Tag Archives: Niagara_Independent

Access to primary care is a priority concern for Canadians

The Niagara Independent, March 1, 2024 – On a personal note I am pleased to be at the keyboard today pounding out my weekly federal news column for the Niagara Independent. On Sunday I was hospitalized with a gallbladder attack complicated by pancreatitis when a wayward stone(s) lodged in my pancreas. It has been a long week but thanks to the exemplary care of the surgeon and nurses, and the medical technicians in the labs, x-ray and MRI departments, as well as the countless helpful hospital workers and volunteers, I am home writing again.

A great deal is continuously being reported on the challenges facing Canadian health care – and my intimate exposure to the health care system these past few days has provided me new appreciation for what is at stake. The Canadian Medical Association issued a statement last month that urged governments to immediately take action to rebuild the health care system, as both patients and health care professionals are suffering under the present conditions. This strained feeling is widespread. Still, one doctor who was reviewing my gallbladder issues a few weeks back observed, “Our health care system is broken, however, it is still there for people who need it.” Another family physician put it to me this way, “There are many problems with the system and people accessing care, but it is at its best when patients require emergency care.” And I will add that the excellence found within our health care “system” at a time of need is the direct reflection of the excellence of Canadian medical professionals and health care workers. Certainly, we owe a debt of gratitude to these individuals.

On the day of my surgery, Dr. Tara Kiran, a family doctor and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, was releasing a comprehensive national survey on the underlying perceptions of the state of the health care system. The survey report entitled “Primary Care Needs OurCare” found Canadians generally felt “proud” of the country’s health care but many believe the system has failed on its promise to deliver universal, quality health care in a timely manner. The frustration stems from the fact that an estimated 22 per cent of Canadian adults, about 6.5 million people, do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner.

In her interview with CBC News Dr. Kiran stated, “Primary care is falling short. Far too many people don’t have access to what is the front door to the health-care system. We’re a country of have and have-nots. So many people have absolutely nothing — no access — and I think that’s shameful, actually.”

From its findings, the OurCare report asserts that it is essential for all Canadians to have some sort of relationship with a primary care clinician. It contends that the way to solve access to primary care issues is to bring in more doctors and nurse practitioners. The report’s concluding words may be simply stated but should serve as a clarion directive for our federal and provincial elected representatives and government bureaucrats: “Everyone in Canada should be able to access the primary care they need – the care they deserve – regardless of circumstance or ability.”

The national survey findings underline the arguments currently being advanced in a series of articles by Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, former minister of long-term care in the Ontario government. [Full disclosure: Dr. Fullerton is a friend, who I am currently assisting with the edit of her soon-to-be-released book that, in part, looks at the reform of Canada’s health care system.] Fullerton states family physicians are “pivotal to effective reform,” serving as the critical link for the efficient flow of patients between community and hospital care.

She criticizes governments’ current approach that has depreciated the significant role of the family physician: “Tinkering around the edges for the past forty years as many governments have repeatedly done hasn’t worked to control costs or to provide timely access. We are where we are today because multi-billion-dollar solutions proposed to date by health care bureaucrats, consultants, lobbyists, representative physician groups, and political campaign strategists haven’t worked to create the access to care to meet demand. Neither have a myriad of regulatory changes and task forces.”

Fullerton is also critical of governments’ view that family physicians are merely considered to be “cost drivers to the system,” something that she reasons has been a detriment to effective health care reform in Canada. As the OurCare report concluded, Fullerton also sees that the solution to improving the country’s health care challenges is to increase the number of physicians — and to ensure the role of family physicians is placed at the very centre of the reform effort. She also asserts that any effective reform will require greater amounts of money: “Let’s strip away the political-speak: it’s about the money. It always was. As long as we have a finite single payer system, it always will be.”

For decades the core political debate on the country’s health care system has been one of money. The provinces have insisted the federal government must boost its health care transfers to begin paying “a fair share” for the increasing health care costs in Canada. When Tommy Douglas first introduced Canadian medicare it was understood that the federal government was to cover 50 per cent of health care costs. Through the decades that number has been whittled down to 35 per cent. However, today the federal government is covering only 22 per cent of the total cost of Canadian health care. There is a serious gap of tens of billions of dollars between what the federal government pays annually and the 35 per cent it should be paying into the country’s health care system.

The strain on the system as a result of this cash shortfall is evident: overcrowded “code orange” hospitals, resulting in a disarray in wait rooms, hallway gurneys, and restricted or closed ORs. Selective surgeries are cancelled and mental health services are not available. Medical staff are stretched, and nurses and PSWs are tired and discouraged. And most significantly, a growing number of Canadians cannot obtain a family doctor — as the OneCare findings confirmed.

Bottom line is that, without the federal government increasing the health transfers, the provinces remain cash-strapped and the country’s public health care system is threadbare and challenged to meet even the most basic health care needs of Canadians.

More to the point made by Doctors Kiran and Fullerton, recent data published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals “Canada spends less of its total health budget on primary care than the average among OECD countries.” In this data, some of the highlighted lessons for Canada to draw from its peer countries include providing “a higher proportion of total health spending on primary care” and “more physicians per capita.”

Recall earlier this month Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford grinned before the cameras at the announcement of $3.1 billion to fund 78 new primary care health teams, including family doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and social workers. This transfer of funds is for three years and is part of the 10 year/$25 billion agreement reached between Ontario and the federal government.

Big numbers indeed, but not nearly enough and considerably short of the 35 per cent of actual health care costs in a province with such a growing and aging population. Still, the pertinent question to improving our health care system is “How much of this funding will be channeled into increasing the number of family physicians?”

The former president of the Ontario Medical Association, family physician Dr. Nadia Alam, perhaps put it best when she said the $3.1 billion needed to be invested wisely. She stated in a CBC Radio interview, “Our health-care system is in dire straits and right now it feels like we are moving the furniture around while the house is on fire. When the province spends money wisely, and carefully, injecting it not just to put out fires but to actually think long term, we have the potential to do so much to save a very broken health care system.”

The federal government must step up to provide its fair share of money to resuscitate Canada’s public health care system. The provinces must make best use of the money to increase Canadians’ access to primary care and to ensure family physicians are given the respect they deserve at the centre of the health care system. In this way, Canadians will be able to again have confidence that the system will be there to meet their basic health care requirements in a timely manner.

May I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the individuals who responded to my emergency and made my encounter with “the system” such a positive one.

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/access-to-primary-care-is-a-priority-concern-for-canadians/

Liberal-NDP electoral reform legislation for the 2025 election – watch for it

The Niagara Independent, February 23, 2024 – The next federal election in October 2025 (should the Liberal-NDP confidence-and-supply deal hold) may feature increased use of mail-in ballots, a three-day voting period, and the ability to vote at any polling place. The political backrooms of the Liberals and NDPs are currently negotiating these measures behind closed doors. Their intent is to introduce electoral reform legislation this year to be implemented for the upcoming election – and, plainly, to allow for new campaign tactics that may improve their parties’ fortunes.

As leader of the third party in the 2015 federal general election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised Canadians that, if the Liberals were elected, the country would never conduct another federal election with the first-past-the-post system. Yet, once elected with a solid majority, the Liberals dispensed with thoughts of wholesale electoral reform. Instead, the Trudeau Liberals only tinkered with the Election Act and were the beneficiaries of the established electoral system in the two subsequent elections, being re-elected to power even though the party failed in both elections to receive a majority of Canadian votes.

As it is, the Trudeau Liberals never have fulfilled their promise of comprehensive electoral reform, although in their first term of government they passed specific amendments that reversed changes made by the previous Harper government. The Liberals limited the campaign period to no longer than 50 days, fixed election dates and pre-writ periods, placed ceilings on parties’ pre-writ advertising, placed limits on the campaign activities of third-party organizations, and extended the voting rights of ex-patriate Canadians. Most significantly, the Liberals made the voter identification card a valid piece of identification to prove residency, and they allowed registered voters to “vouch” for the identity or residence of another voter at the polling station. In other words, voters no longer required government-issued photo identification.

This package of amendments was introduced into the House of Commons on April 30, 2018, and the legislation was rushed through Parliament to be given royal assent in mid-December. The government pushed the legislation through in response to Elections Canada’s warning that the changes had to be passed by the end of the year for the new measures to be adopted for the federal election scheduled for October 2019.

Fast-forward to 2024, where earlier this month, MPs voted down a motion for the federal government to establish a citizens’ assembly to “determine if electoral reform is recommended for Canada and, if so, recommend specific measures that would foster a healthier democracy.” The Trudeau cabinet along with a majority of Liberal and Conservative MPs voted against the motion, while the NDP, BQ, and Green MPs were joined with 40 Liberals and three Conservatives to vote for a public electoral reform review.

This MPs’ vote however has proven to be only half the story. While MPs were debating the merits of alternative systems of representation on the floor of the House of Commons, behind the curtains the Liberals were huddled with the NDP to agree on the contents of a new Elections Act legislation that could be quickly ferried through parliament, to be in place for the 2025 election. It’s the 2018 powerplay repeated.

The Liberal-NDP backroom negotiations were exposed in a CTV News interview with NDP MP Daniel Blaikie in late January. In the interview Blaikie states there has been “a fair amount of work done,” towards drafting amendments to the Elections Act. The Liberal government frontman in the negotiations, Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, seemed annoyed with Blaikie’s public comment. When contacted, LeBlanc would only curtly confirm the legislative talks with the NDP and stated that the “next steps will be communicated in due course.”

CTV News reported that there are specific amendments being drawn up mirroring those electoral reforms that were initially discussed by PM Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh when signing their confidence-and-supply pact. The three key amendments are to 1) expand the voting period to three days, 2) allow voters to cast their ballots at any polling place, and 3) increase the use of mail-in ballots.

Blaikie alluded to the three amendments and the fact that the legislation is imminent, “I think people on both sides are keen to try and hammer out those final details and have a product that can be tabled in the House of Commons… I’m optimistic that we will have a bill that certainly includes ways of implementing what was in the [deal].”

Of the three reform initiatives the one that is garnering the greatest attention among political pundits is the increased use of mail-in ballots. The concern is that by expanding the use of mail-in ballots, voting in this manner will become normalized rather than being an exception granted to those who cannot physically travel or are unavailable to attend a voting station on election day.

In the United States through the past decade there has been growing use of mail-in ballots and they are now viewed as an integral part of a successful campaign strategy. Americans have seen serious issues relating to voter fraud, multiple ballots mailed to single addresses, and incidents of “ballot harvesting” with family members and friends. Both the Democrat and Republican parties employ tactics to increase their share of votes delivered through the mail. There has been a remarkable doubling of mail-in ballots from one election to the next: in the 2016 election, 21 per cent of American voters cast their ballot by mail and, in 2020, 43 per cent did so.

U.S. political analysts John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky wrote a book entitled “Our Broken Elections,” in which they observed that “the flood of millions of mail-in ballots opened the system to unprecedented confusion and largely untraceable fraud.” Verily, it has resulted in some states being declared for one party on election night, only to have a reverse declaration the next morning when the bags of mail-in ballots are opened.

It is not a stretch to think that the Liberals and NDP campaign teams have not contemplated the tactical advantages of increasing the use of mail-in ballots when they have both made use of political strategists from the Obama and Biden Democratic campaigns. Faced with the likelihood of being thrashed by the Conservatives at the ballot box, the Liberals’ and NDPs’ focus in the next election must be on electoral survival: shoring up support for incumbents by making close votes closer.

Mail-in ballots could make a marked difference in the outcome of the 2025 election. Consider that in the 2019 federal election, there were 45 seats decided by five per cent or less of the vote. In 2021, there were 46 seats decided by this slim margin.

So, watch for it: Dominic LeBlanc will rise in the House of Commons this spring to introduce electoral reform legislation that will “strengthen our democracy” by “allowing more Canadians the opportunity to vote.” And it will be déjà vu all over again. The legislation will be pushed through parliament just in time to be implemented in the election.

REMINDER: Next week marks the 40th anniversary of Pierre Trudeau’s resignation from politics. There is no snow in the Ottawa forecast, but this scribe again makes his claim Justin Trudeau will follow in his father’s footsteps to make a dramatic announcement on the notorious February 29th date. The deciding factor for the PM is that he shares with his father the precarious position of being 20 points behind his Conservative opposition with no realistic chance of climbing back. (There are simply not enough mail-in ballots that can be printed to reverse his political fate).    

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/liberal-ndp-electoral-reform-legislation-for-the-2025-election-watch-for-it/

Another scandal – perhaps “the last nail in the coffin”

The Niagara Independent, February 16, 2024 – “…this is probably some of the worst financial record-keeping that I’ve seen… Overall, this audit shows a glaring disregard for basic management and contracting practices throughout ArriveCan’s development and implementation,” observed Auditor General Karen Hogan at a Monday press conference. Hogan was reporting on her audit of the ArriveCan app, an $80,000 software project to track Canadian travelers’ COVID-19 vaccination status that ended up costing taxpayers $60 million.

Hogan was critical of the Canada Border Services Agency, Public Health Agency of Canada, and Public Services and Procurement Canada for their lack of accountability. Hogan’s audit uncovered non-competitive bids, lack of transparency and oversight, multiple record-keeping deficiencies, timesheets devoid of detail, and alarming security lapses.

These findings reconfirmed a January report from the federal Procurement Ombudsman Office that found in 76 per cent of the ArriveCan contracts issued, the “successful supplier did not perform any work on the contract.”

Most egregious of those contracts in which a company sub-contracted work were the contracts given to GC Strategies Inc. in the total amount of $19.1 million. The “IT staffing company” is a two-man consultancy operating from the basement of a private home/cottage on the Ottawa River. In a parliamentary committee this past fall, co-owner Kristian Firth admitted he and his business partner Darren Anthony work from home, do not perform IT work themselves, and typically charge a commission of 15-30 per cent of the value of the work they subcontract.

Revelations coming to light after Hogan’s press conference exposed that the millions neatly pocketed by Firth and Anthony during the pandemic was just the tip of the iceberg. Conservative MP Larry Brock broke the news on X that “GC Strategies has received over $250 million in contracts from the Trudeau Government since 2015.”

It is now reported in La Press and other media sources that GC Strategies has been awarded 140 contracts from various federal government departments and agencies totaling at least $258 million. The Firth-Anthony dynamic duo received their first GC Strategies contract within three weeks of the Trudeau government taking office in the fall of 2015.

With the findings in the Auditor General report, the ArriveCan app was quickly dubbed “ArriveScam” in Ottawa circles, but clearly there is much more to this explosive scandal. In a Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates this week the Conservatives successfully moved, with BQ and NDP support, to vote down a Liberal MPs motion to delay any further investigations into GC Strategies. The Conservatives pushed for AG Hogan to immediately commence a comprehensive forensic audit of all contracts awarded to GC Strategies over the past eight years.

On Wednesday (one might say “better late than never”), the RCMP rode in to announce that the police force is also “assessing” the Auditor General’s report and subsequent information that has been made public.

Political pundits and national media are attempting to put into perspective what began as a pandemic profiteering scandal and has now blown into an inexcusable quarter-of-a-billion boondoggle. The Globe and Mail lead editorial stated, “The ArriveCan app is the graveyard of accountability and common sense.” CBC News ran with the story “ArriveCan is a mess – but the scandal hides some bigger questions.” Pugnacious pundit Cory Morgan commented, “The unfolding debacle of the Canadian ArriveCAN app sounds like a story from a corrupted third-world nation.”

A number of news commentators suggested that this scandal may be the undoing of the Trudeau government. Tasha Kheiriddin of the National Post opined “ArriveCAN could be the nail in the Liberals’ political coffin.”

Yet, Globe and Mail columnist Andrew Coyne posted on X, “Prediction: We are never going to get to the bottom of ArriveCan, any more than we’re ever going to get to the bottom of SNC Lavalin, or WE Charity, or the Winnipeg lab mess, or anything else. Our accountability mechanisms are just laughably weak, where they are not compromised.”

Coyne may be correct. The question remains whether there will be enough public outrage to press the government in pursuing answers to GC Strategies’ $258 million haul? Or will the bluster of negative headlines be ignored until they disappear – just like past misdeeds and mishaps? Or to put it more directly, do Canadians care at all about the mountain of scandals Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have excused through their eight years in office? How many times have Canadians heard that it’s “the last nail in the coffin?”

