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Our Family Odyssey to Greece

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Our family just arrived back from a two week odyssey in Greece. We visited ancient ruins in Athens, Delphi, and Meteora, and then enjoyed hikes on a couple of islands. In these posts we have shared some of our adventures and insights on what was a fantastic vacation.

While in Athens

The trek to Delphi, Kalambaka and the Holy Meteora

The isle of Naxos

The picturesque island of Santorini

Above you will see one of the amazing sights from our family trip: the Acropolis at dusk. Simply breathtaking.

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Contact:

While in Athens

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It was far past due that our family made an odyssey to Greece. Lisa and I were so pleased to have our boys with us. This is a view from Lykavittos Hill with the Acropolis in the background.

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We stayed in a suburb of Athens – Varkiza – while in the City.

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This strip of beach is known as the Athenian Riviera.

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We all enjoyed the sand and the sea.

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A highlight of our trip was our pilgrimage to the Acropolis. An interesting point from our family’s history is that my Papou and Yiayia immigrated to Canada from northern Greece in the early 1900’s and they never were on the Acropolis.

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These majestic ruins leave you in awe. It is amazing to think these stones and Doric columns were placed some 2500 years ago.

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The maidens on the Porch of the Caryatids of the Erechtheion temple next to the Parthenon.

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The Odeon Theater of Herodes Atticus.

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The Acropolis Museum with its sculptures is a must see…

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… as is the National Archaeological Museum. You could easily spend days here taking in the treasures of ancient times. This sculpture is Aphrodite, Pan, and Eros flirting.

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In the core of Athens, there are so many wonders, like the Panathenaic Stadium where in ancient times the Olympic Games marathon race ends – and today, every four years, the Olympic flame is lit.

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From almost every vantage point in the City you see the Acropolis.

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The Arch of Hadrian was built in the second century AD when Athens fell to the Roman Empire.

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A statue of Alexander the Great in the middle of a busy intersection.

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Roman ruins on the edge of the Plaka

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Changing of the Evzone Guards

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We had a number of meals in the Plaka.

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The Greek salads were divine (as one would expect).

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We loved the souvlaki and gyros many nights.

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The city was vibrant, picturesque and enchanting (this view of Monastiraki Square). Four days were certainly not enough to see and enjoy its many wonders.

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While on the mainland, we also took a trip to the southern tip of Attica to Sounion to visit the Temple of Poseidon.

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One of most memorable nights – and another highlight – was our dinner in the Plaka with the Zygoumis and Rallis families. We owe a debt of gratitude to these wonderful people who showed us such an unforgettable time in Greece.

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This view from our table that night is seared in my mind. Wholly enchanting. Mesmerizing.

Back to the menu: Our Family Odyssey to Greece

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Contact:

The trek to Delphi, Kalambaka, and the Holy Meteora

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Our trip to the interior started with an amazing tour of the ruins in Delphi where we experienced the wonders of the ancient renowned Oracle of Delphi.
The row of Ionic columns are made from Parian marble — priceless material in ancient times, shipped and then hauled to the side of this mountain as a testament to the glory of the Athens polis.

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The Delphi site lay at the side of Mount Parnassus, a landmark mountain mentioned in the earliest of Greek writings, including in Homer’s Iliad. The ancient site of Delphi was considered the navel of the Earth in ancient times.

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The columns and most of the base of the Sanctuary of Apollo remain — constructed during the 7th century BC. Remarkably these ruins were first discovered in 1892 and excavated in the early 1900s.

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The Treasury of the Athenians dates to 6th century BC. This is where offerings to the Oracle were stored and guarded.

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The ancient theater of Delphi dates 4th century BC.

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The ancient stadium was the site of the Pythian games and the Panhellenic Games, which were held every four years (beginning in the year 582 BC)…

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… and the seats and stone walls are the original stadium built in the hill above the Temple of Apollo in the 5th century BC.

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The museum at Delphi is a must see – and in it one views a massive statue of the Sphinx which would have stood guard in Delphi. In Greek mythology the Sphinx is a female monster with the body of a lion and eagles wings, and the head and breasts of a woman.

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The village of Delphi (pop. 2,373) is very picturesque and boasts interesting retail and great tavernas with most memorable views.

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Delphi had vast valley views around it. We thoroughly enjoyed our overnight stay here.

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In Delphi David bought a chess set that features ancient Greek warriors. A prized keepsake from the trip!

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The next stop in our interior trip was Kalambaka, where we stared up at ancient monasteries first built in the 13th century. For centuries the mountaintops and the hidden mountainside caves in this region hosted religious followers as well as anti-social hermits. At one time there were as many as 44 holy monasteries and hermitages in Meterora.

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There are six remaining monasteries on the Holy rocks of Meteora. We were fortunate to visit three of them: St. Stephan (1350 AD), Holy Trinity (1362 AD) and St. Barbara (1527 AD).

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It is truly awesome to see these beautiful structures built atop of mountain formations jutting thousands of feet out of the ground.

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Look closely in this photo and you will see a wooden ladder. Until the 1920s when stairs were first carved into the mountainsides, the only way to access the monasteries was to be hauled up by rope and then climb in by ladder.

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Each of the monasteries were magnificent…

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Each had churches and chapels and living quarters.

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Looking down from a monastery onto Kalambaka….

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… and looking up to the same monastery from the streets of the village below. (You can see the rooftop of the monastery on the rock to the right.)

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Our coach trip also made a stop at the Leonidas Monument, which commemorates a lengendary Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. In that Greek-Persian conflict a small band of 300 Spartan soldiers fiercely held off a huge Persian army of hundreds of thousands for three days, allowing Greek armies to assemble and successfully defend the polis of Athens from the Persian assault.

Back to the menu: Our Family Odyssey to Greece

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Contact:

The isle of Naxos

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In the second week of our odyssey we spent it on two islands. First stop: the enchanting isle of Naxos.  Here Lisa cannot take a smile off her face as we experienced one of the absolute highlights of our trip (more on this in this post).

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Naxos is the largest island of the Greece Cyclades group – and often overlooked by tourists for some of the more popular island destinations. It has many untouched villages, medieval architecture, goats (!) and some of the best white sand beaches of all the islands.
This is a beach photo of Chora, the capital town of the island that serves as its main port.

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The Portara – “The Great Door” – is the ancient stones that date back to 6th century BC are renowned. This marble doorway is all that remains of an unfinished temple to honour Apollo. Situated near the port, it greets all visitors to the island.

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We found the streets of Chora very colourful…

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Lisa fell in love with the trees and flora adorning the whitewashed stone of the buildings throughout the town.

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This is an enchanting island we hope to come back to….

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It is where I channeled my Zorba…

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… and ate my first goat. DYK that on Naxos goats outnumber people 4 to 1?! This meal was delicious – a specialty of the house, goat in lemon sauce.

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Our meals on Naxos were second to none. I can honestly say that I have not had as tasteful souvlaki ever on the Danforth.

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Our hotel, the Alkyoni Beach Resort, was great. Located on Agious Georgios it was one kilometre via beach walk to town. It had a lovely pool and our room had a very comfortable patio.

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One highlight of our vacation was a 8 km hike in the mountains we completed between the two villages of Chalki and Moni. (I’ve posted a dozen photos of this hike to give you an idea.)

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The path took us past olive groves and vineyards…

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… through villages…

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…buildings that date hundreds of years…

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… we saw many Byzantine churches, some dating as far back as the 13th century…

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This is the mountain village of Moni that we were hiking to. Along the way we saw…

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… the farm fields separated by rock-pile fences…

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… and farm animals.

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Sheep and goats. On our hike, we saw shepherds moving the goats from one rocky field to another.


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Lemon trees.

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Midway point in the hike we entered Moni – an ancient village with narrow stone streets.

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This was an amazing hike. It is one of 13 that are featured in the hiking books for Naxos and, unfortunately, the only one we had time for while on the island.

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When we returned to Chalki we stopped for a beer and crepe at a town taverna. Alexander, like his mom, couldn’t take the smile from his face.

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In Chalki we also found the bakery and here we shared a delectable piece of baklava.

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The boys took advantage of the beachside resort and braved the cooler weather and water to swim in the sea.
And that is the wondrous NAXOS!

Back to the menu: Our Family Odyssey to Greece

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Contact:


The picturesque island of Santorini

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Santorini is as breathtaking, romantic and magical as they say it is. Even though it is very busy with the continuous stream of cruise ship tourists visiting, the island is a must see.

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For us, the 12 km hike from the village of Fira to Oia was an amazing day. We loved the idyllic views, the experience of being pleasantly surprised around every bend – and the laughs along the way.

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From Naxos, we came to the island via a High Speed Ferry. The 2 hour ride was a good experience that allowed us to see islands dotting the sea. It was fun in spite of the crew shouting out directions and urging us to hurry along.

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Our hotel in Santorini was the El Greco, just outside of Fira. It was beautiful – this is the scene from the boys’ balcony.

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And then from the balcony, you left your eyes to the left and you can see Fira in the distance.

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As you will have heard, the sunsets on Santorini are spectacular. This photo from the streets of Firostefani doesn’t do the moment justice…. you really have to experience them for yourself to know the majesty found at the end-of-the-day.

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Here, the food too was amazing. This is a lamb shank served at the Ouzeri in Fira, one of the top rated restaurants on the island. The lamb was tender, full of flavour.
An aside: With its volcanic soil, Santorini is known for its unique flavoured wines — and we were not disappointed with the various local wines we had with our meals.

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I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Lucky in Fira. His restaurant (called Lucky’s) is notorious for serving the best gyros in Greece – and argumentatively in the whole of the Mediterranean.
(Many thanks to my friend Mikey Coleman – a personal friend of Lucky’s – to have pointed us his way.)

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The walk from Fira to Oia along the caldera is promoted as “the thing” to do while in Santorini. So, we had to do it – and we were all glad to have had the experience!

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The walk followed along the edge of a cliff high above the sea. The views of the Mediterranean (or to be more correct: Sea of Crete) were expansive and beautiful.

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As we left Firastefani (or maybe it was entering Imerovigli) we saw in the distance our destination, the village of Oia on the northern tip of the island.

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The walk took us through the main villages that hugged the cliffsides of the caldera. This is Imerovigli – a village that has the nickname “balcony to the Aegean.”

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The whitewashed buildings framed the blues of the sea and sky – everywhere you looked it was just as it is displayed in the travel brochures.

