Tag Archives: Niagara_Independent

The incredible costs of Trudeau’s carbon taxes

The Niagara Independent, November 19, 2021 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his two minutes on the world stage at the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP26) to urge other countries to follow Canada’s example and impose an escalating carbon tax on their citizens and businesses. Trudeau called for other countries to join together and introduce a series of carbon taxes that would cover 60 percent of global carbon emissions by 2030. His solicitation went unanswered.

Yet, PM Trudeau made a rash of pledges on behalf of Canadians. Canada is the only oil-producing country to announce that it is imposing a hard cap on emissions at today’s levels for the oil and gas sector. It is also phasing out all coal-fired electricity and will halt Canadian exports of thermal coal by 2030. The Canadian government will withdraw billions of dollars of its financial support for Canadian companies and pension plans that are invested in oil, coal, and natural gas projects internationally. Trudeau also gave away tens of millions of additional dollars to the treasure trove that Canadians have already pledged to U.N. climate change programs.

Trudeau also took every opportunity to highlight his government’s intent to increase the federal carbon taxes through the decade in order to meet Canada’s CO2 emission targets in 2030. In a 2020 government document on the country’s environmental agenda, the Canadian carbon tax is explained: “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.”

Bottom line: the carbon taxes are meant to adversely impact Canadians. These are punitive measures to alter our behaviour and energy habits.

So, Canadians are to pay dearly. Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, predicts that Canadians will soon be paying $2.00 per litre at the pumps and suggests some Canadians will need to manage heat-or-eat scenarios through the cold winter months.

Every April through this decade there is a schedule of tax hikes that will increase pump prices annually by approximately a dime, and home fuel prices by $20 per month. The current price on carbon is $40 per tonne and this is set to rise to $170 per tonne by 2030. So, carbon taxes paid at the pump on each fill-up by 2030 will account for an additional $27 for a minivan, an additional $45 extra for a pickup truck, and truck drivers will pay an additional $204 to fuel their transport trucks. Consider what this means for commuters each week.

This tax will hit farmers and truckers hard and Canadians will experience hidden tax increases with groceries and merchandise bills. It will be difficult to factor and track these tax increases as they will be unseen, folded into the cost of goods.

Canadians will also experience increased taxes on their home heating, natural gas and propane bills. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) factors that a home using 2,700 cubic metres of natural gas per year would be dinged an extra $240 in taxes annually as the carbon tax is hiked.

Apparently, it makes no difference that these carbon taxes are a greater burden for lower-income Canadians. A Finance Canada analysis on the carbon tax recently concluded that “increases in transportation fuel and home heating expenses would disproportionately impact lower and middle-income households [and] those living in single detached households or those without control over the energy efficiency of their dwellings that use heating oil.”

Remarkably five weeks from now, on Jan. 1, the Trudeau government is introducing a new Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) carbon tax on the country’s business community. By the government’s own estimates, the new CFS tax will increase energy costs by an additional $208 annually for households by 2030. There is no CFS rebate system planned to defray these increased taxes.

AND THERE IS MORE… the GST is collected on top of all of the various carbon taxes. The federal government is taxing its carbon taxes – and pocketing it. In 2019, the CTF estimates Ontarians paid $243 million in GST on top of carbon tax charges.

In a recent Globe and Mail column, Andrew Coyne questioned the premise that escalating carbon taxes will ensure Canada meets its 2030 emissions targets. In reviewing government estimates, he calculates that the changes brought about through “carbon pricing” will only result in about one-third of the reductions the country needs to get to by 2030. Coyne points to the fact that the federal government will need to introduce other subsidies and industry regulations to meet its goals.

By logical extension, the massive investments promised in the Liberal green agenda to transition our resource-based economy away from fossil fuels will require new sources of revenue. This past year Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Finance Canada had floated a series of trial balloons: a wealth tax on high income earners, increase the capital gains rate, a new capital gains tax on the sale of primary residences, and an inheritance tax.

It is not surprising that Chrystia Freeland, who sits on the Board of the World Economic Forum (WEF), and globalist Michael Sabia, who has been parachuted in as the finance department’s Deputy Minister, are taking pages from the WEF playbook to produce the federal government’s plan for financing its green agenda. Canadians can expect to see new economic policies introduced “to fight climate change” that are detailed in WEF documents and presentations:

  • steadily increase carbon taxes to prompt behavioural change
  • increase corporate taxes
  • introduce wealth taxes on assets (i.e. holdings and property)
  • withdraw subsidies from fossil-fuel industry
  • create new funding programs for green initiatives
  • enact measures to increase government intervention in corporate boardrooms and the private sector

In this way, “paying for pollution” is a Trojan Horse for an onslaught of new taxation.

It remains to be explained what will replace the wealth generated by Canada’s energy and natural resources sectors. Deputy governor of the Bank of Canada Toni Gravelle recently predicted that whole sectors of Canada’s economy will “shrink significantly,” that there will be “sharp declines” and untold job losses with the climate change programs. The billion-dollar question is, “How will we pay for the losses in jobs, businesses and investment, in transitioning away from the economic sectors that have served to underpin Canada’s prosperity through the ages?”

Freeland was recently before a Canadian Chamber of Commerce audience where she made this comment, “None of us can understate the magnitude of the transition that the global economy is beginning now when it comes to moving from using fossil fuel energy to renewable energy. I think that is a shift comparable only to the Industrial Revolution itself. It is going to take so much hard work from all of us.”

Translation: For Canadians, the government’s green agenda and its carbon tax regime means more taxes and higher costs of living. We’re to drive less, lower the thermostat, and still pay increasing taxes to fund Canada’s and the UN’s climate change programs.

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-incredible-costs-of-trudeaus-carbon-taxes/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press – Sean Kilpatrick  / PM Justin Trudeau with his newly appointed Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 2, 2021.

The George Soros Series

 The George Soros 4-part series by Chris George in the Niagara Independent

reviews Soros’ life and achievements, beliefs and goals, and his ties and influence in Canada.

 Introducing George Soros

 The core beliefs and aspirations of George Soros

George Soros and his Canadian Chess Game

George Soros casts a long shadow across Canada

 

For the index of Chris George’s columns in the Niagara Independent, click here.

 

The cost of Canada’s promises made at the U.N. Climate Change Summit

The Niagara Independent, November 12, 2021 – For two weeks the world has been absorbed with the rhetoric and grand announcements from the planeloads of global elites and environmental experts all conferring at the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP26) in Glasgow, U.K.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his newly ensconced Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault made tonnes of commitments (both figuratively and literally) on behalf of Canada. As the jet contrails begin to dissipate over the Glasgow horizon, Canadians are now beginning to assess the costs of all the government’s promises.

PM Trudeau waxed eloquently in the two days he was on the summit stage. He made a number of “bold” pronouncements to demonstrate to the world that Canadians are serious about meeting the objectives of the U.N.’s Paris Agreement and achieving a net-zero economy by 2050. Five of the Canadian commitments in Glasgow are significant.

First, the government will impose a hard cap on emissions at today’s levels for the oil and gas sector. In his allotted two-minute speech to the global forum, PM Trudeau called this policy initiative “no small task for a major oil and gas producing country” and said Canada is prepared to limit the growth of one of the country’s largest industries “to help the world.”

Second, the government will phase out coal-fired electricity and will strengthen its plan to end Canadian exports of thermal coal by 2030. News media Blacklock’s Reporter places this pledge into context: Canadian coal production is less than two percent of China’s production. Also, Canadian thermal coal exports account for only four percent of the country’s coal production; the vast majority of coal produced in Canada is high-grade, used for steelmaking – and not part of our commitment.

Third, PM Trudeau urged world leaders to establish new “pricing mechanisms” to have sixty percent of global emissions covered by “a price on pollution” by 2030. Cutting through the euphemisms, Trudeau was urging other countries to follow the Canadian example of establishing an escalating carbon tax. However, while the PM was championing the carbon tax, the IMF and OECD were calling for an alternative tax strategy that would set “an international carbon price floor.”

Fourth, this week the prime minister announced a number of increased foreign aid pledges to U.N. bodies overseeing climate change programs. For example, Canada will pay out:

  • $55 million over three years to a global research partnership engaged in food security;
  • an additional $9 million to a global ocean alliance;
  • an additional $6 million towards a global coral reef conservation effort; and,
  • an undisclosed amount to a fund of $19.2 billion U.S. over five years to support third world countries manage new deforestation efforts.

It is unclear whether any of these new commitments are factored into the promise made this past June when PM Trudeau announced Canada will double its international climate finance commitment to $5.3 billion over the next five years.

Fifth, the government has pledged to end financing for foreign fossil-fuel projects within the next year. Canada will stop all loans, insurance and other forms of financial backing to Canadian oil and gas companies doing business abroad. (This promise is separate from the Liberals election promise to end all domestic oil and gas subsidies by 2023.)

Aside from these five Glasgow commitments, Canadian financier Mark Carney – acting in his capacity as the special U.N. envoy on climate action and finance – made a significant announcement about a new global financial alliance. Financial companies from 45 countries including Canada have agreed to manage their investments with the objective of achieving net zero carbon emissions. Carney crowed that more than 450 companies collectively managing $130 trillion are now part of the U.N. investment program. (This fund is impressive in scale; however, it came under criticism because the fine print does not promise that participating companies will divest from fossil fuels.)

And that all unfolded in week one of the summit. This week has seen further news headlines as the COP26 delegates met to negotiate the details of how the global community and individual countries might meet the various emissions targets and initiatives. Minister Steven Guilbeault led the team of nearly 300 Canadian government officials, all actively participating in the countless chinwags.

Guilbeault’s delegation sent back more news to Canadians. Canada signed onto a zero-emission car accord that will produce emissions targets to reduce international air travel, as well as ensure all heavy trucks and buses are emission-free by 2040. Canada is also part of the push to have all participants sign onto a commitment to increased carbon reduction targets by the end of 2022.

So, what are the costs to Canadians of all these COP26 promises? What will it cost individuals, Canadian companies, and our national economy? The answers are unclear, but factor these points:

  • Canada is the first (and remains the only) major oil-producing country to commit to capping emissions at current levels from its oil and gas sector. Canada has moved unilaterally even though it accounts for less than 1.5 percent of global emissions. The five countries that produce the vast majority of carbon emissions – China, Russia, India, United States, Japan – are not committing to immediately act to limit their oil and gas development.
  • The government has no defined plan to meet its oil and gas emissions cap pledge – and it made the commitment without consulting the Canadian business community. It did not engage with the oil and gas sector leaders even though, in 2019, this single sector accounted for 10 percent of Canadian gross domestic product and supported over 832,500 direct and indirect jobs.
  • The government (again without any consultation) announced it will remove government financial support for companies invested abroad in oil, coal and natural gas projects. There are no details regarding this announcement but the scale of its impact on Canadian companies and their investors can be found in Export Development Canada annual reports. The government agency provided $8.1 billion in total business support to the oil and gas sector investments in 2020 (and that is down $4.4 billion from pre-COVID levels in 2018).

In reviewing the facts and statistics, Canadians might be able to piece together the impact the government’s commitments at COP26 will have on the country’s economic performance.

The international finance magazine The Economist noted this week that oil and gas – and coal – remain valuable commodities and increasingly valuable for countries producing these resources: “modern life needs energy and there is still not enough investment in renewables to keep the lights on.” Yet the Trudeau government is willfully ignoring this reality and planning to stunt the development of the country’s resource riches to meet the U.N.’s climate change objectives.

From the multiple announcements in Glasgow, evidently, this Trudeau government is intent on purposefully disadvantaging our Canadian business community and, in doing so, it may perhaps jeopardize the economic sustainability and future prosperity of the country itself.

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

LINK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-cost-of-canadas-promises-made-at-the-u-n-climate-change-summit/

Environment Minister Steven “Canadians must go faster” Guilbeault

The Niagara Independent, November 5, 2021 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s selection of Steven Guilbeault as Minister of Environment and Climate Change has sent a clear signal that his government holds environmental objectives above all else. Guilbeault, the self-proclaimed “climate activist,” is now holding all the cards in the high stakes game involving our country’s economy. Ottawa’s new table rules have the environment trumping the economy and all players have taken notice: the oil and gas sector, Canadian business leaders, as well as the international business community and foreign investors.

In the first moments as the lead of Trudeau’s green agenda, the newly anointed minister leaned into a microphone outside of Rideau Hall to exclaim, “Canadians must go faster.” Like someone who was just dealt four aces, Guilbeault is eager to play his hand.

Being named the country’s environment minister is a crowning achievement for a man who has spent his 30-year career rallying opposition against Canadian energy projects. Guilbeault has a storied history of environmental activism. It began in the early 1990’s when Guilbeault founded a grassroots environmental group in Montreal and later went on to manage the Quebec chapter of Greenpeace.

Canadians are familiar with the photo of this proud activist in his orange jumpsuit being led away in handcuffs. In 2001, as a radical Greenpeace stuntman, Guilbeault scaled the CN Tower to hang a banner “Canada and Bush Climate Killers.” He is remembered by Calgarians for installing solar panels on then Premier Ralph Klein’s home – without his permission. Also, it has been reconfirmed in the report on the Public Inquiry into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns that Guilbeault received Tides Foundation grant money to coordinate environmental and Indigenous groups in an anti-oilsands campaign. For this Montrealer, western Canada’s oil and gas sector has always been in his crosshairs.

“I am a climate activist,” Guilbeault summarized in a CBC exclusive reporting on his new cabinet post. He downplayed his criminal past and recast his activism as working with industry and government. Guilbeault dismissed his past deeds with a shrug, “For some, I’m a radical. And for others, I’m not radical enough.” (The state-subsidized national newsroom wrapped up its interview by giving Guilbeault its editorial thumbs-up.)

In another interview to the Ottawa press corps last week, Guilbeault emphatically stated, “I don’t have a secret agenda as environment minister.” He took this opportunity to explain his immediate priority would be to introduce legislation (or new federal regulations) that will establish an emissions cap on oil and gas produced in Canada. The first task is for the federal cabinet to set new five-year targets to rachet down oil and gas emissions to meet a net-zero target by 2050.

Guilbeault revealed he has already prompted a review of emissions levels of the oil and gas sector alongside his cabinet colleague Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. The ministers made public a joint letter that they have sent to the federal government’s Net-Zero Advisory Board requesting recommendations on the guiding principles to cap emissions. The ministers underlined their request by noting the Liberals recent electoral victory: “Canadians gave us a clear mandate to deliver.”

It was a heady first week for the new minister before he had to jet off to Glasgow and the United Nations COP26 climate summit with 300 bureaucrats and contracted experts from the department of Environment Canada. Minister Guilbeault will be leading the Canadian delegation at the global environmental groupthink after the opening days of ceremonial meals and speeches from the participating countries’ leaders. Today through to next weekend, he will be the country’s primary spokesperson to promote elements of Canada’s climate agenda to his international audiences.

Back in Canada, reaction to Trudeau’s new cabinet and his new environment minister has been one of anxiousness. There has been concern expressed for both Canada’s economic prosperity and for its national unity. In a powerful National Post opinion piece entitled “Welcome to Justin Trudeau’s no-growth cabinet,” John Ivison assessed that “Putting an activist in charge of a government department is always a dangerous thing.”

“Who around the cabinet table worries about investment and growth?”, and Ivison answers his own question by surmising, “This is not a cabinet that inspires confidence that it will be able to ensure continued prosperity or national unity…Guilbeault and his band of eco-warriors will push for degrowth.”

In another damning PostMedia column, Jesse Kline stated “anti-oil crusader Steven Guilbeault hasn’t grown up since his radical lawbreaking days” and that this “pick for environment minister is a signal of more hostility to Canada’s energy industry. Globe and Mail editorialists echoed this view, suggesting the new minister’s anti-oil opinions could spur western alienation, “Well, get ready for NEP 2.0,” as “the 51-year-old Montreal MP represents Alberta’s worst nightmare.”

