Category Archives: News Commentary

Political and Policy Analysis

A plea to a debt ladened government on behalf of strained Canadians

The Niagara Independent, October 20, 2023 – In an open letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland this week, the Business Council of Canada took the extraordinary step to make a public plea to the federal government to resist making any new spending promises or dole out additional funding in the fall economic update, which is expected in the coming weeks.

The Council also suggested that the finance minister takes the occasion of her fall statement to announce a fiscal anchor that would serve to manage the increases in interest payments required to service Canada’s bloated national debt.

Goldy Hyder, Council president and CEO wrote: “With long-term interest rates at the highest they have been in years, it is irresponsible to suggest that economic growth will be higher than interest rates for years to come. Governments can no longer run permanent large deficits without fear. The era of low interest is no longer with us, and that is a reality the government must address.”

The Council also offered its advice for formulating a responsible fiscal anchor tied to the country’s debt servicing costs. To instill confidence in the financial markets, the government should maintain a debt servicing ratio at 10 per cent or less of its revenue. This figure is perhaps a stretch for the government as the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) has recently reported the government’s debt service ratio will rise to 12 per cent this current 2023-24 fiscal year.

Hyder punctuated the Council’s letter to Freeland with this lucid observation: “More deficit-financed spending at higher interest rates will eventually and inevitably lead to levels of indebtedness that will force future governments to cut spending and raise taxes. It will lead to a weakened economy with considerable uncertainty for businesses looking to invest, hire and grow in Canada. It will also put in jeopardy the social programs Canadians value. This is precisely what we must avoid.”

On a related note, the PBO forecasts that, given the government’s current spending plans and taking into account the higher interest rates, this fiscal year’s federal deficit will balloon to over $46 billion, which is $6 billion more than Freeland’s stated in her 2023 budget. The PBO warns that the government’s spending, combined with high interest charges and a sluggish economy is fostering “uncertainty surrounding our economic and fiscal outlook.”

This warning echoes recent parliamentary committee testimony by former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge who was critical of the government’s spending sprees. Dodge said, “Politically difficult as it may be, over the next few years budgets are going to need to be roughly balanced… The burden of past debt will increase year after year. Governments cannot borrow their way out of these difficult choices.”

So, there is little to no room left for the government to spend more or increase deficit spending. Canada’s debt levels have risen to record highs through the pandemic years. Based on data from CEIC, the World Bank and this country’s banks, the household debt-to-GDP ratio stands at 102 per cent, which indicates that Canadians owe more than the country produces. Canada’s collective household debt as a percentage GDP is now about $116,000 for each working-age Canadian.

The debt sinkhole that Canadians now find themselves buried in will require us in the coming years to pay more in taxes and/or expect less government services and programs. Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, underscored this point in a recent media statement: “The Trudeau government continues to mismanage our finances and that means more money wasted on interest charges, higher cost of living and more debt that Canadians’ kids and grandkids will have to pay back.”

“Interest charges on the government’s credit card will cost taxpayers almost $4 billion every single month. That’s billions of dollars every month that can’t go to fixing potholes or lowering taxes because it’s going to the bond fund managers on Bay Street,” observes Terrazzano.

This is a distressing thought, especially when so many Canadians are feeling overwhelmed about their current financial situation.

A report released this week from MNP LTD reveals one in two Canadians (51 per cent) are $200 or less away from not being able to complete their financial obligations. Canadians are very pessimistic about their financial situation: 25 per cent indicated their finances are “much worse” than a year ago and 16 per cent of respondents expect their debt will further worsen in five years.

Grant Bazian, president of MNP LTD, commented, “There is no mystery as to what is causing Canadians’ bleak debt outlook: it’s getting increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Facing a combination of rising debt carrying costs, living expenses and concern over the potential for continued interest rate and price hikes, many Canadians are stretched uncomfortably close to broke.”

This bleak sentiment was validated with two separate reports on consumer spending released through the week. An RBC report shows spending on essential items climbed 10 per cent year-over-year, reflecting inflationary factors, while discretionary spending such as eating out is trending notably downward.

A Deloitte Canada survey found the average amount Canadians are planning to spend on gifts and festivities over the holidays this year has plummeted to $1,347. That figure is down 11 per cent over last year and 25 per cent less than Canadians forecasted they would spend in the pre-pandemic year of 2019. Roughly two-thirds of respondents to the Deloitte survey said they are concerned about a recession, and more than half are worrying about upcoming hikes to their rent or mortgage payments.

Which brings us back to the Business Council of Canada’s sage advice for the finance minister (to paraphrase): “please Chrystia Freeland do not spend any more, and come up with a plan to manage that debt of ours.”

One final thought relating to this scribe’s long held prediction. Consider this. Perhaps this fall financial statement will be Chrystia Freeland’s swan song as finance minister. If PM Justin Trudeau repeats his father’s walk in the snow on February 29th – as I believe he will – by the time the Liberals 2024 Budget is to be delivered, Freeland will be either the country’s interim PM or she will be in the race for the brass ring. (Either way, that is a taxing thought.)

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-plea-to-a-debt-ladened-government-on-behalf-of-strained-canadians/

Of the celebrations for Hamas in Canada

The Niagara Independent, October 13, 2023 – The world was witness to the horror that unfolded in Israel last weekend: music festival goers gunned down, grandmothers beaten and killed, women raped then paraded in front of jeering crowds, and parents and children executed in their homes. Unconscionably barbaric. Inhumane.

The reverberations of this evil were felt in Canada, echoes heard in our streets. This proved to be a week of many revelations for Canadians, prompting many to question the character of our country and its citizenry. We have been jolted into contemplating our moral certitude, sense of civility and compassion, and commitment to the underpinning classical liberal values that founded our society. How do we begin to process the celebrations for the savagery of the Hamas among us?

The Hamas atrocities on Israelis stirred boisterous demonstrations in cities across Canada. Chanting slogans calling for the eradication of Israel, frenzied protestors danced on our country’s streets from Montreal through Vancouver. In Mississauga protestors paraded into the night, chanting and waving flags from the back of pick-up trucks. In Toronto the Palestinian Youth Movement carried signs like “Smash Israeli Apartheid,” and “USA is a terrorist.” Montreal rally chants included “Israel Terrorist, Canada Accomplice.” Edmonton protesters shouted, “There’s no civilians” in celebration of the Hamas killing of innocent citizens.

Fred Hahn and Sarah Jama were abrasive in social media exulting the Hamas. Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, along with other brotherhoods in the public sector and at universities (McMaster most notably) trumpeted the assaults: “Palestine is rising. Long live the resistance.” Ontario NDP MPP Sarah Jama participated in a march chanting for Israel to be wiped from the map. She posted on X and issued a statement on Tuesday blaming Israelis for what is transpiring, accusing them of settler colonialism and war crimes.

Then there is George Achi, director of journalistic standards and public trust for state-sponsored CBC, who directed its journalists to not refer to Hamas as “terrorists” but rather identify them as “fighters” in a struggle for a free Palestine. He also instructed any CBC report to omit the fact that Israel troops had withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

As this ghoulish revelry of the Hamas was playing itself out in Canada – as it was in other countries – news broke of a strong rebuke of Hamas bestial act of terror, an unqualified statement of solidarity with Israel coming from the democratic free-world countries of the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

The five countries expressed “steadfast and united support to the State of Israel, and our unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism. We make clear that the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy, and must be universally condemned.”

Notably across this land, Canada was not a signatory of this declaration. It has been since determined that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was not contacted to affix “Canada” to the joint statement. Since this fact has come to light, there has been much opinion expressed as to why Canada was not part of the U.S. President’s arranged teleconference that resulted in the free world nations’ moral imperative.

John Ivison of the National Post probably comes closest to the truth of the matter when he writes, “The reality is that if Canada has nothing of substance to offer, why bother having it in the room? Canada has been complacent about national security for so long that it is no longer considered a serious player by its allies.”

Ivison’s conclusion that “The leaders of the free world have no time left for unserious Canada,” echoes the sentiments of Derek Burney in his editorial piece of last week “Canada’s hollow place in the world ~ The Canadian government has become increasingly irrelevant internationally.” And the truths found in Burney’s editorial have also been aptly assessed by Terry Glavin, Andrew Coyne, Conrad Black, Sean Speer and others, all questioning the “seriousness of Canada.”

So, to pick up on Ivison: the inconsequential nature of Canada’s support in international affairs speaks to the country’s perceived lack of substance on many levels, whether it be military capacity, contributions to economic and defence alliances, democratic institutions, political leadership, etc. And what has become apparent throughout the world community, is now being realized by Canadians when reasoning the unchecked rallies for Hamas in our very own streets.

As a telling point of reference, take Canada’s mainstream news headlines this week involving the trial of Tamara Lich – a grandmother facing jail for crimes against the state – the constitutional tussle on parental rights and the use of pronouns, or the ironic press conference where Chrystia Freeland called out Russian leader Vladimir Putin for playing politics with the Canadian House of Commons feting a Nazi-war veteran. These matters are the stuff of an unserious nation and it is some wonder why our democratic allies see only a fleeting shadow of this country’s historic place in world affairs.

It’s been quite a week for many Canadians, fixated on Israel while wondering whether our citizenry’s moral compass will ever again point true north.

To attempt to lend context to the core question of what it means to maintain a civil society, Lisa Bildy, a Canadian lawyer and civil liberties advocate offered a thoughtful rationale. Bildy assessed, “Many people in the West have long been flirting with very dangerous ideas from the safety of a stable society. Did they really think that provocative concepts like “unearned privilege”, “decolonization” and evil “whiteness” would just stay in academia and never be acted upon in the streets? That fostering resentment and oppression narratives would somehow morph society into euphoric liberation and unity without first opening the gates of hell? I fear they are about to discover that steadily hacking away at the guardrails that kept the worst impulses of human nature in check was really, really stupid. And there will be no “safe spaces” and colouring books to protect them (or the rest of us).”

Tristin Hopper, columnist and reporter at National Post, has been more to the point with his comments on X.  He posted, “I think a lot of us falsely expected that the Thanksgiving Weekend would be defined by mournful “not in our name” protests, instead of the exact f**king opposite.”

The last word also goes to Hopper who nails what lays at the crux of many Canadians’ uneasiness: “I think we Canadians need to take a deep look at the structures that ultimately stand in the way of men entering our homes and murdering our families … and then ponder why we’ve been pulling those barriers down with such enthusiasm and urging others to do the same.”

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/of-the-celebrations-for-hamas-in-canada/

Talking turkey this Thanksgiving weekend

The Niagara Independent, October 6, 2023 – Elianna Lev, reporter for Yahoo Canada News, caused quite a stir this week when she wrote a news article on the Toronto-based grocery chain Longo’s selling a pre-cooked Thanksgiving turkey for $119.99. Longo’s had other more economical pre-cooked meals like roasted porchetta for $59.99 or a roasted turkey breast for $59.99. BlogTO picked up on Lev’s news items and listed off a number of recent stories about inflated prices for butter, potato chips, spices and condiments.

Clearly for Canadians this holiday weekend, “talking turkey” will be less expensive than sitting down to their Thanksgiving dinner.

The latest food price figures from Statistics Canada have basic family staples rising on average from 10 to 18 per cent year over year. Butter and eggs are up 10 per cent, potatoes are up 10 per cent, peanut butter is up 17 per cent, and apple juice up 18 per cent.

With these inflated prices, a recent University of Toronto study found almost six million Canadians – 15.9 per cent of all households – experiencing food insecurity in the country. This week a new study out of Dalhousie University reported almost one in two Canadians (45.5 per cent) now shop with an eye to cost rather than to the food product’s nutritional value. Half of Canadians (49.2 per cent) have reduced buying meat because of the high cost.

Assuming many families and friends will be eating a Thanksgiving meal of turkey and trimmings, can there be any doubt where the dinner conversations will lead? For most, the rising cost of living in Canada – for food, rent, mortgages, fuel, etc. – has become indigestible.

In Ottawa, MPs on the House of Commons finance committee are currently chewing on testimony from leading economists, who are assessing the root causes and impact of inflation in the country. Key witnesses have set the table for what we might expect will be a damning committee report. For example, David Dodge, former governor of the Bank of Canada, told MPs, essentially, that Canadians face a bleak future of higher taxes and diminished government services.

Dodge surmised Canada will be challenged with the health costs of an aging population and the costs associated with subsidizing both individuals and business to meet 2050 net-zero carbon emissions targets. Dodge flatly states that Canadians will need to make sacrifices and government, business, and people will need to curtail spending. “Attempting to finance all these investments by borrowing is resulting in an increase in prices and interest rates and will continue to do so at least over the next decade… The burden of past debt will increase year after year. Governments cannot borrow their way out of these difficult choices.”

In commenting on the Trudeau government’s fiscal approach he did not mince words, “That is the terrible job – and I use those words advisedly – the terrible job of governing. You have to make the choices.” Dodge added, “This is going to take time, to bring inflation down. Once we got off track, just as we know in the 1970s, it takes time and it takes a lot of effort on the part of the government.”

In related news this week, finance department officials made a shocking and absurd claim they did not have a clue of the estimated billions of dollars the government is currently spending on debt interest. For the record, last 2022-23 fiscal year, the government paid $34.7 billion on interest charges to service the federal debt. Earlier this year, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland projected costs to service the debt would jump to $45 billion in 2023-24 – but since that guestimate, interest rates have risen. So, the obvious concern is, “How many more billions are we paying?”

Ian Lee, a professor from the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University belled the cat when he testified before the committee. Lee stated that excessive government spending coupled with poor economic strategy is the root cause of the grief Canadians can expect to suffer, “Rising inflation was indeed caused by the lockdowns and supply chain interruptions, but exacerbated by massive excessive monetary and fiscal stimulus.”

Lee said to MPs, “I’m urging parliamentarians to return to an examination of the economic fundamentals of Canada by examining low productivity, protectionist policies in certain industries, such as airlines, telecom, agriculture, that exclude foreign competitors that drive up prices to much higher levels.”