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This hike took us by dozens of striking churches…

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Literally, at every bend in the path there was another amazing view (often with a church in it)

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In beautiful Oia, at the end of our 12 km adventure, we dined at a spot that overlooked the village and the sea. It is a most memorable lunch hour.

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The next day, three of us headed out to climb the Skaros Rock, another hike that took us to Imerovigli again.

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Skaros – to get to the rock one has to traverse a steep winding staircase of 300 stairs – and then on the peninsula there are a few climbs and a winding dirt pay to another 200 stairs down to a church…

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Through past centuries this rock served as a strategic watchtower post for the inhabitants of the island.
In this photo you will see through the ruins the village of Oia in the distance.

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The church found on the bluffs of Skaros was beautiful.

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While on this island our family celebrated Mother’s Day. It is a family tradition that on this special day Mom gets breakfast in bed – but that didn’t happen this year. Instead, the boys upped their game and kept Mom smiling throughout the day!

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The beauty of Santorini is unmatched. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here.

Back to the menu: Our Family Odyssey to Greece

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Contact:

Happy Victoria Day, Canada! (10 Facts on Queen Victoria)

By George presents ten facts about Queen Victoria and why Canadians have so much to celebrate with this Queen and her significant contributions to the founding of our Nation and its government.

1. Queen Victoria was born Alexandrina Victoria on May 24, 1819. More than 200 years later, Canadians celebrate the birth date of this monarch with a holiday weekend. Canada is the only country in the world that has named a holiday after Queen Victoria. We have been recognizing the Queen’s contribution to our country with a “Victoria Day” since 1845 — before even the birth of our Nation.

2. As Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth countries from a young age of 18 in 1837, until her death age 81 in 1901, Victoria reigned 63 years and 216 days. Queen Victoria is the second longest reigning monarch in the world, only recently having this longevity milestone surpassed by Queen Elizabeth II.

3. The Queen’s reign through the 1800’s is known as the Victorian Era, named after her. It was a remarkable period of industrial, political, and scientific advancement that was spurred on with the intellect and innovation of the British and the United Kingdom emigrants who were settling in countries such as Canada. It is estimated that one-fifth of the world’s land mass became part of the British Empire and Dominions during Victoria’s reign, and hence we say of that era that “The sun never set on the British Empire.”

4. Victoria oversaw the evolution of the Crown and the gradual establishment of the modern constitutional monarchy as known in Britain and Commonwealth countries. A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch is bound to exercise powers and authorities within limits prescribed by an established legal framework. In the case of Victoria, she was recognized as a non-political head of state who presided over the countries’ legislatures and its military. Furthermore, Victoria established the Westminster Model of Government for Legislatures formed in the Commonwealth countries. This model was first introduced in Canada in 1848.

5. In 1857, Queen Victoria was responsible for selecting the Upper Canada community of Bytown (now known as Ottawa) to be the capital of Canada. Bytown was picked over the colony’s previous capitals such as Niagara-on-the-Lake, Kingston, and Montreal because the rugged lumber town was considered less vulnerable to attack from the United States.

6. Queen Victoria is known as Canada’s “Mother of Confederation” in supporting the development of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. In February that year, the Queen met with John A. Macdonald in London and gave Royal Assent to the British North American Act after it passed before the British Parliament. A new country was to be born on July 1st. Over 25 years earlier, Victoria gave Royal Assent to the 1840 Act of Union which brought together Upper Canada and Lower Canada and granted a responsible government to Canadians. Canada’s legislative heritage was founded in the Victorian Era.

7. Queen Victoria is known for her strict personal standards. Victoria’s monarchy placed a strong emphasis on morality and family values. The concept of the “family monarchy” was conceived during Victoria’s reign and the British middle classes came to embrace it.  As an enthusiastic imperialist she was viewed as a benevolent matriarchal figure and widely accepted as the “mother” of the British Empire.

8. Victoria had a number of nicknames… “Mother of the British Empire” and Canada’s “Mother of Confederation.” Some of the monikers were not so complimentary. One moniker she picked up during Ireland’s infamous potato famine of the 1840’s was “The Famine Queen.” After her husband’s death, Victoria was severely depressed and became a recluse. She was widowed for 40 years and wore black for the rest of her life. In the 1860’s, due to her continuous state of mourning Victoria was tagged with the nickname “Widow of Windsor.”

9. Queen Victoria and her husband Albert had nine children over 17 years: Victoria (b. 1840), Albert Edward (b. 1841), Alice (b. 1843), Alfred (b. 1844), Helena (b. 1846), Louise (b. 1848), Arthur (b. 1850), Leopold (b. 1853) and Beatrice (b. 1857). Her children went on to have children who would marry royalty in Europe and abroad. Today, her descendants are still recognized in various royal positions:  King Charles III of the United Kingdom, King Harald V of Norway, King Felipe, VI of Spain, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Phillippe of Belgium, and the most recently deceased (dethroned) King Constantine II of Greece.

10. Queen Victoria is the grand-daughter of King George III. She is the great-great grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. And that makes Queen Victoria the great-great-great grandmother of our current King Charles.

By George encourages you to read more on the history and significance of Queen Victoria here:

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

It’s a degenerative progressivism that permeates Ottawa

The Niagara Independent, April 21, 2023 – This week 155,000 federal public servants went out on strike for unrealistic wage increases and to further feather their nest of entitlements. For the many Canadians who are presently struggling through serious economic and standard of living challenges, the bureaucrats’ strike is incredibly tone deaf and out-of-touch with reality. It is an alternative universe of rationale that we find in Ottawa, and it has evolved as a result of more than seven years of a Prime Minister and his government pushing its brand of progressivism.

The federal strike is but the latest symptom of the rot brought about by the Trudeau Liberals’ progressivism, yet another disturbing indicator that something has gone very wrong in our country.

Given Canada’s current economic climate, the federal workers’ wage demands are unreasonable: a 13.5 per cent raise over three years and, for the 35,000 workers at Canada Revenue Agency, a hike of 30 per cent. The demands are also unreasonable when considering federal employees already receive a very sweet deal compared to the average pay of Johnny Canuck.

According to a recent Fraser Institute study, government workers today are paid 31.3 per cent higher compensation than private sector workers when factoring for bureaucrats’ higher wages, pensions plans, and bevy of workplace benefits.

In addition to the generous salary increases being sought, the federal workers are calling for greater workplace benefits – and this is the rub with reality. Throughout the pandemic years, the federal public sector enjoyed job security, regular paychecks, home from work arrangements (until April 2023), and most received yearly wage increases with managers receiving guaranteed bonuses. With this strike, the union and its members are looking to secure the following measures:

  • make permanent the “work from home” emergency measures introduced during the pandemic
  • reward shift premiums of an extra $2.50 per hour for employees who worked past 4 pm
  • establish an education fund for laid-off members of up to $17,000
  • grant four weeks’ paid holiday after four years’ service (reduced from the current seven-year period)
  • provide five additional days paid holiday for Indigenous civil servants to pursue their “traditional Indigenous practices”
  • pay an extra $1,500 a year wage premium to any civil servant using Indigenous languages
  • extend the right to take unpaid leave on short notice for union meetings or activities

The union is also expecting the government to establish an “unconscious bias” training program for all managers and employees to exorcise latent racism within the civil service. It is also calling for the government to establish a union-administered Social Justice Fund at a cost to government (a.k.a. taxpayers) of one cent for every hour worked by every union employee. With 155,000 union members in this particular union, this would cost the government $12,500 a day, roughly $4.5 million annually. There are no details provided on the mission of the Social Justice Fund.

These demands and entitlements may seem surreal for many Canadians, but they have come to be expected in Ottawa’s alternative reality. From the PM on down through federal departments and agencies, there is an “enlightened,” progressive attitude in the Nation’s Capital offering up endless examples of virtual signaling and baseless pronouncements that are nonsensical and insulting to any critical thinker.

Consider the following selection of recent conclusions made by Canada’s senior bureaucrats:

Last week the country’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam issued a Public Health Office of Canada (PHO) report that identifies climate change as a pressing health issue. In the report the PHO declares white supremacy, capitalism, colonialism, and racism are the “systemic drivers of negative health outcomes” and that these overlap with the climate change challenges Canadians face. Therefore, the systemic drivers must be addressed in order to improve the health of Canadians.

Since this PHO garble was first revealed to the public by news source Blacklock’s Reporter, it has garnered attention in social media and with alternative news sources. Not surprisingly, legacy media has not reported on the PHO conclusions.

Perhaps even legacy media realized that Canadians outside the Ottawa bubble would find offense to its contents – unattributed quotes such as “It’s really about the foundations of our society, the capitalist system, the culture of extraction, and we need to change that” and “if we don’t address capitalism, if we don’t address colonialism, racism, the patriarchy etcetera we are going to tread water for a long time until we eventually drown.”

The PHO concludes that public health has a role in addressing climate change by contributing to Canada’s decolonization, justice, and equity.

Dr. Tam’s report is only the latest in a long list of outrageous reports and announcements from Ottawa.

  • A Justice Canada report states that black men in Canada earn less because in the 18th century “Black people were seen as a source of cheap labour.”  The report claims slavery and exploitation were part of the Canadian society as far back as 1600’s – before there was a nation Canada – and this is impacting blacks today.
  • The Prime Minister launched Black History Month this February with the statement, “Canada has a history of anti-Black racism, and communities continue to face the impacts of systemic racism today. It is our collective responsibility to end it by listening, learning, and taking action.” Rather rich from Justin Trudeau, who enjoyed play acting in blackface and his banana-in-the-pants costumes.
  • National Defence issued an Anti-Racism Toolkit that detailed how all Canadian Forces should examine the “ways that whiteness and white superiority become embedded in policies and processes.” The documentation stated, “Racism and discrimination still manifests in our workplaces through bias, privilege, policies and power dynamics. The defence team must put compassionate effort into practice to actively become an anti-racist organization.” (Who would want to sign up to such a self-flagellation organization?)
  • A recent Canadian Heritage report stated that the country’s museums are too “colonial” and exhibits must be changed to educate Canadians on “climate change, equity, diversity and inclusion. The report criticized the existing institutions, “Museums are part of the colonial legacy,” and suggested they must evolve.
  • The PM appointed Amira Elghawaby as the government’s Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia. As it is Elghawaby has a colourful history of making racially intolerant statements about Quebecers, conservative-minded people, and those of British descent. Her new role is to call out anti-Muslim sentiment found in those communities she knows so well.
  • Four government departments – Employment and Social Development, Indigenous Services, Natural Resources, and Transport – concluded “A lack of access to menstrual products in men’s toilet rooms has raised concerns regarding washroom equity.” Therefore, all federally regulated workplaces (government buildings and places like airports) are now to install menstrual product dispensers and products in all men’s washrooms and disposal containers in every toilet stall.
  • The Nova Scotia inquiry into the mass killings of 2020 issued a 3,000-page report concluding that this nightmare was a result of Canadians’ lack of progress in dealing with deeply ingrained and widespread violence against women. In the commission’s own words: “Gender-based, intimate partner, and family violence is an epidemic. Like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a public health emergency that warrants a meaningful, whole of society response.” (Is this not an insult to the families and communities who were victim to a gunman and the inadequacies of the RCMP to protect them?)