Canadian historians often cite Sir John A. Macdonald’s government as being the country’s most scandalous administration. However, the current Liberal administration may be rewriting the history books in this regard. Consider the Trudeau government’s record:

In 2016, newspapers reported the PM attended Liberal cash-for-access $1,525 per ticket political events at homes of wealthy Chinese-Canadians in Toronto and Vancouver. / In May 2016, crossing the floor of the House of Commons, PM Trudeau muscled Conservative MP Gord Brown and elbowed NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brousseau. / PM Trudeau broke ethics laws (the first sitting PM to do so) in accepting a Bahamas holiday on the private island of Aga Khan – whose charity was later given $50 million from the government. / In February 2018, PM Trudeau and his family became international embarrassments when dressing up in costumes and arranging photoshoots while visiting India. / On this India trip, the Trudeaus invited known convicted criminal Jaspal Atwal to a reception in Mumbia. / In 2018, stories surfaced of Justin Trudeau groping a reporter when he was 28 at the Kokanee Summit in Creston, BC. / Stories surfaced in Ottawa of the PM insulting and bullying Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who chose not to run again. / The SNC-Lavalin scandal dominated the news as the Liberal government was angling to provide the Quebec firm with a deferred prosecution deal instead of pursuing a criminal case for fraud and corruption. / The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) pressured Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Reybould to make the backroom deal. Wilson-Raybould resigned. President of the Treasury Board Minister Jane Philpott resigned. Trudeau’s Principal Secretary (and BFF) Gerald Butts resigned. The Ethics Commissioner found the PM had violated Canada’s Conflict of Interest Act. Post-2019 election, the newly appointed Justice Minister David Lametti provided SNC-Lavalin with a deferred prosecution deal. / In 2018, stories circulated about Trudeau’s inappropriate incidents as teacher that led to his dismissal from West Point Grey Academy – incidents that could not be confirmed due to non-disclosure agreements. / In March 2019, PM Trudeau apologized for making his sarcastic “Thank you for your donation” to an indigenous woman who interrupted a Liberal Party fundraiser in protest about poor living conditions. / In May 2019, the government abandoned their legal action against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman and paid him an undisclosed amount to remain silent on the controversies involving Maritime naval contracts and the involvement of the PMO, Privy Council Office, and former minister Scott Brison. / During the 2019 election, the “Blackface Scandal” exposed PM Trudeau in blackface and costumes in three separate occasions when he was a teacher. / The “WE Charity Scandal” involved Liberals that were sole sourcing contracts to WE to run a $912 million dollar student program – and WE providing hundreds of thousands of favours to Trudeau’s mother, Margaret, his wife, Sophie and brother, Alexandre. / WE Charity also hired Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s daughter. Morneau resigned, supposedly over not recusing himself from cabinet discussions about WE Charity. / In October 2020, the story was exposed that Toronto real estate developer Wei Wei met with Trudeau at least twice as part of a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) endorsed industry group that would later negotiate a $1 million donation arrangement with the Trudeau Foundation. Trudeau Foundation connections also played a part in the foreign interference investigation of Morris Rosenberg and subsequent inquiry led by David Johnston – both men exonerating PM Trudeau of all wrong-doing while being exposed as longstanding, close friends of the Trudeau family. / Allegations were made and never cleared up about undue interference into the RCMP investigation into the Nova Scotia mass murders. Implicated were the PMO, then-Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, and RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, all attempting to push the Liberals’ gun legislation while suppressing facts of the murders. / The pandemic period between 2020-2022 had multiple scandals: joint Canada-China virus research at the Winnipeg Lab and the mysterious firing and disappearance of two Chinese scientists; untold hundreds of millions spent on a Canada-Sino vaccine development and then the extra costs paid for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines; the $237 million sole-sourced and unfulfilled contract to former MP Frank Baylis for ventilators; the $300 million sole-sourced contract to SNC-Lavalin for mobile health units (with no proof they were even made); and, the $323 million sole-sourced contracts given to Quebec City pharmaceutical company Medicago to build a manufacturing plant and provide vaccines. / In September 2021, the PM marked the country’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by secretly jetting off to surf his favourite Tofino BC beach. / The PM’s and senior ministers’ mistreatment of Canadians during the Freedom Convoy (including freezing bank accounts) and the unconstitutional use of the Emergencies Act. / The $6,000 a night Corinthia Hotel room Justin Trudeau stayed in while attending Queen Elizabeth’s funeral – and the coverup that he had been the occupant. / Facts now public that senior government officials including the PMO knew about the CCP’s undue influence in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections, its election campaign misdeeds and threats to MPs and their family members, and they did not pass on the intelligence. / Canada was embarrassed internationally when, during the September 2023 visit of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, a Waffen-SS Nazi veteran was given a standing ovation in the House of Commons. Speaker Anthony Rota was scapegoated and resigned to cover the PMO’s involvement in the plans to honour the Nazi. / The PM accepted a gift from a family friend of a $84,000 Christmas family vacation at a Jamaican estate – and initially told Canadians he was paying for it.

As all the facts surface on GC Strategies in the weeks and months ahead, it will be interesting to see whether Andrew Coyne or Tasha Kheiriddin nailed it.

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/another-scandal-perhaps-the-last-nail-in-the-coffin/

Deconstructing Canada (6-part series)

Deconstructing Canada

Justin Trudeau’s eight-year record

Robbing From Future Canadians

Trudeau’s perversion of justice

Trudeau’s degradation of Parliament

Sabotaging natural resources development

This nation is now “irrelevant” in world affairs


This six-part series originally ran in The Niagara Independent, November – December 2023.

Chris George is an advocate, government relations advisor, and writer/copy editor. As president of a public relations firm established in 1994, Chris provides discreet counsel, tactical advice and management skills to CEOs/Presidents, Boards of Directors and senior executive teams in executing public and government relations campaigns and managing issues. Prior to this PR/GR career, Chris spent seven years on Parliament Hill on staffs of Cabinet Ministers and MPs. He has served in senior campaign positions for electoral and advocacy campaigns at every level of government. Today, Chris resides in Almonte, Ontario where he and his wife manage www.cgacommunications.comContact Chris at chrisg.george@gmail.com.

The latest political numbers out of Ottawa

The Niagara Independent, February 9, 2024 – “A week is a long time in politics,” observed former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. For Canadians, there are 88 weeks before the next federal election, scheduled for October 20, 2025. That’s a very long time given the latest political numbers out of Ottawa.

On Feb. 4, a national polling and seat projection website, 338Canada released the latest polling figures based on a statistical model that factors opinion polls, electoral history, and demographic data. The numbers reveal a commanding lead for the Conservatives who have maintained a double-digit vote advantage over the governing Liberals since Labour Day last fall.

Conservatives enjoy 40 per cent support nationally, Liberals 26 per cent, NDP 19 per cent, BQ 8 per cent, Green 5 per cent and PPC 3 per cent. These percentages have been broken down by 338Canada to project a seat count – how many Members of Parliament (MPs) each party would elect if the vote were held today. This projection points to a Conservative majority government: Conservatives electing 199 MPs, Liberals 74 MPs, BQ 37 MPs, NDP 26 MPs, and Green 2 MPs.

With the latest polling in Ontario the Conservatives would win 86 seats, the Liberals would retain 24 seats (mostly in Toronto and the GTA), the NDP would be reduced to 10 seats, and the Green would win one seat.

In the Niagara region, there would be a Conservative sweep with the blue wave swamping current Liberal MPs. One in two voters support Conservative MPs Dean Allison and Tony Baldinelli in their respective ridings. In Niagara Centre, MP Vance Badawey is currently running third in voter preference, while in St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle trails the Conservatives by double-digits, with the riding having a 99 per cent chance of turning blue.

Again, the 338Canada numbers are a reflection of what would happen if the vote was today. Though the average lifespan of a minority government in Canada is less than two years, because of the supply-and-confidence deal struck between the Liberals and NDP, the governing Liberals will be in power for the full extent of the federal mandate. This assumes the NDP will continue to support the Liberals.

However, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh made headlines this week suggesting he might end the deal with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if the government does not introduce national pharmacare legislation by the end of March. In a tete-a-tete with the PM, Singh said he was firm in relating potential repercussions for missing the pharmacare deadline. In his follow-up media conference, Singh refrained from stating exactly what repercussions the Liberals would face.

Perhaps the NDP are buoyed by the collapse of public opinion support for the Liberals – and that might prompt them to want to test the polls. But the polling firm Angus Reid provided some recent numbers that reveal Singh’s bravado may be nothing but public posturing as the NDP are still operating from a position of weakness.

More than one in three NDP supporters (36 per cent) indicate they would likely switch their vote to Liberals to keep the Conservatives from being elected. Another one in three (30 per cent) said they would consider that option. With this type of conditional support, it is highly likely that the NDP vote will collapse in the next election as left-leaning Canadians will be voting strategically when going to the ballot box.

In that same mid-January opinion survey, Angus Reid found that Conservative voters will be voting on principle while Liberal voters will be voting according to their politics. The survey that revealed only nine per cent of voters actually support the Trudeau government’s policies. Two in three (63 per cent) Liberal voters are motivated to keep the Conservatives out of power. Alternatively, three in five (62 per cent) Conservative voters are expressly voting for Pierre Poilievre and the party’s vision for Canada. Angus Reid factors that this block of voters makes up a quarter of all the electorate.

Given that nine out of ten voters do not support the Liberals’ progressive agenda, MPs Badawey and Bittle are sure to have a tough slog of it climbing back into their respective electoral races.

Though 338Canada may provide an indication of voter intent, a more certain indicator is found in the public’s financial support of political parties. The official donor records for last year were just released and there are ominous signs for the governing Liberals. In 2023 the Conservatives broke all records for political fundraising, raising $35.3 million – more than all other parties combined. Last year, the Liberals raised only $15.6 million, NDP $6.9 million, Green $1.9 million, BQ $1.8 million, and PPC $1.6 million.

In the last quarter of 2023, the Conservatives raised a record $11.8 million, and a remarkable total of $7.08 million in their December year-end appeal.

The Conservatives also far outstripped the other parties in number of donors through 2023: Conservatives 200,248, Liberals 128,918, NDP 68,063, Green 18,799, BQ 11,449 and PPC 16,314.

Here are a few more numbers from Ottawa to consider. On April 22 the boundaries of all federal ridings in the country will be adjusted by Elections Canada according to its redistribution exercise. The total number of MPs will rise from 338 to 343 with three new ridings in Alberta and another one each in Ontario and BC.  It is projected that the Conservatives will take four of the five seats and the Liberals will battle with the NDP for the other. For those counting, that would give the Conservatives a 203-seat majority.

In setting the stage for the next election campaign, consider a few facts that have recently been made public.

First, only 69 of the 156 Liberal MPs have been nominated to run. The Conservatives have 105 of their current 117 MPs ready to run, though after April 22 some may be required to go through a new nomination process because their riding boundaries have changed by 25 per cent or more.

Second, in the 2015 election, there were 142 MPs elected for the first time. Having served more than six years, “the class-of-2015” are now eligible for a MPs pension. In the months ahead it is anticipated many Liberal and NDP MPs will choose to walk away with their pensions and not suffer the embarrassment of losing at the ballot box.

Finally, to date, a total of 15 MPs have announced they will not run: 11 Liberals, 2 Conservatives, and 2 NDP.

At the end of this month it will be the 40-year anniversary of Pierre Trudeau’s notorious “walk in the snow.” This scribe has long held that Justin Trudeau will take the opportunity of Feb. 29, 2024, to repeat his father’s exit from the Prime Minister’s Office. Not one to pass by the theatrical drama of the leap year date, Justin Trudeau will want to recast his spot and his family’s name in Canadian political history.

For the record, Justin Trudeau has laughed when asked about the anniversary date, defiantly stating: “When my dad was my age, he still had 12 years of prime ministering ahead of him… Do you think I could walk away?”

Yet consider, like his father did, Trudeau has made the most of the last few months by appointing Senators, judges, and as many warm-blooded Liberals to government vacancies. He has given Canadians the infamous “Trudeau shrug” while accepting his luxurious Jamaican Christmas holiday, when caught purposely lying about Nazi Yaroslav Hunka and MPs’ international embarrassment, and being purposely divisive and combative when it comes to championing his progressive ideas pertaining to carbon taxes, safe drug supply, sex changes for children, and ceding national interests to globalists’ agendas.

Justin Trudeau has seemingly already checked-out of his role as Prime Minister, taking as many “private days” as he wishes and routinely ducking out of Question Period to avoid having to answer for his actions.

So, given the numbers, here are the dates to circle in your calendar:  February 29, March 31, April 22, and, with 88 weeks and counting, October 20, 2025.

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-latest-political-numbers-out-of-ottawa/

Liberals putting lipstick on “a very ugly carbon tax pig”

The Niagara Independent, February 2, 2024 – The Liberal government is looking to rebrand the carbon tax, wanting to enhance the promotion of their quarterly rebate cheques. They want to re-explain the significance of their “carbon pricing system” because, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confessed, the Liberals are losing the communications battle on the carbon tax. This news was given front page headline treatment by the Liberal-friendly mouthpiece Toronto Star as Members of Parliament were returning to Ottawa from their Christmas recess. It became the focal point for the opening salvos of the parliamentary session.

The Liberals are increasingly concerned that their government’s prized climate policy is being maligned and misunderstood because of Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s cross country “Axe the Tax” tour. Poilievre has been speaking to packed audiences, pledging to rid Canadians of their carbon tax burden. According to “a senior government official” who leaked the rebranding exercise to the Star’s news writers, the Liberals hope to dampen the enthusiasm for Poilievre’s message by changing the name of their rebates and directing Canadian banks to highlight in some way the quarterly payments.

Poilievre responded to the Liberals’ communications and marketing strategy with an age-old idiom: “No matter how much lipstick the Liberals try to put on a very ugly carbon tax pig, it doesn’t change the fact Trudeau’s carbon tax is a very costly, ugly, hungry pig.”

The reaction to the Liberals’ news from across the country was similarly dismissive. A lead editorial in Sun Media opined: “The Trudeau Liberals keep clinging to the idea, borne of their political desperation, that if they can just properly explain their carbon tax to Canadians, they’ll flock to it in support.” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe scoffed: “I don’t think it’s Canadians who are confused about the carbon tax.” David Jacobs, an active social media political commentator from Toronto reacted, “What Canadians hate more than taxes is a government that takes them for fools.” Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation sniped: “Lipstick on a pig. Stop the gimmicks. Scrap the carbon tax.”

Back in Ottawa at the Conservative caucus meeting on Sunday, Poilievre announced that cancelling the carbon tax is his number one priority. The Conservatives will champion carbon tax exemptions for farmers, who today are paying extraordinary amounts of carbon tax on the natural gas and propane needed to dry grains, or to heat and cool livestock barns. Poilievre also wants to see the carbon tax exemptions on home fuel that has been awarded to the Atlantic provinces to be extended to all Canadians.

The Conservatives used the first days back in the House of Commons to blast the Liberals’ planned marketing of their rebate payments, accusing them of being “pathologically obsessed” with their carbon tax. Poilievre questioned Trudeau on the amount of carbon tax he paid for his Jamaican Christmas vacation and chastised him for his non-answers to Canadians: “That is high-tax, high-flying, high-carbon hypocrisy.” Poilievre asked Trudeau about Edmontonians who suffered minus-50-degree temperatures recently, “Will he at least allow people to heat their homes without his tax?”

But the Liberals remain unmoved; the carbon tax for Canadians is “a price on pollution” that is imposed to ensure the country achieves its 2030 and 2050 emission targets. Conservatives maintain the carbon tax is not a climate policy, but simply another tax that is hurting individuals and families – and the nation’s economy.

The carbon tax is a tax impacting Canadians’ cost of living

The carbon tax increases the cost of everything in Canada. It raises prices for Canadians not just on gas and home fuel – it raises prices on everything. Every business pays it and will pass it on to their customers so, essentially, it is a hidden tax on all goods and services. It hits farmers and truckers hard, and it hits commuters to work – twice a day. Homeowners stress about heating bills through the cold of the winter and cannot imagine the costs tripling in the next six years. It adds to the cost of a Tim Hortons’ coffee, food in your grocery cart, and housing construction costs. A Finance Canada analysis concluded the carbon tax disproportionately impacts lower and middle-income households.

