Tag Archives: in_conversation

Top 30 By George QOTDs

To commemorate CG&A Communications passing the 30-year milestone, we have selected the top 30 By George QOTDs from over the past dozen years. These are the very best of the best, counted down to the number one QOTD shared across the By George social media platforms.

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… and the # 1 By George QOTD for the past decade-plus is:

You can find the By George QOTDs posted daily on the By George Journal’s Facebook page and X page, as well as on Chris George’s LinkedIn posts.

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

On passing the 30 year milestone

Our government affairs and public relations firm, CG&A Communications, is passing its 30-year milestone on January 4, 2024. Here are some reflections on this accomplishment.

Media Release: CG&A Communications Passes 30 Year Milestone

30 Facts You May Not Know About CG&A Communications

30 Significant Events of 1994

The Flashback Photo Gallery

CG&A COMM 1994-1998 (the first five years)

CG&A COMM 1999 – 2003 (the growth of the company)

CG&A COMM 2004-2008 (the move to Niagara Region)

CG&A COMM 2009 – 2013 (Niagara highlights)

CG&A COMM 2014-2018 (re-establishing in Ottawa)

CG&A COMM 2019-2023 (copyright, writing, and politics)

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

 

CG&A Communications Passes 30 Year Milestone

January 4, 2024 – Today marks 30 years to the day since Chris George and business partner Lisa Hingley (now Lisa George) opened the doors of their government and public relations company. For three decades CG&A Communications has provided government affairs, issue management, and public relations services to a wide range of clients in the public and private sectors.

CG&A Communications is a full service firm, offering discreet, reliable counsel and communications services to support clients’ advocacy and public relations efforts, and to meet their government affairs objectives.

Two of the company’s longstanding national clients were the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) Copyright Consortium and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada. Chris George managed the government affairs and public relations for these organizations for more than 22 years and 14 years respectively.

In the Ottawa Region through the years CG&A Communications provided services to the Ottawa International Airport, Hydro Ottawa, Commissionaires, and the Perley Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre to name a few. Chris George also directed the communications efforts as lead counsel for the Ottawa Transition Board (responsible for amalgamating the City of Ottawa).

In the Niagara Region, CG&A Communications serviced West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, local Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the Niagara Parks Commission among others in the decade that the Georges were residing in St. Catharines.

“We never imagined back in 1994 that our business would span decades and we would enjoy a career driving our own enterprise,” says Chris in reflecting on the milestone accomplishment. “I believe our work ethic has carried us the distance. Our competitive advantage has always been our personalized counsel and our reliable and consistent attention to the details. Year after year we’ve had wonderful clients, great working relationships, and rewarding work.”

Lisa adds, “Looking back we have to express our deep gratitude not only to our clients, but also to our network of talented consultants, and to our supportive friends and family. I don’t want to start naming names for fear of missing someone… but we have been very fortunate to have a great group of people involved with CG&A Communications through the years.”

To mark the milestone for their supporters, the Georges compiled a few lists of interesting facts and a photo gallery:

30 Facts You May Not Know About CG&A Communications

30 Significant Events of 1994

The Flashback Photo Gallery

To read more about the history of the company, follow this link: On passing the 30 year milestone.