This is all so remarkably appalling – one could not make this stuff up. Since 2015, it’s been a degenerative progressivism that permeates Ottawa.

With the picket lines bringing federal services to a halt over a 30 per cent pay hike for the country’s tax collectors, Canadians are now bearing witness to where this lunacy lands us.

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


The Trudeau government and Ottawa’s funny pages

The Niagara Independent, April 14, 2023 – It has been another week that has felt like the country has been written into a Far Side comic strip. With each news headline, Justin Trudeau and his senior-most ministers challenge Canadians’ willing suspension of disbelief. With its latest crisis involving the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) piled onto all their other scandals, Canadians’ trust in the federal government is now at an all-time low. Politics in Ottawa has become farcical, the front-page news reading more like the funny pages. Consider these comical accounts.

Prime Minister Trudeau was instructing Canadians to rack up their credit cards to get through this tough economic period. In a Moncton, New Brunswick townhall the PM advised a stoney-faced crowd on personal finances, encouraging Canadians to go into hock, “If you’re using your credit card to go back to school, or if you go into debt to build an expansion on your house, then you’re going to be able to sell your house for more. If you’re making investments that are going to return, that is how you grow a strong economy because quite frankly, confident economies invest in themselves.”

For Trudeau, credit card statements must balance themselves. So, when heading to the food bank for your pick-up, don’t forget to swing by Home Depot to get the drywall. Conservative MP Frank Caputo was pointed with his ridicule of the PM’s advice, “Most don’t have a trust fund. My family didn’t have credit cards to fund things. We saved. A PM advising to borrow at 28 per cent interest to build wealth?”

Justice Minister David Lametti made headline news after committing that he would look at rescinding the federal government’s transfer agreements with western provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and overturning their constitutional authority over natural resources. Lametti made the promise at an Assembly of First Nations meeting during a discussion of indigenous communities’ involvement with resource development projects.

Lametti’s suggestion was met with immediate rebuke as the three Prairie premiers issued a joint statement demanding PM Trudeau clarify the matter. The statement read: “The federal government cannot unilaterally change the Constitution. It should not even be considering stripping resource rights away from the three Prairie provinces… The prime minister needs to immediately retract these dangerous and divisive comments by his justice minister.”

The PM has decidedly not clarified the justice minister’s commitment. Perhaps Lametti, the PM’s wingman for SNC-Lavalin, M.A.I.D, and Liberal-friendly judicial appointments was not speaking out of turn?

The Public Service Alliance of Canada announced that an “overwhelming majority” of its federal civil servant members voted in favour of a strike action to demand a 13.5 per cent salary hike in the next three years. Union leaders call the federal offer of 6.25 per cent over three years an insult, stating more and more of their members are falling behind and going onto debt.

Still federal salaried workers have seen their paychecks rise 6.6 per cent during the pandemic lockdowns to now average $125,300. Canadian Taxpayers Federation reports that in these past three years $600 million in bonuses were paid to federal managers and executives. It also does not go unnoticed by those scrapping by in the private sector that our civil servants all enjoy job security, full employment benefits, and pension plans.

Meanwhile, one in three Canadians say they are in “terrible” financial shape, taking from savings and borrowing from family and friends for food, housing, gas – and credit card payments for their “confident” drywall purchases.

While Ottawa’s unions fight for bigger pieces of the pie, Karina Gould, the federal minister for families, children and social development was on CTV News to laud the government’s new grocery rebate (a.k.a. the Freeland food stamps). Gould wanted to highlight the one-time payment of $467 to a family of four as “an important measure” offered in the federal budget. Her interview came days after the government hiked carbon taxes on pump and home fuel and she did admit that many families “are really struggling right now to make ends meet.” However, when the minister was pressed about the hard times, Gould pivoted with a smile and nervous gurgling and stated, “the provincial and territorial governments could do more to help.”

Defence Minister Anita Anand also made headlines answering the shameful situation where 100 Canadian Forces soldiers stationed in Poland are having to pay for their food without being reimbursed. On the one hand they are taking the PM’s advice and putting food on their credit cards. On the other, this is causing financial hardship for their families. The Defence Department sent our soldiers into the Ukraine operations with directions that they were going to be fed by the Polish military and then with instructions to buy restaurant meals.

Postmedia newsman Lorne Gunter sums up this embarrassing situation: “Our forces are underfunded, underequipped, understaffed and, at least by the Liberal government, underappreciated. The Trudeau government just doesn’t care.”

The most sensational headlines of the week involved the mass resignation of the Trudeau Foundation president and board of directors, in the wake of the exposure of its nefarious donor arrangements with a Beijing-linked billionaire. The resignation statement from the foundation president cited the “politicization” of issues surrounding the 2014-16 transactions as the reason for the resignations. Later in the week it was revealed that, in fact, the board of directors imploded with the realization that, as one board member put it, “That gift is a stink bomb.”

The PM was caught dodging the issue when he tried to explain it away as a partisan attack: “Those people who are trying to get short term political gain by increasing polarization and partisanship in this country… (it’s “those” divisive people again!). Trudeau’s BFF Gerald Butts also tweeted out a zinger at the media, “Congratulations to the @globeandmail. That’s two charities in three years you’ve taken down, tough guys. You must be so proud.”

As the facts are now coming out, the Trudeau Foundation began the discussions for a million-dollar deal in 2014, when both Justin and brother Alexandre were integral in the Trudeau Foundation’s dealings – as were Morris Rosenberg and David Johnston. With the revelation that the board members exited because of their uneasiness of what exactly happened in 2014, Globe and Mail columnist Andrew Coyne zapped both the PM and Butts with a tweet: “Wait, you mean it wasn’t because of “politicization” by a barbaric and unfeeling press?” Coyne later observed, “The details in this story are just utterly mind-blowing. This is a publicly-funded organization, to the tune of $125 million. But it appears to have been run like a cross between a college house painting service and a Panamanian shell company.”

With all these shenanigans being played out on the funny pages, there has been no mention in the Canadian media about the Liberal Party – CCP scandal. To read about this real news, Canadians have to turn to an American Wall Street Journal editorial: “The potential of such rot bodes ill for Canada’s domestic security and its standing as a leading democracy… Ottawa’s reaction reveals a country whose institutions and elites have been so compromised that they can’t protect Canada’s national interests or those of its democratic allies.”

Like many of cartoonist Gary Larson’s offerings, much of what we are witnessing in Ottawa is “out there” and confounds common sense. It’s become entertaining to watch Justin Trudeau, who has more surprise escapes than the talented Tom Ripley: Jody Wilson Raybould and the SNC Lavalin scandal, WE Charity scandal, multiple ethics breaches, his blackface and banana-in-the-pants past performances – and now his CCP ties.

Mario Dion, the recently retired federal ethics commissioner wrote in his last report about the core problem in Ottawa: “…a culture in the Liberal Party that starts at the top, and in which too many caucus members are indifferent to the conflict-of-interest rules governing MPs. That toxic culture has created a party that appears to have lost interest in basic ethics, and it is rubbing off on much of what the Liberal government touches.”

Yes, commissioner Dion, you have aptly described Ottawa’s funny pages. And like the Far Side comic, Trudeau and his government these days are more likely to receive a head shaking meh than amused laughter.

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


The endless laughter in the Prime Minister’s Office

The Niagara Independent, April 7, 2023 –Can you hear that endless laughter from behind the closed doors of the Prime Minister’s Office? If anything, the past few weeks have proven that PM Justin Trudeau and his political operatives take Canadians for fools. Their audacious announcements and admissions are outrageous.

“Canadians won’t criticize a former GG, your friend David, to provide his thoughts on China.”  

In response to Canadians’ call for an independent public inquiry into the revelations about the undue influences of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Canada, the PM hand-picked a longtime family friend to serve as his “special rapporteur” and provide his government counsel on possible next steps – counsel Trudeau signals will not be forthcoming until the end of May.

Former Governor General David Johnston is as unfit to counsel on China relations with Canada (and with the Trudeau family) as Morris Rosenberg was in counselling on foreign interference in the 2021 election. Both were members of the Trudeau Foundation (Rosenberg was the Chairman!) when that organization was advising CCP-connected Chinese donors on how to deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars into its coffers.

With a deep-seeded affection for China, Johnston is inarguably biased. During his time as University of Waterloo president he championed Canada-China universities exchange programs and established the Confucius Institute, an organization that has been exposed as an agent of CCP propaganda and espionage operations. For his close relations with the Chinese establishment, he has been given an honorary doctorate by Nanjing University and has been feted at many ceremonies in China. Also, three of Johnston’s daughters attended university in China.

Most obscene in this rapporteur appointment is the fact that the Trudeau family and the Johnstons are close family friends, growing up as neighbours in Laurentian cottage country. Canada’s former GG has recounted fond memories of Pierre-Elliot and him visiting dockside in their Adirondack chairs while young Justin romped around with the Johnston kids.

“Who cares about ethics in government? The appointment won’t last a 24-hour news cycle.”

Last week, MP Michael Barrett revealed that a close relative of a senior cabinet minister had been named the head of the government’s ethics commission. Martine Richard is the sister-in-law of Minister Dominic LeBlanc and now oversees the body that rules on conflict-of-interest laws. This is the same commission that, in the past few years, has found PM Justin Trudeau and his cabinet ministers guilty of conflict-of-interest on multiple occasions.

Ironically Dominic LeBlanc has recently been found guilty of an ethics violation in awarding a government contract to a cousin of his wife (who, as it is, is related through marriage to the new commissioner!).

This blatant nepotism was met with cynical quips by many in the press corps. Veteran Globe and Mail columnist Andrew Coyne tweeted “They are just trolling us now…”. Alex Pierson, Toronto talk radio host tweeted, “They don’t even pretend anymore.” Political commentator Spencer Fernando observed, “They’re laughing at us now. Total contempt for the Canadian People.”