Today, the carbon tax adds $10 on every fill up and almost $300 annually for home heating fuel. In the next six years there are scheduled annual tax hikes that will nearly triple these totals by 2030. And there is an additional Clean Fuel Standard carbon tax – and GST applied on top of this.

In answer to these facts, government spokespeople counter that Canadians get back in rebate payments the taxes they pay at the pump and for home fuel. They say 80 per cent of households get all tax that is collected back. However, the government is not factoring the additional hidden taxes that Canadians pay extra for in the goods and services they purchase. The government is also not factoring the huge drain the carbon tax is having on business investment and economic activity, which the Parliamentary Budget Office reports will result in 60 per cent of households ending up worse off. For example, with rebates in, Ontario households will be in the hole $150 monthly in 2030.

An environmental must or a tax bust?

Here are a few other factors that the Trudeau government must explain to Canadians when they rebrand the rebate payments and re-introduce their “price on pollution.”

The Trudeau government’s schedule of carbon tax hikes will hurt Canadians in the pocketbook – but then it is meant to. The government has imposed their punitive tax policy, expressly designed to alter Canadians’ behaviour and energy habits. In a Liberal document circulated after the 2019 federal election, Trudeau explained the Liberals’ approach in annually increasing the tax: “The principle is straightforward: a carbon price establishes how much businesses and households need to pay for their pollution. The higher the price, the greater the incentive to pollute less, conserve energy and invest in low-carbon solutions.”

Leading Liberals – the likes of Mark Carney, Chrystia Freeland, Catherine McKenna – believe that only by applying increased financial pain, with the steady increase of the carbon tax, will their emission goals of 2030 and 2050 be met. Except, even with the burden of the scheduled tax hikes, a government report concludes that tripling the carbon taxes in the next six years is not sufficient to force a change in energy use behaviour.

The Parliamentary Budget Office provided a 2021 analysis that found the government’s “net zero” targets can only realistically be reached by raising the carbon tax five times greater than it is currently scheduled through 2030. At this level of taxation, Canadians would be paying approximately $160 of additional carbon taxes every time they filled up their vehicle.

The suggestion that carbon taxes are not high enough has prompted Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault to suggest their scheduled hikes must be further hiked – but any talk of inflating the tax has been silenced within Liberal circles, likely not to be heard again until after the election.

The Liberals contend their carbon pricing system is the lynchpin mechanism within the government’s climate plan to ensure the country meets its net-zero targets. Yet this rationale has been discredited. In the fall the government-appointed Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Jerry DeMarco released a report that concluded the Trudeau climate plan is a failure.

It is a fact that, since 2015, Canada’s emissions have risen, and the country has the worst performance of any of the G7 nations when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. According to a recent U.N. Emissions Gap Report, Canada is set to miss its next emissions target in 2030 by 15 per cent.

DeMarco’s report assesses that the Liberals environmental policies have too many unrealistic assumptions and projections and have no cohesive plan to reach the targets set for 2030 or 2050. He concludes the “punitive tax approach” has not been effective and it has failed the government’s stated objective, given emissions have risen over the past couple decades.

Still, the defiant way Trudeau and his ministers lashed out at the Conservatives this week suggests there is no moving the Liberals on providing carbon tax relief to financially stressed Canadians. As this debate in Ottawa unfolds, Canadians must simply brace themselves for more carbon tax increases on April 1.

As for the government’s intended rebranding exercise for the “very ugly carbon tax pig,” if that lipstick analogy is wearing thin, perhaps the Liberals will be better advised by an old Scottish proverb: “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

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/liberals-putting-lipstick-on-a-very-ugly-carbon-tax-pig/

The WEF casts a long shadow across Canada

The Niagara Independent, January 26, 2024 – Last week 3,000 business, academic and government leaders met at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) international conference in the ski resort town of Davos Switzerland. There were over 100 governments and more than 1,000 global companies in attendance, as were the leading technocrats from the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization. Representatives for the Canadian government – both elected and from within the federal bureaucracy – as well as the country’s corporate heads were in Davos.

This was the 54th annual gathering hosted by the WEF, an international body with a mission to facilitate “improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.” German engineer Klaus Schwab, the WEF’s founder and co-author of The Great Reset and COVID-19 – The Great Reset, is centerstage in Davos, chairing the assembly. Schwab is championing a WEF plan to alter nation states and their institutions so that, by 2030, countries will be in adherence with U.N. economic and social governing bodies.

Members of the Trudeau government play key roles in the WEF. Canada’s Deputy PM and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is also a Trustee on the WEF Board and, as such, is responsible for advancing WEF objectives. Mark Carney, touted as the next Liberal leader, is a former Trustee and an active participant, often leading WEF discussions about global banking. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is regularly feted by the WEF as a vanguard global leader of progressive initiatives. And the Trudeau government is seen as a favourite of Klaus Schwab, who has boasted at a Harvard interview in 2017 that he has “penetrated” many of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers.

The WEF’s Davos conference is designed to bring the world’s decision makers into closed-door meetings to discuss coordination in global affairs and WEF initiatives. It is an overt effort to influence global agendas and decision making, and lobby for public-private cooperation. Conspiracy theorists purport Klaus Schwab and the WEF have a manipulative and direct control over participating government leaders. That is not so; rather it is an indirect pressure being applied at these WEF gatherings for participants to “join in” and commit to implementing global action plans.

Canadians are mostly unaware of how PM Trudeau, Finance Minister Freeland, and others in the Liberal cabinet are purposely advancing the WEF agenda in Canada. They do so without any sharing of details. Legacy media obscures any available facts. There are only a few people pursuing the government’s WEF activities and the implications: Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis is diligently using parliamentary Access to Information to pry details from the government, and The Epoch Times news reporter Noe Chartier is consistently tracking the implementation of WEF programs in Canada.

The WEF and its global agenda for 2030 casts a long shadow across Canada. To appreciate the full extent of the WEF’s reach, let’s consider the Trudeau government’s role with various WEF projects.

Digital ID & the Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI)

The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) is contracted by WEF to play the leadership role in advancing a global digital ID program. This program will utilize QR codes in a similar way that the Canadian ArriveCAN app was used as a screening tool to validate Canadians’ vaccination status.

Coupled with the CBA work is the WEF’s KTDI initiative, which will increase the capability of digital ID use for monitoring travel and movement of citizens. Canada plays a lead role for the WEF in carrying these files forward and, in the past three years, Canadians have become aware and some have experienced firsthand the programs’ outcomes. Here is the other half of the story:

  • The ArriveCAN digital border program that was established for COVID-19 has not been dismantled in Canada. Federal health and transportation ministers have suggested the requirement for using ArriveCAN at the country’s border may be reinstated should the government need to respond to future pandemic crises. Canadian researchers continue to further this work signing agreements to track air travel with the Netherlands and, more recently, with the European Union.
  • The WEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) are looking into the possibilities to link this digital ID to individuals’ medical records and establish a global digital health network as a management strategy for an internationally coordinated response to future pandemics.
  • Coincidently, the CBA is also provide its expert counsel on the use of digital ID for financial services. Certainly, the Canadian experience with the Trudeau government freezing the bank accounts of protestors during the Truckers Convoy is instructive for both the CBA and WEF.

In elaborating on his envisioned new world order, Klaus Schwab explains the digital ID & KTDI programs are essential for the WEF to monitor people’s movements, behaviour, purchases, and biometrics.

The Agile Nations Network (ANN)

Canada is one of seven countries committed to developing the ANN, an initiative that will streamline nations’ regulations across countries and establish a WEF set of principles for international digital credentials, the internet of things with consumer products, and the marketization of digital health devices – to name a few. One aspiration of the ANN is to “help drive economic growth and address the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.”

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDCs)

The WEF is championing a cashless society that will be restricted to using CBDCs for commerce. The Trudeau government has committed to the WEF initiative to develop CBDCs. This past year, despite clear objections to this idea in Canada, the Bank of Canada announced its “development phase” for a Canadian CBDC. Once in place the Bank of Canada can manage Canadians’ digital currency according to financial policies and directions agreed upon at the IMF and WEF.

Energy use. Agriculture regulations. Pandemic Health Treaty and climate change. 

There are other significant global initiatives that Canada is now advancing in accordance to the commitments made with the WEF. 1) In Davos this year, Chrystia Freeland spoke of Canada’s push for a green energy transition that will require Canada’s manufacturing industries to be retooled and the country’s oil and gas to be shut down. 2) Like European countries, the Canadian government is introducing new farm and agrifood regulations impacting fuel carbon taxes, fertilizer, and livestock fluctuation. 3) As a main proponent of the UN’s Pandemic Health Treaty (to be signed this Spring), Canada is advocating to have the proposed global authoritative structure for health crises to be expanded to include climate emergencies.

Tracking WEF initiatives in Canada…

The WEF’s ambitious global agenda is well documented, and it is publicized at events like the annual Davos conference. Less public are the actions of the Trudeau government in relation to the commitments made to the WEF global agenda. Still, the desired outcomes of the Canadian government’s policy and actions can be assessed by the end goals enunciated by Klaus Schwab and WEF spokespeople.

Although it may be difficult to track with the lack of public discussion and legacy media, Canadians can stay informed on the many moving pieces with thanks to MP Leslyn Lewis and newsmen like Noe Chartier. And staying informed of the global agenda is a very important endeavour if Canadians and our country are to move out from the WEF shadow.

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-wef-casts-a-long-shadow-across-canada/

Trudeau government’s policies exacerbating Canadians’ affordability crisis

The Niagara Independent, January 19, 2024 – After eight years of the Trudeau Liberal government managing the Canadian economy, Canadians are in the throes of a cost-of-living crisis. While this crisis is being felt by citizens in countries around the world, the Trudeau government’s policies are exacerbating the tight financial situation most Canadians find themselves in. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, and a host of senior ministers are championing fiscal and economic policies that are proving to be detrimental to the economic well-being of individual Canadians and of the country as a whole.

The news of an increase in the country’s inflation rate this week is an indication that the government’s current efforts to curtail inflation are falling short. Statistics Canada reported that inflation ticked up in December and the annual rate for 2023 was 3.9 per cent (the second highest annual rate increase in 40 years; 6.8 per cent in 2022 was the highest). Last year, food prices rose by 7.8 per cent, the mortgage interest cost index rose 28.5 per cent, renters paid 6.5 per cent more, and the prices of health and personal care products rose faster in 2023 than the prior year.

Financial analysis of the increases in cost of living and the stubbornly high inflation rate suggests the federal government’s policies are in fact driving inflationary pressure. Economists Jake Fuss and Jason Clemens of the Fraser Institute state: “Large increases in spending, taxes, and borrowing have not translated into a more robust economy.” They conclude that Canadians “can thank Trudeau’s policies for our stagnant economy and deteriorating federal finances.”

Here is the toxic mix of Trudeau government’s policies that are making all aspects of life more expensive.

The carbon tax (and increased taxes)  

The carbon tax increases the cost of everything in Canada. The Trudeau government’s schedule of carbon tax hikes is hurting Canadian individuals, families, and the nation’s economy. This punitive tax policy, expressly designed to alter Canadians’ behaviour and energy habits, is not only adding tax onto gas and home heating fuel, but it is a tax on all goods and services. It hits farmers and truckers hard and it hits commuters – twice a day. Homeowners stress about heat and families stress about meals for their kids. It adds to the cost of a Tim Hortons’ coffee, food in your grocery cart, and housing construction costs. Everything is impacted by this tax. And Bank Governor Tiff Macklem confirmed in a parliamentary committee hearing that the carbon tax is responsible for at least 16 per cent of country’s total inflation rate.

With the carbon tax piled on top of a litany of government taxes, Canadians now pay nearly half of their income (46 per cent) in taxes. According to the Fraser Institute, our tax bills are the fastest growing expenditure for working Canadians, more than the rising costs of housing, food and clothing combined. This tax burden is a significant challenge for Canada to attract and retain entrepreneurs, investors and skilled professionals. Even more serious is the rising taxes on middle-class Canadians, 86 per cent of whom are paying higher personal income taxes today than when Trudeau took office in 2015.

Unbridled government spending 

The Trudeau government’s record of consecutive budget deficits is pockmarked with unbridled spending on bureaucracy, and new and expanding government programs. Since Trudeau took the reins of government, annual spending has ballooned 75 per cent (projected to be $453 billion in 2023-24). The federal debt has more than doubled to $1.2 trillion (2022-23) and is projected to rise further to $2.4 trillion within five years. The Trudeau years epitomize big government: the federal public service has grown 40 per cent (now totaling 357,247) and operational spending has increased 32 per cent. Ottawa is washed in a sea of red ink.

With interest costs on the national debt reaching more than $52 billion annually, the billion dollars a week Canadians now spend to service the debt is taking away from the government’s ability to support the increasing demands for improved health care, housing, and social programs.

David Dodge, former governor of the Bank of Canada, told MPs last fall that Canadians face a bleak future of higher taxes and diminished government services as a result of the Trudeau government’s fiscal approach. Dodge commented: “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.”

No strategy to address Canada’s sagging economy 

News on Canada’s sagging economy is as bad as it can get. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada will be the worst-performing advanced economy through the 2020s and for the following three decades. Canada is the only G7 nation to not yet rebound to its pre-pandemic standard of living and is near bottom of the OECD rankings for GDP growth.

Sadly, the OECD projects that growth in living standards in Canada will be the worst of all developed member-countries through 2060. In commenting on these latest projections, the Canadian Coalition for a Better Future testified this past fall before a parliamentary committee: “On a per capita basis, our economy is not only stalled, it’s actually contracting… If things don’t change, we’ll soon be talking about a lost decade of productivity.”

The growing gap in productivity between Canadian and American or EU workers forecasts Canadians’ standard of living falling further behind our neighbours to the south and within Europe. The stakes are great for younger Canadians wanting the same life opportunities as previous generations. Yet to date, the Trudeau government has failed to gain the confidence of the domestic business community or the foreign investment community – and this is now an urgent policy matter in Ottawa.

There has already been suggestions in the international community that Canada is poised to become the next “Greece,” a country debilitated with low growth and high debt. Lakehead economic professor Livio Di Matteo sums it up in this manner: “At [current] rates of growth, in a quarter century, Canada’s real per capita GDP will be 60 percent that of the U.S. We are on track to becoming a relatively poorer country with a more fractious political system that seems unable to get things done.”

Increased immigration 

In the last month there has been a great deal of commentary on the Trudeau government’s mismanagement of the immigration file. Despite officials’ warnings of the negative implications for housing affordability and settlement services, the Trudeau government opened the borders of the country to allow for the largest intake of foreigners since Confederation, and greatest number of third-world migrants in the world, resulting in the greatest population growth rate of any G7 country, and greater than China and India.

In the weeks ahead the government will be hard pressed to address the serious impact these burgeoning immigration numbers has had on Canada’s housing market, health care and social services – and, ultimately, on Canadians’ standard of living.

As explained this week by National Bank economists Stefane Marion and Alexandra Ducharme, Canada is now ensnarled in a “population trap.” In the simplest terms, a population trap occurs when a country’s population is growing faster than its economic growth. Tony Keller of the Globe and Mail explained it best: “In plain English, the number of forks in the economic pie is growing faster than the pie, and faster than our capacity to invest in more ovens to bake more pie.”

A final thought

Canadians are feeling the consequences of the Trudeau government’s undisciplined tax-and-spend approach and its damaging economic and immigration policies. In his regular Hill Times column, the thoughtful and often optimistic David Crane provides a snapshot of the current state of the nation. Crane writes of the mood of young Canadians caught up in the affordability crisis: “Too many people are frustrated by lack of housing, cost-of-living crises, and a fear that nothing is about to improve for them. For younger Canadians the future is especially troubling. This is a world of despair, not hope.”

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-governments-policies-exacerbating-canadians-affordability-crisis/

The number one issue for Canadians in 2024: The unaffordable cost of living

The Niagara Independent, January 12, 2024 –  Canadians enter this year with a high level of anxiety and mounting financial strain that many have never experienced. There is a pervasive worry about the unaffordable cost of living. The bromides offered by PM Justin Trudeau and the governing Liberals provide no relief for individuals and families challenged with the basics of life: food on the table and a roof over their heads.

