What of Canada’s Economic Future?

The Niagara Independent, October 11, 2019 — It remains to be seen whether the country’s economy and pocketbook issues will be the determining ballot box question this election. Judging from the little attention the mainstream media (and the Party Leaders) have paid to the country’s economy, it is unlikely voters will consider Canada’s economic future when casting their vote. That being said, what happens Oct. 21 could determine the economic fate of the country for decades to come.

So, what of Canada’s economic future? Here are three factors requiring a greater discussion before the vote: the country’s fiscal plan, taxes, and growing the economy.

Canada’s fiscal plan: In past federal elections, the front running parties would announce fully costed platforms that would inevitably reference a target date for balancing the country’s books. Not in 2019. This election is hijacked by the Liberal’s gambit that Canadians no longer care for the country’s balance sheet. Justin Trudeau and his Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled a platform that will run deficits of more than $20 billion for each of the next four years. The Liberals propose tens of billions in new spending (with promises like their new pharmacare plan not costed) and there is no mention to balance the budget. After the 2019 Morneau Budget the Parliamentary Budget Office issued a projection that the Liberals would not be balancing the country’s annual books until 2040 – and now with their election promises, this will not even be possible.

As hefty the spending promises made by the Liberals, both the NDP and the Green Party have promised more. The Conservatives have indicated they intend to balance the books in five years, but have not produced a costed platform.

The underlying problem with this lack of concern for Canada’s fiscal situation is that the mounting debt forces mounting interest payments and this takes directly from the government’s ability to provide future programs and services. Consider these facts: In the last fiscal year 2018-19 we paid $23.3 billion in interest payments on a national debt that has climbed to $685 billion. Runaway spending and continual deficits as promised by the Liberals, NDP and Greens will cause future distress for Canadian taxpayers.

Taxes: Middle-income individuals today pay higher personal income taxes than they did in 2015. The Fraser Institute reports that with the Liberal Government’s tax policies more than 80 per cent of middle class families (households earning between $77,000 and $108,000) now pay an average of $840 more in personal taxes annually. Lower-middle-class families (household incomes between $52,000 and $77,000) pay nearly 70 percent more in personal income tax.

The current tax burden cannot be worse given many Canadians are struggling with living costs. Accounting firm BDO Canada Ltd recently released statistics that suggest more than half of Canadians live paycheque to paycheque and more than a third have no retirement savings. A majority of Canadians (53 percent) had little disposable income and about one-third of Canadians are carrying credit card balances they cannot pay off.

Both the Liberals and Conservatives are promising relief for the indebted middleclass with income tax reduction plans. The difference between the two parties is the fate of the carbon tax. The Conservatives promise to eliminate this tax, which impacts gas pump prices, home fuel and all goods and services that require transport. On the other hand, the Liberals will maintain the tax and Justin Trudeau has repeatedly remarked there is a plan to adjust the tax so that Canada can meet its 2030 carbon emission targets. This will likely mean, if re-elected, the Liberals will need to raise its carbon tax five times its current level to $300 per tonne, which will hike pump prices to well over $2.00 per litre and add to the cost of everything that moves. The carbon tax will be a considerable burden for all Canadians.

Economic Growth: Aside from the all-party debate on the fate of future pipelines, there has been little sparring over trade and commerce issues. International economic data shows that the country’s economy is waning. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued a statement on the release of this week’s World Economic Forum report on global competitiveness: “Today, the world’s leading competitiveness index shows that Canada has dropped in the rankings for the second year in a row…. (It’s) proving what Canada’s business leaders have expressed over and over and over again — that this country’s business and investment environment is weakening. And it is inconceivable that Canada’s competitiveness is not a central issue in this election.”

Up until 2015, Canada’s real GDP per capita growth tracked closely with the U.S. After 2015 real GDP per capita increased only 2.7 percent in Canada, compared with 6.3 percent south of the border. For the North American business community the difference was the Liberals regulatory and fiscal policies undermining business confidence. And, it appears that the promised Liberal platform presents more of the same. (Unfortunately, Canada will not “grow the economy from the heart out” as Trudeau had predicted in the 2015 campaign.)

The single big-ticket, economy-related promise that has been presented to Canadians this election is the Conservative plan to create a national energy corridor. Andrew Scheer has committed to building a cross-Canada corridor to carry oil, gas, hydroelectricity and telecommunications. He has stated the Conservative corridor plan will increase certainty for investors, help get critical projects built, and provide greater economic and social benefits for all Canadians. Scheer also expects this corridor plan will minimize environmental impacts. For the Conservatives, this plan is much more than a debate over future pipelines; it is Canada’s future economic generator.

