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For Your Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations

From all of us at CG&A COMMUNICATIONS, we wish you the best through the holidays. Have a very Merry Christmas and we hope we will all have a much better 2023!

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

The best of the season! Cheers!

TOASTS, QUOTES AND VERSE FOR THE HOLIDAYS

CHRISTMAS TOASTS

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

CHRISTMAS QUOTES

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

CHRISTMAS VERSE

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

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

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

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christmas Bells

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

NEW YEAR TOASTS

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

NEW YEAR QUOTES

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

NEW YEAR VERSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, Merry Christmas and the very best through 2023!

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.

Top Dozen 2022 Christmas Ads on TV

System1 is an international marketing company that has identified the top dozen Christmas ads for this Christmas season. The company featured the Top-12 list in the global marketing publication The Drum.

In a The Drum interview, Jon Evans, the chief customer officer at System1 stated: “2022 is still going to be a tough Christmas for many, and Christmas ads won’t change that. But marketers have taken the right approach here. They’re quietly acknowledging the circumstances families are facing, but also trying their best to make ads that make people feel good, not remind them of their problems.”

Evans added: “It’s a sign they’ve learned from ads during the pandemic, which lost all individuality in an attempt to sound caring. As we enter a recession, it’s really important to maintain a positive presence in people’s minds so they’re more likely to choose your brand when recovery does come. The Christmas ads of 2022 understood that assignment perfectly.”

Here are this year’s best dozen ads of Christmas according to System1.

  1. Asda: ‘Buddy The Elf’ (5.9 stars)
  2. Amazon: ‘Joy Is Made’ (5.9 stars)
  3. Aldi: ‘#KevinTheCarrot Aldi Christmas Ad 2022’ (5.9 stars)
  4. M&S: ‘Gifts That Give’ (5.9 stars)
  5. Lego: ‘Holiday Film 2022’ (5.8 stars)
  6. The National Lottery: ‘A Christmas Love Story’ (5.7 stars)
  7. Disney: ‘The Gift’ (5.5 stars)
  8. Lidl: ‘The Story Of Lidl Bear’ (5.4 stars)
  9. Barbour: ‘One Of A Kind-Ness’ (5.3 stars)
  10. Tesco: ‘The Christmas Party’ (5.2 stars)
  11. Cadbury: ‘Secret Santa’ (5.2 stars)
  12. Boots: ‘#JoyForAll’ (5.2 stars)

SOURCE:  https://www.thedrum.com/news/2022/12/02/best-christmas-2023-ads-ride-wave-nostalgia-and-positivity

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

A Christmas Story: A Slice of Life

A Christmas Story by Carol McAdoo Rehme

A SLICE OF LIFE

Jean heaved another world-weary sigh. Tucking a strand of shiny black hair behind her ear, she frowned at the teetering tower of Christmas cards waiting to be signed. What was the point? How could she sign only one name? A “couple” required two people, and she was just one.

The legal separation from Don had left her feeling vacant and incomplete. Maybe she would skip the cards this year. And the holiday decorating. Truthfully, even a tree felt like more than she could manage. She had canceled out of the caroling party and the church nativity pageant. Christmas was to be shared, and she had no one to share it with.

The doorbell’s insistent ring startled her. Padding to the door in her thick socks, Jean cracked it open against the frigid December night. She peered into the empty darkness of the porch. Instead of a friendly face — something she could use about now — she found only a jaunty green gift bag perched on the railing. From whom? she wondered. And why?

Under the bright kitchen light, she pulled out handfuls of shredded gold tinsel, feeling for a gift. Instead, her fingers plucked an envelope from the bottom. Tucked inside was a typed letter. It was a…story?

The little boy was new to the Denmark orphanage, and Christmas was drawing near, Jean read. Already caught up in the tale, she settled into a kitchen chair.