State-sponsored broadcaster CBC has recently shared profiles of Canadians – literally from one coast to the other – in dire straits. There is the story of a Conception Bay, Newfoundland mother who now goes hungry for her family. Tara Saunders shared, “My husband and I sometimes went without because we wanted to make sure what we did have — it was given to the children.” In despair she turned for assistance from a local community charity, which now alarmingly supports more than 30,000 members looking for food and clothing handouts.

Then there is the CBC story about metro-Vancouver, gainfully employed resident Stephanie Watts who made the hard decision to forgo exchanging Christmas presents. Watts explains, “On paper, I make what should be a comfortable middle-class living wage but it’s just not cutting it anymore. It’s exhausting, you know, the constant calculating: “OK, how much are all these things going to cost? How can I pack as many things as I can into this one errand so that I can save some gas?” If we are feeling that, what are people on the low-income spectrum feeling?”

Cost of living pressures are top of mind for a majority of Canadians. A recent MNP Consumer Debt survey reveals almost three in five Canadians (60 per cent) state their financial situation is causing them anxiety and as many (63 per cent) are worried about repaying their debts. Nearly one in five Canadians (18 per cent) have already tapped into savings and sources of equity to pay day-to-day expenses.

Bottom line: the cost of living in the country has become unaffordable for many. In 2023, there were numerous news reports of growing line-ups for food banks, students dumpster-diving, people moving into shelters and tent communities because they cannot find accommodation – there were event those who arrange for state-assisted suicide (MAID) because they could not cope with their living standards.

Here are statistics and the latest reports revealing the human struggles taking place across our country.

On food costs:

  • The federal government records an annual food inflation of 14 per cent for basic groceries like hamburger and peanut butter, 20 per cent for baby formula, and 27 per cent for white sugar.
  • In 2023, Canada’s Food Price Report (CFPR) stated a family of four had an annual grocery bill of $16,288.40 and it estimates this bill will increase by $700 next year (ed. – $700 is a low figure given last year the government recorded a 14 per cent increase, which equates to $2,280.38).
  • A University of Toronto study revealed almost six million Canadians – 15.9 per cent of all households – are experiencing food insecurity in the country. A Dalhousie University study reported one in two Canadians (45.5 per cent) now shop according to cost rather than to food’s nutritional value, and half of Canadians (49.2 per cent) have reduced buying meat because of the high cost.
  • A recent Ipso Reid poll showed half of Canadians (51 per cent) said they are staying home to save money for necessities, and almost two in five (38 per cent) are worried they will not be able to feed their families.
  • Last year was the first time in the CFPR’s history that families spent less on average on groceries than in the preceding year.

Last week Blacklock’s Reporter provided further data on rising food pricing and placed this mounting cost into context of what the Trudeau government promised in the fall of 2023. In Statistics Canada’s grocery cart of goods, more than half of the food items (59 of 106) increased, some climbing more than 10 per cent. This is after PM Trudeau and senior cabinet ministers promised to work with the grocery industry and stabilize prices. Trudeau stated in September, “We have gathered the CEOs of the big grocery chains today to make sure they have a plan to stabilize prices for Canadians right across the country. Food is too expensive for too many families and they’re making record profits.”

On housing:

  • The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) reported that two of three Canadians (65 per cent) holding mortgages today are having difficulties paying them, and more than half of these struggling Canadians (55 per cent) are sinking further into debt by having to use their savings to meet their monthly payments.
  • There are presently 6.08 million homeowners with mortgages who must renegotiate their mortgages in 2024 and 2025 at the higher interest rates of 4-5 per cent.
  • Just one in four Canadians (26 per cent) can afford to buy a single-family home right now, according to a recent report by RBC. Canadians who want to buy are unable to because of rising market prices and high interest rates.
  • 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.
  • Statistics Canada tracked annual rent increases of over 7 per cent on average (November), which was one of the biggest drivers to the increase in the Consumer Price Index. CMHC breaks this figure down to report that, last year, landlords increased rental rates on units with new tenants by 18 per cent on average, as compared to an average 3 per cent increase for tenants who remained in their units.
  • 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.

On heating your home:

  • Statistics Canada reported this fall that roughly one in seven Canadian households (15 per cent) reduced or did without buying basic necessities, such as food and medicine, for at least one month over the past 12 months in order to pay an energy bill. Half that number (8 per cent) went without basic needs for at least three months to pay for heat.
  • Statistics Canada also reports about one in seven Canadian households (14 per cent) kept their dwelling at an “unsafe or uncomfortable temperature” for up to a month in the past 12 months because of high heating or cooling costs.
  • Last winter three in four Canadians (72 per cent) who pay home heating costs experienced increases in their heating bills, according to a Maru Public Opinion survey. One in four (24 per cent) said their heating bill “increased very much.”

 With this increasing financial strain there is a growing concern for Canadians’ mental health. The MNP Consumer Debt survey found finances are causing a greater sense of anxiety (60 per cent), stress (59 per cent), isolation (48 per cent), and embarrassment (40 per cent). In that previously mentioned CBC item from Vancouver, social outreach worker Anita Lau sums up an average Canadian’s existence. “It’s spend less, eat less, socialize less. We try to survive.”

So it is, in a country managed for eight years by the Trudeau government. Today a majority of Canadians (53 per cent) see that their personal finances are worse off since when Justice Trudeau took office in 2015, according to a Bloomberg News poll conducted by Nanos Research. Then the Liberals campaigned in 2015 to “help the middle class and those aspiring to join it.” However, as Lorne Gunter of Sun Media editorializes, “Far from defending the middle class, the Liberals are choking the life out of it.”

Just as that well known “boiling frog” analogy would have it, Canadians are starting to feel the heat as the Trudeau government’s policies have the water beginning a rolling boil. And, consider that as the temperature continues to increase through 2024 and 2025 with this government’s fiscal and economic policies, the anxiety will increase and there is sure to be a societal toll that will be paid: further bankruptcies and insolvencies, rising addiction rates, higher crime rates, suicides… all mirroring Canada’s unaffordable cost of living.

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-number-one-issue-for-canadians-in-2024-the-unaffordable-cost-of-living/

Trudeau’s and Poilievre’s mudslinging to be caked on in 2024

The Niagara Independent, January 5, 2024  – Canadians enter the new year in an anxious mood, many wondering about their personal finances and a growing number worrying about the state of their country. From the year-end interviews of Canada’s federal political leaders one thing is certain: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre intend on increasing their political attacks and counter-spins to jostle for better positioning in the hearts and minds of the voters. It is a safe prediction to make that the combatants’ mudslinging will be caked on in 2024.

There has been no glimmer of hope for Trudeau in recent polling numbers as a series of polls confirm the Liberals are trailing the Conservatives by double digits. A 338 Canada poll has Conservatives at 39 per cent and tracking to win 191 seats, Liberals at 27 percent for 83 seats, NDP at 19 per cent for 28 seats, and the Bloc at 7 per cent nationally to win 34 seats in Quebec. Abacus Data, Nanos Research, and EKOS polling firms all closely mirror these numbers that signal the likelihood of a sweeping Conservative majority in the next federal election.

Seven of ten Canadians want Trudeau to resign before the next election, according to Ipsos. About one in two Liberals think he should step down – and are already favouring a new leader in either Mark Carney or Chrystia Freeland, according to a recent Angus Reid poll. This week a Nanos Research survey revealed one in two Canadians would prefer an election ASAP – most probably for the opportunity to kick Trudeau to the curbside.

And yet, considering the bravado of Trudeau in his latest interviews, Canadians will need to wait until October 2025 for a federal election. Trudeau has indicated he intends to see his 2022 parliamentary pact with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh through its full term. What is more, Trudeau says he will stick around to lead the Liberals in the 2025 election.

In an early December La Presse interview, Trudeau stated, “There is no doubt for me that yes, I continue, I have to keep going, and I still have a lot to offer. I still have a place in politics.” Trudeau repeated this reflection in a series of his year-end one-on-ones.

In a Global News interview, Trudeau characterized his motivation to stay as a dutiful fight: “I made a commitment in 2015 to a whole bunch of young people who came out to vote for the very first time. I am not giving up on them … I am not giving up on the progressive vision of progress that we have been fighting for every single day over the past years.”

Trudeau rabbit punched his way through other interviews in a similar style: “There’s a lot of work to do … and we are going to continue fighting for them every single day…. I wouldn’t be the person I am and be willing to walk away from this right now.”

At no time in any interview did Trudeau suggest that the current difficulties being felt by Canadians were a result of his government’s stewardship of the country’s affairs. When asked to critically assess any of his government’s perceived failings, Trudeau pivoted to frame the issue as an unfortunate result of the global reality or a Conservative misinformation campaign. Regarding the latter, he dismissed Poilievre on a couple of occasions as a master of “smoke and mirrors” who had no solutions.

Not only did Trudeau roll with the punches, but he promised that in 2024 his government would “double down” on all their policies: fiscal, immigration, international commitments to UN and WEF, and his green policies – from increasing the carbon tax to doling out more subsidies. As Trudeau asserted to Global News, “This is exactly not the time to be slowing down. The context we’re in right now — where progress has become so fragile because of global and large macro events — is the time to be doubling down and rolling up our sleeves, and that’s what I’m here for.”

There are two further points on the Liberals’ year-end narrative that forecasts what Canadians will hear repeatedly in 2024. Trudeau tells us that the fall 2025 election will offer “a choice similar to the one in 2015” where Canadian voters will need to choose the future direction of the country: the Liberals’ progressive and globally responsible path or the Conservatives’ slash-and-burn dystopian alternative. Also, it is evident that the Liberals will smear the Conservatives and their leader with ugly Trumpisms – and a prime example of this was a Liberal Party New Year’s message rallying their troops for a by-election in the Durham, Ontario riding: “While Pierre Poilievre and his Conservatives continue to push for deep cuts that would gut the middle class and import far-right American-style politics here to Canada, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team are focused on making life more affordable and building an economy that works for all Canadians.”

Undoubtedly, this Liberal slop will be met with equally messy salvos launched by the Conservatives. Poilievre used the opportunities of his year-end media encounters to distinguish the difference of approach and leadership style between him and Trudeau. Poilievre peppered his interview responses with examples of current affairs and how a Conservative government would be taking a different tact.

For example, in his Toronto Sun interview, Poilievre stated on the Hamas-Israeli war, “We have one position, unlike Trudeau, who says one thing to one group and the opposite thing to another group. Our approach won’t please everybody, but at least we’re honest with people about where we stand.” He went on to accuse Trudeau and the Liberals of flip-flopping when Muslims, who were major funders of the Liberal Party, threatened to withhold donations. Poilievre said, “Then, he [Trudeau] sent out MPs from his caucus who represent Jewish ridings to claim that they disagreed with him so that he could say one thing to one group and exactly the opposite to another group. The message is regardless of where you stand on the Middle East, Justin Trudeau will tell you anything you want to hear, and then when you turn your back, he’ll betray you.”

By way of contrast, Poilievre stated he would not mince words when condemning Hamas and its genocidal attack that provoked the war: “We all want an end to the violence as soon as possible. The only way for that to occur is for Hamas to be disarmed, for the hostages to be returned, and for the murderers of Oct. 7 to be surrendered. If those things happen, of course, there should be peace, and then we can work towards a Palestinian state and a brighter future for all the people who treasure the Holy Land.”

On the matter of how a Conservative government would curb government spending and better manage the nation’s fiscal affairs, Poilievre provided specifics with his responses. In one interview he said, “I would get rid of the $35 billion Infrastructure Bank that hasn’t completed a single project in the five years of its existence. I would get rid of the $54 million ArriveCAN app, the $1 billion so called Green Tech Fund which $150 million has already been diverted to Liberal and government insiders – it has been misappropriated. I would get rid of that fund all together. I would bring in a pay as you go law that requires government to find a dollar of savings for every dollar of new spending to root out waste and mismanagement, and to incentivize bureaucrats to optimize use of dollars….” He continued to cite examples of Liberal boondoggles and waste in making the point that the Conservatives are capable of running a tighter ship.

The issue that the Conservative leader spent the most time discussing was the Liberals’ carbon tax – an issue that Poilievre has been railing against throughout 2023 in his cross country “Axe the Tax” tour. Poilievre pulls no punches when he states Trudeau “lied to Canadians.” Trudeau lied that the carbon tax would not exceed $50 per tonne, would ensure the government met its emissions targets, and Canadians would be financially better off with his tax rebates.

As Poilievre matter-of-factly states, the “carbon tax didn’t work. It has not reduced emissions and it has impoverished everyone… Now he wants to quadruple the tax by 2030 and after that it might go higher – and that is what they have told us. So, they are now admitting it will be quadrupled, how much is it actually going to be raised?  I will axe the tax. The next election will be an election on the carbon tax and there are only two options on the ballot… You vote for Pierre Poilievre and you will axe the tax. You vote for the other four parties and you will quadruple the tax.”

Through 2024 Canadians are sure to hear countless fighting words from both Poilievre and Trudeau in anticipation of their forthcoming election contest – a date that is seemingly set for a full 21 months from now. Until then, it will be constant mudslinging to see what sticks.

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/trudeaus-and-poilievres-mudslinging-to-be-caked-on-in-2024/

Top Three Stories of 2023 from the Nation’s Capital

The Niagara Independent, December 29, 2023 – As the New Year’s countdown draws near, let us consider the most significant happenings in the Nation’s Capital that have impacted Canadians through the past twelve months. In reverse order, here are the top-three Ottawa news stories of 2023.

Number 3  – Chinese Communist Party influence in Canada 

There are multiple ways the country’s independence has been potentially compromised by undue influence from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In a spring Wall Street Journal editorial, Brian Lee Crowley framed CCP influence as a significant existential matter for the country, “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.” In June, the Globe and Mail published a lead editorial that asserted “Canada must do more to defend our freedoms.”

The ties that seemingly bind the CCP with the Trudeau Liberal Party raises many troubling questions about Canada serving as a vassal state for the CCP. The concerns exceed the matters surrounding the foreign influence in Canada’s federal elections. There are many critical issues in play that have been identified and written about in this space through 2023.

  1. Cover up of the virus research in the Winnipeg Lab and link to the genesis of COVID-19
  2. CCP ties to Liberal business network, anchored by Power Corporation
  3. Foreign interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections
  4. Beijing money flowing into the Trudeau Foundation
  5. CCP police stations and agents operating in Canada
  6. Failure to respond to forced labour and human rights violations of the Uyghurs
  7. “Mishandling” of foreign intelligence as forwarded by CSIS
  8. Federal investment in China – in the CPP and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
  9. Repeatedly rejecting the need to establish a foreign agent registry
  10. Deteriorating national defense leaving arctic territories unprotected to Chinese encroachment

Taken together, Canadians have many outstanding questions about the CCP’s activities in Canada that the Trudeau Liberals have gone to great lengths to keep buried. The “public inquiries” into foreign interference — first inquiry by Trudeau-family friend David Johnston and current inquire with Marie-Josee Hogue, who has close ties with Trudeau-family’s legal past — are proving to be PR exercises put in play to obfuscate the facts and to kick the issue further down the road. At year’s end, the independence of the Hogue inquiry has been brought into question, a development that had Andrew Coyne, the Globe and Mail’s pundit quip on X, “Ruined … beyond repair. Before it’s even started.”

Number Two  – Rising immigration numbers 

On June 16, 2023 Canada’s population surpassed the 40 million mark (growing nearly five million since the Trudeau government was first elected in 2015).

In 2023 (as it had in 2022) Canada’s population grew by a record amount, more than one million-plus people per year, and almost 98 per cent of the growth is a result of immigrants / migrants.

In November the government announced its planned “permanent resident” target for the next three years, amounting to almost another one and a half million immigrants, and 98 per cent of the immigrants are scheduled to come from India, China, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, and other African countries (only two per cent will come from UK/Europe).

But the stated “permanent resident” number is only half the Trudeau-migrant tally. Today the government states there are 2.2 million “temporary residents” who are in Canada and, at the same time, admits this official number may be off by as many as one million people. Also, there are increasing numbers of asylum seekers crossing the border and landing at international airports, and a greater number of refugees being welcomed from Afghanistan, Ukraine – and now Gaza.