The political parties all have different approaches to the critical economic issues we face as a country. The Oct. 21 vote matters a great deal when considering Canada’s fiscal plan and national debt, our current and future taxes, and the country’s economic growth.

 

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/what-of-canadas-economic-future/

“The Epic” Political Jokes & Quotes Book

Here is “the epic” collection of political jokes from the campaign trail.

By George is re-publishing its political jokes and quotes book with many more jokes and feature sections so that we can laugh all the way to the ballot box this October federal election.

This 150-page-plus e-book is bursting with funny guffaws, “shaggy-dog” stories and sideways jokes about politicians and politics. The collection has some of the absolute best classics. It also has a selection of the most humourist and provocative memes culled from Facebook and Twitter.

Epic Political Jokes & Quotes will put a smile on your face, one page after another. For many, it is a sure tonic for surviving the heighten rhetoric of our political leaders. For politicos, this is a great resource that you can pull material from for your next Party event.

Order your e-copy of  Epic Political Jokes & Quotes from the By George E-Bookshelf

The e-copy is sent as a pdf, suitable to open on your mobile device or lap-top, and easily downloaded to enjoy on your Kindle Reader. 

 

10 rules for crisis management

We are often asked advice about our rules of communications during a crisis. It is best if organizations think about crises before they hit. Be assured, a little bit of preparation will pay off ten-fold.

So, here’re 10 rules CG&A COMMUNICATIONS promotes to assist with crisis management:

1.  Write it down! Before a crisis occurs, draw up and distribute a comprehensive crisis communications plan. Always have a plan on paper.

2.  Know who will speak. Designate a small list of possible spokespersons and ensure they have training to give media interviews. The objective in responding during a crisis is to have a single voice, not a chorus.

3.  Organize yourself. Establish internal communications lines to ensure fast, accurate information when a crisis does occur. Prepare a list of inside and outside people to inform of a crisis. And, ensure all employees know where to direct media inquiries.

4.  Make good first impression. When the issue breaks, there must be an immediate meeting with senior management to determine the stance to take with the public. You have two critical hours to effectively respond. Your challenge is to define the issue accurately, deploy constantly changing tactics, and anticipate reactions.

5.  Prepare for media. Spend time briefing designated spokesperson(s) and ensure message lines are tight and clear.

6.  Be pro-active. Get out in front of the issue/event and make a public statement. No comment is no response and silence is anything but golden.

7.  Keep everyone in-the-know. Remember to keep your own house informed. Distribute statement to staff and other key people.

8.  Keep the channel(s) to media open. The media must know who the spokespersons are. An inquiry number should be made available to send and receive messages. In a crisis, it is essential that you are honest, accessible, and forthcoming.

9.  Always stay ahead of the issue. If the crisis is on-going, release periodic statements or hold periodic media briefings/news conferences.

10.  Never follow a list of ten golden rules. Each crisis is unique and requires special tactics to ensure the issues are dealt with effectively. Do not limit your options in answering to your crisis. A creative, pro-active plan is your best offense.

 

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 essence of leadership

Alexander the Great“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and action.” – as quoted by American business leader Harold S. Geneen. This truth is borne out by the actions of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) is this demonstrative tale as told by the Plutarch.

       Alexander the Great was leading his army homeward after the great victory against Portus in India. The country through which they now marched was bare and desert, and his army suffered dreadfully from heat, hunger, and, most of all, thirst. The soldiers’ lips cracked and their throats burned from want of water, and many were ready to lie down and give up.

       About noon one day the army met a party of Greek travelers. They were on mules, and carried with them a few vessels filled with water. One of them, seeing the king almost chocking from thirst, filled a helmet and offered it to him.

       Alexander took it into his hands, then looked around at the faces of his suffering soldiers, who craved refreshment just as much as he did.

       “Take it away,” he said, “for if I drink alone, the rest will be out of heart, and you have not enough for all.”

       So he handed the water back without touching a drop of it. And the soldiers, cheering their king, leaped to their feet, and demanded to be led forward.

 

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.

There’s Much to be Concerned About with Canadian Media

Unifor president Jerry Dias with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Unifor represents thousands of reporters from mainstream media.

The union has vowed to be Andrew Scheer’s worst nightmare.

