Category Archives: Features

News, articles and opinion pieces

Canada’s immigration about to increase to record level

The Niagara Independent, January 15, 2021  – Canada will welcome a record number of immigrants in 2021 – perhaps the largest number in our country’s history.  Since 2015 the Trudeau Government has implemented the most aggressive immigration program since the years preceding the First World War. In the last three years almost a million immigrants entered the country and in the next three years more than 1.2 million immigrants will find their way to Canada.

The plan for 2021 – 2023 was announced in Fall 2020 but received little media coverage given the public’s preoccupation with breaking news of the pandemic. In early November, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino released an “ambitious” three-year immigration plan that will welcome increasing numbers of skilled workers, family members and refugees annually into Canada.

The Government intends to bring into the country 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023 — a little less than the population of the Niagara Region will be brought into the country each and every year.

Only once in the history of the country has Canada welcomed more than 400,000 immigrants in one year and that was in 1913, when “new Canadians” totaled 401,000. The annual number of immigrants has never again come close to 400,000.

In the early 1900’s, it took the country more than a decade to increase its population by a total of five (5) percent through bringing in new Canadians. Today, a five percent increase in population represents a total of 2 million new immigrants. The Trudeau Government is intent on reaching this threshold in less than half the time it took a century ago.

To understand this dramatic planned increase, one must review the recent history of Canada’s immigration. In 2017 the Trudeau Government introduced “the most ambitious immigration levels in recent Canadian history.” The then Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen pledged to increase the annual number of immigrants to Canada to 340,000 by the year 2020 with the design to annually accept “new Canadians” equal to or slightly exceeding one percent of Canada’s population. Minister Hussen boasted that, with his plan, in less than three years the country would welcome more than a million new Canadians.

As reported in the publication Canadian Immigrant, the 2019 Report to Parliament on Immigration stated that its goal in 2020 was to welcome approximately 341,000 people as permanent residents. However, this did not happen because of COVID-19 and the disruptions that took place with global migration movements. So, the targeted 2021-2023 immigration levels will take an additional 150,000 “missing immigrants from 2020” and distribute them evenly over the next three years.

In making the government announcement this Fall, Immigration Minister Mendicino stated that the new immigration targets are set with an eye to supporting the Canadian economy’s recovery from COVID-19 and propelling long-term prosperity. Mendicino claimed he had support from business and union leaders when he reasoned that welcoming increased numbers of new Canadians will offset the negative economic impact of Canada’s aging population and low birth rate. The Minister stated, “Canadians have a long, proud history of welcoming immigrants, because we know immigration makes our country stronger.”

Numbers from Statistics Canada and Immigration Canada reveal that the Trudeau Government has been successful with their immigration plans through its mandate. Recent statistics show that:

  • 2016 census figures reported that the share of immigrants in Canada has reached 21.9 percent – the highest level in almost a century
  • In 2018, new immigrants made up 61 percent of Canada’s population growth in 2018
  • In 2019, Canada recorded a new high for the Trudeau Government with 341,175 immigrants ushered in, representing a 25 percent gain from 2015

In addition to the increasing immigration levels, in the last few years Canada has also taken in increasing numbers of refugees. The latest United Nations report on refugee relocation recognized Canada as a global leader in accepting the largest number of refugees of all 25 countries who participated in the U.N. resettlement plans. Canada took in 28,100 of 92,400 refugees managed by the U.N. in 2018. The U.N. also noted that there were about 1.4 million refugees in need of resettlement.

Other interesting immigration trends reported in official federal government data of 2019 include the fact that a quarter of all new immigrants (25 percent) come from India, while Chinese and Philippine immigrants were the next two ethnic groups, accounting for 9 and 8 percent respectively. More than a third (35 percent) of all immigrants settled within the GTA – almost half (45 percent) of the total came to Ontario. The proportion of immigrants settling in Quebec continues a year-over-year decline as a result of the Province’s own target to reduce its immigration levels by 20 percent.

Statistics Canada estimates by 2036 immigrants could represent up to 30 percent of all Canadians. By 2068, the Canadian population could reach 55 million people – an increase of 37.1 million in 50 years. In the next 25 years, Ontario’s population is projected to increase to 20.4 million residents (an approximate 50 percent increase from 14.3 million today) – largely as a result of new Canadians.

The Trudeau Government’s immigration plan is being implemented without any parliamentary debate or oversight. It is being advanced in spite of public opinion. After Minister Mendicino made public the Government’s intention to accept 401,000 immigrants in 2021, a Nanos poll for Bloomberg News found only 17 percent of Canadians supported the measure (40 percent want the government to maintain the 2020 levels, while 36 percent want to see a reduced level of immigration). This echoed an October 2020 Leger poll, which found 52 percent want lower levels of immigration to be maintained until Canadians see their way through the pandemic. A Leger poll from June 2019 reported 63 percent of Canadians believe the federal government should limit the number of immigrants it accepts.

Yet, irrespective of public opinion and regardless of the pandemic crises, Canada is on course to accept historic numbers of immigrants this year and for years to come.

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


5-sure-ways to get more out of your day

1. Get Out of Bed Earlier:  Get up 30-60 minutes earlier each day and take that extra time to do something important – before the daily grind. Set your thoughts and your attitude for the day by reading, exercising, planning.

2. Tackle the Important Tasks First:  Make “to-do lists” and prioritize your tasks. Set a specific amount of time aside, focus your attention, and stay locked on the important task(s). Smaller, less urgent tasks can wait… concentrate for the full amount of the time allotted the tasks(s).

3. Stop Checking Email/Twitter/Facebook etc Regularly:  Control your impulses and curiousity to check your e-mail, etc.  Don’t check your connections first thing – and set a schedule to check them only 2-3 times a day. Set specific time aside to deal with e-mails, etc.

4. Reduce Interruptions:  During your “productive” time slots, keep your door close. Resist any social media or procrastinating activities. Let your calls go to voicemail. Share your need for privacy with your co-workers.