The Trudeau government’s migration plan is guided by the United Nations’ Global Compact for Migration, which it signed in early 2017. This global agenda set in place a system for “safe, orderly and regular” migration from 3rd world countries, mostly from the continent of Africa. Today, Canada has the world’s largest intake of 3rd World migration – mostly from Africa.

The breaking news through the holidays from Statistics Canada was that in a three month period (July 1 – October 1, 2023) Canada added 430,635 people. Four percent (17,225) are attributed to births, and 107,972 are “permanent residents.” So, simple subtraction reveals that there are more than 305,000 migrants of other “categories” who entered Canada in the summer months.

It is a fact that Canada has a glorious history as a land that was built up by immigrants. However, this current unprecedented influx of people is changing the face of the country and causing great pressures on Canada’s cost of housing, shortages in health care, and urgent needs for greater social services, transportation, and law enforcement. Yet the Trudeau government is intent on more migration and has repeatedly stated it will not alter its immigration plan.

Number One  – Canadians’ declining standard of living  

This was a horribilis annus for Canadians. The facts speak for themselves:

  • Interest rates increased and are projected to stay at elevated rates through 2024 – causing difficulties for household finances, mortgage renewals, and business spending.
  • Basic family staples are rising on average from 10 to 18 per cent year over year, and University of Toronto study found almost six million Canadians – 15.9 per cent of all households – are experiencing food insecurity.
  • Canada’s Food Price Report found that 2023 was the first time families spent less (on average) on groceries than in the preceding year. Same report indicates food costs for typical family of four are projected to rise by $700 in 2024.
  • Canadian business insolvencies are at an all-time high and unemployment is trending up as the increases in job creation is outpaced by migration numbers.
  • 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.
  • Canadians pay 46.1 per cent of their income to taxes. Tax bills are the largest household expense for families, and the fastest growing expenditure surpassing the rising cost of housing, food and clothing.
  • Canada has yet to rebound to its pre-pandemic standard of living as measured by real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. TD Economic forecasts the Canadian economy will continue to shrink through 2024. A Financial Post year-end review concludes, “Worst is yet to come for Canada’s economy.”
  • The OECD factors that Canada will be a laggard in real GDP per capita growth through the next 35 years, until 2060. The OECD has projected that growth in living standards in Canada will be the worst of all developed member-countries.

According to these statistics, Canadians have become a nation of working stiffs challenged to make ends meet. It should not at all be surprising to learn from multiple survey polls that Canadians are less optimistic about their current economic situation and the country’s future prosperity than at any time in our history. In a recent nationwide Pollara poll fewer than 31 per cent of Canadians are optimistic about the future of Canada’s middle class.

And then there is this sobering (and sad) observation: the next generation of Canadians entering working age will be the first generation not to meet or exceed their parents’ standard of living.

Auld Lang Syne with our declining prospects, rising immigration, and the CCP’s undue influence in the year that was. Sighs and head wagging aside, let’s join in a chorus to say “good riddance 2023.”

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/top-three-stories-of-2023-from-the-nations-capital/

This nation is now “irrelevant” in world affairs: Deconstructing Canada (part 6)

The Niagara Independent, December 22, 2023 – Canada has seemingly become a personification of its Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. It is insufferably egotistical with its virtual signaling and boastful bromides such as “The world needs more Canada.” Collectively, Canadians are blissfully naïve about global affairs and, at the same time, are accepting of the government’s inconsistent or nonsensical foreign policy statements, which has revealed how unserious the country is with its diplomatic missions and its place in the world.

This characterization has come at a tremendous cost to Canada’s reputation within the international community. To extend the analogy: through the past eight years, Canada has become as irrelevant as Justin Trudeau excitedly exposing his selection of socks.

By most accounts, during the post-world war era Canada emerged as a steady middle-power that was consummate in its soft diplomacy and adept at leveraging its alliances with the United States, the Commonwealth, and western European countries. It was a reliable and valued ally. Yet since 2015, with PM Trudeau and his ministers preening and parading themselves on the global stage, Canada’s international stature has diminished and the country’s standing with its allies has slipped.

The hapless antics of the Trudeau government through the fall 2023 months are indicative of just how soiled Canada’s reputation has become. There were the foreign missteps relating to Canada’s treatment of Afghani refugees, repeated refusals to negotiate LNG exports, and most recently the failure to support human rights in Hong Kong.

PM Trudeau captured international attention with his dogged resistance in calling an independent inquiry on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence in Canada’s elections, as well as a wider array of scandals involving China. Similarly, Trudeau placed a deep-freeze-chill on Canada-India relations when he publicly accused Indian PM Narendra Modi of foreign interference; Modi countered with a long-standing grievance that Canada harbours pro-Khalistan Sikh terrorists with ties to the Liberals and NDPs.

The most embarrassing moment for Canada (perhaps in the history of the country) came when an international audience witnessed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and PM Trudeau leading a standing ovation for a Nazi Waffen-SS Galicia Division officer who was being officially recognized in Canada’s Parliament. Zelensky’s address to Canadians was to be a powerful demonstration of western democracies’ solidarity with Ukraine and instead it became a shameful black eye for Zelensky and for Canada.

In the last three months, regrettably, Canada has been labelled China’s vassal state, willing hosts for Sikh terrorists, and an incompetent and/or untrustworthy ally. But all of this ridicule pales in comparison to the disrepute befallen on the nation with the Trudeau government’s response to the Hamas-Israeli war. PM Trudeau and his ministers have been called out for their inconsistencies in making statements regarding the horrors of the Hamas brutality, the unfolding war in Gaza, and the pro-Palestinian protestors’ unlawful acts in Canada. At question is Canadians’ moral mettle and whether the country’s leadership can hold a principled position during a time of crisis.

It has been a comedy of self-inflicted errors. From the outset, PM Trudeau, his ministers, and the country’s state-sponsored legacy media refused to name the Hamas a terrorist group, and accounts of the Hamas October 7th murders, beheadings, rapes, and kidnappings were being “contextualized” for Canadians. The PM was first reluctant to call out acts of antisemitism, while his government spokespersons constantly expressed concerns about Islamophobia. Only after weeks of pressure – a full two months after the atrocities were committed – did Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly issue a statement via a X post recognizing and condemning the Hamas rapes of Israeli women. And in the streets of cities from Vancouver to Montreal pro-Palestinian protestors have flagrantly broken the law with no repercussions – leaving Canadian Jews and Israeli supporters feeling unsafe in their own schools, businesses, synagogues, and homes.

The Trudeau government punctuated these disturbing responses to the Hamas-Israeli war by voting in favour of a United Nations (UN) motion against Israel and the United States, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. It was a one-sided motion expressly without mention or condemnation of the Hamas and its October 7 attacks, and without any conditions relating to Hamas resistance movement or the return of Israeli hostages. Melanie Joly observed at the time of the vote that “We think that for too long the two state solution has been put on the back burner.”

Lead editorials in Canada voiced disbelief at the naivety of this position. Michael Higgins observed in the National Post, “You can’t trust a terrorist organization that has repeatedly broken ceasefires, that has committed countless war crimes, that has pledged to commit similar Oct. 7 attacks “again and again” and whose founding charter calls for the destruction of all Jews.” In another editorial, John Ivison baldly stated, “Canada is exposed as an undependable, unprincipled ally.”

Perhaps the most damning indictment of the country’s UN vote came from the Israeli ambassador to Canada Iddo Moed who alluded to the hollowness of Canada’s diplomacy, “It’s like a tree falling in the woods somewhere, nobody hears it.”

Moed’s stinging insult has since been trumped by the video message of thanks to Canada by Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas leader. (Is it not astounding to think Canada is being feted by this barbaric terrorist group?)

Just as the great western democracies did not include Canada in their initial joint statement of condemnation against Hamas, the international community does not look to Justin Trudeau and Canada for principled positions, and our allies are no longer looking at Canada for anything in particular. Canada has been effectively marginalized and, in some cases, left out of significant defence and economic alliances as a result of the Trudeau government’s foreign affairs record. Consider QUAD, AUKUS, NATO, the US-led discussions defending Ukraine, and the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

Verily, after eight years of Trudeau’s statesmanship the country has little to offer alliances responding to the world’s multipolar disorder. As the Russia-China-Iran axis aligns against the United States and western Europe, PM Trudeau informed our traditional allies that the country is no longer committed to meeting Canada’s promised defence spending while Joly advanced a novel foreign policy notion of “pragmatic diplomacy.”

In her October speech that was framed as a pivotal policy announcement (though largely ignored in Canada and around the world), the foreign affairs minister promised that Canada would build ties with a broader set of partners and would defend its sovereignty with enhanced military, intelligence and cybersecurity. But given the documented deterioration of Canada’s military, CSIS, RCMP, and diplomatic corps, Joly’s fanciful announcement amounts to little more than whistling past a graveyard.

Joly’s word-salad address to describe a new foreign affairs policy direction drew sharp criticism from policy analysts and pundits. Career diplomat and former ambassador to the US Derek Burney has voiced his frustration, “But where is the clarity on how foreign policy serves our national interest?…. Serious policy does not flow from slogans or vacuous rhetoric. By incessantly emphasizing style over substance Canada is no longer regarded as a serious global player.”

Andrew Coyne, in a recent Globe and Mail piece, warns that it has come to a point now where the government’s performance in foreign affairs is of existential concern: “Our refusal to bear our share of the costs of defending the democracies is increasingly causing us to be shut out of international councils. Our habit of treating defence and foreign policy as an extension of diaspora politics is creating dangerous divisions at home. The weakness of our intelligence and police services is putting Canadian lives at risk. Even our territorial integrity can no longer be taken for granted.”

Vincent Rigby, former national security adviser to Trudeau, also expresses concern for Canada’s weakened position within the international community, “Canada has been a bit of a bystander. It has taken measures, but not always in a systematically planned way… We are lacking a bit of strategic direction in a world that is being buffeted by change.”

And into this policy vacuum, PM Trudeau, ministers Joly and Chrystia Freeland, and other Liberals like Mark Carney and Steven Guilbeault have been pressing forward and steering Canada within the orbits of the United Nations and World Economic Forum. With the Trudeau government’s policies respecting immigration, green energy transition, climate change, digital currencies – and ceasefire motions, it is increasingly evident that Canadians’ interests are being eclipsed by an expanding global agenda and an international body politic.

Reflecting on the Liberals’ eight years, the laments and criticisms about the state of Canada’s foreign affairs are all for naught. As it appears, degrading the country’s international reputation and undermining its traditional alliances are on course for this government. In fact, Justin Trudeau knows exactly where he is navigating his post-national ship of state.

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/this-nation-is-now-irrelevant-in-world-affairs-deconstructing-canada-part-6/

Sabotaging natural resources development: Deconstructing Canada (part 5)

The Niagara Independent, December 15, 2023 – To understand the Trudeau government’s natural resources development approach, one must first know that Justin Trudeau and a core group of his ministers and senior staff are champions of an evolving global order fixated on managing the economies of countries with a stated quest to address climate change.

Over the past eight years the Trudeau government has closely aligned Canada’s economic growth strategies to global climate change objectives that are centrally planned by the United Nations (UN) and the World Economic Forum (WEF). In doing so, the Trudeau government is implementing a global agenda that is focused on transitioning energy use away from fossil fuels. It is expressly anti-oil and gas.

In pursuing international goals ahead of Canadians’ interests, the globalists and environmental activists within the Trudeau government have been effectively sabotaging the development of the country’s rich store of natural resources. PM Trudeau is doling out hundreds of millions of dollars to UN programs, and Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland as a WEF Board trustee coordinates the country’s compliance. The Liberals have a gaggle of state-interventionists who are establishing the global policy framework within Canada: Mark Carney, Steven Guilbeault, Catherine McKenna, as well as Katie Telford and her mentor Gerald Butts, who still sways influence on the network of senior staff members directing Trudeau’s ministers and MPs.

This week, at the UN’s climate summit in Dubai, Canadians again bore witness to the Trudeau government proclaiming international commitments without first arriving at a policy consensus with Canada’s political and industry leaders. Canada was a signatory to a UN agreement that dictates “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science.” This new plan calls for the tripling of renewable energy capacity and a doubling of energy efficiency by 2030.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault heralded the UN agreement, which was framed “to avert the worst of climate change” and to ominously signal “the eventual end of the oil age.” Indeed, Guilbeault had a spring in his step as he and the nearly 200-person Canadian delegation jetted back to Ottawa to begin the task of doubling down on the government’s green energy plan. Yet, signing onto the new UN plan will be the easy part given the reality of the Trudeau government’s record in meeting its global commitments. Consider this:

  • Freeland has budgeted for $109 billion of government investment in the next decade to support $790 billion worth of “green” initiatives. For every one dollar the government is to invest, the Trudeau government is looking to encourage the private sector to invest six dollars – nearly $700 billion private sector investment that is just not there. A RBC Economics 2021 assessment concluded it would take $2 trillion of investment – annual spending of at least $60 billion through to 2050 – simply unrealistic, not happening.
  • This plan is predicated on a continuous flow of government subsidies. Canadians need only review the tens of billions of dollars of “investments” made to support the new EV battery manufacturing facilities, or the hundreds of millions of dollars slipped to Liberal-friendly companies through the green slush fund (a.k.a. Sustainable Development Technology Canada) to realize that these subsidies are unaffordable.

There are also the inconvenient truths that 1) Canada has missed every emissions target the UN has set. 2) Since 2015, under the Trudeau government’s stewardship, Canada’s carbon emissions have actually increased. 3) According to the UN, Canada is on track to miss its next emissions target in 2030 by 15 per cent. 4) Canada’s own environment commissioner in November assessed that the government’s climate plan is “insufficient” and it has not charted a roadmap to meet its 2030 emission reduction target.

In Dubai, Canadians were shamed by the UN with the release of a report that ranks Canada in 62nd place out of 67 countries when measuring greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use, and climate

policy. (But then, just perhaps, our country’s vast geography, cold climate, and its citizens’ suburban lifestyles requiring travel for work, all make it impossible for Canada to meet the UN’s expectation — that in less than 30 years Canadians will be able to significantly curtail energy use and carbon emissions.)

Still, the Trudeau government pushes onward with its impractical green scheme that adheres to the UN’s and WEF’s agenda. In Dubai, Guilbeault used the UN’s pulpit to make significant domestic policy announcements for Canada’s natural resources industries. He released new draft regulations to cut methane emissions and also announced a new program to penalize beef cattle farmers for bovine burps (you cannot make this up). The government also unveiled an aggressive emissions reduction target for 2030 for Canada’s oil and gas sector. Guilbeault crowed that Canada was the first oil and gas producing nation in the world to be establishing such an emission cap plan.

Pundits and industry experts in Canada are divided on the impact of the new emissions cap, with some sector analysts labeling the new targets as “unrealistically ambitious.” CIBC experts concluded that “achieving the emissions target, as stated, would in effect become a cap on production.” S&P Global data firm calculated that Canada’s oil sands will likely need to reduce 1.3 million barrels a day of possible production to meet the new 2030 targets, resulting in the loss of between 5,400 and 9,500 jobs.

Canadian politicians’ rebuke of Guilbeault’s declaration was led by Alberta Premier Danielle Smith who stated, “This is the thing that I think Albertans are tired of — is that we continue to be the punching bag of the federal government and this Liberal prime minister, in particular, for political reasons.” Alberta’s Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz said the federal plan must ensure “that we’re not putting Albertans out of work and having to cut production, which, at a time when the world needs energy, just doesn’t make any sense.”

The Trudeau cohort’s zeal for implementing the global climate agenda has often not taken into account Canadians’ best interests with respect to developing natural resources. It also ignores the possibility that Canadian resources industries can amply respond to the energy and environmental needs of the international community. The Trudeau government’s anti-resource development approach has directly undermined the country’s success in providing:

  • LNG exports to European countries looking to reduce dependency on Russian oil, and exports to Asian countries, including China, looking to reduce dependency on coal-generated power.
  • Oil and gas production that would help satisfy the energy demands of the U.S. now forced to buy oil produced by less environmentally responsible regimes in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
  • Natural gas from Nova Scotia’s offshore Inceptio project, the latest energy mega-project cancelled because of government regulatory hassles, a fate similar to the Enbridge Northern Gateway, TC Energy East, Teck Frontier, and the Energie Saguenay mega-projects before it.
  • A secure oil and gas supply for Canadians, via Canadian pipelines, instead of importing oil and gas supplies from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.

