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Cycling the Cabot Trail

Photo: Guardrail on the Cape Smokey lookoff

The Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

Day 1 – The Causeway to Baddeck

Day 2 – Baddeck to Ingonish, climbing Smokey

Day 3 – Ingonish to Meat Cove to Pleasant Bay, climbing North Mountain

Day 4 – Pleasant Bay to Glenora Distillery

Day 5 – Glenora Distillery to the Causeway

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail hills


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

The Cabot Trail hills

There are four sizable hills around Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail. Cycling counterclockwise, there is Smokey Mountain (south of Ingonish), North Mountain (east of Pleasant Bay), MacKenzie Mountain (south of Pleasant Bay) and French Mountain (north of Cheticamp). Here are the details on the climbs…

Smokey Mountain

climb is 7.2 kms from Wreck Cove to the Cape Smokey summit

366 m elevation at a 12-15 per cent grade

descent is approximately 10 kms


North Mountain

climb is 5.5 kms from Big Intervale to the summit

467 m elevation at a 12-15 per cent grade

descent is 4 kms

MacKenzie Mountain

climb is 4.7 kms from Pleasant Bay to the summit

370 m elevation at 9-12 per cent grade

this summit is linked to the French Mountain

French Mountain

linked to MacKenzie summit

descent is 5.5 km from summit to bottom

452 m elevation at 9-12 per cent grade


SOURCE:  Parks Canada @

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

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Here are our top ten photos of the ride…

Day 1, at the start of our Cabot Trail adventure.

Day 2, riding from the Englishtown Ferry. 

Day 2, atop Smokey. Mission Accomplished.

Day 3, Climbing out of Neils Harbour.

Day 3, on the way to Meat Cove in Capstick, where the blacktop ended.

Day 3, outside of Meat Cove.

Day 4/5, at the Glenora Distillery.

Day 5, on the Sea Walk.

Day 5, at the end of the trail.

and saluting the adventure!

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Cycling the Cabot Trail – The Causeway to Baddeck (Day 1)

Day 1 Route ~ August 29, 2022 (96 km)

  • Starting on TransCanada just north of the Causeway
  • Melford / Upper River Denys / Iron Mines
  • First sign of water at approx. 45 km
  • Whycocomagh Reserve / Whycocomaugh
  • Nyanza Bay / Buckwheat Corner
  • Exit TransCanada on 205 (Shore Road) into Baddeck
  • Baddeck Bay Sojourn (Water Street along Chebucto Road)
  • Finish Day 1 at the Lynnwood Inn

Crossing the Causeway… It would be five days before we saw this bridge again…

At the start of the Cabot Trail adventure.

The initial stretch was along the TransCanada Highway.

The first sighting of water at approximately 45 km mark.

Looking over Nyanza Bay opposite MacGregors Pond.

Stopped to refuel at a Cape Breton landmark.

It was a beautiful ride into Baddeck.

Baddeck Boardwalk is picture perfect.

We completed a Baddeck Bay sojourn to the far end of the bay.

Arriving into the Lynnwood Inn at the end of the first day — and still smiling!

Enjoying a walk along the waterfront with our #1 Support Team Member!

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Cycling the Cabot Trail – Baddeck to Ingonish (Day 2)

Day 2 Route ~ August 30, 2022 (94 km)

  • Leave Baddeck along Chebucto Road to turn back onto TransCanada Hwy
  • Exit TransCanada onto 312 to the Englishtown Ferry
  • Cross on the ferry and proceed on the 312 to the Clucking Hen Bakery
  • Little River / French River / Wreck Cove General Store
  • Cape Smokey climb and the lookoff
  • Descending Smokey into Ingonish Ferry
  • Ingonish and arriving at Sea Breeze Cottages to end Day 2

Leaving Baddeck on Day 2.

The Englishtown Ferry – a cable ferry across a 125 metre channel.


Proceeding from the ferry…. 

… to arrive at the Clucking Hen Bakery for a rendezvous with our Support Team.

All fooling aside, here’s the first look at the Cape Smokey climb.

Looking down, half way up Smokey you can see in the distance the road we were just on.

The Cape Smokey Lookoff.

On top of ol’ Smokey.

Descending Smokey into Ingonish Ferry.

At the Ingonish Beach — finishing a hot and humid Day 2.

A most memorable dinner at The Main Street Restaurant

( )

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Cycling the Cabot Trail – Ingonish / Meat Cove / Pleasant Bay (Day 3)

Day 3 Route ~ August 31, 2022 (81 km)

  • Leaving Ingonish / Lakies Head
  • Exit Cabot Trail to Neils Harbour
  • Neils Harbour to White Point, along White Point Road
  • Continue to Cape North and exit Bay St. Lawrence Road
  • Climb Sugar Loaf to Capstick (where the blacktop ends)
  • Meat Cove
  • From Cape North proceed to North Mountain
  • The North Mountain climb
  • Arrive at the Mountain View Cottages to end the ride for Day 3

Leaving Ingonish to enjoy sights of Lakies Head

Exit the Cabot Trail for Neils Harbour

Leaving Neils Harbour to White Point….

… and the most beautiful scenes along White Point Road.

Continue to Cape North and exit Bay St. Lawrence Road and

the climb of Sugar Loaf to Capstick where the blacktop ends.

Looking out over the cliffs of Meat Cove.

From Cape North proceed along the Cabot Trail…

… to North Mountain and a climb of six kms.

Alexander made it to the summit and I was rescued a little more than a kilometer from the top. Thank heavens for our Support Team!

Arrive at the Mountain View Cottages to put our feet up (only momentarily)…


… as we then completed an evening hike of the Skyline Trail.

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Cycling the Cabot Trail – Pleasant Bay to Glenora Distillery (Day 4)

Day 4 Route ~ September 1, 2022 (76 km)

  • Drove in the rain over the mountain tops of both MacKenzie and French
  • Enjoyed the classic Cabot Trail Lookoffs
  • Began cycling in Petite Etang
  • Through Cheticamp
  • Through Acadian towns with sidetrip on #219
  • Back onto #19 into Inverness
  • End Day 4 at the Glenora Distillery

It was raining, so we drove the winding roads of both MacKenzie and French Mountains.

We enjoyed the classic Cabot Trail lookoffs.

day 4 we began cycling in Petite Etang, just outside the park…

… through Cheticamp and the Acadian towns…

… and south along the picturesque west shore of the Island…

…cycling the 219 where the rocky shore turns to sand dunes.

Back onto the 19 into Inverness (and passing the Route 19 Brewery).

Onto the Glenora Distillery to end Day 4 with a toast (well, more than one)! 

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Cycling the Cabot Trail – Glenora Distillery to The Causeway (Day 5)

Day 5 Route ~ September 2, 2022 (81 km)

  • Left Glenora Distillery on road via Route 19
  • Mabou – turn onto the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail
  • Side visit into Port Hood
  • Rejoined rail trail south of Port Hood
  • Celtic Shores Coastal Trail through Judique & Craignish
  • Continued onto a washed out Sea Walk for 3 kilometres
  • Cycled last kilometre to the Causeway
  • Ended Day 5 with the traditional salutes

Left Glenora Distillery on road in fine spirits.

At Mabou we started out on the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail.

A quick side track to see Port Hood.

Then continued along the seaside rail trail…

… so many beautiful sights and great seaside breezes through Judique and Craignish.

We continued on the trail onto a washed out Sea Walk for 3 kilometres.

But the last kilometre we cycled to the Causeway…

… and ended Day 5 with the traditional salutes. 

Unfortunately, we had come to the end of our trail, a 450 km adventure that was a life experience.

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Trudeau government to focus on the economy?

The Niagara Independent, September 9, 2022 – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made headlines this week when the federal cabinet met behind closed doors at a Vancouver resort ruminating on the increasing financial pressures faced by Canadians. The PM framed these discussions by stating his government will focus on Canada’s economy when parliament resumes on September 19.

“Our focus this week as we kick off what will be a busy and important fall of parliamentary work is on the economy. It’s hearing from Canadians, working with Canadians, to solve the very real pressures they’re facing,” Trudeau offered.

The PM and his cabinet colleagues were looking for “solutions” to ease the affordability concerns of Canadians. The PM cited two specific examples of his government’s focus to improve the country’s economic matters: affordable housing and the national childcare program.

With respect to affordable housing, the PM himself announced what is the largest loan in Canadian history to a housing project with the Squamish Nation. The government will provide a low-interest, 50-year loan of $1.4 billion to help with a ten acre residential and commercial development project in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver. The First Nation received this unprecedented loan to build affordable rental apartments.