David Williams and Jock Finlayson of the Business Council of B.C. echoed this testimony in a Globe and Mail editorial piece they wrote entitled, “Canadians face 40 years of stagnant incomes – government’s economic strategy is failing.” The editorial stated: “Several of the government’s core policy beliefs are misguided. The first is that freewheeling government spending, untethered by the defined limits of a credible fiscal anchor, is not “consumption” but rather “investment” that raises real incomes. The data say otherwise.”

The editorial also pointed out, “The government has relied on households and business taxpayers to fund subsidies for preferred recipients and has massively expanded the bureaucracy without much to show for it other than shrinking the relative size of the private sector. That is a recipe for a low-productivity, low-wage economy.”

Lisa Raitt, co-chair for a nonpartisan advisory council Coalition for a Better Future, also testified before the finance committee. She has serious misgivings about Canada’s current economic well-being, “On a per capita basis, our economy is not only stalled, it’s actually contracting. Real GDP, per capita, has fallen for four straight quarters, and we’re producing less per person today than we did in 2018.”

Raitt made the point that productivity, in terms of output per hour of work, is dismal, “It’s fallen 11 of the last 12 quarters, and the productivity numbers in the first half of the year are below what they were in the final six months of 2014. If things don’t change, we’ll soon be talking about a lost decade of productivity.”

With the financial strain currently being felt through the country, it should be no surprise that Canadians instinctively understand what MPs have been hearing at the finance committee.

Federal government research was recently made public that shows Canadians are dissatisfied with how the government is managing the economy and cost-of-living challenges. This internal report states, “Most thought that the Government of Canada was on the wrong track when it came to alleviating the financial pressures currently impacting Canadian households…. Almost all believed that rising inflation had impacted a large number of households over the past year and had particularly affected lower and middle-income Canadians, seniors living on fixed incomes, and post-secondary students.”

More recently, a Nanos survey concluded “Canadians are increasingly focused on economic issues with inflation (16 per cent), jobs/the economy (13 per cent), housing (11 per cent) in their top five issues.” Another Leger survey revealed nearly half of Canadians (47 per cent) are currently living paycheck to paycheck and 61 per cent of Canadians think their country is experiencing an economic recession.

It is clear the hard realities of the rising cost of living has soured the mood of Canadians. There will be plenty to stomach when we talk turkey this weekend. And the good news for those one-in-two cost-sensitive shoppers is that a nice size frozen butterball turkey can be found at Food Basics, Walmart, and most other discount grocery stores for less than $25.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend with your family and loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving. 

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/talking-turkey-this-thanksgiving-weekend/

 

A Labour Day 2023 snapshot of the working Canadian

The Niagara Independent, September 1, 2023 – As Canadians enter the holiday weekend, many are financially stressed and worried about what the fall will bring for their household. To put the lot of a working Canadian into proper perspective, here is a Labour Day 2023 snapshot – statistics and facts about personal finances, presented without commentary.

Income 

Statistics Canada (StatsCan) reports the average income for working Canadians is $54,000 and the median income is $41,200 (in 2021, which is the latest statistics available). On average, working Canadians make $4,500 monthly.

One in ten Canadians (11 per cent) have an annual income of $100,000 or more. One in fourteen Canadians (7 per cent) live in poverty.

Debt 

Canadians’ consumer debt has risen to a record level, with an average consumer debt load of more than $21,000, excluding mortgages, according to consumer credit reporting company TransUnion of Canada. Consumer debt has risen 5.6 per cent in this past year. In the first quarter of 2023, the average credit card balance for Canadians (per card) was $3,909, which is up 22 per cent pre-pandemic.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports Canadians are the most indebted consumers of the G7 countries with a household debt of 187 per cent of disposable income (2022). This debt load has resulted in household disposable income dropping 4.8 per cent in the past year, when adjusted for inflation and population growth. 

Taxes 

The Fraser Institute calculates that, on average, Canadians pay 46.1 per cent of their income to taxes – income, payroll, health, sales, property, profit, sin, fuel, carbon taxes and more. In 2023, Tax Freedom Day was June 19 – the date in the calendar year when Canadians finished paying taxes to the government and began earning money for themselves. This is a full eight days later than the pre-pandemic 2019 Tax Freedom Day, when Canadians paid 43.9 per cent of income to taxes.

The Fraser Institute’s tax index reports Canadian tax bills were the fastest growing expenditures, surpassing the rising cost of housing, food and clothing. Today, taxes are the largest household expense for families. An average Canadian family will pay more in taxes (45 per cent) than on the necessities of life (36 per cent). To put this tax burden in perspective, in the 1960s, the average Canadian family paid 34 per cent in taxes and 57 per cent on basic necessities.

Carbon Tax 

The federal government’s carbon tax has Canadians paying 14 cents per litre extra at the pump and for home fuel. This tax will more than double, to reach 37 cents per litre by 2030. When the new Clean Fuel Standard carbon tax is added in, the total carbon tax per litre will amount to 54 cents. For a 60 litre tank of gas, that is a total of $32.40 of carbon taxes per fill up.

The carbon tax raises prices for Canadians not just on gas and home fuel, but on food, goods, services, travel – it raises prices on everything.

Mortgages 

Two of three Canadians (65 per cent) holding mortgages today are having difficulties paying them, that is according to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). More than half of these struggling Canadians (55 per cent) are sinking into further debt by having to use their savings to meet their monthly payments.

There are presently 6.08 million homeowners with mortgages that must financially brace for Canada’s high interest rates of 4-5 per cent through next year and into 2025.

Rent 

Two in three Canadians who rent (67 per cent) are having difficulties paying their monthly rent, according to the FCAC. More than half of Canadian renters (59 per cent) are using their savings to pay their monthly rent.

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is $2,572. To sign a rental agreement, a person must provide first and last month’s rent – often more than a person makes in one month. So, it is not surprising that the new company Nesturo has become a go-to popular service, providing short-term loans for rental deposits.

Food 

According to the Canada’s Food Price Report 2023, statistics published by researchers from universities across Canada, an adult man spends an average of $347 per month on food; an adult woman spends $311 per month; and a family of four spends $1,357 per month. In the last year, these food expenditures have increased more than 10 per cent, and this year food prices are expected to rise another 5 to 7 per cent.

According to another University of Toronto study, there are almost six million Canadians – 15.9 per cent of all households – experiencing food insecurity in the country.

Back-to-School Costs 

StatsCan reports back-to-school items have got more expensive in the last year: stationery supplies are up 12.9 per cent, textbooks and supplies up 2.8 per cent, and activities like music lessons or martial arts are up 5.6 per cent. A study by NerdWallet Canada revealed more than one in four Canadian parents (27 per cent) plan to purchase fewer back-to-school supplies than in previous years due to inflation.

StatsCan also reports increased costs for students’ lunch box staples. Breads and rolls are up 8.1 per cent in one year, apples are up 7.8 per cent, and cookies and crackers are up 12.4 per cent. The situation has become dire for the 1.8 million Canadian children who live in households that struggle to afford food.

A Labour Day Reflection  

Between maintaining a roof over their heads, food on their plates, and gas in their vehicles – and paying nearly half of what they earn to the government taxman, working Canadians have little to rejoice about the fruits of their labour this holiday weekend. According to the statistics, Canadians have become a nation of working stiffs challenged to make ends meet.

So, as we contemplate returning to work on Tuesday morning, the last word is given to the overnight sensation Oliver Anthony. This crooner’s primal cry of frustration has become the latest anthem of the working man: Rich Men North of Richmond. That feeling of hopelessness remains long after Anthony has belted out his chorus: “It’s a damn shame what the world’s gotten to / For people like me and people like you / Wish I could just wake up and it not be true / But it is, oh, it is”

May you have a wonderful long weekend with your family and friends. My best to you on Tuesday. 

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-labour-day-2023-snapshot-of-the-working-canadian/

PM and Liberals misinform with divisive rhetoric and ingenuine arguments

The Niagara Independent, August 25, 2023 – With each new opinion poll revealing PM Justin Trudeau and his government falling further behind their opponents, the Liberals are countering with combative rhetoric that plays to their political base. This week the prime minister and a former cabinet minister were out front of the Liberals’ offensive using ingenuine arguments that were deliberately confusing the facts and misinforming Canadians. In reaching new lows in Canadian politics, the posturing and arguments of Justin Trudeau and Catherine McKenna through the week were dishonest, vitriolic, and designed to divide Canadians.

At a press conference covering the cabinet retreat meetings in PEI, PM Trudeau explicitly implicated Facebook of “putting corporate profits ahead of people’s safety.” Trudeau was commenting on the wildfires in the Northwest Territories and B.C. when he launched his assault on the social media corporation. “It is so inconceivable that a company like Facebook is choosing to put corporate profits ahead of ensuring that local news organizations can get up-to-date information to Canadians, and reach them where Canadians spend a lot of their time; online, on social media, on Facebook.”

Trudeau accused Facebook of “making billions of dollars off of Canadians” with their practice of providing hypertext links to Canadian news and publishers websites. He chastised the company for “blocking news from its sites” stating, “In the larger picture it is bad for democracy…”

Such was the manipulative spin and melodramatic performance of a person who is fully aware of the facts behind Facebook’s recent removal of Canadian news links on its platform. Facebook’s parent-company Meta began to block news links from Facebook and Instagram in Canada as a result of a new law passed by the Trudeau government. This new law dictates Internet giants to pay a fee (a.k.a. a news tax) for displaying links to Canadian news articles. For more than a year throughout the highly contentious legislative process, Meta warned the government that its Online News Act (Bill C-18) would result in the platform dropping the links rather than having a new tax imposed on what was a free service for Canadian news sources. (Google has also issued this warning.)

Today, the government is feeling the heat from Canadians who have become suddenly aware of the circumstances brought about by the Liberals’ uncompromising actions in passing the legislation, and by news organizations and publishers who have already seen a dramatic drop in their online traffic and revenue stream that had once been generated by the free links which appeared in Facebook.

However, PM Trudeau has never let facts get in the way of a political smear. Peter Menzies, outspoken critic of the Online News Act – and former vice chair of the CRTC – felt it was reprehensible that the Liberals were using the struggles faced by Canadians evacuating the wildfires as the pivot point of their argument. Menzies observed, “All political parties are prone to put their own interests ahead of the public’s” but he admonished the Liberals for stooping so low in his Epoch Times editorial:It’s Crass to Politicize the Wildfires.”

Menzies wrote: “Nothing, not even the mass evacuation of tens of thousands of people threatened by wildfires, gets in the way of advancing the interests of politics. Policy and even public safety are too often little more than opportunities to be exploited to advance the electoral prospects of those who hold or seek to hold power.”

In a separate verbal assault, former cabinet minister Catherine McKenna took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to attack Conservatives as well as Canadians who do not share her fevered views on climate change. Like Trudeau, McKenna used the news headlines of the wildfires. She lashed out at the Conservatives’ current campaign to “Axe the Carbon Tax” and made the bald accusation, “You are the arsonists.”

The full text of McKenna’s tweet last weekend reads, “Conservative politicians want to fight about a price on carbon pollution? You want to make it free to pollute while Canadians pay with their lives threatened, homes destroyed and their communities obliterated? So what are you going to do? You are the arsonists.”

Then on Tuesday she doubled down on the political firestorm she had lit in media by tweeting out: “We need a mandatory climate science lesson for Conservative politicians & Premiers – as well as cost to the lives & livelihoods of Canadians from climate change, and the economics of the clean transition. Otherwise Canadians pay the price. It’s absurd. But that’s where we’re at.”

She also retweeted a February assertion: “Even if it is no longer outright denial, climate disinformation remains effective. It tears through social media, slowing or even blocking climate action and fuelling the rise of right-wing politicians like Poilievre, Donald Trump and Danielle Smith.”

McKenna’s provocative attack on conservatives attempts to tie criticism of the carbon tax with denial of climate change – and even more absurdly, with causing (literally lighting) the wildfires. This hyperbolic affront was met with immediate ridicule on X and with conservative-minded news commentators. Spencer Fernando stated the former Trudeau minister’s comments were “entirely dishonest and manipulative” and that, “McKenna is exploiting a tragedy and – with absolutely zero evidence – blaming her political opponents for it.”

Some media made the point that McKenna’s tactics were representative of “Post-Truth Liberals,” the politicians who develop rhetorical arguments meant solely to reassure and embolden their political base. So, they purposely develop arguments that resonate with partisans who accept an argument based on emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts.

On the same point, the National Citizens Coalition expresses doubt that the Liberals are making any political headway by employing this tactic. The NCC opined, “The more the Liberals turn to their misanthropic, far-left, ‘post-truth’ agenda, the more they’ll lose everyday Canadians who have already grown tired of all the broken promises, the gaslighting, and the managed decline of our standard of living.”

The Ottawa press corps questioned Pierre Poilievre about McKenna’s “arsonists” insult. In response he expressed concern for the denigrating tone of the arguments being made by the Liberals saying, “What I really worry about is the increased radicalization of rhetoric by liberals, particularly Justin Trudeau, but the nastiness and meanness that they’re directing at people who disagree with their policies, whether it’s true, those nasty comments directed at Muslim parents, or whether it is him jabbing his finger in people’s faces, and now a former Liberal minister, saying that anybody who doesn’t want to pay higher taxes is an arsonist.”

Then Poilievre directly retorted to McKenna’s tweet, “Really, really, as if we paid higher taxes, we’d have less for forest fires. Come on. Let’s get back to some common sense in this country. And let’s start to bring our people together instead of tearing the country apart.”

From the PM’s and former minister’s performances this week, it is evident the Liberals are adhering to the age-old adage “the best defence is a good offense” – they must divert Canadians’ attention from the country’s high interest rates, inflationary cost of living, and increased taxes. So, with the governing Liberals’ political fortunes waning, expect their divisive rhetoric and dishonest arguments to continue.

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/pm-and-liberals-misinform-with-divisive-rhetoric-and-ingenuine-arguments/

Here’s the Canadian news you have likely missed

The Niagara Independent, August 18, 2023 – Canadians can be forgiven if they missed the latest news about the country’s state of economic and social affairs. Canada’s mainstream legacy media is paying little attention to hard news and instead pumping out opinion pieces on Justin Trudeau’s “substantial” cabinet shuffle, “surprised” marital breakup, or his “private” movie outings with his kids and family vacation in Tofino, BC. When the Canadian state-subsidized newsrooms are not pimping the PM, they are adding to wire copy about Maui’s fires, Donald Trump’s indictments, or the latest exploits of Elon Musk.

