Poilievre says he would remove Bank of Canada Governor

Politics Insider for May 12: A roundup of the CPC debate; an Ontario Liberal candidate is fired over homophobic comments

Poilievre makes a point at the Conservative Party of Canada English leadership debate in Edmonton, Alta., May 11, 2022. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Poilievre makes a point at the Conservative Party of Canada English leadership debate in Edmonton, Alta., May 11, 2022. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

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In his opening statement in the CPC leadership debate in Edmonton on Wednesday night, Pierre Poilievre said he would fire Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem if he forms government, the Globe reports: “The Bank of Canada Governor has allowed himself to become the ATM of this government and so I would replace him with a new governor who would reinstate our low-inflation mandate, protect the purchasing power of our dollar and honour the working people who are in those jobs.” Per the Globe:

The independence of central banks is a widely held convention because controlling inflation and maintaining the purchasing power of the dollar sometimes requires unpopular decisions that politicians might wish to avoid. This includes raising interest rates to slow down the economy when inflation is too high.

Strategy: Earlier in the day, pollster Nik Nanos said on CTV that Poilievre was attacking the bank to position himself as “the anti-establishment candidate.”

Nanos said Poilievre is effectively targeting the portion of the electorate that perceives the system as broken and needs to be recast. “And I think that’s why we’re seeing Pierre Poilievre do a full frontal assault on the Bank of Canada. And you know what? Expect more, because this is his core positioning, him as the anti-establishment outsider, there as an agent of change and then the other candidates as the establishment.”

Womp womp: The debate was “tamer but occasionally circus-sounding,” the Post reports.

Wednesday night’s event was held in Edmonton, Alta., and moderated by former veteran political journalist Tom Clark. Some of the themes tackled by the debate were: the future of the Party, the future of energy, Canada’s North, environment and climate change, cost of living, and law and order. Despite occasionally testy exchanges namely between Charest, Poilievre and Lewis, the moderator also occasionally stole the show, namely by using a “womp womp” sad trombone sound any time a candidate broke any of his numerous rules or posed personal questions to candidates that had little to nothing to do with current-affairs issues.

Roundup: CTV has a good roundup of some of the high points.

Diesel fumes: In Politico, Philippe J. Fournier has an interesting analysis of the leadership race, written before Wednesday’s debate, looking at a recent EKOS poll on attitudes to the convoy protests, which finds that 46 per cent of CPC supporters looked favourably on the convoy, against only 30 per cent who opposed it.

Slave auction: Ontario PC MPP Stephen Lecce apologized Wednesday for being part of a “slave auction” when he was a university student, the Star reports. Lecce, the education minister, participated in the fraternity charity fundraiser while attending Western University 16 years ago.

Fired: The Ontario Liberals have fired a second candidate in two days after the Star revealed the party’s long-shot candidate in Parry Sound-Muskoka claimed that homosexuality is caused by infants “rebreathing” their own air.

Expect delays: Canadians traveling through Pearson are facing lengthy wait times and the situation is likely to worsen in coming weeks, Bloomberg reports. The airport is being hit with a double whammy of staffing shortages and longer processing times due to COVID-19 screening.

Who is to blame? Omar Alghabra said Wednesday that CATSA staffing is at 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels while flight volumes are still below 70 per cent, so staffing can’t be the main problem, CP reports. He said out-of-practice travellers are causing delays.

Mandate question: In the Globe, physician Zain Chagla writes that it’s time to reconsider vaccine mandates for Canadians boarding commercial planes or trains.

Abortion support: Most Canadians support abortion rights, according to an online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, the Globe reports.  About four in five respondents said they are in favour of a woman’s right to an abortion if she chooses, while 14 per cent said they are opposed.

Abortion money: Jean-Yves Duclos announced Wednesday $3.5 million to improve access to abortion services, CBC reports.

Singh attacked: Anti-vax yahoos verbally abused Jagmeet Singh in a disgusting scene at a stop in Peterborough on Wednesday, CBC reports.

“There were folks that were saying some really horrible things. Some folks were saying ‘I hope you die’ and things of that nature,” he told a news conference when asked about the incident. “We should be able to disagree as a society respectfully, maybe even angrily, but it doesn’t have to come to the point where it’s getting so polarized that people’s safety is at risk.”

Security: Concern about anti-vax yahoos has led the Saskatchewan legislature to bring in a bill to improve security there, according to CP.

Not their ask: Brenda Lucki told MPs the Emergencies Act gave RCMP and other police the tools to end “Freedom Convoy” protests, but said her force did not ask for the act to be invoked, the Post reports: “We were the ones who would be using those authorities so we were consulted to see if they would be of any use to police.”

Planes from Poland: Ottawa will soon organize three charter flights to bring those fleeing the war to Canada, CBC reports. A government official, speaking off the record says the planes will take off from Warsaw and head for Winnipeg (May 23), Montreal (May 29) and Halifax (June 2). About 900 Ukrainians, 300 people per flight, will be able to fly to Canada, according to the estimates provided to Radio-Canada.

Prayer stays: MPs voted Wednesday to defeat a Bloc motion to replace the prayer that begins the day in the House, Global reports. The Bloc Quebecois and most NDP MPs voted on Wednesday in support of the motion to replace the daily opening prayer, with the exception of NDP MPs Charlie Angus and Daniel Blaikie. Conservatives and Liberals opposed the motion, except for Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.

Ramping up cyber: The Canadian government has directed its military to take a more “assertive” stance in cyberspace, Global reports. A “cyber playbook” provided to Anita Anand earlier this year noted that the threats facing Canada’s networks have “evolved significantly” since the government released its 2010 cyber strategy.

— Stephen Maher