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10 more interesting Christmas facts

11. Historians have traced some of the current traditions surrounding Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, back to ancient Celtic roots. Father Christmas’s elves are the modernization of the “Nature folk” of the Pagan religions; his reindeer are associated with the “Horned God,” which was one of the Pagan deities.

12. Frankincense is a sweet smelling gum resin derived from certain Boswellia trees which, at the time of Christ, grew in Arabia, India, and Ethiopia. Tradition says that it was presented to the Christ Child by Balthasar, the black king from Ethiopia or Saba. The frankincense trade was at its height during the days of the Roman Empire. At that time this resin was considered as valuable as gems or precious metals. The Romans burned frankincense on their altars and at cremations.

13. Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in 1895. The idea for using electric Christmas lights came from an American, Ralph E. Morris. The new lights proved safer than the traditional candles.

14. Animal Crackers are not really crackers, but cookies that were imported to the United States from England in the late 1800s. Barnum’s circus-like boxes were designed with a string handle so that they could be hung on a Christmas tree.

15. Frumenty was a spiced porridge, enjoyed by both rich and poor. It is thought to be the forerunner of modern Christmas puddings. It has its origins in a Celtic legend of the harvest god Dagda, who stirred a porridge made up of all the good things of the Earth.

16. Frustrated at the lack of interest in his new toy invention, Charles Pajeau hired several midgets, dressed them in elf costumes, and had them play with “Tinker Toys” in a display window at a Chicago department store during the Christmas season in 1914. This publicity stunt made the construction toy an instant hit. A year later, over a million sets of Tinker Toys had been sold.

17. “Hot cockles” was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. “Hot cockles” was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.

18. In 1647, the English parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal. Festivities were banned by Puritan leader, Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry, on what was supposed to be a holy day, to be immoral. The ban was lifted only when the Puritans lost power in 1660.

19. A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.

20. George Washington spent Christmas night 1776 crossing the Delaware River in dreadful conditions. Christmas 1777 fared little better – at Valley Forge, Washington and his men had a miserable Christmas dinner of Fowl cooked in a broth of Turnips, cabbage and potatoes.

[Source: Christmas Facts at corsinet.com]

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

10 interesting Christmas facts

1. Christmas was once a moveable feast celebrated at many different times during the year. The choice of December 25 was made by Pope Julius I, in the 4th century A.D., because this coincided with the pagan rituals of Winter Solstice, or Return of the Sun. The intent was to replace the pagan celebration with the Christian one.

2. Christmas Day in the Ukraine can be celebrated on either December 25, in faithful alliance with the Roman Catholic Gregorian calendar, or on January 7, which is the Orthodox or Eastern Rite (Julian calendar), the church holy day.

3. During the ancient 12-day Christmas celebration, the log burned was called the “Yule log.” Sometimes a piece of the Yule log would be kept to kindle the fire the following winter, to ensure that the good luck carried on from year to year. The Yule log custom was handed down from the Druids.

4. At lavish Christmas feasts in the Middle Ages, swans and peacocks were sometimes served “endored.” This meant the flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter. In addition to their painted flesh, endored birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting.

5. After A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories, one each year, but none was as successful as the original. Before settling on the name of Tiny Tim for his character, three other alliterative names were considered by Charles Dickens. They were Little Larry, Puny Pete, and Small Sam. And Dickens’ initial choice for Scrooge’s statement “Bah Humbug” was “Bah Christmas.”

6. During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made. Candy canes began as straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorated the Christmas trees. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral decided have the ends bent to depict a shepherd’s crook and he would pass them out to the children to keep them quiet during the services. It wasn’t until about the 20th century that candy canes acquired their red stripes.

7. Christmas caroling began as an old English custom called Wassailing. “Wassail” comes from the Old Norse “ves heill” – to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.

8. Mistletoe, a traditional Christmas symbol, was once revered by the early Britons. It was so sacred that it had to be cut with a golden sickle.

9. Hallmark introduced its first Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the founding of the company. More than three billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States.

10. Greeks do not use Christmas trees or give presents at Christmas. In Greek legend, malicious creatures called Kallikantzari (gremlin-like spirits) sometimes play troublesome pranks at Christmas time. According to the legend, to get rid of them, you should burn either salt or an old shoe. Apparently the stench of the burning shoe (or salt) drives off the creatures. Other effective methods include hanging a pig’s jawbone by the door and keeping a large fire so they can’t sneak down the chimney. A priest may throw a little cross into the village water to keep kallikantzari hiding in dark, dusty corners, he goes from house to house sprinkling holy water.

[ed. – Source: Christmas Facts at corsinet.com]

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Eggnog has a rather rich history

  • Eggnog can trace its roots back as far as the 14th century, when medieval Englishmen enjoyed a hot cocktail known as posset. Posset did not contain eggs — the Oxford English Dictionary describes it as “a drink made of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or the like, often sweetened and spiced’ – The first “eggnog” was likely a mixture of Spanish “Sherry” and milk.
  • In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy; dairy products and eggs were rarely consumed by the lower classes due to their high cost and the lack of refrigeration.
  • As a rich, spicy, and alcoholic drink, eggnog soon became a popular wintertime drink throughout Colonial America. However, since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Caribbean was substitute – and Americans came to know the drink strictly as a rum mixture.
  • When the supply of rum to the newly-founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually boubon, as a substitute.
  • In Colonial America, rum was commonly called “grog”, so the name eggnog is likely derived from the very descriptive term for this drink, “egg-and-grog”, which corrupted to egg’n’grog and soon to eggnog.
  • An alternative theory on the origin of the name eggnog is that the “nog” of eggnog comes from the word “noggin”. A noggin was a small, wooden, carved mug. It was used to serve drinks at table in taverns. Hence, an egg drink in a noggin could become eggnog.
  • Eggnog, in the 1800s was nearly always made in large quantities and nearly always used as a social drink. It was commonly served at holiday parties and it was noted by an English visitor in 1866, “Christmas is not properly observed unless you brew egg nogg for all comers; everybody calls on everybody else; and each call is celebrated by a solemn egg-nogging…It is made cold and is drunk cold and is to be commended.”
  • In the 1820’s author Pierce Egan wrote a book called “Life of London: or Days and Nights of Jerry Hawthorne and His Elegant Friend Corinthina Tom”. To publicize his work Mr. Egan made up a variation of eggnog he called “Tom and Jerry”. It added 1/2 oz of brandy to the basic recipe (fortifying it considerably and adding further to its popularity).
  • The United States first President George Washington was quite a fan of eggnog and devised his own recipe that included rye whiskey, rum and sherry. It was reputed to be a stiff drink that only the most courageous were willing to try.
  • An 1879 collection of recipes from Virginia housewives features a recipe that calls for 12 eggs, eight wine-glassfuls of brandy, and four wine-glassfuls of wine. Another recipe calls for three dozen eggs, half a gallon of domestic brandy, and another half-pint of French brandy.
  • It’s hard to top the devotion shared by a Virginia father and son in the late 19th century. In 1900, Good Housekeeping ran a story about the Christmas-morning eggnog traditions of Virginia, and it included this anecdote:  “So religiously is this custom of the eggnog drinking observed that Judge Garnett of Mathews County tells a story of rushing in on Christmas morning to warn his father that the house was on fire. The old gentleman first led his son to the breakfast table and ladled out his glass of eggnog, drank one with him, then went to care for the burning building.”
  • Today, if you pick up a carton of commercial eggnog at the supermarket, you’re probably getting much more nog than egg. FDA regulations only require that 1.0 percent of a product’s final weight be made up of egg yolk solids for it to bear the eggnog name. For “eggnog flavored milk,” the bar is even lower; in addition to requiring less butterfat in the recipe, this label only requires 0.5 percent egg yolk solids in the carton.
  • A relatively small four-ounce cup of store-bought eggnog boasts a whopping 170 calories (half of them from fat), nearly 10 grams of fat, and over 70 mg of cholesterol. (If you’re keeping score at home, that’s around a quarter of your recommended daily intake of cholesterol.)
  • Our own By George Journal’s recipe for traditional egg-and-cream eggnog is here:  EGGNOG 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

