Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Conservative National Leadership Race: A Few Notes

It was my intention to do an analysis of the various candidates and discuss a few of the issues. Today I realized that time has run out and so has my energy. Nevertheless, some of you may be interested in the notes that I have collected and I have decided to post them. They are based primarily on the emails the candidates have sent to members and, for some of them, their websites. Unfortunately, they are rough and incomplete; sorry for the mess; hopefully there is still something useful there.

The next conservative leader will, hopefully, be the next Prime Minister of Canada. Yet, the Canadian media (including our publicly funded CBC) has, until late March[1], paid only minimal attention to this ongoing race. Apparently, dealing with fourteen candidates is a bit much for them too. Of course, we did hear all about the U.S. primaries and were even exposed to their debates. Even the attention the race has warranted has been focused on personalities (O’Leary, Leitch) rather than policies.

The leadership race puts Christian conservatives in a dilemma. Should we pick the candidate that best represents Biblical social  values: pro-family, pro-life etc or do we vote for the candidate who is best able to beat Trudeau—who has recently, among other anti-Biblical policies, reintroduced funding for pro-abortion groups abroad. It’s sad that Canada has come to the point that some feel that people like Trost should “crawl back under the rock from which they came” for their “regressive opinions that’s putting the Conservative party back decades”[2]  It’s also sad that a well-known reality t.v. star with an “it’s all about the money” attitude appeared the most likely possibility to beat the Liberals.--until he quit the race. We must do our best as citizens but we see that God does not need a candidate with Christian values to get things HIS way. Who would have thought that some of Trump’s first executive orders would be pro-life?[3]

Fortunately, Conservatives do not have to make all-or nothing choice in this race since the party is using a preferential ballot on which we can rank our preferences. If our first choice comes last in the first or later ballots, our vote will be assigned to the next preferred candidate on the list. Nevertheless, serious thought must be given on the subsequent “least-worse” alternatives.

For those interested,my tentative list: Lemieux, Trost, Scheer, Bernier, O’Toole, Rait ,Alexander, Chong, Blaney, Obhrai , Saxton, Peterson,Leitch

Note: CLC = Campaign Life Coalition- They rate on the basis of records on family friendly issues. Green, Amber, Red; {brackets] are my comments