In a follow-up editorial Fernando reflects on Canadians’ ambivalence to what is transpiring in Ottawa and what that has meant for the Trudeau Liberals. He wrote: “Each time they’ve gotten away with a scandal and remained in power, they’ve only become more emboldened. Rather than be grateful for having survived politically, the Liberals seem to think they can get away with anything and continue to push the bounds of unethical behaviour… That kind of entitled attitude is not only disgraceful, but it’s also dangerous because of how deeply anti-democratic it is.”

As a matter of fact, the PM defends the appointment saying that Martine Richard was originally hired years ago by former PM (and Liberal bogeyman) Stephen Harper.

“We’re saving the planet. Besides Canadians won’t notice… it’s just like boiling the frog!” 

On April 1, the government increased the carbon tax again, adding a few cents per litre to gasoline and heating fuel. This hike is Trudeau’s “price on pollution” that will have Canadians paying 37 cents tax per litre at the pumps in 2030. The schedule of gradual tax hikes keep Canadians as content as frogs in warming water when it comes to the economic impact of the carbon tax.

The false promises of the carbon tax scheme were that the tax would be revenue neutral and it would force down emissions. It is becoming evident that it does neither. Canada’s emissions levels are not being reduced. And the government’s long-standing claim that this tax is refunded in full to Canadians is now debunked. On a recent CTV interview, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault admits that Canadians are not being rebated as much as they are paying in carbon tax, “If you do the average, yeah, it’s true, it’s going to cost more money to people…”

The Parliamentary Budget Office claims that families will pay $710 more in carbon tax this year above what they will receive back in their rebate. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) states families’ next loss is more than that: $847 over and above the rebates. The CTF has also done the GST math and factors that in 2030, the government will have a $924 million windfall in GST applied on the carbon tax.

Having exposed the government’s disinformation on one of the fundamental underpinnings of its carbon tax regime, the question is whether Canadians will become wary of just how hot their situation will get by 2030 when the full schedule of carbon tax hikes is implemented on gas prices, utilities, and all goods and services.

“Who’s keeping track anyways? We’ll just pass it off as an unfair partisan attack.”

At a time when a growing number of Canadians are having financial difficulty and are rocked with inflation and rising food prices, the reports out of Ottawa of the PM’s tone-deaf extravagance are “Marie Antoinette-esque.” Here is a glimpse of the lavishness of Trudeau’s lifestyle these days:

  • It was finally admitted that Justin and Sophie were the occupants who stayed six nights in the $8,000/night Corinthia London hotel suite (8K is in Canadian dollars, factoring the exchange rate).
  • The PM’s Christmas holiday in Jamaica this year cost taxpayers more than $160,000.
  • The PM was flying on 20 of 31 days in July 2022, logging 26,238 kilometres all in Canada, including a 5,500 km Ottawa-Calgary flight to spend six hours at a Liberal rally at the Stampede.
  • In the last 30 days, the PM had 17 flights and 10 of those were under an hour.
  • It is costing $20,000 per month to maintain the Trudeau’s lakeside cottage at Harrington Lake. This is the same cottage that the Trudeau’s oversaw a $735,000 kitchen renovation.

Is this not all outrageous – from the denial of the crisis the CCP’s activities in Canada pose, to the carbon tax charade, to a dozen other inexplicable news stories from Ottawa? Canadians are entranced with bread and circuses while Trudeau and his politicos enjoy the entitlements of office.

It has to be a merry band behind those PMO doors, smirking and guffawing at us.

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

Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0


Trudeau government’s unbridled spending fails Canadians today, and indebts our children and grandchildren

The Niagara Independent, March 31, 2023 – Federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland delivered the 2023 Federal Budget this week. Some refer to it as a NDP budget, introducing billions of dollars of new programs with no regard for the bottom line. The 2023 budget might prove to be the Trudeau government’s worst attempt at providing the country with a fiscal and economic plan. The government is increasing spending and promising more spending.

The news headlines captured the disappointed reaction from Canada’s business and financial leaders.

  • Budget 2023: Canada Firmly in the Red
  • Budget 2023: The Liberals’ reckless deficit of choice
  • Canada Can’t Afford Ottawa’s 2023 Budget
  • Freeland’s bloated, gratuitous plan that will make Canadians worse off
  • If the government wanted to strangle economic growth, this is the budget it would produce

The Globe and Mail’s lead editorial had the most pointed headline: “The Trudeau Liberals build a budget on a cloud, and collective amnesia.” The editors summed up the Liberal’s effort in this way: “That is all a fiscal fantasy: the Liberal budget is built on a cloud of sleight-of-hand projections and the hope that Canadians are suffering from collective amnesia… Sustaining the fantasy of Liberal prudence depends on Canadians acting like memory-challenged goldfish, forever surprised by each turn of the fiscal cycle.”

“Canadians and businesses should be concerned about these projections for endless deficits,” states Craig Alexander, who served as chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, Deloitte Canada and TD Bank. Alexander explains, “The accumulation of federal government debt matters. It poses economic risks and is a burden on future generations.”

Alexander’s opinion piece, published in the Globe and Mail, makes this important point when discussing Canadians’ debt load. Chrystia Freeland and the Liberals’ script in talking about federal debt is to tell Canadians that our country is comparatively better than all the other G7 Nations. But this is an inappropriate comparison as it is the aggregate federal-provincial government debt that is the truer measure, a number that now tops a staggering $2 trillion. The federal-provincial debt load has doubled since 2007 and its debt-to-GDP ratio is now around the 75 per cent mark (much higher than the 40 per cent “fiscal anchor” figure Freeland likes to cite).

Finance Minister Freeland has consistently expressed (even after she made her address on Tuesday) that with this budget effort the Liberals’ objective was to “exercise fiscal restraint.” In responding to that assertion, the Fraser Institute stated: “More government intervention, spending and debt are not the keys to success for Canada’s fiscal future. Layering new spending on top of old and expanding the size of government will not drive down inflation or grow the economy. This year’s budget simply continues a reckless approach to federal finances.”

The budget provided Canadians with updated numbers on the size of our fiscal deficit and national debt:

  • The deficit will be $43 billion this fiscal year (ending today).
  • In the 2023-24 fiscal year the deficit is projected to be $40.1 billion.
  • In the next five years, the projected deficits are billions of dollars larger than previously estimated by this government.
  • In the forecasted future, there is no projected balanced budget.
  • This fiscal year Canadians are paying $43.9 billion in interest charges to carry the national debt.

Year over year deficits driven by unbridled government spending will add up. Servicing the national debt costs Canadians big money that could otherwise go to programs and services. On this point, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre factored, “We now spend more on interest for debt than we spend on our military, more than we spend on child-care benefits, more than we spend on transfers for education and social services to the provinces, almost as much as we spend on health care.”

Clearly the Trudeau Liberals do not know the meaning of fiscal restraint. This government has become synonymous with “spending” and “big government.” Consider that in 2020, the last pre-pandemic budget, the government spent a total of $373.5 billion. This fiscal year’s government is spending a third more, projected at $496.6 billion.

The Fraser Institute claims, “These deficits are not necessary: emergency COVID programs have wound down or expired, and revenues are much higher than what was anticipated a year ago. If the government had simply returned spending to 2019 per-capita levels, Ottawa would be in a surplus position next year!”

Yet, Freeland defends the new spending by arguing “If you are making investments that increase the economic capacity of the country, that is fiscally responsible.” In other words, her increased spending is responsible. (This sounds similar to the Liberals’ belief that “the budget will balance itself.”)

The finance minister’s rationale has been rejected by most business and financial leaders. Again, the Fraser Institute shot back, “Since persistent deficits increase the likelihood of future tax hikes to pay back debt or cover debt interest payments, the fiscal plan will create more uncertainty for entrepreneurs, investors and businesses. Such an unpredictable business environment will make it harder to attract investment to Canada.”

The president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Perrin Beatty stated, “Our country cannot borrow its way to prosperity.” Beatty also commented in a BNN Bloomberg interview that the Trudeau government was “writing cheques on a bank account that’s already overdrawn.”

Derek Holt, Scotiabank vice president and head of capital markets economics observed, “Governments did a fantastic job in the early days of the pandemic. The problem is that they are now addicted to high spending and delivering divisive jabs at certain interests. Nothing is being done about productivity and competitiveness pressures that are mounting year by year.”

“Big spending, big deficits, big debt, high taxes, high inflation and bond market challenges are not the path to prosperity,” Holt assessed.

The Conservatives have already indicated they will be voting against the 2023 Federal Budget with Poilievre calling the Liberal fiscal plan “a full-frontal attack” on Canadians. He stated: “It equals $4,200 per family in new government spending. That’s more inflation, more taxes, and more costs for everyday people… She (finance minister Freeland) rolls out a bonanza of $43 billion of new inflation, debt and taxes that will be on the backs of everyday, hardworking Canadians.”

In watching Chrystia Freeland explain away the Liberals‘ spending as “fiscal restraint,” the often quoted quip of Benjamin Franklin comes to mind: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Assuredly, the Liberals’ spending will result in greater taxes. More to the point, their fiscal plan suggests a great number of Canadians will not see another balanced budget in their lifetime. So, the debt will be passed along and become taxes paid by our children and grandchildren.

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


The 2023 federal budget – a preview and checklist

The Niagara Independent, March 24, 2023 – Next Tuesday, March 28, federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland will rise in the House of Commons to deliver the 2023 Federal Budget. At no time in the recent history of our country has a budget been so important. Canadians are financially strained and lacking confidence in the federal government’s ability to manage the economy.

In the lead up to the budget, there has been a great deal of economic analysis and commentary on what needs to be in the document. This cursory preview provides a checklist of the key factors Canadians might hope to hear with Freeland’s budget address.

Just this week the international 2023 World Happiness Report was released, a country-by-country ranking of citizens’ impressions of their quality of life. For decades Canada has been in the top 10, in fact back in 2015 our country was ranked fifth in the world. Yet, in 2023, Canadians are not feeling “happy”, and the country has dropped to a miserable 13th.

Economic uncertainty and inflation have undoubtedly played a part in the erosion of satisfaction. Statistics Canada’s latest report revealed grocery prices are still rising at a rate of 10.6 per cent, marking the seventh consecutive month of double-digit increases. Grocery staples have risen at a shocking rate over the last three years: 25 per cent more for milk, 27 per cent more for eggs, 25 per cent more for white bread, 41 per cent more for butter, 23 per cent more for chicken thighs – and 54 per cent more for spaghetti.