From the other children, he heard tales of a wondrous tree that would appear in the hall on Christmas Eve and of the scores of candles that would light its branches. He heard stories of the mysterious benefactor who made it possible each year.

The little boy’s eyes opened wide at the mere thought of all that splendor. The only Christmas tree he had ever seen was through the fogged windows of other people’s homes. There was even more, the children insisted. More? Oh, yes! Instead of the orphanage’s regular fare of gruel, they would be served fragrant stew and crusty, hot bread that special night.

Last, and best of all, the little boy learned, each of them would receive a holiday treat. He would join the line of children to get his very own….

Jean turned the page. Instead of a continuation, she was startled to read: “Everyone needs to celebrate Christmas, wouldn’t you agree? Watch for Part II.” She refolded the paper while a faint smile teased the corner of her mouth.

The next day was so busy that Jean forgot all about the story. That evening, she rushed home from work. If she hurried, she’d probably have enough time to decorate the mantle. She pulled out the box of garland, only to drop it when the doorbell rang. Opening the door, she found herself looking at a red gift bag. She reached for it eagerly and pulled out the piece of paper.

…to get his very own orange, Jean read. An orange? That’s a treat? she thought incredulously.

An orange! Of his very own? Yes, the others assured him. There would be one apiece. The boy closed his eyes against the wonder of it all. A tree. Candles. A filling meal. And an orange of his very own.

He knew the smell, tangy sweet, but only the smell. He had sniffed oranges at the merchant’s stall in the marketplace. Once he had even dared to rub a single finger over the brilliant, pocked skin. He fancied for days that his hand still smelled of orange. But to taste one, to eat one? Heaven.

The story ended abruptly, but Jean didn’t mind. She knew more would follow.

The next evening, Jean waited anxiously for the sound of the doorbell. She wasn’t disappointed. This time, though, the embossed gold bag was heavier than the others had been. She tore into the envelope resting on top of the tissue paper.

Christmas Eve was all the children had been promised. The piney scent of fir competed with the aroma of lamb stew and homey yeast bread. Scores of candles diffused the room with golden halos. The boy watched in amazement as each child in turn eagerly claimed an orange and politely said “thank you.”

The line moved quickly, and he found himself in front of the towering tree and the equally imposing headmaster.

“Too bad, young man, too bad. But the count was in before you arrived. It seems there are no more oranges. Next year. Yes, next year you will receive an orange.”

Brokenhearted, the orphan raced up the stairs empty-handed to bury both his face and his tears beneath his pillow.

Wait! This wasn’t how she wanted the story to go. Jean felt the boy’s pain, his aloneness.

The boy felt a gentle tap on his back. He tried to still his sobs. The tap became more insistent until, at last, he pulled his head from under the pillow.

He smelled it before he saw it. A cloth napkin rested on the mattress. Tucked inside was a peeled orange, tangy sweet. It was made of segments saved from the others. A slice donated from each child. Together they added up to make one whole, complete fruit.

An orange of his very own.

Jean swiped at the tears trickling down her cheeks. From the bottom of the gift bag she pulled out an orange — a foil-covered chocolate orange–already separated into segments. And for the first time in weeks, she smiled. Really smiled.

She set about making copies of the story, wrapping individual slices of the chocolate orange. There was Mrs. Potter across the street, spending her first Christmas alone in 58 years. There was Melanie down the block, facing her second round of radiation. Her running partner, Jan, single-parenting a difficult teen. Lonely Mr. Bradford losing his eyesight, and Sue, sole care-giver to an aging mother….

A piece from her might help make one whole.

 

SOURCE:  https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-christmas/inspirational-christmas-stories1.htm

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.

