Category Archives: Features

News, articles and opinion pieces

An anxiousness concerning PM Justin Trudeau and his divisiveness

The Niagara Independent, January 14, 2022 – In a Hill Times front page story this week EKOS Research pollster Frank Graves mused that Canadians’ view of their prospects entering a new year was “unsurprisingly quite dark.” He observed that Canadians are feeling high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. This appraisal of Canadians’ negativism is reflected in another survey conducted by Nanos Research, which found that less than one in five Canadians (18 per cent) expect the country’s economy to rebound in the next six months.

Canadians appear to have rather bleak expectations for 2022 and no doubt this anxious feeling is compounded by the current headline news: inflation and rising costs of living, impending climate calamities, mounting health care crises – and a constant feed of the health and political news of the never-ending pandemic.

This despair is also being fueled by headlines concerning the country’s political leadership – the actions of PM Justin Trudeau and his government.

Following the September 2021 federal election there were a majority of Canadians that believed Justin Trudeau should resign. In the immediate aftermath of the election, in which less than one in three voters cast their ballot for the Liberals, a Maru poll reported that 77 per cent of Canadians believed their country to be “more fractured than ever.” The poll revealed deep feelings of regional division and an apathy or distrust of the country’s national leadership that appeared to be increasingly populist and small-minded.

Since this public opinion snapshot, PM Trudeau and his government continue to exacerbate Canadians in the way they manage the nation’s contentious issues of the day. The PM’s leadership (or lack thereof) was on display again this week when Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced he would introduce a personal tax on Quebecers who have chosen not to vaccinate. The premier’s Tuesday theatrics came after federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos mused aloud last Friday that provinces need to consider mandating vaccination – something he personally supports.

Though Quebec’s “anti-vax tax” violates Canadians’ human rights and attacks the very foundational principles of the country’s public health system, PM Trudeau would not condemn the premier’s overreach. But alas, one might expect no less from a PM who has not missed an opportunity to vilify Canadians that have chosen not to get vaccinated. He characterized Canadians who are unvaccinated as “extremists… who don’t believe in science” and many being “misogynists and racists.” He has repeatedly singled out the unvaccinated and has recently gone as far as to suggest all delayed surgeries, lockdowns, and public health restrictions are a result of the ten per cent of Canadians who have chosen not to vaccinate. Through the week the PM has deliberately sidestepped the responsibility for readdressing Premier Legault’s assault on Canadians’ rights. It appears for Justin Trudeau, the ends justify the means when dealing with “these people.”

The PM’s inaction in defending Canadians’ rights has also been disturbingly obvious with two egregious rights’ violations currently unfolding within La Belle Province. Inexcusably, the Trudeau government has chosen to not defend Gatineau teacher Fatemeh Anvari when she was removed from her classroom for wearing a hijab. It has also permitted the Legault government to unilaterally change the Canadian constitution and impose new French language laws that undermine the language rights of Quebec minorities.

The Trudeau government’s preferential treatment of Quebec has become an increasing source of division in the country. From the many clandestine activities defending SNC Lavalin to carrying out backroom favours for Quebec through the pandemic (masks shipments, vaccine supply), the Trudeau government has not blinked in shortchanging TROC. Underscoring its obvious favouritism was the Trudeau government’s quick and quiet five-year extension of the federal-provincial equalization agreement that has the majority of Canada’s redistributed funds shoveled to La Capitale Nationale (a.k.a. to TROC as Quebec City).

The Trudeau government’s management practices are consistently undermining Canadians’ confidence in government and its institutions.

  • The independence of national news agencies is brought into question when the federal government subsidizes newsrooms and reporters in excess of $600 million. Recently, the government doled out an additional $60 million in “pandemic relief” to selected newsrooms and refused to reveal which newsrooms were on the receiving end of their largesse.
  • New internet laws are to be introduced soon and these “online anti-hate measures” will establish a new federal bureaucracy to police Canadians’ online activities in accordance with a yet-to-be-written set of regulations.
  • The federal cabinet secretly approved Public Health Agency of Canada to collect location and movement data from 33 million Canadians’ cell phone use. The agency’s actions and its reports to government would have been kept from Canadians had it not been for investigative work by the independent journalist news source Blacklock’s Reporter. Canadians have since found out the PHAC is hoping to collect cell phone data through the next five years for pandemic planning and for purposes “other than public health measures.”
  • The RCMP commissioner this week urged Canadians to report any sign of “anti-government, anti-law enforcement” opinions expressed on the internet. Our national police force wants Canadians to snitch on those they feel may take action in protest against the government and/or the police.

Then there is the disconcerting radio-silence from the government on pressing matters relating to Canada-China relations: the new foreign policy on China, the fate of Huawei’s involvement with Canada’s G5 network, the Canada-China virus research in Winnipeg, possible foreign interference in the federal election, and a host of unaddressed human rights issues in China.

Perhaps the Trudeau government’s greatest attack on the national psyche since its re-election is the PM’s selection of a “climate activist” for the country’s environment minister. Defying the country’s history, economic realities, and bitterly cold winter climate, Steven Guilbeault is intent on shutting down Canada’s oil and gas industry. He has already telegraphed he will champion the government’s green agenda with little regard for the impact it will have on western Canada, the national economy, or on working Canadians. Guilbeault is on a mission and he has Trudeau’s explicit blessing. (More on this issue in the coming weeks.) 

On Tuesday of this past week, Canadians observed the birthdate of Canada’s first prime minister and had a chance to reflect on the hopes and aspirations Sir John A. Macdonald offered our young, fledgling nation. On that same day, as Premier Legault’s announcements were met with Trudeau’s calculated silence, we were reminded of the country’s existential threats that come from within, agitated by our current PM and his purposeful divisiveness.

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/an-anxiousness-concerning-pm-justin-trudeau-and-his-divisiveness/

Sir John A. Macdonald

John Alexander Macdonald was Canada’s first Prime Minister, a Father of Confederation, and the greatest visionary leader of our fledgling nation state in the mid- to later-1800’s. Canada grew under PM Macdonald’s political acumen, stewardship and unwavering national vision to establish for its people a promising country with unlimited potential.

In tribute to Sir John A. Macdoanld, this is By George Journal’s menu of posts on the country’s great prime minister.

Learned Perspectives on Canada’s First PM

In defence of Sir John A. Macdonald and his legacy

10 Favourite Quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald

Great Quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald

Celebrating Sir John A. (PM Wilfred Laurier’s observations)

Our lament for the accomplished life of Sir John A. Macdonald

3 favourite photos of Sir John A.

A favourite Sir John A. cartoon

Canada’s Prime Ministers on Politics (Sir John A.’s quips on politics)

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.

 

Time for the federal government to address Canada’s health care crisis

The Niagara Independent, January 7, 2022 – The COVID pandemic has exposed a growing crisis in Canada’s public health care system. Although the delivery of health services is a provincial responsibility, the country’s public health model was designed to be jointly funded by federal and provincial dollars. After years of underfunding by successive federal governments, the bald fact is the Canadian health care system now requires massive government expenditures to address its failings. With each coronavirus variant threatening to overwhelm and collapse our system, it has become increasingly evident that the federal government must provide a sizeable increase in health transfer dollars to the provinces.   

For years the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has been expressing frustration and disappointment with the federal government’s underfunding of health care. In responding to the 2021 federal budget, Dr. Ann Collins, then CMA president, was irritated that emergency health care dollars to deal with the pandemic were not earmarked. The president stated, “As provinces and territories continue to struggle with the ever-increasing cost of providing care, the federal government must follow through on its own promise to work with premiers on revisiting the Canada Health Transfer. This has been an enormously difficult year for patients and healthcare providers alike as they have been trapped in a system that has been neglected for too long.” 

Dr. Collins assessed Canada’s system in this way: “Small cracks have become gaping holes. Building resiliency for the future must include real commitments to health care. If anything, this pandemic has shown us where the problems are, but we must address them before it’s too late.”

Analysis by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) concludes that Canada ranks near the bottom of its 38-member countries in most critical categories. One glaring statistic is that Canada has a very low number of hospital beds per capita. At the same time, before the pandemic, the country’s hospitals had one of the highest percentages of hospital beds occupied (90 per cent). These two factors combined explain why hospitals are challenged to take in patients during emergencies and surging sicknesses. 

The OECD study confirms Canada is spending large amounts on the public system, yet it ranks near the bottom in numbers of nurses, specialists, and physicians per capita. Canadian wait times for specialist procedures are some of the worst in OECD countries.

One might say that the Canadian health care system itself is on life-support. Any uptick in admissions today means Canadian hospitals are a heart-beat away from “code orange” – resulting in a disarray of crowded wait rooms, hallway gurneys, and restricted or closed ORs. Medical staff is stretched, and nurses and PSWs are taking ill and are reportedly tired and discouraged.

It appears that Canada’s health care system is so ill-equipped it cannot withstand a surge in hospital bed or ICU capacity. Consider that Ontario, a province of 14.8 million people, has imposed lockdown measures to avoid “a tsunami” of more than 400 people from entering the ICU. Ontario public health officials are now providing daily updates on the number of people hospitalized as if they were reporting on how much a sinking ship is taking on water. 