When the word of Guilbeault’s new cabinet responsibilities made it to Edmonton, Premier Jason Kenney observed, “His own personal background and track record on these issues suggest someone who is more an absolutist than pragmatist when it comes to finding solutions.” Alberta’s NDP Leader Rachel Notley chimed in, “I share some of the concerns about some of the historical positions taken by him in the past, some of his anti-pipeline commentary, that is certainly troubling.”

In assessing western Canadians’ initial take on Guilbeault, a fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Calgary, Heather Exner-Pirot, stated that the PM “couldn’t have picked a more perfect villain.” She assessed, “This sends a chilling signal to potential investors who might have been interested in investing in Canada.”

To that point, in the financial pages of the Washington Post, the paper identified Guilbeault for its American readers by his nickname “the Green Jesus of Montreal.” 

Because of Guilbeault’s past it is understandable that Canada’s resource industries are anxious. According to the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, as many as 800,000 Canadian jobs are dependent on oil and gas, mining, heavy industry and auto manufacturing industries. These industries account for almost 70 per cent of Canada’s exports and generated more than $300 billion in export revenue and investment in 2019.

Much is at stake. How Canadian resource industries rebound from the pandemic – for the future prosperity of Canadians – depends primarily on how Steven Guilbeault chooses to play out the aces in his hand.

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/environment-minister-steven-canadians-must-go-faster-guilbeault/

The dirty secrets of Canada’s ‘green’ agenda – that the government would rather not talk about

The Niagara Independent, October 29, 2021 – For the next two weeks Canadians can anticipate foreboding forecasts on the world’s dire environmental condition. Thousands of world leaders and environmentalists are jetting their way to Glasgow, U.K. to take part in a two-week United Nations Convention on Climate Change. The understood objective of the COP26 Climate Summit is to get participating countries to commit to an immediate plan of action to save the planet.

Canadian state-subsidized mainstream media will be reporting on every statement and promise made by the country’s Glasgow delegation. Expect to hear opinions from every corner of Canada’s environment industry: from the David Suzuki Foundation to Simon Fraser University, to a bevy of organizations funded by the Open Society Foundation Canada.

The Trudeau government will be leading a discussion – both in Glasgow and at home – on the necessity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Canada is committed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. So, there will be a great amount of analysis on how Canadians can ensure the country’s emissions will be significantly reduced. In essence, the government’s dialogue is focused on validating a mathematical formula that will demonstrate we have done our part.

Our Canadian delegation’s proclamations at COP26 Climate Summit aside, the CO2 mathematical equation in no way reflects the ‘green’ record of the Trudeau government. Let’s consider four dirty secrets of Canada’s green agenda.

The St. Lawrence River serving as Quebec’s toilet bowl 

Quebec municipalities routinely flush their sewage into the St. Lawrence River. The very first act of the newly elected Trudeau government in 2015 was to sign off on a permit for Montreal to dump its sewage into the seaway. With this government, there has been 900 billion litres of raw sewage poured into Canada’s waterways. CTV News reports that this disgusting figure is equivalent to filling an Olympic-sized swimming pool more than 355,000 times.

It is especially disturbing what is happening in La Belle Province. Foundation Rivers, an environmental watchdog group, recently reported data on the amount of sewage being discharged daily in Quebec – more than 60,000 “spills” in 2019 and 52,000 in 2020 (a rate in excess of one thousand a week). CBC reported earlier this month that the St. Lawrence River is polluted with high concentrations of E. coli. Apparently, the City of Montreal has caused E. coli plumes that drift as far downriver as Trois-Rivieres.

On the same wavelength, this past summer, the Trudeau government secretly granted municipalities a twenty-year waiver to continue dumping raw sewage into fish habitat. Canadian municipalities now have until 2040 to comply with stringent wastewater standards set in 2012 by the Harper government. Remarkably, Trudeau had already exempted cities and towns in Quebec from these national water quality standards.

Canada is exporting increasing amounts of coal to China and India

Figures released this month show Canadian coking coal exports to China and India are on the rise. The Vancouver port is receiving increased amounts of coal from the United States and shipping increasing amounts to China. Meanwhile, coal exports to India have tripled in the first half of 2021.

It is perhaps our country’s dirtiest of dirty secrets – B.C.’s Roberts Bank Super-Port and Westport Terminals. This is the largest, busiest port in North America, shipping millions of tonnes of coal each year, which in turn produces millions of tonnes of CO2 annually. In fact, the Sierra Club has factored an emissions formula that reveals the annual coal exports from Vancouver produce 99.8 million tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime.

So, while the federal government bears down on Canadians to change their travel and heating habits in order to reduce CO2 emissions, it turns a blind eye to the coal trade with China and India – two countries that have publicly stated they will not sign on to emission targets set at the COP26 Climate Summit.

Two years and millions spent – and not one tree planted

As part of its green agenda, the Trudeau government announced a tree planting program as part of the lead up to their re-election campaign bid in 2019. The promise was to spend $3.6 billion to plant two billion saplings across Canada in ten years. The program was announced in summer 2019; Trudeau campaigned on it in 2019; it was in the 2019 Throne Speech and the 2020 Budget; and, the promise was remade in the 2021 election campaign. The sad reality of this promising program is that not one tree has yet to be planted.

However, there is a budding hope that the federal government will eventually turn ground on this initiative. The government is sketching out a new plan that would pay private landowners and other agencies to plant the trees. As witnessed earlier this month, Liberal MPs will be pressed into action to hand out cheques in their constituencies (Brampton was just presented $1.3 million to implement a local tree planting program next summer). This new twist to Trudeau’s promise is estimated by the Parliamentary Budget Office to increase the cost of the program to $6 billion.

Whatever the taxpayers’ price tag, this green item amounts to nothing more than tokenism when factored against data that shows Canada currently has 318 billion trees and forestry companies are planting 600 million trees annually.

Canada’s CO2 emissions are rising (but do as we say, not as we do)

All green rhetoric aside, Statistics Canada data reveal that under the Trudeau government CO2 emissions have risen. In 2019 (the latest figures available) emissions were 730 million tonnes – up from 723 million tonnes in the last year of the Harper government. Under this government’s environmental stewardship, Canada missed its Copenhagen 2020 targets and, today, the U.N. estimates Canada will miss its next emissions target in 2030 by 15 per cent.

Still, the Trudeau government is insistent that Canadians must do more. Catherine McKenna, who has been the green face of Trudeau’s climate crusade for the last six years, logged a remarkable 22,600 kilometres by air in just 10 days this summer to fight climate change across our land. Blacklock’s Reporter exposed McKenna’s high-flying, swansong tour where she chastised Canadians on “the need to reduce air pollution.”

As incredulous as this is, Canadian hypocrisy pales in comparison to what we are about to witness with the COP26 Climate Summit. In preparing to welcome the hundreds of world leaders and thousands of climate change experts, U.K. media reports that there are two airports in England designated to cater exclusively to private jets. It is currently unknown how many in the Canadian delegation will make use of this courtesy service.

Next week: Canada’s new Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven “Canadians must go faster” Guilbeault  

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-dirty-secrets-of-canadas-green-agenda-that-the-government-would-rather-not-talk-about/

Photo Credit: Time Magazine / Banners advertising the upcoming COP26 Climate Change Conference line the streets of Glasgow. Trudeau and his Canadian delegation are currently on route to participate in the summit.

Ottawa has become a theatre of the absurd

The Niagara Independent, October 19, 2021 – There is really no other way to describe Ottawa these days but as a theatre of the absurd. At centre-stage we have our dramatic PM Justin Trudeau continuously performing – all hair and socks, and virtue signaling and apologies. This farcical character has Canadians (and the subsidized mainstream media) spell-bound, mouths agape, while all the serious action for the country takes place off stage, behind the curtain.

There is so much happening, so quickly, on so many levels that Canadians have lost track of what counts – or they simply have lost interest; imagine some dulled to the point of contentment with the amusement of Jagmeet Singh’s TikTok gyrations?!

It has become that weird in the Nation’s Capital.

Let me introduce three scenes from this past week to illustrate how Canadians have been numbed into a prolonged willing suspension of disbelief when it comes to Trudeau and his troupe.

Scene One. PM Trudeau graced a media conference to pronounce the future dates for revealing his cabinet and for opening parliament. On October 26, the PM will parade out his selected cast of cabinet characters to take the stage and play out the government’s next Act.

On November 22, the PM has decided to swing open the doors of parliament and let MPs back to work – media like to point out that it will be two full months since the election and more than six months since the lights were on in the House of Commons.

Yet, it will be much longer before MPs will get down to work. The first week back is filled with the drama, pomp and ceremony to elect the Speaker and to read the Throne Speech. In early December, the MPs’ committees (where the real work occurs) are likely to select their chairs and then go in camera so they can sort out future work agendas. Then MPs will be sent off for their Christmas recess – and they’re not scheduled to return to Ottawa until January 31, 2022.

So, it will actually be nearly eight months before MPs are “back at it.”

“What’s the big deal?,” we’re inclined to ask. Canadians are managing fine through a fourth wave of COVID and the uncertainties of store shortages, rising gas prices, inflation and, of course, the announcement of extended government support programs.

The truth is Canadians are now accustomed to seeing their MPs MIA. We were quite satisfied with the PM’s Rideau Cottage soliloquies while parliament was shuttered. It did not matter that MPs sat for a mere 40 days from Trudeau’s election of 2019, through the first and second waves of the pandemic in 2020…

The synopsis of this sidestory is there’s an increasing disregard for parliament, our country’s house of democracy. Parliament’s role is to have elected representatives debate the limits of government’s spending and taxation. It’s at the core of the Westminster model of responsible government dating back hundreds of years. Yet, this tradition and democracy itself has been punted aside by Trudeau and his backroom – without even a sigh or whimper from Canadians.

Scene Two. Our federal health minister appears from behind the curtain to clear her throat and casually say, “I’ll remind Canadians that, as annoying as it is … we still have travel advisories in place recommending that people don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Baa-zing! This warning just after Canadians were entertained by thousands of dancing candidates in an election extravaganza. And daily, we are treated to the PM and his cabinet cronies making announcements from different stages set against backdrops across our beautiful country. Now Patty Hajdu tells us to think twice before making any holiday travel plans. (This is the same actor who told Canadians in early 2020 not to travel beyond their front doors while she herself was jetting back and forth weekly from Ottawa to her home in Thunder Bay.)

We are told to stay at home. The government is working on a vaccine passport that will allow us to go to a local restaurant or movie theatre. It should be ready by the Christmas holidays.

The hypocrisy has not been lost on Canadians (even though we remain in the fetal position wishing away COVID). It appears the audience is not amused. The best catcall for Patty and her flubbed lines went viral on Twitter: “Do as I say, not as Hajdu.” 

But, in all seriousness, the TruAnons have already surfed passed the PM’s Tofino episode. And in coming weeks Trudeau is about to jump the shark with scenes of group hugs at the Glasgow shmoozefest summit, pulled together for global jetsetters to save the planet.

We are to accept that there’re no double standards here – just you, you dutiful Canadian, don’t travel! (Can’t you hear Patty mumbling under her breath, “Stay on your couch and don’t mind us romping across the world’s stage.”?)

Scene Three. The re-elected Liberal MPs met to send off their friends who did not get enough votes to keep their bit parts in Ottawa. And it is reported to us by certain subsidized media sources that behind the closed caucus doors PM Trudeau gave a rousing speech to his Liberal tribe, reassuring them that no defeated candidate would be left forgotten.

This scribe thought it was amusing that in the business news of that particular day, Frank Baylis came to sell his company for $1.75 billion (U.S.).

Recall that Frank Baylis is a former Liberal MP from Montreal who last summer was given a lucrative $237 million contract to make 10,000 pandemic ventilators even though Health Canada had not approved them. The same Mr. Baylis was given a $422,946 “research contract” for undisclosed research. It is a niggly point-of-fact that, to this date, the company has yet to produce the ventilators and it is unknown what research has been completed.

So, on the basis of a wonderful spreadsheet that shows $200 million (U.S.) revenues expected in 2022, and an apparent fast track with federal government procurement, an American firm stepped forward and penned the deal to buy Baylis Medical.

To be fair, it’s an amazing success story for this family business, led by a man that has become one of Canada’s wealthiest businessmen due to his deal-making acumen. Having said that, Baylis’s recent payday is still quite the sweet deal for a Liberal tribesman. Millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money. Zero accountability for goods and services delivered. And a billion-dollar-plus retirement handshake. This, all in 14 months.

It’s absurd. It’s all absurd.

It was Warren Kinsella (long-time Liberal party strategist and former PMO staffer to PM Jean Chretien – and Sun Media columnist) who first described the Trudeau government as a kleptocracy. He pulled no punches in his pointed editorial about “Trudeau’s cabal.”

Kinsella wrote: “It never stops, this fetid, foul stew of corruption and moral blindness. Even during a pandemic, the Trudeau government’s descent into the muck continues unabated. So, there’s a name for what we’ve now got. There’s a name for a government like Justin Trudeau’s – a government run by those who seek status and personal gain at the expense of the rest of us. It’s a kleptocracy.”

By extension, we can conclude that these scenes from last week are not characteristic of a parliamentarian democracy, but rather something one might expect in a third-world dictatorship. Through a masterful centre-stage performance, Trudeau and his friends are enjoying free rein to do as they wish. There is no parliamentary oversight into the finances of the country, or anything else for that matter.

And weary from the constant strain of the pandemic, Canadians are politely applauding as the play unfolds. It matters not that a cadre of unaccountable, behind-the-curtain, political operatives are pulling the levers, absurdly like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz.

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Ottawa anymore.” 

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/ottawa-has-become-a-theatre-of-the-absurd/

Photo credit: AFP ~ The Economist / Justin Trudeau – comfortably on stage, beneath the spotlight – gestures to supporters following his Sept. 20, 2021 election victory.

Canada’s relations with Communist China hurt our international reputation

The Niagara Independent, October 22, 2021 – In the past month there have been headlines in Europe about the Communist China government’s extensive, undue influence on Canada. The French government’s Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l’Ecole Militaire (IRSEM) published “Chinese Influence Operations: A Machiavellian Moment,” a 640-page report on broad and pervasive tactics employed by the communist regime to undermine Canada’s traditional international relationships and sway them to enter into stronger ties with China.

The IRSEM report details covert operations in Canadian politics, media, education, and a systematic approach to sway Chinese-Canadians within their local community groups. Communist China’s objective is to prejudice Canadians against the United States and western allies, and to place the communist regime in a positive light. It undermines western liberal values and our democratic institutions, while stifling criticism of the Chinese government’s treatment of Muslim Uyghurs, Hong Kong and Taiwan independence, Tibetans, and Falun Gong. The report states, “the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using every non-kinetic means in its toolbox to sway Canada and Chinese-Canadians.”

France and its European neighbours view Canada as an example of what may happen in their countries with Communist China’s rising influence. The IRSEM report warns European countries to be on guard against CCP’s subversive tactics used on diaspora, such as surveillance of dissident communities, cyberattacks, refusal of visas, and identity fraud. It also makes the point that these activities on Canadian soil are not being countered because of “a lack of political will.” The Canadian Government is viewed as decidedly pro-communist China: “Despite recurrent warnings from CSIS and numerous cases revealed in the press, political resistance—in essence a propensity to perceive China as a partner more than a threat—remains strong in Canada.”

The international community recognizes the Canadian government and many key players with the Liberal Party of Canada as having become inseparably linked to today’s Communist China. Dating back to the early 1970’s, when then-PM Pierre Trudeau forged diplomatic links with Chairman Mao and established new economic associations with the Beijing communists, Liberal-CCP relationships have grown.

The fountainhead of most Canadian-Chinese business relationships is Power Corporation, the multinational enterprise founded and controlled by the Montreal Desmarais family. Power Corp has significant investments in China including assets in state-owned China International Trust Investment Corporation. Power Corp also holds more than a quarter of the stakes in one of China’s biggest asset managers – China Asset Management Corp, which currently oversees $245 billion investments in Chinese Belt and Road Initiative projects around the world.