Cycling the Cabot Trail

Photo: Guardrail on the Cape Smokey lookoff

The Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

Day 1 – The Causeway to Baddeck

Day 2 – Baddeck to Ingonish, climbing Smokey

Day 3 – Ingonish to Meat Cove to Pleasant Bay, climbing North Mountain

Day 4 – Pleasant Bay to Glenora Distillery

Day 5 – Glenora Distillery to the Causeway

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail hills

 

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

The Cabot Trail hills

There are four sizable hills around Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail. Cycling counterclockwise, there is Smokey Mountain (south of Ingonish), North Mountain (east of Pleasant Bay), MacKenzie Mountain (south of Pleasant Bay) and French Mountain (north of Cheticamp). Here are the details on the climbs…

Smokey Mountain

climb is 7.2 kms from Wreck Cove to the Cape Smokey summit

366 m elevation at a 12-15 per cent grade

descent is approximately 10 kms

 

North Mountain

climb is 5.5 kms from Big Intervale to the summit

467 m elevation at a 12-15 per cent grade

descent is 4 kms

MacKenzie Mountain

climb is 4.7 kms from Pleasant Bay to the summit

370 m elevation at 9-12 per cent grade

this summit is linked to the French Mountain

French Mountain

linked to MacKenzie summit

descent is 5.5 km from summit to bottom

452 m elevation at 9-12 per cent grade

 

SOURCE:  Parks Canada @ https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ns/cbreton/activ/cyclisme-cycling

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

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Here are our top ten photos of the ride…

Day 1, at the start of our Cabot Trail adventure.

Day 2, riding from the Englishtown Ferry. 

Day 2, atop Smokey. Mission Accomplished.

Day 3, Climbing out of Neils Harbour.

Day 3, on the way to Meat Cove in Capstick, where the blacktop ended.

Day 3, outside of Meat Cove.

Day 4/5, at the Glenora Distillery.

Day 5, on the Sea Walk.

Day 5, at the end of the trail.

and saluting the adventure!

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Cycling the Cabot Trail – The Causeway to Baddeck (Day 1)

Day 1 Route ~ August 29, 2022 (96 km)

  • Starting on TransCanada just north of the Causeway
  • Melford / Upper River Denys / Iron Mines
  • First sign of water at approx. 45 km
  • Whycocomagh Reserve / Whycocomaugh
  • Nyanza Bay / Buckwheat Corner
  • Exit TransCanada on 205 (Shore Road) into Baddeck
  • Baddeck Bay Sojourn (Water Street along Chebucto Road)
  • Finish Day 1 at the Lynnwood Inn

Crossing the Causeway… It would be five days before we saw this bridge again…

At the start of the Cabot Trail adventure.

The initial stretch was along the TransCanada Highway.

The first sighting of water at approximately 45 km mark.

Looking over Nyanza Bay opposite MacGregors Pond.

Stopped to refuel at a Cape Breton landmark.

It was a beautiful ride into Baddeck.

Baddeck Boardwalk is picture perfect.

We completed a Baddeck Bay sojourn to the far end of the bay.

Arriving into the Lynnwood Inn at the end of the first day — and still smiling!

Enjoying a walk along the waterfront with our #1 Support Team Member!

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Cycling the Cabot Trail – Baddeck to Ingonish (Day 2)

Day 2 Route ~ August 30, 2022 (94 km)

  • Leave Baddeck along Chebucto Road to turn back onto TransCanada Hwy
  • Exit TransCanada onto 312 to the Englishtown Ferry
  • Cross on the ferry and proceed on the 312 to the Clucking Hen Bakery
  • Little River / French River / Wreck Cove General Store
  • Cape Smokey climb and the lookoff
  • Descending Smokey into Ingonish Ferry
  • Ingonish and arriving at Sea Breeze Cottages to end Day 2

Leaving Baddeck on Day 2.

The Englishtown Ferry – a cable ferry across a 125 metre channel.

 

Proceeding from the ferry…. 

… to arrive at the Clucking Hen Bakery for a rendezvous with our Support Team.

All fooling aside, here’s the first look at the Cape Smokey climb.

Looking down, half way up Smokey you can see in the distance the road we were just on.