With the anticipated Omicron surge in the province, elective surgeries have been suspended and some operations, including cancer treatments postponed. There are upwards of 10,000 people a week who will have their surgeries rescheduled as Ontario hospitals manage their resources. It is astonishing that the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario forecasted in May (before this latest round of delayed operations) there is a nightmarish backlog that will take three-and-a-half years to clear, and it will cost Ontarians $1.3 billion. 

To add to this desperate scene, in a media interview this week Ontario Nurses Association president Cathryn Hoy described an unfolding staffing emergency that is over and above the pandemic pressures, “Surgeries are being cancelled, clinics are reducing their capacity… the emerg units are overflowing with patients, we have emerg units that should have 30 staff on that actually only have 12 staff on… and a lot of these units, these hospitals, that are short-staffed and they’re panicking, the COVID numbers in those beds are decreased.” 

In another media report, Anthony Dale, head of the Ontario Hospital Association, conveyed a weariness with the hard decisions that are currently having to be made, “These are not trade-offs any of us wanted to make, but they are necessary now to protect staff hospital system capacity and health human resources.” 

This dire situation is occurring in Ontario in spite of the unprecedented dollars the provincial government is now spending in an attempt to bridge the gaps in the system from decades of underfunding. The Ontario government has allotted $5.1 billion of new investment in hospitals and more than $10 billion in long-term care since the start of the pandemic. To increase hospital capacity, Premier Doug Ford has recently announced thousands of new beds and two new super-hospitals – which will be the largest medical centres in the country. 

Still this provincial government investment is not enough for the immediate and growing needs of Ontarians for institutionalized health care and medical services are far greater and will cost a great deal more. Canadians residing in other provinces are in the same predicament when it comes to planning for appropriate health care. The country’s population is growing, it is aging, and the costs of medical procedures, equipment and drugs are all rising exponentially.    

To get the system off life-support, there is an immediate need for a huge injection of cash – and this requires the federal government to begin to pay its fair share of Canadians’ health care costs. Premier Ford reiterated the premiers’ request of PM Justin Trudeau this week when he stated, “There is no question the pandemic has tested our health care system, which is why I once again raised with the prime minister the urgent need for the federal government to increase its share of territorial-provincial health care spending to 35 per cent.”

The premiers are looking for the federal government to step forward so that all governments can begin the necessary work of restoring Canada’s public health care system. To reflect on the historical facts of the matter, when Tommy Douglas first introduced Canadian medicare it was understood that the federal government was to cover 50 per cent of health care costs. Through the decades that number has been whittled down to 35 per cent. Today, though, the federal government covers only 22 per cent of the total cost of health care.

Prior to the pandemic, Canada’s provinces spent $188 billion on health care and, in some cases, health care costs accounted for nearly half of a province’s budget. If the federal government were to honour its 35 per cent commitment, the total federal investment to the country’s health care should be $70 billion per year. But, at present, the federal government only transfers $42 billion for health care to the provinces each year – a remarkable $28 billion per year shortfall.

In the coming weeks, PM Trudeau will meet with the premiers to discuss the country’s health care. During this time, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is also preparing the 2022 Federal Budget and the figure to allot to the Canada Health Transfer. As Canadians continue to suffer through the never-ending pandemic, and our health care system strains under the weight of this prolonged national emergency, surely both Trudeau and Freeland can prioritize ample dollars towards Canada’s health care crisis. The present and future health of our public system depends on this.

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/time-for-the-federal-government-to-address-canadas-health-care-crisis/

Three federal news stories from the year that was, and three stories to watch for in the year ahead

The Niagara Independent, December 31, 2021 – With the country’s mounting health and economic challenges brought about by the seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians are likely to remember 2021 as another annus horribilis. Today, as we brace for the full impact of the Omicron wave and debate booster rollouts and vaccine passports, there are few who view the dawning of the new year with any cheerfulness. Small wonder. Consider three news stories of 2021 and three stories to unfold in 2022.

Three Stories of 2021

Pandemic Politics  

Since day one there has been a bungling, political agenda that has driven the Canadian government’s response to COVID-19. Recall in 2020, PM Justin Trudeau and then Health Minister Patty Hajdu were slow to recognize the severity of the health crisis even after the World Health Organization had declared COVID-19 “a pandemic.” The risk to Canadians “was low” and there was no need for masks. PM Trudeau refused to ban international flights from China and other “hot zones.” The ineptitude continued into 2021 with the mismanagement of vaccine procurement and supply.

Canadians will never know the true story of the politics behind the scene as the Trudeau government has gone to great lengths to bury the facts. As time marches on, Canadians’ will be less interested to know about Health Canada’s lack of acumen in assessing the unfolding health crisis; the secret Canada-China virus research at the Winnipeg lab; the PMO’s coverup about PPE shortages; the failed Canada-China vaccine; the exorbitant costs of purchasing vaccines months late and the unreliable supply of vaccines; and the many pandemic-related, sole-sourced contracts awarded to Liberals.

The “Two Michaels” and China 

The silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud of 2021 was the news of the release of the “Two Michaels” from their Chinese prison cells. With the return of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, the Communist China government sent home Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

The Two Michaels’ imprisonment for more than 1,000 days has brought into clear focus the conflicts of interests with the governing Liberals’ foreign policy respecting China. The multifaceted links between the Laurentian Liberals and Communist China have been exposed: Power Corporation’s China business empire and its incestuous ties to Montreal Liberals; the business relationships and interests that Ambassador Dominic Barton (and his wife) have with China and the Asian markets; and the documented Trudeau family’s infatuation with Communist China. From permitting Huawei’s G5 technology in Canada to the human rights abuses of the Uyghurs concentration camps, the headlines in 2021 regarding Canada-China relations revealed an embarrassing, unprincipled foreign policy. The Trudeau government’s ties with China are increasingly jeopardizing Canada’s traditional alliances.

Canada’s 44th Federal Election 

Justin Trudeau called the 44th federal election with the goal of winning a majority and securing unchecked parliamentary control to respond to the pandemic and reset the Canadian economy. However, after a lackluster campaign, his Liberals were returned to Ottawa with another minority government and the least amount of electoral support ever in the history of Canada. Less than one in three people who cast a ballot chose to vote Liberal. And those Liberal supporters were found primarily in urban centres. In fact, the 2021 contest exposed the widening chasm between easterners and westerners, and urban- and rural-Canadians.

Trudeau’s gambit to grasp greater control may have failed, however the PM and his advisors have pivoted to advance their agenda outside of parliament. There have been unprecedented delays in this post-election period with the PM’s selection of a new cabinet and his ministers’ mandate letters, as well as the return of parliament and the resumption of MPs’ work. It is a telling commentary of how the PM is choosing to operate when there has been less than 20 days of parliamentary debate scheduled in the last six months.

Three Stories for 2022

Deteriorating State of the Canadian Economy 

All signs suggest Canadians are in for a rough ride with both their personal finances and with the country’s economy. Inflation is now at the highest level it has been in decades. Statistics Canada notes it is running higher than wage increases, “which means the purchasing power of Canadians has diminished.” The average family of four in Canada will spend $966 more on the same food in 2022 as they did this year. Not to belabour the point, but 2022 will be challenging: it will cost more for food, more for energy (tax hikes and rising costs), and inflation will erode the value of our dollar.

The federal government is $1.2 trillion in debt and it is growing at an incredible rate of $17.6 million per hour. The government’s inability to control its spending is just “pouring fuel on the fire” of inflation, says Philip Cross, former chief economic analyst for Statistics Canada. The spiral downward for Canada’s economy has prompted the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to project Canada as the worst performing economy of its 38 members through the next three decades to 2060.

Liberals Plan to Build Back Better 

Led by PM Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, the federal government is implementing the World Economic Forum’s global agenda to “build back better” by redesigning capitalism and redistributing wealth in Canada. With crisis management lessons learned from its pandemic response, the Trudeau government plans to transition to managing the fight against climate change. The “global climate emergency” will provide the rationale for Trudeau and Freeland to introduce new personal and business taxes, increase government intervention in the private sector, and establish global mandates for Canadians to follow.

Building back better in Canada translates to shutting down the oil and gas industry, subsidizing green programs and renewable energy, and increasing taxation to pay for it all. In 2022, Canadians are sure to awaken to the grand design that the Trudeau government has for resetting Canada’s economy. (Our reality is reflected in the WEF ad that states, “You’ll own nothing. And you will be happy.”)

Canada’s Health Care Crisis 

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed that our beloved public health care system has been bending under the strain of federal government under-investment. The fact is that when Tommy Douglas first introduced Canadian medicare it was understood that the federal government was to cover 50 per cent of health care costs. Yet, today, the federal government currently covers only 22 per cent of the total cost of health care.

In 2022, this inequity must be addressed. There are substantial investments to be made in hospital infrastructure, long-term care services, and hiring of new health care personnel. Remarkably, with the country seized by the largest health crisis Canada has ever experienced, the 2021 federal budget committed no new health care dollars to the provinces. In the fall economic statement there was some dollars identified but not near the amount required. As president of the Canadian Medical Association Dr. Ann Collins has stated: “Building resiliency for the future must include real commitments to health care. If anything, this pandemic has shown us where the problems are, but we must address them before it’s too late.”