In other StatsCan data, Canadians learned that 2022 was a horribilis annus for their pocketbook. Canadians’ household net worth took a tremendous hit while consumer prices rose on average 6.8 per cent, the biggest increase since 1982. In that year it was the economic policies of Pierre Trudeau’s government that resulted in both hyper-inflation and waning confidence in the economy.

Sadly, there are now more than one in three (35 per cent) Canadians having difficulty meeting their basic household expenses. We have become accustomed to reading headlines about rising personal debt and insolvencies, rising use of food banks – even Canadians skipping meals and students dumpster diving to make ends meet.

It is little wonder that last week’s Nanos Research survey data published in the Globe and Mail revealed the lowest ever “satisfaction” rating expressed by Canadians about their country. The Coalition for a Better Future has also found that half of the population (50 per cent) believe the country is heading in the wrong direction to sustain a high standard of living (younger Canadians aged 18 to 34 were even more pessimistic, with 58 per cent believing Canada is going in the wrong direction).

This is the current troubled state of the Canadian public that Chrystia Freeland must address.

The finance minister has indicated the 2023 budget will include “targeted inflation relief” to help financially struggling Canadians. She stated that the government will “exercise fiscal restraint” so as not to fuel further inflationary pressures. Freeland acknowledged this week that the federal government was no longer able to sustain the pandemic-era support programs, saying “The truth is, we can’t fully compensate every single Canadian for all of the effects of inflation or for elevated interest rates… Our ability to spend is not infinite.”

Going forward the government will target its financial support to lower-income individuals for specific cost-of-living expenses. Freeland stated, “For those Canadians who feel the bite of rising prices the most acutely, for our most vulnerable friends and neighbours, our government will deliver additional targeted inflation relief. This support will be narrowly focused and fiscally responsible.”

Freeland has already confirmed that the budget will include the $196 billion health care funding promised to provinces and territories, and the additional $2 billion in health transfers to address the crisis in hospitals, emergency rooms, and surgical medical centres.

She also confirmed that Canadians can expect new measures to encourage development and investment in green industries across the country. This could mean a smorgasbord of new green incentives, from money for energy efficiency upgrades to households and buildings to increased tax credits for electric vehicles.

Whatever else may be in Tuesday’s budget, Freeland is careful to check expectations of any gross spending on new programs. She summarized her budgetary work in this way, “What Canadians want right now is for inflation to come down and for interest rates to fall. And that is one of our primary goals in this year’s budget: not to pour fuel on the fire of inflation.”

This is a pivotal budget for the federal government, and both the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Fraser Institute have recently provided important context for the finance minister to consider. First, the OECD warned the government needs a plan to lower the national debt. It also underlined that in recent years Canada’s GDP per capita has advanced more slowly than leading economies, and that there is a widening gap in levels of investment and productivity between Canada and United States.

The OECD’s outlook for Canada is not promising. It projected that growth in living standards in Canada would rank dead last among its 38 developed member-countries over the next 40 years, largely due to Canada’s unattractive balance sheet and lack of foreign investment.

In a series of editorials, the Fraser Institute has sounded a number of alarm bells about Canada’s economy. It suggests the priority must be newfound fiscal restraint. It points out that, since taking office in 2015, the Trudeau government has significantly increased spending year after year, exceeding its own spending forecasts in every instance. As a result, Canada’s federal debt in relation to its GDP has increased from 31.9 per cent in 2015 to 45.2 per cent in 2021.

The Fraser Institute is also critical of the country’s current economic growth strategy. The Trudeau government has employed a strategy of tax increases, large-scale spending increases to finance new and expanded programs, and an activist approach to economic development by selecting industry “winners and losers.” This has been detrimental to Canada’s economy: for example, between 2016 and 2019 there was an average GDP growth of 2.1 per cent, compared to 4.6 per cent in the years of 1997 to 2000.

Bottom line for the Fraser Institute: the government is bloated, consistently overspends, and has no confidence-boosting plans for the country’s economic growth. In a lead editorial it stated: “Simply put, the tax, spend, borrow and regulate economics of the Trudeau government… have not improved the economy or living standards of Canadians compared to previous regimes.”

A Checklist for the 2023 Federal Budget 

Given suggestions from the best of Canada’s economic analysts and political pundits, here is a short checklist of what to watch for in Freeland’s budget address. These are factors that would set a clearer fiscal path forward for the government, and instill greater confidence in Canadians and in the country’s business community.

  • Set a fiscal schedule that will balance the budget
  • Lower overall government spending in this fiscal year
  • Offset new spending on green program(s) with equivalent spending reductions elsewhere
  • Provide instant tax relief for individuals: at minimum, defer April 1st increases for carbon tax at the pump and for home fuel, and the 6.3 per cent hike on alcohol taxes
  • Provide measures to support businesses: no new taxes, push back repayment deadline for CEBA loans, introduce new business tax credits for investment and innovation
  • Introduce trade and labour force measures to support industries in addressing productivity challenges
  • Increase defence spending: raise current spending of 1.29 per cent of GDP close to NATO target of 2.0 per cent
  • Maintain the GST/HST at 5 per cent (there is a nasty rumour it might return to 7 per cent)

The last word goes to renowned economist Milton Friedman, whose counsel was echoed in a recent Fraser Institute editorial. Assuredly, Friedman would tell Canadians: “Keep your eye on one thing, and one thing only: how much government is spending, because that’s the true tax… If you’re not paying for it in the form of explicit taxes, you’re paying for it indirectly in the form of inflation or in the form of borrowing.”

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


World Health Organization and the global response to the next pandemic

The Niagara Independent, March 17, 2023 – The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently in the process of redefining the role it will command during the next pandemic. The outcome of this process is to have the WHO become a global authority, empowered to dictate a global response to manage a health crisis. Although most Canadians are unaware, Canadian officials are engaged in the WHO process of transformation and the federal government is on record as supporting the development of a pandemic treaty under the WHO.

There are two parts to the WHO’s transformation which are occurring concurrently. First, 194 countries are involved in drafting a pandemic treaty that will define the WHO bureaucracy, its financing and governance. Second, WHO is facilitating an intergovernmental group to consider amendments to its regulations that will redefine the scope and authority of WHO actions as well as the responsibilities of its member countries. Taken together, should the draft proposals pass as they are presently written, there will be a fundamental shift of authority in the relationship between the WHO and its member countries.

Here is the necessary background to understand the process now underway in Geneva, Switzerland. WHO was created within the United Nations as a body that would advise on the international coordination of global health issues and resources. In 1969, the WHO adopted a set of International Health Regulations (IHR) to define its members’ responsibilities guiding global responses to public health threats (i.e. polio, AIDS). As a result of China’s SARS outbreak, the IHR were revised in 2005 to create a stronger WHO that would ensure health emergencies could be more quickly acted upon by its members. IHR now demands that WHO countries must detect, assess, report out and respond to health emergencies that have the potential to spread internationally.

Fast forward to the present and the plans to transform WHO. With respect to the pandemic treaty, on March 3, 2023 WHO issued a media release reaffirming their schedule for securing a global agreement that would reconstitute the international body. The draft accord is to be produced for consideration and agreement at the World Health Assembly in May 2024. A co-chair of this process, Precious Matsoso of South Africa, states in the release: “That we have been able to move forward so decisively [with the COVID-19 pandemic response] is testimony to the global consensus that exists on the need to work together and to strengthen WHO’s and the international community’s ability to protect the world from pandemic threats.”

With respect to the new regulations, in late 2022, WHO presented a rewrite of the 2005 IHR with over 300 amendments. The overhaul of its regulations were inspired by the knowledge gained in the WHO’s management of COVID-19 and, in part, to ensure greater equity in the global response to public health emergencies. The IHR amendments also will be brought forward in 2024.

The whole WHO process is pedantically bureaucratic. However, the devil is in the details, especially with the IHR amendments, which considerably strengthens the WHO’s authority at a time of a pandemic.  Consider the possible outcomes of these amendments:

  • WHO Director General is empowered to independently declare health emergencies
  • WHO is to assume responsibility when it identifies “potential” rather than actual health emergencies
  • WHO Director General is granted control over the production and allocation of medication during a pandemic
  • WHO will have the authority to override health measure decisions made by individual countries
  • WHO will establish extensive surveillance processes to regularly review and verify compliance
  • WHO can censor what it considers misinformation and disinformation
  • WHO is permitted to share countries’ data without consent
  • IHR recommendations are changed from “non-binding” to “mandatory” instructions that its member countries must follow and implement; in essence transforming the advisor nature of the IHR to that of dictum

On the last point, IHR recommendations during COVID-19 included border closures, travel restrictions, quarantines, medical examinations, and medication of individuals – which in the case of COVID-19 was required vaccine injections.

Reactions to the WHO Pandemic Treaty and the New Regulations 

In the European Union, Australia, Britain, and the United States, vocal critics of the WHO’s transformation, claim that the new regulations and the treaty that binds the 194 member countries is an authoritative overreach and an assault on a nation’s sovereignty. Many decry WHO’s management of COVID-19, specifically its narrative of fear and the enormous costs associated with its vaccine recommendations.

Last month in the U.S. Senate, 17 Republicans introduced legislation that demanded the pandemic treaty be required to pass the Senate. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson stated, “The WHO, along with our federal health agencies, failed miserably in their response to COVID-19. This failure should not be rewarded with a new international treaty that would increase the WHO’s power at the expense of American sovereignty.”

In Canada, there has been little public discussion relating to WHO and no legislative review of Canada’s commitments to the WHO process. MP Leslyn Lewis has raised the matter in the House of Commons and she has voiced concerns publicly on the matter. In an erudite information backgrounder on WHO and Canada’s involvement with the global health body, MP Lewis states: “Of greatest concern, the treaty could give the WHO the legal ability to direct Canada’s future pandemic response, including mandating any range of measures from lockdowns to social distancing to specific vaccines approved for distribution within Canada… This means that if such a treaty is ratified, the WHO becomes the ultimate authority over not only what gets declared a pandemic but also how countries need to respond to the pandemic.”

Lewis has sounded the alarm bell: “Canada must be careful to not sign anything that could give away our sovereignty on health care, even if there is tremendous international pressure to do so for the sake of pandemic preparedness. It would also be irresponsible of this government to consider signing onto a legally binding treaty governing future pandemic response when Canada has not had a national inquiry into our own pandemic policies and outcomes. We can’t prepare for the future when we haven’t learned the lessons from the past two years.”