5. Make Time for Yourself at the End of the Day:  Free up 20 or 30 minutes every evening. Spend this bit of extra time on something important to you. Relax your mind with a pleasurable pursuit.

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.

In defence of Sir John A. Macdonald and his legacy

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute issued an important statement this day. Here is the media release and links to the pertinent articles. 

OTTAWA, ON (January 12, 2021): Those who see Canada’s history as little more than a shameful series of mistakes and failures have grown increasingly vocal in calling for the shunning of figures like our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Macdonald, however, is owed not our contempt and derision, but our thoughtful measured thanks.

This is the message of more than 150 historians, policy experts, educators, business leaders, public figures, and thought leaders who have signed a joint statement in defence of Macdonald. This statement, a joint project of the Friends of Sir John A. Macdonald and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, ran today in the National Post as a full-page advertisement to coincide with Macdonald’s birthday. The statement can be read in full here.

Macdonald’s legacy is one of remarkable accomplishments. He, alongside his contemporaries like George-Étienne Cartier, set themselves the task of creating Canada, overcoming sectarian and linguistic strife and years of mistrust and political deadlock. He led the original Confederation effort, persuaded three other provinces to join, hugely expanded Canada’s territory, dissuaded American expansionism, brought economic stability, promoted unity between Canada’s language and religions factions, and much more.

The statement’s signatories also note that Macdonald, like all national leaders, had significant failures. These include his policy establishing the residential school system – a decision with a dark legacy that hangs over the country to this day.

Macdonald’s undoubted errors must be weighed, however, against “an impressive record of constitution and nation building, his reconciliation of contending cultures, languages and religions, his progressivism and his documented concern for and friendship with the Indigenous peoples of Canada,” suggest the authors.

According to Professor Patrice Dutil, one of the organizers of this initiative, “the sustained attacks on monuments to Sir John A. Macdonald and the attacks on his good name in schools and at Queen’s University in 2020 prompted many of us to simply say: Enough!” Professor Dutil goes on to note that while Macdonald’s record is hardly without blemish, “his policy failures must be weighed against his phenomenal policy successes. This effort, I hope, will become a turning point in how Canadian society examines Macdonald, and its past generally.”

As MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley puts it:

“It is easy to criticize the past and the decisions made there. But it is a conceit of each and every generation that it alone is free from poor judgments, intellectual shortcomings and historical myopia.”

“Macdonald was neither angel nor devil, but a fallible human being who accomplished great things. Looking solely at our past errors is not the right standard by which to measure Canada or Sir John A. and their great achievements,” argues Crowley, who was one of the signatories of today’s statement.

The signatories urge governments, historians, teachers, media and other engaged Canadians to ensure everyone has access to a balanced view of our common past and the people who made us.

“Looking at our history with a dispassionate eye will give us a much clearer vision of the future,” they write. “Let’s start with Sir John A. Macdonald.”


Born on January 11th, 1815, he came here from his native Scotland in 1820. When he died 71 years later, Macdonald had become one of our greatest immigrant success stories, and the most respected and honoured Canadian of his era, having been Prime Minister for 19 of our first 24 years.

Sir John:

  • Re-imagined British North America as Canada and did so with courage, wisdom and integrity.
  • Dissuaded aggressive American expansionism. Macdonald, with Cartier, stared down opponents of Confederation in Quebec and Nova Scotia.
  • Acquired territory that made Canada the second largest country in the world.
  • Persuaded Manitobans, British Columbians and Prince Edward Islanders to join Confederation. Brought economic stability, with a farsighted Bank Act and an economic National Policy.
  • Spearheaded the building of a railway to the Pacific.
  • Championed unity between English and French, Protestant and Catholic.
  • Promoted freedom of expression and the press.
  • Launched policies that failed, as happens to all national leaders. This is certainly the case with the establishment of a national policy on Indian Residential Schools. Even though widely supported at the time, the schools had a dark legacy that hangs over the country to this day.
  • Made many other mistakes respecting Indigenous peoples and policies Canadians today strongly disapprove; we understand the frustrations of the descendants of those affected by these mistakes. Macdonald’s failures must, however, be weighed against an impressive record of constitution and nation building, his reconciliation of contending cultures, languages and religions, his progressivism and his documented concern for and friendship with the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

All Canadians deserve to hear the full story about Macdonald, the founding of Canada and Canadian history generally. Only then can we form reasoned views about that historical record.

We urge governments, historians, teachers, media and other engaged Canadians to ensure everyone has access to a balanced view of our common past and the people who made us. Looking at our history with a dispassionate eye will give us a much clearer vision of the future. Let’s start with Sir John A. Macdonald.

View all signatories here.


Happy Birthday Sir John A.!

Happy birthday to one of Canada’s fathers of Confederation, our country’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

Take a look at the By George Journal archive of posts on this storied man.

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 Top-10 Social Media Posts of 2020

Each year, the By George Journal selects its top social media posts from its Facebook and Twitter activity. These are posts that we have heard back are striking and/or popular.

In reverse order, here are the By George Top-10 Posts of 2020.

Number 10

Number 9

Number 8

Number 7

Number 6

Number 5

Number 4

Number 3

Number 2

And the Number 1 post of 2020

Follow By George on Facebook and Twitter to receive daily content that is motivational and inspirational.

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

Federal government proving to be very taxing

The Niagara Independent, January 8, 2021  – The Trudeau Liberals’ “budgets balance themselves” approach to government equates to increased taxes for Canadians. Since first elected in 2015 there has not been one year that the Trudeau Government has not increased taxes in some way. With this Government’s unbridled spending before the pandemic and its excessive spending through 2020, Canadians are harnessed with the prospects of increased taxes for years to come.

The Canadian Consumer Tax Index for 2020 finds that last year the average Canadian family spent 42.6 percent of its income on taxes — more than housing, food and clothing costs combined (36.2 percent). The Fraser Institute’s index tracks the average Canadian household tax bill for both visible and hidden taxes: all federal, provincial and local government taxes, as well as income, payroll, sales, property, health, fuel and alcohol taxes, and more. Bottom line: Canadians spend more on taxes than on life necessities.