Unquestionably, Power Corp’s ongoing financial success lies in its China investments. The fact that Power Corp and the Liberal Party are interchangeable is the rub:

  • former PM Jean Chretien’s son-in-law Andre Desmarais is President and co–CEO;
  • former PMs Paul Martin, Jean Chretien and Pierre Trudeau all served within Power Corp;
  • former PM Jean Chretien has served (and may still) as a Power Corp lobbyist in China;
  • John Rae, brother of former Liberal leader Bob Rae is a long-serving senior manager;
  • Senator Peter Harder, named to the Upper Chamber by PM Justin Trudeau, served as President of the Canada-China Business Council (a business advocacy founded in 1978 by Paul Desmarais’s lead advisors on China) and was Board Member of Power Financial Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Power Corp.; and,
  • Olivier Desmarais, grandson of Paul Desmarais and Jean Chretien, today leads the Canada-China Business Council.

On top of this Gordian Knot, consider the numerous business and personal relations of the Trudeau-appointed Ambassador to China and his wife. Ambassador Dominic Barton lived in China for decades operating within corporate and financial circles, serving in senior managerial posts at McKinsey (the same company exposed for promoting Chinese street opioids worldwide). The other half of this multimillion-dollar power couple is Geraldine Buckingham, senior managing director and head of the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock – where she manages billions of dollars of investments in Asia-Pacific.

These personal and financial interests suggest a reasonable explanation for the unfathomable foreign policy stance the Trudeau government is taking with the CCP. How else to explain that, just four days after Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were freed from China prison cells, Ambassador Dominic Barton was urging Canadian businesses to increase their stakes in China. In conjunction with Barton’s pitch, Foreign Affairs Minister (and Montreal MP) Marc Garneau announced Canada’s new approach to China going forward as one that will “co-exist,” “compete,” “challenge,” and “co-operate.” And Beijing’s official response came from China Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu, who stated: “This truly illustrates that China-Canada trade co-operation … continues to grow closer and deeper.”

This shameless display by Canadians leaders prompted fierce criticism from many quarters in Ottawa – including former Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, and former Canadian ambassador to China David Mulroney, who observed: “It’s beyond appalling that senior Canadians are already working the conference circuit pitching the benefits of the kowtow. Pay no attention to Xinjiang, Hong Kong or domestic interference, there’s serious money to be made if we just bow low enough.”

Without a doubt, the diplomatic dance between the Trudeau government and the CCP has resulted in Canada being considered suspect (perhaps rogue) by its traditional allies. The surprise announcement of AUKUS, the U.S.-U.K.-Australia defence and intelligence pact, is perhaps the first of many alliances Canada will be excluded from.

Canadian international affairs experts have been vocal since the return of the two Michaels. Should the Trudeau government wish to stem the erosion of trust and reestablish a good standing with Canada’s traditional alliances, it must begin to stand up to the Communist China regime. There have been many pro-active steps floated for the Trudeau government to consider, here are ten suggestions:

1) exclude Huawei from Canada’s 5G networks;

2) recognize CCP’s systematic repression of Muslim Uyghurs;

3) denounce CCP’s aggressions in Hong Kong and against Taiwan;

4) denounce the organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners;

5) block China’s membership to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership;

and, in Ottawa:

6) reveal the secrets about the joint Canada-China coronavirus research at the Winnipeg Lab;

7) halt all future joint military winter-warfare training exercises with CCP forces in Canada;

8) halt the $1 billion payment to Asia Infrastructure Bank;

and 9) re-establish the MPs’ special parliamentary committee tasked with reviewing Canada’s foreign relations with China.

Pro-active step no. 10: In order to make a political statement that the whole world will take notice of, Canadian officials and athletes should boycott the opening ceremonies of the February 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Final word on restoring Canada’s international reputation goes to Charles Burton’s lucid comments. As senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a former diplomat serving at Canada’s embassy in Beijing, Burton states: “Canadian virtue signaling on the Chinese regime’s malign policies at home and abroad no longer cuts it with our allies… Simply put, we can’t have it both ways when it comes to China, especially now that Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor are finally back in Canada. We can no longer take a free ride on the U.S. defending the integrity of the rules-based international order in trade and diplomacy while we try to make enriching deals with the Chinese Communists.”

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/canadas-relations-with-communist-china-hurt-our-international-reputation/

Photo credit: Photo credit: The Canadian Press / Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau shakes hands with Chairman Mao Zedong while on an official visit to China, Oct. 13, 1973.

The ‘AUKUS’ announcement and Canada

The Niagara Independent, October 15, 2021 – A significant new global alliance – involving our country’s traditionally closest allies – was announced mid-September and nobody in the Canadian Government knew anything about it. From the initial reactions by PM Justin Trudeau and Canadian officials to the new alliance, it appears that Canada is deliberately choosing to not pick sides between the United States and its allies and China.

The U.S., U.K. and Australia signed what is billed as a “landmark security partnership” which has bound the three countries together to counter Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region. With the moniker “AUKUS,” this partnership will support the countries’ defence and security interests to further peace and stability in the South China Sea and greater Pacific Ocean. The unsaid mission is to defend western values and democratic societies in the face of an increasingly aggressive Communist China Government.

In a joint statement, U.S. President Joe Biden, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated: “AUKUS will bring together our sailors, our scientists, and our industries to maintain and expand our edge in military capabilities and critical technologies, such as cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and undersea domains.”

AUKUS is a military defence pact, but it is also much more than that. It is an alliance to develop intelligence and technological equipment and expertise. It will develop joint cyber capabilities that will defend against espionage and sabotage. As was announced with the development of the nuclear-powered submarines, this pact will also lead to inclusive trade agreements.

Sam Kessler, a geopolitical expert at the multinational firm North Star Support Group, observed in an interview with the Epoch Times, “What we are seeing is that redrawing the lines and going outside the box can create a new scenario and range of opportunities that previously didn’t exist – which is why multilateralism and traditional established alliance structures in the West can potentially find new life and meaning in this new strategic reality.”

AUKUS could provide the template for future security alliances among democratic countries; perhaps it will serve as a model for the natural evolution of The Quad – an existing forum among India, Japan, Australia, and U.S. that was created to promote a free and safe Indo–Pacific region.

As a catalyst for future global alliances, the AUKUS pact is significant – and it is remarkable that Canada was overlooked.

At the time of the announcement, the Globe and Mail interviewed officials representing Canada’s foreign affairs, intelligence, and defence departments and the paper reported that the most senior government officials, including Canadian cabinet ministers, were “not consulted about the pact, and had no idea of the trilateral security announcement.” One official surmised that Canada is now recognized by its allies as a “weak sister” when it comes to China relations and speaking out against Communist China aggressions.

Former Canadian ambassador to China David Mulroney was active on Twitter the day of the announcement, stating that Canada’s exclusion from AUKUS is a “monumental snub” and “feedback on our virtue-signalling foreign policy.” Mulroney tweeted: “Countries that have become vulnerable by neglecting their own defence are most likely to need alliances and least likely to be included in them.”

When PM Trudeau attempted to play down the obvious embarrassment of being caught unaware, retired Vice-Admiral Mark Norman commented to media, “He doesn’t understand what is going on internationally and he doesn’t understand what the significance of an arrangement like this is as it relates to international security.”

Norman, who was a decorated commander of the Canadian Navy, stated that AUKUS is an “unprecedented” trilateral arrangement. He assessed, “This is about accessing both current and emerging technologies, from cyber and artificial intelligence to acoustics and underwater warfare – a whole range of very important strategic capabilities.”

The retired Vice-Admiral went on to say that he suspects Canada is no longer considered by its traditional allies as a contributing partner, “I don’t think our allies think we are serious when it comes to defence. I think they have concerns not just about our defence expenditures, but also the extent to which our [international] commitments are both lasting and meaningful.”

Canada’s spending on defense as measured by percentage of GDP has dropped steadily from 4.2 percent in 1960 to less than one percent (0.99) in 2014. It has climbed to 1.4 percent in 2020, however there remains a laundry list of military items that require immediate action: NORAD radar, submarines, aircraft, icebreakers, military pistols, to name a few. To actively participate in our alliances, Canada must begin to substantively contribute to them. (In the joint international military air and naval exercise off the coast of Japan last week, Canada sent a single frigate.)

Canada is also suspect when it comes to the security of the Five Eyes pact, an intelligence-sharing alliance that can be traced back to our nation’s contributions to Allies’ efforts in World War II. Today, Canada is the only country in this long-standing partnership that has not limited or banned China’s Huawei technology company from developing its 5G infrastructure. By permitting Huawei, Canada allows the real possibility that China Communists will be able to access sensitive networks and data that would undermine Five Eyes security.

The AUKUS pact effectively negates that security threat by excluding Canada from any intelligence-sharing activities. In fact, in the beforementioned Globe and Mail article, one of the government officials made reference to AUKUS as the new “Three Eyes.”

At a media briefing on AUKUS in Washington D.C., a senior U.S. government official revealed America’s current thinking on their trusted partners when he said, “I just want to underscore, just generally: Obviously, there are no better allies than the United Kingdom and Australia.”

There was no mention of Canada. No mention of America’s largest trading partner, (still by nature of NORAD and NATO) closest defence cooperative partner, and neighbouring country that happens to share the longest undefended border in the world.

Evidently, AUKUS has dealt us out. With the Trudeau Government’s on-going posturing on Canada-China relations, it now suggests we will not be invited to the table.

More next week: Canada-China relations is hurting the country’s international standing. 

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-aukus-announcement-and-canada/

Photo credit: Photo credit: AFP – Brendan Smialowski / U.S. President Joe Biden holds a virtual press conference on the AUKUS pact with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) at the White House in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2021.

Trudeau government moving quickly to regulate the internet

The Niagara Independent, October 8, 2021 – The Liberal campaign platform contained pledges to act within 100 days of re-election on 10 pieces of legislation, three of which create new federal government powers to regulate the internet in our country and censor Canadians’ online content.

When MPs return to Parliament Hill later this month Canadians can soon expect three internet bills. The new legislation will introduce novel regulations for social media platforms, censor online content, and impose new licensing fees on media giants Google and Facebook to subsidize Canadian news media.

The Trudeau government’s intent to regulate the internet in Canada has been openly talked about for years by Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault. The minister began to set in place the framework of the country’s new internet laws when he introduced Bill C-10 last year. The legislation empowers the CRTC to regulate the content on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. It also extends CRTC control over Canadians’ news websites, podcasts, online videos, as well as their creative content on social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

The minister introduced his second piece of internet legislation on the last day of Parliament before MPs summer recess. Bill C-36 empowers newly created federal regulators to monitor and censor Canadians’ online content in the name of eliminating “harmful online speech.” The federal government’s internet regulators are to be given sweeping powers to take down online content and de-platform Canadian individuals and organizations, and they can operate via in-camera (closed session) investigations and non-public hearings.

And there was a third piece of internet legislation that was not produced by the minister, although he spoke often of introducing a new federal law to impose multimillion dollar licensing arrangements on Google and Facebook to pass onto news media.

The principal criticism of these internet bills is the Liberals’ heavy-handed manner to control the internet in this country – and the extent to how this will curtail Canadians’ freedom of expression online.

OpenMedia, a Canadian non-profit, non-partisan organization recently sounded the alarm on the Liberal plan to hastily re-introduce Bill C-10 and Bill C-36. Matthew Hatfield of OpenMedia wrote in an appeal to its members: “Liberals are poised to push forward with their harmful internet censorship plans. Our newly-elected government is cynically taking advantage of our political fatigue and frustration with the internet to try to trick the public.”

Hatfield claims that the Liberal legislation would make “Canada’s internet one of the most censored and surveilled in the democratic world.”

There are many critics who agree with this frank assessment. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, former CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein stated Bill C-10 “should not be passed in its present form.” He commented, “You don’t want to discourage people from being innovative and finding better ways to use the internet. You should only deal with it to the extent it’s necessary to protect Canadian cultural institutions, not more.”

Bill C-10 was eventually held up in the Senate. At legislative committee, Senator Pamela Wallin made a few pointed remarks about intent behind the bill: “Shouldn’t we ask Canadians if they even want the internet regulated in this way?… It might be a good time to remind ourselves that members of the current Liberal cabinet quite openly embrace the idea of empowering the federal government to control social media. That is not just regulation. It’s censorship.”

In a federal government consultative process conducted through the summer months, Minister Guilbeault learned there was an equal amount of anger and criticism for Bill C-36. Dr. Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa has become one of the fiercest critics, stating: “The proposed approach does not strike an appropriate balance between addressing online harms and safeguarding freedom of expression.”

Geist questioned the minister: “The government should be asking a simple question with respect to many of its proposals: Would Canadians be comfortable with the same measures being implemented in countries such as China, Saudi Arabia or Iran. If the answer is no (as I argue it should be), the government should think twice before risking its reputation as a leader in freedom of expression. The risk of overbroad or overzealous enforcement is very real.”

The Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) echoed this sentiment, saying the legislation “will jeopardize Canada’s claim to being a leader in advancing free expression, a free and open internet, and the human rights upon which our democratic society has been built.”

Byron Holland, the CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (the organization that manages dot-ca domains), issued a report entitled Canadians Deserve A Better Internet that suggests Guilbeault’s internet legislation is too far-reaching for Canadians’ comfort. The report states: “With the federal government considering legislation that could have far reaching impacts on social media, a healthy majority of Canadians agree with the concept of a law that would require platforms to remove illegal or harmful content. But their attitudes are tempered by concerns about hampering free expression.”

The authority’s survey of Canadians revealed a majority (62 per cent) are concerned that the new internet laws could result in “the removal of legitimate, lawful speech.” Almost one in two Canadians (46 per cent) said they were “concerned this could prevent people from freely expressing themselves online.”

The report serves as a siren’s cry for MPs when the Liberals re-introduce their internet legislation. The authority opines: “The question remains whether Canada will commit to a democratic and open internet that puts people first, or will it put a damper on the greatest transformative economic force of our time? As internet regulation looms, public opinion on these issues matters more than ever.”

“Lawmakers should take heed of the feelings of Canadians. Trust is badly shaken. Canadians are looking to lawmakers to help restore 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/trudeau-government-moving-quickly-to-regulate-the-internet/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press- Adrian Wyld / Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault speaking in the House of Commons, Nov. 3, 2020.

The things we learn – after the vote

The Niagara Independent, October 1, 2021 – It was just days after Canadians voted and, remarkably, three news stories surfaced that shone new light on past clandestine activities of the Trudeau government. Within a single week there were headlines about the-behind-the-scenes administration of justice, our country’s changing immigration policy, and the PMO’s political maneuvers in the early days of the pandemic.  

On justice and SNC Lavalin 

It was only three days after the election that the RCMP made arrests and charged two senior SNC Lavalin executives and the company in relation to the RCMP bribery investigation involving Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge. Thursday morning the charges of fraud and conspiracy were made public and the very same day Canada’s Justice Minister, the re-elected Montreal MP David Lametti, offered SNC Lavalin a deal to avoid further legal action.

The backstory begins in a 2017 court case, in which Michel Fournier, the former Federal Bridges Authority head, pleaded guilty to receiving $2.3 million in kickbacks from SNC Lavalin for work on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. (He was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison but received full parole.) With Fournier’s conviction, the federal government had grounds but did not proceed with laying bribery charges against the company. Instead, the government directed a RCMP investigation of the affair.

Meanwhile, in 2018 the Trudeau cabinet wrote a new measure for the country’s Criminal Code that would permit the federal government to reach “deferred prosecution agreements” and arrange out of court settlements. In effect, they were dealing themselves a “get out of jail free” card to play at their discretion.

It is a deferred prosecution agreement that Lametti offered SNC Lavalin last week – and the minister provided a curt “no comment” on his powerplay.