The Cape Smokey Lookoff.

On top of ol’ Smokey.

Descending Smokey into Ingonish Ferry.

At the Ingonish Beach — finishing a hot and humid Day 2.

A most memorable dinner at The Main Street Restaurant

( https://www.facebook.com/mainstreetrestaurantingonish/ )

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Cycling the Cabot Trail – Ingonish / Meat Cove / Pleasant Bay (Day 3)

Day 3 Route ~ August 31, 2022 (81 km)

  • Leaving Ingonish / Lakies Head
  • Exit Cabot Trail to Neils Harbour
  • Neils Harbour to White Point, along White Point Road
  • Continue to Cape North and exit Bay St. Lawrence Road
  • Climb Sugar Loaf to Capstick (where the blacktop ends)
  • Meat Cove
  • From Cape North proceed to North Mountain
  • The North Mountain climb
  • Arrive at the Mountain View Cottages to end the ride for Day 3

Leaving Ingonish to enjoy sights of Lakies Head

Exit the Cabot Trail for Neils Harbour

Leaving Neils Harbour to White Point….

… and the most beautiful scenes along White Point Road.

Continue to Cape North and exit Bay St. Lawrence Road and

the climb of Sugar Loaf to Capstick where the blacktop ends.

Looking out over the cliffs of Meat Cove.

From Cape North proceed along the Cabot Trail…

… to North Mountain and a climb of six kms.

Alexander made it to the summit and I was rescued a little more than a kilometer from the top. Thank heavens for our Support Team!

Arrive at the Mountain View Cottages to put our feet up (only momentarily)…

 

… as we then completed an evening hike of the Skyline Trail.

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Cycling the Cabot Trail – Pleasant Bay to Glenora Distillery (Day 4)

Day 4 Route ~ September 1, 2022 (76 km)

  • Drove in the rain over the mountain tops of both MacKenzie and French
  • Enjoyed the classic Cabot Trail Lookoffs
  • Began cycling in Petite Etang
  • Through Cheticamp
  • Through Acadian towns with sidetrip on #219
  • Back onto #19 into Inverness
  • End Day 4 at the Glenora Distillery

It was raining, so we drove the winding roads of both MacKenzie and French Mountains.

We enjoyed the classic Cabot Trail lookoffs.

day 4 we began cycling in Petite Etang, just outside the park…

… through Cheticamp and the Acadian towns…

… and south along the picturesque west shore of the Island…

…cycling the 219 where the rocky shore turns to sand dunes.

Back onto the 19 into Inverness (and passing the Route 19 Brewery).

Onto the Glenora Distillery to end Day 4 with a toast (well, more than one)! 

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Cycling the Cabot Trail – Glenora Distillery to The Causeway (Day 5)

Day 5 Route ~ September 2, 2022 (81 km)

  • Left Glenora Distillery on road via Route 19
  • Mabou – turn onto the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail
  • Side visit into Port Hood
  • Rejoined rail trail south of Port Hood
  • Celtic Shores Coastal Trail through Judique & Craignish
  • Continued onto a washed out Sea Walk for 3 kilometres
  • Cycled last kilometre to the Causeway
  • Ended Day 5 with the traditional salutes

Left Glenora Distillery on road in fine spirits.

At Mabou we started out on the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail.

A quick side track to see Port Hood.

Then continued along the seaside rail trail…

… so many beautiful sights and great seaside breezes through Judique and Craignish.

We continued on the trail onto a washed out Sea Walk for 3 kilometres.

But the last kilometre we cycled to the Causeway…

… and ended Day 5 with the traditional salutes. 

Unfortunately, we had come to the end of our trail, a 450 km adventure that was a life experience.