Given this hefty tax burden, it was a relief to hear PM Justin Trudeau in his year-end messages pledge he would not raise taxes further on Canadians. Trudeau stated in a Montreal radio interview: “It’s certain, we will not impose more on Canadians. We know that we must restart the economy. It’s not time to take away from people; it’s time to still offer opportunities for people to go through this [crisis] and rebuild the economy stronger for the years to come.”

Yet, despite what the Prime Minister assured, taxes in 2021 are going to increase for the average Canadian as predetermined by the government. In fact, the Trudeau Government announced in its Fall Economic Statement a number of new tax measures that will add an extra burden on household budgets.

For example, coming into effect on July 1this year, GST/HST will be applied on foreign suppliers of digital products and services to Canadians, a cost that undoubtedly will be passed along to consumers. There is also a plan to introduce as early as January 2022 a new “Netflix Tax” on all foreign-based digital services companies – yet another cost that will be passed along.

This Jan. 1, Canadians’ contributions to Canada Pension Plan have increased.  Maximum employer and employee contributions will hit $3,166 each in 2021. This is an increase of more than $250 that will come directly off a worker’s paycheque. Provincial finance ministers asked the federal government to delay the CPP increase due to the hardships that most wage earners are experiencing with the pandemic. MP Pierre Poilievre, the Conservative finance critic, was highly critical of the “mid-pandemic tax hikes.” Poilievre said, “It’s shameful that the Liberals think it’s a good idea to raise taxes on Canadians during a pandemic. If Justin Trudeau wants to support workers, he needs to lower taxes, not raise them… This means that Canadians will have less money to pay their bills.”

The most significant tax hikes in 2021 and 2022 will be the increased carbon taxes that will raise costs on everything for Canadians. The Trudeau Government has scheduled carbon tax increases for the next eight years, to result in an additional 53 cents per litre carbon tax in 2030. In the next 24 months, there will be an additional 15 cents per litre of carbon tax at the gas pump. And although the schedule of tax hikes has not been released, Canadians will also experience increased taxes on their home heating, natural gas and propane bills.

This may not seem like a lot, but consider the additional tax on each fill-up. Based on current gas prices, in 2030 Canadians will pay roughly an additional $27 in carbon taxes to fill up a minivan, $45 extra for a pickup truck — and truck drivers will pay an extra $204 to fuel their tractor trailers that deliver our food and merchandise.

These increases do not include the yet-to-be-made-public second carbon tax – the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) – that is to be put in place in January 2022. According to official government estimates the CFS will increase energy costs by $208 annually for households by 2030. Unlike the much-touted rebates for pump prices and home heating, there is no CFS rebate system that will defray these increased taxes.

The government acknowledges this will pose a hardship for lower income Canadians. In an analysis on the new tax, a government report states: “It is expected that increases in transportation fuel and home heating expenses would disproportionately impact lower and middle-income households, those living in single detached households or those without control over the energy efficiency of their dwellings that use heating oil… single mothers may be more vulnerable to energy poverty and adverse impacts from increases to transportation and home heating prices…” along with other socio-economic groups such as seniors on fixed incomes…”

This week there was another report issued by Environment Canada that divulged the government was not fully rebating Canadians the tax dollars it collected with the carbon tax. PM Trudeau has continuously stated that the carbon tax would be revenue neutral and that 80 percent of Canadian households paying the carbon tax will be better off financially through the government rebate regime.

Yet, investigative reporting by Blacklock’s Reporter uncovered that Canadian households are receiving considerably less in rebates than what is being paid in carbon taxes. In 2019, the government collected $2.6 billion in carbon taxes from Canadians and rebated only $2.2 billion to households, small and medium-sized businesses, municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals.

In Ontario, the carbon tax raised $1.87 billion in 2019, with households receiving $1.49 billion in rebates. Forty (40) percent of Ontario households are now paying more in carbon taxes than they get back in rebates.

So, the claim by PM Trudeau that “our plan to put a price on pollution actually gets more money in the pockets of middle class Canadians” is false. Trudeau said, “The average citizens of those provinces will be better off with this price on pollution than they would be had there been no price on pollution.” Facts tell us the opposite.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation also makes the point that in addition to the carbon taxes the government failed to rebate, Ontarians paid $243 million in HST on top of carbon tax charges – and there is no intention to rebate that tax grab. CTF Jasmine Moulton comments, “We now know that the federal government took hundreds of millions out of Ontarians’ pockets through the carbon tax that continues to sit in government coffers… Anybody who has believed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s rhetoric on the carbon tax is being made out to look like a fool. His government said it wouldn’t go up past $50 per tonne by 2022 and that it would put more money back into our pockets, but both claims have now been proven to be blatant falsehoods.”

The last word goes to Financial Post columnist Diane Francis, who states that Canadians cannot shoulder any greater tax burden. Francis reports that in 2020 Canada had a top personal income tax rate of 54 percent, top corporate rate of 38 percent, and a sales tax of up to 15 percent, depending on the province.  She states: “The inconvenient truth is that the Liberals are not trustworthy stewards of the economy. The fact is that Canada is already one of the highest-taxed countries on earth. There is no room left for tax hikes, without leading to more dire consequences.”

Dire consequences indeed. The Trudeau Liberals are proving to be very taxing.

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


10 Favourite Quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald

January 11th marks the birth date of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister and a Father of Confederation. Here are 10 of By George’s favourite quotes.