In an unrelated case involving the same Quebec firm, recall that in 2018 the Prime Minister’s Office applied an intense lobbying campaign to have former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould excuse SNC Lavalin from its bribery charges related to work in Libya. Wilson-Raybould’s refusal to do so led to a cabinet shuffle and the arrival of David Lametti, who the PM entrusted to manage the SNC Lavalin file going forward.

On new immigration and refugee policies 

In another story that broke four days after the election, long-time political columnist for Sun Media, Lorne Gunter, revealed that the Trudeau government is about to remove all screening guidelines to vet arriving immigrants and refugees. Under the new guidelines, there is an expansion of the grounds immigrants can enter the country, and a direction for judges to rubber stamp immigrants’ appeals to remain in the country as “intersectional” claims.

Gunter has uncovered in internal emails from a senior official with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada that “no longer will claimants need to prove, for instance, that they face torture or death if forced to return to their home countries. Nor will they have to satisfy the UN’s definition of a “refugee.””

In the future, Gunter explains that Canada’s immigration judges “essentially, must now say yes to everyone who makes it to Canadian soil.” If the immigrant or refugee claims they are a victim of two or more of a broad range of abuses, then they are permitted to stay. The intersectional claims can be any perceived wrong relating to “race, religion, indigeneity, political beliefs, socioeconomic status, age, sexual orientation, culture, disability, or immigration status.”

“These new rules render examining refugees’ claims pointless,” Gunter concludes.

This news story was not reported by CBC or any of the major Canadian newsrooms. However, it is an important adjunct to the larger story about the Trudeau government’s plans to dramatically increase Canada’s immigration numbers in the short term. In the last three years almost a million immigrants entered the country and in the next three years more than 1.2 million immigrants will find their way to Canada. Statistics Canada estimates by 2036 immigrants could represent 30 per cent of all Canadians and, by 2068, the country’s population could reach 55 million people – an increase of 37.1 million largely through immigration.

Although there was no discussion about immigration policies in the election, the internal plans uncovered last week by Sun Media reveal the set plan now underway to accept historic numbers of immigrants.

On the PMO’s pandemic politics 

Also in the week following the election, Canadians began to learn about a troubling story that played out in the early months of the COVID-19 health crisis. Ottawa’s investigative news agency Blacklock’s Reporter has pieced together that in March 2020 the Prime Minister’s Office engaged in a political sleight of hand with the Province of Quebec while hiding the truth from other premiers and the public. More disturbing is the extended thought that, in those early months of the pandemic, for political reasons, federal officials misled Canadians on a critical health and safety issue.

Through February and March 2020, as the news of the global pandemic was breaking in North America, Canadians were repeatedly being told by the country’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Theresa Tam that there was no need to use masks as a health measure. As late as April 3, 2020 Dr. Tam said masks were not scientifically proven to prevent COVID-19 spread.

As Dr. Tam was advising Canadians against masks, we now know the PMO was managing a supply crisis of its own doing behind closed doors. From a series of PMO emails dated in March, we know the PM’s staff was concerned over “a massive shortage of personal protective equipment … Doctors and hospitals are saying they don’t have it themselves. We are going to have to make choices.”

Yet the PMO had already made the decision earlier in the month to give preferential treatment to Quebec. The Department of Foreign Affairs had a stockpile of 400,000 surgical masks and they were quietly shipped to La Belle Province.

In another email, an advisor to the PM foresaw political backlash, “We can probably expect Québec and perhaps some other provinces to publicly say in the media, ‘Hey, we asked for stuff and we’re not getting it,’ and we should be careful about what we say in response.”

In fact, in early April, Ontario Premier Doug Ford asked the PM for Ontarians’ “fair share” of PPEs. The premier’s public plea was rebuked by the federal health minister and others as political grandstanding. The response from federal health officials was that the science concerning the effectiveness of masks was still unclear.

For the first week of a re-elected government, this is quite a string of headlines revealing untold stories. Oh, the things we learn – after the vote.

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-things-we-learn-after-the-vote/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick / PM Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice David Lametti.

Canada’s 44th federal election – by the numbers

The Niagara Independent, September 24, 2021 – Political pundits referenced titles of popular movies and TV shows in an attempt to make sense of Canadians’ most recent exercise in democracy. The 44th federal election was labelled “the Groundhog Day election”, “the Back to the Future election”, and “a Seinfeld election”, due to the fact that after a 36-day campaign Canadians were staring at results that were almost a mirror reflection of the political parties’ standings in the previous parliament.

On election night, the re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed, “You are sending us back to work with a clear mandate to get Canada through this pandemic and to the brighter days ahead. What we’ve seen tonight is that millions of Canadians have chosen a progressive plan.”

The PM talking of “a clear mandate” and citing the endorsement of “millions of Canadians” is a distortion of the electoral results.

The fact is that Justin Trudeau has been returned to Ottawa and the Prime Minister’s Office with the least amount of electoral support ever in the history of Canada. Trudeau’s Liberals received 32.5 per cent of the popular vote – less than one in three people who cast a ballot chose to vote Liberal. The Monday vote continues a downward trajectory of support for the Liberal brand. Canadians’ support for the Trudeau Liberals has fallen from the high of 39.5 per cent in 2015 and 33.1 per cent registered in 2019.

On Monday night the Conservatives won the popular vote, garnering more than 5.6 million votes compared to 5.4 million for the Liberals.

The actual total votes cast was dismally low in this election. Elections Canada reports, with 99 per cent of polls accounted for, only 58.8 per cent of eligible voters got out to vote. Two in five Canadians did not bother to exercise their franchise. This figure matches the lowest turnout in the history of Canadian federal elections – which was in 2008.

When considering there are approximately 30 million Canadian voters, only one Canadian in six of eligible voters cast their ballots for Trudeau’s Liberals.

Yet, with the total number of seats in the urban and suburban areas of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, the Liberals were able to secure a comfortable minority government. In looking at those three cities, the Liberals swept all 25 seats in Toronto, 17 of 18 seats on the island of Montreal, and 15 of 23 in Vancouver.

However, Liberal support in these urban centres does not reflect their support across the respective provinces. Consider these numbers:

  • Across the GTA, Liberals gained 49 per cent of the votes cast and 48 of 53 seats (with the remaining 5 seats retuning Conservatives). Outside of the GTA, Liberals picked up 30 seats, Conservatives 32, NDP 5, and Greens one.
  • In Montreal ridings, the Liberals registered 41 per cent support, which is well above their 33 per cent support province-wide.
  • In Vancouver, the Liberals got the lion’s share of seats with 36 per cent support. The provincial numbers tell a different story with support for the Liberals (27 per cent) trailing both the Conservatives (33 per cent) and the NDP (29 per cent).

The numbers tell us of a divide in the country between urban and rural voters and a divisive electorate that has only a sixth of Canadian voters supporting the governing party. Still, the Liberals have formed government and Justin Trudeau remains Prime Minister.

Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s best friend and Liberal backroom operative, took to Twitter this week to crow about the Liberals’ election strategy that delivered this result. Butts revealed that in the last few elections the Liberals have employed a specific method to maximize the vote efficiency in urban centres. Their tactics are dependent on vote-splits within the first-past-the-post electoral system (a system that Trudeau pledged to change in 2015 with his promised electoral reform).

In a series of tweets, Butts asserted, “If popular vote were the objective, campaigns would optimize for it…We count seats, not votes, so smart campaigns focus on delivering them…Politics is about delivering power to parties now; it’s no longer about serving the electorate. Your position of power simply because you know someone and rode the coat tails of their “brand” shows that to be the trend…Vote efficiency isn’t accidental.”

And in assessing the Liberals’ success, Butts gave credit to another of Trudeau’s boyhood friends, “All three Trudeau Liberal campaigns were among the most efficient in history. The unsung team of super geniuses put together and led by Tom Pitfield (@tompitfield) at Data Sciences deserves a lot more credit than they’ve ever received.”

Butts even went on to suggest the Liberals would have won elections earlier than the 2015 campaign had he and Pitfield been able to employ their election strategy. Some may describe politics as a blood sport, but for Butts and Pitfield it is a game of numbers.

Other notable numbers from election night:

  • Of the 338 seats, only 16 seats flipped from one party to another. A total of 294 incumbent MPs have been returned to Ottawa.
  • 19 candidates won by more than 50 per cent of the vote – 17 Conservatives from Alberta and Saskatchewan, and two Liberals in Quebec and New Brunswick.
  • Conservatives swept Saskatchewan’s 14 seats with 59 per cent of the vote.
  • In Alberta, Conservatives took 55 per cent of the vote to win 30 (possibly 31) of the 34 seats. George Chahal is currently the only confirmed Liberal to win in a Calgary riding. Liberal Randy Boissonnault is leading in his Edmonton riding – but this riding has yet to be declared.
  • Two Liberal cabinet ministers were defeated – Bernadette Jordans and Maryam Monsef – only weeks before their six-year anniversary in office, when they would have qualified for their annual $71,000 “gold-plated” MP pension.
  • Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada doubled their 2019 vote count with more than 830,000 votes. Although much is being written on whether PPC takes directly from Conservative support, the fact is that in 21 ridings across the country, the PPC vote count is greater than the number of votes by which the Conservative candidate lost. Given the majority of those seats were won by Liberals, had the Conservatives not suffered from the “PPC leakage,” Monday’s results would have been a Conservative minority.
  • NDP incumbent Alexandre Boulerice retained his La Petite-Patrie riding on the Montreal island and is the last of the 59 “Orange Wave” NDP representatives from Quebec who rode Jack Layton’s coattails to victory in 2011.
  • Advanced voting was up: in 2019, 26.6 per cent of all ballots cast were at advance polls and in 2021, 34.3 per cent of all ballots cast were at advance polls.

Finally, here is a number that is irritating given the senselessness of what just happened. The 44th federal election was the most expensive in Canadian history: costing taxpayers at least $612 million.

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/canadas-44th-federal-election-by-the-numbers/

Photo credit: EPA-EFE/Eric Bolte / With wife Sophie, a newly re-elected Justin Trudeau gives his victory speech in Montreal following the 2021 federal election – an election that ended up a near-mirror image of its predecessor from 2019.

Three factors to watch for on election night

The Niagara Independent, September 17, 2021 – Justin Trudeau’s “vanity election” is coming to an end. The term to describe this unnecessary contest was coined by national affairs commentator Rex Murphy. He summed up the vote succinctly: “This election is hollow. It is without centre. It is without national purpose. It is idle, contrived, opportunistic, premature and cynical. It is just a Liberal game.”

Indeed, Canadians felt the minority government was working and there was no need for an election in the middle of a national health crisis. In July, 37 per cent of Canadians were upset with the thought of an election call – and another 34 per cent were unsure of any compelling reason to go to the polls. In the aftermath of the first national debate, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole observed, “We should not be in a campaign. Only Mr. Trudeau wanted this campaign for his own personal interests.”

Still, Canadians have survived a pandemic election like no other and will now head to the polls on Monday with pollsters indicating there is a statistical tie between the Liberals and Conservatives. It’s a toss-up who will come out on top; there is a very high likelihood of another minority government.

Here are three factors to watch for on election night that will have a direct impact on the final vote count and which of the parties will form the next government.

  1. How the anti-Trudeau vs. ABC voting plays out in the GTA 

Both parties are pulling out all stops to win in the 56 seats in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Erin O’Toole reminds people he is a son of an Oshawa GM worker and is an ordinary family guy trying to make ends meet in the GTA. The Conservative leader describes Trudeau as a direct contrast: “privileged,” “entitled,” “self-interested, divisive and unworthy of trust,” “a man who is not a feminist, not an environmentalist, not a public servant…a man who is focused solely and squarely on himself.”

The Liberals counter with repeatedly mentioning Stephen Harper and hidden agendas, and playing the fear card about immigration with new Canadians. Trudeau fires back at O’Toole: “he doesn’t lead, he misleads.” He asks, “Do we continue and move forward even faster and harder on the fight against climate change, or do we let Erin O’Toole take us back?” Employing every wedge issue possible, Trudeau tells Canadians they have a choice with gun control, abortion, housing, child care, and “the rights of Canadians who got vaccinated.”

At a recent rally the Liberals rolled out the legendary former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion to give her endorsement (which is not as glowing as they promote). McCallion said: “I support Justin, I think he’s a young man that I think has tried to do a good job, but that doesn’t mean I’m always a supporter of the things that he does.” She went on to say, “Trudeau shouldn’t have called this election. It was wrong.”

So, the question is whether the anti-Trudeau disgust or the anything-but-Conservatives (ABC) strategic voting by progressives will have any traction and make a difference in the GTA? Current polling has the Liberals holding a 20-point lead, with 47 per cent support in this region. If there is to be a swing in fortune for the Conservatives, it must happen here. In the 2019 election, all 25 Toronto ridings and 23 of the 31 surrounding urban ridings returned Liberal MPs. If Trudeau maintains this stranglehold on Toronto and the GTA, there is little to no hope of a Conservative government.

  1. Whether Premier Legault’s direction to Quebecers impacts the vote    

Premier Francois Legault pulled no punches in signaling that he would like to see the Conservatives win a minority government. The popular premier stated, “To protect the nation of Quebec, I think we have to be careful with these parties (Liberals, NDP and Green). Those three parties, they are not ready to transfer powers to the Quebec government.”

He went on to say Justin Trudeau was dangerous to Quebec’s interests with health care, immigration, and with identity politics. In his rambling comments, Legault gave Erin O’Toole an endorsement by process of elimination and he stated that he hoped for a minority Conservative government before adding, “It’s up to Quebecers to choose…”

So, what might this endorsement mean for the Conservatives – and for the Liberals’ support in Quebec? The Liberals’ support is strongest in Montreal; and now with Legault’s comments can they win seats outside this urban area? Conservatives are currently polling 19 per cent on average in the province and, accounting on how that support is distributed, the best-case scenario would be to win 15 seats. Will they increase their seat count? In the last Parliament, Quebec’s 78 seats were divided as such: Liberals 35, Bloc Québécois 32, Conservatives 10, and NDP 1. Trudeau had hoped to form his majority with increased seats in Quebec – so we might know early in the night whether this is at all possible.

  1. Whether the vote for the People’s Party steals Conservatives’ seats 

This week’s national opinion polls showed the Liberals with 32 per cent, Conservatives with 31 per cent, NDP with 20 per cent, and Green Party with 4 per cent. The People’s Party registered 7 per cent support nationally.

Regional polling reported by the Globe and Mail show that outside of Ontario’s GTA the Liberals are only nosing ahead of the Conservatives 33 to 32 percentage points – and the PPC support is 8 per cent. In BC, the Conservatives lead the Liberals in support 30 to 28 per cent – and the PPC support is 8 percent. In both regions, the People’s Party has the possibility of denying Conservative candidates their victories. Pollster Nik Nanos commented on this data: “They’re a significant factor in a number of races and should be of concern to the Conservatives.”

In an interview with The Hill Times, The Niagara Independent’s own Kate Harrison stated she was watching the PPC numbers with “a bit of caution,” not agreeing their support takes directly from the Conservatives.  “They are largely people that have been apolitical to this point or…by virtue of supporting the PPC, perhaps reject partisan politics altogether.”

Abacus polling data reveals that 3 in 5 PPC supporters backed the Conservatives in 2019 – 1 in 5 did not vote and the other 1 in 5 voted half for the Liberals and the other half somewhere else.

So, the question will be answered on election night whether this will have a direct impact on the Conservative seat count. In Ontario and BC races, where Liberal and NDP candidates eke out a win, simply add 60 per cent of the PPC vote count to the Conservative count and see if this makes a difference.

One final point of interest on Monday night will be viewing the results come in from a few bell-weather ridings: the fickle Fredericton seat, where the 2019-elected Green candidate Jenica Atwin is now running as a Liberal “incumbent”; the Peterborough-Kawartha riding, where Liberal cabinet minister Maryam Monsef is running hard needing to outdistance a formidable Conservative as well as her associating with “our brothers” the Taliban; the Vancouver Granville riding, where constituents have great faith in Jody Wilson-Raybould and must now decide who is her successor; and, most-interesting is the riding of St. Catharines, “the perennial bell-weather riding” that most-often will signal the party that forms government, where the Liberal incumbent Chris Bittle is hard pressed to defeat his conscientious and community-minded Conservative opponent Krystina Waler.