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

30 Facts You May Not Know About CG&A Communications

  1. Always a Virtual Corporation – Since inception CG&A Communications has been a virtual corporation – a network of writers, graphic designers, web developers, translators – all working from their own home offices. When the company launched 30 years ago this business model was an oddity that had to be explained… now it’s the norm.
  2. The Business Name – We started as Chris George and Associates and a year later changed the firm’s name to CG&A Communications. Our distinctive “box” logo was first unveiled in 1995.
  3. First Office Space – The first CG&A office was a second bedroom in a two-bedroom Ottawa apartment overlooking the canal. It was a total of 120 square feet, featuring a blue shag rug. There was a single desk top computer, printer and fax machine, a wall of bookshelves, filing cabinet and a futon for seating.
  4. Internet was in its infancy – When we started the business, Internet browsers were non-existent and we searched on-line via list indexes. The first browser, the Netscape Navigator, was introduced in summer of 1994 and it was only after that when websites became easily accessible.
  5. No Email to Start – In the beginning the primary mode of office-to-office document transmission was the fax machine. Email had just been introduced — we were early adopters connecting our freelance subcontractors to collaborate via email.
  6. Office Expenses – Through the years the company’s office expenses have changed. In the beginning, the biggest expenses were cross-city bicycle couriers, thermal-rolled fax paper, and postage for mailouts. Today, the biggest expense is cell phones!
  7. First Client – Gus Zygoumis, owner of Dustmoon Maintenance, gave CG&A their first contract in early 1994 to help with communications and administrative support.
  8. 85-Plus Clients – CG&A has worked for more than 85 clients in 30 years — corporations, small businesses, individual interest, national associations and small volunteer-run organizations, public institutions, government agencies and political initiatives.
  9. North American Service Area – Many CG&A clients are located in Ottawa and Toronto. However, through the 30 years CG&A has served clients in places like Niagara Falls, Hagersville, and Halifax — companies from New Liskeard in northern Ontario through to San Mateo, California.
  10. Landing the Ottawa Airport – CG&A really took off in 1997 when the company defeated more than 120 PR firms in a RFP process for the newly privatized Ottawa International Airport. CG&A served as the public relations agency of record through the formative years of the airport’s growth, helping with its formal opening ceremony, the opening of the first US Preclearance Facility, and supporting the airport authority’s business networking in the National Capital Region.
  11. Long Work Hours – Chris and Lisa George and their network provide personalized service that, at times, goes around the clock to meet deadlines. Often, at 9 a.m., they have already put in half-a-day preparing for their clients’ offices to open. On many occasions through the 90’s, Chris and Lisa have fallen asleep beside their computers and printers as they worked through nights to meet imposing deadlines.
  12. Long Commutes – In the early days, when it was important to be physically present in clients’ offices, Chris would regularly drive from Ottawa to Toronto for a day of meetings and then get in the car to return, all within a 20-hour period.
  13. Licked Lots of Envelopes – In promoting clients and positioning their interests, Chris and Lisa have managed countless mailouts. They have stuffed well over 30,000 envelopes for one client alone over a course of 8 years. Today, they manage even more mailouts, however, it is much easier emailing to lists rather than stuffing envelopes.
  14. Lasting Loyalties – Within CG&A’s core group of consultants is the same graphic artist and the same web developer for over 25 years ago. These talented individuals are not only good at what they do, they are great people.
  15. Most demanding client: Ottawa Transition Board – Chris George served as the lead counsel to the Ottawa Transition Board and managed the communications office team through the pivotal year of transition activities for the 13 municipalities in the National Capital Region. Results of the 14-months of tireless efforts was the amalgamation on January 1, 2001 of the region’s councils and administrations into the new City of Ottawa.
  16. Most rewarding client: MADD Canada – Through the 1990s and into the 2000s, CG&A worked with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada managing their national public relations and government affairs programs. This service was very rewarding – helping the families of victims of impaired driving, promoting the organization and its awareness efforts, and launching a multifaceted advocacy program to advance new laws in Ottawa and in numerous provinces.
  17. “A Career Accomplishment” with the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada – For more than two decades CG&A was the communications company of record to support the federal advocacy activities of provincial and territorial education ministers within the CMEC Copyright Consortium. In 2012, the copyright landscape for the Canadian education sector shifted positively with the passage of a new copyright law and a Supreme Court decision, both validating the ministers’ copyright policy position.
  18. Pandemic Years – During the shutdowns and mandates of the COVID pandemic, CG&A experienced no disruption of service, given the company’s established mobile work model. In fact, CG&A public relations business actually increased through 2020 and 2021 with many companies and associations forced to make adjustments to their communications.
  19. Lengthy Client Relations – Chris George is proud of the duration of the contracts with two of its largest clients. CG&A provided government affairs and public relations for the CMEC Copyright Consortium for 22 years and for MADD Canada for over 14 years.
  20. Favourite Meeting Place: Parliament Hill – It is difficult to tire of making the trek to a Member of Parliament’s office for a meeting.  There is something very special about being in a Hill office – something, because of the Centre Block’s renovations, will not happen again for until sometime in the 2030s!
  21. Political Involvement – Through the years, Chris George has managed electoral campaigns at every level of government – for mayoralty, provincial, and federal candidates. Lisa George is no stranger to politics either as she has worked on projects in the offices of every level of government. Fortunately, since walking away from their Parliament Hill offices in 1993, neither have ever had to depend on politics for a livelihood.
  22. Political News Commentary – Chris George is a regular contributor to a weekly political news column in The Niagara Independent. The column is known for its fact-based critiques of the Ottawa scene and has a readership from across Canada
  23. The By George Journal – Since 1994, the company published a print newsletter that featured quotes, jokes, and political and wordsmith articles. In 2008, CG&A began producing the online By George Journal – and today it is supplemented with Facebook and X posts.
  24. Published Works – The company has produced a dozen publications through the years, including a popular e-book Epic Political Jokes and Quotes as well as two By George Treasury compilations of the best of the By George Journal. There are plans to re-issue a few publications as e-books in the coming year.
  25. Two Cross-Province Moves – Over a glass of wine with good friends, Chris and Lisa made the decision in 2002 to pack up home and business and move across the province to the Niagara Region. Eleven years later, over a glass of wine with good friends, they made the decision to move back across the province to the Ottawa area. (They are pleased to note that GG&A lost no clients as a result of the moves.)
  26. Office Location – CG&A currently operates from an addition in Chris and Lisa’s century home in Almonte, Ontario – a small Ottawa Valley town that is 40 minutes from Parliament Hill. Point of interest: the house was built in 1875 for the first school master of Almonte High School, and rumour has it that the inventor of basketball, James Naismith, was tutored on the front porch.
  27. Volunteering – Chris George has been involved in numerous volunteer initiatives through the years, but the most memorable ones are the Niagara Child Advocacy Centre where he served as Board Chair, and the Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative, where he was a founding director. Most recently, CG&A supported a relief fund effort to support Ontario hospitality establishments survive the COVID pandemic shutdowns and disruptions.
  28. Healthy Living – Lisa George has always been interested in healthy living and a healthy diet. In 2015, she spent a year studying holistic nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and now has her Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) designation.
  29. Cycling – Chris George is pursuing his interests in cycling by volunteering in the development of local cycle tourism. CG&A is currently contributing to the establishment and promotion of an exciting cycle loop connecting Ottawa to the Ottawa Valley – the Mississippi Ottawa Rivers Experience (cycle MORE).
  30. Love Persists – Chris and Lisa are proud to say that after 30 years of working together, living together, and raising kids together their love persists. The two planned their business in Fall 1993 and it was less than two years later that they married. It was another five years before the birth of their first son. (In many ways, one could say, CG&A Communications has been a labour of love.)