  • Politics is a game requiring great coolness and an utter abnegation of prejudice and personal feeling.
  • There were, unfortunately, no great principles on which parties were divided – politics became a mere struggle for office.
  • Anybody may support me when I am right. What I want is someone that will support me when I am wrong.
  • There may be obstructions, local differences may intervene, but it matters not — the wheel is now revolving, and we are only the fly on the wheel, we cannot delay it. The union of the colonies of British America under one sovereign is a fixed fact.
  • I don’t care for office for the sake of money, but for the sake of power, and for the sake of carrying out my own views of what is best for the country.
  • When fortune empties her chamber pot on your head, smile and say, ‘We are going to have a summer shower.’
  • If you would know the depth of meanness of human nature, you have got to be a Prime Minister running a general election.
  •  [Macdonald was well known for his wit and also for his love of drink. He is known to have been drunk for many of his debates in Parliament. Here is a story from an election debate in which Macdonald was so drunk he began vomiting while on stage. His opponent quickly pointed this out.]  The opposing candidate said: “Is this the man you want running your country? A drunk!” Collecting himself, Macdonald replied “I get sick … not because of drink [but because] I am forced to listen to the ranting of my honourable opponent.”
  • My sins of omission and commission I do not deny; but I trust that it may be said of me in the ultimate issue, ‘Much is forgiven because he loved much,’ for I have loved my country with a passionate love.
  • If I had influence over the minds of the people of Canada, any power over their intellect, I would leave them this legacy: ‘Whatever you do, adhere to the Union. We are a great country, and shall become one of the greatest in the universe if we preserve it; we shall sink into insignificance and adversity if we suffer it to be broken.’

(Photo Credit:  National Archive)

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.

Learned Perspectives on Canada’s First PM

In 2015, to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir John A., Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote a tribute commemorating Canada’s first PM.

PM Harper wrote:

Others had ruminated about Confederation but only he saw how to get it done — how to make the case for unity, how to rally common hopes and fears, how to overcome different perspectives and interests.

But Macdonald did more than achieve it; he made it work…. Of the greatest importance for all of us, perhaps, was that Macdonald appropriated from the British constitution its conception of freedom, of “ordered liberty,” of the balancing of popular rule and minority rights, of (in the terms of the era) equality before the law and governments responsible through the legislature to the voters.


Richard Gwyn, the celebrated biographer of John Macdonald wrote in the Toronto Star a column trumpeting: “Sir John A. Macdonald, the greatest PM of all”

Gwyn makes the point that “had there been no Macdonald, there would be no Canada for anyone to be a citizen of.”

Under Macdonald’s leadership as prime minister (1867-1873 and 1878-1891), the country was extended from sea to sea, giving — at last — it a certain geographical coherence. Macdonald also led Canada to achieve the National Dream, a railway the entire way from eastern Canada to the West Coast. The railway, together with Macdonald’s policy of high tariffs to protect Canadian companies from their far more efficient American rivals, made it possible for Canadians to do business with and get to know each other despite all their differences (French vs. English, Catholic vs. Protestant, Aboriginal vs. European) and the immense distances between them.

By other initiatives, Macdonald fashioned a distinctive Canadian way of getting things done that has stayed with us ever since.


Here is a gem of an exchange in Maclean’s: A toast to Sir John A., Canada’s controversial nation builderAn hour long discussion of the legacy of John A. Macdonald, whose 200th birthday falls on Jan. 11

Maclean’s convened a gathering of three John A. aficionados: Richard Gwyn, the journalist and author who wrote The Man Who Made Us and Nation Maker, a two-volume biography of Macdonald; Patrice Dutil, a professor at Ryerson University and co-editor of Macdonald at 200: New Reflections and Legacies, a collection of essays on Macdonald’s influence; and Jane Hilderman, research manager and acting director at Samara, an advocacy group dedicated to improving citizen engagement and public life, and a member of Toronto’s Friends of Sir John A. Macdonald organization.

What should we be celebrating this January when we talk about Sir John A.?


Here is a very humourous article that is sure to delight…. No Grumpy Old Man by Peter Shawn Taylor

The humourless political landscape we call Canada was not always this way. Our founding Conservative Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, who was roundly pilloried in the media as a drunk and a racist on the occasion of his 200th birthday earlier this year, was also the funniest politician our country has ever known. Despite a life marred by personal tragedies, Macdonald remained a razor-sharp wit and irrepressible jokester throughout his career. Peter Shawn Taylor has assembled a hilarious assortment of his greatest puns, putdowns, and pranks.

There seems no risk Macdonald will ever cede his crown as Canada’s funniest prime minister… Macdonald’s boisterous and unstoppable sense of humour would surely find its way to the surface.


Gainsford recollections of his mother’s stories: My Mother Knew John A. Macdonald

Hugh Gainsford, a retired Manitoba public servant and great-grandson of our founding prime minister, died November 25, 2014 at age 96. His mother Daisy, John A. Macdonald’s granddaughter, was the last person to have known the Father of Confederation when she passed away in Winnipeg in 1959. Gainsford gave his last interview to Blacklock’s publisher Holly Doan on May 17, 2004. Following is a transcript of his reminiscences)


Today’s controversies about Sir John A. Macdonald are overshadowing his tremendous achievements and here are some observations that help to put into context the lessons Canadians can learn from studying the life and times of the country’s first PM.

In a National Post article noting the significance of this day respected political observer and author Bob Plamondon makes the perceptive comment:

Macdonald’s greatest gift to us, then as now, was to show us how we can be stronger as a nation when we celebrate and respect our diversity. Through his vision and example Macdonald remains as relevant to Canadian unity today as he was at the most crucial moment of our history.

More here: John A. Macdonald showed Canada its Strength


Barbara Messamore: Sir John A. wasn’t perfect but he chose to act, dared to err

Plenty of problems in our own time require bold solutions; let’s not teach our students to take the way of caution


Conrad Black: There’s much to celebrate in Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy

Macdonald ended Canada’s colonial status and was the benign and democratically elevated patriarch of the country he chiefly founded, including all of its races and ethnicities


Pierre Anctil: The end of heroes: John A. Macdonald and the fate of his successors

Pierre Anctil is an author and professor of history at the University of Ottawa and he writes:

Macdonald’s career evolved in a social and cultural environment that is radically different from the one that we now live in and comparisons are extremely difficult…. Undeniably, Macdonald was a key historical figure of nineteenth century Canada. He put in place measures and political notions that are still with us today and that define our Canadian identity; the most important of which is the imprint he left on the signing of Confederation in 1867 and the expansion to the West.