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/three-factors-to-watch-for-on-election-night/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld / Left to right: Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet, Green Party leader Annamie Paul, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Conservative leader Erin O’Toole at the English-language leaders’ debate (sans Maxime Bernier) in Gatineau, Quebec, Sept. 9.

Trudeau’s unscripted responses reveal what to expect with a renewed mandate

The Niagara Independent, September 10, 2021 – Like all politicians, Justin Trudeau reveals more about what he is thinking when he breaks away from his prepared notes and teleprompter and speaks directly to a reporter’s question or citizen’s concern. It is in his unscripted moments that Canadians get a glimpse of his intent in governing the country. There have been two such candid moments on the campaign hustings that provide a window into what a majority Trudeau mandate would mean for Canadians.

The first such moment came as an off-the-cuff admission. At a BC campaign stop, Trudeau entertained reporters’ questions in a scheduled scrum. A question was asked: “You mentioned the Bank of Canada’s mandate. That mandate is actually expiring at the end of this year. If re-elected, it’s probably the review or the extension of the mandate that is probably the first big economic policy decision you’d make after the election. Do you have a position on the mandate? Would you support a slightly higher tolerance for inflation?”

Justin Trudeau responded: “I don’t know. When I think about the biggest, most important economic policy of this government, if re-elected, would move forward. You’ll forgive me if I don’t think about monetary policy.”

No doubt this was an honest reply by Trudeau, who has never shown an aptitude for fiscal issues. However, is it an adequate retort for a leader of a nation that is currently seized with unprecedented economic uncertainties? Statistics Canada had just reported Canada’s economy had contracted in the second quarter this year – a surprise for all financial analysts. It also reported the country’s inflation was 3.7 per cent – the highest it has been in two decades.

With the anxiousness over the oncoming fourth wave and whether it forebodes further shutdowns and disruption of the economy, is it not reasonable to think our prime minister would have given the country’s fiscal health a passing thought?

David Dodge thinks so. In an interview with BNN Bloomberg, the former governor of the Bank of Canada stated Trudeau must be more attentive to the country’s finances. Dodge said, “I think he should take it back…Neither Trudeau One nor Trudeau Two have been terribly interested in monetary policy, very unfortunately. In any event, he’s wrong. The new government has a very important set of decisions to make coming up on monetary policy and in terms of the renewal of the agreement with the Bank of Canada.”

The Bank of Canada’s mandate is reviewed and set every five years. One of the central responsibilities of the Bank is to manage the country’s inflation targets. The rising inflation pressures will have a profound impact on individual’s finances – and yet, evidently, Trudeau does not consider this.

Justin Trudeau’s nonchalant attitude about Canada’s monetary policies is not surprising. He has led a government that has had no concern for budgets, deficits or national debt. The 2021 budget document announced $135.2 billion of new expenditures in the next five years that will result in the country’s federal debt exceeding $1.4 trillion. To put this into perspective, the Trudeau Government has spent more money in six years than all past federal governments in the history of our country combined, and it has done so more than doubling the nation’s debt.

With Trudeau’s gross spending sprees, there appears no regard for fiscal sustainability. In July, prior to the election call, the Trudeau government spewed billions of dollars: $1.3 billion to BC’s SkyTrain, $1.4 billion to climate change, and $5.2 billion to bailout Newfoundland’s Muskrat Falls hydro project. The Liberal election platform contains an additional $78 billion in new spending.

The Liberals’ spending is endless; it is as if the public purse is bottomless. This much we can expect from a renewed Liberal mandate – and Trudeau will not give monetary policy a thought.

The second candid moment for Justin Trudeau comes from a stump speech and follow-up interview alongside deputy prime minister and finance minister Chrystia Freeland. At this campaign stop in London, Ontario, Trudeau and Freeland both expressly linked the government’s pandemic response to their future implementation of the Liberals green agenda. Trudeau stated that what they had learned from managing the pandemic they would use in the fight against climate change.

What exactly should we take from Trudeau and Freeland referencing pandemic emergency measures as a means to achieve their green policy objectives?

Earlier this year Trudeau was a central figure in a United Nations conference that urged all governments to declare a state of “global climate emergency” until the world has reached net zero CO2 emissions. The same conference urged governments to leverage the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.N. message to its member states was clear:  governments “have a major role in setting the conditions under which lifestyle changes can occur, through shaping policy, regulations and infrastructure investments…COVID-19 has provided insight into how rapid lifestyle changes can be brought about by governments…The lockdown period in many countries may be long enough to establish new, lasting routines if supported by longer term measures. In planning the recovery from COVID-19, governments have an opportunity to catalyse low-carbon lifestyle changes by disrupting entrenched practices.”

In other words, the pandemic is the opportunity to implement the U.N.’s “The Great Reset.” Both Trudeau and Freeland know what is in play here. In the past two years, Trudeau has increasingly championed the U.N.’s globalist agenda. Canada’s finance minister Freeland is a board member of the World Economic Forum, a body intent on advancing “The Great Reset” and the objective of resetting capitalism.

When considering what a renewed Trudeau mandate will mean for Canada, is Financial Post columnist Terence Corcoran fearmongering in suggesting Canadians might expect personal carbon passports and travel restrictions tied to decreasing fossil fuel use? Corcoran’s recent column is as disturbing as it is plausible given Trudeau’s and Freeland’s allegiances to the U.N. and W.E.F.

Following this thread, the economic policies that Canadians can expect to see introduced “to fight climate change” are laid out in detail in W.E.F. documents and presentations:

  • steadily increase carbon taxes to prompt behavioural change
  • increase corporate taxes
  • introduce wealth taxes on assets (i.e. holdings and property)
  • withdraw subsidies from fossil-fuel industry
  • create new funding programs for green initiatives
  • enact measures to increase government intervention in corporate boardrooms and the private sector

Given that all these policies have been openly floated by Liberal MPs in this past year, it is reasonable to think that they will be core policies for a future Liberal government.

In the cited examples, Justin Trudeau’s unscripted comments reflect the Liberals’ approach to governing since they assumed power in 2015. Should Trudeau receive his coveted majority mandate we can expect more of the same: four more years of big(ger) government, unbridled in its spending and unabashed in pursuing its set agenda.

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-unscripted-responses-reveal-what-to-expect-with-a-renewed-mandate/

Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Osorio / Liberal leader Justin Trudeau reveals his party’s 2021 election platform at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Sept. 1, 2021.

Canadians have been ill-served by Justin Trudeau’s pandemic politics

The Niagara Independent, August 20, 2021 – In a gushing self-congratulatory press statement released the last week of July, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exclaimed that the federal government’s hard work has kept Canadians healthy and safe throughout the pandemic. He lauded the work of Health Canada and reported that the country has now received more than 66 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – enough to fully vaccinate every eligible person in Canada.

The euphoric announcement came just days before the PM called his longed-for late summer election. Indeed, Trudeau is giddy with the thought that the latest public opinion polls show that 72 per cent of Canadians are satisfied with the federal government’s pandemic efforts, up 15 points from the mid-May assessment when the PM stated we would need to manage through a “one-dose summer.”

Apparently public opinion has changed in the last eight weeks since the country began receiving a steady, reliable supply of vaccines. The Liberals expect to ride this wave of optimism to a majority government. The anticipated campaign narrative will in no way resemble the realities of the last 18 months and what Canadians have endured with the federal government’s gaslighting of facts around the spread of COVID-19 or the procurement of ample vaccines.

It is important to recap the unfolding of pandemic events and place into context the government’s actions. In this way, Canadians can properly hold our political masters to account – and appropriately judge whether they deserve our trust with a new majority mandate.

The first case of COVID in Canada was confirmed in Toronto on January 25, 2020; it was a man in his 50s who travelled from Wuhan, China. It is now known that many flights from China and elsewhere would transport the virus to our country. Yet, for weeks through February and March, Canadians were repeatedly told the situation was not serious and it was not originating from China.

On this point, the Trudeau Government failed to restrict air traffic from China for weeks after the first “official” death was reported in Wuhan on January 11, 2020. Travel from China was restricted by Taiwan on January 26, by the U.S. on January 31, and by Australia a day later. Meanwhile, in that same time frame almost 1,800 people flew from Wuhan into Canada. (Trudeau repeated this negligence again in 2021 when he refused to promptly ban flights from two hotspots, Brazil and India, allowing more deadly COVID variants to enter the country.)

Until mid-March 2020, PM Trudeau, Health Minister Patty Hajdu, and Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Theresa Tam all deflected any concern about the spread of the virus. Canadians were told masks were not needed. Dr. Tam told us “the flu-like coronavirus” would not impact Canada for at least a year. And, when anyone raised questions and concerns, they were immediately labelled “racists” and “conspiracy theorists.”

So, how is it that Canadians could be so slow to recognize the danger of this health crisis? A Globe and Mail investigative story has revealed the facts of the matter. In 2018, the Trudeau Government had dismantled the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), which was the organization responsible for the country’s epidemiological intelligence to monitor health threats, track deadly viral outbreaks, and provide global advance warnings. It was used during H1N1, Ebola, and SARS. Yet the Trudeau Government quietly stripped the network of its expertise and resources.

We have also now learned of the chaos behind the scenes at Health Canada in early 2020. The country had a severe shortage of face masks after the government dumped two million N95 masks in December 2019 and shipped tonnes of supplies to China in February 2020. Is it reasonable to question whether there is a connection between the government’s early insistence that masks are not required and the lack of adequate supply?

This gross mismanagement by the Trudeau Government was to be replayed with its procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. Canadians now know that in early 2020, the Trudeau government signed a contract and made a secret non-refundable cash payment to a Chinese pharmaceutical company for a vaccine that was never delivered. On May 16, 2020, PM Trudeau heralded an exciting vaccine deal for Canada (although he chose not to mention the deal was with the Chinese). That very week the deal collapsed. The PM worked to actively hide the facts from Canadians for over three months, until they were finally revealed in late August.

From Spring 2020 through to June 2021, Canadians have been paying the price of this botched Chinese deal. In early 2021 when European countries and the U.S. were awash in vaccine doses, Canada had but a trickle of vaccines. In fact, the inadequate and unreliable supply of vaccines dictated Canada’s health policies and its vaccination roll-out program. How else do you account for the facts?

  • Canada accepted AstraZeneca vaccine shipments that had been rejected by the U.S. health officials.
  • The government signed numerous new contracts with vaccine suppliers in 2021, at a premium cost and without solid delivery schedules.
  • Health Canada approved a four month delay between doses – against WHO expert counsel and the pharmaceutical companies’ medical warnings.
  • Canada was the first country to approve the mixing of vaccines.

Canada’s lack of vaccines has resulted in the country’s vaccination programs resembling one big sociobiological experiment.

Space will not permit detailing the crass politics that has been played by Trudeau and his ministers through the pandemic.

  • The hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to Liberal-friendly companies that, without consequences, failed to produce their contracted services and deliverables.
  • Gross misspending of an average of $1.5 billion per day for a full year by the federal government – the greatest per capita pandemic spending in the world, resulting in the highest pandemic national debt.
  • Overreaching and generous support programs resulting in the highest unemployment rate in the G7 – and these programs are continuing to be extended while retail outlets and hospitality businesses have difficulties finding adequate staff.
  • The active censoring of medical practitioners, media, and individual Canadians who voiced alternate views from the government’s official narrative.
  • Disregarding the authority of Parliament by employing tactics that keep public information from MPs and from Canadians – the details of the Canada-China virus research at the Winnipeg Lab being only the latest travesty.

But, who among us are minding the facts and the details? That’s the key election question.

Justin Trudeau is counting on Canadians being swept up in their relief of being fully vaccinated, hoping that we are thankful for everything his government has done throughout the pandemic. But should we be?

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/canadians-have-been-ill-served-by-justin-trudeaus-pandemic-politics/

Photo credit: Trudeau puts on a mask after speaking at press conference in Ottawa, November 6, 2020. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld

Stephen Harper reappears in CBC headlines – the election is near

The Niagara Independent, August 6, 2021 – Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper made CBC headline news regarding a wide-ranging podcast interview he did earlier in July in Texas for an American production.

During a busy news week, when the federal government announced further extensions and an expansion of a number of pandemic economic support programs for individuals and businesses, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a $5.6 billion deal to bail out Newfoundland and Labrador’s Muskrat Falls hydroelectric boondoggle, the CBC chose to feature the former Conservative PM’s exchange with an American venture capitalist.

Mere mention of Harper’s name served as a flash of a red cape before a bull. Social media platforms immediately lit up with fierce, visceral attacks of the former PM. Liberal and NDP politicos on the airwaves pulled out worn lines against Harper and his conservative perspectives. There were the comparisons between Harper and current Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole – “a Harper-lite.”

This media-contrived tempest of politicos is a sure signal that the election call is imminent.

On the American Optimist podcast, Harper made observations on the pandemic response and fiscal policies in North America, international politics in dealing with China, and the threat the woke left presents for western democracies.

Politics aside, what Harper said deserves broadcasting. It is a clarion voice in a world still gripped in pandemic crises. So, here is Canada’s former PM Stephen Harper, unedited and sans editorial commentary.

On COVID-19 and the recovery: “This crisis really has been unique and very different and more complicated than [any] time before. This is a combination pandemic and an economic crisis, the solutions for one often being contrary to the solutions for the other.”

“[For a post-pandemic economic recovery] run strong market-oriented economic policy…I think it’s actually pretty straightforward, but it’s the opposite of what governments are doing…why can’t we just do this forever? People believe the United States can continue to borrow countless trillions of dollars at zero per cent interest. Not only do I believe that’s not true, I believe that’s actually coming to an end much quicker than people think.”

On Canada’s pandemic spending (which is the most expensive per capita spending in the world): “It’s not a good reaction, it’s been overkill. This is bad macroeconomic policy on an enormous scale.”

“As soon as you have interest rate hikes you have impacts on investment, and more importantly, all of a sudden, all this quote ‘affordable government spending’ is not so affordable.”

On globalization and China: Individual rights in Hong Kong are being “flagrantly violated” by the Chinese Communists and Harper said, “I would have urged our allies to respond more forcefully to that.”

“At the end of the cold war, all common sense on economic interaction related to national security went out the window, and we just assumed everybody…is going to be a friend…so we can trust them with anything. That has to change.”

Harper’s remarks echo comments he made before an audience at the Conference of Defence Associations Institute. In March 2021, he stated: “China is now a competitive rival of the United States across a range of spheres: economic, security, frankly competition of (government) systems as well…China has become more blatantly aggressive and hegemonic.”

On the dangers of woke culture: Much of the American Optimist podcast delved into the consequences of the rise of progressive mob mentality – or the ‘woke’ phenomenon – that has seized the western world. It was Harper’s comments on the woke mindset that were emphasized in CBC reports and other mainstream media. His comments appear to have greatly resonated – both positively and negatively – with Canadians.

Harper contends that the spread of “woke culture” in the West poses a threat to the “Anglo American heritage that Canada is a part of.” He observed:

“The real problem in the West is not that our prospects are not good. It’s elements in our own countries and our own societies that do not want us to succeed. The modern left, called Marxists often, is not really socialist, it’s nihilist. Its ethics are entirely nihilist and it’s all about ripping everything down. …It doesn’t really matter what their explanation for it is, it’s all bad and it needs to be fought and exposed.”

“I am just fascinated by this notion that is just everywhere now – the so-called woke notion that America is fundamentally a racist country. And yet what I see is all these supposedly repressed races trying desperately to become Americans.”

“It’s not that there aren’t problems, both historic and present, that aren’t real, but the core of our countries are great, they have great futures – and there is no alternative.”

“What’s so threatening about…this kind of far woke left is that it’s trying to end the democratic system. It’s not just trying to pass big deficits and modern monetary theory and a new education system – it’s trying to snuff out any opposition to those things. Its goal is authoritarian.