The Trudeau government’s anti-oil and gas stance defies the fact that the country’s prosperity is reliant on a healthy oil and gas sector. Oil and gas, including extraction and support activities, petroleum refining, pipeline transportation and natural gas distribution, account for 7.5 per cent of national GDP. The oil and gas industries account for one million Canadian jobs and nearly one quarter of all Canadian exports. Canada is the fourth largest producer of oil in the world and is “the preferred country” to supply oil to the world, according to a 2023 Ipsos international survey.

A group of Canadian oilsands companies cite the recent Ipsos study in making the argument for greater growth and development of the country’s natural resources. “This reinforces that North American energy is desired worldwide, and if we work together and with governments to advance our climate goals, we can increase global market share of responsibly produced energy — something that is good for the climate as well as jobs and economic growth on both sides of the border.”

This sentiment was also advanced by Ken Coates, Munk Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, who additionally lamented the impact an anti-natural resources approach has on the county. Coates opines: “Opportunities exist for Canada to become a major global player; our current strategy, however, is sending us headstrong to national mediocrity, inaction on meaningful climate change initiatives, and to a lower quality of life. This is not the outcome that Canadians desire.”

The last word goes to Derek Burney, career diplomat and former Ambassador to the US, who has observed, “A line must be drawn between obtuse environmental orthodoxy and the rational need for responsible energy development.” Yet this distinction is the rub: to support prosperous Canadian oil and gas industries the Trudeau government would need to rethink its green energy plan, something unfathomable for the core globalists and environmentalists who are so vested in the agendas of the UN and WEF.

This is the fifth of a six-part series that takes account of Justin Trudeau’s eight-year record pursuing his “post-national” vision for Canada.  

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/sabotaging-natural-resources-development-deconstructing-canada-part-5/

Trudeau’s degradation of Parliament: Deconstructing Canada (part 4)

The Niagara Independent, December 8, 2023 – Through eight years, the governing Liberals have methodically undermined the authority of Parliament and strategically weakened the underpinnings of the country’s sovereignty. The Trudeau Liberals are operating today as if they are unaccountable to the Canadian citizenry; they are too intent on transforming Canada into a post-national state that can efficiently implement and regulate global agreements.

It was the twentieth-century American philosopher Robert Hutchins who observed, “The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” Canadians’ indifference for the federal Liberals’ regular assaults on parliamentary traditions and procedures is putting Hutchins’ statement to the test. Today, according to a recent Angus Reid poll, one in two Canadians view MPs’ work in Parliament as simply “posturing” (54 per cent) and “useless” (46 per cent), and a majority of those who closely follow the parliamentary drama say the proceedings are “dishonest” (58 percent). Canadians have seemingly lost faith in Ottawa politics.

The Trudeau Liberals have been very effective degrading Canada’s cornerstone institution of democracy: Parliament. The PM’s backroom has been exemplary in systematically eroding the accountability that is core to the Westminster parliamentary system that Canada’s democracy was modelled after. Consider the increasing irrelevance of the country’s national Parliament:

  • The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) staff dictates legislation and manages the parliamentary agenda instead of elected representatives, thereby negating the check and balance that would exist with separate executive and legislative branches of government.
  • MPs are increasingly disciplined to vote along partisan lines, deaf to their constituents’ views.
  • Voluminous omnibus financial bills have become the norm, effectively limiting detailed reviews of government expenditures – a fundamental right of a representative democracy dating back to the Magna Carta.
  • Government officials, cabinet ministers, and MPs all have an increased penchant for avoiding accountability, as most recently highlighted by the ArriveCAN debacle (and also clearly evident in MPs’ probes of foreign influence, SNC-Lavalin-PMO relations, WE Charity scandal, to name a few).
  • Government transparency has worsened in eight years, as the auditors’ and ethics commissioners’ offices have been underfunded, and Canada’s freedom of information system has been allowed to deteriorate to the point of collapse.

Additionally, Justin Trudeau has flagrantly abused Parliament. There was the Liberals’ pandemic powerplay in 2020 when they attempted an underhanded maneuver to usurp Parliament (recall Liberal’s Machiavellian Power Grab “Defeated”). There was a 15-month period when MPs sat for only 40 days, while the Liberals were spending historic amounts and printing an unprecedented amount of money. Remember Justin Trudeau’s daily addresses from his garden home as the shuttered Parliament remained dark? To this day, the Liberals are managing a hybrid House of Commons.

There is also the PM’s dubious work record attending to the issues of our nation, having taken 680 personal days (and counting), which amounts to a full quarter of his time since assuming office.

The Trudeau Liberals have also shaken Canadians’ inherent trust in the country’s democracy. Today, Liberals govern with a parliamentary majority based on a political alliance with the NDP, which defies the fact they formed a government with the smallest percentage of support in Canadian history.

More significantly, the Liberals have brought into question the independence of our electoral process, cagily avoiding a legitimate review of foreign influence for years. If it was not so serious, it would be farcical to review the Trudeau government’s doubtful responses to the serious allegations about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) activities in Canada: the former Trudeau Foundation CEO Morris Rosenberg Report, the Trudeau-family friend David Johnston inquiry, and now the proceedings marshalled by Marie-Josée Hogue, Trudeau Sr.’s former law partner and Jr.’s defence lawyer for his West Point Grey Academy scandal.

As detailed in this space in multiple columns, Justin Trudeau’s continuous efforts to avoid any clarity on the CCP’s undue influence in Canada essentially brings into question the country’s own self-government. It remains the elephant in the room.

But what is the endgame to the degradation of Canada’s Parliament? Manifestly, it is a post-national country which can effectively adhere to global policies and implement global programs. Trudeau is marching towards this end by stripping away the accountability within Parliament and, at the same time, centralizing power within his office to command the government’s course.

Does this sound conspiratorial? Let’s review how the Trudeau government is eroding our nation’s sovereignty by championing the global agendas of the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Economic Forum (WEF). Trudeau’s dealings with these international agencies expose an unmistakable pattern of calculated submission and strategic collaboration relating to Canada’s sovereignty. The Trudeau Liberals:

  • signed the UN Global Compact for Migration in 2017 to establish Canada as a “safe, orderly and regular” destination for migrants; the UN now touts Canada as the world’s number one recipient of its organized 3rd World migration – a large percentage from the African continent
  • adopted the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People with a 131-point action plan for the country to legally bind Canada to the UNs indigenous rights interpretations and rulings
  • committed Canada as a lead country in developing a global central bank digital currency (CBDC) program (and the dark side of this initiative Canadians experienced when the government froze and seized bank accounts during the Freedom Convoy)
  • also committed Canada to participate in a digital global ID pilot program
  • are championing and actively involved in drafting the new Pandemic Treaty, which will establish the WHO as the sole authority to direct member countries during a health crisis (as well as other issues that can be declared a “health” crisis)
  • are committed to the UN’s global climate change program of net-zero emissions by 2050 and to the unfolding targets and new program objectives as set out by the UN
  • are committed to the WEF agenda to “build back better” as set out in its “The Great Reset” documentation

Regarding the UN’s climate change agenda, this has provided the pretext for the Trudeau government to stifle industrial and resource development in the country and impose the punitive carbon tax on Canadians, making all facets of life more expensive. The Liberals’ obsession with the UN goals, led by the Quixotical environmental zealot Steven Guilbeault, has many ironies; the most obvious is that Canadians’ efforts will go unnoticed given China, India, Russia, the U.S., and now the U.K. are not committed to the UN’s emissions targets.

Regarding the WEF’s “The Great Reset” agenda, this column does not permit the space for a suitable review of the serious implications for Canada in subscribing to the WEF objectives of “reinventing capitalism” (read the details here, here and the most recent developments here). Remarkably, Canada factors large in the WEF: its head Klaus Schwab bragged “he has penetrated” the Trudeau cabinet, and the WEF trustees include deputy PM Chrystia Freeland and, until recently, Liberal insider Mark Carney.

Every week, there is news of the Liberals unceasing drive towards implementing the global agenda in Canada. This week, Guilbeault used an international assembly in Dubai to announce the country’s commitment to new emissions targets before gaining a national consensus back home. Last week it was PM Trudeau announcing a new Canada-European Union digital ID program that will develop an international database system that will manage individuals’ personal, financial, and potentially health records.

For Canadians keeping track of the federal government’s actions, we are witnessing the undoing of the country’s democratic foundation, the realization of Justin Trudeau’s post-national vision.

This is the fourth of a six-part series that takes account of Justin Trudeau’s eight-year record pursuing his “post-national” vision for Canada.  

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/trudeaus-degradation-of-parliament-deconstructing-canada-part-4/

Trudeau’s perversion of justice: Deconstructing Canada (part 3)

The Niagara Independent, December 1, 2023 – Justice in a post-national state is at the behest of the country’s Leader. Not that the country’s legal system has yet devolved into a totalitarian chokehold on justice, but unquestionably, in the last eight years, Canada has shifted from its foundational notions of “peace, order, and good government.” With Justin Trudeau, Canadians have witnessed a Prime Minister and his political operatives continuously operating above the law, actively politicizing the administration of justice, and shrewdly undermining the citizenry’s confidence in the country’s law and order.

Justin Trudeau’s perversion of Canada’s legal traditions is a most disturbing feature of his time as Prime Minister. The Trudeau Liberals’ abuses of justice have left Canadians less certain about the independence, impartiality, and fairness of its country’s law and order. With a cursory look at his eight-year record, one can easily judge this Trudeau regime as having recast Canadians’ expectations of “justice.”

Operating above the law

There are many accounts of the PM, his staff, and ministers operating above the law. The government’s most egregious affront to justice occurred in Trudeau’s first term, when Canada’s attorney general and minister of justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould was being relentlessly muscled by the PM’s Principal Secretary Gerald Butts and the Prime Minister’s Office. Wilson-Raybould stood firm but was ultimately punted from office when she refused to accept the directives to politically interfere in criminal court proceedings for bribery and fraud against Liberal-friendly engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

PM Trudeau replaced Wilson-Raybould with a toady justice minister, David Lametti, who granted SNC-Lavalin its deferred prosecution agreement to avoid trial and its consequences. In the wake of this sleight of hand, the government continued granting millions of dollars to SNC-Lavalin in defiance of a damning ethics commission inquiry, resignations of two of the PM’s senior-most staff, a judicial ruling against the company, and a 10-year ban from government contracts. With complete disregard for all legalities, this cozy relationship has been a shameless display of unscrupulous power.

In another wayward episode, Canadians’ rights and freedoms were suspended when PM Trudeau weaponized the law and wielded a never-used-before Emergencies Act to squash a peaceful Parliament Hill protest against his government’s COVID-19 mandates and lockdowns. Using extraordinary powers designed to manage an urgent national crisis, the Trudeau government ordered the protest to be forcibly removed, dissenting voices arrested, and supporters’ bank accounts frozen and, in some cases, personal finances seized.

These measures were swiftly executed, and, in the end, Trudeau’s executive orders did not receive parliamentary approval, as the enacting legislation was withdrawn before MP’s voted on it. Trudeau’s assault on Canadians’ freedoms was never fully accounted for, for we are told the critical evidence that prompted the Trudeau cabinet’s decision is a matter of national security and to remain confidential. Today, the Freedom Convoy and the government’s covert maneuvering to shut it down are respectively recognized internationally as textbook studies of a peaceful protest and a calculated authoritarian response.

Politicizing the administration of justice 

In the fall of 2015, the second-in-command of the Canadian Forces, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, was charged with breach of trust for leaking cabinet defence secrets on shipbuilding contracts. For years, Norman was stuck in a legal quagmire that sullied his reputation and dishonoured his career and character. The federal Department of Justice played games that stonewalled Norman’s defence lawyers. Then, at the eleventh hour, as the courtroom showdown was about to commence, the Crown prosecutors folded their case, and the charges against the vice-admiral were stayed. Norman was handed an undisclosed sum of money to keep his mouth shut. This whole judicial affair was swept under the rug to be forgotten.

But this miscarriage of justice and the fate of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman must not be forgotten. To fully appreciate the significance, reference The Niagara Independent’s news commentary from 2019: What the Norman Scandal Means for Canada’s Justice System and Norman’s Trial Now Shifts to Court of Public Opinion.

Both the SNC-Lavalin and Mark Norman examples raise serious concerns about a person’s expectation for fair treatment in our Canadian legal system. Consider what Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella stated when news of the Norman non-disclosure settlement deal broke: “As in the LavScam case (SNC-Lavalin), criminal prosecutions must always be independent of politics. If the likes of Trudeau can use the criminal justice system to reward friends (like SNC-Lavalin) and punish enemies (like Norman), we will have fully become a totalitarian regime. We are no longer a true democracy.”

Most disturbing about these examples, as well as the misuse of the Emergencies Act, and even today as we witness the court proceedings skewering Tamara Lich, is the fact that to this day, our federal government has refused to explain, justify, or otherwise account for what has happened. From the PM and PMO staff to ministers, MPs, Crown prosecutors, and senior government mandarins, the federal government is seemingly operating outside the country’s judicial system, playing fast and loose with the laws of the land. From Norman to Lich and the many in between, it has been Kafkaesque.

Undermining law and order 

Increasingly, it is evident that the Trudeau government’s law and order agenda is failing the country. In fact, it is placing Canadians’ safety in jeopardy. The Liberals’ “soft-on-crime” sentencing and “catch-and-release” bail approach have resulted in escalating crime rates that have not been seen in nearly 20 years. Statistics Canada’s latest numbers (2022) report an alarming single-year 8.2 per cent jump in homicides, 15 per cent in robberies, and 39 per cent in extortion. Manitoba’s homicide rate has surged by 40 per cent – and despite the claims recently made by “unhinged” Liberal MP Ken Hardie, this grim statistic must be accounted for by Trudeau, Hardie, and their colleagues on the government benches.

Likewise, the Trudeau Liberals must be held accountable for the government’s inadequate response to crimes that have tested the conscience of the nation. For example, in the last two years, there have been 83 Christian churches across Canada that have been vandalized, burned down, or desecrated. The PM stated these crimes are “wrong” but reasoned, “it’s fully understandable, given the shameful history.” Trudeau and his government have made similar rationalizations for everything from BLM vandalism to illegal blockades by indigenous groups to pro-Palestinian demonstrations calling for an intifada in Canadian streets.

With respect to the administration of justice, the Trudeau government has now been caught multiple times appointing Liberal Party supporters to the judicial bench. In early 2020, the Globe and Mail uncovered a partisan federal Liberal network that vetted and selected judicial appointments, with weighted consideration given to their Liberal Party pedigree. Between November 2015 and 2020, more than 475 judges were appointed with the Trudeau government’s judicial application process. More recently, the government was exposed again when superior court judge applicants were linked to Liberal “cash-for-access” events. Loading the bench with Liberal candidates is sure to maintain a “progressive” approach to law and order for years to come.

Not surprisingly, an April 2023 Research Co. survey found Canadians divided on whether the justice system is fair: 45 per cent believe the justice system treats every person fairly, while 43 per cent of people disagreed (12 per cent were undecided). In a June 2023 Leger poll, four out of five Canadians (78 per cent) were critical of the justice system, stating that it is “too lenient on offenders who are found to be guilty of committing a violent crime.” Most concerning in this poll was the finding that less than a third (32 percent) agreed with the notion that Canada has a “firm and fair” justice system.

From the mentioned travesties of  justice involving Jody Wilson-Raybould and Mark Norman to today’s Freedom Convoy trial, there has been so much more… Aga Khan, McKinsey & Company, Frank Baylis, Medicago Inc, the firings as well as the secret virus research at the Winnipeg Lab, the RCMP handling of Nova Scotia mass killings, Myles Sanderson, Dany Fortin, unchecked pipeline eco-terrorism, Jaspal Atwal, Omar Khadr, Joshua Boyle, WE Charity, the Trudeau Foundation…. Plainly, Justin Trudeau’s record on the nation’s justice files is nothing short of perverse.

This is the third of a six-part series that takes account of Justin Trudeau’s eight-year record pursuing his “post-national” vision for Canada.  