To read more about the history of the company, click: On passing the 30 year milestone.

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

The Flashback Photo Gallery

In celebration of CG&A Communications passing the 30 year milestone, here is a series of photos that record a few of the firm’s activities. Enjoy this trip down memory lane.

Lisa Hingley in her first office (1994). 

Chris George – already with greying hair (1994).

Airport President Paul Benoit (far right) helps to unveil the new Ottawa Airport logo. CG&A COMM managed all public relations for the transition to the Ottawa Airport Authority – including the development of the new logo (1996-97).  

Federal Minister John Manley officially hands over the airport terminal keys to the Ottawa Airport Authority in a public ceremony February 1, 1997.

Chris & Lisa are all smiles having received their first cheque from the Ottawa Airport Authority (1997). No more watering down the soup! CG&A Communications would be the airport’s public relations company of record for more than three years.

Chris was the campaign manager for Jim Watson’s first mayoralty race in 1997. Here the Mayor-Elect is with Lisa, Chris, and Maureen Murphy — all smiles on the victorious election night. 

Chris speaks with MADD Canada President Susan MacAskill and National Board Chair Tony Carvalho at a MADD Canada National Conference in mid 1990’s. 

Chris and Lisa with MADD Canada Executive Director Andrew Murie at a Ottawa press conference launching a study on youth impaired driving fatalities (circa early-2000s). 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended a MADD Canada press conference in 2006 to introduce the then toughest federal impaired driving laws in Canada. 

The management of MADD’s federal and provincial government affairs program — helping the families of victims of impaired driving — was the most rewarding work of our company’s history. 

Lisa and her mother, Daisy, organizing a MADD Canada mailing – circa late-1990’s. (All family members have been part of the CG&A COMM story at sometime in its history.) 

The Ottawa Transition Board’s 14-month mission was to establish a new council and city management team, design new delivery models for municipal services, re-organize the municipal 14,000-plus employees, and present budgetary recommendations to save taxpayers over $80 million annually. Led by Chairman Claude Bennett, the seven member Board worked tirelessly to meet its objectives and ensure an orderly amalgamation.

Claude Bennett, seen here speaking at a Ottawa Transition Board press conference (1999). It was a pleasure to serve Claude, one of Ottawa’s most distinguished community leaders.

Claude Bennett served as Ottawa South MPP and was a minister in the governments of Premier Bill Davis. Claude also served as Chairman of the Royal Canadian Mint, Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation, and the Ottawa International Airport — among many other federal, provincial and municipal responsibilities.

For more than 22 years Chris served the CMEC Copyright Consortium in managing the advocacy initiatives for the country’s education ministers and their efforts in Ottawa to advance teachers’ and students’ users rights within Canadian copyright law.  