As it is, important news items and events are being ignored or not being broadcasted by the country’s legacy media. This news, Canadians need to search out in the country’s independent news sources or in international media coverage.

It must be noted that Canadians are also seeing less of the country’s legacy news because of the standoff between the Trudeau government and tech companies Meta and Google. This is a standoff over the government’s intent to regulate the internet and has resulted in the removal of all hypertext links to news articles on Canadians’ social media platforms.

So, to add to the heat of the summer, here’s the significant Canadian news you have likely missed in the past few weeks — important items that affect you and your family and impact our country’s prospects.

Canada is least attractive of “the three amigos” for trade and investment: This summer Mexico overtook China to become the United States’ largest trading partner – a position that Canada used to brag about – until 2014. As American trade in Mexico increases, investment and trade with Canada declines by billions of dollars. Christopher Sands, the director of the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute in Washington, says “Mexico’s an attractive place to put your capital so, they’ve been building and building, and some of that’s coming from China, some of that’s new growth.”

Canada is losing out on new manufacturing facilities producing plastics, medical technologies, and automobile parts and high-end electric vehicles. Remarkably, it is also losing out to Mexico with its trade of oil and liquid-natural gas (LNG), as a direct result of the lack of pipeline infrastructure and the Trudeau government’s unwillingness to develop LNG exports.

Canada is being ridiculed for its lack of defense spending: NATO allies are now openly criticizing Canada’s commitment to its defense program. In summertime meetings there was a suggestion that a spending target of 2 per cent of a country’s GDP be considered “as floor” for membership in NATO. Canada is currently spending 1.22 per cent of GDP and, as reported in the Washington Post, PM Trudeau told Canada’s allies his government would “never” reach the 2 per cent target.

The blowback has been scathing. The Economist featured an article: “Canada’s miserly defence spending is increasingly embarrassing.” A Wall Street Journal editorial called Canada a “free-rider” that belonged at a “junior table”: “Canada’s military is so degraded that even its role in peacekeeping missions has waned.” A subsequent Financial Post piece picked up on the Wall Street Journal’s suggestion Canada be dropped from the G-7 membership, baldly stating: “Canada is not a leader on the international stage.”

Subsidies to EV battery plants unchallenged – and alarming: With headlines and editorials praising the Trudeau government’s “green investment” in Canada’s future, mainstream media has been trumpeting the announcements of new electronic vehicle battery plants. Few legacy media outlets have critically assessed the $31 billion of subsidies to Volkswagen and Stellantis corporations to build in Ontario.

The one newsroom that has is Blacklock’s Reporter, which is tracking the unfolding story as it relates to the financial costs for taxpayers. From this independent news source Canadians learned of Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s rationalization for the billions of dollars of spending at Cabinet, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux’s demands to get the finer details of the handouts, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s recent calls for restraint in the federal subsidies for foreign auto corporations. (Canadians can depend on Blacklock’s Reporter to provide the full story on the $644 million incentive for Ford Co. to build its EV plant south of Trois-Rivieres.)

Ottawa’s law and order agenda is resulting in increased violent crime: Statistics Canada has released crime figures that suggest lawlessness throughout the land. Homicide rate, gang violence, gun crime, victims of violent crimes involving firearms, and fraud and extortion are all on the rise. Crime in Toronto has seen dramatic increases in recent years. Stats Can validates that Canada is a more violent place than it was a decade ago.

When Trudeau shuffled his cabinet, newly appointed Justice Minister Arif Virani made legacy media headlines in declaring that rising crime in Canada is “just an illusion.” No state-sponsored news reporters challenged Virani on his claim. Canadians must look to independent sources to appreciate the impact the Trudeau government’s soft-on-crime approach and its enabling legislation has had on Canada’s crime rates. (Verily, CBC commentary touting the federal government’s action on gun crime is insulting for residents of Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood, for example.)

Trudeau government continues to foster closer ties with China: Months and months have passed since there has been any development regarding the mounting evidence that the Trudeau Liberals have been involved in quid pro quo arrangements with the Chinese Communist Party that pre-date their 2015 election victory. This week Brian Lilley of the Toronto Sun broke the story that Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault is jetting to Beijing to participate in meetings to advise CCP Leader Xi Jinping on environment policy (presumably to shutter China’s new coal plants, introduce gas and oil taxes, and ban single-use plastic products).

The Globe and Mail aside, much of legacy media has given PM Trudeau a pass on his government’s scandalous actions with the CCP. However, readers of this column through the last year will know The Niagara Independent has been constant in its calling for an independent review of the Liberals-CCP affairs: “The case for a full-blown investigation of the Trudeau government’s relations with China: Part One and Part Two.”

Documenting the demise of Canada under the Trudeau government: No mainstream media has covered independent news commentator Aaron Gunn’s series of video news productions. Gunn bluntly asks “What is Happening to Canada?” with his series of informative documentaries on some of the most critical challenges facing the country. Warning: content in the documentaries is disturbing – but these are must-watch videos for Canadians who want to grasp a better understanding of what is taking place across our land. Here are YouTube links for: Canada is Dying  /  Fractured Nation | The Pillaging of Western Canada  /  The End of Free Speech in Canada  /  Waiting to Die | Canada’s Health Care Crisis.

By way of a parting comment, there was a Research Co. survey published late July that revealed three in ten Canadians (30 per cent) believe Justin Trudeau is the worst PM the country has had in recent times. This, and the fact that the PM’s “substantial” cabinet shuffle has had a dead-cat bounce for the Liberals’ sagging popularity has many Ottawa pundits and wags suggesting Justin Trudeau is actively searching for his exit plan. For many, arguing the speculative scenarios has become a sporting pastime.

This scribe disagrees that the PM and his political operatives are flailing around for an escape; Trudeau’s exit plan has been scripted for years. Here’s my unabashed prediction. In honouring his family’s political lore, Justin intends to take “a walk in the snow” on February 29, 2024 – as did his father on the 29th of that leap year so many years ago. So, put all those Ottawa rumours to rest and enjoy the final weeks of your summer.

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/heres-the-canadian-news-you-have-likely-missed/

Canadians’ midsummer night’s nightmare

The Niagara Independent, August 4 & 11, 2023 – Now eight years into his tenure as Prime Minister, it has become abundantly clear that Justin Trudeau’s promise of “sunny days” has failed to materialize. An ever-growing number of Canadians are financially strained and finding themselves caught in impossible living situations. There are numerous economic reports and studies suggesting matters will worsen in this country – and Canadians will not be waking anytime soon from this midsummer night’s nightmare.

Nik Nanos of Nanos Research recently completed a deep data dive for the Globe and Mail into Canadians’ feelings about their future well-being. He found we harbour grave concerns. Nanos reports that Canucks are “more pessimistic about their future standard of living than they have been in more than a decade.” He assessed, “Many Canadians, and especially young people, are struggling to pay for housing and basic necessities… The unspoken truth is that the pandemic will have a long-term impact on the behaviour of people.”

Today, 65 per cent of Canadians feel that the next generation will have a lower standard of living than what we have now. Only 10 per cent feel living standards will improve, which is a huge drop in optimism from 26 per cent who felt positive about their future only a decade ago. When future historians look back at Canadians living through the 2020s, Nanos suggests they will refer to “a scarred generation” where “lives were disrupted, personal values were challenged, and what emerged was a hard-nosed questioning of self and society.”

This rather dismal gut-feel of Canadians’ fortunes is supported in the findings of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which recently conducted an in depth statistical review of its member counties. The OECD has projected that growth in living standards in Canada will rank 38th of the 38 developed member-countries over the next 40 years. We are expected to do the worst of all countries. The primary reason for this gloomy projection is that, during the 2020-21 pandemic year, Canada outspent all countries in the world to post an overall debt burden equivalent to 352 per cent of its GDP.

The Trudeau government not only outspent all countries with is pandemic spending, it has more than doubled the debt load of the country, and Canadians now are burdened with over one trillion dollars of federal debt. A new CD Howe Institute report calculated federal spending jumped in the 2020-21 fiscal year by more than 70 per cent. The report reveals this massive spending occurred with no financial controls, little accountability and oversight, and a lack of transparency of the public accounts. The Institute suggests, with the accumulated deficit spending and current debt load, the federal government may well have impaired its capacity to deliver basic services in the future.

Commenting on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the Trudeau government during the pandemic, Bill Robson, chief executive at CD Howe states, “The decisions that got made that are going to affect our future for years and decades to come, were really made on the fly without appropriate deliberation. We need more transparency from our governments about how they’re spending our money, especially when something like COVID happens.”

In a Financial Post interview Robson observed that most Canadians are unaware of the scale of the debt governments amassed and the fact that present and future working-Canadians will be required to pay for servicing this debt for years to come. Robson said, “It’s a bit unsettling that so many questions just never got answered … The information is so patchy…. We have a few lean years ahead.”

For the record, in 2022-23, Canadians paid an unprecedented $34.7 billion on interest charges to service the federal debt. With interest rates rising, this figure is expected to rise accordingly.

Two recent economic reports reveal that Canada is now an outlier among advanced economies around the world. Unlike all its comparable national economies, Canada has yet to rebound to its pre-pandemic standard of living as measured by real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Most disturbing is the TD Economic forecast that predicts the Canadian economy will continue to shrink through 2024.

The OECD factors that Canada will be a laggard in real GDP per capita growth through the next 35 years, until 2060. Major factors for our lackluster economic performance is a waning business confidence, and decreasing domestic and foreign investment in Canadian businesses and projects.

TD economist Marc Ercolao explained in a recent interview with Financial Post: “Over the last 20 years, Canadian R&D investment has been in perpetual decline, while all other G7 countries have seen increases to varying degrees.” In Canada, this has created a serious “innovation gap” with the country falling behind the rest of the advanced world. So, as Ercolao sees it, the prospects are not promising: “Unfortunately, for Canadians, little turnaround in Canadian living standards appears to be on the horizon.”

In an editorial comment on the financial pages of the Globe and Mail, economists Jake Fuss and Tegan Hill at the Fraser Institute echo the TD outlook and commented, “Despite any claims by Minister Freeland and the Trudeau government, Canada faces serious and long-term economic challenges. The government’s policies have sought to grow the country’s economy almost exclusively by boosting the population and increasing the role of government, but this plan has failed to deliver prosperity for Canadians.”

For Fuss and Hill, the Trudeau government has compounded a difficult situation and has caused a “worrying” stagnation in living standards for Canadians. “Without a change in economic strategy, Canada is destined for more calamity in the coming decades,” they concluded.

Still, denying the facts and stats, the Trudeau government maintains its “sunny days” narrative. A lead editorial in the Globe and Mail entitled “The economy according to Justin Trudeau” calls out the PM on his rhetoric. It concluded, “Mr. Trudeau, understandably one supposes, would rather dwell on the largely mythical shortcomings of the Harper government than face the fact that his economic program has been in fact a formula for declining prosperity – the very sin for which he wrongly excoriates his predecessor.”

So, by all accounts, Canadians are in for a very rough ride for years – and the younger generations may never experience the standard of living the boomer generation enjoyed while working and raising their families in Canada. No bromides from PM Justin Trudeau or Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will be able to whistle pass this sad reality.

For many Canadians, their financial situation has reached a tipping point. Whether it is mothers dreading their weekly grocery trips, homeowners losing sleep over their next mortgage renewal, or families visiting food banks to make ends meet, Canadians are becoming more aware of the Trudeau government’s part in their dire economic prospects.

A majority of Canadians (55 per cent) believe the Trudeau government spends far too much according to a recent Ipsos poll for the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI). Two in three Canadians (64 per cent) do not think the government is “allocating funds to the most important issues facing Canada today.”

Renaud Brossard of the MEI comments on the findings, “Not only do Canadians find that the Trudeau government spends too much, but they also find that it spends unwisely. This seems to indicate a disconnect between the Department of Finance and the people whose money is entrusted in its care.”

MEI reports that 60 per cent of Canadians believe that the Trudeau government spending lacks transparency – and that it contributes to Canada’s inflation. Canadians also believe that it has resulted in higher personal income taxes, with three in four believing they are spending too much in income taxes.

Brossard summed up the MEI findings with the observation, “The message Canadians are sending Ottawa is unequivocal. They are asking Ottawa to cut its spending, review its priorities, and reduce their tax burden.”

PM Justin Trudeau and his cabinet heard a similar cry of help from its own Privy Council Office survey that found “almost all” Canadians were “not happy” with the government’s fiscal record and its management of the economy. The report to cabinet stated, “Several felt that issues related to the rising cost of living, a lack of affordable housing, and low wages had been growing for many years and that the Government of Canada should have been better prepared to assist Canadians with these challenges.”

The report concludes: “Most thought that the Government of Canada was on the wrong track when it came to alleviating the financial pressures currently impacting Canadian households.”

Further recent public opinion research reveals there are two specific areas that irritate Canadians. A CTV News survey conducted by Nanos Research reports that more than one in two (53 per cent) believe that the carbon tax is ineffective against climate change. Two of three Canadians (67 per cent) feel that the recent federal carbon tax hikes in pump prices and home fuel and the introduction of the second carbon tax on July 1 was “poor timing” when so many are experiencing financial stress.

The second irritant for Canadians is the excessive hiring of new federal bureaucrats in Ottawa. The facts are that under Justin Trudeau, there are more than 98,000 new bureaucrats on the federal payroll.  In the last three years alone – through the pandemic years – 56,000 new positions were added. For every 1,000 jobs in Canada there are now 24.4 federal jobs in 2022-2023, compared to 21.7 in 2014-2015.

