Category Archives: Features

News, articles and opinion pieces

Quotes of PM Sir Robert Borden

Sir Robert Borden was Canada’s Prime Minister from 1911 to 1920, leading the country during World War 1. Borden’s government introduced the first federal income tax to Canada and he nationalized the Canadian railways and he was responsible for WW1 conscription in 1917. 

 

  • It is a miserable irregular life one has to lead and I am more than sick of it, I can assure you. [in a letter to his wife on politics in Ottawa]
  • Canadianism or Continentalism [the victorious 1911 campaign slogan against PM Laurier’s vision of U.S. trade reciprocity]
  • Freely and voluntarily the manhood of Canada stands ready to fight beyond the seas in this just quarrel for the Empire and its liberties.
  • It can hardly be expected that we shall put 400,000 or 500,000 men in the field and willingly accept the position of having no more voice and receiving no more consideration than if we were toy automata. 
  • We must not forget that days may come when our patience, our endurance and our fortitude will be tried to the utmost. In those days, let us see to it that no heart grows faint and that no courage be found wanting. . .
  • In this country we are a peace loving people, and great tasks lie before us in the peaceful development of our resources. We have no lasting quarrel with the German people, who have great qualities and whose achievements in every important sphere of human progress are conspicuous, although they are temporarily misled by the militarism of Prussia; but we will fight to the death against the vain attempt of an arrogant militarist oligarchy to impose upon the world its ideals of force and violence and to achieve its unworthy purpose by “blood and iron”.
  • There is but one way to deal effectively with the Prussian gospel of force and violence and the Prussian ideal of absolutism. It must be smashed utterly and completely. The sooner that is accomplished the better for the German people and for all the nations. Canada joins wholeheartedly in that great task. What has been done is known to all. What remains to be done shall be limited only by the need.
  • Let us never forget the solemn truth that the nation is not constituted of the living alone. There are those as well who have passed away and those yet to be born. So this great responsibility comes to us as heirs of the past and trustees of the future. But with that responsibility there has come something greater still, the opportunity of proving ourselves worthy of it; and I pray that this may not be lost.
  • The Canadians who have fought so gallantly for our liberties and those of the world, and who have given to our country a great place among the world’s nations, will return to Canada with a wider vision and with a higher appreciation of the opportunities that lie before them.
  • Canada got nothing out of the war except recognition. [in a letter to his wife on what Canadians achieved from the war]

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

PM Sir Wilfrid Laurier Quotes

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s seventh PM

  • Canada has been modest in its history, although its history, in my estimation, is only commencing. It is commencing in this century. The nineteenth century was the century of the United States. I think we can claim that Canada will fill the twentieth century.
  • Confederation is a compact, made originally by four provinces but adhered to by all the nine provinces who have entered it, and I submit to the judgment of this house and to the best consideration of its members, that this compact should not be lightly altered.
  • I claim for Canada this, that in future Canada shall be at liberty to act or not act, to interfere or not interfere, to do just as she pleases, and that she shall reserve to herself the right to judge whether or not there is cause for her to act.
  • Let them look to the past, but let them also look to the future; let them look to the land of their ancestors, but let them look also to the land of their children.
  • A colony, yet a nation – words never before in the history of the world associated together.
  • We are here a nation, composed of the most heterogeneous elements–Protestants and Catholics, English, French, German, Irish, Scotch, every one, let it be remembered, with his traditions, with his prejudices. In each of these conflicting antagonistic elements, however, there is a common spot of patriotism, and the only true policy is that which reaches that common patriotism and makes it vibrate in all toward common ends and common aspirations.
  • Fraternity without absorption, union without fusion.
  • For us, sons of France, political sentiment is a passion; while, for the Englishmen, politics are a question of business.
  • Two races share today the soil of Canada. These people had not always been friends. But I hasten to say it. There is no longer any family here but the human family. It matters not the language people speak, or the altars at which they kneel.
  • Why, so soon as French Canadians, who are in a minority in this House and in the country, were to organise as a political party, they would compel the majority to organise as a political party, and the result must be disastrous to themselves.
  • If I were not French I would choose to be – Scotch.
  • He is ready, if the occasion presents itself, to throw the whole English population in the St. Lawrence.
  • I am quite prepared, if we can do it without any disrespect to the Crown of England, to bring our titles to the marketplace and make a bonfire of them.
  • It would be simply suicidal to French Canadians to form a party by themselves.
  • Quebec does not have Opinions, but only sentiments.
  • This country must be governed, and can be governed, simply on questions of policy and administration and the French Canadians who have had any part in this movement have never had any other intention but to organise upon those party distinctions and upon no other.
  • The Divinity could be invoked as well in the English language as in the French.
  • I am a subject of the British Crown, but whenever I have to choose between the interests of England and Canada it is manifest to me that the interests of my country are identical with those of the United States of America.
  • I am not here to parade my religious sentiments, but I declare I have too much respect for the faith in which I was born to ever use it as the basis of a political organization.
  • Whether splendidly isolated or dangerously isolated, I will not now debate; but for my part, I think splendidly isolated, because the isolation of England comes from her superiority.

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

 

Quotes from Canada’s earliest PMs

Sir Charles Tupper, Canada’s 6th Prime Minister    

Tupper was a Canadian Father of Confederation who, as Premier of Nova Scotia (1864-67) led that Province into confederation. He was sworn into the office of Prime Minister on May 1, 1896, seven days after Parliament had been dissolved. He lost the June 23 election and resigned on July 8, 1896. His 69-day term as prime minister is the shortest in Canadian history.

 

Here are ten quotes from five of our country’s earliest Prime Ministers:  Alexander Mackenzie (1873-1878), Sir John Abbott (1891-1892), Sir John Thompson (1892-1894), Sir Mackenzie Bowell (1894-1896), and Sir Charles Tupper (1896).  

  • I have always held those political opinions which point to the universal brotherhood of man, no matter in what rank of life he may have taken his origin. – Alexander Mackenzie
  • But I refer to it now merely to say this: that the Reformers of this country will remember — those who were not alive at that time by reading, and those who were alive by having been in the midst of these events — with gratitude that it was the great leaders of the Reform party who first gave perfect civil and religious rights to the people of Canada. – Alexander Mackenzie
  • We shall all respect the principles of each other and do nothing that would be regarded as an act of oppression to any portion of the people. – Alexander Mackenzie
  • I hate politics and what are considered their appropriate measures. I hate notoriety, public meetings, public speeches, caucuses and everything that I know of which is apparently the necessary incident of politics—except doing public work to the best of my ability. – Sir John Abbott
  • I cannot promise that my services shall be of great account, or that I shall render great service to my country. I can promise that my whole strength of mind and talent, whatever it is, shall be devoted to its interests. – Sir John Abbott
  • We look forward to it as one of the aims which are to be accomplished in the public life of Canada, because the Conservative party believes that the influence of women in the politics of the country is always for good. I think, therefore, that there is a probability of the franchise being extended to the women on the same property qualifications as men. –  [on women’s suffrage] Sir John Thompson
  • I hope the time is fast approaching in Canada when we shall never hear the question raised of a man’s birth, or the creed that he professes. We live in a country and under a constitution in which every man has a right to act as his judgment dictates, or as his education leads him, upon matters of this very important character. – Sir Mackenzie Bowell
  • I have lived long enough to come to the conclusion, that if a man believes in one particular principle, or one particular creed and thinks it is the best, it is not for me to interfere with his conscience, nor do I think any one else should interfere with his conscience, or with the course which he may think proper to pursue, so long as he does not attempt to interfere with others. – Sir Mackenzie Bowell
  • The human mind naturally adapts itself to the position it occupies. The most gigantic intellect may be dwarfed by being cabin’d, cribbed and confined. It requires a great country and great circumstances to develop great men. – Sir Charles Tupper
  • Each little Province is a little nation by itself. – Sir Charles Tupper

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

In defence of Sir John A. Macdonald and his legacy

Reposting…. 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.”