In May 2013, Members of Parliament unanimously passed a motion put forward by MP Dean Allison to raise awareness of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening medical condition brought on by severe allergies. Volunteers and family members of the Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative (CAI) worked with the Niagara-based MP Allison to achieve this significant initiative for people with life-threatening allergies.

Chris is honoured to have worked with Dr. Merrilee Fullerton during her political journey through the past near eight years – providing communications counsel through the nomination process and 2018 provincial election, and serving as campaign manager for Merrilee’s victorious 2022 campaign.

A recent photo of Chris and Lisa at a client’s event (2022) .

It has been a heck of a ride…. 30 years! (photo circa 1998)

To read more about the history of the company, click: On passing the 30 year milestone.

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

 

30 Significant Events of 1994

Here are thirty significant world events of 1994, the year CG&A Communications opened its doors.

  1. The world population reaches 5,670,000,000 (today it is 2 billion more)
  2. TV series ER and Friends debut
  3. OJ Simpson’s white Bronco is chased by police LIVE on international news
  4. Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa President
  5. Rwandan genocide begins in Kigali, Rwanda
  6. The Channel Tunnel is opened to connect Britain with France
  7. Amazon is founded with a goal to change the way we shop
  8. Yahoo is founded and Netscape launches Navigator, the first Internet browser
  9. Sony PlayStation is introduced and first smartphone, the IBM Simon is introduced
  10. The computer Zip Drive is introduced
  11. The Whitehouse launches its website
  12. Bill Clinton is US President; former President Ronald Reagan announces he has Alzheimer’s
  13. Jean Chretien is Prime Minister of Canada and Bob Rae Premier of Ontario
  14. Lucien Bouchard is infected with flesh-eating disease and loses a leg
  15. Former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dies of cancer at age 64
  16. Time Magazine’s Man of the Year is Pope John Paul II
  17. The Lion King movie is released, the biggest hit of the Disney Renaissance era
  18. The blockbuster movie of ‘94 is Forrest Gump
  19. Schindler’s List wins a number of Oscars
  20. Whitney Houston has album and record of the year with “I Will Always Love You”
  21. Song of the Year is “A Whole New World” (theme From Aladdin)
  22. Singer/Songwriter Kurt Cobain commits suicide at age 27
  23. Michael Jackson and Lisa Maria Presley are briefly married
  24. Canadian singer/songwriter Justin Bieber is born and comedian John Candy dies of a heart attack at age 43
  25. Canadian comedian TV show Kids in the Hall ends after five seasons
  26. For the first time in history, chain bookstores outsell independent stores
  27. American Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan has her knee clubbed in an attack
  28. The George Foreman Grill is released
  29. Canada hosts the Commonwealth Games in Victoria BC winning 129 medals (40 gold)
  30. Brazil wins the World Cup, BC Lions win the Grey Cup, Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl, and NY Rangers win the Stanley Cup

To read more about the history of the company, click: On passing the 30 year milestone.

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

 

CG&A COMM 2019-2023

CG&A Communications celebrates 30 years. To commemorate the occasion Chris George reflects on the company’s development. This is part six of a six-part series, 10 selected highlights from 2019 – 2023 when the company experienced adventures with copyright, politics, and writing.

  1. In operating out of quaint Almonte, CG&A Comm has had a successful period growing its business in Ottawa and expanding its corporate, association, and political networks. This period featured challenges through a worldwide health pandemic, which led to mandates and business lockdowns in Canada. Fortunately, the company actually grew its book of business during the 2020-22 pandemic years.
  2. After more than 22 years, in spring 2023 Chris George notified CMEC that he was moving on. The country’s education ministers of the copyright consortium were CG&A Comm’s longest-held clients. Through the years, CG&A Comm experienced many highs with CMEC including succeeding in the passage of new users’ rights for education in the 2012 copyright legislation.
  3. Through this period CG&A Comm provided communications support services for the constituency office of Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, MPP for Kanata-Carleton. Chris George served as Merrilee’s campaign manager for her successful re-election in the 2022 provincial election.
  4. CG&A Comm continued to support business clients, the Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association and Gotskill? games, with both government affairs and public relations support services. Both clients overcame challenges through the pandemic years.
  5. With great sorrow we had to say goodbye to two very dear friends in the last few years: Claude Bennett and Shaun McLaughlin. Fine men who served their respective communities with great honour.  They are greatly missed.
  6. Over the course of the last five years, Chris has been a regular contributor to The Niagara Independent, writing a weekly news column on federal politics. With more than 250 columns, Chris has an active readership from across the country. An archive of his columns can be found here and within the By George Journal.
  7. Chris volunteered with a group of businessmen to establish a relief fund for Ontario’s food and beverage hospitality businesses, which were struggling to reopen and recover from the financial setbacks of the COVID pandemic and government shutdowns and mandates through 2020 and 2021.
  8. CG&A Comm continued to expand the By George Journal’s on-line presence on the By George Facebook page and on X (formerly known as Twitter). Followers of By George enjoy daily posts and a daily morning “By George QOTD”
  9. In fall 2023 everything came full circle for Chris and Lisa George as their younger son, David, accompanied CG&A Comm on a video shoot session for a client. David is currently completing a co-op program in digital interactive media at Ottawa’s Algonquin College – and he has been very helpful producing media content for CG&A Comm through the past few years.
  10. 2024 may mark 30 years -– a lifetime for a company that predates Internet browsers!  However, there are go-forward plans for this 31st year to focus more on counseling on government affairs initiatives and also on the writing and publishing of more political news articles. Onward.