With Eggnog, you know the holiday season is upon us!!

eggnog2

It’s an eggnog bowl! Let the festivities begin!

Here’s a recipe for traditional – real eggs and cream – eggnog.

Enjoy! Cheers!

 

Ingredients

12 eggs, separated
6 cups milk
2 cups heavy/ thickened cream
2 cups bourbon
1+ 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup brandy
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Directions

  • In a large bowl and using a mixer, beat the egg yolks together with the sugar for approx 10 minutes (you want the mixture to be firm and the colour of butter).
  • Very slowly, add in the bourbon and brandy – just a little at a time.
  • When bourbon and brandy have been added, allow the mixture to cool in the fridge (for up to 6 hours, depending on how long before your party you’re making the eggnog).
  • 30 minutes before your guests arrive, stir the milk into the chilled yolk mixture.
  • Stir in 1+ 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the cream with a mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.
  • In yet another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
  • Gently fold the cream into the egg mixture.
  • After ladling into cups, garnish with the remainder of the ground nutmeg.
  • Serves: 8

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Our elves will be serving Christmas cheer daily through December

Be sure to follow our By George Journal for countless posts celebrating Christmas through the month of December.

The Christmas season is normally a very social time. But perhaps not in 2020. So, this season, let the By George elves provide you with merry sayings and seasonal facts and information to add a little extra cheer in your days.

We encourage you to share the posts widely with your family and friends – please spread the joy through December!

Follow us in social media — on the By George Facebook page and our Twitter @byGeorgeJournal so you can drink in a steady stream of creative yule time content.

And enjoy the By George Virtual Eggnog Bowl which we will refill on a daily basis on the top page of the By George Journal.  

Now, take up a glass and join the party! Cheers

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Trudeau’s Environmental Agenda: repeated promises and plans of plans

The Niagara Independent, November 27, 2020  – This week it was reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was fooled by a prank caller pretending to be Greta Thunberg, who wished to discuss climate change and exchange insights with Trudeau on global environmental issues. The call turned out to be an embarrassing ruse. Perhaps though it was karma for the PM, who has been bluffing Canadians for years on matters of the environment.

The latest chapter in the Trudeau environmental agenda begins with the tabling of the long-anticipated climate change legislation – Bill C-12, an Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. This legislation was expected to set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for the years 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045, with the ultimate goal of achieving a net-zero carbon Canadian economy by 2050.

For months now environmentalists have been told to expect hard targets, an explicit commitment to meet the targets, and penalties established for failing to reach the targets. Instead, the government served up what is essentially a plan to develop a plan. Bill C-12 requires the government to assemble an advisory group, to schedule the setting of targets every five years, and to publicly report every five years on the progress being made. There is no explicit commitment for the government to reach its 2050 target – and no penalties or legal consequences if it fails to do so.

The legislation does not set out how the federal government will engage provinces in its national emissions reduction plan, or how the government’s agenda will be financed and paid for by Canadian businesses and taxpayers. Are Canadians to assume these details will be studied by the government’s advisory group?

In the act of tabling Bill C-12 the Trudeau Liberals tout that they now have fulfilled their election promise “to be more aggressive at cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and to get Canada to net-zero emissions by 2050.” The PM told Canadians the legislation is “an accountability framework” that will “ensure we reach this net-zero goal in a way that gives Canadians confidence.”

But as with many of his green initiatives it is evident that the PM’s description of the legislation is hyperbolic. The fact is Bill C-12’s only mandatory accountability measure is that the government must set its new emission reduction target for 2030 within nine months after the legislation is passed, and then additional targets for every subsequent five years. So, if Bill C-12 is passed in this minority Parliament, the Liberals will have an additional grace period to consider establishing a 2030 target – in other words, getting a serious target is a decade away.

The lack of clarity surrounding the Liberals’ plans did not stop an Environment Minister spokesperson to double down on the promise to exceed current 2030 emission targets – and to also take a back swipe at the country’s oil and gas industry. In a Toronto Star feature on the new legislation, Liberal staffer Moira Kelly stated, “Our government is committed to exceed Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction target, and we recognize that addressing oil and gas sector methane emissions provides some of the most cost-effective approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country.”

Respectfully, this is hollow political rhetoric. Based on the latest federal data (2018 figures), to meet Canada’s current 2030 targets for industrial greenhouse gas emissions, the country would be required to reduce emissions from 729 million tonnes to 511 million tonnes. To achieve a 218 million tonnes drop, Canada would have to completely shut down the equivalent of either the country’s transportation sector or its oil and gas sector within the next ten years.

On this point, Conservative environment critic, MP Dan Albas blasted Trudeau and the Environment Minister for not being forthcoming about the impact their green agenda would have on the country. Albas said, “Justin Trudeau needs to be transparent with Canadians about his plan for achieving net zero. Canadians are worried that he plans to dramatically increase carbon taxes, and they are worried about the impact this will have on the cost of gas, groceries and home heating.”

There is also the fact that the Trudeau Government has missed Canada’s 2020 emission targets by a whopping 99.2 per cent. In 2015, the newly-minted PM stated 2020 emission levels would be 17 per cent lower than 2005 levels – which would in effect reduce carbon emissions from 730 to 606 million tonnes. Government data today revels the 2020 levels emitted are 729 million tonnes. Trudeau’s five years in office has realized no impact on the country’s carbon emissions.

The new legislation proposing the planning of a plan to reach an ultimate net-zero carbon economy is reflective of the Trudeau Government’s entire environment agenda. It is heavy on rhetoric and lacks serious intent and follow-through. Consider these hallmark green initiatives PM Trudeau has showcased in the last five years.

  • In 2019 the PM stated the government would plant 2 billion trees in 10 years (and Bill C-12 repeats this promise), and yet not one tree has been planted and there is no budget or plan set.
  • The PM promised a ban on single-use plastics in Canada by end-of-2021 and made the claim that this would significantly reduce ocean pollution, and yet there is no government plan to assist the Canadian business community to transition from plastic bags, straws, etc. within the next 13 months. Even if the impossible were possible Canada’s ban would only reduce global pollution by 0.5 per cent, having zero impact on the ocean’s health.
  • The PM took the lead in 2018 at the United Nations with the Ocean Plastic Charter to address marine litter and the sustainability of our coastlines and ocean waters, and yet under his Government’s watch Quebec cities continue their “Flushgate” dumping of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence, and coastal cities Vancouver and Victoria continue to pump raw sewage directly into the Pacific Ocean. In the last five years there has been an estimated 900 billion litres of raw sewage dumped into Canada’s waterways.
  • In the 2015 election, Trudeau promised clean drinking water to First Nations communities, and yet today 100 communities have water advisories and 61 of those are long-term – and the government still has no plan to deliver on this basic necessity.

