The House

The House: Midterms and a rise in populism

This week on The House, we talk with Democrat Congressman Ted Deutch on the upcoming U.S. midterms and what a potential shift in the House of Representatives could mean for the House of Commons. Also, Chris Hall chats with former Prime Minister Paul Martin about the shift towards more protectionist leaders heading G20 nations.
President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018. Midterm elections on Tuesday will shake up Congress. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Listen to the full episode49:59

A price on carbon could be on the to-do list for the incoming U.S. Congress.

Despite President Donald Trump's claim that climate change is a "hoax" (a claim he later retracted) and his assurances that the planet "will change back again," one congressman told The House there's a consensus growing in the House of Representatives that could lead to a price on carbon emissions.

"I think we'll be able to have a bipartisan piece of legislation that puts a price on carbon," said Florida Democrat Ted Deutch, who co-chairs the Climate Solutions Caucus in the House.

The 90 Republican and Democrat members of that caucus have been consulting with businesses, energy officials and politicians around the world on a plan to put a price on carbon.

Deutch told Chris Hall this week that the caucus will have to reassess the composition of Congress after Tuesday's midterms but he "fully expects" that every option will be considered to move forward on fighting climate change.

The Democrats are in position to win most of 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and the Republicans most likely will retain control of the U.S. Senate.

There's already bipartisan support for a price on carbon, but there's no legislation yet, Deutch added.

In July, Republican lawmaker Carlos Curbelo introduced a bill in the House of Representatives calling for a carbon tax. He said his hope was that the legislation would renew the debate on climate change in Washington.

How Trump's own views could factor into the feasibility of a carbon tax plan remains unclear. His opposition to any such environmental strategy predates his presidency; he tweeted in early 2016 that he "will not support or endorse a carbon tax!"

The president also pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord in 2017.

In 2014, the U.S. produced 16.49 metric tons of carbon emissions per capita, while Canada produced 15.12 tons, according to the World Bank.

Americans head to the polls on Tuesday. We catch up with Ted Deutch, a Democrat hoping to keep his seat in Congress, on the campaign trail in Florida about what a potential shift in the House of Representatives could mean for the House of Commons. 10:49
 

Spotlight is on Canada heading into the G20, former PM Martin says

Former Canadian prime minister Paul Martin says it's up to Canada to help decide what the future of the world will look like. (Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Former prime minister Paul Martin says now is the perfect time for Canada to step into a global leadership role and become a standard-bearer for human rights.

Martin told The House that with public anxiety and political rhetoric over immigration ramping up around the world, it's time for Canada to rise to the occasion and defend our "value system."

"I think that there's a huge opening for Canada to play a very much stronger role than we have," he told host Chris Hall on Thursday, looking ahead to the G20 summit in Argentina later this month.

But putting together a broad alliance of like-minded nations could prove difficult.

The rise of populism is shaking up the global political scene. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent announcement that she won't run for office again when her term ends in 2021 means that a large number of the people leading the nations of Europe — some of them Canada's close allies for decades — only have a few years of experience.

France's Emmanuel Macron has been in office for less than two years. The U.K.'s Theresa May has been prime minister for little more than two years. Merkel has led her party since 2000 and has been Germany's chancellor since 2005.

When asked how Merkel's decision to step back could affect the atmosphere at the G20 meetings, Martin said it's going to be Canada's task to make sure her departure won't lead to a crumbling of common values.

He added, however, that consensus isn't always synonymous with progress.

The G20, he said, is "not an organization that requires the same political systems in each of its countries, nor the same economic system."

"This is going to be a tough meeting," he said.

This year's G20 summit will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1.

Participants include Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and the U.S., among others.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is on her way out, while more protectionist leaders are coming in. We talk to the former PM and architect of the G20 Paul Martin about the shift. 8:41

We're ignoring Canada's alcohol problem: chief public health officer

In this Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 file photo, a bartender prepares alcoholic drinks at a restaurant in San Francisco. Middle-aged men risk a faster mental decline as they age if they've been drinking heavily for years, new research suggests. The work was published Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2013 by the journal Neurology. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

Canada's chief public health officer says we're ignoring Canada's alcohol problem.

In recent weeks Dr. Theresa Tam has tried to sound the alarm on Canada's substance abuse problem, making it the focus of her 2018 report on the state of public health in Canada.

While it touches on the deadly opioid crisis and the health concerns around recently legalized marijuana, two prominent news stories in recent years, Tam says alcohol abuse also deserves the nation's' attention. 

"We have lost sight of the fact that continued high rates of problematic alcohol consumption are leading to a wide-range of harms," she writes.

A deeper dive on the numbers show a troubling trend for Canadian women: they're dying from alcohol at a faster rate than men. 

Tam's report highlighted that between 2011 to 2017 the alcohol-attributed death rate for women increased by 26 per cent, compared with a roughly five per cent increase over the same period for men

Younger women — those aged 10 to 19 — have higher hospitalization rates than boys the same age.

"Men still have higher rates of alcohol consumption...but women are catching up and this is really a worrying sign. There's an increase in the rate of heavy drinking among women," she said in an interview for CBC's The House.

Tam says researchers are still trying to figure out why the numbers are rising, but part of it could be that women are alcohol to cope with stress differently. 

The link between alcohol consumption and reducing stress could part of the problem, says Tam.

"I think overall more needs to be done to normalise alcohol in Canada. So 80 per cent of Canadians consume alcohol. Rising rates in women tells us that we ignore alcohol," she said.

Catherine Paradis, a senior researcher and policy analyst with the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, says there's been a steady trend by advertisers and marketers to target women since the 1990s.

While there's nothing necessarily wrong with advertisers tailoring their messaging, Paradis has a problem with ads borrowing from women's' liberation.

"What I find extremely disturbing is advertising has been using the pretext of sexual equality to encourage women to drink like men," she said. 

"Would it ever crossed your mind to ingest the same amount of calories as your father, your brother, your spouse? Of course not.  But the alcohol industry has somehow managed to make us believe that when it comes to alcohol that should be sort of a measure of gender equality," Paradis said.

The Chief Public Health Officer says Canada has a drinking problem and we're ignoring it. And if you dig into the numbers, Canadian women are increasingly drinking themselves to death. How did we get here? 7:27