If it plays out, our societies fail…the adolescent egos of the woke university crowd is not an alternative governing philosophy for any society.”

The former PM’s frank assessment and critical observations of the woke phenomenon are certainly perspectives Canadians are not accustomed to hearing today from the country’s political elites.

So, with a few catchy headlines, CBC and other mainstream media succeeded in agitating their loyal listeners with fresh Harper quotes to be used in the not-so-distant election battle. Our state-supported news agencies have provided rich fodder for Liberals and the progressive-left crowd to remind their followers of the dark, distressing days that predated 2015.

Yes, conjuring up a boogeyman in this manner is a sure sign Canadians will soon be heading to the polls.

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/stephen-harper-reappears-in-cbc-headlines-the-election-is-near/

Photo credit: Harper speaks to podcast host Joe Lonsdale, July 27, 2021. Photo credit: YouTube/American Optimist

Justin Trudeau is systematically dismembering Canada

“Dismembering Canada” – Justin Trudeau and the making of his post-national state – was a five-part series looking at Canada’s current finances, justice system, democratic institutions, resource economy and traditional alliances. The series written by Chris George was published in The Niagara Independent through the month of July 2021.

From day one, Justin Trudeau has had designs 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.”

Since those heady days in 2015, PM Trudeau set about to dismember the country’s finances, justice system, democratic institutions, resource economy, and its traditional alliances. Now six years in the Prime Minister’s Office, Trudeau is well on his way to achieving his objective.

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.

Bankrupting the country

One of the most alarming aspects of Trudeau’s designs has been his government’s spending and the fiscal straight-jacket this has placed on future governments. In that same 2015 New York Times interview, Trudeau said he knew that Canada would run annual deficits: “Confident countries are willing to invest in the future, and not always follow the conservative orthodoxy of balanced budgets at all costs.”

This echoed his 2015 election refrain that “budgets balance themselves.” With Trudeau economics, Canada could run $10 billion deficits when the country’s economic growth outpaces government expenses. However, government spending was to balloon under Trudeau and his finance minister Bill Morneau and the country’s fiscal balance sheet was never to balance.

In five years, the government ran $89.1 billion in accumulated deficits under Morneau’s stewardship. Spending on federal government programs increased every year and, in total, by nearly $70 billion, or at a striking 27.2 per cent rate. This outstrips all past federal government spending, including those governments that had to respond to world wars and global recessions. It is by far the worst financial statement in Canada’s history — and that is before the COVID-19-impacted recession.

The Fraser Institute assessed Trudeau’s pre-COVID economic record: “The Liberal mix of higher taxes, more government spending and deeper indebtedness did not result in a robust economy as promised…GDP and income growth have slowed and business investment has collapsed.”

All indicators and opinion surveys point to the fact that Canadians will feel increased pressures with the Trudeau government’s fiscal plans. Consider that today:

  • One out of every four dollars Canadians earn goes directly to the federal government (and this does not account for indirect tax payments like the carbon tax on fuel).
  • The average Canadian family now spends more of its income on taxes (nearly half) than it does on basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing combined.
  • The Trudeau government has added $10,000 of new debt for every man, woman and child in Canada during his time in office.
  • Prior to the pandemic, one in two Canadians were living pay-cheque to pay-cheque, within $200 of insolvency at the end of each month (and this situation has worsened in the last year).
  • A recent survey revealed half of Canadians are stressed out and lose sleep over their finances.

To a United Nations conference, the Canadian PM explained what he was thinking, “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset. This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change…Building back better means getting support to the most vulnerable while maintaining our momentum on reaching the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

U.N. documents for its 2030 agenda outline what Canadians can expect to see introduced with this policy direction:

  • amended tax regulations for greater government control over business and individuals
  • wealth taxes
  • withdrawal of subsidies from fossil-fuel industry
  • creation of new funding programs for green initiatives
  • enactment of greater government intervention and social planning measures to tie the country’s policies to U.N. policies

Participating governments will be coached through international bodies to “future-proofing capitalism” by tightly tethering their private sector to government regulatory control.

Combine this U.N. agenda with the global corporate tax regime recently approved at the G7 conference and it is clear Canada is establishing a tax structure tied to global objectives that will tax more and increase government control.

The fiscal reality of PM Justin Trudeau’s pursuit of a post-national dream has limited future Canadian government’s policy options. Trudeau is both “emptying the cupboards” and he is turning over our cupboard keys to global bankers.

Undermining the judiciary

The Trudeau government’s scandalous record with respect to our country’s courts and rule of law has greatly undermined both the independence and impartiality of the Canadian judiciary.

The prime minister and his political operatives – including ministers of the Crown – have governed as if they are above the law. From manhandling the attorney general of Canada to politicizing the selection of judges, Justin Trudeau’s purposeful manipulation of the country’s rule of law has diminished Canada’s respected courts and legal traditions. His government’s flagrant miscarriages of justice are, in fact, eroding one of the fundamental underpinnings of our nation.

The Trudeau government’s most egregious affront to justice was its pressure applied on Jody Wilson Raybould when she served as Canada’s most-senior judicial officer. As the country’s attorney general and minister of justice, Wilson-Raybould was callously harassed and ultimately shuffled from her position when she refused the PMO directives to politically interfere in criminal proceedings against a Liberal-friendly multinational engineering firm.

As substantiated in a federal ethics commission report on the affair, the PMO wanted Canada’s attorney general to direct prosecutors to make a “deferred prosecution agreement” so that SNC-Lavalin could avoid trial on $130 million bribery and fraud charges in relation to contracts in Libya. In short, Minister Wilson-Raybould was told to deal a “get out of jail free” card.

When Wilson-Raybould would not follow the PMO instructions, she was shuffled and then slurred by PMO staffers. When she complained about being pushed out, Trudeau dropped her from cabinet and then had Liberal MPs exile her from their caucus. The parliamentary fireworks prompted a MP inquiry, an ethics commission inquiry, and the resignations of both PM Trudeau’s BFF and loyal lieutenant Gerald Butts, and Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick.

SNC-Lavalin ultimately had its day in court – and was found guilty as charged of bribery, fraud, and laundering the proceeds of crime. Even though this conviction was to have resulted in a 10-year ban from federal contracts, the Trudeau government gave SNC-Lavalin a special plea-bargain and continued to contract its favoured Quebec firm. In the 18 months following its conviction, SNC-Lavalin was awarded 142 government contracts with a combined worth of about $25 million. Then last year it was awarded a sole-sourced $150 million pandemic contract to design and deliver mobile health units.

While the assault on Canada’s Attorney General Office was being publicly revealed, behind closed doors another explosive judicial scandal was detonating – Canadians were about to learn more about the wrongful and politically vindicative prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

As second-in-command of the Canadian Forces, in fall 2015 Mark Norman was charged by the Trudeau government with breach of trust for leaking cabinet defence secrets on shipbuilding contracts. Norman’s defense claimed political interference by the PM and his inner circle and the Department of National Defence.

For years Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was stuck in a legal quagmire that sullied his reputation, dishonouring his career and character. It was the same cast of PMO operatives involved in the SNC-Lavalin scandal – Butts and Wernick – who were managing the legal fight against Norman.

As it was, at every turn, 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 given an undisclosed sum of money to keep his mouth shut.

When news of the non-disclosure settlement deal broke, Liberal backroom strategist Warren Kinsella stated: “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.”

Jocelyn Bamford, founder of the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada, framed the issue this way, “After Norman, we need to ask what’s happening to our country. Is it just me, or does the whole thing suggest to others that we are becoming something of a banana republic?”

It’s a good question. Both the SNC-Lavalin and Norman scandals raise serious concerns about a person’s expectation for fair treatment in our Canadian legal system. Most disturbing is the fact that to this day our federal government (from the PM and PMO staff through to ministers, MPs, Crown prosecutors and senior government mandarins) has refused to explain, justify or otherwise account for what has happened. It is Kafkaesque.

On another disturbing judicial matter, this week news broke that justice minister David Lametti had appointed four more Liberal Party donors to positions of federal judges. This news is, in fact, an on-going saga for the Trudeau government.

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. Ministers, PMO staff, MPs (including St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle) and party operatives were all caught up in this clandestine operation that was established shortly after Justin Trudeau took office.

By appointing capital “L” Liberal-minded judges, this Trudeau government intends to impose in the courts its progressive mindset for years into the future. It is remarkable that since November 2015, more than 475 judges have been appointed with the Trudeau government’s judicial application process – and very few have had any type of public scrutiny.

In a recent Hill Times opinion piece, Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner reminded Canadians that it is important to maintain a clear separation of the PM and Cabinet, its legislators, and the country’s judiciary. “The equilibrium of all three branches of government is what gives us our vibrant democracy, strong rule of law, and robust protections for people’s rights and freedoms. Judicial independence is critical to the balance,” wrote Chief Justice Wagner.

Clearly, continuing to politicize the selection of judges is sure to test Canadians’ trust in an independent and impartial judiciary. And as witnessed in the Jody Wilson-Raybould-SNC-Lavalin scandal and the mock-prosecution of Mark Norman, this government’s blatant disregard for the country’s justice system has the potential to shatter Canadians’ confidence in it.

Given Justin Trudeau’s abstraction of our country’s judiciary, Canadians may wish to reflect on English statesman Sir Francis Bacon’s insight: “If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.”

Debasing Parliament

Justin Trudeau’s flagrant disrespect for Parliament and Canada’s parliamentary traditions is purposefully creating a constitutional fog in the country. His government’s repeated abuses of power are undermining the authority of our parliamentary institutions, eroding the very foundation of the country’s democratic principles and practices. As MP Jody Wilson-Raybould assessed when she announced that she would not run again for Parliament, much has changed for the worst in the six years Justin Trudeau has been in office.

The government’s recent unprecedented move to take the Speaker of the House of Commons to court to challenge the supremacy of Parliament’s legislative authority is an indication of the extent to which PM Trudeau desires unfettered authority. In the history of our country, never has there been a government that has blatantly defied Parliament – and attempted to overturn it. Yet, in the case of the Trudeau government’s desire to conceal the coronavirus activities in the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, parliamentarian principles and MPs democratic rights are being trampled.

Last month the House of Commons ordered the Trudeau government to hand over unredacted documents from the Winnipeg lab that related to the research and firing of two scientists with Communist China ties. When the government declined to forward the requested files to MPs, it was held in contempt of Parliament. Then Public Health Agency of Canada president, Iain Stewart, defied MPs and he too was found in contempt. The government followed this by launching a lawsuit against the Speaker to have a court of law block any parliamentarian order to produce the documents.

Aside from leaving many unanswered questions about the joint Canada-China coronavirus research, the government’s extraordinary step to sue the head officer of the House of Commons raises multiple issues about elected representatives’ rights to hold to account a prime minister and his cabinet.

Steve Chaplin, former senior parliamentary counsel for the House of Commons, explained in a CBC interview the very crux of the matter, “Parliamentary privilege is constitutional and the privileges and the whole Westminster system of government, where the government is accountable to Parliament for everything that it does, is part of that system…It’s not the court’s business to step into it, and for the government to ask the courts to do it violates the Bill of Rights of 1689.”

As it stands today, the Trudeau government will continue to defy and delay and when the prime minister calls the election all demands for documents will be considered dissolved, requiring MPs to reintroduce the motions in the next Parliament. And should this all unfold as suggested, Trudeau’s subversive tactics will have thwarted Canadian democratic rights.

One of the primary functions of Parliament – its fiduciary duties to oversee government spending – has been disrupted in the last six years. The rights of parliamentarians to oversee government spending dates back to 1215 and the signing of the Magna Carta. However, the Trudeau government has found ways around the budgetary process to take at will from the public purse.

In June 2018, ignoring due process, a majority Trudeau government voted itself $7 billion to spend as it saw fit, without any necessary report to parliament until sometime after the 2019 federal election. Through the pandemic, the Trudeau cabinet was given free rein to spend what was needed to respond to the health crisis (resulting in the largest per-capita spending spree in the world). This government also went two years between federal budgets, without reporting its expenditures or it fiscal plans to parliamentarians.

Following its 2021 federal budget, the government found ways to sidestep expenditure reviews. Remarkably, more than $41.4 billion in spending occurred without MPs’ review – and this included an additional $17.1 billion of supplementary spending estimates.

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux was very concerned about the lack of review, “The power of the purse resides with the House of Commons…It’s a lot of money. Those are big-spending departments. And the fact that they (MPs) are not even showing up on a principal duty, it’s got to be symbolic of something that the system is completely broken.”

This disfunction has allowed the Liberals to operate without repercussions. The recent Ottawa mischief that Liberal MPs are attempting to sweep under the rug has Justin Trudeau’s childhood friend Tom Pitfield being siphoned millions of taxpayers’ dollars to assist Liberal MPs with their voter databases. Pitfield is a senior Liberal campaign strategist who is being paid by the Liberal Party of Canada – but he is also providing database management services for MPs’ constituency work.

Much like the We Charity scandal, the Liberals have employed procedural tactics to avoid closer scrutiny of their misdeeds in pilfering the public purse for their own benefit. So, the failure of MPs to conduct traditional parliamentary reviews of government expenditures has essentially amounted to giving Justin Trudeau and his ministers a blank cheque.

Another cherished cornerstone in our country’s democracy is being dislodged by Justin Trudeau and his careless regard for the sanctity of the Canadian Charter of Rights. In May, Quebec premier Francois Legault introduced legislation that will bring sweeping measures to reinforce the French language within the province. He also pronounced his intention to rewrite certain sections of the Canadian Constitution that would assert La Belle Province as a sovereign “nation.” The premier will guarantee his measures with the use of the notwithstanding clause.

This direct affront to Canada’s Charter of Rights and established principles of bilingualism was met with approval by the PM. Trudeau stated it is “perfectly legitimate” for Quebec to unilaterally rewrite the section of the Canadian Constitution pertaining to its province.

The PM’s cavalier approach has been criticized from all sides – including by former PM Jean Chretien’s chief of staff Eddie Goldstein, who fears Trudeau is prying open a pandora’s box. Goldstein penned a scathing Globe and Mail editorial of PM Trudeau’s constitutional gambit, opening with, “Institutional memory is a fundamental prerequisite to good government.” (This sentence exposes the core issue with our PM: Trudeau has no regard for the country’s institutions and, therefore, is proving a wholly inadequate steward of the Canadian state.)

The PM’s disrespect displayed for Parliament, MPs’ rights, the Charter, and our constitution are all too regular. Justin Trudeau repeatedly debases Canada’s democratic institutions suggesting we are a country built on “a system of colonialism, discrimination, of systemic racism in all our institutions.” His actions and narrative have emboldened those who wish to question the legitimacy of Canada’s seat of government, and of the country itself.

As a final word, consider a widely respected MP’s recent observation on the current condition of Canada’s Parliament. Last week former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced she will not seek re-election and she was specific on her reasons for departing the Ottawa scene: “From my seat in the last six years, I have noticed a change in Parliament, a regression…It has become more and more toxic and ineffective while simultaneously marginalizing individuals from certain backgrounds. Federal politics is, in my view, increasingly a disgraceful triumph of harmful partisanship over substantive action.”

Devastating Canada’s resource economy 

The globalists and environmental activists in the government of Justin Trudeau have been methodically deconstructing Canada’s natural resources sector and establishing a state-interventionist economy. PM Trudeau himself is intent on redesigning capitalism and advancing an international green agenda. He has quickened the country’s pace towards these end goals under the cover of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

On many occasions Justin Trudeau has publicly tied the country’s pandemic recovery to the World Economic Forum’s The Great Reset and the United Nations 2030 objectives. In his U.N. appearance last September, Trudeau gave a clear indication that the path he was leading Canadians down was one that his government had embarked on prior to COVID-19. Trudeau stated: “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset. This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems…”

As the prime minister and his Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland have often mused, the pandemic is “an opportunity” to further their government’s agenda.