IN DEFENCE OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD’S LEGACY:

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.

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

Canada’s Prime Ministers on Politics

Sir John A. Macdonald is Canada’s first Prime Minister

and a grand and colourful character whose accomplishments

helped forged a nation from sea to sea.

 

Over the course of the next three weeks, we will focus on providing quotes from our country’s Prime Ministers.

We begin with the quotes and quips of perhaps our greatest leader, Sir John A. Macdonald:

  • Politics is a game requiring great coolness.
  • Anybody may support me when I am right. What I want is someone that will support me when I am wrong.
  • An election is like a horse-race, in that you can tell more about it the next day.
  • There were, unfortunately, no great principles on which parties were divided – politics became a mere struggle for office.
  • If you would know the depth of meanness of human nature, you have got to be a Prime Minister running a general election.
  • Politics is a game requiring great coolness and an utter abnegation of prejudice and personal feeling.
  • Give me better wood and I will make you a better cabinet.
  • The time has come, I think, when we must choose men for their qualifications rather than for their locality.
  • We are all mere petty provincial politicians at present; perhaps by and by some of us will rise to the level of national statesmen.
  • The Government are merely trustees for the public.
  • I don’t care for office for the sake of money, but for the sake of power, and for the safe of carrying out my own views of what is best for the country.
  • Even if all the territory Mr. Mowat asks for were awarded to Ontario, there is not one stick of timber, one acre of land, or one lump of lead, iron or gold that does not belong to the Dominion, or to the people who purchased from the Dominion Government.
  • Had I but consented to take the popular side in Upper Canada, I could have ridden the Protestant horse much better than George Brown, and could have had an overwhelming majority. But I willingly sacrificed my own popularity for the good of the country, and did equal justice to all men.
  • He shall hang though every dog in Quebec bark in his favour. [referring to Louis Riel]
  • I have no accord with the desire expressed in some quarters that by any mode whatever there should be an attempt made to oppress the one language or to render it inferior to the other – I believe that would be impossible if it were tried, and it would be foolish and wicked if it were possible.
  • I would be quite willing, personally, to leave that whole country a wilderness for the next half-century but I fear if Englishmen do not go there, Yankees will.
  • But if it should happen that we should be absorbed in the United States, the name of Canada would be literally forgotten; we should have the State of Ontario, the State of Quebec, the State of Nova Scotia and State of New Brunswick. Every one of the provinces would be a state, but where is the grand, the glorious name of Canada? All I can say is that not with me, or not by the action of my friends, or not by the action of the people of Canada, will such a disaster come upon us.
  • If Canada is to remain a country separate from the United States it is of great importance to her that they (the United States) should not get behind us by right or by force, and intercept the route to the Pacific. But in any other point of view, it seems to me that the country is of no present value to Canada. We have unoccupied land enough to absorb immigration for many years, and the opening up of the Saskatchewan would do to Canada what the Prairie lands of Illinois are doing now – drain away our youth and our strength.
  • The word ‘protection’ itself must be taboo, but we can ring the changes on National Policy, paying the U.S. in their own coin.
  • There is no maxim which experience teaches more clearly than this, that you must yield to the times. Resistance may be protracted until it produces revolution. Resistance was protracted in this country until it produced rebellion.
  • When fortune empties her chamber pot on your head, smile and say, ‘We are going to have a summer shower.’
  • I am afraid I shall have to give you the answer of the Irish servant who got into a place where the food was not as it should be – ‘there’s too much to swallow and too little to eat’.
  • A compliment is the statement of an agreeable truth; flattery is the statement of an agreeable untruth.
  • Never write a letter if you can help it, and never destroy one.
  • A sweet smile from the teeth outwards. [referring to John Abbott] 
  • When a man has done me an evil turn once, I don’t like to give him the opportunity to do so twice.
  •  [Macdonald was well known for his wit and also for his alcoholism. 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 and 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.”

 

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

Jordan Peterson bons mots

Don’t compare yourself with other people; compare yourself with who you were yesterday.

Power is competence.

If you fulfill your obligations every day you don’t need to worry about the future.

It’s better to do something badly than to not do it at all.

Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens.

You’re not everything you could be, and you know it.

The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it.

Face the demands of life voluntarily. Respond to  a challenge, instead of bracing for catastrophe.

The way that you make people resilient is by voluntarily exposing them to things that they are afraid of and that makes them uncomfortable.

Strengthen the individual. Start with yourself. Take care with yourself. Define who you are. Refine your personality. Choose your destination and articulate your Being. As the great nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche so brilliantly noted, ‘He whose life has a why can bear almost any how.‘

If you’re going to be successful you need to be smart, conscientious, and tough.

The successful among us delay gratification and bargain with the future.

Humility is recognition of personal insufficiency and the willingness to learn.

Be grateful in spite of your suffering.

The truth is something that burns, it burns off deadwood and people don’t like having their deadwood burnt off often because they’re 95% deadwood.

You’re going to pay a price for every bloody thing you do and everything you don’t do. You don’t get to choose to not pay a price. You get to choose which poison you’re going to take. That’s it.

It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.

To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).

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

Canadians will get to vote on the carbon tax

The Niagara Independent, April 2 & 9, 2021 – The federal government once again hiked the carbon tax on April 1st as per its publicized schedule of annual tax increases. Recall this time last year, during the height of the pandemic crisis, Canada made international headlines as the only country that was hiking taxes while the global economy was shut down.

PM Justin Trudeau and the governing Liberals are wholly committed to the carbon tax. The Conservative Party has announced it is opposed to the tax. So, it appears, Canadians will get a chance to vote on the carbon tax regime in the next election.

The Trudeau Liberals argue that taxing pollution is an essential component of the country’s environmental commitment and the PM has stated ad nauseum that this carbon tax is revenue neutral. Conservatives point out that both these claims are false: a tax does not constitute a serious environment policy and this carbon tax is nothing but a tax grab. Organizations from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, to Canadians for Affordable Energy, to the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation (CTF) have been similarly critical, stating this carbon tax regime is adversely impacting Canadians.

On Thursday the federal carbon tax increased by $10 to $40 per tonne, which increases pump prices by approximately nine cents per litre according to the Canada Revenue Agency. It also raised Canadians’ cost of heating their homes (although the CRA have not provided the exact figures for these increased bills).

The bottom line is that the Liberals’ carbon tax hikes are going to raise the cost of everything for Canadians. According to the government’s own schedule of tax hikes, taxes paid at the pump on each fill-up by 2030 will be an additional $27 for a minivan, an additional $45 extra for a pickup truck, and truck drivers will pay an additional $204 to fuel their tractor trailers. Consider what this means for commuters each week.

Canadians will also experience increased taxes on their home heating, natural gas and propane bills. One estimate from the CTF factored that a home using 2,700 cubic metres of natural gas per year would be dinged an extra $240 in taxes each year.

This tax will hit farmers and truckers hard and Canadians will experience hidden tax increases with groceries and merchandise bills. It will be difficult to factor and track these tax increases as they will be unseen, folded into the cost of goods.

There is also the additional GST that is collected on all of this tax. The federal government is taxing the carbon tax. The CTF estimates, in 2019, Ontarians alone paid $243 million in GST on top of carbon tax charges.

These tax increases are only a third of the story when it comes to the Liberal Government’s tax grab. The government has announced a three-prong carbon tax regime: 1) the scheduled carbon tax hikes; 2) a new Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) carbon tax on the country’s business community to take affect January 1, 2022; and 3) multiple green measures and subsidy programs that are estimated to cost Canadians $15 billion in the short term.