Canadians’ increased stress and strain has been met with a series of tone-deaf responses from the country’s finance minister Chrystia Freeland. Throughout the spring session of parliament and into the summer, Freeland’s refrain has been: “The reality is that Canada is a fantastic country and Canada is doing really well.” Canadians have been treated to a lecture of sorts by Freeland…

  • At a recent G20 finance ministers’ conference she was ecstatic in announcing Canada’s inflation rate dropped to 2.8 per cent, noting the lower rate “is a significant moment. It should provide a lot of relief to Canadians. I do not have a crystal ball, but I do think that today is a milestone moment.” Freeland then tweeted out “Canada’s plan to bring down inflation is working.”
  • The finance minister returned from that conference to hold a media event at a local grocery store to highlight how the government was coming to the aid of strapped Canadians with new one-time relief cheques to families and individuals to offset the rising cost of groceries (a gesture that has been coined the “Trudeau food stamp program”).
  • Freeland was in PEI recently where she addressed the impact the carbon tax hikes have on Island tourism and workers’ daily commutes. Her suggestion is that people need to consider public transit or cycling to work and for groceries. She crowed to the Charlottetown audience, “I am right now an MP for downtown Toronto, and a fact that still shocks my dad is that I don’t actually own a car.”

But Freeland’s bravado and confidence in her government’s fiscal prowess is not a true reflection of Canadians’ nightmarish reality. For example, Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for June did indicate a 2.8 per cent inflation rate – but the most significant financial indicators for Canadians are “elevated grocery prices (9.1 per cent) and mortgage interest costs (30.1 per cent).”

The report’s analysis highlighted, “Prices for many grocery items have continued to increase month after month and on balance are 20 percent above levels reported two years earlier. During 2022 the sticker shock in grocery aisles became remarkably broad based with elevated price growth – year over year increases of 10 percent or more – affecting a larger share of overall food expenditures.” The report concludes: “Shoppers are spending more but buying less.”

There are other telltale statistical reports that reveal how Canadians are coping with inflation, the rise in interest rates and increased taxes.

  • A Bank of Canada survey states homeowners with variable rate mortgages are cutting household budgets and moonlighting in second jobs: “Many low income households are already buying only necessities, leaving little room for further cuts to their spending.” The bank reports that nine interest rate increases have seen mortgage costs triple.
  • A Leger poll found that more than two in five (43 per cent) said they had to change their summer vacation plans due to their finances.
  • MNP Consumer Debt Index report indicates 69 per cent of Canadians are now reporting that interest rate increases are affecting their household finances. One in three Canadians say they cannot cover their debt payments and more than half state they are $200 or less away from paying their monthly bills.
  • The federal Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy latest report shows that Canadian business insolvencies are at an all-time high. The 1,090 commercial bankruptcies in the last quarter (an increase of 37 per cent over last year) are linked to high inflation and raised interest rates.

The final word on Canadians’ nightmare goes to Matthew Lau of the Financial Post who asserts that the Trudeau government’s excessive spending, deficit financing, and market interference have been the primary factor of the country’s inflationary pressure. Lau factors that Canada’s CPI is about nine per cent higher today than it would have been had it followed the economic course set pre-pandemic. In other words, what the Trudeau government did through the years 2021-23 has created greater inflationary pressure and, therefore an increased cost-of-living for Canadians.

Lau obviously does not agree with PM Trudeau’s or finance minister Freeland’s remarks on the government’s fiscal management when he observes, “It’s when politicians meddle that things become unnecessarily expensive — as is the case in this country despite what its government may say.”

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

LINKS:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/canadians-midsummer-nights-nightmare-part-one/ & https://niagaraindependent.ca/canadians-midsummer-nights-nightmare-part-two/

About CBC and Justin Trudeau, and students and transgenderism

The Niagara Independent, July 28, 2023 – Somehow, someway in the past few years, the proper respect for individuals making personal choices about sex has become a debate about what sexual conversations can be had with preadolescent children without their parents’ knowledge. Our “forward thinking” Canadian society has become transfixed with arguments about use of pronouns, gender fluidity, and how young children must be protected from their parents’ hurtful opinions on transgenderism.

In addition to his infamous blackface poses, Justin Trudeau has become the poster boy for 2SLGBTQIA+, championing their causes at every opportunity. The country’s subsidized legacy media trumpets the PM’s progressivism with state-broadcaster CBC acting as a proactive vanguard, espousing enlightened opinions from the front lines in the battle of the (multiple) sexes.

2SLGBTQIA+ are loud and proud – and merciless to anyone whose beliefs may differ. Their modus operandi is to silence any discussion by labelling and shaming people as a hateful “sexist,” “misogynist,” and/or “transphobe,” and then shout down and bully until an individual is “cancelled.” This intimidating tactic has the majority of Canadians keeping their heads down and mouths shut – that is until it comes to how the progressives’ assault on individuals’ beliefs impacts children. This is the rub – as witnessed through the last couple of months in New Brunswick, at the Toronto District School Board, and with Pride celebrations in schools across the country.

There have been dozens of CBC reports on Pride school celebrations, including this year’s tour de force, the Drag Queen Story Hour for primary students. With its own progressive slant, CBC “news reports” share the many joys of school Pride activities as well as the deplorable agitation of protestors who rally to shut down drag queens’ freedom of expression. It’s been a deluge of CBC news: “Advice from some Halifax drag queens about life, love and confidence,” “Just Ask: Drag Story Time,” and “Drag helped me find myself and talk about gender with my son.” There was also the CBC Radio special “The Power of Drag” that proclaims “Drag is everywhere — and it has never been more popular” and then reports on the hate and violence of those protesting story hours for kids.

The CBC has been primus inter pares among Canada’s legacy media in reporting on transphobic arguments erupting at school board meetings, odious acts in defense of women competing in sports or feeling safe in their washrooms, school board directives to observe Pride month as a human rights imperative, and how American “anti-LGBTQ hate” is tainting the full embrace of transgenderism in our schools.

From its opinion and anchor desks in Fredericton, CBC has reported at length on the stand taken by New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs to amend Policy 713, directing schools to notify parents when students under the age of 16 want to change their name and pronoun choices. First there were the headlines about the “embattled Premier” who had lost faith of his caucus. Then there were detailed reports of the “Christian conservative groups” rallying to turn back the caucus revolt and energize “evangelicals” and “the religious right.”

The state-broadcaster presents the evolving New Brunswick news stories as political drama and a black (Christian/conservative) and white (progressive) issue. With this biased presentation, lost is the context regarding how schools have become the meeting ground of “gender identity” activism, or how parents’ rights in raising their preadolescent children are being challenged and denied. For those contextual considerations regarding the crux of the matter, Canadians must turn to independent journalists and news sources.

On this last point, it is remarkable to recognize the difference in coverage between legacy and independent news when it comes to reporting on PM Justin Trudeau’s clarion voice for transgender issues. For example, regarding the New Brunswick legislation, legacy media amplified the PM’s observations on the matter: “Right now, trans kids in New Brunswick are being told they don’t have the right to be their true selves, that they need to ask permission. Trans kids need to feel safe, not targeted by politicians. We need to stand against this.”

The PM waxed eloquently in front of the cameras, “We’re seeing that angry, hateful rhetoric rise on our continent, particularly targeting trans people. Far-right political actors are trying to outdo themselves with the types of cruelty and isolation they can inflict on these already vulnerable people.”

Not surprisingly, the same media failed to broadcast Premier Higgs’ statements in the legislature when he declared, “Parents are the foundation of our society; families are the foundation of our society. And what we’re seeing is that erosion of the family role in children’s upbringing.” Not surprisingly CBC did not report on the Premier’s concerns that gender dysphoria is being packaged and presented in schools as “popular and trendy.”

In another instance on the opposite end of our country, Canadians will be well aware of the PM’s response to Muslim parents who shared their concerns about gender ideology being taught in elementary schools. Again, legacy media was very good at showcasing our woke PM telling parents that they are victims of “misinformation and disinformation” by the “American right wing.”

Again, in front of rolling cameras, Trudeau patiently explained, “These are people on the far right who have consistently stood against Muslim rights and the Muslim community, but they are weaponizing the issue of LGBT, which is something that, yes, Islam has strong opinions on, the same way that the religious right in Canada, the Christian right, has strong opinions against as well.”

CBC was generous in its coverage of this reflective exchange between the PM and parents; much more generous than its coverage of the Muslim families who took to the streets in cities across the country to chant “Leave our children alone.” Again, Canadians needed to search out alternative news sources such as The Post Millennial, True North Media, and The Cultural Action Party of Canada newsletter to understand the grievances that Muslim groups have against “PM Trudeau’s LGBT Indoctrination Agenda.”

Canadians will not learn from CBC or Toronto Star how focused the Trudeau government is to advance the 2SLGBTQI+ cause in the country. Consider these facts that got little to no legacy news coverage:

  • The 2022 federal budget committed $100 million to a “2SLGBTQI+ Federal Action Plan,” including grant funding to bolster community organizations and their outreach activities
  • The Trudeau cabinet researched the impact of banning funding to organizations “unaccepting of LGBTQ individuals” and also discussed its preferential funding for Pride communities
  • Trudeau took the occasion of International Women’s Day to make the statement: “with a disturbing rise in anti-transgender hate here in Canada and around the world recently, I want to be very clear about one more thing: Trans women are women. We will always stand up to this hate – whenever and wherever it occurs.”
  • At the G7 Summit in May, there was much coverage on Trudeau’s comments to PM Giorgia Meloni about her government’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights but no follow through reports on the reaction of Italian officials. In the same vein, there was no media commentary on why Trudeau and cabinet delegation failed to raise the same issue with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at July’s NATO Summit.

By way of a parting comment, let’s look at recent opinion polls on the subject. Leger polling on the Trudeau-Higgs standoff reveals 57 per cent of Canadians believe that a school should have to tell parents if a student wishes to change their gender identity – and 69 per cent of Atlantic Canadians agree with Premier Higgs’ stand for parents’ rights.

Abacus Data reports 72 per cent Canadians are familiar with LGBTQ issues, and 76 per cent are comfortable around members of the LGBTQ community. However, the same survey tells us 62 per cent of Canadians said they were “concerned about the values children are learning.”

Might it be that, perhaps, in Canada the issue of students and transgenderism has indeed become black and white: the progressive ideologue leader and his billion dollar-plus state broadcaster versus concerned parents and fair minded Canadians.

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/about-cbc-and-justin-trudeau-and-students-and-transgenderism/

Time to investigate Trudeau government’s ties with China

It is unsettling to consider why the Trudeau government has been so evasive on a review of the facts relating to the CCP’s activities in Canada. Last month I wrote two columns detailing specific reasons why Canadians must demand a thorough investigation of the seemingly tight relationship between the Trudeau government and the CCP.

Links to those columns are below – as are links to other related articles.

To get to the heart of the CCP influence within the country, any serious public probe must go beyond a couple of federal elections and the possible CCP interference in the political process. Given the manner the Trudeau government attempts to sweep scandals under the rug, perhaps we are best served with multiple parliamentary inquiries instead of an official public inquiry that will drag on for too long and allow the PM and his ministers the foil required to avoid answering any questions relating to China.

There are multiple ways the country’s independence has been potentially compromised by undue influence from the CCP. Here is a listing of the ten critical issues that should prompt a Liberals-CPP review. Again, further details on these issues can be found in the original published articles.

10 – Defending the Canadian arctic 

The CCP’s mounting interest in the north is an international crisis in the making, referred to by Canadian officials at National Defence as the “Arctic threat.” Why the Trudeau government is knowingly neglecting to defend Canada’s interests in the north?

9 – The establishment of a foreign agent registry 

For years in the Canadian security community there has been an ongoing call to establish a registry that would require foreign state-employed persons acting within the country to make public their objectives and to disclose the government employing them. The Liberals continue to delay – but to what end? Canada continues to be an outlier with its allies when it comes to guarding against CCP activities within its country – but at what cost?

8 – Federal investment in China 

The Trudeau government has been slow to suggest guidelines or restrictions on investments by Canadian government agencies in China. It is also slow in making recommended changes respecting the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Canadians deserve an explanation on the Trudeau government’s policies and investments in China.

7 – Ottawa’s “mishandling” of foreign intelligence

Canada’s spy agency warned the government of CCP threats to MPs and their families through briefing memos to the most senior of cabinet ministers and staff, including the Prime Ministers’ Office. Yet, ministers deny knowing of, and staff deny reading the memos.

6 – Canada’s response to China’s human rights violations against the Uyghur Muslims 

Yet, for years now the PM offers little more than platitudes when discussing human rights abuses in China and he will not comment on the CCP’s evil treatment of the Uyghurs. In fact, to this day, the official policy stance of the Trudeau government remains unclear and unstated. But why?

5 – CCP police and agents in Canada  

Repeated news reports and testimony before MPs in the past three months have underlined a disturbing truth that CCP agents are active in Canada, a threatening presence for Chinese Canadians. What is being done about this?

4 – The Trudeau Foundation 

Much has been exposed relating to the Trudeau Foundation’s questionable donations from Beijing. Canadians have also learned that the Trudeau Foundation has invested in Chinese companies that Canada has flagged as security risks. It is time to shed light on all the Foundation’s activities.

3 – Election fraud and interference  

Today, it is an accepted fact that in the 2019 and 2021 elections CCP agents in Canada worked to undermine the Canadian election process and support the Trudeau Liberals. Still, questions remain whether the Liberal Party has been a knowing party and/or willing partner in the CCP’s fraudulent activities.

2 – CCP–Liberal business interests 

The tangled web of CCP—Liberal business interests is thick. There are far too many potential conflicts here. All information relating to the interplay between the extensive business interests between Liberals and the CCP should be made public.

1 – The mysteries at the Winnipeg Lab

There are multiple mysteries relating to the Winnipeg Lab, the country’s highest-security infectious-disease laboratory, and its joint virus research work with the Wuhan Lab in China.Why has the Trudeau government been stonewalling every effort to get answers?

to the burning questions about the joint virus research and the missing fired scientists.  The Liberals have been held in contempt of Parliament and PM Trudeau prorogued the House and called an election to avoid having to provide evidence on this matter.

The original columns can be found in The Niagara Independent here: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-case-for-a-full-blown-investigation-of-the-trudeau-governments-relations-with-china-part-one/  &  https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-case-for-a-full-blown-investigation-of-the-trudeau-governments-relations-with-china-part-two/

Previous related columns are here:  It’s now evident this national scandal is more than election interference – and Justin Trudeau is “obviously hiding something” & The potential quid pro quos between Trudeau Liberals and the CCP).

Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick of The Canadian Press

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

Canadians responding to blockbuster film ‘Sound of Freedom’

The Niagara Independent, July 21, 2023 – It is a summer scorcher: Sound of Freedom. One doesn’t have a pulse if unmoved by this “must-see” film. The movie deals with the uncomfortably disturbing subject matter of child sex trafficking for prostitution and pornography. Yet, it is not subject matter as it is the political spin that certain groups put on the production that is making it notorious. In the last couple of weeks, Canadians have been spellbound by the movie and they have also been witness to its politics.

From the business side of it, Sound of Freedom is a remarkable success. The American Christian movie production and distribution company, Angel Studio, made the film with a budget of $14.5 million. Industry news magazine Variety reports that the movie earned more than $32 million over the American Independence Day week. It crowd-funded another $24.7 million from its audience that week. Then on the July 15-16 weekend the film registered a surprising 37 per cent rise in the box office compared to the first weekend. It has now grossed over $85 million (not including the crowd funding).

Sound of Freedom is a tension-filled psychological and action flick. It is based on real life events of a former agent for the American Department of Homeland Security. Lead actor Jim Caviezel portrays Tim Ballard, a man haunted by the horrors he has witnessed in his job investigating human-trafficking. The story centres on Ballard’s determined commitment to reunite two Honduran children with their father. The audience is taken on this quest as the children are first kidnapped, transported by shipping container to Columbia, groomed, and sold into a pedophile sex trafficking network.

One of the most thoughtful reviews of the movie was Walker Larson’s critique, “But maybe the film’s greatest strength is its careful handling of such difficult material and its ability to inspire… The movie doesn’t shy away from the darkness and difficulty of the subject matter… We come close enough to it to see the reality in all its bare and brazen horror… Yet, at the same time, the film does not wallow in the muck, and it is far from despairing. It keeps hope and beauty and heroism alive.”

A core facet of the film is its religious overtures, providing enduring hope that light can shine through the darkest of evils. Many times, characters assert “God’s children are not for sale” and, at critical moments, Tim Ballard recounts the scripture: “Better a millstone be hung around their necks that they be cast into the sea that they should ever hurt one of these little ones.” In one of the most introspective scenes of the movie Ballard is moved by Vampiro, a compatriot in the rescuing of children, when he confesses, “When God tells you what to do … you cannot hesitate.”

This and more is reflected on by Dr. Jordan Peterson in a poignant interview with both Jim Caviezel and Tim Ballard. They discuss the nature of good and evil and faith in God in the podcast The Fight Against Worldwide Child Slavery and the Sex Trade.

It is all weighty stuff and, with the release of the movie, Canadians are awakened to the realities of human trafficking and the horrors of child sex crimes. Lee Harding, reporter for The Epoch Times, interviewed former Winnipeg MP Joy Smith who in 2014 was responsible for spearheading legislation entitled Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. The bill passed parliament and made purchasing of sex a criminal offence for buyers, not those providing the sex – often the victims.

Joy Smith also started a foundation to specifically address human trafficking – an effort that in a dozen years of operation has helped more than 7,000 cases of exploitation. Smith states, “This was a great movie, and you could apply it to Canada any single day.” She confided in the interview, “I liked it very much because it was very real and very true… I get a flashback of things I’ve seen, things I think I’ve tried to forget.”

“… there’s so many victims out there, so it takes a nation to stop human trafficking. People should become educated about it, to prevent this from happening in the first place, because after it happens, it takes years and years and years and years of rehabilitation.”

Lee Harding also connected with Cathy Peters, an anti-human trafficking advocate in Vancouver, who explained that recent trends in Canada have child traffickers targeting children as young as 10. She claims, “Schools really have become recruiting grounds for gangs and for human trafficking, and I don’t think Canadians are aware of that.”

Peters is troubled with the nature of the crime and prevalence in the country, “Sexual violence [is] the deepest and worst form of trauma a human being can experience. That is why that movie is so powerful because it gets that message across of the harm—the deep, deep, debilitating harm that is caused by the abuse of children.”

Given the gravity of the issue and the fact that human trafficking and child sex exploitation are a concern in Canada, it is wholly tone-deaf that the country’s state-owned national media organization — CBC — would want to denigrate the film and its Christian overtones. In a CBC Radio segment reviewing Sound of Freedom, Radheyan Simonpillai was provocatively insulting in dismissing the film as a “dog-whistle” for “xenophobic, pro-Trump, pro-Life types.”

Simonpillai backhanded both the film along as well as the hundreds of thousands of concerned Canadians who have seen the film. He said, “We can’t say that the movie itself is made by QAnon types. But certainly, their political goals make it something that QAnon conspiracy theorists would rally behind. Just like racists rallied behind Trump without him having to say anything overtly racist.”

This CBC insolence echoed a number of other derogatory critiques from U.S. and British progressives who went out of their way to politicize the movie and denigrate its audiences. For example, Mile Klee of Rolling Stone went as far as to pen an op-ed titled “‘Sound Of Freedom’ Is a Superhero Movie for Dads With Brainworms.”

Yet, these insults are a silencing tactic, a page torn directly from the progressives’ playbook: how to label and shame people and ideas with the objective of squelching and devaluing the message and, ultimately, cancelling the opponent. In Canada, leave it to the CBC to overlay their biased political lens on as serious subject as child sex trafficking. (More next week regarding the current fixation of the CBC as well as the Trudeau government on the politics of youth and sex.)

Still, the fact is human trafficking, child grooming, and sex abuse and slavery are real things. Today, Tim Ballard manages an organization Operation Underground Railroad that is committed to fighting the crimes of human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. His organization cites sobering statistics:

  • 70 million files of child pornography existed in 2019 – 78 per cent involving children under 12.
  • Sex trafficking is the most common exploitation of victims in the United States. In other countries, victims are often forced into domestic servitude, migrant labor, sex-tourism, military operations, sweatshops, and street begging. When the person’s earning potential declines, their organs may be harvested for sale.
  • 40.3 million persons are trafficked globally today – 10 million of those persons are children.
  • “At any given time, there are an estimated 750,000 child predators online – and they all have a key to your house via the Internet.” (FBI)

To reiterate Joy Smith’s statement: “…it takes a nation to stop human trafficking. People should become educated about it…”

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

Photo credit: Angel Studios

LINK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/canadians-responding-to-blockbuster-film-sound-of-freedom/

WEF’s intrusive agenda being debated in many countries, though Canada remains an exception

The Niagara Independent, July 14, 2023 – Although it is not openly explained to Canadians, the Trudeau government is diligently introducing policies and programs authored by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF global initiatives are championed in Canada by PM Justin Trudeau who is a celebrated national figure by the Forum’s Chairman Klaus Schwab; Deputy PM and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland who sits as a trustee on the WEF Board; and, a number of other prominent Liberals like Mark Carney and Catherine McKenna who are playing active roles in furthering WEF objectives in this country and around the world.

For WEF proponents this was another rough week as news broke that the Dutch government had collapsed. PM Mark Rutte has held office since 2010 and is one of the senior-most statesmen in the European Union (EU). And the Canadian connection… Rutte is also recognized, along beside Justin Trudeau, as one of the twin “golden pin-up boys” for Klaus Schwab and the WEF’s globalist agenda, according to Australian Sky News network. Rutte and Trudeau are known to complement one another and they both fawn over Schwab.

International media immediately fingered immigration policies as the cause of the political turmoil in the Netherlands. Absent from mainstream media was commentary about the impact months of anxious protests by Dutch farmers have had in the country. Concerned over fertilizer and agricultural products regulations developed from WEF and EU policy frameworks, more than 40,000 Dutch farmers have participated in blockages of roads, pushing back against a government that they claim is underhandedly forcing a selloff of 3,000 family farms.

A new pro-farmer party, the Farmers Citizens Movement, is now set to shock the country’s political establishment. Dutch political commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek frames the upcoming election contest as a vote for independence: “If the Dutch people stop falling for his [PM Rutte] lies and get rid of him and his globalist policies once and for all, we can actually turn things around, stop the expropriation of our farmers, push back on immigration, and take back our national sovereignty from organizations like the EU and the WEF.”

Rutte’s rebuke is but the latest in a string of political set-backs this year for national leaders who are attempting to institute the WEF agenda in their countries. In January there was the shocking resignation of New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, a fevered supporter of the progressive globalist agenda and graduate of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders program.

In taking a page from the 2019 WEF report entitled “Meat: The Future – A Roadmap for Delivering 21st-Century Protein”, Ardern introduced new taxes on NZ farmers in the name of fighting climate change. The “Arden Hot-Air Tax” was designed to reduce the emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases from livestock herds and their flatulence. With the tax making farm animals unaffordable to raise, NZ farmers would be forced to get rid of their livestock, and in time the population would consume less meat.

Former PM Arden was affectionately known in international circles as “The Great Reset high priestess,” but on January 19 her WEF-inspired efforts lost steam and the priestess exited stage-left, ironically admitting she “no longer had enough in the tank” to do the job.

Another shocking announcement with respect to the globalist climate agenda was delivered by the Swedish government in late June. Sweden’s Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson introduced new national energy policies, scrapping the country’s green energy targets for a “100 per cent renewable energy” supply. Sweden will henceforth pursue nuclear power solutions and are to abandon subsidized wind and solar power programs, recognizing them as too “unstable” to meet the nation’s energy requirements.

In a frank statement in parliament, Svantesson warned other Western nations who are clinging to the WEF’s green agenda: “[In] substantial industrialized economies… only a gas to the nuclear pathway is viable to remain industrialized and competitive.”

Dr. John Constable, Sweden’s Net Zero Watch’s Energy Director, echoed the finance minister. He observed the government’s move would “ground their economy in an energy source, nuclear, that is physically sound and secure, unlike renewables which are neither.” Dr. Constable added other world governments may continue “to live in a fantasy… But we are coming to the end of the green dream.”

Yet another international news story that has had little coverage and analysis in Canadian mainstream media is the mayhem in France resulting in hundreds injured, thousands arrested, and property damage and theft totaling nearly a trillion dollars. Some Canadian commentary pushed a social justice narrative about the riots, focusing on police abuse of ethnic minorities. However, Canuck op eds have been hollow, steering clear of the larger, more complex issues regarding the societal tensions caused by a country ill-prepared for a mass influx of racially diverse migrants.

In contrast, in the European media, French President Emmanuel Macron’s globalist approach to encouraging greater immigration is viewed with the same critical skepticism as was former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mantra “We’ll manage this.” Both national leaders pushed the WEF migration agenda on their country without factoring for adequate housing, health care, social services, or work placement programs to accommodate the swell of newcomers. Today, with the streets of Paris and Marseilles still being restored, Europeans are fixed on a global vs. national policy debate that is playing itself out in their parliaments and news coverage.

Canadians, as a whole, are blissfully ignorant of these world events and the ensuing debates that are tilting against the globalists’ designs found in international bodies such as the WEF and United Nations (UN). As it is, Trudeau continues to receive laudatory headlines in the country’s legacy media for his globalist statesmanship. But more to the point, even though the policies are not identified as originating in the WEF, the Trudeau government is laying down, piece by piece, a WEF agenda for the country. Consider these federal announcements of the last few months:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is developing nitrogen regulations modelled on EU policies for reducing Canadian farmers’ fertilizer emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, and achieving in the agri-food industry net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • The Bank of Canada is exploring the ways and means to introduce central bank digital currency (CBDCs). CBDCs replace cash, and financial transactions are processed through a central banking system. Once established, it is possible that national governments – or international bodies – can track and regulate financial transactions of businesses and individuals.
  • Canada, through Canadian Bankers Association, is playing a leadership role in advancing the WEF’s global digital ID program, which will utilize QR codes in a similar way that the Canadian ArriveCAN app is used. Building on this program, the government is also looking at possibilities to have WEF tie this digital ID to medical records and establish “trusted global digital health networks as part of the efforts to strengthen prevention and response to future pandemics.”
  • Canada is a proponent of the UN’s Pandemic Health Treaty, which will establish the health officials and technocrats at the World Health Organization (WHO) as the sole authority to direct nations during a global pandemic crisis. The WHO directives can include border closures, travel restrictions, quarantines, and public health counter-measures such as vaccines rollouts, medical examinations, and medication of individuals. This pandemic treaty is scheduled to be signed as early as May 2024.

Again, Canadians are largely unaware of much of this government activity. Given the push back witnessed in countries like the Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand it is likely by design that Trudeau, Freeland and others do not reference the WEF initiatives or bother to explain how the various programs are tied together.

The final word goes to Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre who made a direct and unequivocal statement this week about the WEF and Canada, should the Conservatives defeat the Liberals in the next federal election. At the Calgary Stampede Poilievre asserted, “We will ban all of my ministers and top government officials from any involvement in the World Economic Forum. There will be no mandates, no central bank digital currencies, no mandated digital ID.”

With Poilievre calling out the Trudeau Liberals’ commitments to the WEF agenda, perhaps Canadians will finally join the many other countries around the world who are debating the conflicting visions for their future as promised by the national and global policy agendas.

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/wefs-intrusive-agenda-being-debated-in-many-countries-though-canada-remains-an-exception/

Canadians now feeling the heat from the Trudeau government’s fiscal failings

The Niagara Independent, July 7, 2023 – With much of central Canada under a heat warning this week, many of us are now feeling the heat of the summer. However, it is more than the weather that is making Canadians uncomfortable. Many are stressed with the increasing pressures felt by the rising cost of living — and the federal government’s fiscal policies are seemingly making matters worse.

This week, 11 million “low- or moderate-income” Canadians received a one-time grocery rebate from the Trudeau government. The cash handout was part of the 2023 federal budget and is being provided to help individuals with their rising grocery bills. The opposition has tagged the relief payment the Liberals’ Food Stamp Program.

If you earn under $35,000 and are single, you would have received a maximum payment of anywhere from $234 (no children) to $548 (with three children). A married or common-law couple received a maximum payment of $306 (no children) to $628 (with four children).