The Trudeau government agenda is anti-resource development and, expressly, anti-oil and gas sector. Its natural resource development approach has had a dramatic, negative impact on both large and small resource companies. Calgary-based news agency, Second Street, factors that $213 billion in resource development projects have been lost to Canadians since 2014. The Enbridge Northern Gateway and TC Energy East projects were scrapped due to uncertain regulatory delays and there has been a mass exodus of drilling companies from western Canada.

Just prior to the pandemic, the country’s resource economy was rocked with the announcements of the cancellation of the $20.6 billion Teck Frontier mine project and the collapse of financing for the $9 billion Energie Saguenay pipeline and liquified natural gas project.

Despite the facts that there are one million jobs and nearly a quarter of all Canadian exports dependent on a healthy oil and gas industry, the Trudeau government has pursued an energy policy course that is intent on curtailing future development. In June 2019, prior to the last federal election, the Trudeau government passed into law two controversial and damaging measures: first, Bill C-69 established an unparalleled, onerous federal environmental assessment process for major resource projects in Canada; and second, Bill C-48 placed a moratorium on Canadian oil tanker activity along the BC coast – effectively cutting off the Asian market to Canadian energy producers.

Since Trudeau took office, his government’s statements and actions have delivered irreparable blows to investor confidence in Canadian energy projects. Recent Statistics Canada data reveals that, since 2015, investment in 10 of our 15 major business sectors has dropped by 17 per cent, as both Canadian and foreign investors have headed elsewhere.

In place of Canada’s attractive resource sectors, PM Trudeau and a cadre of his senior ministers have designed a green energy plan to drive the country’s future prosperity. Canadians are being told that the government will “build back better” the country’s economic fortunes with a bold, progressive environmental agenda. With $109 billion of government investment in the next decade, the Liberal plan will create in excess of six million green jobs and support $790 billion worth of “green” initiatives.

This green energy plan that is to revive – and reset – the Canadian economy is illusory on multiple levels. Here are four obvious ones:

#1 — The plan requires considerable private sector investment of nearly $700 billion that is just not there. For every one dollar the government is to invest, the Trudeau government is looking to encourage the private sector to invest six dollars. As it has discovered with its failed Canada Infrastructure Bank, the private sector is reluctant to partner with government, especially one that is increasingly interventionist and unattractive to foreign investors.

#2 — The Liberals’ plan is tied to unrealistic carbon emission reduction targets. Canada missed its Copenhagen 2020 targets and, according to a recent U.N. Emissions Gap Report, the country is set to miss its next emissions target in 2030 by 15 per cent. The fact is, under this Trudeau government stewardship, Canada’s emissions have actually risen.

Yet, this government has pledged that the country will meet net zero emissions by 2050 and it has further set interim targets without any details on how they will be achieved. For example, a report released this week by the C.D. Howe Institute states that in order for Canada to meet its targets, the government will have to ensure there will be three electric cars for every four cars sold by 2030. Is this realistic given current vehicle sales and the existing electric-charge station network?

#3 — One of the key components of the green energy plan is a mounting carbon tax that will alter Canadians’ energy consumption behaviours. The tax is to raise gas prices for commuters and personal travel. It will raise fuel prices to heat homes. It increases costs for our farmers, manufacturers, and truckers – and, as a result, the carbon tax will raise the price of all groceries and consumer goods. So, by design, the carbon tax will significantly increase the cost of living for all Canadians – and this will bring about the change in behaviour.

In a June 2021 report, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) provided an analysis of the economic impact of the government’s plan to reach net zero carbon emissions targets in 2050 and, unsurprisingly, this plan is certain to negatively impact the economy. More significantly, the PBO found the government targets can only realistically be reached by raising the carbon tax five times greater than it is currently scheduled through 2030 (this would result in approximately $160 of additional carbon taxes every time Canadians filled up their vehicle).

#4 — This green energy plan will only be sustainable with continuous government subsidies. The Trudeau government’s green initiatives neither factor their costs nor their return on investment – there is an assumption that the budget will balance itself. In an internal memo, Department of Natural Resources reviewed the “market failure” of current Canada’s solar, wind, and geothermal industries and it concluded that “most projects would not have been financially viable” without the support of more than $1.4 billion of government subsidies.

In attempting to understand the underlining rationale with the Trudeau Liberals’ green energy plan, consider the recent announcement by senior cabinet minister Catherine McKenna that she would not be running in the upcoming election. In a fawning media interview, the former environment minister made a lucid observation that government does not have the financial means to underwrite the Liberals’ green energy plan; however, there is ample private sector cash that must be invested. Much like Chyrstia Freeland’s expressed desire to access the savings accounts of individual Canadians, McKenna posits the government use regulatory control to shake lose the needed cash from private sector businesses to pay for the country’s green initiatives.

In a Financial Post editorial, Matthew Lau seized on McKenna’s suggestion: “McKenna speaks of spending money to build the future Canadians want, but she is doing no such thing. Instead of letting Canadians spend their own money to build the future they want, she is spending their money to build the future she thinks they ought to want, which is really just the future she wants. It is a future in which Canadians are less prosperous and free.”

In Lau’s summary he captures the sad ironies of the Liberals’ green energy plan. Indeed, this is the devastating course Justin Trudeau is pursuing in gutting Canada’s natural resources sector and imposing his “reset” on the country’s economy.

Realigning international alliances

In Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first appearance on the international stage, he blurted out, “We’re back.” This exclamation was to suggest Canada was about to resume its traditional roles with its trusted allies in furthering democratic and western values around the world. Yet, the government’s actions over the last six years indicate this PM has done the exact opposite of expectations and has upset Canada’s reliable position in global affairs.

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. After six years of Justin Trudeau’s foreign diplomacy, this profile is soiled. The global community seems uncertain of Canada, evident by losing bids for council seats at the United Nations. At home, an Angus Reid survey taken last summer revealed that two-in-five Canadians believe our reputation on the world stage has worsened in recent years.

Of great concern is the eroded confidence and trust that Canada’s closest ally and largest partner, the United States, has for its “friendly neighbour” to the north. Remarkably, the election of President Joe Biden resulted in a widening gap between the countries’ governing politicians. The divergence can be traced in part to U.S. protectionism, and in part to suspicions in Washington of Canada’s growing relationship with China.

As the world begins to shake free of the COVID-19 crisis, the thrust of America’s economic policies are seemingly becoming more parochial. Unlike the special trade relationships forged during the Mulroney-Reagan and Chretien-Bush eras, the Trudeau government cannot depend on its friendship with the Biden Democrats.

Justin Trudeau may speak highly of Joe Biden, yet this presidency has already seriously impacted the Canadian economy. The first act of the new president was the cancellation of Keystone XL pipeline which dealt a serious blow to western Canadians. Today, President Biden will not step up to guarantee uninterrupted oil supply to Canada through Line 5. Moreover, the countries have multiple trade irritants: softwood lumber, aluminum, dairy supply management, and grain grading. In Congress, the Democrats are working with the president to pass “Buy American” provisions and a new infrastructure package that will not offer exemptions to Canadian companies and workers.

These troublesome trade matters are unfolding as American politicians debate U.S.-China relations. The two issues intersect with the special congressional hearings on China and the committee’s investigation of Canada’s economic and diplomatic relations with the Chinese Communist Party. This has led to both Republican and Democrat politicians questioning the trustworthiness of a Canadian alliance. There is concern about the Canadian government’s unwillingness to reveal the facts behind the two Communist Chinese scientists’ virus research at the federal laboratory in Winnipeg; Canada’s hold-out as the only country in the five-eyes intelligence group not to ban or restrict Huawei 5G technology; and, its repeated delays and apparent hesitancy in fulfilling its security and defence obligations.

It is a point of contention that Canada no longer pulls its weight with NATO or NORAD and it has failed to invest in the country’s self-defence. With respect to NATO, Canada has abandoned its commitment to spend two per cent of the national GDP target for defence spending. It is avoiding the start of talks about NORAD, the first line of North American defence from an arctic attack, which is in immediate need of an upgrade from the existing 1980s radars. In Canada, there are open calls for our withdrawal from both defence alliances – and this been noted by our allies.

The Trudeau government is consistently vacillated on all matters of the country’s military. An overdue decision has just been further delayed on the purchase of 88 new fighter jets to replace Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet. Final decisions have long been pending to acquire 15 ships to replace aged destroyers and frigates as well as new submarines for Canada’s perpetually drydocked fleet. Comically, the government is waffling to replace Second World War-era pistols for the Canadian Forces.

As PM Trudeau neglects the country’s historic strategic partners, his government is forging new working relations with Communist China. Trade between the two countries is increasing – gaining more than eight per cent through the pandemic. Chinese are buying up Canadian companies, natural resources and land at record pace. Meanwhile, Canada’s investment in China is increasing, providing millions of dollars to Chinese research and foreign aid. Also, the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) has now invested more than 11 per cent of Canadians’ savings in China.

PM Trudeau has also been careful to nurture the countries’ diplomatic ties. One recent example is the Trudeau government payment in advance to China for a vaccine that the China government reneged on without repayment. Despite the fact the two Michaels have languished in China prisons for almost 1,000 days, PM Trudeau has been near silent. He has also been uncomfortably quiet on Communist China’s human rights abuses from Uyghur Muslims to Hong Kong democrat leaders.

During Trudeau’s term in office, Canada’s realignment from trusted U.S. neighbour and western ally to Communist China chum has occurred with little notice or concern by Canadians. Likewise, the Canadian government’s ratification of U.N. agreements has left many unaware of how Trudeau is relinquishing our national authority to international bodies and their agendas.

In this last Parliament, the Trudeau government announced Canada’s new immigration and refugee targets that reflect the U.N.’s “open borders” and migration policies. It just aligned federal laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which will obligate the country to international courts of law. Most recently, Canada signed onto a plan to internationally regulate the taxing of corporations. Trudeau has been active on the world stage donating Canadian money to U.N. feminist and abortion programs in the third world – and tying further development aid to the acceptance of those U.N. programs.

PM Trudeau has also taken centre stage at recent U.N. meetings to cheerlead The Great Reset – the U.N.’s World Economic Forum plan to refashion capitalism and advance a new green agenda. Though the PM will suggest to Canadians that any talk of The Great Reset is a conspiracy theory, it is now coming to light that the PM, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Liberal celebrity Mark Carney are all playing central roles in the World Economic Forum. Pivotal to achieving the U.N.’s work is to cede nations’ sovereign interests and authority to internationally binding commitments.

The Trudeau government has offered up Canada as an example for all governments to advance towards a post-national state. According to the master plan, the Canada of tomorrow is not a nation with strategic allies and trade partners, it is a group of people adhering to international interests.

The upcoming federal election will allow for Canadians to pass judgement on Justin’s Trudeau’s vision of Canada. Whether it is Canada’s international position, justice system, economy, or the authority of Parliament, on multiple fronts Trudeau continues to dismember the country. With each of the PM’s activities, it is as if he is picking and unravelling the threads of a twined rope – to eventually work loose the tethers to our country’s foundations.  

It is essential for Canadians to realize that this next election is a vote for our country as a nation, or Justin Trudeau’s post-national design. 

 

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

In Justin Trudeau’s post-national state, there are no proud Canadians

The Niagara Independent, June 25, 2021 — Oh Canada, is there anything left of our country and its history for us to celebrate? Does it not seem that, in reading news headlines, Canadians’ new national sport is self-flagellation?

We now live in a country where our nation’s past is being removed from public squares and crated for “safe keeping.” It is acceptable to deface and topple the statues of the founding prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald and the country’s initial champion of public education Egerton Ryerson. It is empowering for many to argue that Canada Day must be cancelled and in its place we are all to mourn “the lives lost to the Canadian state – Indigenous lives, Black lives, migrant lives, women, trans and two-spirit lives.”

It appears from our country’s prime minister on down; many political leaders are abetting a narrative that casts Canada’s history in the most negative possible light. As Candice Malcolm of True North Media explained, “It is much more fashionable to condemn Canada as a uniquely terrible, systemically compromised failed state built by irredeemably horrendous leaders who committed unspeakable atrocities and crimes against humanity.”

Malcolm recently lamented, “The woke mob wants to erase our history, tear our country apart and cancel Canada Day but nobody is standing up to them…Baseless claims from the woke left are no longer being challenged. Instead, political and media leaders allow radical woke leftists to use Canada as a punching bag.”

And PM Justin Trudeau never misses an opportunity to virtue signal and incite social justice warriors. It is by design, his drive toward a post-national state – sans culture, sans institutions, sans history.

For years, our country’s prime minister has been ceaselessly denigrating Canadian historic accomplishments and institutions – including the legitimacy of Canada’s seat of government itself – to foster a culture of guilt and unworthiness. Of parliament, PM Trudeau stated: “There are many institutions that we have in this country, including the big building right across the street from us (Parliament Hill’s Centre Block) that has and is built around a system of colonialism, discrimination, of systemic racism in all our institutions.”

The prime minister’s reflections echo the woke world view that western culture is best summarized as a hierarchy of power with a shameful story of oppressors and oppressed – defined by skin colour, gender and sexual orientation.

It is the woke world view in the Canadian education system today that is indoctrinating young minds with a guilt-based, anti-Western narrative. It is also found in Canada’s bureaucracy, which has superimposed a race-based conflict narrative on all policy discussions of our country’s current affairs.

Back in 2019 the Trudeau government introduced “antiracism training” and in the recent 2021 federal budget there was a massive expansion of the race-based programming for all government employees. The training is grounded in “critical race theory,” which is an interpretation of history that positions Western society as intrinsically racist due to its alleged white supremacist thinking and policies.

Canadians are to come to understand that they are racist “settlers” in a land where they have no legitimate rights. The government’s training program instructs civil servants to question everything, including the very name of our country. According to the program, it is a fact that “this place we now call Canada” is but “a colonial settler society – a concept based on many myths, including European discovery and harmonious multiculturalism.”

Given this skewed historical interpretation of Canada, it should not be surprising that the call to cancel the country’s national day has traction among a certain portion of our society. The progressives’ claim is captured in a popular tweet that has been reposted ad nauseum with the hashtag #cancelCanadaDay: “Celebrating Canada Day is a celebration of First Nations dispossession, oppression and genocide. July 1st instead should be a day of mourning and remembrance of the evils of colonialism. People who celebrate occupations and genocide are misguided and shameful.”

The ultimate goal of the woke, progressive mindset is to tear down all structures of our Canadian society and shake the confidence of its people. It is to deny any hint of the country’s accomplishments based on the riches of our natural resources and an industrious people sharing a remarkable history of peace, order and good government.

As Candice Malcom lamented, there seems to be no political leader prepared to stand up to the woke mob – that is until this week.

As MPs were preparing to leave Ottawa for a summer of campaigning, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole addressed his caucus. His message contained a forcible defence of Canada and its history. In response to the progressive mob’s chant to cancel Canada Day, he asserted that “It’s time to build Canada up, not tear it down…the road to reconciliation, the road to equality, the road to inclusion, does not involve tearing Canada down.”

O’Toole broached the subject of recent residential school discoveries by describing them as “very troubling” and evidence of the “grave injustices” committed against Indigenous peoples. However, he rejected that this historic wrong should result in a rejection of Canada’s culture, its institutions and people’s inherited rights. He was adamant that it should not lead to a cancellation of Canada Day, nor to undermine the pride Canadians feel for their country and its history.

This message and O’Toole’s tone stands out in sharp contrast to the narrative being spun this week by PM Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

O’Toole reasoned, “We are not a perfect country. No country is. There is no place on this planet whose history can withstand close scrutiny. But there is a difference between acknowledging where we’ve fallen short and always tearing the country down.”

He placed himself directly in front of the mob and the prime minister’s design for a post-national state. O’Toole spoke directly over the heads of the woke when he said, “As someone who served Canada and will soon ask for the trust to lead this country, I can’t stay silent when people want to cancel Canada Day. I am very proud to be Canadian and I know most people are as well.”