With the yet-to-be-imposed CFS tax, the federal government estimates this new tax will increase energy costs by an additional $208 annually for households by 2030. There is no CFS rebate system planned to defray these increased taxes.

Add all the carbon taxes up and the average Canadian will be paying north of a thousand dollars in additional taxes each year. And perhaps much more according to the Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. On the news that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the federal government’s right to impose the carbon tax, a delighted Minister Wilkinson told CBC News that the next step for the country will be to set new emission targets that will exceed the targets stated under the Paris Agreement. One can assume from this statement that the schedule of Liberal carbon tax hikes will be recalculated and – hiked.

In a fall government document on their environmental agenda, the Liberals explained the rationale for their carbon tax. The document states: “The principle is straightforward: a carbon price establishes how much businesses and households need to pay for their pollution. The higher the price, the greater the incentive to pollute less, conserve energy and invest in low-carbon solutions.” By taxing Canadians increasing amounts, the government intends on meeting its emissions targets. (Yet this strategy is questionable given Canada’s emission levels have notably increased since the imposition of the carbon tax.)

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole vehemently disagrees with this approach of taxing Canadians and has promised to provide a viable alternative to meeting Canada’s emission targets. O’Toole states, “We’re in the process of creating a very comprehensive plan that will reduce emissions without some of the negative aspects of Mr. Trudeau’s Ottawa-imposed carbon tax.” O’Toole explains the Liberal carbon tax “will hurt some of the people at the margins, will hurt small businesses who cannot be made whole for the cost, and will hurt some of our cross-border opportunities because there is no carbon price in the United States.” O’Toole adds, “It’s not a market-based approach if our largest competitor does not have the input price for carbon.”

O’Toole explains the Conservative approach to scrap the carbon tax is not denying Canada’s role in contributing to global warming solutions, “Climate change is real and it’s important for us to have a serious approach. I want to have a plan that Canada can meet its targets. I’ve also said I’d like to see a net-zero approach plan, a made-in-Canada net-zero approach plan over the longer term, which is the 2050 timeline, but to do it without taxing people. As I said the carbon tax impacts our competitiveness and it hurts people in the margins the most. I think it’s backwards to be honest.”

Current public opinion suggests that one in two Canadians agree with the Conservative Leader. A recent Leger research poll indicates 52 per cent of Canadians do not support annual carbon tax hikes. One in three (32 per cent) are in favour, and the balance (16 per cent) are undecided. More than two-thirds do not like the tax increases at the pumps (68 per cent) or on home fuel (67 per cent); half (49 per cent) do not like the fact that Canadian businesses are being taxed extra; and half (49 per cent) do not believe the carbon tax is revenue neutral.

When Canadians already are spending considerably more of their income on taxes than on life necessities, to insist on a schedule of increased carbon taxes may be too much to ask. For a growing number of tax-weary Canadians, the upcoming federal election will bring a welcomed opportunity to vote on the matter.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explains the carbon tax thus: “The principle is straightforward: a carbon price establishes how much businesses and households need to pay for their pollution. The higher the price, the greater the incentive to pollute less, conserve energy and invest in low-carbon solutions.”

Since the Trudeau government introduced its carbon tax, Canada has repeatedly failed to meet its carbon emissions targets.

The rationale for raising the tax is to cause greater economic pain so that Canadians will pollute less and the country will meet its emission targets. The political spin is “Canadians must pay their share to save the world.”

Yet, here are five uncomfortable truths about the carbon tax that suggests this punitive taxing approach is not only a policy failure that has zero percent chance of making any real difference with lowering emissions in Canada or around the world, but that it is an unfair tax that disadvantages both lower income Canadians and our country’s economy.

  1. The current tax is a proven failure to lower emissions.

Canada adopted a 2050 target of net zero emissions, but it is on course to miss the emission levels at every milestone along the way. Last year, the government reported that emissions in Canada had actually risen over the past decade from 543 to 577 million metric tonnes. The country missed its Copenhagen 2020 targets and, according to the United Nations Emissions Gap Report, the U.N. estimates Canada is set to miss its 2030 emissions target by 15 per cent.

Even with the schedule of carbon tax increases, it is questionable whether the country’s emissions will marginally decrease, let alone meet our future targets. This is one reason why Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has stated the country must set more aggressive targets over the decade, presumably imposing an even more aggressive schedule of tax increases. It is also why the federal government is considering the introduction of a carbon-offset system that will allow Canadian industries to pay for maintaining their emissions levels. In both cases, our taxes will increase, while the country’s carbon emissions will not decrease in any meaningful way.

  1. Our country’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions accounts for a miniscule 1.6 per cent and our efforts to reduce carbon emissions is insignificant.

The reality is that if Canada were to eliminate all carbon emissions tomorrow, the coal plants currently being built in China would more than replace this accomplishment. (Did you know: China is building 184 coal plants and, in 2020, China built more than three times as much new coal power capacity as all the other countries in the world combined?)

Our country ranks tenth on the list of global polluters, but it is a small fraction of the world’s greatest emitters. Some 53 per cent of the world’s emissions come from four sources: China 27.2 per cent, U.S. 14.6 per cent, India 6.8 per cent, and Russia 4.7 per cent. At today’s measurements, China emits in 20 days the carbon emissions Canadians pollute in an entire year. The country may have made headlines signing onto the U.N.’s emissions program, but the Chinese government doesn’t plan to begin reducing emissions for another two decades.

  1. The carbon tax is unevenly applied across the country – undermining the fairness and effectiveness of the tax.

The federal carbon tax directly impacts Alberta industries and is not applied to Quebec industries. Motorists in Ontario pay a greater amount of tax at the pumps than motorists in Quebec. Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador pay no carbon tax at the pumps or on home fuel. The April 1 tax hike was not felt in provinces like Quebec because the schedule of tax hikes through the 2020’s will not bs imposed on Quebecers. The federal government states the new tax rate is factored at $40 per tonne, but Quebecers are still being taxed at a rate of less than $20 per tonne.

In theory, as explained by Trudeau, the punitive nature of continuously increasing carbon taxes will move Canadian individuals and businesses to change their behaviour and pollute less. But how is that to work if half of Canadians do not feel the pain of the turning of the screw? What are the consequences for those industries being taxed in the various parts of the country where the tax regime is not evenly applied and administered?

  1. The carbon tax is a greater burden on lower income Canadians, and it is not revenue neutral.

A Finance Canada analysis on the carbon tax recently concluded that “increases in transportation fuel and home heating expenses would disproportionately impact lower and middle-income households [and] those living in single detached households or those without control over the energy efficiency of their dwellings that use heating oil.”

While, an Environment Canada report concluded that the government is not fully rebating Canadians the tax dollars it collected with the carbon tax. 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, and public institutions. Ontario residents were shortchanged almost $400 million. Some 40 per cent of Ontario households pay more in carbon taxes than they get back in rebates. 

  1. The carbon tax is increasing the cost of living – and this will seriously impact all Canadians.

The carbon tax will raise the cost of everything for Canadians. It raises gas prices for commuters and personal travel. It raises fuel prices to heat homes. It increases costs for our farmers, manufacturers, miners and energy producers, and the truckers who deliver almost everything we need. In this way, the carbon tax will raise the price of all groceries and consumer goods. And, incredibly, on top of the carbon tax, the federal government also charges the GST (collecting a further tax on the carbon tax).

This week a national survey found 53 per cent of Canadians are $200 or less away from being insolvent. Thirty per cent of Canadians say they are already unable to pay their bills and manage their debt obligations – there is no money left over at the end of the month. Now, imagine Canadians paying more tax.