In its lead editorial assessing the New Year, the international news organization The Economist offered: “As 2022 draws near, it is time to face the world’s predictable unpredictability. The pattern for the rest of the 2020s is not the familiar routine of the pre-covid years, but the turmoil and bewilderment of the pandemic era. The new normal is already here.”

This editorial comment is not reassuring, but it is realistic. If the new normal is here then, for Canadians, this means in 2022 we will get just more of the same from the Trudeau government. Tax hikes. Inflation. Dogmatic green policies. Divisive national politics. Embarrassments on the world stage.

This is all predictable.

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/three-federal-news-stories-from-the-year-that-was-and-three-predictions-for-the-year-yet-to-be/

Photo credit: Cpl. Justin Dreimanis ~ DND-MDN Canada / Michael Kovrig embraces his wife Vina Nadjibulla after arriving at Pearson International Airport in September. The release of Kovrig and Michael Spavor following 1,000 days of imprisonment in China was easily one of the most consequential federal news stories of 2021.

New Year’s Toasts, Quotes and Verse

From the By George scribes at CG&A COMMUNICATIONS here’s to a healthy and happier 2022! May we see our way clear of the virus threats and resume our lives. Cheers!

Our bons mots to cheer in the New Year.

NEW YEAR TOASTS

– Here’s to a bright New Year and a fond farewell to the old; here’s to things that are yet to come and to the memories that we hold.
– As we start the New Year, let’s get down on our knees to thank God we’re on our feet.
– May all your troubles in the coming year be as short as your New Year’s resolutions.
– May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.
– May the road rise up before you, and the wind be always at your back, and the good Lord hold you in the hollow of his hands.
– May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.
– Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening, and live every day as if it were your last.
– Welcome are those that are here; welcome all, and make good cheer; welcome all, another year.

NEW YEAR QUOTES

– No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. – Charles Lamb
– Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.
– A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
– The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows.– George William Curtis
– New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday. – Charles Lamb
– Each age has deemed the new-born year, the fittest time for festal cheer — Sir Walter Scott
– The merry year is born, like the bright berry from the naked thorn. — Hartley Coleridge
– Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go. — Brooks Atkinson
– Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols. — Thomas Mann
– An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in; a pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. – Bill Vaughan
– Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve – middle age is when you’re forced to. – Bill Vaughn

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NEW YEAR VERSE

– We meet today
To thank Thee for the era done,
And Thee for the opening one.
– John Greenleaf Whittier

– Then sing, young hearts that are full of cheer,
With never a thought of sorrow;
The old goes out, but the glad young year
Comes merrily in tomorrow.
– Emily Miller

– New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. – Hamilton Wright Mabie

– Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past. – Henry Ward Beecher

– Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true
– Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

 

 

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 its holiday deceptions, Trudeau government is Canada’s ‘Grinch’

The Niagara Independent, December 24, 2021 – We all know the holiday classic “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. The conniving malcontent creature muses in the opening scene: “I must stop Christmas from coming… but how? I mean – in what way?” Then the Grinch devises a dastardly plan and heads out to ruin the Yule for all the fine folk of Whoville.

With the spirit of Christmas in the air, it is difficult for Canadians to not think of the Grinch’s storyline given the government’s plot that unfolded in Ottawa through December.

The Trudeau government’s tale begins with its fiscal update. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland attempted to put a shine on the $144.5 billion dollar lump of coal deficit by telling Canadians this figure is less than expected. The wily minister then sang and danced about dollars the federal government would spend to keep everybody safe and cozy. This opening number cost a mere $71 billion in new expenditures – less than the $101 billion expended in the April 2021 federal budget, and the $78 billion of additional Liberal promises in the election.

Just as the Grinch had flashed a smile of confidence when reviewing his plan, so too did Canada’s finance minister display a disturbing smugness as she cocked her head towards the camera. Freeland knew Canadians had lost track of the tens of billions of dollars spewed from the treasury – and the billions being printed from the government’s presses.

Andrew Coyne of the Globe and Mail summed up the act in this way: “Fiscal statements, like budgets, are supposed to be moments of transparency, when the government shares with the public the state of the country’s finances, together with its plans for taxing and spending. They have instead become occasions for the worst sort of opacity, if not outright deceit, leaving Canadians to guess, perhaps with the help of a forensic accountant, what the government is doing with their money.”

Though Canadians are seemingly mesmerized by Freeland’s performance (wide-eyed, much like those lovable Whoville inhabitants), they are being nudged by the reality that something is amiss. Financial analysts have assessed that the Trudeau government has spent more than all past governments combined. Statistics Canada reports that Canadians are now suffering the highest rate of inflation in 30 years. And the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecasts that Canada will be the worst economic performer of the world’s advanced economies – not only through the 2020s, but for the long haul to 2060.

Statistics Canada reveals inflation is running much higher than wage increases, “which means the purchasing power of Canadians has diminished.” Here’s a prime example: in the last year the price of bacon has increased 22 per cent, which means Canadians are now bringing less home.

Let’s return to the story and those last few days of parliament… “You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch. Your heart’s an empty hole. Your brain is full of spiders, you’ve got garlic in your soul.”

In mid-November the Trudeau government trumpeted that its legislation to implement a new round of spending was a priority that must be passed before MPs and senators could go home for their Christmas holidays. Bill C-2 would extend COVID benefits including lockdown subsidies for employers and workers through the winter months with the ability for cabinet to extend the billions of dollars of subsidies to Jul. 2, 2022.

The parliamentary drama around Bill C-2 became a tragic-comedy. The legislation was passed through the MPs finance committee without finance department officials providing a detailed accounting of the reported $7.4 billion of expenditures, or being able to explain where this money would come from. Then on the final day of the House of Commons December sitting, MPs voted and punted the bill to the Senate.

And, literally minutes after MPs approved of the government’s package, Finance Minister Freeland released figures that revealed the actual expenses were going to cost $11.9 billion. MPs passed the bill at 4:16pm to adjourn for Christmas. Freeland disclosed the true costs at 5:10pm.

On a Friday, senators were handed the legislation and expected to approve it in a day, without amendments. Senator Leo Housakos complained of “being arm-twisted.” He resented the deceit and the inevitability of passing the legislation: “We are passing it because of the pressures we are facing. We are not going to give consideration to legitimate amendments that deserve to be given legitimate consideration to make the bill better, to make the bill more efficient. They’re [senators] under the pressure of, ‘Well, we can’t bring back the House of Commons if we amend it,’ ‘We can’t do this,’ ‘We can’t do that…’”

In the end it was anti-climactic as the senators passed Bill C-2 and the lights of Upper Chamber faded to dark. Trudeau, Freeland, and the Liberal’s backroom operatives had turned the trick – remarkably Grinch-esque.

Christmas for Canadians in the year 2021 is like we are caught in a freezeframe of the Dr. Suess cartoon… we are stuck fretting over the Grinch in those memorable scenes where he has gone from house-to-house robbing Whoville of its prosperity. The Liberals’ treachery is uncontested. Will this Grinch ever meet up with little Cindy-Lou?

It does seem hopeless.

  • The federal government is $1.2 trillion in debt, and this is growing at an incredible $17.6 million per hour.
  • Two in three Canadians do not believe this federal government is able to control its spending.
  • An increasing number of businesses are shutting their doors than opening new ones.
  • Foreign investment in Canada is trending downward and today there is a net outflow of investment.
  • Consumer confidence is 10 per cent below pre-pandemic level with less than one in five thinking it is a good time to purchase a big-ticket item.
  • Mortgage debt in Canada is at the highest level that has ever been recorded.
  • More than 50 per cent of Canadians under age 35 experienced job loss or reduction of hours during the pandemic.
  • Food bank usage in Ontario is up 10 per cent this year.
  • One in two Canadians are losing sleep over their finances.

“Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most unpleasant,
Around the whole room, and he took every present!”

So, now envision the Grinch sucking up the chimney a family’s firewood, then reaching down to pick up that last crumb from the floor of the hearth. This Jan. 1, the Trudeau government will be introducing a new Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) carbon tax on the country’s business community – a new tax that finance officials estimate will increase household energy costs by an additional $208 +GST annually. Canadians are likely not to notice this bit of thievery when trying to come to terms with their financial stresses… again, it is all very Grinch-esque of this Trudeau government.

(Can someone please cue Cindy-Lou to appear soon?)

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/with-its-holiday-deceptions-trudeau-government-is-canadas-grinch/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press / Chris Young

A Canadian Christmas Carol

The Niagara Independent, December 25, 2020  –  With apologies to Charles Dickens and the wondrous legacy of The Christmas Carolhere is a modern day story of the spirit Jacob Marley, who last evening visited a weary Canadian — cynical soul who has lost all hope for hination and its promise. As Marley successfully illuminated the crevices of Ebenezer Scrooges heart of stone, he appears this Christmas Eve to forewarn our Canadian (let’s call him Canuck) that there needs to be spiritual reawakening to appreciate and ensure all that is possible for Canada. Marley tells Canuck he is to be visited by three apparitions…

As the story goes, the Ghost of Christmas Past ferried Canuck back to 1890, to a snowy December night in Kingston, Ontario. There he came face-to-face with John A. Macdonald sitting in front of a fireplace with a blanket pulled up over his 75year old frame. Macdonald was preoccupied writing campaign notes. Early in the new year he is planning to lead his Conservatives into an election with the cry of “The Old Flag. The Old Policy. The Old Leader.” The PM seems as determined as ever that his National Policy will ensure the young country will survive the ambitions of American politicians and businessmen.