Yet, the government made a special arrangement for this particular deal that will allow the Squamish Nation to skirt national affordable housing criteria. Of the 6,000 units being constructed, only 20 per cent are required to be affordable housing units. This is well below the 40 per cent affordable housing criteria set for government loans. In the end, there will be 1,200 units priced at Vancouver’s rental market value, instead of being available for low-income Canadians.

Although there was no specific news emanating from the cabinet retreat about implementing the national childcare program, CBC broke “insiders” leaks about the government’s plan to introduce a national dental care program as well as a one-time $500 benefit payment to low-income renters.

The CBC was also the first to report on the government’s plans to temporarily increase GST rebate cheques in the fall. Two “anonymous sources” said the Trudeau cabinet agreed to double the amount of the next two GST cheques – received by lower income Canadians every three months. The thought is this initiative will ease some of the hurt of inflation through 2022.

It has also been reported that the federal cabinet is considering new federal measures that might be provided to help Canadians with the cost of living. These measures could include a direct payment to middle and lower-income individuals, although in a media availability session Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland would not confirm specifics.

What is strikingly absent in the news from Vancouver is any substantive comment by the PM or his finance minister on Canada’s fiscal policy, or government spending, or industrial growth, labour issues, national trade objectives, etc. In what is being reported out to the public, the cabinet’s discussions centered around new government programs and new spending.

In related news this week, the Bank of Canada announced another interest rate hike of 0.75 percentage points. This is the fifth time since March that the Bank has increased borrowing costs in an effort to curb Canada’s inflation rate, which is at heights not seen in this country since the 1980s. Canada’s benchmark overnight rate is now at 3.25 per cent, the highest level since the economic troubles in 2008.

Inflation and higher interest rates are having a direct impact on Canadians’ budgets. An August Angus Reid survey revealed that three of four Canadians (76 per cent) worry about their finances, and more than half (56 per cent) cannot keep up with the cost of living. One in two Canadians (52 per cent) stated they could not manage a sudden expense of more than $1,000.

Then there was the report by Equifax Canada that revealed Canadians are racking up credit card debt to stay on top of their bills. There has been a 6.4 per cent increase in credit card balances between the first and second quarters of 2022.

This type of financial strain currently being felt by Canadians is likely not to be eased by doubling a GST rebate cheque or a one-time $500 hand out. Conservative MP Dan Albas who serves as the Opposition finance critic lamented the Bank’s interest rate hike “more pain for Canadians.” Albas issued a media statement on Wednesday claiming the Bank’s move is a direct result of the government’s “out-of-control spending” that has contributed to inflation.

Albas stated, “Canadians appear poised to face a significant economic downturn. Canadians deserve a government that will fight the cost of living crisis.”

A recent Scotia Bank analyst of Canada’s monetary policy points to unbridled government spending as a core reason for the Bank’s inability to harness inflationary pressures. The Scotia Bank report suggested The Bank of Canada should not be fighting inflation on its own. It concluded that “lower government spending on goods and services could help lower inflation.”

Clearly, Finance Minister Freeland and the Trudeau cabinet are not heeding this counsel for fiscal prudence. In June the government announced an additional $8.9 billion “affordability plan” that will have government spend its way out of its fiscal jackpot.

In Vancouver, Canadians heard more of the same.

On this point, Yves Giroux of the Parliamentary Budget Office has been highly critical of Freeland and the government’s long term fiscal plan. Giroux points to one factor that is seldom mentioned: the cost of financing the debt, particularly with increased interest rates. Consider the federal government’s interest payments on bonded debt totaled $20.4 billion last year. With the continuous deficit spending by this government the interest payments are projected to rise to $42.9 billion by 2027. This figure is factoring a near-zero interest rate, however with interests rates of three per cent one must triple that payment.

Given the government’s propensity to spend more and more money (it does not have) it is not surprising that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has projected that growth in living standards in Canada would rank dead last among its 38 developed member-countries over the next 40 years.

From the headlines out of Vancouver, it is evident there is no relief in sight for financially strapped Canadians. There is no reassurance to be had from a PM who does not think about monetary policy. There is no confidence in Trudeau with the claim his government will focus on the economy.

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


Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck — Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland addresses reporters in Vancouver.

The last of the summer snippets

The Niagara Independent, September 2, 2022 – Unfortunately, every summer must come to an end. Labour Day Weekend marks the beginning of a transition when we all must begin to focus again on reality. Therefore, the last of the ‘summertime snippets’ provides final news and commentary on the current state of affairs in the Nation’s Capital – to help us brace for the eventualities of fall on Parliament Hill.

There are endless signs of incompetence. The last few weeks of national news were littered with stories of government incompetence and ministers routinely sidestepping all responsibility. Apparently, there is no accountability to be found in Ottawa.

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, is publicly stating that “someone else” let the government contract a hateful antisemite, Laith Marouf. Marouf led a government anti-racism program, though he himself authored such tweets as: “loud mouthed bags of human feces aka the Jewish White Supremacists,” they deserve “a bullet to the head.” He called former justice minister Irwin Cotler the “Grand Wizard of Zionism” and former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell a “Jamaican house-slave.”

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather revealed that he had warned Hussen about the bigot Marouf. Apparently though, Marouf was fine to continue with his contract, that is until media exposed him to the public (full credit to Sun Media columnist Brian Lilley who was relentless in reporting on this story). Only then did the minister get around to cancelling the contract. (One has to ask, if there were no negative headlines would Marouf still be leading the government’s anti-racism program?)

Chris Bittle, St. Catharines MP, added another embarrassing twist to this story last week when he attacked University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist for criticizing the government’s contract with Marouf. Bittle said the professor himself was racist, suggesting he criticized Hussen because of his skin colour. The baseless, partisan attack prompted Brian Lilley to respond with, “Bittle isn’t worthy of the office he holds, he’s an embarrassment to his riding.”

Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, appeared in the news again when it was revealed that international students are now at risk of missing the start of their school year because of visa delays. Immigration officials reported that the department was overwhelmed because there is an unprecedented number of foreign students applying to come to Canada. This notion of Ottawa being “overwhelmed” has become Ottawa’s default response to all issues. In July, the department reported an immigration backlog of 2.7 million people. The backlog has been cited by immigration officials as the reason why Canada was challenged to rescue Afghanis and provide refuge for Ukrainians. So, who is accountable for this impossible situation, or is it so commonplace that now it is acceptable to regurgitate tired excuses to explain away the country’s immigration department failings?

Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, audaciously told MPs in a special summer committee hearing on the chaos at Canadian airports that there were no problems with the government’s ArriveCAN app, and that it was “helping reduce congestion.” Seriously, can we believe this given all the facts reported out by airport officials and travelers? This is the same minister who this spring blamed airport delays on Canadians who were too eager to travel and unaccustomed to airport protocol after not travelling during the pandemic restrictions. Alghabra basically told Canadians, “It is your fault.” However, now it has been uncovered that Alghabra had private department reports of a 25 per cent understaffing of airport security personnel. Obviously, this minister is adept at political doubletalk, inexcusably obscuring facts to evade his responsibility.

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, has been caught up in a number of “mis-communications” defending RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, who claims she is being caught up in a scandal that is nothing more than “mis-communication.” But, Mendicino has a remedy for this lack of clarity: the group overseeing the activities of the police force, the RCMP’s Management Advisory Board (a creation of the Trudeau government) will report directly to his office. (MPs believe the board needs to report to Parliament but, obviously, this would cause too much information dragged out into the public.) The minister’s solution would allow Mendicino to build Canadians’ trust and confidence in the RCMP. Imagine the end results. Had this reporting structure been in place this past year, there may not have been the unnecessary probing into RCMP conduct with the N.S. mass murder investigation. Mendicino would have taken care of it.

On a separate note, about this trusting minister, he appeared before a special committee this month that was looking into the RCMPs’ spyware technology. It has been exposed that RCMP used surveillance spyware on Canadian citizens and have also done so on opposition MPs. At the committee, Mendicino offered very few details – only the reassurance that he is managing it.

Melanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, takes the prize as the most incompetent of the Trudeau cabinet lot. Consider this minister’s actions – and Canada’s shame:

    • A year since Canadians abandoned Afghanistan to the Taliban and we now admittedly have left them behind. The government originally said it would resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees, but only rescued 17,000, and now has shut down its rescue program.
    • As Vladimir Putin was bombing cities in Ukraine, Joly’s diplomats were partying at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa – yet the minister stated she did not know anything about it (and therefore is not responsible).
    • Remember when PM Trudeau said “We’re back!”… But in many forums Joly is MIA. Recently the minister was marginalized at NATO talks reviewing the defence of Europe. Canada is not a member of the international alliances of AUKUS or QUAD. The Americans are openly expressing concern about Canada’s China policy and yet the minister has failed repeatedly to provide clarity. And Canada has not been invited into US President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific accord – and the minister has nothing to say on this?
  • When pressed to comment on the role of Canadian military in the world’s current conflicts, Joly made this remarkable statement about the country’s forces: “What we’re good at is convening.”