In the next few weeks, the Trudeau Government is to produce another planning document for his environment agenda. The anticipated Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change will be a new plan to detail how the government will work towards a new 2030 emissions target. Perhaps this document will reveal to Canadians what government controls and regulations will be introduced – and the scheduled tax hikes for Trudeau’s new carbon taxes. The PM must get serious about his environmental agenda at some point soon – or he just might yet get a call from Greta Thunberg.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/trudeaus-environmental-agenda-repeated-promises-and-plans-of-plans/

 

Insights of Thomas Sowell

Here are a dozen of By George Journal’s favourite insights of the erudite Thomas Sowell, learned American economist and social theorist.

You can share these images by right-clicking on the image and saving – then reposting on the social media platform(s) of your choice. Enjoy! 

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

The Great Reset (social media graphics)

You can reshare these graphics by clicking right and saving the image – then posting it in your social media platform(s) of choice.

Believe it or not, below is an actual ad for the WEF’s Great Reset (circa 2016)

The special edition coverpiece of Time Magazine’s double issue on The Great Reset

Actual quote…

Look at the Covidian Man

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

PM Trudeau Implementing “The Great Reset” In Canada

The Niagara Independent, November 20, 2020  – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has now openly referred to his federal government’s post-COVID-19 economic policies as complying with “The Great Reset,” the title of a document first published in 2016 by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Our Canadian PM is focused on using the uncertain times created by the pandemic to “Build Back Better” and reshape our country’s economic and social make-up.

Before broaching what this means for Canada, here are a few pertinent points to appreciate the path Canadians are currently tripping along. “Build Back Better” is a politically-charged phrase that serves as a mantra in the WEF’s The Great Reset. It’s an euphemism used by globalist-minded leaders like Justin Trudeau whose objective is to redesign capitalism, advance an international green agenda, and ultimately establish a new global order. (Google it – this information is all public.)

COVID-19 – The Great Reset (July 2020) is the latest policy document written by Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and CEO. Schwab describes how the coronavirus has disrupted both economic and social infrastructure and it provides an opportunity “to create a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable world going forward.” The WEF has advanced a post-COVID plan to be implemented over the next 10 years. By 2030, countries will have reformed to adhere to the objectives set by the economic and social governing bodies of the United Nations (U.N.).

Last point, early next year the WEF globalists will gather at their annual Davos Summit. The summit will spotlight the Global Shapers program, a youth activism initiative now operating in 400 cities around the world. More than 1,300 people have been trained and financed as climate activists and organizers to protest for change. Beginning in 2021, countries will need to manage “grassroots movements” that will be demonstrating for global climate change solutions.

In Canada, Justin Trudeau has publicly tied the country’s COVID-19 recovery to The Great Reset as well as the 2030 objectives of the U.N. Twice in the last two months Canada’s PM has announced this direction for the country. In a video conference to a U.N. audience in September, Trudeau stated: “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset. This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change… Building back better means getting support to the most vulnerable while maintaining our momentum on reaching the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

In front of an audience of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce at the end of October, PM Trudeau made the commitment to “build back better in a fiscally sustainable way” — although he provided no details regarding the government’s fiscal plans. When pressed to discuss the country’s finances, the PM evaded the questions by stating: “But I think there’s a lot of uncertainty still around where we’re going to end at the end of this pandemic, and I think it would be premature to be locking things down.”

The PM’s messages are ripped directly from the pages of COVID-19 – The Great Reset and Canadians can expect to repeatedly hear this script in the coming months. The Schwab book foresees that COVID-19 lockdowns will gradually ease, but anxiety about the world’s social and economic prospects will intensify. The economic downturn may lead countries’ economies to their worst depression since the 1930s. Schwab’s answer – echoed by Trudeau – is: “In short, we need a “Great Reset” of capitalism. We must build entirely new foundations for our economic and social systems.”

What exactly does this reset mean for our country? The policies that Canadians can expect to see introduced are laid out clearly in WEF documents and presentations:

  • amend tax regulations for greater government control over business and individuals
  • introduce wealth taxes
  • withdraw subsidies from fossil-fuel industry
  • create new funding programs for green initiatives
  • enact greater government intervention and social planning measures to tie the country’s policies to U.N. policies

Canadians will hear about the wonderful promises of the “Building Back Better” Canada Plan. It has the potential to create or maintain 6.3 million green jobs. With $109 billion investment by the federal government over the next 10 years, Canada will generate $790 billion in green initiatives and this will result in a net-zero economic recovery. The plan includes introducing new government programs: retrofits of homes and workplaces, accelerated electric vehicle uptake, greening of the electricity grid, and more. It will also mean the decarbonizing of Canada’s natural resources sectors.

This plan hinges on Canadian private sector investments of $681 billion in the next ten years. And (here is the detail that is not being revealed by Trudeau and Finance Minister Freeland) the Government intends on securing these investment dollars by “reinventing capitalism.” WEF documents explain how this will be accomplished; how governments will be “future-proofing capitalism” by tightly tethering the private sector to government regulatory control. WEF recommends to global leaders:

  • Governments and regulators must intervene to ensure the costs of environmental and social damage are internalized by the companies responsible: profits cannot come at the expense of long-term societal resilience.
  • For capitalism to deliver a sustainable and inclusive recovery, it is critical that companies’ cost of capital reflects the quality of their governance and their impact on society and the environment.

WEF instructs its global leaders to leverage the COVID-19 pandemic, and make sure that it becomes the catalyst for a profoundly positive transformation of the global economy.

There are more details — a lot more. But how much of “The Great Reset” can Canadians comprehend – and how much of this grand design will they believe? Justin Trudeau is betting on both Canadians’ apathy in all things political, and their trust in government to allow him to implement the WEF plan.

However, to those who are watching this disturbing scenario unfold, Ottawa political commentator Spencer Fernando sounds the alarm: “What was once called a conspiracy theory is now confirmed by Trudeau, as we can see the elites using this crisis as an excuse to centralize power and reshape our lives in their own image.”

Fernando suggests, “If Trudeau wants to use The Great Reset or Agenda 2030 to fundamentally change Canada into some kind of Euro-Green socialist utopia, then he should seek a mandate from the people.” Precisely. Should not Canadians have a chance to vote on the country’s recovery course, on its future?

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/pm-trudeau-implementing-the-great-reset-in-canada/

The George Soros Series

 The George Soros 4-part series by Chris George in the Niagara Independent

reviews Soros’ life and achievements, beliefs and goals, and his ties and influence in Canada.

 Introducing George Soros

 The core beliefs and aspirations of George Soros

George Soros and his Canadian Chess Game

George Soros casts a long shadow across Canada

 

For the index of Chris George’s columns in the Niagara Independent, click here.