Canuck is fascinated by the elder figure hunched over, absorbed in his work. Indeed, Macdonald had won five majority governments for the Conservative Party and by all accounts had realized his remarkable dream of a united Dominion from sea to sea. It was he who advanced the scheme of a confederation in the decade leading up to 1864; who became Canada’s first prime minister; and who forged a national conscience by laying down a ribbon of steel and demanding steadfast loyalty to Westminster democracy.

Macdonald was responsible for the completion of the Intercolonial Railway to Halifax and celebrated the engineering feat linking east to west via the transcontinental CPRAs an exemplar Parliamentarian, PM Macdonald championed protectionist trade measures against the U.S. and negotiated the entry of provinces PEI, Manitoba, and B.C., and the acquisition of all lands in between. For these accomplishments, the knighted Sir John A. Macdonald is to be forever regaled as the chief architect of Confederation and the primary Founding Father of the budding nation Canada.

In the quiet of his den, Macdonald sipped his mulled wine. Canuck thought of the PM’s love of alcohol and then of the many blotches on the PM’s political career. Yet, as he watched Macdonald scribbling the campaign notes he was suddenly overcome by the magnitude of this man’s perseverance inestablishing a country that aspired to the laudable principles of peace, order, and good governmentClearly, the illustrious results of this man’s work must not be taken for granted.

Then, in what seemed to be a blink of an eye, the Ghost of Christmas Present took Canuck by the hand and led him to a remote prison in China. There behind bars he met a thin, unhappy figure who he identified as Michael Spavor. “The two Michaels” as all Canadians have come to know them – Spavor and Michael Kovrig – are spending their third Christmas in cellsCanuck shivered at the thought that the two Michaels have been languishing in captivity now for almost 750 days, away from their families and friends, and from their country.

Canuck reasoned it was not right that these men were held as payback for the arrest of Huawei Technologies executive Meng WanzhouHis mind wandered to disturbing accounts of other Canadians who were jailed by the Chinese Communists. Behind bars in China meant rounds of tiresome interrogationsinfrequent meals, and the cellblock lights shining 24 hours a day. There were reports that the two Michaels also spent time in overcrowded cells. The communists had denied them visitors, news of the outside world, and any word from home.

Stupefied, Canuck thought how Communist China is so unlike Canada (even though, he mused, PM Justin Trudeau admires the Chinese Government and it seems hhas accommodated and made excuses for countless Chinese misdeeds). It troubled him to think how little Canadians consider the foundational underpinnings of our countryObviously, the two Michaels knew too well the differences between our countries. On the one hand, Canadians can be grateful for our luxuries of abundant food, clean water and warm surroundings. On the other hand, the Michaels are being held by a suppressive government that has little regard for freedom of speech and movement, for an independent judiciary, for individuals’ rights and possessions. Though this year in Canada we may have seen Trans Mountain blockades and Maritime lobster pound standoffs, we have not experienced the tragedies of the Uighur Muslims or Hong Kong democrats.

There are many contrasts to be made mused Canuck, yet here sits Spavor. If we do not speak out about our difference and defend our libertiesbut for the grace of God go I.

Without warning, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come grabbed Canuck and sat him down in an office, in front of a woman pounding away on a keyboard. He scanned the desk and determined he had somehow skipped through time to the year 2050. Canuck was visiting an editor of Ottawa parliamentary publication, The Hill Times, who was preparing a year-end edition. He saw on the screen, the cover story read “States of Alberta and Saskatchewan Celebrate 25th Anniversary.”

The editor looked up into the computer screen to her news team; the meeting to review the papers’ editorial line-up commencedThe Alberta and Saskatchewan cover article will feature the economic boom of their resource-based industries and how these former provinces flourished as part of the United States. Three accompanying pieces are to provide a full picture of the former country Canada1) a review of the socialist reforms undertaken in the Republic of Canada; 2) trade and resource development news between British Columbia and China; and, 3) the Republic’s appeal to international bodies to assist with Russia and China military encroachments in its northern territories.

There are two parliamentary columns: one to cover the U.N.’s latest terms for the Republic’s debt payments, and a second one on the newly imposed goods and services tax of 33 percent. The lead year-end editorial will speak to how Canadians should be forever grateful: the Republic of Canada is providing womb to tomb state programing, including a guaranteed income for a majority of the population. secondary editorial is to draw a comparison between how past Canadian protests that removed statues of Sir John A. Macdonald are much like the current mobs who are pulling down the statues of the Republic’s Founding Father Justin Trudeau. The underlining message in this editorial is: Canadians must take lessons from and not erase their history.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come dropped Canuck back into the comfort of his bed where he stretched from his fetal position. What a dream… what a nightmare! Could it be? Would it be? Canuck immediately jumped out from under his sheets and hurried to the window. He chortled. No doubt, Jacob Marley and the apparitions had given him a great gift – and there was much, so much he must do in 2021.

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/a-canadian-christmas-carol/

Finance Minister Freeland fueling an inflation fire in a house that is burning down

The Niagara Independent, December 17, 2021  – This week, Canadians got a glimpse of the Trudeau government plan to guide the country through our pandemic recovery period. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland provided a fiscal update that emphasized the government is prepared to spend however much it needs to meet short term COVID related issues. Freeland stated the government is delaying sharing the details of its approach to reset the country’s economy until the spring budget.

Canada’s finance minister reported that the projected budget deficit for this fiscal year is lower than expected and is now $144.5 billion. This new bottom line is a result of tens of billions of dollars of new tax revenue for Ottawa — tax money on pandemic support payments that were generously given to individuals and businesses through the initial waves of COVID in 2020.

Freeland reported that almost $30 billion of the government’s new tax windfall will be spent on enhanced payments to provinces as they brace for the fallout of the Omicron variant. The money is to be spent on things such as purchasing rapid tests, tax credits to improve air quality in workplaces, and implementing proof-of-vaccination programs.

None of this new spending relates to improving Canada’s health system – on providing necessary support for province’s hospitals and long-term care homes, or on any of the $25 billion of health care promises made by PM Justin Trudeau during the election campaign.

In fact, the finance minister’s fiscal update – which carried a price tag of $71 billion of new expenditures – did not mention any of the $78 billion of promises made by the Liberals on the hustings.

In her post-announcement interviews, Chrystia Freeland schooled those who thought she would address the Liberals’ priority issues that had prompted the mid-summer election call. She explained, “This update is what it says on the title page: It is an economic and fiscal update. This is not the master plan for the Canadian economy going forward. That will be in the budget.”

So, to recap the government’s forecasted expenditures: Freeland’s April 2021 federal budget had a $101 billion price tag attached, this update presents $71 billion of additional spending, and the government intends to introduce another $78 billion of promised programs and services in four months hence.

The federal government’s fiscal plan is unaffordable and it is irresponsible, claims the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF). The organization was quick to attack the finance ministers’ update. CTF federal director Franco Terrazzano was critical of the government’s unbridled spending that has resulted in a national debt of $1.2 trillion. He pointed out that government debt will have a serious impact on future policy options and Canadians’ prosperity.

“Years of borrowing means taxpayers will lose out on nearly $200 billion by 2027 just to pay for interest charges on Canada’s debt. That’s money we can’t use to hire more nurses or lower taxes because it’s going to bond fund managers to service the government’s debt,” said the CTF head.

“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.”

In the House of Commons, Freeland was taken to task for her spending by Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole.

“Our country is drowning in the rising waters of debt that is being fueled by inflation and by ideological policies that are driving away investment and making Canada one of the last places people will come for their economic recovery.”

O’Toole summed up the fiscal plan as another Liberal statement of “empty promises, massive debt, higher taxes and no real economic plan.”

MP Pierre Poilievre, the Conservative finance critic, homed in on what this spending means for individual Canadians.

“A half-trillion dollars of inflationary deficits mean more money chasing fewer goods driving higher prices. Housing and gas are up a third, so youth can’t afford to get to work or buy a home. And families can’t afford the extra $1000 it will cost to feed themselves next year. Instead of reversing this high-cost, high-inflation agenda, today the government announced yet another $71 billion of inflationary spending, costing nearly $5000 for every family in Canada.”

Two separate economic reports recently released provide reason to worry about the Trudeau government’s spending. Juxtapose Freeland’s fiscal plan with the Statistics Canada consumer price index (CPI) data that indicates the official inflationary number is 4.7 per cent year-over-year. That “official number” Canadians are told is the highest rate of inflation in 30 years. The Statistics Canada release noted that inflation is running higher than wage increases, “which means the purchasing power of Canadians has diminished.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stated in an international press release that inflation is the prime concern for the global economic outlook in 2022 and 2023. The OECD commented: “The main risk, however, is that inflation continues to surprise on the upside, forcing the major central banks to tighten monetary policy earlier and to a greater extent than projected.” (That translates to hikes to interest rates in the near future.)

This global body also had a grim outlook for Canada. The OECD predicts that of countries in the advanced world, Canada will be the worst performing economy over the next decade. In fact, the OECD projects Canada will be the worst performing economy of its 38 members through the next three decades to 2060. It cites Ottawa’s current monetary policy and lack of fiscal discipline as contributing factors to the country’s dismally low GDP growth projection.