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the government’s summertime grocery cheques at a Toronto corner store grocery chain. Freeland hailed the Liberals’ fiscal record and credited her government’s fiscal acumen with wrestling the country’s inflation rate to 3.4 per cent in May. (Freeland likely chose her neighbourhood corner store to highlight this week’s multi-million-dollar giveaway to individuals and families because she did not want a comparison with another photo op staged a while ago at a Loblaws where the Liberals gave $12 million to that grocery chain to subsidize new fridges.)

What was not accounted for in the finance minister’s calculations on grocery prices was the hefty rise this past year in the cost of food, nearly triple the general inflation rate. Compared to 12 months ago food prices have risen on average a total of nine per cent – bakery products have risen 15 per cent. StatsCan’s latest report on Monthly Average Retail Prices For Selected Products shows yearly increases of:

  • 7 per cent more for white bread from $3.37 per loaf to $3.59
  • 9 per cent more for ground beef from $10.32 per kilogram to $11.23
  • 10 per cent more for ground coffee from $6.03 per 340 grams to $6.62
  • 19 per cent more for margarine from $6.25 per 907 grams to $7.46
  • 20 per cent more for spaghetti from $2.92 per 500 grams to $3.51
  • 34 per cent more for grapes from $7.56 per kilogram to $10.14

These rising prices are making many nutritious food products unaffordable, as reported in the federal report Evaluation Of The Office Of Nutrition Policy And Promotion. Evidently, 70 per cent of Canadians are not eating the recommended minimum five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. The report states: “There has been a decline in the consumption of fruits and vegetables…. Recommended foods like nuts and seeds or fruit may not be easily available in some parts of the country or may be unaffordable.”

What was also not accounted for in Freeland’s announcement was the added cost to Canadians of her government’s rising carbon taxes — including a new clean fuel regulation introduced on July 1. Starting this week, the federal government grabs a total of 14.3 cents tax per litre at the pump, which amounts to more than $8 with every fill up. Now they will add another eight cents on top of that by way of new regulations to fuel companies (taking another approximately $5 of tax with every fill-up).

So, for those individuals who are getting a maximum grocery rebate cheque of $234 this week, assuming you fill your car twice a week, you will pay out that money in the hikes to the carbon tax by just after Labour Day. In other words, that summertime grocery cheque is no more than a summertime carbon tax relief cheque.

There is another recent significant announcement that Chrystia Freeland chose not to comment on when she was walking the aisles and smiling before the cameras. Around the time the Bank of Canada raised its interest rate in early June, the bank’s Governor Tiff Macklem made comments that signaled interest rates in Canada would not be coming down in 2023 – and would remain in the range of 4 per cent through 2024. Macklem also suggested that there would be a further rate increase this year, perhaps as early as next week, July 12.

The prolonged high interest rates forecast a whole lot of hurt for Canadians who are weighed down with consumer debt and mortgages. The reality is rather ugly given Canadians have the largest household debt as a percentage of income of all G7 countries (185.2 per cent according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) numbers – more than 80 per cent greater than our American neighbours).

Like the hot-under-the-collar situation individual Canadians are feeling with these heightened inflation rates, the federal government debt load is also adversely impacted. Expect that as interest rates rise, the interest payments on the government’s debt will proportionally increase. It is a matter of record that the Trudeau government has added more federal debt to the country’s balance sheet than all previous governments since Confederation — combined. The Trudeau government’s fiscal approach of “having budgets balance themselves” and “growing the economy from the heart out” has increased each and every Canadian’s share of federal debt by 35 per cent.

So, in Canada’s last fiscal year the government paid $43.9 billion in interest charges to carry the national debt. In future years, with the higher interest rates, this debt service payment will be significantly more. Bottom line: money spent on interest means there is less money available for government programs and services.

Beyond this atrocious debt load, consider some of the dark economic realities Canadians now must face because of the Trudeau government’s fiscal mismanagement.

  • Canada is experiencing its worst economic growth since the depression era of the 1930s. Canadians’ measure of wealth, as factored by the GDP per person, has been essentially stagnant since 2016 (and the election of the Trudeau government), according to the Fraser Institute. This is not a global phenomenon but rather a domestic issue. Real per capita GDP in Canada from 2016 to the end of 2022 was only 2.8 per cent. Comparatively, the U.S. experienced a real per capita rise in GDP of 11.7 per cent.
  • There is a serious lack of confidence in doing business in Canada. Since the fourth quarter of 2014, business investment in this country has fallen 17.6 per cent in volume even as it has risen 23.5 per cent in the U.S. (a 41 per cent spread!). Another way of looking at this: When Trudeau was elected Canadian businesses were investing 79 cents per worker for every dollar invested in the U.S., but by 2021, investment had fallen to 55 cents for every U.S. dollar.
  • Canadian trade exports other than natural resources have actually declined with the Trudeau government. Since 2015, the volume of Canada’s merchandise exports has fallen 0.4 per cent, while in the U.S. it has risen 14.0 per cent. If it were not for the increased trade exports of Canadian resources – oil and gas, lumber, mining – the country would be dealing with annual trade deficits.
  • A recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that nearly a fifth of companies – close to 250,000 across Canada’s economy – may close their doors in the next 12 months due to debt and lost business through the pandemic years.

Largely due to the dismal fiscal performance of the federal government in the last five years, the OECD projects growth in living standards in Canada will rank last among its 38 developed member-countries over the next 40 years. Canadians’ standard of living will be in a steady decline.

As it is, Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland may wish to tout the hundreds of dollars of cash relief they are doling out this week, but the forecast for Canadians looks much hotter and more uncomfortable than what we are currently experiencing through this sticky start to the summer.

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

Photo credit: Twitter/Chrystia Freeland

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/canadians-now-feeling-the-heat-from-the-trudeau-governments-fiscal-failings/

Trudeau erasing Canadian history to achieve his post-national vision

The Niagara Independent, June 30, 2023 – Many Canadians now appreciate the full context of Justin Trudeau’s comment back in 2015, when he surmised that Canada would become the “first post-national state.” Having just become Prime Minister of the country, Trudeau stated in that often-quoted New York Times interview, “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada” when it comes to our national identity.

Perhaps Trudeau was off-side to say that in 2015, however, as a result of his systematic approach through the last eight years, PM Trudeau and his political operatives have effectively been erasing Canadian history to achieve his post-national vision.

As a point of reference, Wikipedia provides a definition of post-nationalism as: “the process or trend by which nation states and national identities lose their importance relative to cross-nation and self-organized or supranational and global entities as well as local entities.” The factors constituting the post-national process include shifting national economies to global ones, increasingly referencing global identities and beliefs, and transferring national authorities to multinational corporations and the United Nations.

In celebrating our country this weekend, let’s consider some of the obvious ways the Trudeau government is revising and erasing the Canada’s history to further his post-national vision.

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” – George Orwell

From 2015 through to today, the overarching narrative of the Trudeau government is a woke progressivism that projects western culture as a hierarchy of power, one of oppressors and the oppressed. This woke world view is guilt-based, where success is achieved through force, and authority is undeserving.

In the last eight years, Canadians have been re-educated to understand our country is founded on genocide, theft, racism and oppression. It is therefore inappropriate, indeed unacceptable, to honour our forefathers’ achievements and their mores, traditions, and identifying symbols.

And in reconciling the darkness of our country’s past, the Trudeau government has set about to enlighten Canadians with a corrected record of cultural and societal legacies, one in which generations of “settlers” have no legitimate right to their accomplishments and should only harbour shame for past faults.

The Trudeau government’s purposeful revisionism of the country’s history has been unabated. There are many recent instances to cite. For example, on the eve of King Charles III’s coronation, the government issued a media statement that the image of the royal crown was to be redrawn with the cross and fleur-de-lys removed from Canada’s heraldry, replaced with a stylized snowflake and maple leaves. Canadians were also informed that there would be no further reference to the “United Kingdom” and “Defender of the Faith” in the title of our Canadian monarchy.

Similarly, this spring the government unilaterally announced it had redesigned the Canadian passport. The documentation was to be stripped of the historical images of the Fathers of Confederation, the Vimy Ridge memorial, the Famous Five, Champlain, the Northwest Mounted Police, the Stanley Cup, the Bluenose, and the Houses of Parliament. Even the most celebrated person in recent history – the beloved Terry Fox — was erased from the passport. In place of these iconic Canadianna images, the passport is to feature watermark pictures of a narwhale, Canada goose, a squirrel eating a nut, a man raking leaves, maple syrup, a barn, etc.

In the last few years Canadians have witnessed a series of acts that are cancelling recognition of our country’s history within the public forum. There has been a rash of statutes defaced and toppled – from Sir John A Macdonald to Egerton Ryerson to Queen Victoria. Some statues – like those at Queen’s Park and at the National Capital’s airport – have been quietly removed and put into storage for “safe keeping.” Canada’s first Prime Minister has had his name erased from schools, roads, and even at the aforementioned Ottawa airport.

John A Macdonald has also been taken from the country’s currency. Recall a few years ago the government announced it was redesigning the country’s bills and that the first alteration was to remove PM Macdonald, replaced by…. (Can you tell me who is now on the $10 bill – without looking? Okay, now look. Who is she?) 

In 2019, the federal cabinet issued a directive to review and revise more than 2,100 historic plaques and monuments nationwide to address concerns of the Canadian legacies of “colonialism, patriarchy and racism.” Parks Canada oversaw revisions that “address conflict and controversy” and “power dynamics”; “confront the legacy of colonialism and its impact on Indigenous peoples”; stress “inclusiveness”; and focus on “diversity of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and religion.”

In this same period, Canada’s chief archivist purged more than 7,000 webpages on the Library and Archives Canada website, including those referencing PM Macdonald, Egerton Ryerson, and the War of 1812. It was explained that this was done to correct the government’s account of the country’s history, expunging documents “outdated and redundant” or that “may offend people.”

On a related matter, perhaps the greatest affront to the country and its people is the Trudeau government’s intent to amend the Citizenship Act so that new Canadians will be permitted to swear their oath of allegiance online with a tick of a box. To add insult, as Blacklock’s Reporter reveals, upon completing the form on the government website immigrants will be mailed a memento maple leaf pin – made in China.

Canadian historian Gerry Bowler, a senior fellow of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, has been highly critical of the government’s obsessiveness to erase Canada’s history and our forefather’s traditions. In an Epoch Times editorial, Bowler advanced, “These acts are not trivial and they are not accidental. They reflect an attitude on the part of our elites that resents attachments to our past because they hinder their attempts to alter our behaviours, which they view as outdated, parochial, and selfish. It is a stealth campaign that proceeds step by little, undebated, step.”

Dr. Mark Milke is another Canadian historian who has just published, “The 1867 Project – Why Canada should be cherished not cancelled.” This book is a collection of essays that distinguishes Canadian values and ideals found within the 19th century classic liberalism movement and the rich legacies of British government and institutions. Contrary to PM Trudeau’s contention that Canada has no national identity, Dr. Milke identifies the core essence of Canada is found in our regard for individual rights and freedoms, the worth of the individual, rule of law, capitalism, and democratic government.

In an insightful True North interview on the Andrew Lawton Show, Dr. Milke observed, “The point about history in a liberal democracy is that you build on the sacrifices and successes of the past, you don’t deny the wrong things that have happened in the past…. To take a simplistic view of history is to miss the full breadth and depth of human beings, and their age and ours.”

As Milke, Bowler and many others will argue, a people’s national identity is forged in the country’s history and with its peoples’ traditions and mores. No doubt, this is the very reason why the Trudeau government goes to such a great length to erase Canadian history and denigrate the country’s past accomplishments.

Bowler summarizes this idea succinctly, “A person without roots, without a memory, without a story can be easily influenced and cause no trouble to the authorities. A nation without a common history in which citizens can take pride cannot long survive.”

So, this Canada Day, let’s wave the flag and unashamedly celebrate our freedoms and good fortunes. Pay proper homage to the country’s forefathers and reflect on their successes. And in this way, may the Canadian dream endure Justin Trudeau’s post-national vision. To all, happy Canada Day!  

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/trudeau-erasing-canadian-history-to-achieve-his-post-national-vision/

The case for a full-blown investigation of the Trudeau government’s relations with China

The Niagara Independent, June 16 & 23, 2023 – A week has passed since the PM’s special rapporteur David Johnston exited from the growing controversies swirling around the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) influence within Canada. What began with serious questions about the CCP’s interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections has morphed into a much more complex set of issues.

It is unsettling to consider why the Trudeau government has been so evasive on a review of the facts relating to the CCP’s activities in Canada. As has been questioned in previous columns, one must wonder what is being painstakingly hidden from Canadians (It’s now evident this national scandal is more than election interference – and Justin Trudeau is “obviously hiding something” and The potential quid pro quos between Trudeau Liberals and the CCP).

To get to the heart of the CCP influence within the country, any serious public probe must go beyond a couple of federal elections and the possible CCP interference in the political process. It must extend to a full-blown investigation of the seemingly tight CCP-Liberal relationships and what they have meant for Canadian government policies and national affairs.

Verily, the CCP impact on Canada is a significant existential matter for the country. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Brian Lee Crowley opined, “Ottawa’s reaction to possible Chinese election meddling 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.” The Globe and Mail published a lead editorial that claimed “Inquiry or not, foreign interference in Canada’s elections is part of a new Cold War that we cannot hide from.” The national paper stated, “Canada must do more to defend our freedoms.”

There are multiple ways the country’s independence has been potentially compromised by undue influence from the CCP. Here is a countdown of five critical issues in a series of 10 which, taken together, establish a case for why Canadians must demand a thorough investigation of the relationship between the Trudeau government and the CCP.

10 – Defending the Canadian arctic 

In 2019, the Trudeau government launched a new Arctic and Northern Policy Framework with a pledge of $700 million and no mention of a required $15 billion investment into NORAD, the country’s radar system that is jointly operated with the U.S. This policy framework and defence spending is miserably inadequate given it was formulated with the knowledge of increasing threats of Chinese military and economic interests in the arctic.

Here are just two alarming facts. In 2018, the CCP announced its Arctic policy, entitled “Polar Silk Road”, that signaled interests in the Arctic’s resource reserves of oil, natural gas, and rare-earth minerals. The Economist reported China’s $200 billion-plus annual defence budgets have now amassed 340 battle ready ships, including ice-breakers and submarines for northern waters.