 

Canadian PM and U.S. president-elect ready to “build back better” together

The Niagara Independent, November 13, 2020  – The final votes in the U.S. election have yet to be re-counted and a globalists’ green agenda has been vaulted to priority status by president-elect Joe Biden. In the first exchange between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Biden, the leaders underlined the fight against climate change as their foremost concern. Biden’s repeated pledge this week to take up the fight against climate change has bolstered the Trudeau Government’s designs for its green initiatives.

Shortly after PM Trudeau spoke with the U.S. president-elect, he tweeted: “I just spoke with Joe Biden and congratulated him again on his election. We’ve worked with each other before, and we’re ready to pick up on that work and tackle the challenges and opportunities facing our two countries — including climate change and COVID-19.”

The official PMO summary of the political leaders’ call highlighted the mutual desire to spur on global action “to support a sustainable economic recovery in both countries and the hemisphere… cooperating on the fight against climate change, on migration and on global security, and to working closely together within NATO and the G7….”

The Trudeau Government spin-machine went into overdrive to position climate change at the forefront of the Canada-U.S. agenda. Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna (former Environment Minister) tweeted out her observation of the significance of the Biden victory: “It’s been a long, tough slog these past four years internationally on climate action. It will make a big difference to have the U.S. back in the Paris Agreement, joining Canada and like-minded countries pushing hard for ambitious climate action.”

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne told CBC’s Rosemary Barton: “Certainly there’s a will by Canada to work with this new administration, to work with colleagues around the world, whether it’s about the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations.”

And later in a CTV interview, Minister Champagne crowed, “I think the big prize is to build back better together.”

So, it just may be a coincidence but president-elect Biden’s website to document his transition to the Oval Office is www.buildbackbetter.com. “Build Back Better” is a politically-charged phrase found within the World Economic Forum’s The Great Reset; a euphemism used by globalist-minded leaders who wish to redesign capitalism, advance an international green agenda, and ultimately to establish a new global order. (Google it – this information is all public.)

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), an American free-market organization, is alarmed at Biden’s comments in his first press conference after being announced president-elect. FEE is most concerned about Biden’s claim that Americans had given him a clear “mandate for action on COVID and the economy and climate change and systemic racism.” FEE states, “Biden’s rhetoric focuses on restoring order and stability amid emergency, but the details of his transition agenda involve a radical upheaval of our economy.”

This assertion seems to be confirmed with the rationale found on the president-elect’s website: “Our nation is grappling with a pandemic, an economic crisis, powerful calls for racial justice, and the existential threat of climate change. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris know we can’t simply go back to the way things were before. The team being assembled will meet these challenges on Day One and build us back better.”

Early in the Biden presidency, it is anticipated that the U.S. will rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change and commit to net-zero emissions by 2050. Biden has promised to spend $2 trillion over the next four years to reduce emissions and accelerate America’s transition to a clean economy. He also promised that climate change will be a major component of his foreign policy and some on his campaign team have suggested he will champion a “green new deal.”

With these green initiatives, what might a Biden presidency mean for Canada? There are a number of possible dangers with an aggressive green movement south of the border: new carbon import taxes, the cancellation of Keystone XL pipeline and other continental oil and gas projects, and possible new cross-border trade restrictions.

Much like government’s green agendas around the world (including here in Canada), Biden’s environmental platform focuses on its expenditures, not its revenues. Biden spoke often on the trillions to be invested in infrastructure, electric vehicles, zero emission public transit and carbon-free power. He has been silent on providing the details of new carbon pricing and on how his administration will raise the revenues to pay for his green initiatives.

One under-reported plank of Biden’s campaign platform is a “carbon adjustment tax” to force countries exporting goods to the United States to meet climate and environmental obligations. Interestingly, Gerald Butts, vice-chairman of Eurasia Group, recently commented in media about the European Union Parliament’s support of new carbon border adjustment tariffs to be imposed in 2023 to control trade of products such as steel, chemicals and fertilizer. Butts foresees the establishment of a global carbon pricing regime that will force countries to introduce stricter industry regulations for developing their natural resources or face cost-prohibitive trade tariffs.

There are other trade initiatives Biden has committed to that will have Canadian natural resource producers incurring new costs and roadblocks with exporting to its largest trading partner. The president-elect has committed to cancelling Keystone XL, a pipeline project that would carry crude oil from Alberta to Nebraska. Biden and the Democrats also have a protectionist trade bent similar to President Trump’s “America first” mentality, which signals further trade troubles for Canadian dairy commodities, aluminum, and softwood lumber products.

Some Canadians may feel euphoric with a Joe Biden presidency, however they should question those who so readily use the phrase “Build Back Better,” those who are cheerleading and enabling the advancement of the World Economic Forum’s The Great Reset.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/canadian-pm-and-u-s-president-elect-ready-to-build-back-better-together/

PM Trudeau has us questioning what constitutes “free speech”

The Niagara Independent, November 10, 2020  – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent garble on the issue of free speech would have gone unnoticed had it not been for his public shaming by Quebec Premier Francois Legault. Quite unintentionally, the PM raised a number of questions about the fundamental right to our freedom of expression. And through the incident, Trudeau may well have reconfirmed his understanding of this right.

The context for the Canadian discussion on free speech lays in the barbaric murders that took place in France last month. On October 16th a school teacher, walking home from a day at school, was brutally decapitated by an 18-year-old Islamist extremist. It was later learned the teacher was targeted for displaying cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a civics class on freedom of speech. Two weeks later another extremist beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice.

In the face of these horrific acts of terrorism, French President Emmanuel Macron would not condemn the Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoons, nor question the rights to discuss the publisher’s controversy in French schools. Instead, Macron stated the violent responses were the issue, not free speech. Macron has rejected any suggestion this is a case of Islamophobia or bigotry or discrimination against Muslims. He assertively claims the French were being attacked “over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief.”

France’s security alert has been raised and 4,000 troops have been deployed to protect French places of worship and schools and to subdue any signs of extremism. Holding a press conference at the scene of one of the gruesome attacks, Macron stated, “And I say it with lots of clarity again today: we will not give any ground.”

As the French President was being burned in effigy in the streets of Bangladesh. Pakistan, Qatar, and Palestine, leaders from around the world declared support for the French people and Macron’s struggles to avoid further extremist crimes

Prime Minister Trudeau was asked about the issue and his response raised eyebrows from Paris to Quebec City. The Canadian PM said, “We will always defend freedom of expression. But freedom of expression is not without limits. In a pluralist, diverse and respectful society like ours, we owe it to ourselves to be aware of the impact of our words, of our actions on others, particularly these communities and populations who still experience a great deal of discrimination.”

To distill Trudeau’s pontification: free speech is not about the right to speak but rather it is about what is said to whom. It is not a fundamental right but rather an arbitrary determination depending on the subject matter. And in this case, for Trudeau, the Charlie Hebdo satirists are not free to publish cartoons of communities and populations discriminated against.

In response to the PM’s comments, lawyer and human rights activist Kaveh Shahrooz wrote in a National Post column, “Trudeau revealed that he does not quite grasp the purpose that free speech serves in a liberal democratic society… Contrary to what Trudeau seems to believe, our free speech laws are drafted not to prevent hurt feelings, or impose respect. They exist to protect thought, dissent and unpopular views. And yes, that includes blasphemy.”