Who is there to steer Canada’s recovery? There are formidable challenges for Canada as the country looks to emerge from the pandemic. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has projected that growth in living standards in Canada would rank dead last among its 38 developed member-countries over the next 40 years. From 2015-19 (pre-pandemic) there were only four countries in the world that saw a decrease in foreign investment – and Canada was one of them. During 2020-21, the OECD reports Canada outspent all countries in the world to post an overall debt burden equivalent to 352 per cent of GDP.

To deal with these issues Canadians have a prime minister who admittedly does not think of monetary policy. And we have a finance minister in Chrystia Freeland who is a journalist with no formal financial background or business experience.

In a recent True North Media expose, Andrew Kozak catalogued the background of the 39 member Trudeau cabinet. A vast majority have zero business background:

  • five have degrees in economics
  • four have degrees in business administration
  • ten have experience owning or managing a small or medium-sized business
  • fourteen have experience working in higher positions of a business
  • eleven had careers in law or studied the subject in university
  • six have experience in journalism or media, and five hold degrees in political science

Do Canadians need to be concerned about who will lead the cabinet discussions on the economy and the country’s recovery? It’s a serious question. Consider PM Trudeau’s inability to make a case for exporting more Canadian oil to Europe…

Enjoy your Labour Day and welcome back to reality.

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


Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Justin Tang

More summertime snippets

The Niagara Independent, August 26, 2022 – Herein are more “summertime snippets,” presented with the requisite warning to read no further if you wish to enjoy what is left of the season. It is suggested that you clip and save the column until after Labour Day.

The Trudeau-Scholz Photo-Ops: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s end-of-the-summer sojourn in Canada with PM Justin Trudeau was no doubt fashioned to cast these progressive politicians as forward-thinking visionaries when it comes to their countries’ respective green energy goals. The leaders’ meetings were capped with a visit to Stephenville, Newfoundland and a signing ceremony on a hydrogen export “joint declaration of intent.” The Scholz tour’s success was incumbent on its expressed avoidance of any mention of Germany’s recent request of PM Trudeau to increase liquified natural gas (LNG) exports. In fact, it was dictated to Canadian mainstream media newsrooms by both Canadian and German tour officials that there were to be no questions about German industry having to ration their energy use or its residents freezing in the dark this winter.

According to script, Scholz and Trudeau (and Canadian media) waltzed through the tour and dutifully promoted a joint agreement for Canada to potentially develop a green-hydrogen facility that would, if built, at some time in 2025 (or later), be capable of exporting hydrogen energy to Germany. Clearly this ignores the current reality of the imminent energy crisis facing Europe. It ignores Scholz’s desire for an immediate increase of Canadian gas exports – and, as the National Post Tristin Hopper assesses, “It could well represent one of the biggest missed opportunities in Canadian history.”

Remarkably, when asked about Canadian LNG exports, the math-challenged Trudeau attempted to squelch the idea by questioning the business case for further developing Canadian gas exports. (In related news this month, StatsCan reports an increased trade surplus of $5 billion in June driven by rising oil export volumes. The Canadian dollar has rallied and strengthened against the U.S. greenback on the back of strong oil prices.)

The Trudeau-Scholz joint declaration for hydrogen energy is yet another remarkably nonsensical act by these two progressives who recently, secretly, mutually agreed to return turbines to Vladimir Putin (and word has now broke Canada will be sending five more turbines to Russia).

French Facts: StatsCan news report on Canada’s changing linguistic realities was released with many confusing narratives. The most often cited data told us that there is an increasing number of Canadians whose mother tongue is neither English nor French; 12 per cent of people speak something other than an official language at home. There are nine million people, or one in four, who have a mother tongue other than English or French.

This emphasis on the data resulted in English Canada headlines that focused primarily on the increased multicultural nature of the country. In Quebec however, the headlines expressed the threat of increased multiculturalism and the resulting decline of the francophone language.

In Quebec, much has been made of the fact there are now less than three of four Quebecers whose mother tongue is French. Quebecois appear anxious that there are now more than one million people speaking English as their first official language in La Belle Province. And PM Trudeau’s take on it: “The numbers that recently came out are extremely troubling and worrisome but not entirely a surprise.”

Let’s consider the StatsCan data without the governments’ francophone preoccupation. Without the political spin there is a clearer picture painted of the nation’s linguistic reality.

  • English is the majority language used by 75 per cent of Canadians
  • A total of more than 87 per cent of Canadians speak something other than French
  • There are more Canadians whose mother tongue is a foreign language (9 million) than there are francophones (less than 8 million)
  • The proportion of Canadians living outside Quebec whose first official language spoken is French has dwindled to 3.3 per cent. And French is not the second-most used language in most provinces today. In some cases, French is the fourth- or fifth-most used language.

With this assembly of the facts, the Globe and Mail published an opinion editorial that declared, “Official bilingualism is officially dead in Canada.”

Directly related to this mid-summer night’s data dump is the language debate that is about to unfold in Parliament this fall. The Trudeau government had pre-knowledge of the data and, in the spring session of Parliament introduced Bill C-13 amending the Official Languages Act. A briefing note for the legislation states: “saving the French language is fundamental to preserving the nation.” The intent of the legislation is to further strengthen the rights of francophones across the country. It will ensure all federally regulated private sector businesses are to offer French service to the public in places with “a strong francophone presence” (this term and its thresholds left undefined).

It appears the government is about to lead Canadians back onto the Plains of Abraham to reenact that infamous battle (this time with another Trudeau rewriting the terms of Malcolm’s defeat).

From the ArriveCAN App to Digital Identity: By every measure the ArriveCAN app is negatively impacting cross border traffic, and yet, the federal government will be transitioning from this app to a soon-to-be-unveiled digital identity program that every Canadian must use.

It matters not what border-town mayors say about the devastating decrease in American tourism, or what border agents say about not being able to properly do their job. Apparently, there is no downside to ArriveCAN, says transport minister Omar Alghabra, as it’s “actually helping process arrivals much faster and helping reduce congestion.” From the media reports of the congestive backlogs at Pearson and Trudeau airports, clearly Alghabra is either in denial or just gaslighting anyone who will listen to him as Liberals prepare for the next shoe to drop.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino this summer suggested the app is here to stay as part of the government’s strategy to better monitor Canadians’ health and safety. News is now trickling out of Ottawa that Treasury Board President Mona Fortier will be unveiling a new Digital Identity Program this fall. It will be billed to provide “a common and secure approach for a trusted digital identity platform to support seamless service delivery to Canadians across the country.”

Yet, government backgrounders state: “Digital identity is the electronic equivalent of a recognized proof-of-identity document (for example, a driver’s license or passport) and confirms that ‘you are who you say you are’ in a digital context.” In other words, Big Brother will be able to keep better track of you – for your own safety and security.

On a hopeful note, a federal court legal challenge of the ArriveCAN app has been launched and it appears the Conservatives are prepared to fight the new digital identity program in Parliament.

Bons mots: Gerard Deltell, Conservative MP from Louis-Saint-Laurent, Quebec observed: “The best politician is not the one who speaks the most, it’s the one who listens the most and who speaks better after that.” Imagine: a politician who listens to Canadians and will champion their needs… that’s novel.

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



Summertime snippets: ICYMI news

The Niagara Independent, August 19, 2022 – In the dog days of summer many Canadians are trying hard to tune out the news of the nation. Many are taking a hiatus from the headlines, not to refocus on reality until sometime after Labour Day.

Yet, through the weeks of July and August there have been news items that are sure to impact Canadians. Over the next few weeks, this column will present “summertime snippets” of the more important stuff – ICYMI.

(WARNING – The snippets may cause grief and heartburn. For those who wish to live in blissful denial for the last weeks of the summer, the helpful suggestion is to save these columns and not pull them out until mid-September when you may want to begin to refocus.)

Federal Employees Just Keep Getting Richer: Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has uncovered that during the COVID-19 pandemic the number of federal government managers earning more than $100,000 increased by a whopping 66 per cent. There were 45,000 more bureaucrats – a total of 114,433 – now making the super-salary of 100K+ (which does not include the value of their perks).

According to the CTF’s Access to Information request, during the pandemic there were 312,825 federal employees who received a pay raise (while working from home). There was no record of an employee receiving a pay cut.

Let’s put this into perspective. The average national income of a full-time working Canadian is $54,630. The average household income in Canada is $92,764 (and after taxes this figure is $76,171). So, these numbers tell us that civil servants make so much more than Canada’s working stiffs that they pull up the average income figure across the country.

CTF’s federal director Franco Terrazzano neatly summed up this largesse, “We are not all in this together.”