The CCP’s mounting interest in the north is an international crisis in the making, referred to by Canadian officials at National Defence as the “Arctic threat.” Jody Thomas, then the Deputy Minister of National Defence, warned publicly at an Ottawa security conference, “We should not underestimate at all that threat of resource exploitation in the Arctic by China in particular. China has a voracious appetite and will stop at nothing to feed itself, and the Arctic is one of the last domains and regions left…”

This all begs the question why the Trudeau government is knowingly neglecting to defend Canada’s interests in the north?

9 – The establishment of a foreign agent registry 

For years in the Canadian security community there has been an ongoing call to establish a registry that would require foreign state-employed persons acting within the country to make public their objectives and to disclose the government employing them. Many of Canada’s allies have such a registry. This initiative became a political issue when the Conservatives highlighted it in their 2021 election platform. Conservatives argue a foreign agent registry would be an effective tool in tackling clandestine efforts in social media and with elections operations by the CCP, Russia and other hostile states.

However, the Trudeau Liberals have consistently argued against the introduction of a foreign agent registry and only in March was the PM forced by public pressure to commit to review the matter. After completing a three month public consultation, Trudeau’s Cabinet is now deliberating on the public input. Still there is no commitment nor timeline to draft required legislation or to introduce a registry. The Liberals continue to delay – but to what end? Canada continues to be an outlier with its allies when it comes to guarding against CCP activities within its country – but at what cost?

8 – Federal investment in China 

Even with the increasing recognition of the CCP’s aggressive global economic and diplomatic strategies, the Trudeau government has been slow to suggest guidelines or restrictions on investments by Canadian government agencies in China. For example, the Canadian Pension Plan has invested $536 billion (11 per cent of the fund) of Canadians’ savings in China, including more than $1 billion in the parent company of TikTok.

Another example is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). In 2017 Canada was one of the first western countries to invest in the AIIB. The Trudeau government committed US$995 million for a one per cent stake in an international investment agency for financing infrastructure projects throughout Asia. Since the initial announcement, Conservatives challenged the government’s unqualified support for the AIIB and through the past five years have called for the withdrawal of Canada’s investment.

This week many claims about the bank were confirmed with frank revelations that the AIIB is being used by CCP to influence peddle throughout Asia. This CCP gambit was exposed by Canadian Bob Pickard, the bank’s global communications director, who resigned saying, “I am happy to be gone from that cesspool. The Communist Party hacks hold the cards at the Bank. They deal with some board members as useful idiots…”

Kudos to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland who announced an immediate review of Canada’s involvement with the AIIB. Yet, it is remarkable that she stopped short of suggesting possible divestment of Canadian shares in the bank. There is no clarity on how the government will review the matter or whether Canadians will receive an audit of their investments. But this tale is one that suggests Canadians deserve an explanation on the Trudeau government’s policies and investments in China.

7 – Ottawa’s “mishandling” of foreign intelligence

There is a new scandal unfolding in the Nation’s Capital involving the CCP. The scandal is being revealed through almost-comical, conflicting testimony before a parliamentary committee looking into the government’s handling of top-secret documentation. Canada’s spy agency warned the government of CCP threats to MPs and their families through briefing memos to the most senior of cabinet ministers and staff, including the Prime Ministers’ Office. Yet, ministers deny knowing of, and staff deny reading the memos. Testimonies to MPs contradict and obfuscate the matters and the national security advisor to the PM absolves all by testifying “There is no one person. There is no one single point of failure.”

This is slapstick theatre if it were not so serious. The “mishandling” of significant foreign intelligence memos must be responsibly addressed and cannot be so freely excused. 

6 – Canada’s response to China’s human rights violations against the Uyghur Muslims 

There is no question that there have been nightmarish human rights abuses of Uyghur Muslims at the hands of the CCP. A United Nations’ report substantiates abuses involving persecution, imprisonment, torture and ill-treatment, forced medical treatment, and incidents of sexual and gender-based violence. In Canada, parliamentarians have passed two unanimous motions, calling CCP treatment of Uyghurs “genocide” and calling on Canada to accept 10,000 Uyghur refugees.

Yet, for years now the PM offers little more than platitudes when discussing human rights abuses in China and he will not comment on the CCP’s evil treatment of the Uyghurs. In fact, to this day, the official policy stance of the Trudeau government remains unclear and unstated. But why?

5 – CCP police and agents in Canada  

Repeated news reports and testimony before MPs in the past three months have underlined a disturbing truth that CCP agents are active in Canada, a threatening presence for Chinese Canadians. At a parliamentary committee, the co-chair of Toronto Association for Democracy in China, Cheuk Kwan, testified that the CCP has been proactive in Canada since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Kwan states, “They also harass and intimidate Canadians who are critical of China, activists, dissidents and human rights defenders, rendering the Chinese Canadian community the real victims of this game.”

In Canada there are seven known CCP police stations located within the country – three in the GTA. There are 176 Chinese nationals with diplomatic credentials, a majority of whom are involved in espionage, according to Michel Juneau-Katsuya, the former CSIS Asia-Pacific chief. The network of police and diplomats carry out activities that include surveillance, suppressing rights activists, and persecuting groups like Falun Gong and Uyghur Muslims. It is part of the CCP’s covert United Front Work Department’s global program that in 2023 has a budget of US$30.5 billion.

It is important for Canadian authorities to expose the extent and work of the CCP networks in Canada. Henry Chan, a spokesman for a multiethnic coalition of 33 organizations concerned with foreign interference in Canada, frankly states, “There is so much at stake: our democracy, sovereignty, and trust in our institutions.”

4 – The Trudeau Foundation 

Much has been exposed relating to the Trudeau Foundation’s questionable donations from Beijing. Prior to 2015, the CCP funneled foreign donations into the Foundation to influence then-Liberal leader and soon-to-be PM Justin Trudeau. Money was also shoveled into Trudeau’s riding association for Montreal Liberals’ election campaigns. The promise of a million dollars, a Pierre Trudeau statue, and a series of “business” dinners were part of a CCP strategy to stroke the ego of Justin.

Canadians have recently learned that the Trudeau Foundation has invested in Chinese companies that Canada has flagged as security risks. We also know that the Foundation accepted $140,000 from a Beijing-based donor. We also know that in 2016, cabinet ministers met with the Foundation’s Chinese donors – and the PM himself attended a cash-for-access event with CCP-associated businessmen.

In light of the Foundation’s “stinkbomb” dealings being made public, its Board imploded, and the Chair and Board members resigned. As he is prone to do when confronted, PM Trudeau lashed out and blamed “those people” with “ungrounded attacks” for discrediting the Foundation. And still MPs had unanswered questions about the charity tax records and its filings, and who knew what when about the nefarious donations. All legitimate questions that cannot be deflected by Justin Trudeau’s overused rabbit punches.

3 – Election fraud and interference  

Today, it is an accepted fact that in the 2019 and 2021 elections CCP agents in Canada worked to undermine the Canadian election process and support the Trudeau Liberals. Still, questions remain whether the Liberal Party has been a knowing party and/or willing partner in the CCP’s fraudulent activities.

Sam Cooper’s initial Global News report revealed that a 2017 memo was prepared by national security experts that warned PM Trudeau of Beijing’s election interference strategy. In a parliamentary committee this week Cooper testified on his series of news stories exposing the CCP election interference plot. He stated, “…did Beijing fund candidates—it’s my understanding they funded a network, which is directed to support Beijing’s preferred candidates.”

A recent report published by the Alliance Canada Hong Kong concludes the CCP network’s reach is extensive: “The fundamental goal is to advance Beijing’s agenda by either supporting candidates deemed favorable or sabotaging candidates perceived as a threat… Foreign interference in an election can happen at any time: throughout a nomination race, during the writ period, a one-off event supporting or demonizing a candidate, or through continuous and organized interventions.”

With something as significant as the integrity of Canada’s democratic process, one must wonder why the Trudeau Liberals have been so adamant in the narrative, “There’s nothing to see here. Move along…”

2 – CCP–Liberal business interests 

The tangled web of CCP—Liberal business interests is thick. It starts with the Power Corp’s major investments in China – and the Desmarais family’s too-many-to-mention ties with the Trudeaus (Sr. & Jr.), Chretien, Martin, and Rae. In Toronto, there is a similar network plotting out Liberal political fortunes, involving Wei Chengyi, Weng Guoning, Paul Chiang, Han Dong, former Liberal minister and Chinese Ambassador John McCallum, and current small business minister Mary Ng. Add to this former Chinese Ambassador (and McKinsey global managing partner) Dominic Barton and his wife, who happens to be the Asian Pacific Chairman for Blackrock’s investments.

Seriously, there are too many potential conflicts here. Canadians should be provided a program with the interplay between the extensive business interests and political players.

1 – The mysteries at the Winnipeg Lab

Perhaps the greatest reason a full-blown review of the Trudeau Liberals-CCP relation is required involves the mysteries of the Winnipeg Lab, the country’s highest-security infectious-disease laboratory. In 2019 the Winnipeg Lab and Wuhan Lab in China were conducting joint virus research work. It has been reported that the scientists were conducting experiments on deadly pathogens. Then two scientists were unceremoniously escorted out, and later fired from the Winnipeg Lab (and now their whereabouts unknown).

Since the outbreak of COVID, the Trudeau government has been stonewalling every effort to get answers to the burning questions about the joint virus research and the missing fired scientists.  The Liberals have been held in contempt of Parliament and PM Trudeau prorogued the House and called an election to avoid having to provide evidence on this matter.

Perhaps Canadians will never know what happened in Winnipeg. They may also never know why Canada shipped PPE to China in late 2019 – leaving our country’s medical community without PPE in early 2020. Why the PM refused to ban flights from China or entertain thoughts that the virus was leaked from the Wuhan lab at the outbreak of the pandemic. Why the PM heralded the ample supply of a Canada-China COVID vaccine, only to be embarrassed a few months later when China reneged on its agreement.

Most frustrating is the fact that newsmen like Sam Cooper, Steven Chase and Robert Fife of the Globe and Mail, Terry Glavin, and uncompromised news outlets such as Blacklock’s Reporter and The Epoch Times have all been diligent in reporting the truth of the matter for years. The international community is aware; the country’s traditional allies now look suspiciously at the Trudeau government for its relations with the CCP. Remarkably, Canadians appear to be sleepwalking. It should be required reading for Canadians to delve deeper into these ten issues and read the aforementioned news sources.

The last word goes to former Canadian ambassador to China David Mulroney, who recently warned a parliamentary committee, “The (CCP) party’s objective is to transform Canada into a compliant country that perpetually looks over its shoulder to be sure what it says and does meets Beijing’s approval. 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.”

So, what will it take to begin asking the serious questions about the CCP and its influence in Canada?

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

Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick of The Canadian Press

LINKS:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-case-for-a-full-blown-investigation-of-the-trudeau-governments-relations-with-china-part-one/  &  https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-case-for-a-full-blown-investigation-of-the-trudeau-governments-relations-with-china-part-two/

 

The Conservatives’ China policy (in stark contrast to the Liberals’)

The Niagara Independent, June 9, 2023 – Earlier this week, on June 4, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre provided yet another example of the stark contrast between the federal Liberals’ and Conservatives’ approach to foreign policy with China. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was silent on the occasion: a dark day in which armed communist troops killed and injured thousands of demonstrators, and arrested thousands more who would be imprisoned without trial, some tortured and executed.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre stated, “The Communist Party in Beijing has failed to atone for their cruelty. Time and time again, whether it’s through the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, their aggression in the South China Sea, or their persecution of Canadians of Chinese heritage in Canada, it has become clear that we must stand up to the Communist government in Beijing.”

Poilievre’s staunch defence of human rights in China with regard to the bloody massacre that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has gone to great lengths to wipe from its history books is reflective of the hard stand the Conservatives have taken with the CCP. On the other hand, Trudeau’s silence on the subject speaks volumes of his government’s acquiescence of (and close relationship with) the CCP.

As another week passes in Ottawa with new revelations concerning foreign influence, Canadians are asking when their government will get serious about the threats posed by the CCP. It is difficult to discern a principled approach to Canada-China relations by the governing Liberals, whereas in the 2021 federal election, the Conservatives advanced a fulsome policy dealing with China relations. Today, the Party continues to advocate for a hardline response to the CCP’s aggression and its undue influence in Canada.

A Conservative government would pursue a much different tract with the CCP than the Trudeau Liberals. The Conservatives’ focus of concern is clearly stated in its 2021 platform document.

“We must stand up to the Communist government of China. Our quarrel is not with the people of China – part of an ancient civilization that has contributed much to humanity. We stand especially with Chinese Canadians whose contributions to Canada are immeasurable and who are enduring an appalling rise in anti-Asian hate and discrimination. And we stand with Uyghur Muslims, Tibetans, Falun Gong practitioners, Hong Kongers, and Chinese Christians.”

“Instead, our issue is with China’s communist government and leadership. The communist leadership represents a clear and rising threat to Canadian interests – and our values. They’ve abducted our citizens, targeted our economy, and intimidated members of the Chinese Canadian community.”

The Conservative policy on China is specific and multifaceted. Canadians can expect a Conservative government to address the following points from its policy platform:

  • Work with our allies to build a “coalition of democracies” with the goal of decoupling critical parts of our supply chains from China.
  • As the Government of Canada, recognize the Uyghur genocide and encourage our allies to do the same.
  • Ban imports that have been produced using forced and enslaved Uyghur labour.
  • End policies that grant special treatment to Hong Kong, recognizing that Beijing’s decision to crack down on its autonomy eliminates the rationale for the special treatment.
  • Support the people of Hong Kong fighting for freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
  • Ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G infrastructure and further investigate the company’s role in providing surveillance capabilities that have been used against the Uyghur people and other persecuted minorities in China.
  • Advise universities against partnerships with China’s state-controlled companies and organizations and prohibit federal granting councils from participating in these partnerships.
  • Crack down on China’s foreign influence operations on Canadian soil by making it clear to China’s diplomats that any involvement in intimidation or threats to anyone in Canada provides grounds to be declared persona non grata and expelled from Canada.
  • Withdraw from the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
  • Ensure that Canadian development assistance will not advance the Communist Party of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

And there are more China-related policies found within the Conservatives’ 2021 election platform that are directly relevant to issues concerning Canadians today. For example, regarding climate change, Conservatives would be “insisting that major polluters like China clean up their act.” In defending our national resources, land and corporations, Conservatives would have introduced policies against designated state-owned entities from China from buying their way into Canada. The Conservatives also promised to establish a registry for foreign agents working on behalf of designated countries, something that the Liberals continue to delay and argue against.