-was a Canadian diplomat for eighteen years before being elected to Parliament in 2011
-served in Moscow;( appalled at Putin’s return to autocracy and illegal occupation of Ukraine.); & Afghanistan From 2005 to 2009; Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Afghanistan responsible for political affairs, relations with the Afghan government, the international community and military; Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. 2013-2015 
lower all taxes on small business, including payroll taxes; keep corporate taxes lower than those of our major competitors
-Interprovincial Trade & Commerce-Complete Canada’s Economic UnIon:  complete, strengthen and fully implement the Agreement on Internal Trade; ensure qualifications achieved in one province or territory are recognized in all others and that all Canadians seeking new jobs or new careers have access to skills training for the new economy;-fully launch a national securities regulator;-standardize workers’ compensation;-unify corporate registration requirements; ensure common transport and manufacturing rules; open procurement to all eligible suppliers;ensure free movement and sale of beer, wine and alcohol;
-mandate Statistics Canada to report on the performance of our economic union;
 invest in national infrastructure corridors to strengthen Canada’s economic
Putting Canadians to Work in the Digital Economy, planning, discussion & investing
Fighting Terrorism and Its Sponsors-strengthen sanctions
Defending Canadian Interests and Values-strengthen armed forces increase navy (aim for 2% GDP)
               establish a standalone defence procurement agency modelled on the current Australian, French and/or Dutch equivalents;
Energy- cut taxes , remove carbon tax, support all pipelines (with strong regulations),campaign to promote Can. Energy internationally; new nuclear reactors, Candu exports & fusion research; promote LNG; support hydro, conservation incentives
-deal with climate change through “study, coordinated action to reduce emissions, and low-tax, market-based solutions”. “without doing further harm to Canada’s economic development”
Child-care: extend parental leave to up to 18 months; increase the child care cost tax deduction;  contribute $1 billion per year, for five years, to establish a public private partnership tobuild new daycare facilities in each province and territory—publicly owned (but eventually privatized), privately operated; federally regulate “early childhood educators”; facilitate temporary foreign workers if necessary
 Poverty and Homelessness :deep tax cuts and strengthen incentives to work for low income earners, seniors and low income families with children;large tax deductions for those who move  out of province to take full-time jobs; programme of private sponsors for homeless persons; special programme, to the prevention and elimination of homelessness among veterans,  as well as to research,training and treatment  on PTSD etc; renewal of federally-funded First Nations housing on reserve;, ensure homes become the property of their residents[good point stress]; ns a national skills training programme  for unemployed and homeless to prepare them for entry-level and skilled positions; provide federally-funded mental health and addiction treatment for the homeless; and  strengthen federally-funded research into poverty and homelessness in Canada, while identifying most vulnerable groups and most effective solutions.
Trade: seek 50% of Canadian exports outside North America by 2050 through focus on; CETA; U.K., TPP(reduced members), agreements with Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand; trade promotion; free trade with China conditional on progress towards freedom of speech, free markets, democracy and human rights
Child Care etc.: extend parental leave to 18 months, strengthen the profession of Early Childhood Educator, and open 500,000 new quality daycare spaces all across Canada.
-support-Ukraine-Increase sanctions against Russians, provide lethal weapons; assist with casualties,, assist with “market-based reforms, diplomatic support
Companies:; promote investment in Canadian start-up and growth companies; provide incentives for incubators, accelerators; highlight the skills, skilled trades, digital fluency and entrepreneurship; update Canadian intellectual property law; plan to increase spending on research and development; reduce the regulatory and compliance burden on all Canadian exporters ; build pipelines, port facilities and other infrastructure  and additional support for exports
Refugees: “When refugees take the difficult decision to leave their homes and their countries, or to embark on dangerous voyages with uncertain prospects, they are acting from despair.” “the best way to assist refugees and other displaced persons worldwide is to use negotiation and diplomacy backed by military force to bring about peace settlements – and to allow those who have fled to return home”  Will (i) set annual levels for private sponsorship  up to 20,000 per year, and commit to a 6-month processing standard; (ii)  eliminate backlogs in all refugee, protected person, humanitarian and compassionate programmes within eighteen months;(iii) establish new protection teams in priority missions to identify vulnerable persons and facilitate IRB hearings by videoconference, with a target of 1,000 cases heard from claimants abroad in the first year;(iv) for those whose visitor visa applications are refused make available a new visa conditional on a voluntary commitment not to make an asylum claim in Canada;
-illegal border crossings have to stop, we have the tools
Health Care and Seniors Promises include: provide pharmacare for the 7% of Canadians who currently lack coverage;  allow physicians to charge user fees for non-essential tests and to allow private labs to compete to deliver services;  delay automatic eligibility for Old Age Security to age 70, starting in 2025;increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to ensure all those over 65 have a minimum national income of $20,000
Among other commitments on citizenship, “make all Canadian citizens, regardless of residency status, eligible to vote” [ I think this is highly questionable—apart from government employees (military, consulates etc.), those citizens who do not live in Canada and don’t pay taxes, should not vote];.
 [ Some very well developed proposals but a bit too statist—government must do it—Liberal-lite?; mind you, he has some good ideas—especially on poverty ]
-forced to resign as minister of foreign affairs because he left secret documents in home of girl-friend with past links to organized crime (but re-elected and returned to cabinet eventually)
MP since 2008- Minister of Industry, Foreign Affairs  & Industry
-was significantly leading the pack in fund-raising—more than twice no. of individual donors than rival (since by law limited to $1,200 per candidate this indicates strong support)

Stands principally for smaller government
Will        fix “unfair” equalization
               Scrap Carbon Tax-for competitive reasons
               End all barriers to inter-provincial trade  (said to cost Canada’s economy as much as $130 billion every year
            Drop Corporate Income Tax from 15% to 10%

            Permanently expand the accelerated capital cost allowance to all sectors

            Remove capital gains tax to make private sector more industrious

            Aggressively pursue free trade deals (including China)

            Eliminate all corporate welfare (completely stop subsidizing businesses and to reduce their taxes.) This is not only fair, but it is economically efficient. It respects that the free market can make decisions far better than Ottawa bureaucrats. And it will stop the consistent practice of throwing good taxpayer dollars after bad into failing and mismanaged companies. –use this in body

            Proposes a flat income tax of 15% for incomes between $15,000 and $100,000 and 25% above that. To be funded by removing “boutique” tax credits

-           believes current immigration system working—disagrees with Leitch
            phase out supply management (see above
            Kick CRTC out of telecom
            Balance the budget within 2 years
            Reduce gun controls
infrastructure is a provincial and local matter. ;Federal politicians should not be touring the country promising to fund stuff that’s not part of Ottawa’s responsibilities. (against Scheer who has promised Quebec a new bridge) 
Security- “life means life”