There is a grave danger in measuring Macdonald’s record against today’s standards. If that practice continues, the fate of his statues in 2020 will be visited upon all his successors.


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

Celebrating Sir John A.

Upon Sir John A. Macdonald’s death, (the soon-to-be Prime Minister) Wilfred Laurier paid tribute to him in the House of Commons (June 8, 1891):

“The place of Sir John A. Macdonald in this country was so large and so absorbing that it is almost impossible to conceive that the politics of this country – the fate of this country – will continue without him. His loss overwhelms us. For my part, I say, with all truth, his loss overwhelms me, and that it also overwhelms this Parliament, as if indeed one of the institutions of the land had given way. Sir John A. Macdonald now belongs to the ages, and it can be said with certainty that the career which has just been closed is one of the most remarkable careers of this century. . .

“As to his statesmanship, it is written in the history of Canada. It may be said without any exaggeration whatever, that the life of Sir John Macdonald, from the time he entered Parliament, is the history of Canada.”

And, so that you may discuss this great man at your next social, here are some interesting trivia most may not know about Sir John A.

  • While there is some debate over his actual birthdate, January 10 is the official date recorded and January 11 is the day Macdonald celebrated it.
  • Having personally written the largest part of the Canadian constitution ( BNA act ), and having been the main lobbyist for its adoption at London, Macdonald can truly be called “THE Father of his country.”
  • Macdonald’s nicknames included Old Chieftain and Old Tomorrow – the latter for his habit of putting off any large political problems until conditions were personally favourable to him.
  • Sir John A.Macdonald is one of two Canadian prime-ministers to die in office (The other is John Thompson).
  • Macdonald’s nephew Newton Ford was the father of iconic Canadian-American actor Glenn Ford.

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

3 favourite photos of Sir John A.

Canadians celebrate Sir John A. Macdonald’s birthday this weekend. In advance of this special day, By George is posting three of our favourite photos of Canada’s first Prime Minister.

Arms crossed – confident

A visionary

With walking stick & fur lined coat 


(Photo credits: National Archives)

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

A favourite Sir John A. cartoon

Sir John A. Macdonald is seen in this 1873 caricature
as the heroic orator and leader Ulysses.
With his remarkable face and colourful habits,
our first Prime Minister was the favourite
subject for many cartoonists of the day –
all who held an admiration for the man.

(Photo credit: National Archives)

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

A preview of PM Trudeau’s 2021 federal election

The Niagara Independent, January 1, 2021  – In his year-end messages, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau coyly suggested on a number of occasions, “We might have an election.” Then he quickly adds that he personally is “not eager” to have one. Despite his stated reluctance the PM says the Liberals are battle-ready. It is an ill-kept secret that he has held Party caucus meetings to place his MPs and candidates on standby for an election call in early 2021.

In the past few weeks the CBC has heralded promising electoral predictions for the Liberals, such as this one: “If an election were held today, the Liberals almost certainly would win it — and perhaps capture a majority of the seats up for grabs, too.” The state-broadcaster reports that its polls have the Liberals in a very comfortable position: “With 2020 coming to a close, the Liberal Party is the only federal party in a much better position than it was 12 months ago… Nationwide, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals lead with 35.7 per cent support, compared to 31 per cent for Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives… the Liberals have more support in every part of the country.”

In multiple reports through December, CBC reveals that the Liberals’ backroom operatives are itching to test the electoral waters. “Five sources familiar with the thinking in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party say a snap election is likely… Liberal insiders say the 48-year-old Trudeau, son of Pierre who was the third-longest serving prime minister in Canadian history, is determined to lead the party into the next election and win a majority. Another “senior Liberal said, “The problem about leaving an election until 2022 is that we will look less fresh, and if people are fed up they could be looking for an alternative by then.”

The apparent plan is to launch a “we have your back” campaign after delivering a March or April budget that will promise billions of dollars of further aid for individuals. The rationale for the snap election will be the Liberals’ need for a clear mandate to implement their bold, progressive agenda that will ensure Canada “builds back better.” Canadians will be asked to think big and be world leaders in our environmental policies and with our economic and social reforms. Liberals are counting on the PM to out-campaign the opposition parties; the election will turn on the question of leadership without any substantive debate on issues.

Canadians are to overlook the ominous national debt and the government’s fiscal policies. In her fall economic statement, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland reported a deficit projection of more than $381 billion – possibly ballooning to over $400 billion by March 2021. In just three months from April to June 2020, this federal government recorded a $120 billion deficit. In this same period, Canada’s economy shrank an unparalleled 38 percent. This year Canada’s overall economy is expected to shrink 6.8 percent — the sharpest drop since the Great Depression.

A recent CBC investigative series revealed the Government is spending billions – at a rate of $952 million a day – seemingly without controls and with no intention of accounting for the dollars spent. This past week, the National Post reported it had surveyed six former Department of Finance officials who expressed concerns over the Trudeau Government’s lack of fiscal transparency and accountability for its spending. Don Drummond stated, “The lack of transparency around the government’s intentions in its economic and fiscal forecast is not acceptable in a democracy. I think everyone should be concerned about this.”

David Dodge, the Deputy Minister of Finance for Minister Paul Martin in the Chretien Government, gave a damning indictment of the current Government’s performance, “The policies of the government in power, and the proclivities of the current prime minister, are not particularly oriented towards the hard work of generating economic growth, and that can make things difficult for the Department of Finance.”  Dodge assessed, “It’s a lack of discipline and a lack of focus on actually delivering. You send out a press release and that’s seen as the end game, whereas the real issue is in actually governing.”

The single greatest policy advanced by the Trudeau Government through its mandates has been its environmental agenda, which has essentially amounted to the imposition of increasing amounts of carbon taxes. Canada’s global leadership in cleaning and greening the planet is sure to be a main plank in the Liberals platform.  In the upcoming election, Canadians will be asked to consider the global climate challenge without factoring what impact the Liberal approach will have on their standard of living and the country’s economic sustainability.