Michael Chong, the Conservative MP who serves as the party’s foreign affairs critic, has indicated that the China policy found within the Party’s 2021 election platform remains intact today. At an eastern Ontario riding function in April, Chong asserted, “It still holds. Beijing would want us to change, but we mustn’t.”

Since that April meeting, in the face of the news regarding CCP threats on him and his family, Chong remains resolute in his criticism of the communists and in the Conservatives objectives to address the CCP influence in Canada.

Similarly, the Conservative Leader remains resolute in his support of Canadians’ call to establish a public inquiry on foreign influence. Poilievre promised a Conservative government would immediately put in place an independent process led by a judge with national security experience. As PM, he would direct the judge to make decisions based on facts and recommendations based on Canada’s national interest.

When it comes to dealing with the issues of CCP influence in Canada, there is no ambiguity in the Conservatives policy approach. This is a marked difference to the political powerplays that the Liberals are currently orchestrating on Parliament Hill.

A Nanos poll released in the Globe and Mail this week reveals that one in two Canadians are no longer looking to PM Trudeau to answer their concerns on this matter. The poll found 46 per cent of Canadians assessed “Mr. Trudeau was not credible on foreign interference in elections.”

The Nanos numbers reflect another national poll by Angus Reid that records the increasing level of non-confidence in the Liberals to deal with the CCP: three in five (63 per cent) Canadians are “not confident the Trudeau government will act to combat foreign interference.”

So, with the perceived lack of leadership on this serious issue are Canadians ready to consider the Conservatives’ defined China policy that challenges the CCP and its influence in Canada?

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

Photo credit: Wikipedia

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-conservatives-china-policy-in-stark-contrast-to-the-liberals/

Singh and Johnston continue to provide cover for Trudeau government

The Niagara Independent, June 2, 2023 – It has been another incredible week in the Nation’s Capital with many twists to the story line of Parliament’s attempts to uncover facts about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) influence within Canada. Despite a cacophony of demands for an independent public inquiry into the tangled affairs of the CPP, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and the PM’s Special Rapporteur David Johnston continue to provide their cover for Justin Trudeau and the governing Liberals.

Polling indicates that the Trudeau government’s ongoing hold out to call a public inquiry is taking a toll on its support (Liberal support trails Conservative’s 36 to 27 per cent in the latest Nanos Research survey). The revelations about CCP threats to MPs and the government’s apparent failure to inform those in danger are weighing heavy on the minds of Canadians. In a Hill Times interview, pollster Nik Nanos states, “people are just wondering what took the Liberals so long to tell Michael Chong, what took them so long to eject the Chinese diplomat. And they want to know who knew what, when.”

An Angus Reid poll that was taken after Special Rapporteur David Johnston issued his report, which advised a public inquiry was not needed, showed this conclusion is offside with the Canadian public. One in two (52 per cent) Canadians think an inquiry should be called; three in four (73 per cent) Canadians who are watching this foreign interference issue closely believe Johnston is the wrong choice to be reviewing the matter; and, three in five (63 per cent) Canadians are not confident the Trudeau government will act to combat foreign interference.

All of this dissatisfaction and non-confidence was expressed before the news broke that Hong Kong-born, Vancouver-East MP Jenny Kwan is on a CCP target list, a “person of interest,” due to her vocal support of the people of Hong Kong in the face of the CCP takeover. NDP MP Kwan stated this week that CCP are active in Canada, “It is happening. It is impacting Canadian society. It is impacting us all. It is damaging to our democratic system. It is threatening to some Canadians who are very active in their fight for basic human rights and democracy. Despite this, the Liberal government does not see the importance of why, in looking into these matters, there should have been a public inquiry right at the outset.”

Jenny Kwan tabled a NDP motion in the House of Commons this week to remove David Johnston and to launch a public inquiry. Kwan summarized in the motion, “Serious questions have been raised about the special rapporteur process, the counsel he retained in support of this work, his findings, and his conclusions… only a full public inquiry can fully restore the confidence of Canadians in the integrity of our democratic institutions…”

Kwan’s motion passed the House of Commons with parliamentarians voting Party lines: 174 to 150. MPs from all four opposition parties voted for the motion and all Liberals voted against. This vote in Parliament is a clear statement of Canada’s elected body on what the government’s next step should be – except Jagmeet Singh had undermined the will of Parliament as his very own caucus colleague was leading the debate.

While the NDP Leader made great headlines to criticize the Liberals for not permitting a public inquiry on foreign interference, at the same time Singh stated he would continue to support the Liberal minority government in spite of the outcome of the debate. Accordingly, Kwan’s motion was to be a non-binding NDP motion. Singh took to the airwaves to assure all concerned prior to the vote that “a deal is a deal” and the PM still has the confidence of the NDP irrespective of his actions respecting his special rapporteur or a public inquiry.

In other words, the NDP motion and Kwan’s debate was moot. News columnist Rex Murphy sums up best the parliamentary charade that unfolded this week. “There are only two people to bear the burden of the short-circuiting of Canadian democracy. They are the Prime Minister. And Jagmeet Singh. Singh enables. Trudeau rules. They have made a pernicious pact that neuters our Parliament and defeats and mocks accountability.”

The man at the centre of controversary, David Johnston, also made headlines that defy Canada’s democratic foundations. In the wake of the news that Parliament had indicated he and his rapporteur project must step aside for an independent public inquiry Johnston issued a media statement that stated he is carrying on.

Johnston wrote: “… as I have indicated, there is much work yet to be done and a further public process is required. I deeply respect the right of the House of Commons to express its opinion about my work going forward, but my mandate comes from the government. I have a duty to pursue that work until my mandate is completed.”

Political columnists of the national press core were unimpressed with Johnston’s response. National Post scribe John Ivison stated: “The undermining of Canadians’ trust will continue as long as David Johnston remains” while colleague Sabrina Maddeaux wrote, “David Johnston determined to destroy faith in democracy,” while suggesting “a parliamentary crisis is brewing thanks to the former governor general.”

Perhaps Joe Warmington of Postmedia assesses Johnston’s response the best when he tweeted: “At least David Johnston is being honest. He works for Trudeau and no one else. It means it’s not a serious probe but one the government is in charge of. By not listening to the will of the elected house, Johnston is demonstrating his allegiance to the PM. But people now understand.”

As a related note, Johnston’s deftness to the will of Parliament was also on display with his refusal to appear before a committee of MPs studying the irregularities with the Trudeau Foundation and its nefarious dealings with Beijing operatives.

Through the week Johnston may have been cast as a “dead-man walking,” but opposition MPs did not lose sight that Justin Trudeau and his political operatives were orchestrating the powerplays to avoid divulging anything more than they have to on the CCP activities in Canada.  Conservative MP Andrew Scheer observed, “Trudeau doesn’t actually value Parliament, doesn’t actually believe in our democratic institutions, and doesn’t care whose reputation he destroys in his quest to cling to power and to keep the truth hidden on this.”

Yves Francois Blanchet, the BQ leader, stated: “What we are seeing now is a government which is paying a heavy political price to hide something. The question is what the hell is he trying to hide?”, and then he pledged, “We are not going to abandon this until the government abides by the fundamental rules of democracy and provides Canadians with all the facts in a credible process.”

Still the PM remains confident that his government can continue to thwart the will of Parliament with the seemingly unconditional cover that is being provided by two trusted enablers: Singh and Johnston.

By week’s end pundits assessing Ottawa’s political impasse began the whispers of a possible prorogation of Parliament and, even perhaps, an election. All with the goal to keep the facts buried relating to the CCP influence in Canada and, more importantly, the ties between the CCP and Trudeau Liberals.

It does seem ironic to consider that only an election may save Canadian democracy – both from foreign influences and from itself.

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/singh-and-johnston-continue-to-provide-cover-for-trudeau-government/

David Johnston kicks the can a little further down the road

The Niagara Independent, May 26, 2023 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s special rapporteur David Johnston issued his preliminary report this week and concluded that there is no need for a formal public inquiry into foreign interference. With his report, the PM’s longtime family friend has punted aside the substantive issues relating to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) subversive influence in Canada. Between now and October Johnston appointed himself as the head of a series of public hearings to review government communications procedures surrounding the dissemination of the country’s security intelligence to government officials.

It is clearly evident from the wording of Johnston’s report that Justin Trudeau (and his friends) have no intention to expose the CCP’s involvement with the Liberal Party and its implications for Canadians.

David Johnston summarizes in his report, “Foreign governments are undoubtedly attempting to influence candidates and voters in Canada” and he observes, “Much has been done already, but considerably more remains to be done to strengthen our capacity to resist foreign interference.”

Johnston admonished media for misconstruing facts, criticized the country’s security agencies for failing to properly inform government, and chastised Opposition MPs for politicizing national security issues. He underlined that “there’s no evidence the prime minister or his minister knowingly failed to act on intelligence, advice and recommendations” – so Canadians are to be reassured that the Trudeau government is not at fault and is acting in the nation’s best interest.

The report concludes with recommending a review of communications procedures within government: “The public process should focus on strengthening Canada’s capacity to detect, deter and counter foreign interference in our elections and the threat such interference represents to our democracy.”

Johnston appointed himself “King Solomon” for a five-month public process and the PM hurriedly agreed to his plan of action.

From the news reporters and political commentators in the Ottawa media who have been closely following the government’s handling of the CCP-Liberal revelations over the last six months, there has been an immediate condemnation of David Johnston’s work and his conclusions.

  • John Ibbitson of the Globe and Mail flatly stated, “This is a mistake” in his Tuesday column “Sorry, Mr. Johnston: Public hearings into foreign interference are inadequate to the task.”
  • In another Globe and Mail piece, Andrew Coyne wrote of Johnston’s recommendations, “In essence, they boil down to: “trust me” but reasons, “A report that asks to be taken on faith, from an evidently conflicted rapporteur, is not likely to engender a great deal of trust.”
  • Both John Robson and Colby Cosh called Johnston’s report a “whitewash” with Robson suggesting Trudeau’s old friend has destroyed his own credibility, and Cosh sarcastically stating, “I don’t know about you, but I feel so much trust right now.”
  • John Ivison in the National Post suggests Johnston himself is the stumbling block to this report being accepted: “The problem is that Johnston’s perceived conflict of interest because of his personal relationship with the prime minister has been compounded by a report that finds the government was blameless at all times. Even the “significant governance shortcomings” were the fault of the security agencies and the bureaucracy.”
  • Sabrina Maddeaux in another Postmedia column stated “David Johnston sneers at the public”: “Canadians are left with more questions than they are answers. Rather than restore trust in the system, a conflicted special rapporteur, who never should have been put in this position to begin with, took another hammer to an already shaky foundation… The solution for building back trust can’t be “just trust us.”
  • Matt Gurney in The Line wrote “The Johnston report is one of the most depressing things I’ve read” and he frankly observes: “we are just totally, epically boned.”

This initial blowback was punctuated by a Globe and Mail lead editorial that underlines the fact that parliamentarians have voted for an independent public inquiry and the Johnston report is defying the will of elected representatives. The editorial states: “However honorable his intentions, Mr. Johnston has not only failed in that mission but has also further damaged public confidence in our institutions. In essence, he would like Canadians to return to a state of collective ignorance, before leaks exposed Ottawa’s inaction.”

As sure as Canadians were expecting Johnston to exonerate the PM, they also could be assured that opposition MPs would be negative towards David Johnston’s review of the matter. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has consistently criticized Johnston and his special rapporteur mission, repeatedly stating, “He (Johnston) has a fake job and he’s unable to do it impartially. He needs to simply hand it over and allow an independent public inquiry into Beijing’s interference.”

On Tuesday, Poilievre dismissed Johnston’s “whitewash attempt”: “The ski buddy, cottage neighbour, family friend and member of the Beijing-financed Trudeau Foundation came out and did exactly what I predicted — helped Trudeau cover up the influence by Beijing in our democracy.”

Poilievre concludes: “The report was rigged from the start and has zero credibility.”

Yves-Francois Blanchet, leader of Bloc Quebecois echoed Poilievre’s rebuke: “I am not taking the word of Mr. Johnston at all. Even if before we might have said we do not know if he is neutral or not, today we do know he is not…. China won’t stop. Mr. Johnston just said, ‘Go on, enjoy, have fun. Canada is open for you.’”

Vowing not to be silenced on the serious issues of national security, both opposition leaders rejected a participatory role in Johnston’s public hearings and/or any behind-closed-doors parliamentary review as suggested in the Johnston report. Blanchet sees any involvement with Johnston as a tactic to muzzle him, “It’s a trap. The trap is to say: “If you want to see it all, you cannot say anything, or do anything with that, and then they [the Liberals] will tell everybody that ‘everything is fixed’.”

One certainty from this week’s political dustup over David Johnston and his report is that there are still many questions to be answered about foreign interference and Canada’s independence and those inquiries go far beyond CCP interfering in two election cycles. More to the point, the questions go far beyond anything the PM’s special rapporteur will study in the next five months in his public hearings into government communications procedures.

Just think for a moment about the larger national security issues involving the country’s trade, telecommunications, foreign ownership of Canadian land and resources, and Canada’s international alliances. There are also the issues involving the CCP that this government does not want to discuss: the Uyghur Muslim genocide and the concentration camp labour, or what about the joint Canada-China virus research that was being conducted in the Winnipeg Lab prior to the COVID pandemic?

In response this week David Johnston in so many words tells Canadians trust me and trust my friend Justin. And, assuredly, he kicks the can a little further down the road.

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/david-johnston-kicks-the-can-a-little-further-down-the-road/

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: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/its-a-degenerative-progressivism-that-permeates-ottawa/

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: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-trudeau-government-and-ottawas-funny-pages/

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: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-endless-laughter-in-the-prime-ministers-office/