So, though some Muslims might find the Charlie Hebdo cartoons insulting, the cartoonists (and those who choose to use the cartoons such as the Paris school teacher did with his civics class) should in no way be silenced — should not be beheaded — for the insult.

In his National Post column, Chris Selley stated “Trudeau’s “watch your tongues” advice is offensive on many levels.” Selley argues that Trudeau should not have blinked at commenting “about people getting slaughtered over cartoons.” He states: “In that case you just have to call it what it is: a barbaric reaction to a manifestation of free expression that you will unconditionally defend regardless of your opinion of it, which is irrelevant.”

None of this academic argument over freedom of speech would have resonated in Canada had Quebec Premier Francois Legault not called out the Prime Minister for his lack of clarity on what he believes is essentially a fundamental right. Legault held a press conference to share that he had consulted with French President Macron and provided him his unqualified support in defending the right to display caricatures of Muhammad. Legault went on to criticize Trudeau’s explanation of a conditional free speech, which he suggested sided more with Turkish President Erdogan and Pakistani PM Khan than with President Macron.

The Quebec Premier stated, “It is certain that there are some political leaders who fear terrorism and who, faced with the blackmail of certain radical religious groups, are ready to make concessions which are not reasonable. The Quebec nation has values, “freedom of expression,” “secularism” and the “French language.” It is not true that in the name of multiculturalism, we are going to put that aside and that we are going to make exaggerated compromises.”

This embarrassing political posturing from Premier Legault forced the PM to readdress the subject in an Ottawa press conference last week. Trudeau began his clarification by stating, “Acts of terrorism and acts of hate that we have seen in France are unacceptable, unjustifiable. There is no reason for such violence. That is what I have said and that is what I will continue to say.”

Trudeau went on to state in direct contrast to what he said four days prior, “Our journalists, our artists have an important challenge to function in our society and we need to leave them free to do their work. I think it is important to continue defending freedom of expression, freedom of speech.”

On his relationship with French President Macron, Trudeau glossed over the Premier Legault phone call by saying, “We have long worked together, the President of France and myself, on a broad range of issues that matter deeply to our citizens and the world, whether it be fighting terrorism or standing up for human rights, and we will continue to do that.” (When he said this, Trudeau had yet to speak with Macron.)

Sun Media summed up this Trudeau-Macron incident by stating the obvious: “Free speech matters here in Canada.” The paper’s lead editorial noted: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has changed his tune and has stepped forward to take a stand for free speech. That’s good news. But it’s sad that it had to take a snub from another G7 world leader for Trudeau to get on the right side.”

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/pm-trudeau-has-us-questioning-what-constitutes-free-speech/

Poetry for the day; sentiments for the ages

Here are three remarkable poems that capture the solemn and significant essence of Remembrance Day. These poems express sentiments for the ages.

Timberline Remembrance Day Ceremony

For the Fallen – Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

 

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

 

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

 

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

 

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

 

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

 

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In Flanders Fields – John McRae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 

poppies

Dulce et decorum est – Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

 

(ed. – DULCE ET DECORUM EST are the first words of a Latin saying taken from an ode by Horace. These words were often quoted at the start of the First World War. They mean “It is sweet and right.” The full saying ends the poem: “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” which is “It is sweet and right to die for your country.”)

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Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Our Take-Aways from the U.S. Election

The Niagara Independent, November 6, 2020  – For months Canadians have had an insatiable fascination with the United States election. Canucks have been mesmerized by the political slugfest and media circus of the drawn out presidential race. Today there is an equal amount of marvel and shock with the vote results. In reflecting on what just happened south of the border, here are some key take-aways Canadians may wish to reflect on about our two Nations.

The U.S. is a country that is truly politically divided. Of the more than 141 million votes cast for the president, Joe Biden took 51.2 per cent of the vote, while Donald Trump took 48.8 per cent (at the time of this writing). Across the whole of the country there were only 3 million votes separating the two presidential candidates. Of note, Biden outdistanced Trump by 5 million votes in the States of New York and California. Therefore, figuratively speaking, these two populous States crowned the winner.

The electoral map of the U.S. clearly defines a geographical divide in America. There is a great “red sea” of Republican support in what Democrat operatives refer to as the “fly-over States.” There are two solid strips of Democrat blue connecting the largest American cities along the east and west coasts.

The tight results and the geographical definition of voter support can also be found in Canada’s 2019 election. Our last federal election was the first time in Canadian history that no single party received more than 35 per cent of the popular vote. The Liberals formed government with 33 per cent of the vote, while the Conservatives took 34 per cent and the other parties combined received 31 per cent (third place NDP had 16 per cent). With 6 million votes the Liberals captured 157 seats, largely won in the urban areas of the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal Island, and Vancouver. Canada’s cities are crimson red. Roughly the same number of votes turned the map of Canada west of the Ontario border Tory blue.

With one notable exception, Canadian Leaders demonstrated respect and due regard for the democratic process unfolding in America. Both PM Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole assumed statesmen postures and refrained from indicating any preference on the political outcome in the U.S. In media scrums leading up to the election, the PM and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland vowed repeatedly to work with whomever wins. In striking contrast, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh played to the media on U.S. Election Day to make Canadian headlines with the tweet “VOTE HIM OUT” and the statement, “I think it would be better for the world if Trump loses and I hope he loses.” Perhaps spirited on by his Leader, NDP MP Peter Julian liken the Republicans to the Nazis Party of 1933. (As a humourous aside, an American news commentator quipped about Singh’s slights that the Republicans and President Trump would not be aware of who Singh is – and they will never know him.)

But what does one make of the results when most opinion surveys indicated right up to voting day that Joe Biden held an average lead of ten points nationally and healthy margins in swing States? For example, one of the state polls by ABC-Washington Post gave Biden a 17-point lead in Wisconsin. Biden was declared winner in Wisconsin on Wednesday morning with a squeaky 49.5 to 48.9 per cent margin.

Robert Cahaly, the chief pollster of Trafalgar Group, surmised that the pollsters were incorrect because people are frightened of the aggressive tactics of the cancel culture. Cahaly said, “In this day and age, where people are shamed for their political opinions and canceled and all that nonsense, people just want to play their cards close to their chest.”

Cahaly comments that in media there may appear to be a distinctive narrative, yet in reality there is a substantial number of people who are silent — the proverbial “silent majority.” In Canada, we saw this recently when 74 per cent of Canadians expressed their belief that public statues of past leaders should not be destroyed or removed, even though our politicians are currently kowtowing to an outcry to crate statues and change the historical names of streets and buildings.

The exit polls in the U.S. provide a glimpse of the rationale of the nearly 70 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump. Three of the four who voted for the President marked their ballot on the basis of his stance on issues (only one in four voted “personality”). And the issues that were most important: jobs and the economy (35 per cent), racial equality (20 per cent), the pandemic (17 per cent), and crime and safety (11 per cent).

At the core of Trump’s support, people are feeling a great deal of anxiety with the change that is occurring around them. Many believe the Democrats pose an existential threat to U.S. culture. Matt Dallek, a political scientist at George Washington University, states, “Trump has really been masterful at tapping into the idea that the other side is this left-wing socialist enemy that is going to destroy American culture.”