To read more about the history of the company, click: On passing the 30 year milestone.

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

The Genius of George Carlin (R.I.P.)

“People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point.”

“Some people see things that are and ask, ‘Why?’ Some people dream of things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?’ Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that.”

“My advice: just keep moving straight ahead. Every now and then you find yourself in a different place.”

“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.”

“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.”

“Just ‘cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean that the circus has left town.”

“We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years.”

“Some people have no idea what they’re doing, and a lot of them are really good at it.”

“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.”

“If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?”

“The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”

“Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

“There’s a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”

“I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”

“Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.”

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

Wisdom of Jordan Peterson

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

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

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

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

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

Bons mots of Queen Elizabeth II

This week in social media the By George Journal featured some of the most notable quotes by our Queen Elizabeth, in her memory as the #ByGeorgeQOTD. Here are those posts…

Follow By George Journal on Facebook and on Twitter and receive a daily #ByGeorgeQOTD.

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

We’re failing “the COVID test”

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

Your expectations are a problem

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

Matt Gurney / The Line / December 3, 2021

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

Your expectations are a problem, my friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allan Richarz / CBC Opinion / December 3, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Goalposts shift again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always another threat

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rex Murphy / The National Post / December 3, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Visualizing Global Per Capita CO2 Emissions

This amazing graphic is from the Visual Capitalist website — www.visualcapitalist.com. It clearly illustrates the amounts of carbon emissions Canadians are responsible for globally. Green advocates wish to make the point that per capita Canadians are the second worst polluters on the plant. But that statistic is moot when considering the actual amount of CO2 pollutants Canadians are responsible for — especially comparing the country to China, U.S., Russia, and India.

SOURCE:  https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-global-per-capita-co2-emissions/

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

Top 10 Christmas Record Breakers

Here is an interesting list of some pretty amazing Christmas records.

  1. Biggest selling Christmas song is Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” The song was written by Sir Bob Geldof, and sold fifty million copies and continues to be a holiday favorite today!
  2. The world’s largest gift was the Statue of Liberty. The people of France gave it to the US in 1886. It’s 151 feet, 1 inch high and weighs 225 tonnes.
  3. The most valuable Christmas card was sold at an auction in Devizes, Wiltshire, UK in 2001 for £20,000 (approx. $40.000). The card was originally sent by Sir Henry Cole of Bath to his grandmother in 1843!
  4. The largest Christmas angel ornament is over 18 feet (5.57 meters) high and over 8 feet wide at the bottom. It’s made out of 2946 beer bottles. The angel was displayed on Alfonso Reyes Avenue, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in January 2000.
  5. World’s largest working Christmas cracker is 181 foot, 11 inch long and 11 foot, 9 inch high. It was made in Australia. It was pulled at a shopping center in Sydney, Australia on December 16, 1998.
  6. The world’s largest Christmas goat made from straw is built every year by the citizens of Gävle Sweden. It is an 13-metre tall, 7-metre long, 3 tonne goat. Unfortunately almost every year the poor goat gets burned down.
  7. The “World’s Largest Christmas Store” is Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a retail store in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The store has grown to the size of five-and-a-half football fields and is home to over 50000 gifts.
  8. The largest carol service was five-hundred-and-nineteen Christmas carolers, who braved the New York cold to sing themselves into the Guinness World Records Book. The singers gathered on the steps of Manhattan’s General Post Office across the street from Madison Square Garden.
  9. The best-selling book every year is the Bible. The Bible was the first book and is the all-time best selling book with 1 billion copies having been sold.
  10. The tallest-ever Christmas tree in the world was recorded 1999 in Tasmania. This towering Eucalyptus regnans was 80 meters (262 ft) tall and had 3,000 Christmas lights. Later The Guinness Book of Records has rejected The Wilderness Society’s claim for the world’s tallest Christmas Tree on the grounds that the tree was a eucalypt and not a spruce.