Dr. Tam Cashes In: In a closed-door federal cabinet meeting, Justin Trudeau’s braintrust awarded Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam a 22 per cent pay increase with a three-year contract bump from $265,000 to $324,000.

This is the same Dr. Tam that was out front through 2020 assuring Canadians there was nothing to worry about. It’s the same Dr. Tam that echoed the Prime Minister’s pandemic narrative through the past two years. Obviously, her performance was appreciated by our country’s number one former drama teacher.

Canada is Now the Second-Most Indebted Country in the World: The Fraser Institute released a report in late June revealing that during the pandemic Canada had become the second highest most indebted industrialized country, behind only Japan.

Canada’s spending through 2020 and 2021 was the greatest per capita of any country. Canucks’ gross debt-to-GDP ratio is now 32 out of 33 countries covered by the International Monetary Fund. Canadians will need to bare the weight of this debt for decades, if not generations.

No Balanced Federal Budget for Two Decades: Another report released by the CTF provides the alarming bottom line that it will take the federal government at least 20 years to balance its budget – and that is a hopeful forecast. When factoring for the government’s total revenue, total spending, budgetary balance, and its interest charges on the national debt, there is little hope to see a balanced budget until 2041. That calculation does not take into account any new political promises.

The CTF commentary on this: “But taking another two decades to balance the budget is too long, and even that target won’t be met if interest rates tick up, the economy doesn’t grow every single year, or politicians can’t find the willpower to say ‘no’ to new spending.”

“By the time the feds balance the budget two decades from now, interest charges on the government credit card will have cost taxpayers more than $800 billion.”

Canada Funding the WEF: The 2020-2021 Public Accounts of Canada indicate that, in that single fiscal year, Canadians gave more than $1.5 billion to the United Nations in the form of financial support, contributions and grants. The government also slipped $3 million that year to the World Economic Forum (WEF) (yes, that global cabal of multimillionaires who annually jet to Davos, Switzerland to warn the world of carbon emissions).

There are few records explaining where Canadians’ money went into the U.N. And there has been no explanation from the government on the details of the $3 million payment to Klaus Schwab’s global forum. Perhaps WEF board members Chrystia Freeland or Mark Carney could enlighten us?

Of interest on the subject of the WEF, the forum issued findings this week from an international survey that showed “70 per cent of adults across 19 countries believe children will be financially worse off than their parents.” Most striking for Canadians is the data: “At least three-quarters of adults in Japan, France, Italy and Canada say children will be worse off financially than their parents.” Canadians rank among the most negative about the prospects for the next generation.

If the WEF’s Great Reset is to bring about positive change for the world, is it not disconcerting to imagine this change will come at the expense of our Canadian children?

Canada’s Tree Planting Program: Figures recently released indicate that the federal government planted 29 million trees in the second year of Trudeau’s feted national tree planting program. The PM promised $3.2 billion for Ottawa to manage the planting of two billion trees by 2030. A recent Globe and Mail editorial explains this commitment will cover an area twice the size of PEI, approximately two per cent of Canada’s land mass. Canada’s forests have more than 300 billion trees and the country’s forest industry presently manages an ample reforestation program.

Another remarkable fact about Trudeau’s program is the news from the federal Department of Natural Resources that in the first year of the program (when not a single tree was planted), the Ottawa bureaucrats paid $3.1 million for a study to tell them how to plant trees.

Of course, this absurdity begs a couple of questions for levity’s sake: Just how many Ottawa bureaucrats does it take to plant a tree? If the PM plants a tree in Brampton does that offset the carbon emissions used to fly him there for his 30-minute photo-op?

Next week: More summertime snippets

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


Photo credit: The Canadian Press

Trudeau government’s green plan is hurting Canadians and failing the global community

The Niagara Independent, August 12, 2022 – The irony was not lost to many Canadians (and even mainstream media) that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was jetting across the country to deliver his dire warnings about climate change and how Canadians must do their part. The PM, his Minister of Environment Steven Guilbeault and a cadre of Liberal ministers and MPs spent July sharing the paramount objectives of the Liberal green plan that will get Canada to “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050.

The age-old adage may be “the devil is in the details,” but already there is mounting evidence to conclude the Trudeau government’s green plan is hurting Canadians and failing the global community.

First and foremost, when it comes to being responsible for one’s own carbon footprint, it is hard to reconcile the PM’s July tour that was, in part, to highlight the Liberals’ green plan. Last month the PM spent 20 days in the air flying 26,238 kms aboard CanForce One. His 20 flights took Trudeau from coast to coast, touching down in some locations for only a few hours to plant a tree, gladhand on main street, or visit a local business – and then there were the trips coordinated to include a Liberal fundraising event. What is most noteworthy is Justin Trudeau’s flights in July released nearly 120 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide into the environment (and for comparison, a Canadian’s average annual emissions total is 4.1 tonnes).

PM Trudeau capped his Canadian tour with the revelation that his family would be holidaying in Costa Rica. More irony: the day the PM jetted off for the south, CBC News featured a piece prodding Canadians that we have a moral responsibility to give up personal ownership of vehicles for the good of the planet’s environment.

Central to the Trudeau government’s green plan is a schedule of carbon tax hikes on gas pump prices and home fuel, purposefully designed to raise energy prices and cause a behavioural change in Canadians’ lifestyle habits. The government has proved regimented to their tax hikes; Canada was the only country in the world to hike taxes during the pandemic.

Carbon taxes have raised the price of all goods and services in Canada and, in this way, has contributed to the country’s inflation rate. Yet rising fuel costs, inflation and the financial stress bearing down on Canadians is “good,” as Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland explained at one of her recent tour stops, for it will help speed along Canadians’ transition to green energy choices.

With this rationale, Trudeau and Freeland are soon to double down on taxing Canadians by introducing a second carbon tax, estimated to drive up gas prices 13 cents per litre and cost an additional $220 annually on an average home fuel bill. The government’s own estimates forecast that this new tax will shrink the Canadian economy by $9 billion and the Fraser Institute estimates it will result in the loss of 184,000 jobs. (To paraphrase Freeland: no pain, no gain.)

The Trudeau government’s emissions reduction plans have adversely impacted domestic and foreign investment in the country’s natural resource industries, most strikingly the oil and gas sector. The regulatory straight jacket placed on all resource development projects – new mines, oil and gas projects, and pipelines – has had serious repercussions in Canada as well as beyond our borders. The most recent case in point is how Canada responded to the call for energy resources from Germany.

Europe is in the grips of an energy crisis brought about with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s threats of turning off the flow of natural gas to Europe this winter. Germany turned to Canada to request liquified natural gas (LNG) exports. Though Canada is one of the world’s largest producers of natural gas, the country currently has no capacity to export gas anywhere other than the U.S. So, Canada was unable to assist with the requested LNG exports. Instead, PM Trudeau made a closed-door promise with Germany that would have Canada break with the solidarity of the international community and violate our country’s own sanctions against Putin. Trudeau promised to return a gas turbine to Russia so Putin could then export his gas.

On a related matter concerning the development of LNG export facilities in Canada, this week Enbridge CEO Al Monaco stated the Trudeau government needs to “get out of our own way when it comes to energy and building infrastructure… We need a sense of urgency and clarity around regulatory and permitting certainty to make sure we attract capital.” Monaco is quoted in the Globe and Mail to say that this is important for Canada and the world: “Our ability to export low-emission natural gas can have a massive impact on global emissions.”

Still, the Trudeau government’s zeal for its environmental objectives remains unyielding. Steven Guilbeault continues to suggest options for Ottawa’s Emissions Reduction Plan, which is to cut oil and gas emissions by more than 40 per cent by 2030, and emissions from electricity generation by almost 80 per cent. With the government’s heightened rhetoric about Canadians doing their part for the existential global climate challenge, the government’s green plan has effectively put a chill on all Canadian energy projects.

Canada’s former Finance Minister Joe Oliver summed up the government’s green plan with this frank assessment: “Trudeau’s fixation has become an obsession. His preoccupation with a climate emergency has morphed into a moral, quasi-religious imperative that tolerates no dissent and justifies policies, irrespective of their harm to Canadians and people around the world.”

This places the Canadian energy sector on the sidelines – at a time when international bodies would welcome Canadian resources. Consider what is happening in the world:

  • Germany, Holland, and UK have fired up decommissioned coal plants
  • European Union is revisiting its ban on fracking
  • India has increased its coal usage and increased imports of Russian oil and gas
  • China has increased the number of coal plants being built (currently coal supplies 60 per cent of the country’s energy)
  • China has increased imports of Russian coal, oil, and LNG

Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, assessed the current global energy requirements, “We will still need oil and gas for years to come. I prefer that oil is produced by countries… like Canada who want to reduce the emissions of oil and gas.”