Dallek contends Trump appeals to those Americans who feel alienated by progressive politics: “He is signaling just constantly that there is a more liberal, tolerant, urban, multi-cultural America that is coming for their culture and their country.”

Dallek points out that nearly three out of every five white voters in America are Trump voters. He also notes Trump was able to attract more ethnic minorities to vote for him than any Republican presidential candidate in a generation. His is an appeal that resonated with all who feel anxious about the change in the world and Dallek observes, “Americans are not so divorced from their Western-world cohorts.”

Lorrie Goldstein, Sun News columnist, draws the focus back onto current events on Parliament Hill, “Meanwhile, in Canada, the Liberals are filibustering the parliamentary committee trying to investigate Trudeau’s We Charity controversy and the parliamentary budget officer rebukes the Trudeau gov’t over spending secrecy. But … Orange Man Bad.”

With his Trumpian excuse, Goldstein may have provided our greatest take-away from the past few weeks: “Any Canadians sneering at the shit show election in the U.S. aren’t paying attention. Canada has its own circus going on.”

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/marvel-and-shock/

Lest we forget

Poignant quotes and verse, lest we forget…

poppies-field

  • The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them. – Czeslaw Milosz, The Issa Valley
  • The greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that freedom to their children. – William Havard
  • We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war. There is no task that is more important or closer to my heart. – Albert Einstein
  • When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? – George Canning, The Pilot that weathered the Storm
  • And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave. – Joseph Drake
  • When you go home, tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow we gave our today. – John Maxwell Edmonds
  • The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem. – Aaron Kilbourn
  • They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation. – Henry Ward Beecher
  • To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. – Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground
  • I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?’ -Eve Merriam
  • In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. – Jose Narosky
  • For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity. – William Penn
  • They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. / At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. – Laurence Binyon, For The Fallen
  • In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. – American General Douglas MacArthur
  • And each man stands with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can. – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Nurture your minds with great thoughts, to believe in the heroic makes heroes. – Benjamin Disraeli
  • Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul. – Michel de Montaigne
  • Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened. – Billy Graham
  • The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war. – Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
  • Heroism … is endurance for one moment more. – George F. Kennan
  • The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. – Benjamin Disraeli
  • Give me American supply lines, British planes, German officers and Canadian troops, and I can take over the world. – German Nazi General Erwin “The Fox” Rommel
  • Praising what is lost makes the remembrance dear. – William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

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Remembrance Verses

Our cheer goes back to them, the valiant dead!
Laurels and roses on their graves to-day,
Lilies and laurels over them we lay,
And violets o’er each unforgotten head.

– Richard Hovey

 

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country’s wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow’d mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy’s feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there.

– William Collins

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Cover them over with beautiful flowers,
Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours,
Lying so silent by night and by day
Sleeping the years of their manhood away.
Give them the meed they have won in the past;
Give them the honors their future forcast;
Give them the chaplets they won in the strife;
Give them the laurels they lost with their life.

– Will Carleton

 

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– John McCrae, In Flanders Fields

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Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

Revealing national COVID-19 statistics

The Niagara Independent, October 30, 2020  – Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam released the annual report of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) this week providing statistics on fatalities directly attributed to COVID-19, and on the fatalities and addictions consequential to the country’s management of the virus crisis. The report also features a clarion call for structural change to Canadian society that would have greater authority transferred to public health officials.

On Wednesday Dr. Tam began her press conference reporting a milestone statistic, “Sadly, we are reporting over ten thousand deaths for the first time today, with 10,001 deaths among the total cases to date.”

Dr. Tam then presented the PHAC report, informing Canadians of other sobering numbers. Since the first cases in March 2020:

  • there have been 222,887 recorded cases of COVID-19
  • of the COVID-19 patients hospitalized 92 per cent had at least one underlying health condition
  • of those recorded cases, 4.5 per cent died
  • a total of 96.7 per cent of the deaths were over 60 years of age

Health Canada further breaks down the total deaths per province: Quebec has 6,172 (62 per cent), Ontario has 3,103 (31 per cent) and the rest of Canada has 726 (7 per cent) of the country’s COVID-19 fatalities.

The PHAC report sheds light on COVID-19’s broader consequences revealing a troubling story of deteriorating health for many in 2020. Opioid deaths have skyrocketed; mental health issues are a concern; and alcohol, tobacco and drug use are increasing. In summarizing the grim picture painted by PHAC, CBC news stated: “Canadians used to be among the happiest people in the world. That’s changing.”

Perhaps the most startling data produced is on Canada’s opioid drug toll. PHAC reports that in B.C. this year, there were more than 100 drug overdose deaths per month for six consecutive months (March to August), and more than 175 such deaths each month in May, June and July. In July, paramedics responded to an average of 87 overdose calls a day – 2,706 over the month.

As an aside, an Insights West survey of British Columbians found that their fear of COVID-19 eclipsed the issue of drug overdose. Those surveyed are more concerned about the coronavirus than opioids (91 to 81 per cent) even though between January and July the Province reported 195 COVID-19 deaths and a disturbing 911 overdose deaths.

PHAC used surveys by Statistics Canada to report that Canadians have increased their use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs during this pandemic. Alcohol consumption was up 19 per cent, tobacco smoking rates up 3.9 per cent, and cannabis use climbed 8.3 per cent. Couple this data with the fact that more than 60 per cent of Canadians are spending more time on the Internet and TV and it is evident that our population’s physical health has been considerably impacted by the COVID-19 related stress and the pandemic lockdowns.

Mental health and child abuse is also a concern for public health officials. Through the lockdowns, women and children are trapped within their abusive relationships. PHAC flags abuse reports from child welfare agencies, but the report states, “This may be the result of fewer detection opportunities, as children are likely to be isolated at home and without community involvement.”

Statistics Canada also has tracked Canadians feelings of “happiness.” In 2018, 68 per cent of Canadians reported excellent or very good self-perceived mental health. This figure has been dropping like a stone through 2020, and in May sank to 48 per cent. Many Canadians feel isolated and lonely: 70 per cent said they were concerned about maintaining social ties and 54 per cent of respondents with kids said they were very or extremely concerned about their children’s loneliness. PHAC found that Indigenous people, the disabled, and low-income Canadians have reported experiencing more suicidal thoughts in 2020.

On the issue of suicide, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem reported this week the economy is still down 700,000 jobs since pre-pandemic – far worse than the peak 425,000 job loss in 2008-09 recession.  A new University of Toronto study suggests that Canada’s economic challenges, particularly unemployment, could lead to an increase of up to 27 per cent in deaths by suicide (as many as 2,114 above the Canadian average) by the end of 2021. U of T Professor Dr. Roger McIntyre observes, “We’re seeing some of the highest unemployment rates in this country since the early 1980s, we’ve seen the loss of 15 years of job creation in Canada in only two months.” Prolonged unemployment will weigh heavily on Canadians’ minds.