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

 

Conversations over the (virtual) eggnog bowl

As we enter Christmas and New Year’s festivities, inevitably, we will find ourselves at cocktail parties or dinner settings where we will be reaching for a topic of discussion. To help us through this season, By George Journal provides observations and questions that will serve as perfect conversation starters. Here are a dozen questions to start us off – enjoy your talks!

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  2. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
  3. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
  4. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
  6. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  7. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
  8. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
  9. What are you most grateful for?
  10. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
  11. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
  12. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that? What can you do tomorrow that you’ll remember in 5 years? Are you going to do it?

More questions for your musings over the eggnog bowl can be found on past By George Journal posts:

Here

Here

Here

And Here

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

 

Tips for conversing over the eggnog bowl

This is the season of Christmas socials, year-end parties, and gatherings of colleagues, friends and family. Like no other time of year, we enjoy cocktails, plenty of delicious foods, and endless conversations.

So, By George Journal asks, ‘What makes a good conversationalist?’  Here are three pointers to be that ‘gracious host’ or that ‘guest you must remember to invite again next year.’

#1.  A good conversationalist is a great listener. When people engage in conversation, most feel that what they have to say is important. Nothing signals more to a person that you are interested in them than to give undivided attention to what they are saying. Listen intently, ask questions and provide comments; don’t mindlessly nod and continually glance over the person’s shoulder to see what is happening across the room.

#2.  What you say will not likely be remembered,  but how you make people feel will not be forgottened. It’s most important to smile when you greet and depart an individual or group. Make and keep eye contact with those you are speaking with. Use appropriate body language and facial gestures to demonstrate your engagement and enjoyment in the conversation(s).

#3.  Be ever-ready to share a great story or series of anecdotes. Enliven conversations with personal observations, remarkable sayings, and a provocative question or two.  Through the next few days, By George Journal will provided a series of conversation-starters. Here are our five favourite from the “Over the Eggnog Bowl” posts for your holiday exchanges.

  1. Is Santa coming to your family this Christmas? You do believe in Santa, right!?
  2. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  3. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  4. Joy is found with simple awareness.  What does your joy look like today?
  5. It used to be that at a party one should never discuss religion, sex and politics. Does this still stand? Are there other subjects that need to be added to this list of avoidable conversations?

Cheers!

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

A Working Canadian’s Breakfast (in Glace Bay NS)

While surfing through your daily feeds of social media, sometimes you find a remarkable comment that strikes a chord for its authentic, insightful message. Today a self-described “Conservative politico” – Mitch Heimpel – provided that ha-ha moment for me.

Here’s the necessary background:  The federal Conservative Party spent last night and today responding to the Trudeau Government’s Throne Speech by accusing the Liberals of being out of touch with the priorities of working Canadians. The Conservatives are making the argument that most Canadians today are worried about inflation and the rising costs of everything, which is making living unaffordable.

To underline this point, in social media, Conservatives Leader Erin O’Toole stated:

“Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, but it’s also getting more expensive. The rising cost of living under the Trudeau Liberals means you’re paying more for the same meal this year than you were last year.”

And he posted this image…

O’Toole’s salvo elicited an immediate reply from non-other-than Gerald Butts, Justin Trudeau’s BFF and his former Principal Secretary (before he had to resign in the Jody Wilson-Raybould scandal). Butts tweeted the following:

“Does this breakfast come with a defibrillator on the side?”

And with that the Twitter-verse was sent into a tizzy with conservative partisans and TruAnons swapping insults; Butts was trending for most of the morning.

Then late in the morning, Mitch Heimpel waded into the exchange with a full series of tweets that replied directly to Gerald Butts. Here is Heimpel’s response:

There’s something about this tweet that’s been bugging me all day, and it’s not the author. What follows will be a slight exercise of the blue collar chip on my shoulder. 1/11

I used to work the line at a factory on one week turnarounds . That means nights one week, days the next and afternoons were the final week of the cycle. The final night shift of the week started at 11pm Thursday and would end at 7am Friday 2/11

At the end of that last shift, the lines would go out for breakfast together. Your production crew was probably 6-10 people. You usually worked with the same people, though temp agencies screwed this up a bit 3/11

This meal looks like what we all ate on those Friday mornings (not me, because of the egg allergy). But look down the table you would see plates like this. It was everyone else. Why? 4/11

