Tag Archives: just_facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

The American history of modern day Christmas

Here are facts of some traditions of our modern day Christmas celebrations as they have developed in the United States in the 1800’s. You may be surprise to know that many of our traditions, from gift-giving to Santa Claus, are less than 200 years old. The facts below are from an informative article in The Economist entitled,  Knock yourself out, Fox: Americans have vied over Christmas for centuries

  • Between 1659 and 1681 it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in Massachusetts, as it was in England around the same time. The Puritans of the Plymouth Colony considered it wasteful, illicit and heathen as Christmas was timed to match the winter solstice and Roman Saturnalia. It had ancient pagan attributes, including gorging, licentiousness and role reversal.
  • Christmas was a regular working day everywhere until Alabama, in 1836, made it a public holiday.
  • The wealthy bourgeoisie that emerged in New York during the early 19th century feared Christmas for more selfish reasons. Its members disliked the drunken revellers who, each wild Christmastide, claimed a subversive right to their provisions and hearth.
  • New Yorkers set about domesticating the Christmastide festival, out of which effort came America’s biggest contribution to it: Santa Claus. The modern standard was set in 1822 by a rich slave owner called Clement Clarke Moore, author of “The Night before Christmas”. Where the historical St Nicholas was a lofty Greek bishop, his version was a jovial proletarian figure. Instead of demanding gifts, as the wassailers at Moore’s gate did, however, he delivered them. Stephen Nissenbaum, a historian of the American Christmas, sees this as an inversion of propertied New Yorkers’ fears of the festive mob. It was an exercise in taming Christmas.
  • A festival long associated with excess, now rededicated to spoiling close relatives in America’s richest city, Christmas rapidly became commercialized. Coca-Cola is often said to have established the fur-clad image of Santa Claus in a famous series of adverts in the 1930s.
  • The adoption of the Germanic Christmas tree in the 1830s was, for its promoters in New England, an effort to return the festival to a more innocent folk tradition. The attempt was later encouraged by Queen Victoria’s Anglo-German festivities.
  • The classic American Christmas has changed relatively little since the 1850s and its core ideas have been defined by both America and Britain. America contributed its most famous poem and Santa Claus; Britain its most famous novel—Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.”
  • After Thomas Edison’s business partner strung electric bulbs around a tree in New York in 1882, tree lights were soon being mass-produced.
  • The Hall Brothers (now Hallmark) produced the first folded Christmas card in 1915.
  • Towns up and down the country rebranded themselves as seasonal theme parks (“It’s Christmas all year round here in Bethlehem,” goes the slogan for that Pennsylvanian town).
  • Since the publication in 2005 of “Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition”, over 13m households have been persuaded to “adopt” a toy elf (with the book, it can be yours for $32.95).

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

10 Facts about Crows

1. Crows are members of the Corvidae family, which also includes ravens, magpies, and blue jays.

2. There are about 40 or so species in the Corvus genus. These range from pigeon-sized birds to ravens, which can be as much as 24-27 inches long. The Corvus genus includes the common American crow, ravens, rooks, and other variations.

3. Crows are actually very social and caring creatures, and also among the smartest animals on the planet.

4. Crows are predators and scavengers, which means that they will eat practically anything. Their diet consists of various road-kill, insects, frogs, snakes, mice, corn, human fast food, even eggs and nestlings of other birds. An adult crow needs about 11 ounces of food daily.

5. They roost in huge numbers (in the thousands) to protect themselves from enemies like red-tailed hawks, horned-owls, and raccoons.

6. Crows also use at least 250 different calls. The distress call brings other crows to their aid, as crows will defend unrelated crows.

7. Crows live all over the world, except for Antarctica, and according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, most crows are not endangered. For example, the number of individual American crows is estimated by BirdLife International to be around 31,000,000.

8. Crows are susceptible to West Nile virus, and their deaths are used as early indicators of potential human disease in an area. West Nile Virus has killed 45% of American crows since 1999.

9. Crows are most often associated with a long history of fear and loathing. Many people fear them simply because of their black feathers, which are often associating them with death. Many view the appearance of crows as an omen of death because ravens and crows are scavengers and are generally associated with dead bodies, battlefields, and cemeteries, and they are thought to circle in large numbers above sites where animals or people are expected to soon die.

10. A group of crows is called a “murder.” There are several different explanations for the origin of this term, mostly based on old folk tales and superstitions. For instance, there is a folktale that crows will gather and decide the capital fate of another crow.


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.

Just the facts on Canadians’ debt & taxes

To begin 2018, the Fraser Institute has provided Canadians with 10 financial facts about our government and its spending that we all need to better comprehend. By George reprints these alarming facts unedited.


1. The total tax bill for the average Canadian family will exceed $35,000 in 2017, or 42.5 per cent of their income—more than what the average family spends on housing, food and clothing combined.


2. While the federal government has claimed it “cut taxes for middle-class Canadians everywhere,” the reality is that 81 per cent of middle-class families in Canada are paying higher federal income taxes under the government’s personal income tax changes—on average, $840 more a year.


3. More than 60 per cent of lower-income families (those in the bottom 20 per cent of earners) in Canada now pay higher federal income taxes because of the federal government’s tax changes.


4. And that does not include the impact of the federal carbon tax mandate, the coming CPP payroll tax increase, the lowering of tax-free savings account contribution limits, or the proposed changes to the tax treatment of incorporated small businesses.


5. Canada’s high and increasing personal income tax rates on its best and brightest workers have made the country uncompetitive compared to other developed countries. The federal government increased the top federal tax rate to 33 per cent from 29 per cent, and increases to top provincial rates have been made in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and other provinces. Seven of our 10 provinces now have a top combined federal-provincial rate above 50 per cent.


6. The top 20 per cent of income-earners in Canada—families with an annual income greater than $186,875— will pay 64 percent of all personal income taxes and 56 percent of all taxes (i.e. income, payroll taxes, sales taxes and property taxes, etc.).


7. As if this isn’t enough, the federal government has failed to achieve its election promise to run $10 billion deficits in its first two years and thereafter balance the budget. Instead, since coming into office, it has run deficits of $18 billion in 2016 and $20 billion this year, additional deficits of almost $80 billion are forecast over the next five years. There’s no immediate plan to balance the budget.


8. Large annual deficits mean government debt in Canada is ballooning. Federal net debt increased to $727 billion in 2016-17 with provincial net debt collectively at $633 billion. All told, federal and provincial debt currently stands at $1.4 trillion and has increased by more than 60 per cent in the past decade.


9. Prime Minister Trudeau is on track to increase per-person federal debt more than any other prime minister in Canadian history who didn’t face a world war or economic recession.


10. The federal government has claimed deficit spending will help grow the economy through expenditures such as the promised $100 billion in infrastructure investment over the next 10 years. But only $6.6 billion of that will be spent in 2017 (only about a third of the $20 billion deficit), and less than 11 per cent of the $100 billion will be spent on projects that have the potential to strengthen the economy.


The original Fraser Institute post can be found 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.