With respect specifically to China, former Canadian envoy to Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan Randolph Mank, suggests Canada could make a significant contribution on geo-environmental issues if they were to change tact and encourage development of LNG facilities. Mank stated, “We account for 1.5 to 1.7 per cent of global emissions, and China is 30 per cent. So it would seem a natural way to contribute to the global effort to reduce emissions.”

However, this type of international contribution would require the Trudeau government, as Al Monaco put it “to get out of the way”; something that will not occur as Freeland introduces the Liberal’s new carbon taxes and Guilbeault details his Emissions Reduction Plan.

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


Photo credit: PMO

The public health care system is Canada’s Gordian Knot

The Niagara Independent, August 5, 2022 – On July 15, a B.C. Court of Appeal delivered a decision that tightens the country’s Gordian Knot: our revered public health care system. The court’s decision rejected user-paid medical care, even if the patient must wait an unreasonable and potentially harmful amount of time for care. For defenders of the public system, this edict pulled taut those Canadian ties that bind us to an increasingly strained (and some will describe as “broken”) care system.

The B.C. court justices upheld a lower provincial court decision which rejected arguments made by Dr. Brian Day that Canadians’ right to life was being violated by not being able to receive timely medical attention. Dr. Day, an orthopedic surgeon, argued that where the public health care system fails to meet the needs of an individual, the individual should have the ability to access personal care at their expense. But, the court ruled against the individual in favour of the common good, rationalizing the necessity of banning private health care in order to protect the public system.

In their written decision, the justices went so far as to say that, even though long wait times may risk poor health outcomes – in some cases denying patients their charter right to life and security of the person – these violations are within “principles of fundamental justice” as they assure the sustainability of Canada’s public health system.

The subtext to the court decision was the justices’ recognition of the ailing state of public health care in B.C. where it is appreciated that wait times can be excessive and increase risks to patients. In March 2018, almost 33,500 adults were waiting for necessary medical care beyond the maximum wait time – and since the COVID pandemic this number has grown. On this point, the court admitted the lower court judge had erred by minimizing the harm to patients and failing to acknowledge that wait times could even lead to death.

In the weeks following this notable decision, Canadians learned of the extreme harm our public health care system can inflict. In New Brunswick, a patient in pain and visible discomfort died while sitting for hours in the waiting room of a Fredericton hospital ER. In Vancouver, an elderly woman died while laying on a stretcher in a hospital waiting room for two days without attention.

A 76-year-old Ontario man made national news when he was left for four days on a stretcher in a hallway of a Wiarton hospital. He had shattered his femur in a cycling accident and required transportation and surgery in a London hospital.

The Ontario care system is in critical care this summer.

  • There are now 13 ERs – from Wingham to Perth to Huron County – forced to close because of staff shortages.
  • The Ontario Nurses’ Association reports that 25 hospitals were forced to make changes over the Civic holiday weekend due to staff shortages.
  • In the hospitals opened, the average wait time to be admitted has climbed to an unprecedented 20.1 hours.
  • People needing an ambulance must wait longer due to ambulance offload delays that keep paramedics in ER departments with their patients waiting for admission to the hospital.
  • In May, patients waited an average of 2.1 hours for a first assessment by an ER doctor. They remained waiting after the assessment as beds were simply unavailable due to lack of staff.

Registered Nurses Association of Ontario President Claudette Holloway sounded the alarm bells in a recent Toronto CP24 news interview this week, “I have not seen it this bad… this is certainly a dire and a dangerous situation that needs drastic responses from our politicians.”

In another frank interview, ER doctor Raghu Venugopal stated the health system has collapsed.

“Nurses and doctors across Ontario and Canada who are working in emergency departments are greatly dismayed, honestly, by the human situation that patients and families have to face on a daily basis… There is no metric or no nothing that your eyes can’t see as a patient or family member in the ER that says the system has not anything but collapsed as we know it.”

The mounting pressure on the public health care system has Ontario Premier Doug Ford calling for the federal government to provide financial support to help an impossible situation for existing hospital staff and medical professionals. Premier Ford assessed, “It’s not sustainable that the federal government is giving us 22 per cent. We’re paying 78 per cent. And that’s across the country. Unacceptable. We’re going to continue asking the federal government to step up and do their fair share. There’s never been a more important time to do so.”

These comments echo the repeated requests made by premiers in March 2021 when they wanted the federal government to expand its share of health care costs from the current rate of 22 per cent to the historically agreed upon share of 35 per cent. That sizable increase would see an additional $28 billion poured into the public system.

This federal cash would allow provinces to increase training positions for staff, hire nurses and PSWs, increase pay to retain staff, increase the number of doctors, open and support more beds, and keep ERs open.

Yet, to date, the plea for financial assistance has fallen on deaf ears. The federal budgets in 2021 and 2022 were silent on the subject of health care transfers. Instead, the Trudeau government touted investments of $3 billion for mental health services, $3 billion for long-term care, $3 billion for home care and $2 billion to help provinces address surgical backlogs. Some of these investments are spread over three to five years and all come with an understanding that there will be federal regulatory strings attached.

The federal government’s offerings is not enough to begin to address the foundational cracks in the country’s health care system. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Canada has the fourth-lowest number of funded acute care beds per capita among its member countries. The Commonwealth Fund has ranked Canada’s health system second-last among 11 rich countries.

The bottom line is that without the federal government increasing the health transfers, the provinces remain cash-strapped. This leaves Canadians with a threadbare public health care system that will remain strained in meeting even the most critical health care needs.

Health care analyst Susan Martinuk of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy reflects, “Every province is paying more than 40 per cent of its revenues into health care. And it’s still not enough. We’ve got a million people on waiting lists. In my mind, it’s time to stop talking about who’s going to pay for health care, and start talking about how we’re going to change health care.”

This is the very discussion Dr. Day intends to take to the Supreme Court of Canada. Those justices will need to consider whether a public health care system that is consistently proving to be inadequate requires a new approach – perhaps akin to Alexander’s legendary sword stroke that cut free the knot.

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


Photo credit: Shutterstock/Josef Hanus — Vancouver General Hospital

A fitting proverb: a fish rots from the head down

The Niagara Independent, July 29, 2022 – With a growing number of inconveniences and increased financial stresses in daily living, there are more Canadians realizing our federal government’s inability to manage Canada’s affairs. Political leadership is wanting, and the country’s bureaucracy is proving incapable of delivering basic services. Headaches in obtaining a passport or flying out of Pearson airport are prompting Canadians to ask, what is happening to the country, its services and standing in the world?

A recent lead editorial in the Toronto Sun exclaimed, “Federal services collapsing under Trudeau.” It cites the daily chaos unfolding at airports and the unheard-of flight disruptions. According to aviation industry experts, the primary cause of Canadians’ travel turmoil is federal government mismanagement. This has led to the critical shortages of federal security and customs officers. To respond to this crisis PM Justin Trudeau immediately struck a task force committee of 10 cabinet ministers to improve the situation (and now more than a month later there is no word from the committee or any action to alleviate the problems).

There was also a damning National Post editorial, “Canada’s public service is collapsing.” It recounts details of the federal bureaucracy’s “passport pandemonium.” The Post reports on exhaustive, hours-long line-ups at passport offices, airline counters, and airport security lines. It describes an overwhelmed bureaucracy that is haplessly coping with the crisis. Imagine the management at the Montreal passport office ordering 801 chairs so people will not have to stand in line?!

In a separate National Post piece, columnist John Ivison posits: “The rot in Canada’s dysfunctional government is coming from the top.” Ivison lays blame squarely on a tired and wayward Liberal government.

“Over the past seven years, the Liberals have lost, or jettisoned, some of their most seasoned ministers and political staffers. They have often been replaced by farm-team players with less experience and less rounded skill sets. The upshot is a preoccupation with issues management and the politics of spin.”

Ivison draws the analogy of the Trudeau government’s inconsistencies with that of a decaying body. His argument proceeds to conjure up that ancient Turkish proverb: A fish rots from the head down.

Indeed, there are many stories from Ottawa that signal the country’s mismanagement. Apart from airports and passports, in the last month there have been two significant news stories unfolding that go beyond mere inconvenience and speak directly to the devolution of the country. In both instances, PM Trudeau and his PMO operatives are at the centre marshalling the policy decision and government action.

In mid-July an international news story broke in Moscow that Canada was returning a repaired turbine to Russia for its Nord Stream gas pipeline. This news reverberated around the world as the surprise shipment violates the free-world’s sanctions of Vladimir Putin in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It was initially reported that Canada’s actions occurred without knowledge of its allies, including besieged Ukraine. In fact, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told PM Trudeau directly, “Ukrainians will never accept Canada’s decision regarding the Nord Stream turbine.”