Former Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

“We need to reform the CRA;I want to end CRA bullying; I want a fair and simple tax code;I want CRA agents to be held accountable.;They must be reminded that they are there to serve Canadians. I want the Auditor General’s recommendations to have teeth and be fully implemented.
A Conservative Party under my leadership will not hide and will stand against the rise of extremism.
  • Put together a royal Commission on Canadian identity which identifies rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship.
  • Form a tactical intervention group with the RCMP and the CSIS, to counter acts of terror here and abroad.
Re Illegals.
·        Give more powers to the CSIS surveillance committee in order to protect Canadians’ privacy. Increase the RCMP and the CBSA’s resources at the border
·        Review immigration laws to make it less easy for illegal migrants to apply for refugee status after illegally entering the country;
·        Work in partnership with cities and provinces to combat illegal immigration.
·        Came out strongly against Muslim imams who advocated the killing of Jews, etc.. “As Public Safety Minister, I specifically wanted to curb this problem with Bill C-51. Inciting violence against others is a direct attack on Canadians’ basic fundamental rights.”
  • Against dropping supply management; calls Berniers recommendation to collect a levy to pay off quotas—a tax on milk   
  • Will dismantle reserves and restoring the dignity of First Nations people with accountability, responsibility and equity.
Must get energy to markets
               Use not-withstanding clause to ensure murderers do not go free due to court delays.
Acquire 8 nuclear-powered submarines to defend Arctic
-put forward private members bill tightening penalties on drunk driving
Against M103—strongly against Sharia law
First Time-homeowners-Create a new tax credit on interest paid so as to allow first time home buyers to deduct up to $5000 per year; Raise the current tax credit from $5000 to $10 000 for first time home buyers.;Increase the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) from $25 000 to $50 000 in order to reflect increased in property values; eliminate the Liberals’ excessive mortgage stress test, which is a heavy handed approach that hurts home buyers in modest housing markets. [seems inappropriate at this time of drastically increasing house prices in Vancouver, Tronto]

CLC-  red—voted anti-family issues but is against late-stage abortions
-pushing reform of party to give party members more say & increasing power of indidvidual MP’s
  • Balance budget in two years
  • -Tax: Reduce personal income taxes by $14.9 billion a year. This would be an absolute reduction in personal income taxes of 10%
  • Flatten the personal income tax system from five rates to two rates, keeping the current 15% and 29% rates and the current thresholds [not necessary]
  • Simplify the personal income tax system by eliminating half of the $22.9 billion in tax expenditures identified by the Fraser Institute
  • Reduce corporate income taxes by $1.9 billion a year. This would be an absolute reduction in corporate income taxes of 5%
  • Will privatize CMHC—supposed to make banks more able to lend to small businesses rather than (government guaranteed) mortgages.; Cause of skyrocketing house prices: “Government interference in the housing market, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC),: Privatize CMHC’s mortgage insurance and securitization business; supposed to make housing more affordable since government mortgage lending contributes to “bubble” in house pricing [may reduce prices but will prevent others from getting mortgages]
  • Help low-income Canadians by doubling the “working income tax credit. [good idea but just another way of reducing income tax] [note-is something for the poor]
Introduce a revenue neutral Federal Carbon Tax (instead of Trudeau Carbon Tax)—later says simply “scrap the carbon tax”
             my plan allows us to implement some of the biggest income tax cuts in Canada’s history.
            eliminates government regulations, green programs and green subsidies. And it reduces GHGs.
  • Eliminate "green" regulations, programs, funds and indirect subsidies
  • Favours supply management\
  • Increase power of individual MP’s
  • Freedom of Speech- voted against M103 and C16
  • Make maternity and parental benefits tax-free
  • End Canada’s dependence on foreign oil
  • Make borders secure
  • Stand with Israel
  • Make independent school tuition tax-deductible and tax credit for home schoolers
  • 2% of GDP  on defense
-anti Bombardier executive salary increases; should have been restricted as condition of subsidy [rather than against subsidy]
CLC-red-“progressive-liberal leanings”
 -6 years as MP; served as the Minister of Labour and Minister for the Status of  Women
Anti- M103 “Islamaphobia”-freedom of speech