Because it was a filling meal, and wherever you went, it was usually inexpensive. You could get a plate like this usually for less than $10. Never more than $12. The places that served it range from a Denny’s to community staple greasy spoons and 50s theme diners. 5/11

Why did it matter that it was cheap? Everyone at that table made between $11 and $17 an hour (it was 2010). That meal was an hour’s wages. I bet you for most people now doing that Friday ritual, it’s more expensive than that and climbing. 6/11

that’s why I hate that tweet. It’s not the “you don’t understand inflation”, it’s the eye-rolling derision directed at the meal itself. Do a week of nights on the factory floor, know that you have a weekend to reset your entire sleep schedule, and then look down on that meal.7/11

For most of us, even me (and remember, I couldn’t actually eat it, allergies suck), it was one of the only restaurant meals we could afford and the only real sense of community we got. 8/11

More than half of my coworkers were temps, many of them we didn’t know would be there at the end of our next Friday night shift. That’s still true in way too many workplaces. Some of them we had worked with for months. 9/11

So, no, that meal doesn’t come with a defibrillator. Any more than condescending elitism comes with a cravate. But thousands of workers eat it every Friday morning. After a week of nights making your chocolates or your HVAC system. 10/11

It might be the only reward they get. They earned it. But your derision? They didn’t earn that. 11/11

Ha-ha. In reading this Butts must have choked on his uncaring “let them eat cake” sideswipe.

Heimpel’s comments exposed the reality that Butts has indeed forgotten what a blue collar worker enjoys as the sun rises on a Glace Bay diner. But perhaps with his jet-setting life Butts never knew the simple pleasures of his mining relatives? And, does it surprise anyone that Butts’ BFF also would not have a clue what inflation and rising living costs mean for working Canadians who have no trust fund to dip into for their food, gas, heat — and family vacations?

SOURCE: Tweets of @MitchHeimpel

July is “Butter Tart Month”

By George declared July “Butter Tart Month.” Bite into these new posts this month:

Cycling and Butter Tarts

REDUX: A Dozen Delectable Photos

Bake My Day in St Jacobs Farmers Market

The Butter Tart Ice Cream Sandwich

Farm Boy’s classic butter tarts

Here is the full menu of delectable articles from 2020!

Butter Tarts are the Quintessential Canadian Food

The All-Important Question: Raisins or No-Raisins?

First Printed Recipe of Butter Tarts

The humble origins of the butter tart

Canadian Living‘s Butter Tart Recipe

A Dozen Delectable Photos 

Mom, Tarts, and Life Lessons

2020 Title Holder for Best Tart is From the Ottawa Valley

An artist’s rendering… delicious!

Kids and Butter Tarts – a very happy combination 

Butter Tart Daydreams

Elizabeth Baird’s Butter Tart Recipe 

An Award-Winning Butter Tart Recipe

An apology for adding raisins

It’s the all important question: raisins or no-raisins (a mid-month update)

Butter Tart Recipes from The Great Canadian Cookbook

Bacon Butter Tarts

The Bee Hive Corn Syrup Recipe

Butter Tart Daydreams II

The Best Butter Tart Festival 

The (Infamous) Butter Tart Tour

Wellington County Butter Tarts

Almonte and Pakenham Bakeries are “Must-Stops”

Maple Butter Tart Pie Recipe

Butter Tarts – Plus

7 “Of Ontario’s Best” Butter Tarts

Torontonians’ Top 10 List of Best Butter Tarts

A Definitive List of Ontario’s Best Butter Tarts

By George’s “Best Butter Tarts – Ever”

The answer to the all-important butter tart question is….

Follow By George Journal on Facebook and on Twitter for the sweetest kinds of diversions. 

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

Posting hashtag #bikealmonte — and enjoy the ride

This summer I plan on capturing as many of the beautiful viewscapes while cycling in and around Almonte. Here are three photos taken just this month…

Nothing but contentment near Blakeney

Almonte’s Rail Trail – heading out

Storm clouds forming over the Indian River

I will be posting regularly on the By George Journal Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts. And you can follow along by searching for #bikealmonte.

I encourage everyone to cycle the backroads around this pastoral community of Almonte – enjoy the small town charm and the open spaces of farmland, forests and winding rivers.

Share your cycling experiences with #bikealmonte.

Enjoy the ride!