Former Liberal MP Dan McTeague, and now the outspoken head of the group Canadians For Affordable Energy, believes that “politicians who care about the issue of affordable energy can, and should, make the case against carbon taxes.” McTeague states the punitive tax regime “requires a pushback against the many people who insult everyday Canadians who are sick and tired of watching their taxes go up.”

In the upcoming federal election, the Trudeau Liberals will want to frame the tax as the responsible way for Canadians to do their part for global climate change. The Conservatives will want to talk about the ineffectiveness of the tax regime, promising to relay how Canadians can meet their international obligations to reduce emissions without a carbon tax. Quite apart from this political debate is the reality of what the carbon tax is costing the country as it places an increasingly difficult burden on the backs of Canadians. These issues will be debated – come the next federal election, Canadians will ultimately get to vote on the carbon tax.

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/canadians-will-get-to-vote-on-the-carbon-tax-part-1/

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/canadians-will-get-to-vote-on-the-carbon-tax-part-2/

A few questions on transparency in advance of the federal budget

The Niagara Independent, March 26, 2021 – What caused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do such an abrupt about-face? One week he was stating repeatedly that the government would not deliver a budget in March or April and then, the very next Monday, his finance minister announces the budget date for mid-April.

This week Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland rose in the House of Commons to inform Canadians that April 19 would be the date of her much-awaited federal budget address.

Between the PM’s insistence that there was to be no budget and Freeland’s announcement, there was a phone call on March 18 between PM Trudeau and Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Recall, in early 2021, the IMF urged the Trudeau Government to adopt a “fiscal anchor” so that it might retain credibility with its management of the public accounts. This was in response to the government’s announcement that Canada’s federal debt as a percentage of GDP will peak at more than 52 percent this fiscal year.

So, here is a reasonable question: what was discussed between the PM and the IMF head last week and did this exchange prompt the government to announce its budget sooner than it planned?

The April budget will be Minister Freeland’s first since assuming responsibility for the country’s finances. In this budget, the government will need to address its record high spending during the pandemic – the greatest per capita spending in the world; its record national debt as a percentage of GDP (now worse than Greece’s debt); and, the highest unemployment rates of the G-8 countries. There is a great deal for Minister Freeland to answer to.

In its economic statement in November, the government reported Canada’s total debt rising to $1.1 trillion in 2021, up from $721 billion in 2019. It projected the country’s debt to top $1.3 trillion in five years. At that time, Freeland also announced the government’s intention to spend another $100-billion over three years to help with the pandemic crisis, although there were no details on the measures that were to drive the economic recovery.

The debt levels are worrisome but it is the lack of an economic plan that most troubles Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole. This week O’Toole sent a letter to the PM to caution him on the debt and demand a detailed plan for the economy. O’Toole wrote, “We need a road map to reopen, and we need it now. As Conservatives have stated, you have asked Canadians for a blank cheque without presenting a budget to show how or when you plan to use that additional borrowing capacity. I note that this historic and massive increase in our country’s debt also includes $100-billion for additional stimulus measures. Despite repeated requests for you to explain how, when and where this money will be spent, you have refused to be transparent about your plans.”

The Conservative Leader was referencing a Finance Committee vote by MPs on Tuesday that approved a 56 percent increase in the federal debt ceiling, from $1.168 trillion to $1,831,000,000,000. The new debt ceiling permits the government to spend more money on its reset agenda to build back better by subsidizing green energy programs and reforming capitalism with greater government interventionism.

Though the exact details of the Trudeau Government’s fiscal and economic recovery plans are yet to be made public, the state of the Canadian economy is something that has been producing troubling headlines for weeks:

  • Statistics Canada recently reported that Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 5.4 percent in 2020. This drop represents the biggest contraction for Canada’s economy since the Great Depression.
  • Finance Canada reported that the Canada Recovery Benefit payments to Canadians of $2,000 per month was initially estimated to cost $6.3 billion to the end of March. It is now estimated to have cost the federal treasury nearly double — $11.1 billion.
  • The Conference Board of Canada has warned about the “inescapable” ramifications of the “gigantic fiscal hole” dug during the pandemic. Plunging revenues, record deficit spending, and the country’s rising health care costs have the potential to be “catastrophic” for the Canadian economy.

BNN Bloomberg reports this week that the Bank of Canada is looking to scale back its purchasing of government bonds — forecasting an end to free-spending government initiatives. The central bank purchased a record amount of over $250 billion worth of government bonds in 2020. The news agency reports: Deputy Governor Toni Gravelle used a Tuesday speech to lay out ground rules the central bank will use to slow the pace of its purchases of Canadian government bonds… It currently owns a little more than 35% of the total market of outstanding government of Canada debt. Governor Tiff Macklem has said that when holdings rise above 50%, market functioning could get distorted.”

The Canadian business community and international banks are anxious for the Trudeau Government to make public its fiscal and economic recovery plans. It has been too long between budgets. Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux has been constant in his criticism over the government’s lack of transparency. “What we’re missing when there’s no budget is an overall snapshot and also a sense of where the government is heading in coming years.”

William Robson, Chief Executive of the C.D. Howe Institute has echoed this concern, saying he is concerned the government has simply “penciled in” the spending plans and has failed to properly account for its expenditures.

Goldy Hyder, Business Council of Canada President and CEO wants to see a detailed economic growth plan. “To build confidence, the federal government must present a comprehensive and credible plan that spurs investment, private sector job creation, and long-term economic growth.”

As the budget date draws nearer, there are two important outstanding questions that would provide greater transparency and greater public confidence in this Government’s plans. 1) What did PM Trudeau and the head of the IMF Kristalina Georgieva discuss in relation to her concerns about Canada’s fiscal affairs? 2) What potential conflicts of interests does Finance Minister Freeland have preparing this budget when she sits on the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum and is seat mate with the same Kristalina Georgieva?

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/a-few-questions-on-transparency-in-advance-of-the-federal-budget/

The bicentennial anniversary of the War of Greek Independence

March 25th marked the bicentennial anniversary of the War of Greek Independence.  We rejoice: Zhto H Ellas! 

By George posts on the War of Greek Independence 

Reflecting on the bicentennial anniversary of the War of Greek Independence

A Synopsis of the War of Greek Independence

10 Facts: Greek Independence Day 

Celebrating 200 Years of Freedom – in Photos

Dionysios Solomos and the Hymn to Liberty

Lord Byron and his Support for the Greek Cause

Eugene Delacroix and The Massacre at Chios

A Victor’s Meal: Bakaliaros Skordalia

More on the war and on Greek heritage… 

Wikipedia: Greek War of Independence

Greek Reporter: The History of the Greek War of Independence

How the 1821 Greek Revolution Changed the World

Order of AHEPA: Greek War of Independence and America’s Contribution to the Greek Cause 

Poetry in Honour of the Bicentennial of Greek Independence

Wikipedia: Greek Canadians

Freedom or Death! Zhto H Ellas! 

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.

Reflecting on the bicentennial anniversary of the War of Greek Independence

This year Hellenes around the world are celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of the War of Greek Independence.

March 25, 1821 is of historic importance as this day marks the beginning of a war that resulted in both the formation of the modern Greece nation and the revival of rich Hellenic culture. The war that ensued is a tale of an epic struggle of proud people whose cry for freedom was ultimately answered. It is a compelling war saga that shone a light on the heritage, religion, and core values of western civilization.

This war is often overlooked by historians and scholars. However, the unfolding events of the 1820’s raised western civilization to new heights. The struggle of the Hellenes was in fact an assertion for western European heritage, its foundational values, and Christian religion. The successful outcomes on the battlefields of Peloponnese and central Greece resulted in more than a new Nation. It also prompted a rebirth of western arts and culture, and the reaffirmation of Christianity for Europeans. In this way, this war was not just a Greco-Turkish conflict but a defining moment in the advancement of western civilization.