Stresses Canadian values: “the Canadian identity is grounded in the values of hard work, generosity, freedom, tolerance, equality of individuals, and equality of opportunity”... “mean that all who subscribe to these values are welcome here no matter where they were born”. Testimony before the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence tells us that "only between nine and fifteen percent of immigrants receive an interview with a visa officer before they come to Canada"
“, I am committed to ensuring that all immigrants, refugees, and visitors to Canada receive a face-to-face interview with a trained immigration official [ sounds OK –depends on what is meant by Canadian values but she has left it open to comparison with Trump & extreme nationalists; CLC thinks.” This "values" test could end up banning social conservatives from entering Canada”. Since it is OK for muslims to lie to infidels, will jihadis answer questions truthfully?]
Wants the law enforced against illegal immigrants crossing into Canada ·  I will ensure that illegal border crossers are detained, questioned, and returned to the United States
·  I will ensure that any city that declares itself a sanctuary does not receive federal funding for transportation
will reinstate the Mexican visa requirement.
 Cap on government spending’ balanced budget.; force each department to review expenses and cut by 5 percent; bring the growth in the public sector under control, including salaries and benefits.
No national carbon tax (leave to provinces)
A  5-point plan to ensure that natural resource development in Canada proceeds without illegal interference. (anti-vandalism etc.)
“Our party membership voted and supports the supply management system. If this policy is to change, that change must come from the membership.”
Mexican Visa requirement
supported the Harper government’s decision to scrap the long-gun registry  I believe the current regulations we have regarding firearms are adequate but I think we can improve the regulatory system in the following ways:
1.We should recognize that guns are personal property and should be treated as such by the government.
 2.There is too much subjectivity in the classification system. It should be replaced with clear objective criteria to ensure certainty for gun owners.
 3.Firearms classifications should not be the sole purview of the RCMP. Those decisions should be made by an organization made up of Canadian citizens including primarily those who use guns — farmers, sports shooters, and hunters — as well as law enforcement.
4.Gun licenses should be good for 10 years (from the current 5) to reduce the paperwork burden for law-abiding gun owners.
Anti-M103 on basis of “free speech” 
-against legalizing marijuana
-very strident
For “free speech,
               Against M-103 with use of terms such as ‘Islamophobia’, which are meant to shutdown open discussion and debate.; criticizes Liberals for  encouraging opposition to pro-life ads etc,
Criminalize killing of unborn without mother’s consent-(re murder of mother and unborn child)
-good video on Life issues—will lead with government bill—not just wait for private members bill
-decries Liberal reduction on defense spending while having half-a-billion dollars to fund abortion overseas
security and respect for democracy”
Raised concerns about Liberal discussion paper to make parliament more efficient-closure etc.
Wants social conservative policies to be discussable within party—not “Liberal-lite”
-suggests some reasonable fire-arms review
-opposed to Liberal decision to legalize marijuana
Increase defense spending to @% of GDP