Since, Trudeau cabinet ministers have rationalized it was a hard decision that was made to remove the threat by Russia to turn off its flow of gas to Europe. PM Trudeau made the final decision (without any parliamentarian discussions) as a result of private conversations he held with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the recent G7 Summit. Still, it seems unconscionable that the Canadian PM made his decision while Russian missiles were killing civilians in the bombing of apartment buildings and a shopping centre.

Yet, this is just the last inexplicable foreign policy move for the Trudeau government. There has been no consistent Canadian foreign policy with quizzical stances taken on failing to call out Uyghur slavery, silence concerning democracy in Hong Kong, the abandonment of Afghanistan, the secret Canadian-Sino virus research project in Winnipeg, etc. For a country that has no ability to defend its borders or people, does it not appear to be dangerously brash for the PM to be continuously undermining the Canada’s international relations and allies’ trust?

The second damaging story from Ottawa, being revealed at a parliamentary committee, is the travesty of Canadian law that took place in the public inquiry into the horrific Nova Scotia mass shootings. RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki was called out by senior RCMP officers for making a promise to the PMO and public safety minister Bill Blair that the RCMP would make public certain firearms information about the Nova Scotia massacres to tie it to the government’s new gun control legislation. In essence, Commissioner Lucki was directing the RCMP investigators to shill for Trudeau’s gun control agenda.

Commissioner Lucki contests this accusation, as well as the fact that she reprimanded senior Nova Scotia Officer Darren Campbell for his unwillingness to play to the PMO script. This drama is playing itself out in Ottawa right now and MPs are left to decipher the facts from the conflicting accounts: on one hand there is the decorated, career RCMP commanding officer and, on the other, Justin Trudeau’s handpicked commissioner and his lackey public safety minister.

But it seems Canadians have no interest in news on the corruption of Canada’s justice system – likely because it has been a recurring theme of the Trudeau government since it took office. There was the PMO-led attack on the reputation of Vice Admiral Mark Norman and the intense pressuring of then Justice Minister Jody Wilson Raybould for SNC Lavalin favours. There’s been repeated stories involving named judges selected from Liberal donor lists.

And is it not disconcerting that our ethically challenged PM (Trudeau has been charged three times for violating the country’s ethics laws) sets the tone for his government? Does this not beg the question, if our PM and his government are above the law, what does it say for the country’s justice system?

Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau gets a haircut and makes a week’s worth of headlines jetting cross-country on a photo-op campaign. From one coast to another, and one BC town to another, Trudeau mugs with kids, and lectures Canadians about reducing their carbon emissions. The PMO staff is again successfully changing the channel… if only it weren’t for that rank, fishy smell.

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


Photo credit: Reuters/Jennifer Gauthier 

Trudeau’s and Freeland’s fiscal management is no laughing matter

The Niagara Independent, July 22, 2022 – There is a political meme circulating these days of PM Justin Trudeau and Deputy PM and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland whispering to one another. Trudeau leans over to ask, “How did we destroy the economy so badly?” Freeland reminds her friend, “Well, you’re a drama teacher and I’m a journalist, so…”

The country’s financial community may have known for some time but now there is an increasing number of Canadians learning that this meme accurately sums up Ottawa’s fiscal mismanagement.

Again, this week the economic news is grim for Canadians.

The country’s inflation rate hit 8.1 per cent, and that was after the Bank of Canada shocked our financial markets with a full percentage point interest rate hike. The stubbornly high inflation rate spells more interest rate shock therapy in the near future, and inevitability that is sure to exacerbate the financial woes most Canadians are stressing over these days.

Statistics Canada factors the price of store-bought food in Ontario has risen by 10 per cent or more since last June (in April and May it was 9.7 per cent). Stats Can also reveals gas prices have risen more than 55 per cent compared to a year ago.

The rising cost of living is taking its toll on Canadians. A MNP survey reveals 59 per cent of Canadians are concerned about their financial situation, and 27 per cent are cutting back on food, utilities, and housing just to get by. The Toronto organization Stop Community Food Centre reports that there has been a 26 per cent increase in families with children accessing their food bank in 2022.

Many financial experts have assessed Canada’s current economic state and point to the federal government’s spending as the primary cause of pain that Canadians are only beginning to feel. In an informative National Post column, John Ivison interviews Philip Cross, former chief economic analyst at Statistics Canada. Cross provides this important background:

“Nearly two years ago, the OECD said that, as Canada’s GDP fell by 10 per cent in the second pandemic-hit quarter of 2020, household income grew by 11 per cent, thanks to generous government hand-outs. The same phenomenon did not happen in Germany, France, the U.K. or the U.S.”

Cross also provides key numbers required to begin to understand the country’s financial problems:

  • Family median market income was $56,300 in 2015 and $55,700 in 2020 (all figures adjusted for inflation and expressed in constant 2020 dollars). In other words, employment income was practically unchanged.
  • Family after-tax income rose to $66,800 in 2020, because government transfers increased to $16,400 from $6,900 in 2015.
  • After-tax income for all Canadians rose by five per cent in 2020, even though employment income fell two per cent.

Cross states that the 2020 pandemic year was “the only recession in Canadian history where people were actually better off.” He says, “We just stuck a huge mixer in the economy and hit top speed. We are still trying to figure out what happened.”

John Ivison cleverly calls it “Trudeau’s helicopter money experiment.”

The Liberal government followed up its 2020 pandemic experiment with yet further spending. Finance Minister Freeland’s 2021 and 2022 budgets earmarked billions of dollars in new initiatives. With Trudeau and Freeland, there appears to be no forecasted balanced budgets.

A recent report by the Fraser Institute calculates that the federal debt per person has grown to a total of 35 per cent under Justin Trudeau since 2015, which includes an increase of more than 25 per cent from 2019 to 2022. Soaring annual deficits are sure to be the hallmark and the legacy of the Trudeau government.

Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, has described this government’s spending as being seriously out of control. After Freeland’s 2021 fiscal update, Terrazzano sounded the alarm bells: “The cost of living is soaring and Canadians should be worried about how the government is going to pay for its unprecedented spending and hundreds of billions of dollars in new debt. The feds need to stop dishing out cash we don’t have and pouring fuel on the inflation fire. Freeland needs to hit the brakes on this government’s runaway spending train.”

This week in a BNN Bloomberg News interview, former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge echoed the concern that the federal government was adding “fuel to the fire.” Dodge called on Freeland to postpone the government’s 2022 budget expenditures to help get inflation back under control. His advice to Canadians was to contact MPs to “ask the [finance] minister why she’s not doing what she can from her side in order to help control the excess demand at the moment.”

Chrystia Freeland has heard the suggestion from the financial community a few times recently that she is not doing enough to combat inflation.

  • Scotiabank Chief Economist Jean-Francois Perrault and Director of Forecasting Rene Lalonde were highly critical of the government’s elevated spending, stating the government was “doing nothing” and “shirking Canada’s inflation fight.”
  • From his new Bay Street perch, former finance minister Bill Morneau criticized the federal government for its short-term, politically motivated thinking on fiscal policy and economic growth.
  • In a Globe and Mail editorial the paper notes, “Economists worry that Ottawa’s fiscal plan is still pulling in the wrong direction on inflation”, concluding Liberals’ fiscal policy is more a part of the problem than the solution.

This repeated critical analysis of Freeland from the country’s leading financial minds has left Canadians shaken. Four of every five Canadians have lost faith in the Trudeau government to manage the country’s economy. According to a recent Maru Public Opinion poll, 55 per cent of Canadians do not believe Trudeau has a “solid plan” to battle inflation and weather the country through economic troubles. Another 25 per cent believe the PM is on the wrong track.

In the same poll, Canadians showed no more confidence in Chrystia Freeland: 55 per cent of Canadians believe that the finance minister has no plan to tackle inflation and 24 per cent believe Freeland has a specifically “bad plan.”

On one hand we have Justin Trudeau who frankly admitted that he does not think about monetary policy and, on the other hand, we have Chrystia Freeland who nonsensically lectures us that inflation is the reason we must double down on climate change.

There is no wonder how “we” got into this economic mess. That meme of the two of them would be funny if it were not so true.

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


Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld

Woke activists are intently, purposefully rewriting Canadian history

The Niagara Independent, July 15, 2022 – When reflecting on Canadian history these days it seems to be, at best, an exercise of self-flagellation and, at worst, the expunging of historical facts to promote specific narratives. Woke activists are intently, purposefully rewriting Canadian history and their actions are being furthered – in some cases sponsored – by the Trudeau Government.