Hellenes, Greek diaspora, and philhellenes have good reason to rejoice the history of the War of Greek Independence. It’s a testament to the extraordinary Hellenic Spirit. The historical date of March 25, 1821 and the acts of courage that followed serve as an inspirational moment in time when an indomitable will that endured 400 years of darkness struck out against oppression. The Hellenes spirit emanated through the 1820’s to establish a homeland; it has carried forward to motivate tens of thousands of Greek immigrants in North America; and, it remains with Hellenes today, guiding and inspiring us wherever we may be.

Much can be learned by ruminating on the events and the significance of this war. It is why we must examine the details. This reflection feeds the Hellenic Spirit; it has the potential to reinvigorate our sense of being and Christian sense of belonging.

Such is the opportunity before us in recounting the war and its outcomes.

The War of Greek Independence is an historical event that has helped to define Hellenes as an enduring people who have known great suffering and have overcome hundreds of dark years of oppression. May we continue to learn from this pivotal period, from our ancestors’ feats and accomplishments, their character and their stirring vision. And as we reconnect with our history, these reflections are sure to inspire Hellenes for years to come.

Zhto H Ellas!

— Chris George, March 25, 2021

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

 

10 Facts: Greek Independence Day

1. Greek Independence Day is a national holiday celebrated annually in Greece on March 25, commemorating the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821.  The “Greek Revolution” was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries against the Ottoman Empire between 1821 and 1830.

greek_independence2

2. In celebration of Greek Independence Day, towns and villages throughout Greece hold a school flag parade, during which schoolchildren march in traditional Greek costume and carry Greek flags. There is also an armed forces parade in Athens. Around the world, Greek emigrants and those of Greek descent also parade and conduct flag ceremonies in celebration of the 9-year victorious struggle to free their country.

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3. Greece had been part of the Ottoman Empire since 1453 with the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks. Greeks remained under the Ottoman rule for nearly 400 years. Through these years, Orthodox Christians were granted some political rights, but they were considered inferior subjects. The majority of Greeks were called “Rayah” by the Turks, a name that referred to the large mass of non-Muslim subjects. However, through the centuries, Greek religion and their sense of Hellenism remained strong, as did the desire for some form of independence fostered, in large part, by the Greek Orthodox Church, as well as the survival of the Greek language.

4. The Greek revolt was precipitated on March 25, 1821, when Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the flag of revolution over the Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese. Thus began the 9-year revolution for freedom.

greek_independence

5. Here is a summary of the war. The Greeks experienced early successes on the battlefield, including the capture of Athens in 1822, but infighting ensued. By 1827 Athens and most of the Greek isles had been recaptured by the Turks. Just as the revolution appeared to be on the verge of failure, Great Britain, France, and Russia intervened in the conflict. At the naval Battle of Navarino in 1827, the combined British, French, and Russian forces destroyed an Ottoman-Egyptian fleet. A Greco-Turkish settlement was determined by the European powers at a conference in London and Greece was declared an independent monarchical state under their protection in 1830.

6. The struggle for the liberation of all the lands inhabited by Greeks continued. By mid-1832 the northern frontier of the new state had been set along the line extending from south of Volos to south of Árta. In 1864, the Ionian islands were added to Greece; in 1881 parts of Epirus and Thessaly. Crete, the islands of the Eastern Aegean and Macedonia were added in 1913 and Western Thrace in 1919. After World War II the Dodecanese islands were also returned to Greece.

7. The Greek struggle had elicited strong sympathy in Europe, and many leading intellectuals had promoted the Greek cause, including and most notably the English poet Lord Byron. His prestige and his role as a representative of the philhellenic London Committee (which raised both moral and financial support) came in a critical time for the course of the Greek cause. Lord George Byron also fought in the rebellious areas of Greece from December 1823 until 7 April 1824, when he died at Missolonghi.  Dionysios Solomos wrote a poem Ode on the Death of Lord Byron (first verse) which honours the poet and the liberal revolutionary:

For a moment, Liberty,
Let the war, the bloodshed sleep;
Hither come and silently
Over Byron’s body weep.

8. The popular cry “Freedom or Death” became the motto of the revolution and was constantly heard throughout the liberation. This war-cry is also a significant part of the Greek flag: it is believed that the nine lines of the flag reflects the number of syllables in the Greek phrase “Eleftheria i Thanatos” = Freedom or Death. Not only the flag, but the the Greek National Anthem “Hymn to Liberty” was born of the revolution. Dionysios Solomos wrote the lyrics in 1824, Nikolaos Mantzaros put it to music in 1828. (This English translation of the revolutionary ballad is by Rudyard Kipling in 1918.)

We knew thee of old,
Oh, divinely restored,
By the lights of thine eyes,
And the light of thy Sword,
From the graves of our slain,
Shall thy valour prevail,
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!

9. Greeks celebrate the 25th of March as a double holiday: a historical and a religious one. Independence Day coincides with the Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration of the Annunciation to the Theotokos, when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would bear the son of God.

10. A custom across the country on this day is to eat crispy, fried cod fish with garlic sauce (Bakaliaros skordalia). This has to do with the Lent before Eastern, where no animals or animal products should be eaten. However the Orthodox Church allowed an exception for the celebration of the Annunciation and that it the Cod fish! Here is the recipe for Bakaliaros skordalia.

Sources (and further reading):

Encyclopaedia Britannica on Greek Independence Day and War of Greek Independence

Wikipedia

Keep Talking Greece

Crete History

Lord Byron

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

A Victor’s Meal: Bakaliaros Skordalia

For the Greeks’ celebratory meal on the 25th, it is custom to eat crispy, fried cod fish with garlic sauce. Here are a few recipes…

Ingredients

  • 1-pound salt cod fillet or fresh/frozen codfish quick cured
  • Flour for dredging
  • Oil for frying

For the Batter

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces of sparkling water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Garnish

  • lemon wedges and parsley

For the Skordalia

  • 2-3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth plus more water to boil potatoes
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, grated
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • If you are using salted dried cod for this dish, then, soak the cod for at least 24 hours in cold water and keep it refrigerated. Change the water 3-4 times to extract the salt.
  • Quick Salt Cure Fish:Sprinkle lots of salt (about 6-7 teaspoons or more) over both sides of the codfish. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the fish and set aside for at least 30 minutes. Soak the fish in ice-cold water and pat dry. Place the fish on paper towels to absorb any moisture.
  • Make the Skordalia:
  • Place the potatoes in a pot and cover them with vegetable stock, water and season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.
  • Place the potatoes in a colander to drain and reserve 1-2 cups of the stock.
  • Pass the potatoes through a ricer or mash them in a large bowl.
  • Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, and grated garlic in a small mixing bowl and whisk until incorporated. Pour the marinade over the mashed potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Pour 1-2 cups of the potato boiling liquid into the mashed potatoes to thin the dip to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Make the Cod Fritters:
  • Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan to 360 °F. 180 °C.
  • Combine the fish batter ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.
  • Make sure that the fish is very dry.
  • Place some flour into a shallow bowl or dish to dredge the fish.
  • Dredge the cod pieces in the flour then dip into the batter.
  • Carefully place the battered cod into the hot oil and fry until golden on all sides.
  • Place the cod fritters on a tray lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  • Garnish with parsley.
  • Serve immediately with the Skordalia and some lemon wedges.

This recipe is from Dimitra’s Dishes

Here is another (similar) recipe, but one that also provides some history and background on the dish. Enjoy the recipe from Kalofagas.