Meanwhile, the WHO intergovernmental group convenes again in April to work on the IHR amendments. Through this year the WHO process will proceed (likely without any public notice) and all involved expect that their deadlines to produce the pandemic treaty and new regulations will be met in time for the World Health Assembly in May 2024.

Before Canada’s Prime Minister or another senior government representative affixes their signature to the final WHO documents, Canadians need to better understand what the country is signing onto.

An excellent starting point for learning about the WHO process is the overview written by David Bell, public health physician and biotech consultant in global health, a senior scholar at Brownstone Institute and a former medical officer and scientist at the WHO. Bell’s overview is found here: What the WHO is Actually Proposing.

The latest news and insightful commentary on the WHO pandemic treaty (which you cannot find in Canadian legacy media) is found in The Epoch Times.

Another suggestion to gain an appreciation on the impact the WHO transformation may have on Canada, is to read MP Leslyn Lewis’s information backgrounder (albeit it is dated Fall 2022 and does not contain the more recent events relating to the WHO process). Lewis’s document is entitled, The WHO Pandemic Treaty.

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


Trudeau Liberals and the Chinese Communist Party

By George, March 14, 2023 – A few weeks back in my national affairs column in The Niagara Independent I began writing about the headline news relating to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence on Canada’s recent federal elections. The issue when this story broke was whether PM Justin Trudeau and Liberal Party operatives knew about the CCP’s activities and, if so, what did they do about them. Over the weeks troubling facts have emerged and questions about Canada’s PM and the Liberal Party have become more complex – and much more serious.

In the last few days we learned that Chinese Canadians describe the CSIS revelations as “the tip of the iceberg,” and they are aware that “Beijing is watching every day with the threat of intimidation and harassment.” Just yesterday in the news: Canada is knowingly permitting CCP-sponsored students who have been deemed a security risk in the U.S. to conduct research in Canadian universities. Also, four Liberal MPs including federal small business minister Mary Ng are identified as endorsers of a CCP-tied organization in Toronto.

With the many ties now being exposed between the Trudeau Liberals and the CCP, this has become a matter of national security. And given that the PM and his political operatives seem reluctant to respond to the simplest of questions, Canadians have an even greater need to know about the multiple hidden agendas in play. We cannot allow our country’s independence to be jeopardized in any way.

You are encouraged to become informed about this serious national security issue: read the CCP-related news reports from Global News Sam Cooper and Globe and Mail newsmen Robert Fife and Steven Chase, and the insightful research of Terry Glavin (and here is his latest piece). Access the fact-based news reports on what is transpiring on Parliament Hill as delivered straight-up by Blacklock’s Reporter.

Below (by clicking on By George News Commentary) you will find links to my recent Niagara Independent columns and a few archived columns from the last two years. You are also encouraged to forward the By George News Commentary to those who share our concerns.

This is serious stuff. It matters. What are the CCP ties that bind the Trudeau Liberals and, by extension, our federal government?

By George News Commentary

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

It’s now evident this national scandal is more than election interference – and Justin Trudeau is “obviously hiding something”

The Niagara Independent, March 10, 2023 –

“This is a full-blown national security crisis. The ruling Liberals want us to pretend it’s not happening. The prime minister is obviously hiding something.”
Terry Glavin, China’s “Magic Weapon” Hits Canadian Targets

Regarding the current national scandal, not much more has been confirmed than was known three weeks ago when the story broke: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) covertly influenced Canada’s 2019 and 2021 federal general elections in order to re-elect a Liberal government. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not want Canadians to know about the CCP operations in Canada.

The string of Globe and Mail articles about the CCP’s “sophisticated strategy” to ensure the Trudeau Liberals remain in power have exposed a series of political activities between the federal Liberals and CCP operatives in Canada. The burning question now central to the Liberal-CCP connection: is this a marriage of convenience or a mutually beneficial working relationship?

MPs returned to Ottawa after a 16-day recess and rumbled through a week of high drama on Parliament Hill. Despite the PMO’s best efforts to deflect attention from the CCP ties to the governing Liberals, each day new facts came to the forefront and shone a spotlight on an increasingly agitated PM.

It was a heck of a week. In an attempt to squelch further criticism, Trudeau called a press conference on Monday afternoon to present his solution to “restoring Canadians’ confidence” in their elections. In conjunction with this powerplay, Liberal MPs were filibustering a motion at committee that called for Trudeau’s Chief of Staff Katie Telford to testify under oath about what the PM knew about foreign interference in the 2019 and 2021 elections. That same committee then tabled in the House of Commons a recommendation for Parliament to “launch a national public inquiry” – a recommendation that MPs will be required to vote on.

Meanwhile, in Question Period, Trudeau repeatedly refused to answer direct “yes or no” questions about CCP donations to Liberals and, instead, provided cute non sequitur observations about his government’s performance.

The RCMP provided a slideshow for the PM (perhaps in comic relief?) announcing that they had opened an investigation. The investigation is not related to the national security concerns surrounding election influence by the CCP, but the Forces’ conviction to seek out and charge the whistleblower(s) in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service – who leaked the intel that embarrassed the PM and his government.

Back to the PM’s press conference on Monday… Trudeau dug deep into his tickle trunk to pull out a novel idea: he would name “a new special rapporteur” to investigate the issues surrounding the last two elections and to determine what next steps should be taken to ensure the integrity of the country’s electoral process. This individual is still to be identified and his/her scope of work and expected outcome is undefined, except for the PM’s expectation that the rapporteur’s work will lead to further action to address any foreign interference in Canada’s elections.

Trudeau also announced that there will be two investigations conducted by two separate bodies. First, a National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (with a majority of MPs from the Liberals and NDP – and all sworn to secrecy) will investigate the known facts in camera and report back to the PM. Second, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (members of the NSIRA has been selected by the PMO) will conduct a review of Canada’s national security agencies and how they manage threats of foreign interference – and the agency’s report is also to be submitted to the PM.

Opposition MPs immediately called out the PM for his sleight of hand approach. MP Peter Julian, the NDP House Leader, commented that a committee of MPs is simply not credible. “Alleged foreign interference in Canada’s democracy is incredibly serious, and deserves an independent, non-partisan public inquiry. The NDP does not believe [the committee] is an acceptable substitute for a public inquiry. That committee is partisan, and takes place behind closed doors.”

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre slammed the thought of a rapporteur, stating that the position sounds like a “fake job.” Poilievre accused Trudeau of attempting to keep his investigations secretive and the release of any findings within his control. Poilievre on Trudeau: “He could pick someone independent, but he won’t. He’ll pick another Liberal establishment insider—a real Ottawa insider with some gray hair who looks like a reasonable fellow, but we all know that it will be someone tied to him, tied to the Liberals, here to protect the Liberal establishment.”

Editorials from the country’s leading media organizations were also critical of the PM’s announced approach. John Ivison in the National Post observed “Trudeau’s priority on Chinese interference is protecting himself, not democracy”. The Globe and Mail stated, “the existence of the rapporteur is an all-purpose excuse to deflect any further questions from the press or the opposition and any further calls for action… the Liberals continue to duck the accountability that would come with real scrutiny of their efforts…”

Veteran national newsman Andrew Coyne went further in his Globe and Mail columns this week to make the argument that an independent and transparent public inquiry must be called. Coyne concludes what others like newsmen Sam Cooper and Terry Glavin have been exposing for weeks, that this CCP election influence scandal is much more than the election of some Liberal MPs. Coyne comments: “It is not just that China’s interference activities were allegedly carried out with the help of domestic enablers. It is that, as the intelligence suggests, those domestic enablers were, overwhelmingly though not exclusively, prominent members of the governing party. The government cannot be entrusted to inquire into itself; Liberals cannot be left to investigate Liberals.”

Coyne punctuated his thoughts with the query: “We know, that is, that China preferred to see the Liberals in power. We don’t know why…. We don’t know what the return on their investment was.”

The political objectives between the CCP operatives and Trudeau’s election team in getting Liberals elected is now fully understood – even though all facts have yet to be shared. CSIS reported that there is a network of politicos – including elected members Michael Chan, Han Dong, Mary Ng as well as agents on the staff of MPs – who were involved with CCP in the last decade when it was flushing money and volunteers into Liberal campaigns (note that all individuals are denying association with the nefarious activities). CSIS also tracked the CCP’s tactics targeting Justin Trudeau – and the tens of thousands of donations given annually into his Montreal riding association for the Liberals’ election war chest, and the million-dollar donation to the Trudeau Foundation.

But now what of the political objectives and the quid pro quos for the CCP’s support of the Trudeau Liberals? What is the story behind the joint Canada-China virus research and firings of the scientists at the Winnipeg Lab? What are the facts that the PM has gone to great lengths to avoid revealing, including proroguing Parliament, legal proceedings, and an election call? And what of the litany of questionable Canadian policies respecting China? What are Canadians not being told by the Trudeau government? What is the hidden agenda?

On Wednesday MP John McKay, a veteran Liberal backbencher and chair of the National Defence committee, stated “The government of China is an existential threat to Canada on a multiplicity of levels. We need as a nation to come to grips with the desire of the government of China to turn us all into vassal states.”

This stark realization is precisely what Terry Glavin has been stating all along. Fittingly, the last word goes to Glavin, who again this week observed in his telling National Post article: “The contested details about Beijing’s election-monkeywrenching operations in 2019 and 2021 are almost irrelevant. The Liberal party that arrived on the scene with Trudeau at the helm in 2015 was for all intents and purposes the political wing of the Canada-China Business Council.”

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


The potential quid pro quos between Trudeau Liberals and the Chinese Communist Party (Part 2)

The Niagara Independent, March 3, 2023 – To continue with the sordid details now becoming public about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ties with the Trudeau Liberals, this past week’s revelations had their intrigue. What is now becoming apparent is that there is much that was known in the corridors of Ottawa that was not shared with the Canadian public. And there are so many questions about Canada-China relations, specifically about the CCP ties with Justin Trudeau and his political operatives.

In the last few days there have been mounting questions over the facts recently featured in the Globe and Mail and other media sources. Credit goes to the Globe and Mail editors who headlined the work of veteran newsmen Robert Fife and Steven Chase and underlined the national security issue with their editorial comment, “CSIS documents reveal a web of Chinese influence in Canada.”

There have been numerous calls for a public inquiry on CPP influence and foreign interference in elections: Canada’s former ambassador to China David Mulroney, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and national security and intelligence adviser to the prime minister Richard Fadden, former chief electoral commissioner for Canada Jean-Pierre Kingsley – and as of Thursday every national political leader. Still, PM Trudeau has repeatedly rejected a public inquiry.

