way around.”

When asked whether Lewis was a liability or asset, Biollo was clear.  

“Asset. Period. Smart, educated, woman of colour, female, entrepreneur, family-oriented, practical ideas. If I were a Conservative voter, she definitely would be someone I’d consider supporting.”

Nelson Wiseman, political science professor at the University of Toronto, agrees.

“The party is high on Leslyn Lewis. I think it’s clear that they view her as an asset that can help them,” Wiseman said.

Geoffrey Hale, political science professor at the University of Lethbridge, believes O’Toole has more important things to pay attention to than handling Leslyn Lewis.

“I think it is always useful when one has a colleague who has more credibility with a certain segment of the party than you do, and who’s being a team player, to treat them with respect. But how that affects the substance of policy is very much an open question. And I think Mr. O’Toole has more challenges right now than keeping Leslyn Lewis.”

Polling by Abacus Data suggests that Canadians have soured on O’Toole. Last November, 23% of those polled viewed him positively, and 22% negatively. In their most recent poll, impressions were 35% negative and 18% positive, with nearly half of Canadians neutral or undecided.

The findings left Bruce Anderson, of Abacus, to comment: “For the Conservatives, there are two evident challenges: Mr. O’Toole’s personal numbers are 2:1 negative to positive nationally and in Ontario, Quebec, and BC. Among Conservative voters, only 52% say they have a positive image of him. Among Albertans, the number is 29%. Among those who disapprove of the government, only 31% have a positive image of the Conservative leader today.”

University of Calgary Professor Emeritus Tom Flanagan told the Western Standard he does not believe Lewis will get a chance at a by-election anyway. 

“Trudeau has six months to call a by-election.  I don’t see why he’d call it if he’s hoping for a fall election.  I think on balance Lewis in that riding would be an asset for the Conservatives, so why would Trudeau want to give her the chance?”

Harding is a Western Standard correspondent based in Saskatchewan

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan Political Columnist for the Western Standard. He is also a Research Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and is the former Saskatchewan Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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  1. Robert Wilson

    May 21, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    Surprised that Otoole hasn’t realized that he is inept in his role as leader of the opposition. There is only going to be a vote of non confidence in him ny the people he is not supporting and respecting. Evan a dummy can save himself by rallying the team as a group effort. He does not embrace that and for him it is a huge loss. He is missing an opportunity of a lifetime to jump on the DND fiasco as a prima facia case of non confidence in his ability to govern Canada.

  2. Left Coast

    May 20, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Lewis or Sloan would have made a much more palatable leader of the Conservative Party than the inept O’Toole . . . I predicted Sheer would be a disaster long before the last election, and I think O’Toole will be an even bigger disaster.

    Myself & many of my acquaintances are voting PPC next election . . . Bernier is the ONLY Politician in Canada who has been on the side of Sanity regarding the PlanDemic!

    I suspect many Canooks will vote for the CCP candidate Justin Trudope !

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Judge says military accounting a major mess

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.




A judge in Nova Scotia says he has no doubt Canadian Armed Forces money was swiped, but military bookkeeping is so terrible he can’t say how much.

Blacklock’s Reporter said the money was discovered to be stolen from Sydney, N.S. Garrison after an internal audit faulted the Department of National Defence for mismanagement of money-losing golf and curling clubs.

In convicting a former manager of theft, Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Peter Ross said he was “convinced beyond a reasonable doubt” that tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from the Sydney Garrison, but had to estimate the loss at $28,000 due to “lax accounting practices” and “sloppy recordkeeping.”

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

“There are too many holes in the bucket,” the Court was told.

David Mullins, a former Department of Public Works manager, was found guilty of theft. Mullins worked as manager of the Sydney Garrison Messes for two years handling food and liquor sales, hall rentals, petty cash, bank deposits and inventory.

Court was told bookkeepers in Halifax became alarmed when the Garrison started “going into the red” and reporting bank deposits for $4,700 “deemed suspicious because it was such a round number.”

Forensic accountants found the Garrison “did not have working cash registers” and discovered $2,800 in banknotes in a filing cabinet.

“If bottles are missing, cost is what matters,” testified Roberta Sullivan, a forensic accountant with the Department of Public Works.

“If cash is missing, retail value is what matters.”

The Garrison Messes were managed by the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services branch, the same division responsible for operations of 39 military-owned sports clubs nationwide.

An earlier Non-Public Property Audit Of Special Interest Activities found the clubs lost $2.7 million annually.