Still, in interview after interview this week, Finance Minister Freeland provided reassurances that Canada’s economic future is promising and Canadians need not worry about inflation as it is only transitory.

Two in three Canadians do not believe this. Bloomberg News released a Nanos Research poll that revealed 63.5 per cent of Canadians are unconvinced Ottawa’s policy makers – from Chrystia Freeland to Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem – will be able to rein inflation back to pre-pandemic levels.

Essentially, it will come down to fiscal discipline surmises Scott Clark, a former deputy minister of finance. This week Clark gave Freeland some unsolicited advice in a media interview. He was remarking on the massive government debt and the prospect of an additional $78 billion of promises in the spring budget, “You just have to say: ‘We can’t do this right now’. You have to set priorities. No-one is going to hate her for that — she’s just doing her job.” But then, Clark frankly assessed, “I don’t think the government has the willpower to do it.”

Given the government’s fiscal update and the OECD forecast for our Canadian economic future, Clark’s assessment seems accurate. It is hard not to conclude that Chrystia Freeland is fueling an inflation fire in a house that is burning down.

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/minister-freeland-fueling-an-inflation-fire-in-a-house-that-is-burning-down/

Photo credit: Justin Tang of The Canadian Press

Christmas Memes for 2021

By George brings you a series of Christmas memes that reflects the sad realities of 2021 – another year of endurance through the never-ending pandemic.We hope some of these memes may bring a weary smile to your face.

 

And here are last year’s memes for the pandemic season: A dozen 2020 Christmas memes

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.

 

We’re failing “the COVID test”

The three opinion columns below are must-reads to understand Canadians and the country we live in, as it is, today. Collectively (due to the vast majority), we are miserably failing “the COVID test.” 

Your expectations are a problem

We are not owed any particular future, and are not guaranteed more of what we’ve already had.

Matt Gurney / The Line / December 3, 2021

https://theline.substack.com/p/matt-gurney-your-expectations-are

Your expectations are a problem, my friends.

Let’s get a few caveats out of the way: I don’t mean you, personally and exclusively (though someone will undoubtedly take this as a direct insult). This is very much a comment on Canada and the Western world broadly. And I also don’t mean expectations in the sense of what you, as a person, are owed by anyone else, like an employer or a partner — aim for the stars, my friends!

But your expectations are still a problem, as are mine, in this critical and broadly shared way: our understanding of the facts on the ground, the world we live in — how we expect it to be — may be wrong, or at least increasingly outdated. And the longer it takes us to realize this, the more danger we will face.

Some version of this column has been rattling around in my skull for some time, and the overall thesis is certainly in line with much of my work over the years, where I’ve warned of the costs of our complacency, often in the area of national defence. But this one is different — it’s not about a specific problem, per se, so much as it is an attempt to understand a series of problems at their roots. It has not proven an easy one to write. The thesis — that Canadians’ fundamental expectations are increasingly out of step with the current reality — is hard to prove or even investigate. There’s no poll or survey, no collection of data sets, that will make this case.

But there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence, and it simply, on a gut level, feels right. Canadians and the citizens of other comparable countries alive today are, in the main, products of an economic, military, political and public-health winning streak that has continued unabated since the end of the Second World War.

There have been periods of time or incidents that would seem to contradict it — the U.S. lost in Vietnam, for instance, and we’ve had economic slumps and epidemics along the way. But overall, a typical Canadian and many others across the West, born after 1945 or so, has lived in an era where their country was militarily secure, economically prosperous, politically stable and nestled comfortably inside a confident, triumphant liberal-democratic international consensus.

Along the way, we have experienced medical breakthroughs that have continuously both lengthened and improved our time on this earth. Consider my late grandfather as a representative example of the progress contained in a single lifetime: in his youth, he nearly perished of an infection because antibiotics were not yet available; when he did die in his early 80s, stricken by Alzheimer’s, he had two separate forms of cancer, both of which were manageable, chronic conditions due to new drugs and laser surgeries. It’s remarkable. From near-death-from-sepsis-in-childhood to blasting tumours with light in one man’s lifespan.

This is true for all of us, in some way or another. Entire lives have been lived, and entire generations raised, during this multi-generational winning streak — and even though the benefits of it haven’t been shared equally by all our citizens (a sad understatement, alas), it’s been true enough for so many for so long that we have come to accept as normal — to expect — something that is actually quite rare. We are living in the best moment of history, in terms of our security, health and prosperity — or at least we were until early 2020. This winning streak lasted, I fear, just long enough for a critical mass of us to lose perspective on how rare and precious the last few generations have been in the West. We’ve lost the ability to realize that, maybe, we had not embarked on a brave new era of exponential human progress. Rather, perhaps we’ve taken for granted a historical fluke.

What finally brought this column forth was two incidents that, though unrelated, happened within moments of each other earlier in the week. The first was simply a chat with a friend; we were catching up on life when she mentioned that the news about Omicron had hit her hard, because it felt like yet another delay to the return to “normal.” The second was some typically overheated Twitter reaction my Line colleague Jen Gerson received when she noted — entirely correctly — that COVID-19, though devastating, wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, nor as nasty as some plagues throughout history.

Consider my friend’s dread about a delayed return to normal. I expect a return to something functionally comparable to our old normal; my own life is basically there already (with the irritating but tolerable exception of wearing of a mask in many indoor settings). But I have never taken a return to normal as a given. A functional return to a pre-pandemic normal still strikes me as the most likely outcome by a wide margin, but there are a lot of plausible scenarios where our lives remain permanently, negatively changed. This isn’t a prediction. But if you don’t at least grant the possibility that it could be otherwise, you’re kidding yourself. Your expectations of a return to the comfortable old familiar are blinding you to the reality that life can change in ways that are never undone. This has happened to people before, and there is absolutely nothing stopping it from happening to you, or all of us.

And the reaction to Jen’s tweet (which she expanded into a full column on Thursday) was awfully revealing of just how far removed from some harsh realities Canadians have become. COVID-19 might have been the worst shared global experience you’ve ever experienced. That’s true of me, too. But there’s a massive gulf between “worst thing I’ve lived through” and “the worst thing that could plausibly happen.” We don’t even need to ponder hypotheticals. Read about 1918, which, as Jen noted in her column, was vastly more deadly in terms of overall deaths — and it’s not even close.

Don’t believe me? Canada’s COVID-19 death toll is currently a bit under 30,000. We lost 50,000 to Spanish Flu, out of a population of eight million. An equally deadly pandemic this time would have killed almost a quarter million of us. That’s every COVID death, plus 200,000-some-odd more.

Consider what would have happened if COVID-19 had been even modestly more contagious or deadly, or consider my nightmare scenario: it attacked the young, the very young, not the old. This could have been so much worse. It could still become so.

This seems lost on many, including some very smart people who ought to know better. I have a very clear memory of chatting with a colleague in the summer of 2020, and mentioning that I was glad the first wave hadn’t proven worse. He was aghast — genuinely confused and shocked. “How could it be worse?” he asked. His question left me equally shocked and confused. I had to ask him if he was being serious. He was.

And many would agree with him: they can’t imagine it having been harder. To them, I say only this: if your imagination can’t conceive of anything worse than the last 20 months, and if your grasp of history is so weak that you think that the last 20 months have been some unprecedented catastrophe, that’s a comment on your imagination and historical literacy, not on the last 20 months. It’s not nice to look back on this pandemic and realize that we were lucky to dodge something worse, but if you truly think it couldn’t have been much nastier, I hope you never have the experience of being proven wrong.

Some of these failures in comprehension, understanding and imagination are on the individual level, some are on the institutional level, and I’m not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg. It’s too easy to simply blame government leaders and officials for these problems — I’m afraid that our politics, on this score, is simply downstream of our collective societal cluelessness about just how fragile and precious our way of life has become.

But here’s the rub, folks: we are not owed any particular future, and are not guaranteed more of what we’ve already had. This is not a defeatist declaration — I believe we can continue to thrive. As a father of young children, I am forced to be an optimist — I have to believe the world will be good for them. But we’re going to have to work for that world, and that starts with understanding that none of what we’ve enjoyed is the natural state of human affairs.

This will be hard for Canadians to grasp. For our entire history, we have been under the protection of the preeminent global power — we had the incredible fortune of sliding out from under the British umbrella right into the protective cover of the American one without getting hit by a single drop of rain. Basic assumptions about our physical security are hardwired into our national concept of everything — but is that concept changing? Are the Americans still a reliable ally? Can we take their own political stability for granted? We expect America to be stable and friendly — but should we? Is the Western alliance system and the “rules-based international order” we hear so much about things that actually still exist, or are they slogans?

Or take health care. The long-understood bargain in Canada has been that we’d tolerate substandard service in many areas, such as long wait times for non-essential procedures, because we had faith the system would be there for us if our lives were really on the line. Health systems across Canada have been overwhelmed by the pandemic. We now have massive backlogs of urgently necessary tests and procedures, and these delays are going to cost lives — they have already cost lives. What we expect from the health-care system, it is no longer able to consistently provide.