To see more on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte

 

 

15 Amazing Hockey Facts

  1. Before 1914, referees used to place the puck on the ice between the players’ sticks for faceoffs. This led to many cuts, bruises and even broken hands for the referees. Starting in 1914, the referees were allowed to drop the puck between the players’ sticks.
  2. The first NHL goal was scored on December 19, 1917 by Dave Ritchie of the Montreal Wanderers against the Toronto Arenas.
  3. Prior to the 1927-28 season, forward passes were not allowed in hockey.
  4. Maple Leaf Gardens — former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs — became the first arena to have a four-sided game clock, in 1932.
  5. Frank Zamboni invented the first self-propelled ice-clearing machine, in 1949.
  6. Chicago Blackhawks Hall of Famer Stan Mikita is most often credited with the creation of the curved stick blade in the 1960s — all blades were previously straight.
  7. Head Games: Andy Brown was the last goaltender to play a game without a mask, doing so with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1974. The last player in the NHL to play without a helmet was Craig MacTavish, who retired in 1997.
  8. The fastest slapshot on record is Bobby Hull’s, which registered 118 miles per hour.
  9. Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins was the first NHL player to record 100 points in a season, in 1969. Wayne Gretzky was first (and is the only) player to record 200 points in a season.
  10. Darryl Sittler holds the NHL record for most points in a single game, with 10. He scored five goals and had five assists on February 6, 1976, helping his Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Boston Bruins.
  11. Paul Coffey of the Edmonton Oilers set an NHL record for defencemen with 37 points in the 1985 playoffs.
  12. In 1971, the Boston Bruins signed Bobby Orr to a five-year deal worth $200,000 per season —the first million dollar contract in NHL history.images
  13. Wayne Gretzky, nicknamed “The Great One”, is almost unanimously accepted as the greatest hockey player to every play the game. He holds 61 NHL records, the most by far of any player and finished playing with a total of 2,857 points. Amazingly, even if all of the nearly 900 goals Wayne scored throughout his career were removed from his statistics, he would still hold first place for most points.
  14. Some pro players call their mothers for a few words of encouragement, but not Sidney Crosby; Sid the Kid has a strict rule about not speaking with his mom on game days. He has broken this rule three times, and each time has been injured during the game.
  15. Cup Mishaps: The Stanley Cup is named after a former Canadian Governor General, Lord Stanley of Preston, who donated the trophy in 1893. The Cup has been used as a cereal bowl, accidentally left by the side of the road, tossed into a swimming pool and even lost, like luggage, on a 2010 flight from New Jersey to Vancouver. After the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1962, they accidentally threw the Cup into a celebratory bonfire. In 1905, players from Ottawa Silver Seven, while drunk, kicked the Stanley Cup into the frozen Rideau Canal and had to retrieve it the next morning.

There are plenty of websites with great hockey facts to stump your trivia puckhound. Here are a few good one:

40 Fun Hockey Facts

30 Kickass and Interesting Facts About Ice Hockey

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Hockey

10 fun hockey facts to share with your kids

Ice Hockey Facts

20 Fun, Random Facts about Hockey
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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

By George Top-10 Canadian Icons

A few years ago AskMen.com listed the top 10 Canadian icons “that have been branded as our global symbols and that define our Canadian identity.” In ascending order, they picked: maple syrup, Canada goose, beaver, Tim Horton’s, the loon, totem poles, Mounties, the CBC, the maple leaf and their number #1 icon is hockey.

In our own circles, we asked around and have prepared this list:

The By George Top 10 Canadian Icons

10. Newfie jokes, eh! Canadian humour at its best…

9. The beauty of our country’s nature captured in a Group of Seven shoreline painting or with a lone canoeist gliding through the early-morning mist of a fresh water lake

8. A mounted RCMP with Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower serving as his backdrop

7. A Bryan Adams ballad or Margaret Atwood novel – or our country’s next generation of talent – crooner Justin Bieber and renowned Yann Martel

6. Paul Henderson’s ’72 Team Canada sweater – the hopes and dream of a nation immortalized with this $1 million icon

5. The Canada Space Arm reaching out with the globe in the background – a poignant symbol of our remarkable contribution to science and to tomorrow’s dreams

4. A Tim Horton’s double-double and a maple-iced donut (hey, believe it or not in the Maritimes, they’re now ordering 4 x 4s – a coffee with four creams and four sugars!)

3. HNIC’s Coach’s Corner highlighting Bobby Orr soaring through the goal crease, Wayne Gretzky scoring from behind the net, and/or Sydney Crosby skating backward and raising his arms in victory.

2. Terry Fox and his drive and will to make a difference – our memories of Terry’s smile, his curly hair, the lean of his body as he makes his way through the Canadian Shield landscape.

1. The red maple leaf – Through the past forty years, the red leaf in the middle of our nation’s flag has become a definitive icon for Canucks and for the world. From a fluttering flag to the patch on a serviceman’s shoulder, the red maple leaf represents all that is good in our country.

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