Again, Canadians are to overlook the government’s three-prong carbon tax program that has been introduced in the last 12 months. First, there is the scheduled hike in the federal carbon tax that will have Canadians paying in 2030 an additional 53 cents per litre in carbon tax at the pump — and a still undisclosed increase for home heating, natural gas, and propane. Second, the government is introducing a new Clean Fuel Standard carbon tax on the country’s business community that, by the government’s own analysis, is going to add hundreds of dollars per year to a person’s heating and driving costs. Third, the government unveiled 64 new green measures and subsidy programs that are estimated to cost Canadians $15 billion.

Perhaps the most pressing reason for the Trudeau Liberals to prompt an early 2021 election call is their apprehension with how Canadians may respond to the government’s vaccination plan. It’s an unfolding story that likely will not have a favourable conclusion for the Liberals. This month PM Trudeau excitedly promoted the delivery of the first 19,000 doses of the vaccine to Canada. He has made the promise of 368,000 doses by the end of the year. The PM makes a point of reminding Canadians on the total numbers vaccinated across the country. As of Wednesday this week 85,256 doses have been administered in Canada (and it is important to note that each person is to receive two doses). Given the available doses for distribution in our country, we might hope that in early January a total of approximately 180,000 Canadians will have been vaccinated.

Now consider: the UK reported 138,000 people vaccinated in early December and 5,000,000 doses distributed through the month. Mexico is administering 1,400,000 doses for health workers by mid-January. Israel administered 650,000 doses as of Wednesday – 99,000 of those were vaccinated in one day this week. And most remarkable is the vaccination program south of our borders where the U.S. has administered 2,670,000 as of this week and it is planning for the roll out of 20,000,000 doses in early January.

So, while the Trudeau Government’s plan will have a little more than one million Canadians vaccinated by March 31st, the Americans are estimating that roughly 40 percent of their population (131+ million) will be vaccinated by March. Clearly, the Liberals will not want Canadians to be comparing and contrasting vaccination programs with the Americans, British and Mexicans.

As CBC and the Liberal campaign strategists spin it, PM Trudeau is to win his coveted majority mandate by reassuring Canadians that “budgets balance themselves,” and explaining that because “pollution is no longer free” we have the opportunity to “build back better.” And Trudeau himself will tell Canadians that this is all possible: “Because it’s 2021.”

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


By George’s 2020 Virtual Eggnog Bowl

The Christmas season is normally a very social time. But perhaps not in 2020. So, through this season the By George elves provided merry sayings and seasonal facts and information to add a little extra cheer in our followers’ days.

Here are the daily BGJ posts through December 2020.

Now, take up a glass and join the party. 

New Year’s Toasts, Quotes and Verse

A Canadian Christmas Carol

Merry Christmas

Christmas (in words) 

Our 2020 Christmas Wish ~ By George 


This just in… Christmas is to be Downsized

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

Some Christmas Humour

“I’d rather be cycling.” – Santa

Our Dozen FAV Funny Christmas Quotes

Christmas Toasts

For Your Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations

Thoughts to infuse the spirit of Christmas

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

25 Favourite Christmas Puns

Holiday Cookie Rules

10 Guffaws to start the Christmas Partying

Humourous Christmas Quotes

Gift-receiving – the pessimist and the optimist

A Dozen 2020 Christmas Memes

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

Canadian Christmas Memes

BGJ’s Christmas Memes

“Beware Revelers” the season of memes

The Folded Napkin

10 facts about “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Our top 10 Christmas movie list

The iconic “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Facts about “The Real” Bedford Falls 

10 Favourite Lines from It’s a Wonderful Life 

5 Must-Knows about It’s a Wonderful Life

The Christmas Tree- quotes for the season

O Christmas Tree

Conversations over the (virtual) eggnog bowl

Greek Kourambiedes – “The” Christmas Cookie 

Christmas facts from around the world (2) 

Christmas facts from around the world (1) 

Top 10 Christmas Record Breakers

The hustle & bustle of Christmas shopping 

Here’s to a punny Christmas

A total of 40 Christmas facts to get us started 

Even more interesting Christmas facts

10 more interesting Christmas facts 

10 interesting Christmas facts

Eggnog has a rather rich history

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

We refilled the bowl a few times daily and posted in social media, on the By George Facebook page and our Twitter @byGeorgeJournal — so all could drink in a steady stream of creative yule time content. Cheers!

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

New Year’s Toasts, Quotes and Verse

From the By George scribes at CG&A COMMUNICATIONS here’s to a healthy and happier 2021! May we see our way clear of the virus threats and resume our lives. Cheers!

Our bons mots to cheer in the New Year.


– 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.


– 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



– 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.

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:


Merry Christmas

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

The wordsmith elves penned a holiday newsletter filled with quotes, stories, fun and many interest links. If you have not yet seen it, here it is: Our 2020 Christmas Wish

Be sure to dive into the By George virtual egg nog bowl for the many Christmas posts that were share through the month of December.  They are sure to make everything a little merrier.

The By George Virtual Egg Nog Bowl

Merry Christmas! 



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.

Christmas (in words)

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air. – W.T. Ellis


Our elf-wordsmiths at By George enjoy contemplating words that best frame the spirit of a moment or an event. We have our favourite words for just about every occasion… including Christmas.  So today, we are offering our favourite inscriptions, verse and quotes. Here are links to past posts that have captured in words the poignant thoughts about this magical time of year. Enjoy.

Thoughts to infuse the spirit of Christmas

Christmas Toasts

Christmas Quotes

Humourous Holiday Quotes

We hope and trust you like all the Christmas-y content posted this year in the Journal.

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.

2020’s top ten news stories in federal politics

The Niagara Independent, December 11 & 18, 2020  – The House of Commons will rise this week for the MPs’ holiday recess. This is an appropriate time to look back at what was an extraordinary year, and select the most significant news stories from the Nation’s Capital. In no particular order, here are “the top ten” federal political stories that, argumentatively, mattered the most to Canadians in 2020.