Our Cabot Trail Cycling Adventure

10 FAV Photos Cycling the Cabot Trail

Lament for our post-national state

The Niagara Independent, July 1, 2022 – From his earliest revelations about wanting to transform this country into a post-national state, PM Justin Trudeau and his enablers have been on a mission to hollow out the idea of Canada. There is to be no core identity, no proud history, no mainstream traditions, no sense of belonging. Seven years into his mission, the country marks its 155th birthday with chaotic and politically charged gatherings across the land that, at best, reflect a shaken sense of nationhood; but, perhaps more accurately, they signal Canadians’ social contract has been forsook. 

Whether it’s the PM’s response to the truckers or the Liberals embrace of the World Economic Forum’s agenda, Canadian editorialists and political pundits now openly debate the damage being done by the Trudeau Government’s constant undermining of the Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights, its destabilization of the country’s resource economy, and the rewriting of Canada’s history to shame our cultural and societal legacies. 

Andrew Coyne’s commentary this week in the Globe and Mail identifies “the vacuum at the centre of Canadian politics” with politicians degrading and disregarding “obligations to common sense, or the ordinary routines of democratic politics, or the rule of law.” Independent journalist Matt Gurney suggests our lack of political leadership has Canadians settling for mediocrity. Numerous columnists including William Gairdner are documenting how the government has morphed from soft socialism to soft totalitarianism. Some like Rupa Subramanya and Warren Kinsella often write on the perverse nature of Trudeau’s authoritarian kleptocracy.

So, this day’s scenes of unrest in the Nation’s Capital and its various cross-country protests against the celebration of “Canada” speak directly to the crisis of our nationhood’s legitimacy, a crisis that is continuously being stoked by the Trudeau Government. Trudeau’s ceaseless use of wedge politics has effectively eroded Canadians’ trust and faith in one another. The PM and his operatives do not let a single opportunity pass by without virtue signaling a division between Canadians. Case in point is most recently when Trudeau and his senior ministers infused the U.S. political maelstrom on abortion into Canada’s public debate, purposefully to 1) embolden his progressive base, and 2) highlight the moral and political divides on this contentious issue.

In the Financial Post, Joe Oliver offers his Lament for a misgoverned nation: “As they prepare to celebrate their country’s 155th birthday, Canadians are suffering at the hands of a divisive, incompetent government that has undermined prosperity, freedom, parliamentary responsibility, the independence of institutions, national unity and our country’s global standing.”

From the deluge of hapless news coming out of Ottawa these days, it seems that the very fabric of our nation is threadbare. Consider how these situations will end.

Canadians are being told there has been no impropriety or “undue influence” exercised with the latest scandalous news that RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki “made a promise” to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office to use the mass murders in Nova Scotia to help pass the Liberals gun control law. Senior Mounties have exposed the political power play. Yet, the same people who caused the obstruction of justice scandals involving Jody-Wilson-Raybould and SNC Lavalin, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, and the WE Charity payouts, claim the senior Mounties are fabricating their story. 

Canadians are now camping out for days in front of federal government offices with hopes that they might get their passports in time for their summer and fall vacations. To address the snake-like lineups moving at glacier speed, PM Trudeau announced a 13-member ministerial taskforce committee that (in his words) “will help guide the work of the government to better meet the changing needs of Canadians and continue to provide them with the high-quality services they need and deserve.” The committee will begin meeting in early July.  

Inflation last month hit almost 7.7 per cent, the highest it has been in 40 years when the current PM’s father was PM. Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberals now know nothing more of how to handle runaway inflation as the Trudeau Liberals did then. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s latest budget included more fiscal stimulus, more debt, more regulation and more taxes. Recall, she appeared beside the Bank of Canada governor to pronounce inflation was “transitory.” Recently, when asked about government actions to tamper inflationary pressures, she claimed the government has “done enough already.” In another interview when asked about the frustrations Canadians are experiencing with rising prices, Freeland offered “it is okay to be mad.” 