CLC-evaluation pending
Formerly Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Trade- To counter Trump, split NAFTA into 3 bilateral agreements (Canada-U.S., Canada-Mexico, U.S.-Mexico)
 No Carbon Tax; instead use waste from existing nuclear plants to fuel “Fast Neutron Reactors” to create energy. [not clear that is long or short-term solutions and how that would be implemented.]
Health Care
-  will create a national agency that will standardize qualifications in order to fill the gaps in our healthcare.
 Affordable drug and medicine- will create a task force to look into initiatives such as pharma care and/or initiatives with industry, healthcare professionals and the provinces to understand and address the gaps.
Public Safety;Tough and appropriate sentencing for crimes;supporter of the Victims’ Bill of Rights Advocate for the right of Canadians to own recreational arms, while keeping the gun registry extinct;Anti-radicalization measures such as the creation of community centres where programs are in place to prevent the radicalization of youths;Ensure our law enforcement officers have the funds and legal framework to keep Canada safe;terrorism - focus on: Intelligence gathering, sharing and cooperation between forces and agencies; physical barriers; operational capabilities;empower our law forces, and improve the effectiveness of police;strengthening and reinforcing our border control! The systems in place are doing their job to protect Canadians and they must be allowed to ;Indigenous people-Indian Act is “colonial”—decentralize services from Indigenous Affairs department to all other departments—treat all Canadians equally
Give native governments more “home rule”
-former Veteran Affairs Minister,
has  support of 26 fellow MP’s
-my plan allows us to implement some of the biggest income tax cuts in Canada’s history.
My plan also eliminates government regulations, green programs and green subsidies. And it reduces GHGs.
balance the budget in two years-if possible (4 years max) [he seems to be making realistic promises]
               I will reduce the lowest rate of tax by 2 points to 13%. –to help the most needy
I'll also cut the top rate by 2 points.
               Cut small business tax rate to 9%
I'll deliver the first half of my tax cut plan immediately, to get the economy moving.
The second half will come after the budget is balanced, as a reward for our fiscal discipline.
               Cut small business tax rate
               “Generation Kickstart”-A tax credit to give graduates and apprentices an extra $100,000 personal exemption to help pay down student debt
               -major review of regulations
               -a strategice pipelines act to fast-track resource review process
 public safety, access to justice and fairness for victims seriously.
            - reaffirm tougher penalties for violent crime.
  • reform the Not Criminally Responsible designation.
  • amend the Criminal Code to ensure free or conditional pardons are not permitted for murder, aggravated sexual assault, sexual abuse of children, and child pornography.
  • Use “not-withstanding clause” to prevent serious criminals to go free due to court delays  and increase no. of judges.
Apply Safe Third Country Agreement, I will endorse our law and defend our rules-based system for immigrationto stop the illegal flow of migrants from the United States.
-push trade agreements with U.K, Australia & New Zealand
-extend mortgage amortization rates to 30 years for first time buyers
-push UN reform by holding back 10% of funding
-plan to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP
Marijuana-“ will not re-criminalize marijuana.  It will be impossible to put the smoke back in the bong; will put a focus on public health concerns and ensure that young people are educated about health risks;l also ensure that police across the country have access to the equipment they need to test for impaired driving; will work with the United States to ensure our citizens can continue to visit and work across the border. [this appears to be a reasonable approach]
Peterson, Rick
-venture capitalist
pro-choice, pro-same-sex-marriage, pro-LGBT rights, pro-assisted-suicide. H
-will eliminate corporate income tax (businesses are not people, they are entities that pass on costs, including taxes, to consumers.)—add this to post
-increasing GST to 9% while increasing tax credits to the poor
-cut all corporate
               [Note these three policies must go together]
-a flat 15% personal income tax
               Notes this is similar to what Brad Wall just did
-Reduce barriers to intra-provincial trade
- leave health care delivery entirely to the provinces, which, , is their responsibility under the Constitution and allow private care alongside the public system [can’t have both]
.fight against drugs-It’s time to turn those profits on the dealers by implementing a bounty system that rewards citizens with a significant percentage of money seized from a dealer they identify. 
Lisa Rait
Grew up poor in Cape Breton; wants to be leader for all Canadians
MP for Milton/Halton, On since 2008
Claims she’s “the only candidate who can win in 2019 running with policy positions that “maintain the unifying Harper Conservative Party themes”.
-served as Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of Labour and Minister of Transport and following the 2015 federal election, the finance critic
-criticized Trudeau for taking 3 days before condemning Asad’s chemical attack; - in the past, Canada “ stood up against the evils perpetrated by people like Putin and Assad with words and actions.”
heath care care plan would be built around four pillars:
             A Canadian Autism Partnership working with provinces 
  • A National Dementia Strategy  
  • Tackling the Challenge of Rare Diseases by investing in early diagnosis…, 
  • Driving Efficiency and Innovation
Smaller,Smarter Government:
· Balancing the Budget and implementing a taxpayer protection act
· Reducing the Size of the Federal Government – by subjecting every government spending program and initiative to review, looking t eliminate government wherever possible.
· Decentralizing Government – -mre to provinces & municipalities
Tax plan
--no tax on the first $15,000 of income [up from current $11,474  (save $500)
--reduce the small business tax rate from 10.5% to 9%.
--axe the carbon tax.
--return the upper limit on Tax-Free Savings Accounts to $10,000 a year
CLC- green but does not support for leadership because of some recent concerns
-supported by Arnold Viersen,the current chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus and other pro-life  MP’s.
Promises to make (the first $4,000) independent school tuition tax-deductible and offering a tax credit to homeschoolers
-someone “whose faith is integral to my life” –strongly favours religious freedon
Former Speaker of the House, 13 years MP; support of most MP’s including Quebecers;
               -good candidate to unite the party; “Harper with a smile”
Promises to:
               Balance budget in 2 years
               Enshrine property rights in the charter of rights
  • Seek out new free trade deals with our partners and allies like the United Kingdom
  • Remove all physical trade barriers between provinces by enforcing Section 121 of the Constitution
            ensure Canadians have access to cheaper airfare by:Removing foreign ownership restrictions on airlines;Lowering airport taxes
  • Will make maternity benefits  and parental benefits tax-free [questionable-taxing them makes them needs related; wealthy people don’t need this benefit; a tax cost that will have to be made up in some other way to meet his deficit target]
·        will phase out corporate welfare. No more bailouts for giant corporations.No more federal ministers picking winners and losers.
  • Will scrap carbon tax (have never seen a “revenue neutral carbon tax”); take HST/GST off home heating
Supported by largest number of MP’s (23); most likely to keep the party united?
Is bilingual
“an unabashed policy guy who keeps his eye on what's important”-Chuck Strahl
-wants to reduce gun regulations
-wants to keep border secure; stop illegal immigrants from crossing (North Dakota is safe)
-will cut funding to universities that do not permit free speech
-must fight ISIS by returning to bombing and get Saudi Arabia & other countries to take fair share of refugees
-violent criminals should face real conse1uences--Ioutraged that Vince Li, who murdered, beheaded and cannibalized a stranger on a Greyhound Bus, was granted his freedom.
message from Maurice Vellacott-Former Chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus

Words have consequences, which is why I will NOT be voting for Andrew Scheer in our party's upcoming leadership election.
Last May, at the Conservative Party Policy Convention in Vancouver, Andrew defended the decision to remove support of marriage as a union between one man and one woman from our party's policy declaration, calling the policy "anachronistic" (old fashioned). According to Campaign Life, Andrew "caved under pressure from homosexual activists and their media allies, to abandon his principles on marriage and the natural family."
In September, at a press conference to announce his candidacy for the CPC Leadership, Andrew made other disturbing comments. He told reporters that his government would follow the Harper policy of not reopening the abortion debate, stating that his objective as leader would be to "unify the party." When pressed to explain, Andrew repeated that as party leader or Prime Minister he would not reopen questions of abortion or same-sex marriage, stating "the caucus and party have already agreed those are settled."But this is simply untrue. Delegates at the Vancouver Convention may have voted to remove support for traditional marriage from our party’s policy declaration, but those very same delegates voted in favour of a ban on gender-selection abortions which target baby girls just because they're girls, as well as legislation to punish those who injure or kill an unborn child during a violent attack on his or her mother.”
[That’s why Scheer is 3rd on my list]
CLC –Green- Active member of Parliaments Pro-Life Caucus
Voted against C309, Gender Equality for good reasons
Spoke at March for Life for past 12 years & will do so this year
MP for 12 years
Will remove Bill c16 (bathroom bill) from laws-if passed
“not comfortable with the whole gay thing”, promised will never participate in gay pride events or subsidize them.—“oversexualized and inappropriate for public viewing”—will not apologize for such comments.
-will introduce a parental bill of rights –using non-withstanding clause if necessary-
Will replace current gun control legislation with something less restrictive [but still reasonable]
will introduce a Parental Bill of Rights to give federal protection in law to the parental rights of all Canadians. I will also repeal any anti-spanking bill brought in by Justin Trudeau.
Supports privatising CBC—has introduced a private members bill to do so.
Will repeal Trudeau’s cannabis bill
Will suspend immigration to Canada from countries or regions that support, encourage or harbour terrorists or Islamic extremism.Genuine refugees from these countries or regions who are fleeing persecution and who reject the culture of hate and extremism that permeates these countries and regions will continue to be welcome in Canada. This includes, for example, Copts, Amadiyans and Baha'i.
Refugees from safe third countries should NOT be encouraged NOR accepted. Canada must protect its southern borders from being infiltrated by economic refugees from safe third countries, as with those who are sneaking across Canada's border with the U.S. from Minnesota into Manitoba or elsewhere.—use nothwitstanding clause if necessary.

[1] The National Post finally had three articles on March 29/17
[2]  An NDP staffer quoted by Marie-Danielle Smith, NP, March 29/17. An opinion no doubt widely shared—witness Ontario Conservative leader, Brown’s efforts to muzzle his social conservative wing.
[3] Cribbed from Theresa Bergsma.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Does Canada still need Canada Post?

I ask the indulgence of my non-Canadian readers; hopefully, you will find it beneficial to apply these thoughts to your own postal system

            As Canadians have, increasingly, turned to emails and social media for speedy communication, Canada Post, our monopoly letter delivery system, has seen its volume of mail drop significantly. In response to the resulting financial pressure, Canada Post began to phase out door-to-door mail delivery in favour of community mail boxes in urban areas. Of course, customers, municipalities and postal unions complained vigorously against this decline in service! No one likes to lose anything they’ve been receiving free forever! During the 2015 federal election, the--then in opposition—Liberals led by Justin Trudeau, promised to stop this conversion and restore door-to-door mail delivery and remove community boxes in those areas where they had just been installed-- at great cost. Trudeau is now our PM. The conversion program was stopped but his government is still “consulting” about the future of Canada Post and his promise concerning the recently installed boxes. In its recently released report[1], a Liberal dominated committee of Parliament, The Standing Committee On Government Operations And Estimates, has, as could be expected, concluded that Canada Post  should “continue the moratorium on community mailboxes conversion, and develop a plan to re-instate door-to-door delivery for communities that were converted after 3 August 2015.”  Is this conclusion really justified? In fact, should Canada Post not just be abolished?