Changing of the guard at Finance Canada

In the midst of an embarrassing scandal, the Prime Minister replaced his embattled Finance Minister Bill Morneau with his most trusted Minister-of-Everything Chrystia Freeland. Hence, the stewardship of Canada’s finances and fiscal policy went from a Toronto financial services businessman to a Toronto journalist. Morneau left town holding the undistinguished title of the worst economic record in Canadian history. On Morneau’s watch, the Trudeau Government ran $89.1 billion in accumulated deficits and its program spending increased at a striking rate of 27.2 percent in five years. While he was at the helm of Finance Canada, the government added $10,000 of new debt for every man, woman and child. His lasting legacy: Morneau outspent all past federal governments, including those governments that had to respond to world wars and global recessions.

Enter Finance Minister Freeland, who is now overseeing unbridled government spending in response to the pandemic. Canada’s current federal deficit is the largest in the world at 19.8 per cent of the country’s GDP. The Trudeau Government is the global leader in government spending with a fiscal plan that will have our federal debt double to $1.4 trillion in the next five years. In her first financial statement, Freeland offered no financial check and balances; instead, she is musing publicly about finding ways to tap into Canadians’ savings accounts.

Finance Canada also had a new Deputy Minister parachuted into its top spot. Financial Post columnist Terence Corcoran views the placement of Michael Sabia as entrenching “Trudeau’s plan to use sustainable environmental diversity, socially responsible governance and interventionism as the prime drivers of federal economic policy.” Corcoran believes the tandem of Freeland and Sabia points to increased state interventionism: “Under the new capitalism, corporate economic freedom is replaced by corporatist economic controls.”

The unaccounted for government spending

A recent CBC investigative story confirmed the Trudeau Government is spending billions seemingly without controls and with no intention of accounting for the dollars spent. Government financial statements document that Ottawa has spent $240 billion fighting COVID-19 in just eight months – that is an average of $952 million a day. The government has provided more than $81 billion financial support to 11,721,827 people – that is almost 40 per cent of all Canadian adults. It has also provided tens of billions of dollars to businesses and corporations.

The free-spending Trudeau Government has repeatedly frustrated officials and media who request a public accounting of its expenditures. To quote but one of these officials, Canada’s former Parliament Budget Officer Kevin Page states, “We should know more where that money is going… And not knowing really reduces our ability to understand how these programs are working and what role can they play in terms of supporting the economic recovery going forward.” Commenting on the recent federal economic statement, Page said, “It’s impossible to read. I have done this for years and I can’t even follow the money. I hope it’s not deliberate.”

The collapse of Canada’s resource development

In early 2020 (pre COVID-19), Calgary-based news agency, Second Street, reported that $213 billion of resource development projects had been cancelled or stalled in Canada since 2014. This astonishing total came in the wake of the announced cancellation of the $20.6 Billion Teck Frontier mine project –a prairie resource project that would have had 40 years of anticipated production, employ 2,500 workers, and generate more than $70 billion in revenue to governments. Equally devastating in early 2020 was the news about Quebec’s Energie Saguenay pipeline project losing its largest investor. Warren Buffett’s firm took $4 billion off the table and walked away from its investment in the $9 billion liquefied natural gas project. This mega resource project would have built a new 782 km pipeline corridor and a natural gas liquefaction complex at Port Saguenay.

Prior to the pandemic crises, the Trudeau Government’s natural resource development policies were making headlines as having a dramatic, negative impact on both large and small resource companies. There was much public discussion about the abandoned resource projects equating not only to lost employment but also to lost investments and future economic activity. For Canada to lose $213 billion of resource projects does not only damage our country’s current economic standing, it surely cripples the opportunities of future generations of Canadians.

The Great Reset and what it means for the Canadian economy 

PM Trudeau has publicly tied the country’s COVID-19 recovery to The Great Reset and to a series of United Nations’ 2030 objectives. The PM claims: “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset. This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems…”  Trudeau’s script is taken directly from the pages of COVID-19 – The Great Reset, which forecasts the pandemic-induced global economic downturn as providing the catalyst for a reset of capitalism.

As the Fall Throne Speech proclaimed, the Trudeau Government is intent on introducing “a bold, new progressive agenda” designed to restructure the country’s social safety net and address climate change. The Trudeau Government’s economic policies mirror those policy objectives found in The Great Reset. Current fiscal discussions include increased carbon taxes and a new wealth tax, new tax regulations respecting business and individual finances, a withdrawal of support for resource industries, new funding programs for green initiatives, and greater government intervention and social planning measures to adhere to the U.N. policy agendas.

New Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole

In August the Conservative Party elected Erin O’Toole as its new standard bearer. O’Toole grew up in a blue-collar home in southern Ontario, excelled in his pursuits as a pilot in the Canadian Forces and then as a lawyer, before becoming a Member of Parliament. As MP, he represents the community he was raised in, and where he is raising his family. At age 47, O’Toole has been in Ottawa for eight years and he is described as “a moderate” within the federal Conservative caucus.

As the Conservative Leader, O’Toole has called for the government to take a tougher stand against the Communist Party of China. He announced a Conservative Government would meet the emission targets as set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. O’Toole has been critical of the government’s pandemic spending, stating it has been mismanaged and wasteful; and, he is pressing the government for transparency with its vaccine distribution plans. O’Toole’s greatest challenge is for Canadians to come to know him and to recognize his leadership as the alternative to Justin Trudeau, with whom he will be compared in the anticipated 2021 federal election.

WE Charity Scandal

Of all the political headlines from Ottawa in 2020, the most intriguing was the WE Charity scandal that enveloped the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and a good number of Cabinet ministers. This news item was the most personally damaging for the Prime Minister because it directly involved hefty payments and favours to the Trudeau family members. There are many questions about the near billion dollar contract that was to be awarded to the Kielburger brothers. What of the $43.5 million in administration fees; the hundreds of thousands in payments to mother Margaret, wife Sophie and brother Alexandre; the Cabinet circumventing its due diligence in bypassing Treasury Board; and, Minister Bardish Chagger purposely misleading MPs on the Ethics Committee about her part in fast-tracking the contract? And what of the $45 million worth of real estate assets the Kielburgers acquired through their charity operations – are these holdings subject to a CRA audit now that the charity has closed its doors in Canada?