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

A Synopsis of the War of Greek Independence

An Overview 

The War of Greek Independence raged for more than nine years. It was a bloody series of skirmishes and naval battles, and heartless massacres. The conflict lasted much longer than anyone expected, and it involved more hardship and death than the Hellenic patriots imagined when they first declared war. Throughout the 1820’s the war’s outcome was never certain. In every way this war was a struggle.

Yet, the Hellenic cause to slip free from 400 years of slavery was ultimately realized with the intervention of European powers. A Greek-Turkish settlement signed in London in 1830 declared a new nation to be carved out of the Ottoman Empire. Greece was placed on the map of Europe and Hellenes would have their freedom.

The Ottoman Rule and the Phlliki Etairia

Hellenes were enslaved by Ottoman masters for nearly four hundred years, since the year 1453 when the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks. The Ottomans’ reign over the Balkan territories proved especially hard for Hellenes — non-Muslim subjects of Orthodox Christian faith.

This is a truly dark age in our peoples’ history. Hellenes were subjected to the worst acts of systematic oppression. They were treated as inferior and suffered reduced liberties and senseless cruelties. The most egregious acts of slavery had the Turk overlords regularly gathering all young boys to enlist them in training for the Turkish military.

However, for generations the Hellenic Spirit endured — preserved and nurtured largely by the Greek Orthodox Church. Although restrictions were placed on the Church, subjected Hellenes maintained the Greek language and a sense of their heritage – and an independence – with the teachings of their priests.

Through the 1700s there were also learned scholars who helped to sow the seeds of independence. In evenings, often in secret gatherings, the scholars taught their pupils the Greek language and culture. One of the notorious teachers was Adamantios Koraes of Chios who is credited with laying the foundations of Modern Greek literature. Koraes was a humanist scholar who had witness the French Revolution and took his primary intellectual inspiration from the Enlightenment. He instilled in his pupils the hope for a new Hellenic classicism that would arise after the passing of the dark years of Ottoman suppression.

Another scholar of note that help advance a modern Greek Enlightenment was Rigas Feraios. He was a political thinker and writer who penned poems and books about Greek history. Although he died in 1798, Feraios is widely recognized as a pioneer of revolutionary thought, instilling hope and dreams of a better tomorrow. Today he is remembered as a national hero for his inspirational battle-hymn Thourios.

Though the Ottomans attempted to suppress all teachings of Greek culture, through the Church and the teachings of the scholars, the Hellenes heritage and language survived.

In 1814, a secret society of revolutionaries, the Phlliki Etairia (Friendly Brotherhood) was founded with an aim of liberating Hellenes from Turkish rule. In a short time the Phlliki Etairia had a presence in all regions of Greece. Today, the leaders of this society are regaled as heroes: great men who fanned the embers of revolutionary ideas and provided hope for a better tomorrow. Phlliki Etairia leaders included Theodore Kolokotronis, Petrompes Mavromichalis, Andreas Zaimis, Andreas Lentos, the Metropolites Palaion Patron Germanos, and Gregorios Papaflesas – all leaders dedicated to freedom from the Ottoman Empire.

The Philiki Etairia “revolution” had no geographical objectives but rather a spiritual basis that was centred in a cry for freedom from oppression. It was also a cry for Christianity and Hellene values. In 1820 plans for an insurrection were drafted, and by 1821 the Philiki Etairia were organized to strike.

 Spring 1821 in Peloponnese and Heralding Independence

In late March, Greek patriots successfully captured the towns of Kalavrita, Kalames and Mani. The legendary account of the start of the war reads that on March 25, 1821 Bishop Germanos of Patras blessed and raised a flag of revolution over the Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese and the fight for freedom was declared.

Patras was successfully taken and Lala, Corinth, Monemvasia, Navarino, Argos, and Nauplion were soon besieged by the patriots. With this flurry of attacks, Greeks heralded their independence.

The Ottoman response to the declarations was swift and brutal. The Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Gregory V was taken from the cathedral on Easter Sunday, April 22nd and hung on the orders of the Sultan. In the following weeks there were executions of multiple clergies and bloody massacres throughout the Ottoman Empire. In Kydonia, Ionia, there was an estimated 25,000 Greeks killed, and in Thessaloniki the Turkish governor ordered every Greek be killed.

One of the most horrific massacres occurred on the island of Chios in April 1822. The Turkish military massacred 42,000 men, women and children, and nearly 50,000 were enslaved and 23,000 exiled. In the end, only 2,000 citizens remained on an island that once was prosperous with 117,000 inhabitants.

On the battlefields, the Turkish military answered the call in the Peloponnese by reclaiming some of the early lost territory. However, the Turks met the main Greek patriot force at Valtetsi and was soundly defeated. Greek morale soared even higher when patriots withstood a 4,000-strong Turkish force outside of Veivena. Meanwhile, at sea, Greek fleets achieved some successes against the Ottoman navy that prevented military reinforcements to arrive through the Aegean Sea. As a result, by 1822 the flag of the Greek patriots flew again over Navarino, Monemvasia, and Corinth and much of the Peloponnese.

It was less than two years into the conflict and already much blood had been spilt on both sides.

In the early years the Greeks experienced many successes. When the patriots declared independence in the Peloponnese, the Turks unsuccessfully attempted to take back the region three times between 1822 through 1824. The Greek forces surged to capture and hold Athens in 1822. Though successful on the battlefields, it was the Greeks’ own infighting and civil unrest that stole their lasting victory.

In 1825, fortunes began to turn against the Greeks with the arrival of Egyptian forces to bolster the beleaguered Turkish military. With the support of the Egyptian navy, in 1826 the Turks recaptured Missolonghi and Athens, and then in June 1827 they scaled the Athenian Acropolis to raise the Ottoman flag over the Parthenon.

The European Intervention and a New Independent State

Just as the war seemed lost, western European allies decided to come to the aid of the Greek cause. Stirred by the works and first-hand accounts of popular artists and thinkers, Europeans overwhelmingly sympathized with the Hellenes and their struggle. In turn, Great Britain, France, and Russia agreed to intervene in the war. In July 1827 the Treaty of London was signed; it called on Greek and Ottoman forces to cease all fighting. When the Turks declined the settlement, the European powers sent naval fleets and men to end the conflict.

On October 20, 1827 the infamous naval Battle of Navarino took place in the Ionian Sea in which the European powers crushed the Ottoman and Egyptian navies. This was a spectacular naval battle, the last one in history to be fought entirely with sailing ships.

French troops joined with the Greek patriots to defend the Peloponnese and retake central Greece. Together the French and patriot forces pushed the Turkish troops from central and southern Greece. Then, Russia in initiated the Russo-Turkish War (1828–29), a bloody Balkan conflict that diverted Ottoman troops away from Greece. The result of this combined pressure on land and at sea had the Turks agree in 1829 to a treaty that ceded the disputed territory to the Greeks.

Greece was officially recognized as an independent state on February 3, 1830 with the signing of the London Protocol. That settlement was determined and agreed to by the European Powers and the Ottomans, and adopted without a Greek signature. The new country of Greece was to be an independent monarchical state under the protection of Britain, France and Russia. Later in July 1832, the Treaty of Constantinople was signed in which the final borders of the new state were established and Prince Otto of Bavaria was crowned Head of State. 

At this time, Greece had no more than 800,000 people in the new state; there remained 2.5 million Hellenes residing throughout the Ottoman Empire. Finally, after hundreds of years of oppression and a decade of fighting, Hellenes had a place to call home.

 

For more information on Wikipedia:

The Greek War of Independence

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

Dionysios Solomos and the Hymn to Liberty

Dionysios Solomos is commonly referred to as the “national poet” of Greece. He is best known for writing the inspirational Hymn to Liberty that recounts Hellenes dream of freedom.