Gas pump prices in Canada continue to climb causing increasing strain for daily commuters, suburban families, and commercial drivers. Though Canadians are being told this is a global pressure in part caused by Russia, the fact is our country has the highest and highest-rising prices of any oil-developing nation. In comparing pump prices in Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York the gap has widened to more than 33 per cent more per litre. (News Thursday from an internal Department of Environment report tells us that new regulatory taxes on gas to be imposed July 1, 2023 will have a direct impact on prices by as much as 36 cents per litre.) The Americans are considering tax relief for motorists; any type of gas tax relief is something the Trudeau government has repeatedly rejected. 

More horrors were reported from Ukraine this week when missiles hit residential buildings in Kiev and one missile struck a shopping centre, killing 16 and injuring over 40. While this news shook the world, PM Trudeau was hamming it up at the G7 meetings in Germany, mocking Vladimir Putin and photos of him bare-chested horseback riding. The Canadian PM had nothing more to offer his colleagues at the NATO summit. In the past couple of years, it is evident Canada has been marginalized in international affairs – left out of AUKUS, no mention with the QUAD Alliance, and our diplomats are MIA in any discussions of defending Ukraine. Still our Trudeau Government boasts its hashtag diplomacy: #IStandWithUkraine. 

Finally, consider the news that Canada Day in Winnipeg has been replaced with “New Day” celebrations, a solemn statement to support Indigenous rights and to stand with those who hold grievances against Canada as a nation. Queen’s University professor Bruce Pardy makes this observation in an Epoch Times article, “The cancellation and renaming of Canada Day… reflects a kind of cultural self-hate that has gripped the body politic in Canada.” 

Professor Pardy homes in on the sobering significance, “Our institutions have embraced the premises of critical theory, an anti-Western ideology that insists that Canada and other Western nations are fundamentally unjust, systemically racist, oppressive, and destructive… the most serious threat to Canada may be its conditioned disgust with its own history and traditions.”

So, returning to Joe Oliver’s column and his use of the adjective “misgoverned”. Oliver assumes the Trudeau Government is rudderless and unfocused when, in fact, there is plenty of evidence what is at play here is more than incompetence. On this Canada Day, Parliament Hill is off-limits. The PM is insulting “those people” again, purposefully dividing and erasing the idea that we should celebrate our country. 

Oh Canada, this is lamentable. 

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/lament-for-our-post-national-state/

 

10 humourous taxing memes

For this federal budget week By George Journal serves up ten of our favourite memes on the subject of taxes. So, come Thursday, hold onto your wallet and laugh it off.

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

14 memes for Feb 14

Here are some St. Valentine memes to share on Twitter, Facebook, where you might. Enjoy the laughs!

#1 The politics of Love

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#2 The Big VD

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#3 It’s za thing this year…

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#4 You gotta love him

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#5 Dear Mr. President [pun alert!!]

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#6 I know what V is for…

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# 7 I don’t like Valentines.

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#8 Okay, I really don’t like Valentines!

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#9 Perfect

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#10 Not so perfect…

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#11 Punny (1)

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#12 Punny (2)

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#13 Punny (3)

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#14 I’ve got your back (but actually, please, don’t come back)

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Share this post! Or save your favourite meme and forward to your favourite (not) loved one. And enjoy the Big VD!

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: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

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

Sir John A. Macdonald

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

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

Learned Perspectives on Canada’s First PM

In defence of Sir John A. Macdonald and his legacy

10 Favourite Quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald

Great Quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald

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

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

3 favourite photos of Sir John A.

A favourite Sir John A. cartoon

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

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

 

A Canadian Christmas Carol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/a-canadian-christmas-carol/

Christmas Memes for 2021

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

 

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

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

 

We’re failing “the COVID test”

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

Your expectations are a problem

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

Matt Gurney / The Line / December 3, 2021

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

Your expectations are a problem, my friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allan Richarz / CBC Opinion / December 3, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Goalposts shift again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always another threat

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rex Murphy / The National Post / December 3, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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