To address these disturbing health and wellness trends, Dr. Tam and the PHAC recommend that our government leaders need to accept a health equity approach that would prompt a beneficial structural change in our country. Canada’s top doctor prescribes three actions for government (at all levels):

1) focus on health and societal inequities and the special needs of the disadvantaged;

2) emphasize social cohesion to have Canadians observe public health measures; and,

3) provide more resources to Canada’s public health system to strengthen its capacity.

Tam stated, “I do see COVID-19 as a catalyst for collaboration from health, social and economic sectors… It’s shone a spotlight on the importance of public health. What I’m really, really keen to see is that this continues… The report is calling for this to be a more sustained approach.”

Yet, it seems a stretch to think Canada’s public health officials’ ideological advice on societal transformation will help the opioid crisis, the addictions, the conflicted mental health issues or the disturbing rise in suicides. Sun News columnist Anthony Furey faults Dr. Tam and the PHAC report for attempting to frame the pandemic data “through the lens of academic progressivism” and he advances that it is time to start questioning their agenda. Furey writes, “One gets the impression after reading this report that the pandemic has been a happy accident for public health ideologues, an opportunity for them to roll-out their preconceived notions to a very captive (hostage?) audience.”

With 10,001 COVID-19 deaths and counting, as Furey suggests, Canadians would be best served if Dr. Teresa Tam and her PHAC colleagues applied their expertise to the medical and health issues of the day – and left the societal and economic challenges to the country’s duly elected representatives.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/revealing-national-covid-19-statistics/

Celebrating Oxi Day

On this day Hellenes cry out “Oxi!” 

Here is background on the genesis of this historic day in Greece and what it means for Hellenes in Canada and around the world.

First, here’s a little local Canadian history…. in 2016, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson received a delegation from the AHEPA Ottawa Chapter to celebrate “Oxi Day”.  Read more about the honour the Mayor bestowed upon Greek-Canadians in Ottawa and across the country:

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Oxi Day is October 28 on the calendar, a national holiday in Greece and recognized by Greeks around the world as a day to remember Hellenic values and the courageous words and deeds of those who fought for Greece and all of democracy in the early, dark days of WWII.

AHEPA Ottawa Chapter wishes to raise the attention of this day to Ottawa residents, those of Greek heritage and all of our community’s citizens. Oxi Day is a day to reflect on the strength of the human spirit when confronted with an impossible situation; and to appreciate the price that, at times, must be paid to stand up for one’s principles, values, rights and freedom. (More on the Order of AHEPA.)

On the Genesis of Oxi Day

Oxi Day commemorates the anniversary when former military general and Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas said, “No” to an ultimatum made by Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini to allow Italian forces to occupy strategic locations in Greece. In response to Metaxas’s refusal, Italian troops attacked the Greek border. On the morning of 28 October, the Greek population took to the streets, shouting “oxi” (pronounced O-hee).

The superior Italian army had initial success but the Greeks pushed the Italian army back into Albania.  This was the first land defeat of the Axis forces in WWII, and it provided a ray of hope for democracies worldwide.  Churchill wrote “Greeks do not fight like heroes; heroes fight like Greeks.” Mussolini was embarrassed and had to call Hitler for help. Greek and British forces continued to fight and decimate German troops, until Greece surrendered six months later.

This stand against the Axis Forces was truly remarkable and is recorded as the greatest resistance against Nazi blitzkrieg in WWII. Greek and later British forces withstood 219 days of invading forces. In total 13,696 Greek soldiers died before the Nazis raised the swastika flag over the Parthenon. (In comparison, France fell in 43 days; Poland in 30; Belgium in 18; the Netherlands 4; and Norway in 7.)

Hitler observed: “For the sake of historical truth I must verify that only the Greeks, of all the adversaries who confronted us, fought with bold courage and highest disregard of death.” The extent of casualties in Greece caused Hitler to delay an attack on Russia, thus subjecting his troops to harsh winter conditions and contributing to the defeat of Germany.

See more here: Quotes and Memes Honouring Oxi Day

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

It is time for Canadians to take stock of the country’s fiscal mess

The Niagara Independent, October 23, 2020  – Though no date has been announced, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is to provide Canadians with a fall economic update in the coming weeks. Don Drummond, Senior Fellow at C.D. Howe Institute and former chief economist for TD Bank, is hoping that Freeland’s financial statement will prompt a national debate over the country’s economic and fiscal future.

Drummond believes the pandemic, and government response to the crises, have amplified the economic, social, and health vulnerability of many Canadians. He observes, “We are now at a crossroads… We have been locked into a path of mediocre productivity and real income gains for far too long.” Drummond warns Canadians that it is time to take stock.

Recent economic data suggests the Trudeau Government has stumbled badly through the pandemic: Canada today has the biggest deficit amongst the G20 countries and the highest unemployment in the G7. At 19.9 per cent of GDP, Canada has the largest deficit among all countries and the federal Parliamentary Budget Office estimates the federal debt at more than $1.45 trillion by the year’s end and $1.6 trillion by 2021. The international forum, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, announced that Canada’s August unemployment rate of 10.2 per cent is the worst in the G7, well above the OECD 7.7 per cent average.

In the past few weeks there has been a constant trickle of embarrassing news stories concerning federal government spending.

  • The federal Infrastructure Bank, which was created in 2017, has managed $35 billion of government grants to fund private investment in public works. In three years the bank has zero projects to show for its spending — a fact revealed when PM Trudeau announced the Infrastructure Bank will pursue a new “growth plan” to spend $10-billion on greening infrastructure projects.
  • More than $20 billion spent on 20,000 infrastructure projects remain unaccounted for by Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna. There is no documentation for these projects. And a new federal audit of the infrastructure program reveals the federal department has “serious control failures” and its funding process lacks “due diligence.”
  • The Liberals refuse to provide details to Parliament of the contracts awarded to 41 undisclosed companies as part of the government’s $5.8 billion pandemic response to supply masks, gloves and testing equipment. MPs have uncovered that more than 60% of this money has gone to foreign-owned companies offshore.
  • The Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux stated in a Hill Times interview this week that he’s found it “much more difficult to get information out of the minister’s office” since Chrystia Freeland assumed responsibility for the nation’s finances. Giroux is troubled that there is no transparency about government expenditures and spending plans.

Lorrie Goldstein of Sun Media had the most colourful description of the Government’s economic performance through 2020, “Canadians shaking hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or any Liberal MP these days would be wise to count their fingers afterward. At this point, they have the collective credibility of carnival barkers.”

Don Drummond, on the other hand, provides a humourless assessment that Canada’s fiscal future is “foggy.” In a recently released C.D. Howe report, Drummond presents four unattractive scenarios for the country to manage its fiscal deficit spending and mounting debt load.

Scenario one has the Trudeau Government continuing with its habitual spending ways and deferring all pandemic spending costs to a future generation.

Scenario two has the government commit to a lower annual deficit of $25 billion – a move that would have Trudeau curtail his spending promises for Canada to “build back better.”

The third scenario is to place a higher ceiling on the government’s annual deficits (i.e. $50 billion) to provide more room for program spending, which would place a greater burden on future taxpayers.

The fourth scenario is to peg the annual deficits even higher – at $100 billion – and have the government find innovative ways to manage the growing debt burden.

In the C.D. Howe report, Drummond makes the point that the Trudeau Government’s deficit spending since 2015 has limited its ability to introduce massive government spending programs while effectively managing the country’s fiscal record.