Take a gander at B.C. Can we expect the same weather patterns we’ve built our infrastructure around, there and elsewhere? How many of you made a big financial decision in recent years on the expectation that, after a 40-year absence, inflation would continue to remain stable and modest? And Putin isn’t going to really invade Ukraine, is he? Is he?

I could go on. The point is not to descend into panic. I’m not panicked. But I am increasingly convinced that you can explain a lot of Canadian dysfunction — the lack of “state capacity” we are increasingly hearing about — by simply understanding that we have built our government, our entire political class and a horrifying degree of our national collective psychology around a series of deeply held and extremely cheerful assumptions about the world, our safety, our prosperity, our health and the ascendancy of our values that no longer hold true. Our tools are not suited to the jobs newly at hand.

Before we can even begin to respond to these challenges, we have to perceive them, truly see them and accept their reality, and that’s going to require a process of overcoming denial that may take longer than we have.

Because we have about 75 years’ worth of “givens” we need to start interrogating anew, and asking if they still hold, and there’s going to be a massive temptation to reassure ourselves that they do, because to admit otherwise is going to compel a lot of action, a lot of spending and some long, sleepless nights. But we don’t have a choice. We need to do this. Because our expectations have become a problem that we need to start solving.

On COVID restrictions, our governments keep firing up the gaslights and shifting the goalposts

If you give the government an inch on your rights, they will go for the mile every time

Allan Richarz / CBC Opinion / December 3, 2021

https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/opinion-covid-measures-gaslighting-shifting-goalposts-1.6268380

Listen closely and one might be able to discern the unmistakable sounds of our elected and unelected officials frantically firing up the gaslights and moving the goalposts on COVID restrictions and vaccinations.

It was a precipitous but inevitable shift from “two weeks to flatten the curve” to get the jab or lose your job, and unsurprisingly, there is still more to come.

Met the provincial vaccination targets? Great; but now it’s time for a booster. Ready for the “temporary” vaccine passport system to expire? Sorry, we need to extend it through spring; proving once again that if you give the government an inch on your rights, they will go for the mile every time.

Less than a year ago, government and public health officials touted vaccination as a panacea to end the pandemic. It’s safe, effective and will allow the country to put COVID behind us, we were told. To that end, citizens were encouraged, prodded and eventually threatened to get their shots, with holdouts demonized by politicians at all levels. Yet, in Ontario, even as the province exceeded by weeks its vaccination and case number targets of the government’s phased reopening plan, citizens were offered only breadcrumbs in return: moving up Phase 3 reopening by just a few days, with no plans at the time for a complete reopening.

Goalposts shift again

And now, with new case numbers in Ontario essentially split evenly between the unvaccinated and fully vaccinated and questions about waning vaccine efficacy, the goalposts shift again with the rollout of booster shots elsewhere in the country and calls for expanded eligibility.

One does not need to look hard to guess what the next step will be across Canada. In Israel and France, the definition of fully vaccinated was changed to include boosters; those six months out from their second dose, or first booster, are now considered unvaccinated, and their vaccine passport privileges suspended.

There is, of course, the popular rebuttal that these goalpost shifts are entirely above-board as the “science evolves.” But that exposes the flaw inherent in governments’ COVID response: for nearly two years, debate and dissent from burdensome COVID restrictions has been short-circuited with demands that citizens “trust the science“; a modern take on debate-defusing exhortations to “support our troops” during the War on Terror. Every infringement on citizens’ privacy, mobility, autonomy and conscience rights has been justified by officials in the name of the infallible technocratic might of “the science.”

But when proven wrong – or more importantly, unpopular at the polls – that formerly rock-solid science on which officials acted is simply dismissed out of hand. Policymakers, however, cannot on one hand demand unyielding adherence to science, and then down the road simply hand-wave away their previous demands on the grounds that their knowledge or political fortunes have evolved.

It is for this precise reason that checks and balances exist in governance: to prevent rule through unaccountable technocratic appeals to authority. Debate and dissent in the age of COVID, however, have become four-letter words.

Our public health officials and elected politicians should not at this point expect any benefit of the doubt. Considering that we are still taking our shoes off and binning bottles of water at airport security 20 years after 9/11, that government officials and their unelected mandarins are unwilling to cede their newfound power in an age of COVID should not come as any surprise.

Indeed, officials have shown they are not above apparent falsehoods to further their aims. Last week, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Kieran Moore justified the immunization of children between the ages of five and 11 by claiming hospitalization and case counts for that age group were increasing. Yet, according to Ontario’s own data, there had been zero hospitalizations in that age group in the past two weeks at the time of Moore’s statement.

Always another threat

As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) once knew, “There will always be a new disease, always the threat of a new pandemic.” Accordingly, the number of boosters, or the percentage of fully-vaccinated citizens, needed for a return to normal will always be n+1. Meet one metric, and be met with two more. As the ACLU continues, “If [fear of disease] justifies the suspension of liberties and the institution of an emergency state, then freedom and the rule of law will be permanently suspended.”

Already we see public health officials priming the pump for the next goalpost shift. Even if vaccine uptake is high among five to 11-year-olds, it will still not be good enough. According to Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, toddlers under the age of four will be next to need the shots, claiming with an absolute lack of shame that – unlike all the other times we were promised an end to the pandemic – vaccinating that group will be a “turning point.”

The government, of course, will never walk back its emergency powers of its own volition. And why would they? After two years of fomenting terror and division among the population, they have cultivated a solid base of support that combines the post-9/11 see-something-say-something paranoia of a middle-class yuppie with the unctuous 1980s Moral Majority sense of superiority.

Until public opinion turns sharply against government overreach, we will continue to live in an artificially prolonged state of emergency, beholden to the whims of bureaucrats and elected officials.

After 21 months, our leaders are still flying blind through the pandemic

We find ourselves looking towards Christmas 2021, with more imperative edicts as to how we might be allowed to celebrate it

Rex Murphy / The National Post / December 3, 2021

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/rex-murphy-after-21-months-our-leaders-are-still-flying-blind-through-the-pandemic

Are governments managing COVID, or is COVID managing governments? I’m going with the latter.

It is almost a feat of memory to recall the early days of the pandemic when the call went out to tolerate restrictions for just “two weeks to flatten the curve.” When two weeks proved insufficient, the lockdowns continued.

Still, in those early days, most people were willing to take the hit, to circumscribe normal interactions, shut their businesses, leave their elderly relatives cloistered and unvisited, and comply with the harsher protocols. Hard it was, but Canadians are sensible and obliging.

Well, a couple of months swelled to several, then to a year, and now here we are 21 months later. What’s changed? More to the point: what’s improved? Well, we now have COVID passports, imperfect vaccines, a flurry of follies on when and where to wear a mask, and absolutely no idea what is next.

We find ourselves looking towards Christmas 2021, with more imperative edicts as to how we might be allowed to celebrate it: how many at the festive table, a face shield on baby Jesus in the creche and double-thick masks if plum pudding is to be served.

Every month brings a new “variant.” Are the variants limitless? Are the variants worse than the original? I sometimes wonder, when they run out of letters from the Greek alphabet, will they jump to Cyrillic? It’s hard to pronounce, but as an emphatic typography, it has the stern look our overseeing managers will appreciate.

Even the most obliging citizens continue to respect the advice of municipal, provincial and federal governments, but in private conversation rattle off doubts and frustrations about the policies and pronouncements of health and political authorities.

They don’t believe COVID is under control, or even understood in any fundamental sense, and they certainly do not believe that those in authority have a handle on it. They go along. But the going along is tepid, unconvinced, resentful and certainly not spined with any belief that the maskings and the mandates, the on and off lockdowns, and the waning vaccines are taming COVID.

I’m not speaking of those who go to protests, who reflexively resist government authority or the even more demented faction who talk to trees and expect a reply. I’m talking about average folks — mothers, clerks, taxi drivers and students — who are going along, but in a deeply subdued way.

We must ask some questions. Do our authorities really have an understanding of the problem? Or are they continuing to improvise as they go? If such is the case, governments should say so. Do not give false hope. Will any authority, in health or politics, make a definitive statement about when or how this COVID crisis will end?

What is the end game? Is there one? Will politicians declare the set of conditions that must be present for life to return to normal? What is the current projected timeline? Are we looking at another year? Two? Is this a permanent state of affairs? Is the extremely imperfect COVID “cure” worse than the disease? That is the question.

The normal rhythms of daily life are shot; commerce is desperately ailing; industries are failing; inflation is back and it will cut very deeply in the months ahead; energy supplies are in jeopardy; the supply chain is broken; the health of a multitude of citizens is not being attended to, doctors are on phone lines, surgeries delayed, emergencies rooms have turned into vast waiting halls; young people have lost out on their education; loved ones have been separated; travel is either a pain or a joke; the psychological injuries imposed by COVID regimes are not, and perhaps cannot, be measured. But they are massive and extreme.

And most emphatically: the civil liberties of citizens have been pushed aside, abandoned, violated with scarcely a whimper from parliamentarians and the news media. Our once-celebrated Charter of Rights and Freedoms is shown to be a platitudinous vapour, a shield of fog and foam, most insouciantly violated when it is most needed.

We may accede to the conditions and regulations being laid down for us. But I would ask readers these questions: Do you think our various authorities, medical and political, are competently managing COVID and have a clear plan for a return to normalcy? Do you believe that our politicians — municipal, provincial and federal — really know what they are doing?