The Problem


While the switch to electronic communication is the major cause of our Post Office’s woes, its problems are not just of recent origin. The Committee notes that

The frequency of labour strikes in the 1960s and 1970s affected the reliability of the postal service. The Post Office Department incurred losses approaching $500 million in 1980-1981.

While it has been profitable “in almost every year since 1995”[2], that is not surprising since, with a monopoly on first-class mail, it been able to raise its prices frequently—at least on that part of its business.  In 2015, a further increase of more than 10 percent (from $0.85 to $0.95 per letter) was proposed but not carried through because of the current review.  As it is, Canadian letter rates well exceed U.S. rates[3] for example. While it costs 85 cents to mail a letter within Canada, Americans can do so for 62 cents [4]The difference is even more striking for international mail- $2.50 in Canada, Can$ 1.51 for Americans. In fact, business contributors to the Committee’s discussion noted that “ Over the last few years, postage rates have increased at a faster pace than all other business expenses[294]” and “Raising prices would increase Canada Post revenues in the short term, but in the long term it would encourage users  even more to switch to digital solutions.[298]

The current situation is “not viable over the long term”, according to consultants Ernst & Young. They forecasted that by 2026, annual losses of at least $700 million are anticipated. They concluded that Canada Post’s costs will continue to increase because more than 170,000 new addresses are being added to its delivery network each year while mail volumes are decreasing.  In addition, Canada Post faces a large unfunded deficit in its employees’ pension plan since it has been exempted from the requirement faced by private companies of making regular payments to make up this deficiency.

To deal with this foreseeable financial crisis, Canada Post has, among other things, introduced its controversial community mailbox conversion program which was estimated to generate savings of $400 to $500 million per year. To date, 830,000 addresses (16 % of the planned 5,000,000) have been converted, which will result in annual savings of $80 million.

Before, I consider whether or not this conversion should be continued let’s turn to the more general question.

Is Canada Post a Necessary Public Good?

In an earlier post[5], I noted that there are certain goods that will not be produced in a free market or will be produced in insufficient amounts. Pure public goods such as defense, policing and street lighting will not be provided by private business because they are indivisible and the exclusion principle does not hold. That is, you cannot divide the service into little bits that can be bought and sold individually; the Canadian armed services defend all of Canada and you can’t buy your own little bit of defense[6]--defense is not divisible. Moreover, the provider of the service—the government—cannot exclude anyone from the defense shield because they choose not to pay—unlike the groceries you buy in the store. If you don’t pay for them, you don’t get them—you are excluded from the service.  Mail delivery is certainly not a pure public good. The service can readily be divided into the delivery of individual items—it is divisible. Moreover, if you don’t pay for the service—pay the postage--you can’t send anything[7].

Even though not a pure public good, is it perhaps a necessary good that would not be provided in sufficient quantities if left to the market?  Is it perhaps like elementary education which, if  left to the market, would leave the poor who cannot pay the tuition, untaught? In that case there are positive neighbourhood effects—we are all better off if all citizens are reasonably educated. Is that the case for the postal service?

Let’s imagine for a moment, life without Canada Post and its monopoly. As it is, most cities have myriad private courier services that provide “same day” delivery within the city. There are also various country wide parcel delivery services such as UPS and FEDEX. In a free competitive world these businesses would no doubt happily expand to fill the void left by Canada Post. Of course, they would have to develop a more comprehensive system of transferring the mail to competitors where they do not have facilities in place. Canadian banks have years ago developed cheque clearing facilities to permit monetary exchanges between them. I’m sure the delivery industry could do the same for all mail and parcels. There is no doubt that private industry could readily fill any void left by Canada Post.

The question is, however, at what cost? Would the cost of mail delivery rise to excessive heights? With free entry and exit of new companies, competition would no doubt keep costs for delivery in most of Canada quite reasonable—perhaps even reduce them. In any case, competition would ensure that the users of the service pay the real cost of providing the service. There may, however, be various remote areas which would end up paying prices so high that we would all agree it is unacceptable; perhaps, no company would even choose to offer a service there. For these areas, a government subsidy would be in order since there are positive neighbourhood effects—we are all better off if,e.g. far Northern communities have reasonable postal service-- if only, for the purpose of maintaining Canadian sovereignty through thriving communities. The government could put these routes up for competitive tender and let the winner provide the service. The extra cost would then fairly come out of the general purse—not be forced on other postal users only.

