Obama - The Trawler.org
At the apex of the election race, controversial Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente argues that Canada has no need to be envious of all the election fever south of the border. Of the fact that while Americans were busy electing one of the trendiest presidents since JFK, Canadians had just elected one of our most uncharismatic leaders ever. According to Wente, “Canada’s the lucky country.”
Why you ask? “Canada has held its own while you’ve [America] gone downhill,’ said Wente. “The United States is flat broke, and so are California, New York and Illinois. Your unemployment rate is higher, your inequality is greater and you have 46 million people on food stamps.” Plus you might get another Republican in office.
In the event that the Romney-Ryan 2012 disaster scenario that many centric Americans are dreading somehow comes into fruition, Wente assures Americans that they “would be more than welcome” in Canada. Her assimilation tips for helping disgruntled Americans fleeing to Canada include first and foremost, learning the delicate tinges of out political system. A system where “blue” politicians are “red” by American standards, and Conservatives support universal healthcare, promise to cut military spending, and gay marriage flourishes.
It was not always this great up here, reminisces Wente. Canada uses to be drenched in debt, constitutional crises, and realistic threats of separatism. But the tables have turned. Canada has less debt and corporate taxes, makes things that China wants to buy, and has an immigration policy that attracts skilled workers.
According to Wente, Canada’s got it good, and our most serious conflict is the rivalry between Tim Hortons and Starbucks for your coffee expenditures. So she will watch the election drama with a shred of envy for the excitement, but to Wente, Canada’s cold dullness is a welcomed beacon of stability in these difficult times.
Wente makes some interesting points that may put into perspective the relative stability that Canada’s should be thankful for when enviously looking at the excitement down south. However, for Wente to argue that our greatest conflict is a cultural coffee war, when the country is facing increasing disparity gaps, pockets of civil unrest, and a government that seems to follow its own agenda in the face of fragmented opposition parties, serves to make her seem like just another conservative pundit who is unaware of the realities facing is the majority of Canadians today. Also, she seems to have a certain propensity for plagiarism.
The federal government’s decision regarding the construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline is creating a significant amount of grief for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In his latest op-ed Kelly McParland discusses the potential impact of Friday’s decision by the federal government to set a deadline of December 31, 2012 for an environmental assessment of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would stretch from Alberta, across British Columbia to the coast at Kitimat. Once the environmental assessment is complete, Ottawa will then make a final decision by June 2014 whether to go ahead with the $6 billion project. The project does not only provide considerable support for the Canadian economy but also allows Canada to diversify its economic trade partners away from the United States.
McParland highlights the tensions that such a decision has created between the federal government and provincial/ aboriginal governments. The BC government under the leadership of Premier Christy Clark has taken a firm stance against the creation of a Northern pipeline, stating that the environmental impacts will be too large. However, if such a project were to go ahead, the Premier demanded that British Columbia must receive a “fair share” of the profit that Alberta will receive; clearly, Alberta Premier Alison Redford is not a fan of such a deal.
Tensions are not only occurring between federal and provincial governments and inter-provincial governments, McParland notes that Prime Minister Harper is not feeling a great deal of warmth from such a project on the other side of the border. President Obama has already delayed a decision on the project. As his own election looms, the President may listen to the intense environmental opposition to the project, putting a further roadblock to Harper’s plans.
McParland concludes his article acknowledging how the decision on the Northern pipeline is only the tip of the iceberg of the Prime Ministers’ growing list of problems. With two crucial projects potentially on the brink of failure (both also centered in his home of Alberta), a potential return of the separatist parties in Quebec, as well as an opposition party growing in popularity, the next few years may not treat the Prime Minister so kindly.
McParland lays out the facts in this article without relying on a strong bias. He provides an analysis of the political repercussions of the project and outlines the implications of a Northern pipeline for the future of Canadian politics and the even weakening relationship between federal and provincial governments.
The crisis in Europe is a worldwide concern, and this week Mauricio Vargas, in his column in El Tiempo, wonders whether Colombia can survive the crisis or not. He points out that Barack Obama knows that if Europe succumbs to the crisis, then many banks in the US will do so as well, and in that scenario Obama will lose the upcoming presidential elections.