The National Post published a lead editorial this week, “Trudeau incapable of responding like an adult to Chinese election interference.” It has aptly summarized the PM’s performance as he bobbed and weaved his way through media scrums. First the Liberals suggested their critics were employing “Trump-style” tactics. Then Trudeau talked of “inaccuracies” in the CSIS reports and had other Liberals impugn a variety of motives that suggested CSIS leaked misinformation. Then Trudeau turned on the media and suggested their persistent questioning about CCP influence in the 2019 and 2021 elections was racially motivated. Then the Liberals attempted to change the channel with CBC commentary about conservatives harboring neo-Nazis.

The evolving narrative from the PM and Liberal spinmeisters through the week has been quite remarkable.

Three related CCP-Liberal news stories also broke this week:

  • CSIS leaked it had reported to PM Trudeau – prior to the 2019 election and as early as 2017 – on questionable activities of individuals in the Toronto Chinese community, including former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Michael Chan, Chinese consul-general He Wei, and then Liberal candidate, now MP Han Dong. Trudeau first denied he was briefed, then rejected any suggestion of wrongdoing as racist slurs. (At a parliamentary committee midweek, national security adviser Jody Thomas confirmed PM Trudeau was regularly briefed on foreign interference prior and during the 2019 and 2021 elections.)
  • The Globe and Mail revealed that following cash-for-access Chinese-Liberal soirees with Justin Trudeau and other Liberal operatives, Chinese billionaire Zhang Bin arranged for “a clandestine $1 million donation to the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation” – which would be reimbursed by the CCP. CSIS has been tracking a CCP influence operation targeting Justin Trudeau since he won the Liberal leadership in 2013. For his part, Trudeau said he had no knowledge of the million dollars.
  • PM Trudeau had released an internal government report that reviewed foreign influence in the 2021 election and found there was “no evidence to indicate foreign state actors were specifically targeting Elections Canada or Canadian electoral systems and networks.” However, the credibility of the review has been widely questioned as the report was authored by Trudeau-family friend Morris Rosenberg, who was the former head of the Trudeau Foundation, the very individual who helped arrange the $1 million donation.

In unearthing the factual details of the CCP influence, Canadians have been well served by specific media professionals – and they deserve to be recognized. Certainly, kudos to Robert Fife and Steven Chase of the Globe and Mail. Before this duo’s headlines, a great deal of work was completed by newsmen Sam Cooper of Global News and Terry Glavin, whose extensive research is found on Substack. Also, David Mulroney and Andy Lee are dogged in pursuing the truth of the matter. Kudos also to Blacklock’s Reporter for its fact-based journalism and to the Epoch Times for its insightful news commentary. (It cannot be over-emphasized how indebted we are for the work of these individuals. Just think, if Canadians had to depend on the state-sponsored narrative as broadcasted by the CBC, the skeletons would remain buried.)

In reporting on the current revelations, there has been important dated news stories that have been recounted – and these provide greater context to the CCP-Trudeau Liberal relationship. This week Canadians were again reminded of:

  • Sam Cooper’s exclusive report on a 2017 memo prepared by national security experts for PM Trudeau warning of Beijing’s strategy to interfere in the Canadian electoral process.
  • LeDevoir news report: “In July 2016, the Papineau Liberal Association, Justin Trudeau’s riding, received nearly $70,000 from donors from Vancouver’s Chinese community, or 68% of all contributions for the year… Immediately after, the chartered bank Wealth One, aimed at the Chinese community and owned by many of those present at the Toronto cocktail, was licensed by the federal government. The Ministry of Finance swears that there is no connection between these events.”
  • Foreign donations to the Trudeau Foundation dramatically increased after the 2015 election (when Rosenberg was head). During the pandemic years the donations escalated by over 500 per cent and the revenue of the fund has more than doubled.
  • The history involving a network of political operatives in Toronto: Wei Chengyi, Weng Guoning, Paul Chiang, Han Dong, former Liberal minister and Chinese Ambassador John McCallum, and current small business minister Mary Ng (who was formerly in the Ontario Premier’s office and the Trudeau PMO before becoming minister). Please note that in all cases and with all stories, the involved deny any wrongdoing.
  • Liberal MP Han Dong ducking out of the House of Commons to miss a vote condemning the CCP for its human rights violations against the Muslim Uyghurs. MP Dong’s skipping the vote and PM Trudeau and cabinet ministers abstaining from voting allowed the motion to unanimously pass the House of Commons.
  • Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – Canada’s “two Micheals” – were in Chinese prison from December 2018 to September 2021, during the period when Liberals were accepting CCP-sponsored donations as per the CSIS reports.

(There was more, but much more than this column space permits.)

What becomes apparent with this cascade of Canada-China news is that what is critical is not the 2019 and 2021 election outcomes, but the constant, unmentioned influence the CCP has on the Trudeau Liberals and, by extension, the Canadian Government. To this point, Terry Glavin has provided exhaustive research exposing the subversive dealings in Canada of the United Front Work Department, the CCP’s covert operation to influence foreign governments. Glavin’s work can be found here: The Real Story.

And over the past two years, many of the jigsaw puzzle pieces have been placed in Niagara Independent columns: Justin Trudeau’s Communist China gambit / Canada’s relations with Communist China hurt our international reputation / The Ties that Bind the Trudeau Liberals to Communist China.

In reflecting on Canada-China issues that have occurred since the Liberals took office in 2015, consider potential quid pro quos of Justin Trudeau’s Faustian bargain with the CCP. It is disturbing to reflect on:

  • Joint Canada-China virus research secretly conducted at the infectious-disease Winnipeg Lab
  • The firing of Dr. Keding Cheng and Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, whose research contributed to both the work in Winnipeg Lab and at the infamous Wuhan Lab
  • The agreement and failure of the Canadian-sponsored Canada-China COVID-19 vaccine
  • Repeated refusal by PM Trudeau to identify the CCPs’ abuse of Uyghurs as genocidal – or even a human rights violation
  • Increased Chinese foreign direct investment in Canada – now topping $21 billion in 2021
  • Central banks of Canada and China agreeing to a 5-year bilateral currency swap of nearly $40 billion to facilitate trade and investment
  • The well-documented yet ignored CCP-linked fentanyl and money laundering operations in B.C.
  • Canada-China joint military training and joint research projects for military operations
  • Canada’s exclusion from the AUKUS intelligence alliance, QUAD, U.S.-led Indo-Pacific trade initiative, NATO discussions…
  • Canada’s foreign affairs policies relating to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and the Falun Gong

John Ivison of the National Post this week wrote, “We simply can’t trust Trudeau’s word on China’s electoral interference.” However, evidently, the mayhem and deception involve more than the 2019 and 2021 elections. Terry Glavin’s assessment is more accurate: “This is a full-blown national security crisis. The ruling Liberals want us to pretend it’s not happening. The prime minister is obviously hiding something.”

The last word on this remarkable week is given to retired CTV newsman Alan Fryer who amusingly tweeted, “TruAnon truly is the Canadian version of MAGA world. CSIS = deep state! Globe and Mail = Fake news! Election Interference = China hoax!”; before he made the sobering observation, “We truly have hit a turning point. The collective choices we make as a nation now will define us for generations.”

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


The Chinese Communist Party-sponsored Trudeau Liberal Party (Part 1)

The Niagara Independent, February 24, 2023 – The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) covertly influenced Canada’s 2019 and 2021 federal general elections in order to re-elect a Liberal government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not want Canadians to know about the Chinese operations in Canada. These are the two threads that are woven through the never-ending-story of intrigue, scandal, and false narratives. It is a serious matter. The details being exposed about the CCP’s support for the Trudeau Liberals involve the integrity of our country’s democratic process.

Last Friday, the Globe and Mail published a full front page story by veteran parliamentary reporters Robert Fife and Steven Chase about a clandestine operation run by the CCP to unduly interfere in the outcome of the country’s national election. The news story begins: “China employed a sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada’s democracy in the 2021 federal election campaign as Chinese diplomats and their proxies backed the re-election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals – but only to another minority government – and worked to defeat Conservative politicians considered to be unfriendly to Beijing.”

For days the Globe and Mail ran a series of articles outlining a number of disturbing facts obtained from top-secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) documents leaked to the paper. The CCP’s foreign interference during the 2021 election included undeclared cash contributions to candidates, misinformation about Conservative foreign policy, having businesses hire international students to volunteer full-time for Liberal candidates, and providing cash refunds to donors for the portion of their donation not covered by the federal tax credit.

CSIS was tracking a “sophisticated political strategy” employed by the CCP that would ensure the re-election of a Liberal government and the defeat of Conservative politicians who were critical of Beijing, its human rights abuses and its threats to global safety and security.

In their news articles, Fife and Chase also reported that the CCP is executing a strategic plan to target Canadian legislators, government officials and business leaders, as well as academic and research and development institutions. CCP tactics include espionage, blackmail, bribery and sexual seduction. These activities are documented in the CSIS reports, which the Globe and Mail reports have been shared with Canada’s Five Eyes intelligence allies – U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand – and intelligence services in France and Germany.

PM Trudeau’s immediate response to the Globe and Mail’s front page stories was to ignore the substance of the revelations, and he expressed concern over CSIS’s leaked reports. Trudeau insomuch as said “move along, there is nothing to see here” while stating, “It’s certainly a sign that security within CSIS needs to be reviewed. And I’m expecting CSIS to take the issue very seriously.”

In direct contrast, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre praised the “courageous whistleblowers” in CSIS for exposing what has long been suspected: the sustained “covering up [of] the interference of the authoritarian regime in Beijing.”

Poilievre went on to say, “Justin Trudeau knew about this interference and he covered it up because he benefited from it. He is perfectly happy to let a foreign authoritarian government interfere in our elections as long as they’re helping him.”

For years Trudeau and his ministers have downplayed suggestions of foreign interference in Canada’s elections. In the past few months, Trudeau has denied possible interference or nefarious activities by the CCP. In the House of Commons, he repeatedly reassured Canadians about the country’s election integrity. In November, when pressed on the matter, Trudeau stated he had not been briefed on any irregularities in the 2019 and 2021 elections.    

However, the latest news reports reveal the PM’s claims are less than forthright. Trudeau was provided a national security briefing by CSIS in November 2022 in which he was told about the China Consulate targeting 11 candidates in the 2019 federal election to impact the outcome of those races.

Also, Privy Council Office documents which have surfaced reveal that intelligence officials provided briefings in February 2020 on potential election interference and improper funding of candidates in the 2019 federal election.