And the last one: are you feeling better now, more confident today, than you felt two years ago, when our leaders, so solicitously, asked for your help, just for two weeks mind you, to “flatten the curve?”

 

Have an opinion on where we find ourselves in Canada today? Write and share it: chrisg.goerge@gmail.com

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

‘Justinflation’ and its impact on Canadians

The Niagara Independent, December 3, 2021 – Recall Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s candid admission on the election campaign hustings, “When I think about the biggest, most important economic policy that this government, if re-elected, would move forward, you’ll forgive me if I don’t think about monetary policy.”

The PM has no mind for fiscal and economic policies. However, there are an increasing number of financial reports and analyses that suggest the Trudeau government’s lack of attention to its monetary policy is jeopardizing Canadians’ personal financial standing and the country’s future economic prosperity.

Inflation in Canada is at the highest level it has been in decades and this fact, at least in part, is due to Trudeau’s and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s approach to the country’s finances – and their flippant response to current inflationary pressures being increasingly felt by everyone.

In the House of Commons this week, the opposition parties accused Trudeau and Freeland of fueling inflation with continued reckless spending, the printing of money, and failing to provide clear direction to the Bank of Canada. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre coined a new phrase to identify the government’s disregard for rising costs of living: Justinflation. The term has caught on in parliamentary debates and the media – much to the annoyance of the finance minister.

Freeland makes the argument that Canada’s level of inflation is not unlike rates found in the G20. (She cleverly neglects to mention G20 countries are in lockstep with their monetary approach, a page torn out of the globalists’ World Economic Forum playbook – the Forum that Freeland herself is a director.) In debate, the finance minister references economists who state Canada’s inflationary challenges are not of the government’s doing. Former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz conducted a series of media interviews to declare inflation in Canada was not caused by federal spending.

Yet, recently there has been financial analysis that concludes the government’s failure to adjust its spending and respond to the rising inflationary pressures is making the matters much worse. Philip Cross, former chief economic analyst for Statistics Canada, released a report in which he argues the government’s massive pandemic spending program has led to unprecedented public debt and the fact it has no plan to repay that debt is now “pouring fuel on the fire” of inflation.

Steven Globerman, professor emeritus at Western Washington University, concluded in a Fraser Institute report that the Trudeau government will prolong higher rates of inflation without providing clear direction to the Bank of Canada. Globerman writes central banks “need to stop injecting unprecedented amounts of money into the economy and return to a more measured monetary policy”; or “higher inflation could persist even after the pandemic subsides.”

Today, Justinflation is Canadians’ greatest concern, far greater than the pandemic, climate change, or any other political issue. The skyrocketing cost of living and, specifically, the costs of gas and food is keeping people awake at night, according to the latest Global News Ipsos poll taken in mid-November. One in three Canadians are worried about their finances through the winter months and just 23 per cent of respondents are confident that the government will make progress on cost of living and affordability issues.

So, how bad is it? Statistics Canada recorded the rise in the consumer price index (CPI) at 4.7 per cent for October (year-over-year). That is the quickest pace set since February 2003 – and a far greater pace than it was a year ago when the CPI was 0.7 per cent. It is well above the Bank of Canada’s target CPI range of 1-3 per cent – the seventh consecutive month it has exceeded the target.

Prices have risen year-over-year in all of Stats Can’s categories:

  • 10.1 per cent in transportation costs, driven by a 42 per cent jump for gas at the pumps
  • 26 per cent in energy costs, with natural gas prices rising 19 per cent
  • 13.5 per cent rise in new home prices
  • 6.1 per cent rise in costs of passenger vehicles
  • 10 per cent rise in meat products, with increases for fresh or frozen beef (14 per cent) and bacon (20 per cent).

This inflationary pressure in Canada is accompanied by troubling economic and social data.

BUSINESS CLOSURES: Statistics Canada reported that in the month of August there were more businesses closed than opened (Ontario suffering the biggest net decline). This was the first time this monthly net loss occurred since May 2020, when the business community was managing lockdowns and evolving public-health directives.

MORTGAGE DEBT: The Superintendent of Financial Institutions, a Canadian federal bank regulator, provided a dire warning in its annual report based on the fact mortgage debt is equivalent to 85 per cent of Canada’s entire economy. The Superintendent forecasted: “Household indebtedness posed the largest risk for many federally-regulated financial institutions…and [it] may indicate vulnerability in the Canadian economy and the financial system.”

LOW CONSUMER CONFIDENCE: The Conference Board of Canada reported in November that its consumer confidence index dropped and is now 10 per cent below its pre-pandemic (February 2020) level. The combination of household mortgages, supply chain disruptions, and inflationary pressures are impacting confidence. Less than one in five believe now is a good time to purchase any large-ticket item.

FOOD BANK DEPENDENCE UP: Feed Ontario released 2021 statistics that indicate food bank usage in the province is up 10 per cent with almost 600,000 adults and children accessing food bank services this year.

JOB LOSS AND JOBLESSNESS: A survey on employment by the Environics Institute for Survey Research found that during the pandemic 70 per cent of younger Canadians under the age of 35 reported their life has been adversely impacted: 50 per cent experienced job loss or reduction of hours; and 19 per cent became unemployed without finding a new job.

In a private meeting last week, the finance minister and department officials conferred with private-sector economists and financiers who expressed their concerns for the government’s spending plans and impact they will have on inflation. The concern was shared that continued inflationary pressures will create increased economic uncertainty. The thrust of the expert advice was to defer any federal government spending increases for as much as two years.

In a media scrum held earlier in the week, Minister Freeland was noncommittal about the counsel the government is providing the Bank of Canada, which soon must announce the banks’ five-year inflation-targeting mandate. The bank’s target is important as a key factor in setting interest rates in the country.  A higher target will permit maintaining lower interest rates, which in turn will cause a prolonged period of inflation. In this manner, a country’s monetary policy can ease or add to the financial burdens of businesses and individuals.

A news flash from Ottawa on Thursday announced that Minister Freeland will release her Fall Economic and Fiscal Update on Dec. 14. Perhaps then Canadians will learn how the Trudeau government plans to manage its monetary policy and address the country’s Justinflation.

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/justinflation-and-its-impact-on-canadians/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press – Sean Kilpatrick / PM Justin Trudeau speaks during question period in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.

Visualizing Global Per Capita CO2 Emissions

This amazing graphic is from the Visual Capitalist website — www.visualcapitalist.com. It clearly illustrates the amounts of carbon emissions Canadians are responsible for globally. Green advocates wish to make the point that per capita Canadians are the second worst polluters on the plant. But that statistic is moot when considering the actual amount of CO2 pollutants Canadians are responsible for — especially comparing the country to China, U.S., Russia, and India.

SOURCE:  https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-global-per-capita-co2-emissions/

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.

The American history of modern day Christmas

Here are facts of some traditions of our modern day Christmas celebrations as they have developed in the United States in the 1800’s. You may be surprise to know that many of our traditions, from gift-giving to Santa Claus, are less than 200 years old. The facts below are from an informative article in The Economist entitled,  Knock yourself out, Fox: Americans have vied over Christmas for centuries

  • Between 1659 and 1681 it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in Massachusetts, as it was in England around the same time. The Puritans of the Plymouth Colony considered it wasteful, illicit and heathen as Christmas was timed to match the winter solstice and Roman Saturnalia. It had ancient pagan attributes, including gorging, licentiousness and role reversal.
  • Christmas was a regular working day everywhere until Alabama, in 1836, made it a public holiday.
  • The wealthy bourgeoisie that emerged in New York during the early 19th century feared Christmas for more selfish reasons. Its members disliked the drunken revellers who, each wild Christmastide, claimed a subversive right to their provisions and hearth.
  • New Yorkers set about domesticating the Christmastide festival, out of which effort came America’s biggest contribution to it: Santa Claus. The modern standard was set in 1822 by a rich slave owner called Clement Clarke Moore, author of “The Night before Christmas”. Where the historical St Nicholas was a lofty Greek bishop, his version was a jovial proletarian figure. Instead of demanding gifts, as the wassailers at Moore’s gate did, however, he delivered them. Stephen Nissenbaum, a historian of the American Christmas, sees this as an inversion of propertied New Yorkers’ fears of the festive mob. It was an exercise in taming Christmas.
  • A festival long associated with excess, now rededicated to spoiling close relatives in America’s richest city, Christmas rapidly became commercialized. Coca-Cola is often said to have established the fur-clad image of Santa Claus in a famous series of adverts in the 1930s.
  • The adoption of the Germanic Christmas tree in the 1830s was, for its promoters in New England, an effort to return the festival to a more innocent folk tradition. The attempt was later encouraged by Queen Victoria’s Anglo-German festivities.
  • The classic American Christmas has changed relatively little since the 1850s and its core ideas have been defined by both America and Britain. America contributed its most famous poem and Santa Claus; Britain its most famous novel—Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.”
  • After Thomas Edison’s business partner strung electric bulbs around a tree in New York in 1882, tree lights were soon being mass-produced.
  • The Hall Brothers (now Hallmark) produced the first folded Christmas card in 1915.
  • Towns up and down the country rebranded themselves as seasonal theme parks (“It’s Christmas all year round here in Bethlehem,” goes the slogan for that Pennsylvanian town).
  • Since the publication in 2005 of “Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition”, over 13m households have been persuaded to “adopt” a toy elf (with the book, it can be yours for $32.95).