It is the oft quoted George Orwell who wrote, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

And so it has passed with one of Canada’s Founding Fathers of Confederation and first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, pioneer educator Sir Edger Ryerson, Upper Canada Governor John Graves Simcoe, Halifax founder Lt.-Gen. Edward Cornwallis, as well as Hector-Louis Langevin, Samuel de Champlain, Captain James Cook, Henry Dundas…

Candice Malcolm, founder and editor-in-chief of True North, has been a constant critic of the woke refashioning our country’s history. In a 2021 editorial, Malcolm assessed, “According to the woke, everyone and everything is viewed through the lens of race, and anyone who doesn’t bow down to the woke mantra gets mobbed, bullied and ultimately canceled. The ultimate goal of the woke mob is to tear down what they call hierarchies of power, essentially dismantling every institution in our society. Canada seems to be ground zero for this new uprising.”

The woke’s revisionism of Canadian history got a huge boost in 2019 when the federal cabinet issued a directive to review and revise historic plaques and monuments nationwide to address concerns of the Canadian legacies of “colonialism, patriarchy and racism”. Then Environment Minister Catherine McKenna directed more than 2,100 historical designations be inspected to, in her own words, “guide the way history is shaped at Parks Canada places for years to come.”

The federal Historic Sites and Monuments Board set about to develop new designations that would “address conflict and controversy” and “power dynamics”; “confront the legacy of colonialism and its impact on Indigenous peoples”; stress “inclusiveness”; and focus on “diversity of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and religion.”

As a result of this review, Blacklock’s Reporter reveals that a total of 205 plaques and monuments are placed on a blacklist for removal based on “public requests” and/or “identified as urgent by Indigenous consultants.” A few examples are cited:

  • A Toronto plaque honouring Goldwin Smith, prolific and celebrated 19th century journalist and editor, is being reviewed due to complaints about specific antisemitic comments found in his writings.
  • An Ottawa plaque placed in 2012 for Dr. Helen MacMurchy, Canada’s first federal director of children’s welfare, is under review due to her controversial association with eugenics in the early 1900s.
  • In Saskatchewan, all plaques commemorating battles of the 1885 North-West Rebellion are to be “vetted with the First Nations” for revision.

Increasingly Canadians learn of the federal government’s obvious attempts at obliterating or revising the country’s history. It was recently revealed that the federal cabinet was responsible for ensuring Canada would not issue commemorative medals in observance of the Queen’s platinum jubilee. Justin Trudeau’s Quebec Lieutenant Pablo Rodriquez, who currently is Canadian Heritage Minister, led a cabinet discussion that nixed jubilee medals to recognize the remarkable longevity of Canada’s Head of State. (Aside from snubbing our Queen, this cabinet decision also prevented Canadians of Commonwealth ancestry any chance to formally celebrate Canada’s British history.)

Earlier this year the news surfaced that Leslie Weir, Canada’s chief archivist, is systematically purging documents from the federal government’s webpages. Weir is rewriting the government’s account of the country’s history, expunging documents that “may offend people.” Without a definition of “offensive,” more than 7,000 web pages on the Library and Archives Canada website have already been removed. These include references to PM Macdonald and Egerton Ryerson, the War of 1812, and “Anything lacking Indigenous perspectives and/or that ignores or dismisses the impact of colonialism on First Nations, Inuit and the Metis Nation.”

The Library and Archives Canada website also recently deleted a “History of the Prime Ministers of Canada” from its webpages. Weir and her colleagues have labelled this information “outdated and redundant.”

Increasingly, historical references are being removed from the public space. These actions are not restricted to the federal government. For example, the Ontario government removed from the Legislature’s lawn and crated a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald; the Manitoba government will not replace the toppled statue of Queen Victoria at its Legislature; and the BC government approved the Royal BC Museum’s move to close its floor of exhibits dedicated to the early logging and fishery settlers of Canada.

The deliberate revision and removal of our country’s history is occurring in spite of a majority of Canadians who oppose the woke’s actions. A Leger poll conducted in February for Postmedia found that 44 per cent want a version of history that relates both “good and bad.” Another 30 per cent opposed “rewriting” history because the people involved “do not look good by today’s standards.”

Yet, the woke are having a direct impact on how Canadians view their nation’s history. Another 2022 Leger poll, this one completed for the Association for Canadian Studies, found that 51 per cent of Canadians believe Canada was founded by three people: British, French and Indigenous peoples. Furthermore, one in four Canadians under the age of 25 believe Canada was founded solely by Indigenous peoples. This is in spite of the facts that underline the original notions and the evolution of this country’s nation state: the agrarian New France settlement in 1534 and the victorious British conquest of 1763, the establishment and adherence to “peace, order and good government”, the Confederation agreement, a fledgling Dominion’s proud contributions to WW1 and WW2, etc.

Herein lies the serious issue with the woke activists’ revisionism. It points to an Orwellian fate that will have Canadians’ sense of their origins and core values blurred and confused. Recall that scene in the novel 1984 when Winston is talking with an old man in a pub about their history before the Revolution: “Within twenty years at most, he reflected, the huge and simple question ‘Was life better before the Revolution than it is now?’ would have ceased once and for all to be answerable.”

And so it has appeared to have passed with Sir John A., and so it may pass with Canada.

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


Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes

The ‘Woke’, the Trudeau Liberals, and Canadian politics

The Niagara Independent, July 8, 2022 – This week the National Post featured a book excerpt authored by one of its political columnists, Tasha Kheiriddin. She asserts that Trudeau’s true legacy is his “stoking the woke” in our country. On a litany of issues – LGBTQ+, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, Indigenous rights, anti-Muslim discrimination – Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau purposefully virtue signals to embolden a radicalized social justice movement within the country.

The Trudeau Liberals have consistently aided and abetted Canada’s woke. Their approach is tactical and mindfully taken to extend the Liberals political advantages with their progressive base. It’s a name and shame game that fuels division and promotes woke objectives to disparage conservative values and traditional mores in the country.

The recent, most blatant use of this approach was PM Trudeau’s response to the Ottawa trucker protest this spring. Trudeau and his ministers’ actions followed a pattern:

  1. Misrepresent the issue and create strawmen (convoy is filled with anti-vaxxers)
  2. Draw lines of division to label opponent (“those people” are alt-right)
  3. Denigrate and vilify opponent (protests led by white supremacists, arsonists and rapists who want to overthrow the government)
  4. Claim moral high ground and virtue signal (PM represents decent Canadians, those who are responsibly vaccinated)

Today, as the facts are revealed on what occurred with this citizens’ protest, there is mounting evidence of Trudeau’s fabrications and manipulations, furthered by a complicit mainstream media, to frame the national narrative and political debate.

At the time of the truckers’ protest, Jonathan Kay wrote an insightful piece in Washington’s Wall Street Journal, “If Donald Trump Were a Woke Canadian, He’d Be Justin Trudeau.” Kay contends the PM has become “a divisive demagogue.” The editorial recounts the manner in which Trudeau attacked his critics by labelling them racist and misogynist and identifying them as right-wing extremists and Nazi sympathizers. It was a “hyperbolic response” and taken to the Trumpian extreme of invoking the Emergencies Act to squelch any political dissent.

Kay also draws on the 2017 controversies surrounding Canada’s 150th birthday when Indigenous leaders refused to celebrate the nation’s milestone. This was Canada’s “Great Awokening,” a time when being woke required agreeing that “Canada is a racist and genocidal hellhole.” Recall in 2017, Canada Day was cancelled, flags lowered indefinitely, and mainstream news consisted of nothing but commentaries of national self-recrimination and self-flagellation. This was a watershed moment for the woke social-justice warriors who were empowered by Canada’s political leadership (and Trudeau ensured he surfed the waves of discontent).

The London, UK-based The Telegraph headlined a similar editorial to the Wall Street Journal’s that compares Trudeau to Trump as a polarizing figure. The paper claims: “Justin Trudeau’s woke agenda is tearing Canadian society apart.” The posit is that Canada has become a left-leaning society due to three generations of political correctness in education and media. The Trudeau Liberals have increasingly given a voice to groups who consistently demonize conservatives and the white working-class. This has resulted in a great divide that has polarized Canadian politics: the PM’s approval ratings among conservative-minded people are in low single digits and “switching between the Tories and Liberals, once commonplace, is now rare.”

Lisa Bildy is a civil rights lawyer from London, Ontario who has placed herself on the frontline fighting social justice activists. Bildy effectively sums up the current state of the Canadian populous, stating in a @LDBildy Twitter thread: “Our population is divided, possibly beyond repair. We don’t just disagree, we live in completely separate & irreconcilable realities. We have different facts, different science, different media, different narratives, different values. We view each other as distorted caricatures.”

At every opportunity, the Trudeau Liberals are enabling the woke to further divide Canadians and create an unbridgeable chasm between progressive and conservative-minded people. The Ottawa news agency Blacklock’s Reporter broke the story this week of a publication and soon-to-be “values” awareness campaign for school kids. The publication identifies the Conservative Party as being “infiltrated” by racists.