Global News reporter Sam Cooper has also come forward with evidence of a 2017 memo prepared for the PM that specifically warns of CCP’s influence on Canadian officials and institutions. The PMO memo was written by the office of National Security and Intelligence Advisor, at the request of the PM’s chief of staff Katie Telford, and provided to Privy Council Office clerk Michael Wernick.

The weightiness of the Fife and Chase articles and the evidence being exposed in the last few days has not permitted the PM to sidestep the issue in his usual Teflon-manner. Numerous editorials have underlined what is being brought into question: the integrity of Canada’s democratic electoral process.

  • The Globe and Mail’s lead editorial this week was “Stand up to China, Mr. Trudeau,” stating the PM is “way off-base on this matter” and must “respond forcefully to CSIS’s findings” in order “to protect the integrity of this country’s elections from Chinese interference – and will open the door to further meddling.”
  • Charles Burton, senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute opined “These sorts of activities, co-ordinated by a hostile power, absolutely should not be tolerated… If this interference goes unchecked and there are no criminal or diplomatic consequences, though, it will obviously embolden China to do much more of it.”
  • David Krayden in The Western Standard called on the PM to resign and posed these questions, “What did Trudeau know and when did he know it? Why does China so badly want to keep him in power?… why did the Public Order Emergency Commission decide to release its report last Friday instead of this week as planned? Was it designed to provide cover for the Chinese interference story the government clearly knew was coming?”
  • The Postmedia News editorial “Trudeau ignores China Syndrome” framed the issue this way: “The allegation is that China worked to defeat Conservatives and ensure a Liberal government. Now the head of that Liberal government is telling Canadians to not worry. Without transparency, there can be no trust and Trudeau looks like he’s hiding something on this file.”

In Ottawa, MPs on the Commons Procedure and House Affairs committee have been reviewing the allegations that China interfered in the 2019 election campaign. Last week the MPs voted to expand their hearings to include the latest news of the 2021 election campaign. At the committee, Canada’s former ambassador to China David Mulroney gave MPs a succinct explanation of the dangers of the CCP approach: “It is increasingly sophisticated in its intimidation of elected officials who dare to speak the truth to Canadians. Beijing’s objective is a degree of influence – in our democracy, our economy, our foreign policy and even in daily life in some of our communities – beyond the ambitions of any other country.”

Though Parliament is recessed for two weeks, this is a news story that remains in news headlines. This week PM Trudeau has been dogged by questions about his failure to respond to the threats posed by the CCP election interference. With the CSIS intelligence now public, editorials calling for transparency, and MPs reviewing the CCP activities in the 2019 and 2021 elections, perhaps – just perhaps – Canadians will get satisfactory answers.

Next week: Possible quid pro quos with Trudeau’s Faustian bargain  

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


Wisdom of Jordan Peterson

In the early weeks of 2023, By George Journal featured in its social media Canada’s most renown intellect — Jordan Peterson.

Here are the series of memes that attracted a great deal of attention from our followers. (ed. – Right click on the image and “copy”. Go ahead and spread the wisdom!) 

In the last two years, Jordan Peterson quotes made the By George Top-10 quotes twice. Here are the bons mots that were recognized as the top quotes of the year in By George Journal’s social media.

Follow By George Journal on Facebook and on Twitter and receive quotes like these Peterson bons mots as well as a daily #ByGeorgeQOTD each morning.

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. Contact:

The disconnect between Canadians and the Trudeau government

The Niagara Independent, February 17, 2023 – Increasingly our senior-most members of parliament in Ottawa are proving they are tone deaf to the cries of frustration and despair across the country. Each passing week there are examples of PM Justin Trudeau and his cabinet ministers seemingly blind to the financial anxieties many Canadians are shouldering at the moment. As they advance their policy agendas on Canadians, they do so at best “unknowingly” or at worst they could be called “insensitive.” Whichever it is, the Trudeau government is appearing disconnected with the realities facing Canada’s middle class – and those striving to join it.

Many Canadians are presently facing a grim reality. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has reported that many Canadians are borrowing money and taking from their savings to pay for living expenses – to pay for their groceries, home and day-to-day expenses. This week Blacklock’s Reporter made public the federal regulator’s report, which describes the current state of Canadians “as the worst of times.”

Today, nearly four in 10 (38 per cent) of Canadians borrow money – some using high-cost loans. A total of 48 per cent are using their savings just to cover living expenses. There are four in 10 (42 per cent) Canadians stressed, believing “finances control their life.”

This report coincides with a Consumer Debt Report released in January by the Canadian Counselling Society that revealed four in five Canadians (82 per cent) see spending on essential goods as the primary cause of their worsening finances. A vast majority of Canadians spend sleepless nights thinking about their finances, with six in 10 (63 per cent) planning this year to cut back on their expenses, especially on their food shopping.

Consider a Stats Can release on Monday that reported a quarter of Canadians are unable to cover an unexpected emergency expense, and those most insecure are younger and racialized Canadians. That same day a bankruptcy trustee firm released its 2022 consumer insolvency numbers and reported millennials (aged 26 to 41) accounted for half of all bankruptcies. Young Canadians are buckling under the costs of soaring rents, heavy student-debt loads, and the rising cost of living.

Canadians of all ages are impacted by the 11 per cent rise in the cost of food this past year. Food Banks Canada reports a record number of people using food banks across the country – up 35 per cent since pre-pandemic times. A downtown Toronto food bank reports a 48 per cent increase in 2022. In Saskatoon, it was reported that 20 per cent of Canadians are skipping meals. In BC, there was a survey that found University of Victoria students are resorting to dumpster diving and taking unused food from their employers to get by because they cannot afford to buy groceries.

Last Friday the Prime Minister was at Algonquin College to talk with nursing students and one student had the courage to pose the following question (verbatim): “I am in my last year of nursing and I have been working this whole pandemic in group homes and I work at three hospitals right now on top of my unpaid placement. And I am still using my credit card to pay for groceries. Why are groceries so expensive? I am eating cookies from the hospital sometimes because I can’t afford lunch and I don’t even get a break. I am eating on the go. It’s just, I’m wondering why it is so hard?”

PM Trudeau responded by saying, “The answer is you shouldn’t find it this expensive. You shouldn’t be squeezed this way. This is not the way it should be…” He talked about the pandemic and problems with supply chains that “drove up price of food, fuel and fertilizer.” He mentioned that inflation is a global phenomenon – and that Canada is doing better than most. He also admitted that these things are “cold comfort” for someone who is having problems paying for their food.

In his “cold comfort” reply, what Trudeau did not broach was how his government could be addressing issues surrounding Canadians’ cost of living. He chose not to mention how his government’s gross overspending – before, during and after the pandemic – fueled what the past-Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge has said is “a Canada-made inflation.”

Trudeau also chose not to mention the impact the government’s carbon tax is having on the cost of everything in Canada – including rising food prices due to the additional taxes on farmers producing food, on truckers transporting it, and on businesses preparing and retailing it. When he mentioned fertilizer, he skipped over what his new fertilizer emissions regulations are costing our farmers.

But the PM’s non-answers to the Algonquin College nursing student is indicative of the growing gap with reality being played out in the Nation’s Capital between implementing the government’s agenda and how it is directly impacting its citizens. In knowing Canadians’ current stresses, how else can one rationalize the recent news from Ottawa?

  • The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) commissioner Bob Hamilton told MPs that it was not “worth the effort” to try and recover the outstanding $15.5 billion in Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy overpayments. When some Opposition MPs expressed their disbelief that billions were simply being written off, Liberal MPs provided an iconic Trudeau shrug.
  • The Quebec City pharmaceutical company Medicago announced last week that it is closing its doors – less than two years after it was given $173 million in federal grants to produce a Canadian COVID vaccine. Ottawa also signed an undisclosed deal to buy 20 million doses of their vaccine, with an option to purchase an additional 56 million. There is no comment out of Ottawa politicians or officials about Medicago; none of the millions spent is expected to be recovered for Canadians.
  • This week it was revealed that the government has purposefully blocked the details about who in the government’s delegation to the Queen’s funeral occupied the hotel room costing $6,000 per night (for five nights). The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has had to launch a legal challenge to have the government divulge the details of this absurd public expense.
  • The CRA union is demanding a pay raise of more than 30 per cent over three years or they threaten to strike. The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) representing 120,000 federal bureaucrats is looking for a wage and benefits hike in the amount of 47 per cent over three years. Outlandish demands given the financial straits Canadians are navigating post-pandemic.
  • Trade Minister Mary Ng has become the latest ethically-challenged poster-minister in the Trudeau government. Though found in breach of ethics laws, Ng told a committee of MPs that she will not repay the cost of media training contracts given to her personal friend and CBC political pundit Amanda Alvaro. When pressed to refund the $22,790, Ng avoided the question with the statement, “I made a mistake” and later she dismissed the idea outright with a classic Trudeauesque non sequitur about ethics training and the claim “we can improve.”

This news was all in the last 10 days. It follows earlier news from Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland urging approval for a $2 billion payment to a non-existent government structure for a yet-to-be-detailed program; an MP committee exposing more than $100 million of questionable consultant contracts awarded to the Trudeau-friendly firm McKinsey; a new report on federal contracts revealing $22.2 billion was outsourced in a single year; the revelation that a total of 35,000 federal bureaucrats were hired in the two years of COVID lockdowns; and, latest estimates of the federal debt charges are expected to more than double to $53 billion by 2024.

This type of confounding news for financially anxious Canadians is non-stop from the federal government these days. It is not surprising that a recent Leger opinion survey cites one in two (50 per cent) Canadians are “angry with the way Canada is being managed today.” Is it any wonder that two in three (67 per cent) Canadians agree with a certain Ottawa politician when he says that “it feels like everything is broken in this country right now.”

The frustrations, financial uncertainty, and sleepless nights all speak to the evident disconnect between that hungry nurse and the PM’s rationalizations, between bankrupt millennials and Medicago, between the university student dumpster diver and Mary Ng – in sum, between working (and coping) Canadians and the actions of this Trudeau government.

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


Justin Trudeau’s Valentines Wishes

Here is an assortment of Valentine wishes featuring Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.

(ed. – Right click on the image and “copy”. Go ahead and spread the love today!) 

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. Contact:

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Valentine’s Wishes – from the U.S. Prez himself

Here are some of By George’s favourite Valentine wishes from United States President Joe Biden. (ed. – Right click on the image and “copy”. Go ahead and spread the love today!) 

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. Contact:

Return to the menu for the By George St Valentine’s Wish