Now, this imaginary private enterprise system would, of course, be politically impossible to implement, but it illustrates that Canada Post, as such, is not indispensable. We could make a start, by simply abolishing Canada Post’s monopoly on first class mail and let them compete fairly. With their large established network, they would retain an inherent advantage but who knows what would develop? If even that is a step too far, perhaps we could simply pass legislation which would automatically remove Canada Post’s monopoly after one day of a postal strike.[8] Canada Post and its unions would then be under pressure to continue to provide service. Obstinacy, would lead to guaranteed job losses. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that tool in place before the next possible strike in July?  Certainly, there is no need to keep Canada Post alive artificially through, for example, reintroducing postal banking--as was suggested by some.

Door-to-Door Delivery

Recognizing then, that Canadians could well get along without Canada Post as presently constituted, we can approach the issue of door-to-door delivery perhaps a bit more realistically. Given the financial problems noted above, Canada Post must clearly operate in an efficient, business-like manner—keeping customer needs in mind. If not, let’s let private industry do it. Perhaps, they would decide direct to door delivery is essential; perhaps they would not..

In the meantime, I personally believe the door-to-door delivery is not a big thing. If Canada Post believes there are major savings there—let them go full steam ahead (Trudeau’s election promises not withstanding). I live in one of the neighbourhoods where the conversion took place last year. In my walks around,[9] I have noted that none of the recently placed boxes are much more than two blocks away from any residence. For most people, that should not provide an obstacle. In fact, even such a short daily walk will have health benefits; people should be encouraged to “walk for the mail” rather than stopping their car in the street to pick up the mail on their way elsewhere. Moreover, these days none of the mail we receive is so essential that we have to check our boxes daily.

Now there are some individuals who really are physically not able to walk the required distance and lack care-givers and friendly neighbours who could take on this task. Canada Post has, in fact, made arrangements to help these people out. If that service is inadequate, it should be improved.  It would not, however, be out of the question that a small charge is made for this service for those who can afford it. Not all, the seniors and disabled are poor!  It is generally, recognized that as we get older some costs go up; we must, for example, pay for lawn care and other services which we used to perform ourselves. Why should mail delivery be different?
In any case, continuing with conversion to community boxes is only fair to those who have already been forced to pick up their mail from somewhere. As the table below (from the report) shows, only 27 percent of the people receive door-to -door delivery –at a cost more than twice as much as that of group mailboxes! Why should such a small percentage of customers continue to receive this specialized service? Is that really fair? Note that 11 percent pick up their mail from post offices. That trip is likely longer than the one to the community mail boxes. It has been the required practice in small towns for years[10]!

Table 3 – Number of Addresses Served by Canada Post by Delivery Method and Average Annual Cost per Address, as of 31 December 2015
Delivery Method
Number of Addresses
Percentage of Total Addresses
Average Cost per Address ($)
Centralized point (e.g.,apartment lobby lockbox)
Group mailbox, community mailbox, kiosk
Delivery facility (postal box, general delivery)
Rural mailbox
All methods

Now, critics of the conversion program of have pointed to the litter left at mail-boxes by anti-social patrons who are too lazy to take their junk-mail home and dispose of it their blue recycling containers. In my walks, I have found only one set of mail boxes where that was a problem. Surely, some signs disparaging this anti-social activity—e.g. Please do not impose your litter on your neighbours?—could educate these misfits. If necessary, the postal delivers could have a container in their little trucks and pick up the worst of the lot? Is this really a reason to stop the conversion process?

Furthermore, municipalities have come out strongly against the process for traffic safety concerns.  Their solution, however, has been that municipal staff should review all box placement and municipalities be paid a fee—thus reducing the potential savings to Canada Post. Wouldn’t a more cooperative, non-territorial stance solve the few disputed location issues?

Overall, I see no valid reason to prevent Canada Post with continuing its planned conversion. To reverse what was recently done as--was promised by Trudeau-- would be the height of folly.

Other Relevant Posts

Choice of Economic Systems: A Conditional Preference for the Market—what does that mean?

[2] In 1981, it was reorganized as a crown corporation from a government department thus reducing political influences and more business-like practices.
[3] Published rates before inauguration of Donald Trump.
[4] (U.S.$ 0.47) local, (1.15 U.S.$)  international
[6]  You can buy the services of personal armed guards but they won’t defend you against North Korea.
[7]  Alternatively, you could easily be charged on receipt basis—C.O.D.
[8]  Or more than 2 days in any one month.
[9] Under doctor’s order, I must walk an hour a day.
[10] I experienced it in the 1970’s in Sombra, Ontario and Port Cartier, Quebec.