The review found military clubs sold memberships to the general public in direct competition with the private sector.

“Policy dictates the combined non-military membership at a special interest activity shall not exceed 50% of the total membership,” said the report.

“Several special interest activities have requested exceptions to this, citing financial sustainability.”

“Policies require special interest activities to operate as businesses with the goal of being financially sustainable.”

“Sustainability” was widely interpreted, the report added, with unnamed club managers found to “interpret a net loss as acceptable” as long as it was subsidized by the Department of National Defence.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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Civil service mag promotes immunization passports

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.




A magazine for Canadian public service managers says the country must introduce vaccine passports, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“The immunity of the population is detrimental for the safe reopening of the economy and various jurisdictions across the world are exploring the idea of immunity certificates as an enabler,” said a commentary in Canadian Government Executive, a periodical published for federal public service managers.

“After a rigorous analysis of the issue of immunity certificates, this article concludes the necessity of immunity certificates in Canada as a key enabler for the safe reopening of the society and economy in a post-Covid world.”

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

“They can also be used to promote economic activities such as workplace safety, tourism etcetera,” said the periodical.

The magazine acknowledged Canadians were divided on the issue and numerous foreign jurisdictions have banned vaccine passports.

“It is important to note in the United States several states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona etcetera have either banned or prevented the mandatory use,” said the commentary.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in a May 19 statement said vaccine passports breached the Privacy Act since they compelled users and non-users alike to disclose personal health information to access public facilities.

“There must be clear legal authority for introducing use of vaccine passports,” said Therrien, adding Parliament would require “a newly enacted public health order or law” before any mandatory scheme could be introduced.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a January 14 podcast called it a divisive issue.

“I think the indications that the vast majority of Canadians are looking to get vaccinated will get us to a good place without having to take more extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts on community and country,” said Trudeau.

“I think it’s an interesting idea but I think it is also fraught with challenges. We are certainly encouraging and motivating people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We always know there are people who won’t get vaccinated, and not necessarily through a personal or political choice.

“There are medical reasons. There are a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated. I’m worried about creating undesirable effects in our community.”

Federal research shows about 12% of Canadians would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine under any circumstances. A total of 26% said they did not trust the Public Health Agency, according to the Statistics Canada report.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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Canada Post to make bank on lending operations

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.




“A roll of stamps and $30,000 please.”

That will soon be possible as, for the first time in 53 years, Albertans will be able to go to the post office for a loan.

Blacklock’s Reporter said Canada Post on Thursday confirmed outlets in Alberta and Nova Scotia will broker cash loans for the Toronto Dominion Bank.

“The market test goal is to offer the new financial service in over 249 Canada Post locations before the end of 2021,” the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said in a statement.

Post offices would offer Toronto Dominion loans of $1,000 to $30,000 at “competitive rates.”

Post offices currently sell money orders, gift cards and process electronic cash transfers but disbanded deposit-taking postal banks in 1968.

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

“CUPW continues to support the creation of an independent postal bank despite our current partnership with Toronto Dominion Bank,” said the union.

“Partnering with a financial institution does not put an end to the goal of an independent postal bank.”

Parliament in an 1867 Postal Act allowed post offices to hold cash deposits and offer cheque-cashing services. Postal banks at their peak in 1908 held the equivalent of a billion dollars on deposit.

A 2016 Department of Public Works survey found 39% of small business owners nationwide, and 44% on the Prairies, said they would use Canada Post banking services if offered.

The department paid $142,137 for the study by Ekos Research Associates Inc.

“I think Canada Post is very open to increased financial services, not necessarily ‘postal banking’,” Brenda McAuley, national president of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, said in an earlier interview.

“I think the word ‘banking’ scares a lot of people. The banks don’t think it is necessary.

“There are islands in British Columbia where people have to take a ferry to get to a bank. We will look at pilot projects. I’ve got quite a few places on my radar.”

Canada Post in its 2020 Annual Report said it was “reinventing our retail model” at 6,084 post offices nationwide, including “assessing new financial services and options” mainly in rural Canada.

“Our vast retail network of post offices and dealer outlets across the country provides convenient locations and services with many of them offering evening and weekend hours to meet the changing needs of Canadians,” wrote management.

Jessica McDonald, then-chair of the Canada Post board, in 2018 testimony at the Commons government operations committee said the Crown corporation was “very open-minded” on resuming postal bank services.

“Postal banking has been under a tremendous amount of discussion and continues to be,” said McDonald.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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