In 1863 he wrote this poem of the bloody beginnings of the war, the patriots’ Christian character, and of the struggle.

The poem is a significant legacy of the War of Greek Independence. Nikolaos Mantzaros put the first two stanzas of the verse to music in 1828 and, decades later in 1865, this war-time ballad became the Greek national anthem.

Here is a rough translation of the leading stanzas of the verse.

I recognize you by the fearsome sharpness,
of the sword,
I recognize you by your face
that hastefully defines the land (the borders)

From the sacred bones,
of the Hellenes arisen,

and valiant again as you once were,
Hail, o hail, Liberty!

and valiant again as you once were,
Hail, o hail, Liberty!

Here is a rendition of the Greek National Anthem.

In 1918 poet Rudyard Kipling translated the ballad to become familiar to English speaking peoples around the world.

We knew thee of old,
Oh, divinely restored,
By the lights of thine eyes,
And the light of thy Sword,
From the graves of our slain,
Shall thy valour prevail,
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!

For more information from Wikipedia:

Dionysios Solomos

Hymn to Liberty

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

Lord Byron and his Support for the Greek Cause

Lord Byron was one of the most renowned English poets of the Romantic Era and he is the most celebrated philhellene volunteer of the War of Greek Independence.

Lord Byron travelled to the theatre of war in 1822, providing funds and supplies. His enchanting verse and vocal advocacy for the Hellenes stirred many to the Greek cause.

In Messolonghi in 1824, while preparing to lead patriots into battle, fell fatally ill. Upon his untimely death Greek poet Dionysios Solomos wrote Ode on the Death of Lord Byron in which the first verse reads:

  For a moment, Liberty,
Let the war, the bloodshed sleep;
Hither come and silently
Over Byron’s body weep.

Lord Byron’s presence in Greece, and in particular his death, created an even stronger sympathy for the Greek cause across Europe. As a direct result of his passing, philhellenic committees sprang up in Europe and the United States to raise money for war efforts and further relief of the Greek people.

Lord Byron died a national hero and Hellenes to this day revere him. Here is a statue in his honour in Athens.

Byron often wrote of the beauty and majesty of Greece… and this is two stanzas from one of his poems evoking the glory of the Greeks’ past to deliver them a victory in the War of Greek Independence.

The Isles of Greece

The mountains look on Marathon —
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dream’d that Greece might yet be free
For, standing on the Persians’ grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.

Must we but weep o’er days more blest?
Must we but blush? – Our fathers bled.
Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylae.

For more information from Wikipedia and British Literature Wiki:

Lord Byron

The Isles of Greece

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

Eugene Delacroix and The Massacre at Chios

The great French Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix had a profound impact stirring European’s empathy for Greek civilians’ suffering at the hands of the Turkish military.

Delacroix’s masterpiece The Massacre of Chios provoked international outrage and led to increased support for the Greek cause worldwide. It caused an outcry in the French public and placed much pressure on the French Government to intervene in the war and take up arms to defend the Hellenes.

Delacroix’s focus of work was one of the most horrific massacres of the War of Greek Independence. The horror occurred on the island of Chios in April 1822. The Turkish military killed 42,000 men, women and children, enslaved nearly 50,000 and exiled another 23,000. In the end, only 2,000 citizens remained on a decimated island that once was prosperous with 117,000 inhabitants.

Studying the faces one sees the despair of the dying civilians at the mercy of a slaughter by Turkish horsemen. In the foreground is a baby laying on his dying mother –- as disturbing today as it was for the audiences who were moved by the painting in the 1820’s.

More information on Wikipedia:

Eugene Delacroix

The Massacre at Chios Massacre

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

 

It’s time to discuss Canada’s Arctic policy

The Niagara Independent, March 19, 2021 – Decisions about the federal government’s Arctic policy are long overdue. With recent activities in the Arctic by Russia and China, it has become critical that there be discussions about development in the north and the defense of North America. Further to this, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan appears to be vacillating on Canada’s participation in renewing and updating North America’s early warning defence system.

The government’s silence on all matters relating to the north has brought into question Canada’s commitments to the territory.

Earlier this month Canadians learned of two Russian reconnaissance aircraft being intercepted in Canadian airspace. The North American Aerospace Defence Command answered the call to steer the Russian planes clear of the area. Cat and mouse games in the Arctic are now common as both Russian and Chinese military increase their air and naval activities in the region. But more disturbing is the advances being made in hypersonic missile technology by these countries – advances that make defence of the Arctic imperative for the U.S. (and presumably Canada).

With respect to North American security issues, the Arctic is now identified by the U.S. military intelligence as “a zone of international competition.”

This week there was an announcement about a NORAD Arctic air defence exercise involving both American and Canadian military aircraft. Joint forces will conduct missions across northern Canada and Greenland to practice emergency scenarios involving hijackings, calls of unknown aircraft – and “airspace restriction violations.” A written NORAD statement read: “This air defence exercise provides us the opportunity to hone our skills as Canadian and U.S. forces operate together with our allies and partners in the Arctic.”

Commander Gen. Glen VanHerck commented on the need for this exercise, “Last year, NORAD responded to more Russian military flights off the coast of Alaska than we’ve seen in any year since the end of the Cold War. These Russian military operations include multiple flights of heavy bombers, anti-submarine aircraft, and intelligence collection platforms near Alaska.”

Communist China has also become an issue with respect to sovereignty in the north. Although China is not geographically within the region, the country is a member of the international Arctic Council, which includes Canada and all countries within the Arctic Circle. In 2018, the Communist China Party made public its Arctic policy that pronounces an interest in expanding China’s reach through the Arctic territories. Entitled “Polar Silk Road”, China’s design is to integrate its northern development strategies with its international economic expansionist plans as set out in the “Belt and Road Initiative.”

The Chinese are most interested in the Arctic’s resource reserves, including oil, natural gas, and the rare-earth minerals used in manufacturing everything from computers and iphones to solar panels and car batteries. China has taken a multi-prong approach coopting Canadian partnerships. In recent years China entered into a number of scientific research initiatives with Canadian research bodies and universities and these ventures are allowing a growing presence in the Arctic.  Its military has also participated in joint military winter training exercises with Canadian Forces. Furthermore, Chinese state-owned mining companies have attempted to purchase stakes in mining properties in Canada’s north.

China’s publicly stated “practical cooperation” approach to Arctic development has not been embraced by Canadian officials in the Department of National Defence. In fact, Deputy Minister Jody Thomas has tagged the Chinese interests as an “Arctic threat.”

In a recent Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence, Thomas warned of China’s intent to deplete Canada’s rich natural resources, “We should not underestimate at all that threat of resource exploitation in the Arctic by China in particular. China has a voracious appetite and will stop at nothing to feed itself, and the Arctic is one of the last domains and regions left and we have to understand it and exploit it and more quickly than they can exploit it.”

The Canadian defence official also did not mince her words concerning Russia’s military presence in the north. She noted the construction of the Russian Arctic military bases and the new fleet of 13 Russian polar icebreakers and stated, “Nobody would invest the kind of money in building up the military capacity in the Arctic without reason, intent or purpose. We should not be naive about that. It doesn’t mean it is immediate – but it is there.”

As the darkened storm clouds gather, the Trudeau government and its Defence Minister remain silent. The reason for that silence is likely money. With the government’s pandemic spending and its endless promises in increasing social programs and orchestrating Canada’s green recovery, the multibillion dollar price tag to rebuild North America’s defence early-warning system may be problematic. In the Trudeau government’s 2017 defence policy the NORAD defence costs were omitted. But cost estimates for this project are as high as $15 billion. Given that the operational life of the current warning system comes due in 2024, there will soon need to be a public discussion and accounting for the NORAD defence system.