Liberal MPs have effectively shut down all parliamentary inquiries, and succeeded to delay matters long enough for both WE and government officials to destroy all records of their dealings. The only remaining little detail that may concern Trudeau is the final report of the Ethics Commissioner. That report will determine the ethical breaches of the PM and Finance Minister Bill Morneau (recall they did not recuse themselves from the Cabinet approval of WE Charity’s $912 million contract, even though both of their families had pecuniary interests with the charity). As it happened, the Finance Minister used this shameful experience to fall on his sword and exit Ottawa. However, the PM seems sure he will survive yet another assessment of his ethical standards.

The two Michaels and Canada’s relations with Communist China

It has been over two full years since former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor were imprisoned in China on unspecified national security charges of espionage. For most of this time, the two Michaels hopelessly languished in crowded prison cells, cut off from family and friends. Though never candidly stated, it is understood their arrest was payback for the Canadian arrest of Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant.

What should have produced a chill in Canada-China relations has not appeared to have phased the Trudeau Government’s working relationship with the Communist China Government. Throughout the year, Trudeau and his Ministers have stood with the communist regime: denying any questionable activities by China or the World Health Organization with regard to the origin of COVID-19 and the virus spread; refusing to restrict air travel from China; being the only western nation to not ban Huawei in developing the country’s 5G wireless network; and awarding a Chinese firm a major contract to install security screening in Canadian embassies. The most alarming news was just uncovered with the discovery that our Canadian Forces have held joint military exercises with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Base Petawawa. Our Canadian Forces were training the PLA in winter warfare tactics – maneuvers that the Chinese can employ in the snowy mountains of the China-India border and in the high Arctic. Through the year it has been “business as usual” irrespective of the two Michaels’ fate.

Losing the bid for the UN Security Council seat

It was to have been a crowning moment when PM Justin Trudeau could again crow “Canada is back.” However, the unthought-of happened and the PM failed to secure his coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council. In a vote of U.N. member states, Canada came third in a three-way contest with Norway and Ireland. This was a resounding rebuke for PM Trudeau who inserted himself into the bidding process and placed his personal appeal as a progressive world leader on the line. In the run-up to the vote, Trudeau provided keynote addresses at U.N. conferences, pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to U.N. programs, promised to champion third-world debt relief efforts, and made direct calls to a scores of world leaders.

A few days after the Security Council announcement, CBC reported that PMO spokespeople and Liberal MPs had identified that the blame for the loss (if any were to be attributed) lay with Stephen Harper and his failure to adequately fund the Canadian team tasked to win the U.N. seat. This embarrassment was not to be tagged on PM Trudeau when he had done everything possible to undo Harper’s mismanagement of the U.N. file.

Canadians’ preoccupation with everything Trump

This year Canadians have been treated to a deluge of U.S. election news and, in particular, anti-Trump commentary. Canadian mainstream media captivated its audience covering the vote south of the border as a prize slugfest. And while the Americans were busy exercising their democracy, Canadians remained unaware of the travesties of democracy occurring in the Nation’s Capital. In an erudite column this fall, Sun News columnist Lorrie Goldstein observed, “Meanwhile, in Canada, the Liberals are filibustering the parliamentary committee trying to investigate Trudeau’s We Charity controversy and the parliamentary budget officer rebukes the Trudeau gov’t over spending secrecy. But … Orange Man Bad.” Indeed, POTUS Trump proved a perfect foil for the Trudeau Government. As Goldstein acutely summarized, “Any Canadians sneering at the shit show election in the U.S. aren’t paying attention. Canada has its own circus going on.”

On another level, our national media bias did a great disservice to Canadians: it failed to provide context for what the country might experience in a post-Trumpian world. Only now are we beginning to anticipate what a Biden-presidency will mean for the Canada-U.S. relations… what the Democrat protectionist policies will mean for our cross border trade; the U.S. green recovery agenda and likely cancellation of Keystone XL and Alaska-to-Alberta Railway projects; and, Biden’s anticipated accommodation with China foreign policy and how this will impact world diplomacy and trade. With no Donald Trump headlines, Canadians now have the chance to refocus on the politics of Biden — and our own Prime Minister.

Trudeau’s mishandling of the pandemic crises

Space here does not permit a detailed review of the government’s missteps in responding to the health and economic crises presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Regarding health and the failure to contain the spread of the virus: there has been one million air passengers enter Canada since the PM closed the airports; there were 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment (PPEs) shipped to China in mid-February – and months later Canada received millions of faulty Chinese PPEs in return; former Liberal MP Frank Baylis was awarded a $237 million contract to make 10,000 pandemic ventilators – with no Health Canada approval and no means of producing ventilators in Canada; etc., etc.  Regarding Canada’s economy: Trudeau has spent more money per capita than any country in the world and Canada is now the most indebted nation; there’s tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure projects unaccounted for, and billions of dollars more awarded for pandemic relief to foreign-owned private companies; and, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has just unveiled a $100 billion stimulus plan with vague objectives and no details.

Worse than all of this is the Government’s deficient vaccination plan. PM Trudeau has made much of the arrival of the first doses of the vaccine on Canadian soil. However, the actual numbers are dismal: Canada received 19,000 doses on December 13th, is promised two shipments totaling 368,000 doses by the end of the year, and by the  end of March is promised another 1.8 million doses. While other countries are vaccinating tens of millions of their citizens, Canada will only vaccinate a little more than one million by April’s Fool Day. Canadians learned that Trudeau had counted on agreements with China to provide for our vaccine needs – agreements that have evaporated.

In an attempt to reassure Canadians, Trudeau reveals to us that the Government has ordered more vaccine doses than is required. But the stark differences in the figures of what the PM says is promised versus what is being actually delivered points to a political maelstrom for the Trudeau Government – and a whole lot of anxiety for Canadians.

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


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


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.