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/trudeaus-perversion-of-justice-deconstructing-canada-part-3/

Robbing From Future Canadians: Deconstructing Canada (part 2)

The Niagara Independent, November 24, 2023 – Perhaps there is no greater harm done by Justin Trudeau and his eight years as Prime Minister than robbing future generations of Canadians of their standard of living. The Trudeau government has spent senselessly, ladening Canadians with a debt load that will take decades to pay off. Trudeau’s fiscal record – by every accounting – amounts to a gross failure that has disadvantaged Canadians and their present and future potential prosperity.

The Trudeau Liberals have fastened Canadians into a fiscal straight jacket that will negatively impact their standard of living for at least a generation, possibly more.

Undisciplined deficit financing 

Recall in the 2015 election when Justin Trudeau stated that his government would incur small deficits to establish its progressive agenda. Promising the Liberals would balance the budget by 2019, he reassured voters that “the budget would balance itself.” However, under the fiscal stewardship of Trudeau and his Bay Street Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the Liberals had an accumulative deficit spending of $127 billion through the first term (and can anyone cite what Canadians got for this spending spree?). Then, the Liberal government recorded in a single year – the 2021 pandemic budget – a deficit that exceeded all previous federal government fiscal deficits combined throughout Canada’s history. In the post-pandemic budgets, the red ink has continued to flow – and this fiscal year, the deficit rings in at $40 billion. Verily, soaring annual deficits are the hallmark of the Trudeau Liberals.

With the year-over-year deficits, Canada’s debt load has doubled since 2015. With today’s higher interest rates, financing this national debt is costly and even costlier. For example, in August, Canadians paid more than $4.3 billion in interest payments (setting a new record for Canadian taxpayers). This year, Canadians are paying $46.5 billion to service the debt, and four years from now, that figure will climb to nearly $60 billion. So, “Why does this matter?” those financially challenged might ask. The billions of dollars of interest being paid on the debt takes directly from the money the government has to spend on programs and services or to provide possible tax relief.

Unbridled government growth 

The weightiness of government has increased notably with Trudeau – both ballooning in costs of operations and bulging in numbers of civil servants. This year, taxpayers are spending a total of $210 billion on Ottawa’s operational costs of bureaucracy (not including pension and perks). The civil service has swelled from 257,000 in 2015 to 357,000 bureaucrats today, which is the greatest number in Canadian history. What is more remarkable is that during the two years of the pandemic and COVID lockdowns, the Ottawa bureaucracy actually grew by 12 per cent. Today, the federal government is the single largest employer in the country.

Sluggish economic performance 

Another important variable when assessing the impact of federal fiscal policy on a country’s economic well-being is the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) – and how Canada compares with its global competition. The trend lines in a nation’s GDP will reflect the direction of a people’s standard of living. In looking at the numbers since 2015, there is no good news as Canadians’ productivity and the country’s GDP has waned with the Liberals management of the economy – and most recently, Canada has experienced an economic contraction as recorded by a real GDP per capita decline.

Statistics Canada reported that Canadian labour productivity has declined in 11 of the past 12 quarters, and today, it is “below pre-pandemic levels.” Moreover, since the third quarter of 2015, real GDP per capita in Canada has increased “a paltry 1.6 per cent,” which is far below expectations of 8.2 per cent. For comparison, the United States has seen 12.5 per cent growth over the same period. Essentially, these numbers are foul news for Canadian’s standard of living; we are falling behind our neighbours.

Declining standard of living 

When global economists look at the prospects for up and coming generations, there are dark clouds gathering over Canadians. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projects that growth in living standards in Canada will rank dead last among its 38 developed member countries over the next 40 years. The OECD is critical of federal government spending, especially during the pandemic when Canada outspent all countries in the world. It cites the major factors for the country’s lacklustre economic performance as waning business confidence and decreasing domestic and foreign investment in Canadian businesses and projects. The OECD foresees Canadians’ standard of living in a steady decline.

Trudeau Liberal’s defying reality 

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered the government’s Fall Economic Statement this past week. With all the financial acumen of a career journalist, Freeland touted her budget update as a “responsible fiscal plan.” She did not blink an eye in announcing tens of billions of dollars of new spending and, in her teacher-like manner, harped on about the government’s discipline in setting a new cap for the size of future budgets. Interestingly, the first budget that will be subjected to this new guideline is in the next Parliament, after the election. Also of note, Freeland did not mention when the Liberals would balance the budget. (One is to assume that it will balance itself?)

The Fall Economic Statement and Freeland’s performance was justifiably panned. It appears that Canadians who have been suffering through the most financially stressful times since Pierre Elliot Trudeau was in office are beginning to realize the ramifications of eight years of a Justin Trudeau government.

Matthew Lau summed up the mood of the nation in his National Post column commenting on the Trudeau-Freeland fiscal plan:

“The government has spent and regulated the country into ruin… Canadians are suffering an economic crisis of unaffordability, the worst decade of growth since the Great Depression… Canada too can reverse its decline before it becomes an honorary member of the Third World, but it will require undoing everything the Trudeau government has done since 2015 and that it continues to do now.”

The last word on the Trudeau government’s fiscal nightmare goes to CTV News veteran political commentator Don Martin, who delivered his signature “bottom line” in observing, “The borrowing of today will be paid with high interest by the kids who become the taxpayers of tomorrow. They are owed a proactive apology for squandering their hard-earned income tax on the questionable expenses we have incurred.”

Canadians’ fiscal straight jacket is a definitive part of Justin Trudeau’s legacy. It is an indelible smudge on Trudeau’s record that our children will be the first Canadians not to exceed their parents’ good fortune and standard of living.

This is the second of a six-part series that takes account of Justin Trudeau’s eight-year record pursuing his “post-national” vision for Canada.

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/robbing-from-future-canadians-deconstructing-canada-part-2/

Justin Trudeau’s eight-year record: Deconstructing Canada (part 1)

The Niagara Independent, November 17, 2023 – Another miserable, embarrassing week for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

There was another poll, this one by Leger, that shows two in three Canadians have a negative impression of Trudeau and his government, and one in two Canadians want him to resign before the next election. One in five surveyed want Trudeau to resign simply because they are “just tired of him.” It echoes recent poll results that show a widening gap between support for the Liberals and Conservatives, the increasing blame on the Liberal government for the high cost of living, an increasing dissatisfaction with Trudeau himself, and a growing number calling for his resignation. One national survey declared Justin Trudeau the worst PM in the last sixty years.

There was also another international dustup involving Justin Trudeau that resulted in ridiculing headlines that condemned the PM. Trudeau’s comments this week suggested Israel must show “maximum restraint” because their military attacks were killing babies and inflicting undue harm to civilians caused an international stir. News around the world carried PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s rebuke: “@JustinTrudeau It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust. While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm’s way.” The Israeli PM’s harsh criticism of Trudeau comes in the wake of similar embarrassments this year relating to “the Nazi incident” with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenski, an increasingly tense relationship with Indian PM Narendra Modi, a finger-pointing moment with U.S. President Joe Biden, and an abrupt public dressing-down by China Leader Xi Jinping.

PM Trudeau’s mounting grief (from countless self-inflicted gaffes) have many speculating on his imminent departure. Columnists and pundits in Canada’s subsidized mainstream media have begun to craft Trudeau’s record of accomplishments and his impact on the country. By way of example, Spark Advocacy released comments this week suggesting Trudeau has been a successful progressive world leader. The government affairs company co-directed by the husband and the father of Trudeau’s PMO chief of staff Katie Telford makes the claim, “Most Canadians don’t dislike Justin Trudeau’s values, character, or much of his policy record,” but they are simply “fatigued from overexposure” of the PM who is managing the country through “a tumultuous period.” (Spark Advocacy wins hands-down for the most outlandish spin of the week.)

Regarding the PM’s exit plans, for the record, this scribe has long held that Justin Trudeau will take “a walk in the snow” on February 29, 2024 — as did his father on the 29th of that leap year 40 years ago.

And regarding the PM’s legacy, you are reading the first of a six-part Niagara Independent series that will take account of Justin Trudeau’s record pursing the establishment of his envisioned “post-national state.” In the weeks to come, this series will review the impact of eight years of the Trudeau government on the country’s finances, law and order, democratic institutions, resource economy, and Canada’s place in the world.

To assess the eight-year record of Justin Trudeau, one must appreciate that Trudeau has had designs from his first day in the PMO to evolve Canada into a post-national state. On November 10, 2015, when Trudeau was sworn in as prime minister, he said to a New York Times interviewer that he envisioned a new kind of state: “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada.” Canada was to be remodeled into his utopian vision: “There are shared values – openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice.”

By definition “post-nationalism” pertains to a time or mindset in which the identity of a nation is no longer important. Wikipedia concisely describes post-nationalism thus: “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.” It lists a variety of factors constituting the post-national process: shifting national economies to global ones, increasingly referencing global identities and beliefs, and transferring national authorities to multinational corporations and the United Nations.

Since those heady “sunny days” in 2015, PM Trudeau set about to deconstruct the country and all those elements within that underpin a nation. From that premise Canadians can judge how successful Justin Trudeau has been.

Accordingly, Justin Trudeau has marshalled a string of successful maneuvers over the eight years that have aligned Canada with global agendas. His government has worked closely with the World Economic Forum: its head Klaus Schwab bragged “he has penetrated” the Trudeau cabinet, and the WEF trustees include deputy PM Chrystia Freeland and until recently Liberal insider Mark Carney. The Canadian government is championing many United Nations initiatives: its migration treaty, indigenous rights treaty, central bank digital currency program, digital global ID pilot program, a new pandemic treaty subjugating Canada’s sovereignty to the World Health Organization, and global climate change programs to effectively stifle industrial and resource development.

The Trudeau government has also championed progressive policies loosening drug laws, establishing lax restorative justice and bail conditions, expanding state-sponsored euthanasia, and growing the state with larger bureaucracies and more tax-and-spend womb-to-tomb programs. Furthermore, the PM has become the poster-boy for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and critical race theory; the virtue-signally king of pronouns, of gender fluidity, of self-flagellation over our country’s privileged whiteness and its racial and genocidal colonial past.

This 6-part series on the “deconstruction of Canada” will look at all of this and, additionally, remark on the Trudeau government’s countless scandals that are a hallmark of his time in office. Consider the ties between the Chinese Communist Party and the Liberal Party, the nefarious dealings with SNC-Lavalin and McKensey and Co., shutting down the oil and gas industry while providing questionable subsidies to green projects, the pillory of Canadians participating in the Freedom Convoy, the pandemic boondoggles and secret dealings regarding the COVID-19 virus, vaccines and the mandates, and the incalculable depth of incompetency in managing the affairs of government.

When reviewing the press and social media covering the Canadian PM in the past few months, one can denote the political commentary from the government’s adversaries and politicos has moved from sharp criticism to comments of disgust, ridicule and rejection. For example, Joe Oliver, former financial minister in the Harper government, describes Trudeau’s leadership as “incompetent, divisive and ethically challenged” and he questions whether the PM is at the point where “his moral authority to govern is being compromised.” Michael Higgins, senior editor at the National Post, goes a step further and states that the PM no longer has “the moral authority” when he talks to Canadians. Higgins writes: “For Trudeau, the desire for political expediency has always outweighed his indifference for principled action.”

Warren Kinsella, Liberal advisor to former PM Jean Chretien is dismissive of Trudeau’s comments on the Israeli-Hamas war, observing this week, “Worse than the fact that Canada’s voice has become irrelevant internationally under his watch, worse than his malignant solipsism – is his total inauthenticity. He’s just so, so phony. “This has to stop.” Says who, Justin? Says you? No one is listening to you anymore. They just aren’t.”

Brad Salzberg, a prolific political commentator from B.C. has been constant in his denunciation of PM Trudeau and the irreparable social, economic, and reputational damage he has inflicted on Canada. Salzberg recently wrote, “For eight years running, Trudeau has been an avatar of degenerative woke globalist policy. His political resume reflects a litany of social division, community favouritism, and religious community bias.” In commenting on this week’s protest incident where the PM was chased out of a Vancouver Chinatown restaurant, he reflects, “… the uproar at an upscale curry house serves as a microcosm for our national condition. A once moderate, welcoming society has been transformed into a fractured population of angry citizens…. exacerbation of social conflict, anger on our streets, division of community from community. All results of 8 years of Woke globalist Liberals.”

The last word goes to Liberal-friendly national columnist Susan Delacourt of the Liberal-friendly newspaper Toronto Star who was reporting on a Star-sponsored poll. Delacourt reports that 90 per cent of Canadians say Trudeau lacks a clear vision, 86 per cent say he’s “inauthentic and phoney,” and 56 per cent say he got Canada into the mess it is today. She quotes David Coletto, CEO of Abacus, who succinctly assessed the poll findings, “In short, after eight years in office, too many people are just finished with him. He’s a big part of the problem and there’s little faith he can get focused on the things they care about it.”

It appears for all concerned February 29th cannot come soon enough. So, now, let’s take a deep dive into reviewing the impact Justin Trudeau has had on our nation.

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/justin-trudeaus-eight-year-record-deconstructing-canada-part-1/

Liberals’ carbon tax is an oppressive, ineffectual tax

The Niagara Independent, November 10, 2023 – If anything, the events of the past two weeks have revealed the Liberals’ carbon tax is a political ploy and not a tool to fight climate change as they claim it is. The carbon tax is simply another tax on Canadians, not “a price on pollution.” And this tax is hurting Canadian individuals and families – and the nation’s economy.

It is a tax on everything. Today, the carbon tax adds more than $10 on every fill up and hundreds of dollars for home heating fuel through the winter. In the next six years, the scheduled tax hikes will more than double these totals. It is a tax on all goods and services. It hits farmers and truckers hard and hits commuters to work – twice a day. It increases the prices on everything from a Tim Horton’s coffee and food in your grocery cart to housing construction costs. It is fueling the country’s inflation rate, as confirmed recently by bank governor Tiff Macklen in public statements and before a MP parliamentary committee.

Two weeks ago, while campaigning in the Maritimes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise announcement that the government would pause charging the carbon tax on home heating oil, an initiative that directly benefits Atlantic residents. It was a crass political announcement that had the PM referencing the “hardworking Atlantic Liberal MPs” who argued for relief from the federal carbon tax because they were pushing the cost of living beyond what Maritimers could bear.

A political slugfest broke out between federal Liberal ministers and the provinces. Several premiers called on the federal government to eliminate the carbon tax on all forms of home heating. Ontario Premier Doug Ford published open letter to the Liberal federal caucus, calling on MPs to stand up for constituents and extend the tax relief to natural gas. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe went as far as declaring he would “absolutely not” collect carbon tax on natural gas starting on January 1, 2024 – and then passed legislation to that effect.

Provincial finance ministers gathered and five of them issued a joint statement to say that Trudeau’s pause of the carbon tax on home heating oil created “jurisdictional imbalances” and they urged him to “eliminate the carbon tax to ensure fairness and ease financial pressure on Canadians.”

As this was transpiring, Seamus O’Regan, Newfoundland MP and Labour Minister mused for the Ottawa press corps that the Liberal cabinet was intent to “barrel on” because, as O’Regan put it, “It’s hard breaking through regular everyday folks who are just having trouble making things meet and are looking for someone to blame.”

Gudie Hutchings, Newfoundland MP and the Minister of Rural Economic Development (for all of Canada) also took to the airwaves to poke at the western premiers, stating on a CTV News show, “Atlantic caucus was vocal with what they’ve heard from their constituents and perhaps they need to elect more Liberals in the Prairies so we can have that conversation as well.”

Premier Moe instantly shot back, “How is that fair?… Now a federal minister has said if people out West want a carbon tax exemption we should elect more Liberals. This is no way to run a country. As Premier I cannot accept the federal government giving an affordability break to people in one part of Canada but not here.”

The Premiers’ appeal fell on deaf ears in Ottawa. PM Trudeau was emphatic in stating no expansion to the tax exemption for other types of home heating, “There will absolutely not be any other carve-outs or suspension of the price on pollution.” Dan Vandal, Manitoba MP and Northern Affairs Minister was sent into a media scrum to echo the PM’s message: “Listen, the door is closed on carve-outs as far as I’m concerned. This is a policy to get rid of home heating oil and replace it with heat pumps because it’s environmentally much better.”