In a recent CBC News commentary of the government’s posturing on Arctic policy, James Fergusson of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the University of Manitoba is quoted: “With the public largely uninformed and disinterested, the media paying only sporadic attention … it is no wonder that the Trudeau government has remained silent.”

Ferguson surmised, “Yet, repeatedly over time, silence backfires on government when the issue suddenly and unexpectedly explodes onto the public agenda.”

Canadians can only hope Ferguson’s choice of words is not prophetic. For multiple reasons on multiple fronts, it is time to discuss Canada’s Arctic policy.

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/its-time-to-discuss-canadas-arctic-policy/

Favourite Irish Toasts

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To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we all should know a few suitable toasts…. Here is a famous Irish saying to start:

“May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you
In the palm of his hand.”

To add to the spirit of the occasion, here are ten of our favourite toasts:

May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!

May the blessings of each day be the blessings you need most,
May the most you wish for be the least you get,
May the Lord keep you in His Hand and never close His fist too tight.

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

May you always be blessed with walls for the wind,
a roof for the rain, a warm cup of tea by the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all that your heart might desire.

May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

May you live to be a hundred years, with one extra year to repent.

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

I drink to your health when I’m with you,
I drink to your health when I’m alone,
I drink to your health so often,
I’m starting to worry about my own

A toast to your coffin. May it be made of 100 year old oak. And may we plant the tree together, tomorrow.

Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold pint– and another one!

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

The failed federal COVID response

The Niagara Independent, March 12, 2021 – Canadians commemorated the one year anniversary of the global coronavirus pandemic this week. Monday marked a year since the country recorded its first death as a result of COVID-19, the virus that has contributed to 22,000 Canadian deaths. As we reflect on our annus horribilis it is hard not to conclude that our federal government failed Canadians multiple times and that its vaccine program is perhaps the Trudeau Government’s greatest (on-going) scandal.

Recall the early days of the global pandemic when Italian doctors were recounting horrific scenes in overrun hospitals and the virus was surging through European countries… what was the federal government’s response to this forecasted tragedy? From the Prime Minister to the Health Minister to senior health bureaucrats, Canadians were told not to “overreact.” Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Theresa Tam said, “As I have always said, the epidemic of fear could be more difficult to control than the epidemic itself.” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in the House of Commons in early February (after the U.S. had banned flights from China) that “one of the interesting elements of the coronavirus outbreak has been the spread of misinformation and fear across Canadian society… [Conservatives] sensationalize the risk to Canadians.”

Throughout February and March 2020 – even after the World Health Organization had declared COVID-19 “a pandemic” – Minister Hajdu and Dr. Tam repeatedly asserted “the overall risk to Canadians remains low.” PM Justin Trudeau flatly refused to restrict flights from the virus hotspots in China and Europe, or to institute self-isolation practices for travelers, stating “there is a lot of knee-jerk reaction that isn’t keeping people safe.” Additionally, on a number of occasions, our government leaders suggested Canadians were being racist in their reactions.

Most troubling, a Globe and Mail investigation recently revealed that in 2018 the Trudeau Government dismantled the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN). This organization is responsible for the country’s epidemiological intelligence to monitor heath threats, tracking deadly viral outbreaks, and providing global advance warnings. It was used during H1N1, Ebola, and SARS, after which scientists and health officials recommended that GPHIN be enhanced. Yet a few years ago the government quietly stripped the network of its expertise and resources.

In a Senate committee hearing this week, Canadians learned just how unfit and unaware officials were at the Public Health Agency of Canada. Senator Eric Forest stated, “The Agency lacked everything. There was mention of a lack of capacity and many shortcomings, lack of expertise, lack of management experience.”

The best summation of those early days was offered by Andrew Coyne of the Globe and Mail who wrote: “From the shuttering of Canada’s GPHIN shortly before the outbreak; to the failure to follow the advice of not one but two expert panels set up in the aftermath of the SARS epidemic two decades ago; to the refusal to close the borders until long after it was too late; to the confusing and contradictory public advisories on everything from risk levels to mask wearing; to the manifest bollixing of vaccine procurement, the failures of government throughout this crisis have been many and profound.”

The government’s procurement of vaccines have been the subject of inquiry throughout this past year. On numerous occasions, the PM trumpeted his accomplishments in securing the greatest per capita amount of vaccine in the world. Yet, pre-ordering vast amounts of vaccines has clearly not resulted in the delivery of vaccines. And because these contracts are being kept secret, Canadians do not know the terms and conditions set for when pharmaceutical companies do not meet their production and delivery deadlines.

We know that PM Trudeau’s botched deal with China to manufacture a Sino-Canadian vaccine placed our Government in a “catch-up” position to sign contracts with pharmaceutical companies in the summer – and what has this cost Canadians? Given Canada has purchased many more vaccine doses than required, why is the government continuing to purchase new orders? And why has it embarrassingly taken from COVAX, the agency mandated to deliver vaccine to third-world countries?

Another Globe and Mail investigative report found “Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccine promises were out of step with reality.” The analysis concludes: “…Trudeau government’s lofty promises [on vaccine delivery] were never consistent with several hard realities: a severe lack of manufacturing capacity in a world obliged to vaccinate their own citizens first, as well as contracts with vaccine suppliers that appear to contain less-advantageous delivery schedules than those inked by Britain and the U.S.” The paper’s editorial board concluded: “The best-laid plans got clocked. Canada’s vaccination rate is near dead last in the developed world.”

The dismal procurement effort has resulted in the government taking a health gambit with its vaccination rollout plan. This week the National Advisory Committee on Immunization signaled it has approved extending the interval between the first and second “booster” shots from six weeks to four months. This new approach will ensure more people can receive their first vaccination while doses are still limited — and all Canadians will get one jab by the summer’s end.

However, the pharmaceutical manufacturers of the three vaccines approved for use in Canada have publicly stated they do not recommend an interval of four months between shots. The American Food and Drug Administration has also spoken out against a four month span between doses. Additionally, Canada’s chief science adviser Dr. Mona Nemer questions this policy decision that has placed Canada as an outlier in vaccination rollout plans, “I’m not aware of data that would support a four-month delay. I think it would be really important to be transparent about the data that is forming the basis of the decision [and] to be transparent about what we don’t know.”

Lorrie Goldstein of Sun Media assesses the situation this way: “Now, because of our dire vaccine shortage for COVID-19 and its variants, Canada is launching a nationwide experiment no other country has attempted, using us as guinea pigs.”

The national press corps has consistently pointed to the high costs paid – and to be paid – by Canadians as a result of the Trudeau Government’s decisions through the pandemic. In a probing Hill Times column this week, David Crane wrote, “The pandemic showed that the federal government lacks the analytical and strategic capabilities to pursue an innovation strategy that delivers real results…”

In another Globe and Mail editorial, the national paper opined: “Canada thinks of itself as one of the world’s best-managed countries, but our pandemic fight has rarely been well managed, and our results tell the tale…. And Ottawa’s vaccine-acquisition strategy, which aimed to put us ahead of the rest of the world, has so far left Canada lagging far behind.”

The National Post recently surveyed experts to provide an accounting of “what it will cost Canada to endure this pandemic longer than almost any other country with similar wealth and resources.” The experts found each day under lockdown the country’s economy loses between $500 and $850 million of revenue. And should the pandemic continue through 2021, with the new waves and variants, it is conceivable that as many as another 46,000 Canadians will die.

From the outset, Canadians have been disadvantaged by its federal government’s policy decisions and, now, one year into the pandemic it appears we are at the mercy of some novel vaccination experiment. Given what is at stake, Justin Trudeau’s many COVID-19 missteps must be considered his most scandalous.

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/the-failed-federal-covid-response/