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

The By George Virtual Eggnog Bowl

For this Christmas season the By George elves are provided merry quotes, seasonal facts and interesting trivia to add frothy cheer to your days. Enjoy diving into our virtual eggnog bowl.

Take up a glass and join the party. 

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

Eggnog has a rather rich history

Conversations over the (virtual) eggnog bowl

10 interesting Christmas facts

10 more interesting Christmas facts 

Even more interesting Christmas facts

A total of 40 Christmas facts to get us started 

Here’s to a punny Christmas

The hustle & bustle of Christmas shopping 

Top 10 Christmas Record Breakers

Christmas facts from around the world (1) 

Christmas facts from around the world (2) 

Greek Kourambiedes – “The” Christmas Cookie 

O Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree- quotes for the season

5 Must-Knows about It’s a Wonderful Life

10 Favourite Lines from It’s a Wonderful Life 

Facts about “The Real” Bedford Falls 

The iconic “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Our top 10 Christmas movie list

10 facts about “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

The Folded Napkin

“Beware Revelers” the season of memes

BGJ’s Christmas Memes

Canadian Christmas Memes

Elf-on-the-Shelf (Ho-Oh-No) Memes

A Dozen 2020 Christmas Memes

Gift-receiving – the pessimist and the optimist

Humourous Christmas Quotes

10 Guffaws to start the Christmas Partying

Holiday Cookie Rules

25 Favourite Christmas Puns

Our Dozen FAV Funny Christmas Quotes

Top-10 Things to Say about a Christmas Gift You Don’t Like

Some Christmas Humour

This just in… Christmas is to be Downsized

#FakeChristmasSongFacts

“I’d rather be cycling.” – Santa

#1 Christmas Movie: “It’s a Wonderful Life” 

A Canadian Christmas Carol

Christmas Toasts

Thoughts to infuse the spirit of Christmas

For Your Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations

Our elves will be refilling the bowl through the coming weeks. We plan on scooping out refreshments daily in social media, on the By George Facebook page and our Twitter @byGeorgeJournal — so you can enjoy a steady stream of creative yule time content. Cheers!

Conversing over the eggnog bowl

The American history of modern day Christmas

3 Most-Popular Symbols of a Traditional Christmas 

Some of the funniest Christmas memes!

A Chess History Lesson

A Canadian Christmas Carol (published December 25, 2020)

With its holiday deceptions, Trudeau government is Canada’s “Grinch”  (published December 24, 2021)

Christmas Memes for 2021

Our 2021 Christmas Wish ~ By George

Hilarious 2022 New Year’s Memes

New Year’s Toasts, Quotes and Verse

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

For Your Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations

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From all of us at CG&A COMMUNICATIONS, we wish you the best through the holidays. Have a very Merry Christmas and we hope we will all have a much better 2022!

For our season’s greetings, we present ‘Toasts, Quotes and Verse for the holidays.’ Below you will find toasts, quotes, terrific sayings, and verse for both Christmas and New Year’s. We hope you can use this collection of sayings to make that holiday toast a memorable one, to use as inscriptions in those special cards, or to spice up your conversations at family and social gatherings.

The best of the season! Cheers!

TOASTS, QUOTES AND VERSE FOR THE HOLIDAYS

CHRISTMAS TOASTS

— Let the special memories of Christmases past bring new joy and delight to your heart this Christmas!
— May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; The spirit of Christmas which is peace; The heart of Christmas which is love. – Ada V. Hendricks
— I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. –Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
— A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!–Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
— Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. – Hamilton Wright Mabie
— Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind. – Mary Ellen Chase
— A Christmas Cheer: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
— From Home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other –Emily Matthews
— May peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!
— May peace be more than a season, may it be a way of life!

CHRISTMAS QUOTES

— Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.–Norman Vincent Peale
— Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.–Calvin Coolidge
— Christmas is not just a day, an event to be observed and speedily forgotten. It is a spirit which should permeate every part of our lives.–William Parks
— Christmas–that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance–a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.–Augusta E. Rundel
— Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.–Washington Irving
— Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God.–George F. McDougall
— The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.–Burton Hillis
— There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions –Bill McKibben
— Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it “white”.–Bing Crosby
— Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display–so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn’t the holly, it isn’t the snow. It isn’t the tree not the firelight’s glow. It’s the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.–Anonymous
— It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.–W. T. Ellis
— I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.–Harlan Miller
— The three stages of man: He believes in Santa Claus. He doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. He is Santa Claus.
— Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and everyone round the Christmas fire, and make the little picture shining in our bright young eyes, complete –Charles Dickens

CHRISTMAS VERSE

— “But I am sure that I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round…as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely.” — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

— Whatever else be lost among the years,
Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing;
Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,
Let us hold close one day, remembering
It’s poignant meaning for the hearts of men.
Let us get back our childlike faith again.
— Grace Noll Crowell, Let Us Keep Christmas

— I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The word repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christmas Bells

— When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know.
–Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Christmas Fancies

NEW YEAR TOASTS

— Here’s to a bright New Year and a fond farewell to the old; here’s to things that are yet to come and to the memories that we hold.
— As we start the New Year, let’s get down on our knees to thank God we’re on our feet.
— May all your troubles in the coming year be as short as your New Year’s resolutions.
— May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.
— May the road rise up before you, and the wind be always at your back, and the good Lord hold you in the hollow of his hands.
— May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.
— Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening, and live every day as if it were your last.
— Welcome are those that are here; welcome all, and make good cheer; welcome all, another year.

NEW YEAR QUOTES

— No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. — Charles Lamb
— Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.
— A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
— The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows.– George William Curtis
— New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday. — Charles Lamb
— Each age has deemed the new-born year, the fittest time for festal cheer — Sir Walter Scott
— The merry year is born, like the bright berry from the naked thorn. — Hartley Coleridge
— Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go. — Brooks Atkinson
— Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols. — Thomas Mann
— An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in; a pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. — Bill Vaughan
— Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve – middle age is when you’re forced to. — Bill Vaughn

NEW YEAR VERSE

— We meet today
To thank Thee for the era done,
And Thee for the opening one.
— John Greenleaf Whittier

— Then sing, young hearts that are full of cheer,
With never a thought of sorrow;
The old goes out, but the glad young year
Comes merrily in tomorrow.
— Emily Miller

— New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. — Hamilton Wright Mabie

— Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past. — Henry Ward Beecher

— The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months! — Edward P. Powell

— And ye, who have met with Adversity’s blast,
And been bow’d to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass’d
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury –
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen.
— Thomas Hood

— Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Again, Merry Christmas and the very best through 2022!

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.

#1 Christmas Movie : “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Through the years, By George Journal has featured “It’s a Wonderful Life”, well, it’s the best Christmas movie we have – a moving account of a caring, community-minded, family man who struggles with inner-doubt and comes to fully appreciate the love of family and friends. In our crazy, mixed-up world, it doesn’t get better than this.

Here are quick links to our Journal’s posts on this must-rewatch-this-holiday film. 

Drop us a note and let us know when you view “It’s a Wonderful Life” this Christmas season. Enjoy!

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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.

“I’d rather be cycling.” – Santa

Here is a shout out to all our cycling friends. Did you know that I overheard Santa the other day say to Mrs. Claus: “I’d rather be cycling.” So, that gave me an idea….

By George presents a dozen Christmas images of Santa and his bike for all who can’t wait for spring thaw and dry roads.

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 Dozen FAV Funny Christmas Quotes

  • A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. — Garrison Keillor
  • Did you ever notice that life seems to follow certain patterns? Like I noticed that every year around this time, I hear Christmas music. — Tom Sims
  • Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home. — Carol Nelson
  • Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven. — W. C. Fields
  • There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime.  Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. — P.J. O’Rourke
  • The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. — Johnny Carson
  • Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? — Bill Watterson
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C.  This wasn’t for any religious reasons.  They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. — Jay Leno
  • What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a new job the next day. — Phyllis Diller
  • Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year. — Victor Borge
  • I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays. — Henry Youngman
  • Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit. — Kim Hubbard

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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.

Humourous Christmas Quotes

  • Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home. — Carol Nelson
  • Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven. — W. C. Fields
  • Did you ever notice that life seems to follow certain patterns? Like I noticed that every year around this time, I hear Christmas music. — Tom Sims
  • Why is Christmas just like a day at the office? You do all the work and the fat guy with the suit gets all the credit. — Unknown
  • What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a new job the next day. — Phyllis Diller
  • The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. — Johnny Carson
  • I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included — Bernard Manning
  • Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year. — Victor Borge
  • The one thing women don’t want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband. — Joan Rivers
  • I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. — Shirley Temple
  • Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live. — Dennis Miller
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. — Jay Leno
  • Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas. — Johnny Carson
  • Christmas begins about the first of December with an office party and ends when you finally realize what you spent, around April fifteenth of the next year. — P.J. O’Rourke
  • Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? — Bill Watterson
  • Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall. — Larry Wilde
  • I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays. — Henry Youngman
  • A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. — Garrison Keillor
  • Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit. — Kim Hubbard
  • There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. — P.J. O’Rourke

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.