In assessing this Liberal-made divisive turf war, consider these facts:

  • A recent federal government report reveals a majority of Canadian homeowners (53 per cent) now spend more than $200 a month on heat and light, and one in five (21 per cent) state “my home energy costs are a significant financial burden.” Also, 26 per cent of homeowners report their monthly expenses including bills, mortgage, debt payments and loans exceeded 60 per cent of their monthly household income.
  • Almost three in five (57 per cent) of Canadians surveyed in a recent Leger poll want relief from carbon pricing on all home heating. Support for removing carbon pricing from home heating was seen in every region of the country: Atlantic Canada (66 per cent), Quebec (50 per cent), Ontario (54 per cent), Prairies (60 per cent), and BC (64 per cent).
  • Further to minister Vandal’s point of argument above, the federal government reports that its subsidy program to replace housing heating oil with heat pumps, which began in early 2023, has only seen a total of 43 heat pumps installed. There are approximately 1.1 million residences in Canada using home heating oil.

On Monday, it appeared that the dispute was put to bed when a Conservative motion to extend the carbon tax exemption on all types of home heating for “all Canadians” was voted on and defeated 186-135, with Bloc Quebecois MPs voting along with the Liberals. An increasingly agitated Saskatchewan Premier Moe observed of the vote “… supported by the Bloc Québécois – a party that wants to break up Canada. That explains a lot about the state of our country under Trudeau.”

Then mid-week there came a new twist to the carbon tax debate when Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Jerry DeMarco released a report that concluded the government’s climate plan was a failure. DeMarco forecasted that the country would not meet its 2030 emission reduction target. In real numbers, the report recorded that from 1990 to 2021 Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 13.9 per cent, which happens to be the worst performance of any of the G7 nations.

Commissioner DeMarco called out the governing Liberals for having failed in recent years to prioritize and implement key environmental policies, as well as relying on too many unrealistic assumptions and projections. He concluded that the government had no cohesive plan, no specified timetables and  measurements to meet its targets for reducing carbon emissions.

The Conservatives point out that the only timetable the Liberals have been focused on delivering has been the scheduled increases to its carbon tax. In this way, the carbon tax has become the central policy piece of the Liberals’ carbon emission strategy to achieve its 2030 and 2050 emissions targets.

Found within a Liberal document circulated after the 2019 federal election, PM Trudeau explains their approach in annually hiking the carbon tax: “The principle is straightforward: a carbon price establishes how much businesses and households need to pay for their pollution. The higher the price, the greater the incentive to pollute less, conserve energy and invest in low-carbon solutions.”

However, as the DeMarco Report indicates, this punitive tax approach has not been effective and emissions have actually risen over the past couple decades. Not only is the Liberals’ carbon tax costing Canadians dearly, it has clearly failed in its stated objective.

For months now Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has been crisscrossing the country on an “Axe the Tax” tour with a commitment to rid Canadians of their carbon tax burden. His campaign was inadvertently showcased by the political exchanges of the past two weeks. What began as the PM’s powerplay for Maritime votes, further divided the country and, in the end, exposed the shoddiness of the Liberal government’s climate change plans and its oppressive, ineffectual carbon tax.

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/liberals-carbon-tax-is-an-oppressive-ineffectual-tax/

There’s a lot to unpack with the Liberals’ immigration plans

The Niagara Independent, November 3, 2023 – Immigration Minister Marc Miller was centre stage in Ottawa this week announcing the government’s new immigration targets for the next three years. Miller’s revelation was that the new numbers are the old numbers – in the coming years, they will remain at the country’s current, historic high level.

The government’s planned target is to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024, 500,000 in 2025 and another 500,000 in 2026. The minister wanted to underline the figure for 2026 as it is slightly less than a previously forecasted increase that would have seen even more than a half million come through “our country’s front door.”

Miller stated the government was “pausing” its annual increase of numbers of permanent resident immigrants in 2026 in order to assess the sustainability of the growing immigration numbers and the impact on housing and the labour market.

Still, in the next three years, Canada will (officially) welcome another one and half million immigrants (under the category of “permanent resident”). (Brackets are required — because this is but half the story.)

Under the Trudeau government, immigration numbers for permanent residency have increased dramatically from under 300,000 in 2015 to the half-million level today. This is changing the composition of the country as recent government statistics from Stats Canada and the department Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada reveal:

  • In 2022 Canada’s population grew by a record amount, more than one million-plus people.
  • In 2022 the country’s population growth rate was 2.7 per cent, which is the highest rate in the world outside African countries.
  • Almost all (98 per cent) of that growth came from net international migration.
  • First- and second-generation immigrants now account for 44 per cent of the country’s population, according to the 2021 census.
  • On June 16, 2023 Canada’s population surpassed the 40 million mark. On July 1, 2015, Canada’s estimated population was 35,851,800.
  • Canada’s population has not grown at the current pace since the baby boom years of the late 1950’s.

In response to the government’s storyline, Campbell Clark of the Globe and Mail was quick to write an opinion piece “Time to address the immigration number that matters now.” Clark states: “Don’t look too closely at the immigration targets the federal government set Wednesday. They’re not the numbers that matter right now…. The figure that matters more is the 2.2 million in temporary residents who are in Canada. That number has surged…”

Indeed, to get a complete picture of who is moving in, Canadians must take into account how many are being let in through the country’s “back doors.” For example, in 2022, the permanent resident figure was 435,000 but a CIBC report claims the actual number of new people was more than 955,000 (and we now know Stats Can pegs the number at more than one million). According to CIBC, non-permanent residency that year could have been greater than 700,000. No final total figure for 2022 has been provided by the government.

So, here follows “the other numbers” to consider when assessing the Trudeau government’s full plans for immigration.

As Campbell Clark instructs, look at the temporary residents, those who were provided visas for work and education. Temporary visa holders accounted for a majority of newcomers (58 per cent) in 2022.

In the 12 months leading up to this year’s Canada Day, four times the number of temporary residents entered Canada than the average number who entered between 2015 and 2019 (Trudeau government’s pre-COVID years). In an August 2023 report, CIBC estimated that  “Stats Can had failed to count as many as 750,000 people whose temporary work visas have expired, but who remained in the country awaiting a renewal of their permits, and another 250,000 foreign students who incorrectly identified their place of residence in the 2021 census.”

In other words, the government’s official number of temporary residents may be off by as many as one million people. Still, the government is planning to increase the pace of temporary immigration in the coming years. For example, there is expected to be more than 900,000 international students coming to Canada this year.

And there is more. To add to the “front door” permanent residents and the “back door” temporary residents”, there are those refugees and migrants who make it to Canadian soil to seek asylum. Canadians may never get a true sense of the actual numbers for refugees and migrants. In 2022, the federal government stated nearly 40,000 people crossed over Roxham Road, but reports from agencies and the Quebec government claimed as much as 92,700 asylum seekers had the RCMP carry their bags across our border – that’s more than double the federal government’s official count. Additionally, in 2022 Canada welcomed in refugees from Ukraine (145,000) and Afghanistan (20,000).

Accelerating the flow of people into Canada is aligned with the Trudeau government’s immigration strategy set back in its early years. In 2016, the federal Advisory Council on Economic Growth, which was chaired by Dominic Barton (then-McKinsey & Co. global managing partner and later the Canadian ambassador to China), recommended that there be a 50 per cent increase in annual immigration levels so that in five years (2021) the number would reach 450,000. Barton was also a co-author of a paper advising the government that the country’s population should be 100 million by 2100.

In concert with this counsel, the Trudeau government signed the Global Compact for Migration in early 2017. This global agenda set in place a system for “safe, orderly and regular” migration from 3rd world countries, mostly from the continent of Africa. Today, Canada has the world’s largest intake of 3rd World migration.

Welcoming increased numbers of migrants comes with an untold cost. There is increased pressure placed on social services, housing, and health care to support the migrants. In the 2023 federal budget, there was a $1 billion line item for short-term accommodation and temporary health-care coverage for asylum-seekers and refugees. This line was broken out to provide $530 million for accommodations and $469 million for health benefits. That is $1 billion dollars for this fiscal year.

Here are four additional points to crowd into this review of the Liberals’ immigration plans.

  • Miller says we need more immigrants to fill labour gaps, that we cannot build the homes we need without them; however, many working-age immigrants arrive with dependent children and spouses (who do not work) and are often joined later by retired parents and family members. So, for every worker Canada gains there is at least one more dependent person added into  the equation.
  • According to the Canada census, prior to 2015, immigration consisted of 28 per cent coming from the UK/Europe, and today this number is two per cent. Nearly 98 per cent of immigrants now come from India, China, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, and other African countries.
  • In recent years there has been a record spike in the numbers of immigrants who have left Canada – the term is “onward migration” – because of high cost of living, housing issues, and underemployment. At the same time, the U.S. border authorities have seen an alarming 47 per cent increase in illegal border crossings – and this has prompted Republican US-president contender Vivek Ramaswamy to call for a wall to be built between Canada and U.S. to keep migrants out of the States.
  • As we have seen with the recent pro_Hamas protests in our cities, some newcomers to the country bring their own toxic beliefs with them. Given the free-flowing immigration stream and the country’s deportation laws as they are, this leaves all citizens in a compromised and vulnerable position.

This week, polling firm Environics released survey results that showed 44 per cent of Canadians feel “overall, there’s too much immigration to Canada.” Earlier in October, an Ipsos poll showed 73 per cent of Canadians believe the government’s “immigration targets should be reduced until the housing shortage eases,” and 68 per cent said there should be a cap on international students while the housing crisis is addressed.

Keith Neuman, the author of the Environics report, observed “The main thing we’re seeing is that people are more concerned about the capacity of the country to absorb a lot of newcomers when things aren’t working as well as they were before.”

With Marc Miller’s announcements, perhaps the Trudeau government was responding to the latest polling figures with their adjusted 2026 target numbers? Or perhaps it was the sight of the increasing food bank lines, the tent cities in Hamilton’s parks, or maybe it was the Hamas and Taliban flags flying in downtown Toronto?

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/theres-a-lot-to-unpack-with-the-liberals-immigration-plans/

CCP’s undue influence in Canada remains the elephant in the room

The Niagara Independent, October 27, 2023 –

China’s goal is not to replicate the crude imperialism of the European, or even the American, type, but to create vassal states — subordinate countries that rule themselves but are expected to kowtow on command.” 

Joel Kotkin, presidential fellow at California’s Chapman University and author of The Coming of Neo Feudalism — A Warning to the Global Middle Class 

It’s been almost two months since PM Justin Trudeau appointed Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Marie-Josée Hogue to lead the public inquiry into foreign influence in Canada and the country’s federal elections. In early September a timetable was published stating that in mid-February the judge would issue an interim report and she would complete her work by the end of 2024.

Seven weeks into the inquiry’s tight timeframe there has been no news on public hearings or the judge’s work. Just as she successfully defended the PM when he departed from West Point Grey Academy so many years ago, Judge Hogue is doing her job in removing from Canadian news the mounting scandals linking the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with the Liberal Party. The PM and cabinet ministers need not address CCP influence when there is “an independent public inquiry” underway – and when the inquiry has no news… well, then there is no news.   

Yet, on multiple fronts again this week, parliamentary committee testimony and tabled reports signal to Canadians who are watching such proceedings that the CCP’s undue influence in Canada remains the elephant in the room.

The CCP’s undue influence in our country entangles more than the narrow focus of the Hogue inquiry into foreign influence in elections. There are much greater questions about “Canada, the vassal state,” and the ties that bind the CCP and Liberals have been enumerated in this space in a number of columns: here, here, here, and here. At least ten critical issues have been identified:

  1. Cover up of the virus research in the Winnipeg Lab and link to the genesis of COVID-19
  2. CCP ties to Liberal business network, anchored by Power Corporation
  3. Ignoring mention of fraud and interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections
  4. Beijing money flowing into the Trudeau Foundation
  5. Permitting CCP police stations and agents to operate in Canada
  6. Failure to respond to forced labour and human rights violations of the Uyghurs
  7. “Mishandling” of foreign intelligence as forwarded by CSIS
  8. Federal investment in China – CPP and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
  9. Avoidance of establishing a foreign agent registry
  10. Deteriorating national defense leaving arctic territories unprotected to Chinese encroachment

Every week new facts surface and new questions are raised about CCP influence in Canada, such as Beijing’s theft of technology research from Canadian universities, or Chinese interests buying up real estate. Just this week, here is what we have learned from revelations on Parliament Hill.

The director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service David Vigneault gave a 60 Minutes American news interview that aired on the weekend in which he said “We [Canada] have seen and blocked attempts by the [People’s Republic of China, or CCP) to acquire locations near sensitive, strategic assets of the country where we knew the ultimate purpose was for spying operations.” Some Canadian legacy news agencies reported the CSIS director’s comments early in the week; it did not appear in state-sponsored CBC news.

The CCP launched a “spamouflage” disinformation campaign in Canadian social media in late summer and over the Labour Day weekend. The Global Affairs department reported on Monday that the PM, the Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, and at least 47 MPs had their social media platforms hacked to post propaganda messages. The department stated the campaign’s objective was to “discourage and make it difficult for MPs to carry out their duties and may dissuade MPs and diaspora communities in Canada from speaking out.” It is the same tactic that has been employed against Conservative MP Michael Chong and former Conservative MP Kenny Chiu, who was defeated in the 2021 election.

On Tuesday the Commons ethics committee produced an all-party report that urged Parliament to enact legislation as soon as possible to establish a foreign influence registry. For 18 months a Senate bill has been sidelined in the Upper Chambre and the government has only offered promises to introduce legislation, without acting. The MPs on the ethics committee stated:  “The creation of a foreign influence registry has been proposed many times in recent years but no bill has been passed. Several allied countries have established foreign influence registries.”

Also on Tuesday, Defence Minister Bill Blair (and also the former Public Safety Minister) appeared before the Procedure and House Affairs committee (PROC), which is currently studying the CCP threats and tactics used to pressure MP Michael Chong. Blair stated he was not to be held responsible for failing to warn the MP – the responsibility lies solely with CSIS. This echoes other PROC testimony from top political and government officials. Mike MacDonald, former national security advisor to the PM said he did not see anything. Jody Thomas, current national security advisor to the PM said she did not see anything. Former deputy minister of public safety Rob Stewart testified it was “not my job” to warn MP Chong. Remarkably, the testimony reads like the script from Hogan’s Heroes: “I zee nut-ting. I know nut-ting.”

The Toronto Star featured an investigative piece that underlined the efforts of top government officials, PM Trudeau, and the Prime Minister’s Office to hide the extent of foreign interference activities in Canada — and bury the warnings of CSIS. The Toronto Star quoted a September 2022 CSIS document: “State actors are able to conduct (foreign interference) successfully in Canada because there are no consequences, either legal or political… (Foreign interference) is therefore a low-risk and high-reward endeavor.” A CSIS national security assessment from October 2022 warned the PMO: “networks are active throughout Canada, and at all levels of government. Many elements of these networks are deeply embedded in Canada’s political and social fabric.”

On Wednesday, a Chinese Canada group, the Falun Dafa Association (FDA), published a report that named media and community groups in Canada that are “affiliated or funded” by the CCP to disseminate its propaganda. The FDA spokesperson stated, “The CCP has been intimidating and manipulating elected officials in Canada to prevent them from addressing rights abuses. The CCP’s infiltration into Canada’s political system and institutions is extremely concerning, as it undermines the Canadian government’s ability to address and rectify the issue of interference itself.”

The breaking news from Parliament Hill on Thursday, headlines the testimony from former Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who remains “a target of interest” of the CCP, suggests CSIS. O’Toole describes the government’s current election interference system “a colossal failure.”

Last word on this disturbing subject matter goes to MP Michael Chong, who has dutifully endured the CCP’s intimidation. Last month Chong was in Washington D.C. to speak before a special congressional commission looking into CCP foreign interference. To the American congressmen he stated, “Foreign interference is a serious national security threat to Canada. It threatens our economy, our long-term prosperity, social cohesion, our Parliament and our elections. It requires a suite of measures to combat, including putting closer co-operation among allied democracies.”

As this week again shows, despite the fact that PM Trudeau and his ministers play hide and seek behind Judge Hague (who is MIA), there is no denying that the elephant remains.

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/ccps-undue-influence-in-canada-remains-the-elephant-in-the-room/