The Niagara Independent, August 23, 2019 — Can Canadians trust their media regarding its coverage of national politics? Based on a string of events over the past few months this is a legitimate and worrying question.

Consider the latest federal budget where the government set forth a fund of $600 million to be paid to selected Canadian newsrooms. At the same time, the government selected “an independent panel” to dole out its largesse, which includes the journalists’ union Unifor. Conservative MP and former newsman Peter Kent was very troubled that the governing Liberals would potentially undermine the freedom of the press: “getting involved in this sort of direct subsidy to what is supposed to be an independent estate. From top to bottom it smells. It’s simply unacceptable.” National Post columnist Andrew Coyne perhaps put it best stating the government cheques will “irrevocably politicize the press.”

This month outspoken Unifor union president Jerry Dias announced that the journalists’ outfit will run an aggressive anti-Conservative campaign. Dias signaled that the union will run television ads during the election writ period asking Canadians to “think twice about supporting the Scheer agenda.” Recall that Dias’ union executive has described itself as “Andrew Scheer’s worst nightmare.”

Concurrently, the Unifor union has been unabashed in its praise of Justin Trudeau, providing standing ovations for the Prime Minister’s appearance at their annual meetings. And the PM often refers to Jerry Dias as “his friend.” (Again, this is the same Unifor that is handing out government cheques to newsrooms.)

Point of fact, Unifor members include a total of 12,000 Canadian journalists — columnists, editors and news anchors at the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Global TV and CTV stations and employees at the Winnipeg Free Press, London Free Press and the Hamilton Spectator.

There is also recent news about the Toronto Star, the news source that declares it is “leading progressive journalism” in our country. The news agency Blacklock’s Reporter has learned that the Star publishers “estimated its take of federal media bailout money is worth the equivalent of $115,385 a week.” (So, doing the math, this equates to a payout of more than half-a-million dollars that will be paid for the election writ period.)

But, apart from the issue of newsroom payouts, there is recent findings bringing into direct question the accuracy and integrity of what is being reported by Canadian newsrooms. Research from the Public Policy Forum found that mainstream media outlets like the CBC, CTV and Huffington Post, are in fact one of “the causes of misinformation” for Canadians.  In the Forum’s study it was found that many Canadians exposed to traditional or mainstream media are more likely to give incorrect answers to questions about basic government policy issues. The summary states: “Survey respondents who read or watched more traditional news media were less likely to express uncertainty about policy questions than those with low consumption, but more likely to give an incorrect response.”

There is also a disturbing pattern of anti-Conservative sentiment that has unfolded within the Canadian journalists’ echo-chamber on Twitter. This bias has resulted in unbalanced reporting and, in some cases, the promotion of fake news to embarrass Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Here are a few recent examples:

  • Liberal partisans spread a falsehood via Twitter that, in one of his policy announcements, the Conservative Leader was employing an actress who pretended she was a cancer survivor. Media jumped on Andrew Scheer to explain. When it was found that the woman was indeed a cancer survivor, there was no apology from media. Instead, CBC ran a story about a professional actress, mistakenly identified in this mix-up, who was subjected to online cruelty and bullying.
  • Media followed the story of a (obviously phony) woman protestor standing outside an event where the Conservative Leader was speaking. This protestor was holding a sign reading, “Vote Andrew Scheer” and seen spitting on a person and making racist statements. Reporters at the event dogged Andrew Scheer to explain and the news story became his denouncing the fake Conservative supporter. The Leader’s speech was ignored; the protestor’s story made headlines.
  • Liberal MP Adam Vaughan made headlines with graphic photos and tweets that falsely accused conservatives of mistreating and caging refugee children. Using photos of children in U.S. border detention centres, the Toronto MP was attempting to smear the federal Conservatives, stating in one tweet “We all know where right-wing scapegoating leads us. Our Government won’t cage children.” MP Vaughan’s tweets and photos were sprayed across the newswires and social media platforms while his eventual apology for this fake news made little press.

Connecting all these dots, are we not left to wonder what news sources can be trusted when it comes to national politics? From the recent comments of Jerry Dias, Canadians can see how union activists are in bed with the Trudeau Liberals in their re-election bid. And there is the fact that the Liberal Government is rewarding certain newsrooms with generous cheques. Andrew Coyne observes: “It is a disaster that is now unfolding. If there were ever the slightest chance the process would not be politicized, that has already vanished.” So, in all seriousness, how can Canadians trust their media?

 

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/theres-much-to-be-concerned-about-with-canadian-media/