Blacklock’s Reporter revealed that the federal government gave a $268,400 grant to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN) to fund the writing and publishing of a guide Confronting And Preventing Hate In Canadian Schools. The CAHN is a federally-subsidized group that has received an additional $268,400 federal grant to operate its website, where it will begin promoting its anti-hate awareness program to teachers and directly to students.

(Kudos to Blacklock’s Reporter for exposing this government activity and to True North and Lorne Gunter of PostMedia for repeating the story. Remarkably there was no other mainstream media on this half-million-dollar-plus awareness campaign. The publication can be found here.)

The online book, on two occasions, identifies the Conservative Party as having members who are bigots and “groypers,” which is defined as “a loose collection of young white nationalists.”

In a chapter on “hate promoting symbols,” the Red Ensign flag (Canada’s national flag predating the current red Maple Leaf flag) is identified as a symbol of hate. Apparently, the flag is offensive because “Its usage denotes a desire to return to Canada’s demographics before 1967 when it was predominantly white.”

The book instructs students to “know your enemy” and to call out bigoted students who may use “a defence” like “freedom of speech” or “reverse racism” to further their hate. It also encourages students to challenge their peers who may favour a problematic politician or political policy.

The goal to incite divisions could not be more blatant. Confronting And Preventing Hate In Canadian Schools indoctrinates a “wokeness” that is both manipulatively biased and politically charged. As Lorne Gunter assesses it is nothing more than propaganda, “This guide is a glaring example of the reflexive prejudice of Canadian ‘progressives.’”

In extoling the virtues of CAHN, federal Minister for Diversity Ahmed Hussen proudly launched the sponsored publication. Hussen shared, “This new resource will be delivered through workshops in schools across the country and it will help raise awareness with students… to teach core values to our kids.”

Two sidebars punctuate the point: 1) Ahmed Hussen is the politician who was caught on camera telling an audience of Torontonians during an election campaign that they should not vote Conservative because they are against blacks. 2) CAHN issued two news releases last week to bookend Minister Hussen’s launch of their awareness campaign. On June 28th the group released “Ottawa Facing Far-Right Protests ‘All Summer Long’” and on June 30th it reported “Ottawa’s Summer of Far-Right Protests Has Begun.”

There may be no better example than the publication Confronting And Preventing Hate In Canadian Schools for connecting the dots on “the woke,” the Trudeau Liberals, and Canadian politics. This insulting publication signals Canadians need to wake up.

NEXT WEEK: Woke activists rewriting Canadian history

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


Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick  — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes a knee for George Floyd during a rally in Ottawa, June 5, 2020.

Lament for our post-national state

The Niagara Independent, July 1, 2022 – From his earliest revelations about wanting to transform this country into a post-national state, PM Justin Trudeau and his enablers have been on a mission to hollow out the idea of Canada. There is to be no core identity, no proud history, no mainstream traditions, no sense of belonging. Seven years into his mission, the country marks its 155th birthday with chaotic and politically charged gatherings across the land that, at best, reflect a shaken sense of nationhood; but, perhaps more accurately, they signal Canadians’ social contract has been forsook. 

Whether it’s the PM’s response to the truckers or the Liberals embrace of the World Economic Forum’s agenda, Canadian editorialists and political pundits now openly debate the damage being done by the Trudeau Government’s constant undermining of the Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights, its destabilization of the country’s resource economy, and the rewriting of Canada’s history to shame our cultural and societal legacies. 

Andrew Coyne’s commentary this week in the Globe and Mail identifies “the vacuum at the centre of Canadian politics” with politicians degrading and disregarding “obligations to common sense, or the ordinary routines of democratic politics, or the rule of law.” Independent journalist Matt Gurney suggests our lack of political leadership has Canadians settling for mediocrity. Numerous columnists including William Gairdner are documenting how the government has morphed from soft socialism to soft totalitarianism. Some like Rupa Subramanya and Warren Kinsella often write on the perverse nature of Trudeau’s authoritarian kleptocracy.

So, this day’s scenes of unrest in the Nation’s Capital and its various cross-country protests against the celebration of “Canada” speak directly to the crisis of our nationhood’s legitimacy, a crisis that is continuously being stoked by the Trudeau Government. Trudeau’s ceaseless use of wedge politics has effectively eroded Canadians’ trust and faith in one another. The PM and his operatives do not let a single opportunity pass by without virtue signaling a division between Canadians. Case in point is most recently when Trudeau and his senior ministers infused the U.S. political maelstrom on abortion into Canada’s public debate, purposefully to 1) embolden his progressive base, and 2) highlight the moral and political divides on this contentious issue.

In the Financial Post, Joe Oliver offers his Lament for a misgoverned nation: “As they prepare to celebrate their country’s 155th birthday, Canadians are suffering at the hands of a divisive, incompetent government that has undermined prosperity, freedom, parliamentary responsibility, the independence of institutions, national unity and our country’s global standing.”

From the deluge of hapless news coming out of Ottawa these days, it seems that the very fabric of our nation is threadbare. Consider how these situations will end.

Canadians are being told there has been no impropriety or “undue influence” exercised with the latest scandalous news that RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki “made a promise” to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office to use the mass murders in Nova Scotia to help pass the Liberals gun control law. Senior Mounties have exposed the political power play. Yet, the same people who caused the obstruction of justice scandals involving Jody-Wilson-Raybould and SNC Lavalin, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, and the WE Charity payouts, claim the senior Mounties are fabricating their story. 

Canadians are now camping out for days in front of federal government offices with hopes that they might get their passports in time for their summer and fall vacations. To address the snake-like lineups moving at glacier speed, PM Trudeau announced a 13-member ministerial taskforce committee that (in his words) “will help guide the work of the government to better meet the changing needs of Canadians and continue to provide them with the high-quality services they need and deserve.” The committee will begin meeting in early July.  

Inflation last month hit almost 7.7 per cent, the highest it has been in 40 years when the current PM’s father was PM. Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberals now know nothing more of how to handle runaway inflation as the Trudeau Liberals did then. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s latest budget included more fiscal stimulus, more debt, more regulation and more taxes. Recall, she appeared beside the Bank of Canada governor to pronounce inflation was “transitory.” Recently, when asked about government actions to tamper inflationary pressures, she claimed the government has “done enough already.” In another interview when asked about the frustrations Canadians are experiencing with rising prices, Freeland offered “it is okay to be mad.” 

Gas pump prices in Canada continue to climb causing increasing strain for daily commuters, suburban families, and commercial drivers. Though Canadians are being told this is a global pressure in part caused by Russia, the fact is our country has the highest and highest-rising prices of any oil-developing nation. In comparing pump prices in Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York the gap has widened to more than 33 per cent more per litre. (News Thursday from an internal Department of Environment report tells us that new regulatory taxes on gas to be imposed July 1, 2023 will have a direct impact on prices by as much as 36 cents per litre.) The Americans are considering tax relief for motorists; any type of gas tax relief is something the Trudeau government has repeatedly rejected. 

More horrors were reported from Ukraine this week when missiles hit residential buildings in Kiev and one missile struck a shopping centre, killing 16 and injuring over 40. While this news shook the world, PM Trudeau was hamming it up at the G7 meetings in Germany, mocking Vladimir Putin and photos of him bare-chested horseback riding. The Canadian PM had nothing more to offer his colleagues at the NATO summit. In the past couple of years, it is evident Canada has been marginalized in international affairs – left out of AUKUS, no mention with the QUAD Alliance, and our diplomats are MIA in any discussions of defending Ukraine. Still our Trudeau Government boasts its hashtag diplomacy: #IStandWithUkraine. 

Finally, consider the news that Canada Day in Winnipeg has been replaced with “New Day” celebrations, a solemn statement to support Indigenous rights and to stand with those who hold grievances against Canada as a nation. Queen’s University professor Bruce Pardy makes this observation in an Epoch Times article, “The cancellation and renaming of Canada Day… reflects a kind of cultural self-hate that has gripped the body politic in Canada.” 

Professor Pardy homes in on the sobering significance, “Our institutions have embraced the premises of critical theory, an anti-Western ideology that insists that Canada and other Western nations are fundamentally unjust, systemically racist, oppressive, and destructive… the most serious threat to Canada may be its conditioned disgust with its own history and traditions.”

So, returning to Joe Oliver’s column and his use of the adjective “misgoverned”. Oliver assumes the Trudeau Government is rudderless and unfocused when, in fact, there is plenty of evidence what is at play here is more than incompetence. On this Canada Day, Parliament Hill is off-limits. The PM is insulting “those people” again, purposefully dividing and erasing the idea that we should celebrate our country. 

Oh Canada, this is lamentable. 

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