John Robson, political columnist for the National Post, responded to this report with a siren cry: “Canadians need to wake up to the financial mess we’re in.” Robson sees that Canadians are sleep walking through the country’s fiscal nightmare. He presents five fundamental fiscal objectives that could be a starting point to get the country’s economic house in order. His objectives are:

Wealth must be created before it can be distributed;
Money is not wealth;
Borrowing has costs;
Who does not work shall not eat; and
Stealing from your kids is wrong.

Robson quotes American economist Thomas Sowell when lamenting that Canadians are being willfully ignorant about the consequences of overspending and incurring larger amounts of debt. Sowell wrote: “Too many people have always believed we can have whatever we can imagine, provided our sunny ways turn to a vicious snarl if anyone tries to disturb our pipe dreams of world peace, free love or free money with practical difficulties and past experience.”

Robson forewarns Canadians: “The day the county hauls our belongings away ’cuz we’re busted, dumping us unceremoniously on the bare floor, we will wonder how we could have been so stupored.”

As both Don Drummond and John Robson suggest, Canadians need to pay attention to the government’s economic and fiscal plan. For not to be fully engaged in the discussions of Finance Minister Freeland’s financial statement this Fall may cost us dearly.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/it-is-time-for-canadians-to-take-stock-of-the-countrys-fiscal-mess/

PM Trudeau continues to dodge the WE scandal – but for how long?

The Niagara Independent, October 16, 2020  – In the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie Catch Me If You Can, the lead character Frank, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, successfully performs a string of cons worth millions of dollars. Frank is masterfully manipulative, having his way with people with his impeccable charm and easy-going personality. In the end (spoiler alert) Frank succumbs to hubris — being ego-centric and over-confident — and is caught when his deceptive ways become predictable.

This Hollywood flick is apropos of the drama being played out in Ottawa with PM Justin Trudeau, his family, the Kielburger brothers and a host of supporting actors. Though the ending is still to be written, there is a growing fascination around whether the government’s botched WE Charity handout may yet be the scandal that entraps the Prime Minister.

For months there has been a steady trickle of revelations of misdeeds involving the $912 million sole-sourced government deal with the WE Charity. This week’s pitched rhetoric between PM Trudeau and Opposition MPs has again drawn a spotlight on the WE saga and the PM’s attempts to dodge all scrutiny of his family’s involvement with the Kielburger’s charity.

MPs have begun to dig at unanswered questions about $43.5 million in administration fees, the WE’s $300,000 payment to Margaret Trudeau and further hundreds of thousands to Trudeau family members, and the government’s due diligence in approving the sole-sourced contract. Today, MPs want to understand under whose authority was a government cheque of $30 million written and handed to Craig and Marc Kielburger before the WE grant proposal was approved by Cabinet or Treasury Board.

It is now confirmed that Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth, misled the House of Commons Ethics Committee. Chagger testified back in July that she knew nothing about the WE charity’s application to government. Furthermore, Chagger could not tell committee MPs whether the Kielburgers had repaid the $30 million given to them (in fact, they did repay the money weeks later). Another line of questioning that is being ignored related to the $45 million worth of real estate assets the brothers acquired while operating their charity — was this money pocketed when the Kielburgers hastily closed the charity’s doors this summer? Or should it be subject to a CRA audit?

Lest it is forgotten with all these plot twists, PM Trudeau and former Finance Minister Bill Morneau are still being investigated by the Ethics Commission. In question is why the two men did not recuse themselves from the Cabinet approval of WE Charity’s $912 million contract, though both their families had pecuniary interests with the charity.

So, in mid-August, amidst the barrage of embarrassing questions at two parliamentary committees, the PM unexpectedly prorogued Parliament to remove WE Charity from the news headlines. Though Trudeau succeeded in this short term goal, opposition parties have returned to Parliament prepared to pick up where the inquiries had been aborted. Conservative ethics critic MP Michael Barrett set the tone, “Conservatives will continue to fight for answers that Canadians deserve… [the Liberals are] more focused on covering up Justin Trudeau’s unethical behaviour than helping Canadians.”

It has been only two weeks since Parliament has resumed and now Opposition MPs claim the Liberals are “inappropriately shutting down” the proceedings of two Parliamentary committees that seek to reopen WE Charity investigations. In Parliament’s ethics committee, Liberal MPs filibustered for 4 ½ hours in order to avoid a motion to release details of speaking fees paid since 2008 for the PMs’ wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, mother Margaret Trudeau and brother Alexandre Trudeau. MPs are interested in fact checking the financial records against WE and government statements that the Trudeau family received $560,000 in speaking fees between 2016 and 2020 — and MPs are also interested in knowing how much more the Trudeau family made from their relationship with the Kielburgers. 

Meanwhile at Parliament’s finance committee, its chairman, Liberal MP Wayne Easter, cut the mic on a Conservative MP and abruptly adjourned a meeting in a move to avoid a vote that the Liberals were sure to lose. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre decries the committee’s legitimacy is now in question, “Committees are supposed to hold governments accountable. It’s not appropriate for the chair to simply slam the gavel, flip the switch, and turn out the lights when the government is embarrassed.”

Conservative chief opposition whip MP Blake Richards has since commented in media on the Liberals tactics, “(The rules) were clearly broken. There’s clearly an effort here to avoid the meetings. There’s clearly an effort to cover up the matter at hand, which is the WE scandal.”

The Liberals’ stonewalling has now led to both the NDP and the Conservatives requesting that a special Parliamentary Anti-Corruption Committee be created to examine the WE Charity scandal in full. The NDP, Bloc Quebecois and Conservatives are all calling on the government to revise the excessively redacted WE documents so that MPs can properly conduct their review. MP Barrett observed, “There has to be something pretty significant, pretty explosive in those documents, to shut down Parliament, to stop their release and then, once Parliament resumes, to filibuster committee for days on end to prevent their further release.”

The PM answered the Opposition’s call by smiling into a camera on Tuesday and firmly stating: “We are entirely focused on the second wave of COVID-19. We will continue to stay focused on what we need to do to support Canadians facing a very difficult time right now. The Conservatives continue to want to focus on WE Charity, so be it…. “We’ve been open and transparent on these questions.”

However, not all reporters at that press conference were accepting the PM’s line. Sun Media encapsulates up to a half-dozen national press corps articles in its lead editorial entitled: “Shameless Liberals obstruct WE probes.” The editors opine: “Apparently Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t want to disclose the total amount of money the Trudeau family was paid in speaking fees and expenses for appearing at WE Charity and other events…. Trudeau’s tortured logic is that (a) he’s only capable of focusing on one thing at a time and (b) he gets to choose which one. In the real world, this is just more Liberal obstructionism on the WE scandal and Trudeau’s role in it.”

With political pundits and media editors beginning to question the PM’s intent and sincerity, is this the beginning of his final scenes? In Catch Me If You Can, a pressured Frank responds by flashing his smile and brushing his hand through his splendid locks. In Ottawa, Trudeau unknowingly mimics DiCaprio’s enchanting gestures. The similarities are uncanny.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/pm-trudeau-continues-to-dodge-the-we-scandal-but-for-how-long/