Moreover, China and India, who were once the motor for emerging countries such as Colombia, have stopped their growth. China’s economy will grow only by 7.5% this year compared to the 10% in previous years. Latin America will grow 3.5% this year in the best case scenario. Vargas states that so far Colombia is fine, but there are symptoms that point to a slowing down of the economy: the prices of exports such as coffee, petroleum and coal are going down, while industry and commerce are still growing but only slowly.
The government of Juan Manuel Santos must be careful with expenses, but it also has to accelerate public investment which generates employment. There is a new Minister of Transport, and apparently he is a good one according to Vargas. It is yet to be seen if he can prop up the public investment enough for Columbia to survive the world crisis. If that doesn’t happen, Santos will worry for his re-election, which will depend on the economy, as is the case for Obama’s re-election. (link to article)
Arlene Tickner in today’s column talks about the problem with the euro and the G8 meeting in the United States. According to Tickner, Barack Obama decided to change the meeting place from Chicago to Camp David with the excuse that it was to have the meeting away from the media and the protestors.
The really aim was to approach Angela Merkel discretely in order to ask her to promote an investment plan for the Eurozone. Together with Francois Hollande and David Cameron, Obama stated that the German austerity has been counterproductive and it’s necessary to prevent a worse economic deterioration. That way Obama will also ensure his re-election in November. Even the Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman is sponsoring the plan that includes supporting aid to the European periphery countries rather than austerity measures.
The meeting didn’t help to improve the crisis situation. On the contrary, the people of France and Greece are begining to become disatisfied with the current measures, where the electors voted against those who defend the austerity measures, in part because of the high rates of unemployment and the dissatisfaction for the austerity plan. Even the Germans have started to question what has promoted their growth, as they have generated negative effects in many others in the continent.
Finally, Tickner highlights that if Merkel is right about something, it is that the end of the Euro would mean the end of the European idea as a whole. It would be a terrible lesson for all of those who have seen the EU as a model. (link to article)
E. Burchia writes for Il Corriere della Sera about the debate that was triggered in the United States by President Obama’s recent statements in favor of gay marriage.
Burchia stresses in particular how this mix of idealism and political strategy could have very important consequences for Obama’s campaign and the battle with the conservative Mitt Romney, from a particular point of view: a lot of pro-Obama gadgets (especially designed for supporters of the LGBT community) have appeared in the official digital store on the site of Obama for the next presidential election.
Actually, many political observers underline that all this is not just about fundraising, but also about data that might be more reliable than exit polls. These last implications have perhaps frightened Romney who, during these days, after the release of papers describing a young Romeny as a bully with anti-gay views, has decided to become more open to the acceptance of the LGBT community, but not to gay marriage.
The VI Summit of the Americas took place in Cartagena, Colombia during the 14th and 15th of April. Despite all efforts done by the Colombian government to run the meeting and cover topics of interest in politics and economy, all attention was on the United States Secret Service scandal. According to El Colombiano’s Editorial, Cartagena is still the centre of attention, not for diplomatic reasons, but for the sexual scandal generated by members of the US Secret Service.
At least 20 members of the private security of President Barack Obama were in a brothel in Cartagena and took prostitutes to the Caribe Hotel, where they were staying. This is now commonly known, and the media is trying to get an interview with the girl who revealed the situation. They are even offering five thousand dollars for her interview.
President Obama has apologized publicly for the behaviour of his security team, however, Republicans have used this as an opportunity to discuss the lack of security of the President and, consequently, of the nation.
The Summit of the Americas will be remembered, not for its results, but for the consequences of this episode. On the other hand, people are talking about Hillary Clinton and the beers she drank in La Havana night club in Cartagena.
According to El Colombiano, Obama will be the worst affected by the situation, although he is the less guilty. (link to the article)
It should go without saying, Charles Krauthammer is no fan of the Buffet Rule, the tax on millionaires being trumpeted by Obama as a fair addition to the tax code. But Krauthammer’s disdain is reflected in the wider discourse on debt.