So, perhaps, there is something with this defiant retort to celebrate on this July 1st – oh Canada.

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

[Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Justin Lang — People celebrate Canada Day on Parliament Hill, July 1, 2018]

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/there-are-no-proud-canadians-in-justin-trudeaus-post-national-state/

 

Justin Trudeau’s Communist China gambit

The Niagara Independent, June 18, 2021 — It is increasingly evident that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Communist China gambit has Canadians paying dearly for his naivety.

In 2013, the soon-to-be Canadian PM said: “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say, ‘We need to go green…we need to start investing in solar.’” It is an oft-repeated reflection because Trudeau’s admiration for the communist state has guided Canadian foreign policy with this government. Over the past six years, PM Trudeau’s departure from Canada’s established relationship with China has proven on many accounts to have been a costly gambit.

Let’s review recent revelations concerning the countries’ relationship.

There is much intrigue in Ottawa these days concerning the whereabouts of two Canadian scientists, Dr. Keding Cheng and Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, who worked in the country’s highest-security infectious-disease laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We have learned that these scientists were collaborating with Chinese military researchers, conducting experiments on deadly pathogens. (Scientists from this lab have co-authored six studies on infectious diseases with the Chinese.) There are multiple questions surrounding research that was conducted in 2019 and the viruses that might have been shared with the Chinese Wuhan Laboratory. This Canada-China research will come under greater scrutiny because U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered an investigation on the possibility of a leak from the Wuhan lab.

The core question about the joint Canada-China research is whether it was a collaboration or a case of Chinese espionage relating to biosecurity and biodefence. However, the Trudeau government has stonewalled the special parliamentary committee looking into the issue. Health Minister Patty Hajdu contends that the research has “national security implications” and is “too sensitive” to share with MPs. When Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Bergen raised the question of the nature of the countries’ collaboration in the House of Commons, PM Trudeau accused her and Conservatives of racism.

National security concerns relating to China have been at the core of several recent reports to parliament. For example, the CSIS 2020 Public Report cited China as one of the countries of concern: “…foreign states continued to covertly gather political, economic, and military information in Canada through targeted threat activities in support of their own state development goals…Foreign governments also continue to use their state resources and their relationships with private entities to conduct clandestine, deceptive, or threatening foreign interference activities in Canada.”

Last month, a parliamentary committee heard from Alliance Canada Hong Kong, which warned Canadians about the widespread influence operations by Communist China. The ACHK cited Canadian universities and research institutions as especially vulnerable to foreign influence and the underhanded methods of China to obtain intellectual property. The Chinese Communist Party spends roughly $10 billion per year on so-called “soft power” tactics, in which it seeks to sway public opinion through academic and research and development.

China is “exporting their authoritarianism overseas”, looking to exert control over foreign politicians, academics, media, and other institutions in an attempt to grow its geopolitical position. ACHK executive director Cherie Wong told MPs directly, “Dissidents are not safe – not at work, not in their homes, not in civil societies, and not in Canada.”

This concern is seemingly ignored, as the Trudeau government continues its working relationship with Communist China. Today, Canada is now the only member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance that has not banned use of equipment from Huawei Technologies Co. in its 5G networks. Astonishingly, in February, we learned a Canadian federal agency is partnering with Huawei Technologies to sponsor engineering research projects including chip-to-chip communications over heterogeneous fabrics, intelligence computing memory systems, brain-inspired photonic computing and privacy-preserver graphic analytics. Top universities from Oxford to MIT to Stanford have halted all research projects with Huawei, but in Canada we are announcing new ventures.

And recall there was also that multi-million dollar federal contract for security screening equipment at Canadian embassies around the world that was given to a state-owned Chinese company.

More significantly, Canadians still do not know (and may never know) the sordid details of the failed vaccine deal the Trudeau government agreed to mid-2020 – the Sino vaccine that the PM touted would meet all our country’s needs. The collapse of this deal has had lasting results of inadequate and unreliable vaccine supply in Canada.

On another matter, the Canadian Forces hosted joint military winter training maneuvers with the Communist China forces at CFB Petawawa. As was later learned, the Chinese troops were preparing for extreme cold weather conflicts along the India border – and it is speculated they were also training for the Muslim Uyghurs concentration camps. (A Globe and Mail investigation revealed that when Canadian military brass cancelled this training exercise in 2019 PM Trudeau was furious over possibly frustrating diplomatic relations with the communists.)

Justin Trudeau has been consistently quiet on Communist China’s abuses: the forced labour and systemic genocide of the Muslim Uyghurs, the imprisonment of democracy advocates in Hong Kong, the diplomatic and economic tactics being employed against Taiwan, and the trade disputes waged against Canadian canola and red meats.

An interesting aside: Statistics Canada reported that China was one of five markets where Canadian exports increased in 2020. Canadian exports to China rose to $25.2 billion – up 7.5% from 2019. Canadian exports of farm, fish and food products spiked 38 per cent. One key reason is our exporters filled the void of Australian traded goods, which have been heavily sanctioned by Communist China for Australia’s public criticisms of the country.

No review of Canada-China relations would be complete without highlighting the atrocity of Communist China’s detainment of the two Michaels. Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been arbitrarily imprisoned since December 2018 – over 900 days and counting – and the Trudeau government has proven hapless in resolving this unacceptable political impasse.

Trudeau’s gambit – from failing the two Michaels, to a failed vaccine agreement, to hiding possible covert Canada-China research – has resulted in deserved scorn from numerous political pundits.  Licia Corbella stated, “Trudeau’s shameful support of the Chinese regime threatens Canada.”  John Robson wrote of PM Trudeau’s “willful blindness” to the evils of Communist China: “If you asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau whether Xi was a communist, he wouldn’t admit it.”  While, Chris Selley of the National Post observed: “When it comes to China and ‘genocide,’ Trudeau is a panda in the headlights.”

Financial Post columnist Diane Francis was most pointed when she accused Justin Trudeau of ignoring the Chinese Government’s designs for world dominance as the serious national security threat that it is. Francis stated that Trudeau “has chosen the path of capitulation and collaboration” with Beijing and, for Canadians, Trudeau’s infatuation with Communist China “poses an existential danger.”

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-communist-china-gambit/

The importance of Canada’s oil and gas industry

The Niagara Independent, June 4 & 11, 2021 — This week Statistics Canada reported that the country registered its first quarterly surplus in 13 years as a direct result of surging commodity exports. Canada posted a $1.2 billion surplus in trade in the first three months of 2021 based primarily on $6.8 billion of energy exports of oil and natural gas – alongside forestry products and aircraft exports to the U.S.

Canada’s oil and natural gas industries serve as one of the country’s greatest assets and greatest wealth generators. Oil and gas production is the reason why Canadians can afford and enjoy such a high standard of living.

The industry numbers tell the tale.

PRODUCTION: Canada ranks as the world’s fifth largest producer of oil and natural gas, with an average production per day of 3.5 million barrels of crude oil and 13.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas (at year-end 2013). The country has proven crude oil reserves of 172.5 billion barrels (third largest globally) and gas reserves of 71 trillion cubic feet (nineteenth largest globally). In short: Canada is resource rich.

JOBS: The federal government reports that in 2020 there was a total of 4,125 oil and gas companies in the country. It estimates the industry employs more than 500,000 skilled jobs and supports another 400,000 indirect jobs. In a 2016 study, the oil and gas industry was identified as the largest employer of Indigenous people in the country, with about six per cent of the sector’s workforce identifying as Indigenous.

EXPORTS: Canada is an exporting nation and oil and gas exports have been the most significant resource exported from our country since the 1950s – and it will remain so likely for decades to come. The latest figures from 2019 reveal that mineral fuels accounted for $130.57 billion, or 22 per cent, of total exports.

On this point, global energy demand and consumption will increase in the foreseeable future according to the International Energy Agency. The world currently consumes about 100 million barrels of oil a day. By 2040, world energy demand is forecasted to increase 19 per cent. Total oil demand will increase seven per cent; natural gas demand will increase 29 per cent.

Remarkably, the IEA estimates that in 30 years the world would need twice as much energy as it produces today if it were not for continuous improvements in energy efficiency.

GDP / TAXES: As the noted trade surplus numbers suggest, this industry means a great deal to Canada’s bottom line. It is a huge contributor to the country’s GDP and a major source of tax revenues. Last year oil and gas contributed $117 billion to Canada’s GDP – and, to put this into perspective, it is six times the economic benefit of Ontario’s auto industry.

In an economic analysis of the industry, the Canadian Energy Research Institute estimated that in the next decade oil and gas activity in the country will contribute $1.4 trillion to Canada’s GDP and pay more than $139 billion in federal tax revenues and $86.7 billion in provincial tax revenues.

This industry generates wealth across the land. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers reports that the oil and natural gas industry is active, producing economic benefits in 12 of 13 provinces and territories. Approximately 97 per cent of Canadian oil production occurs in three provinces: Alberta (79 per cent), Saskatchewan (14 per cent), and Newfoundland and Labrador (4 per cent). Again, it is an important source of economic development, jobs, and government revenue in all of the above.

Though not a major player in the country’s oil and gas production, Ontario has just over 2,300 producing oil and gas wells and the province’s four refineries produce 396,000 barrels of oil per day. More significantly, there are an estimated 1,100 Ontario companies supplying $1.9 billion of goods and services annually to the western oil companies.

(ONTARIO TRIVIA: The first oil well in Canada was dug by hand in 1858 at Oil Springs, Ontario by James Williams. Oil Springs became the site of North America’s first commercial oil well and, by 1864, there were 20 refineries operating in Oil Springs and another seven in nearby Petrolia.)

With regard to climate change and the global push to greener energies, the Canadian oil and gas industries are at the forefront of green technologies and innovation. Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), set up by oilsands producers, has brought together researchers from around the world to work on the industry’s environmental performance. COSIA has seen $1.4 billion invested into 1,026 technologies. Between 2009 and 2017, it helped reduce the greenhouse-gas-intensity of oilsands operations by 21 per cent. By some estimates today, its current clean technologies projects will result in as much as 30 per cent over the next five years. In many ways, Canadian expertise is leading the way for greener oil and gas industry around the world.

“There will be no economic recovery without our oil and gas sector,” stated Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan in an interview last year with the Canadian Gas Association. The Minister reasoned, “Energy is our family business, it’s what we do…It supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in this country. And it is an export that is poised for more growth. We’re at $6.1 billion in exports in 2018. We’re poised to become one the world’s cleanest producers to supply both domestic and global markets for natural gas. It provides affordable power and heat to communities right across our country. So, we need this industry to power our economy and we need our economy powered in order to lower our emissions and do the things that we know that we will need to do for the future.”

A thriving oil and gas industry will ensure a prosperous Canada, according to Canada Action Coalition, a grassroots organization founded in 2010 to support the country’s natural resource sectors and the communities and families they support. The Coalition explains, “A strong oil and gas sector in Canada means billions more in transfer payments that can help pay for social programs, schools, hospitals and the jobs across the country…All Canadians should realize just how incredible its economic contribution is for municipal and provincial economies – whether it be through direct / indirect activity, or transfer payments – from coast-to-coast-to-coast.”

Calgary-based TC Energy Corp announced this week that it is terminating the Keystone XL pipeline project. Gone is the promise of the daily export of 830,000 barrels of Canadian crude. Gone are the tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, the billions of dollars in taxes, and decades of prosperity for Albertan communities. After a 13 year odyssey of regulations and government doublespeak, the company is absorbing its loses, closing its doors, and walking away.

Shouldn’t this loss make headline news? Should there not be some statement from the prime minister?

We are speaking of a blow to arguably Canada’s most significant economic sector – oil and gas production. Canada ranks fifth in the world with significant reserves to develop. There are thousands of Canadian companies and nearly one million jobs dependent on a healthy oil and gas industry. The billions of dollars of gas and oil exports account for 22 per cent of all Canadian exports. This bolsters the country’s GDP and provides tax revenues for governments of all levels across the country.

Despite the oil and gas industry’s importance to the Canadian economy, the governing Trudeau Liberals have devalued its contributions and have pursued an energy policy course that is intent on curtailing future development. In June 2019, prior to the last federal election, the Trudeau government pushed two controversial initiatives through parliament: 1. Bill C-69 established an unparalleled, onerous federal environmental assessment process for major resource projects in Canada; and 2. Bill C-48 placed a moratorium on Canadian oil tanker activity along the BC coast – effectively cutting off the Asian market to Canadian energy producers.

Together, these legislative initiatives were seen as further evidence of a federal government that is intent on closing down the western oil and gas industry. They were central to the Liberals’ campaign election promise to introduce a green agenda designed to win votes in urban central Canada.

With Trudeau’s 2019 re-election, these policies are now established in spite of the obvious ironies:

  • Canadian resource development projects are subjected to the rigor of the new regulations, but the same carbon emission and environmental standards are not applied to oil and gas imported from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
  • Quebec can obstruct western pipeline development while its Montreal and Quebec City ports handle significant increases of imported Saudi oil.
  • BC can object to exporting Alberta crude oil while, at the same time, the Vancouver port is the North America’s top exporter of coal.
  • Canadian oil tankers are banned off the coast of BC, but coal tankers and foreign mega-cruise ships remain free to traverse BC coastal waters.

Since first gaining office, the Trudeau government’s statements and actions have delivered irreparable blows to investor confidence in Canadian energy projects. Statistics Canada data reveals that, since 2015, investment in 10 of our 15 major business sectors has dropped by 17 per cent, as both Canadian and foreign investors have headed elsewhere.

With respect to the oil and gas sector, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project and TC Energy’s Energy East project were scrapped when the two companies were forced to manage uncertain regulatory delays. In the last 24 months mega-resource projects Teck Frontier and Energie Saguenay have been abandoned. Many exploration and drilling companies have pulled up stakes and headed south. In fact, it is estimated that within the last seven years Canada has lost an alarming $213 billion of resource projects.

In the face of this upheaval, the prime minister and certain cabinet ministers, such as Chrystia Freeland and John Wilkinson, continue to boast how the government will double down on its efforts to decarbonize the Canadian economy. Environment Minister Wilkinson has spoken about how renewable resources will ensure Canada meets its net-zero target for 2050. PM Trudeau recently told American president Joe Biden that Canada will pursue a more aggressive emissions reduction target for 2030.

However, the government’s green agenda and a healthy Canadian oil and gas sector does not have to be mutually exclusive, as president of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada Paul De Jong points out. De Jong reasons that, “Canada stands out in global energy markets with environmental, social, and governance practices that lead the world.” He argues that the government should embrace both natural and renewable resources so that Canadian industry can be supported as an energy leader on the international stage.

De Jong states: “It’s time for a shift in mindset, and acceptance that a growing and expanding petroleum energy sector has a strong role for decades to come. Canada and the world need both natural and renewable resources. The transition from one to the other will take many years. So let’s be smarter about it now. If predictions are right, and the world is headed for an oil supply crunch, elected officials owe it to Canadians to be more practical, strategic and upfront; and to stop picking sides.”

Energy industry analyst Professor Jeff Kucharski agreed in an editorial piece he recently penned for the Globe and Mail. Kucharski observed that with the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline project, there are only two export pipeline projects left under construction in Canada: the Trans Mountain expansion to the pacific coast and Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement to the U.S. Midwest.

Kucharski’s piece underscored the financial importance of Trans Mountain for the country. It is estimated that the pipeline will increase western oil producers’ revenues by $73.5 billion over 20 years. The Conference Board of Canada stated this pipeline, and the Asian pacific trade it will enable, has the potential to support between $12 billion to $21 billion in annual sales of Canadian crude. On top of this economic activity, a total of $46.7 billion of federal and provincial taxes and royalties will be paid to Canadians.

“Most Indo-Pacific countries are net energy importers and many are among the fastest growing economies in the world,” explained Kucharski. “From a geopolitical standpoint, Canada is well-positioned to become a supplier of choice to countries such as Japan, South Korea, China and possibly even India…the sea lanes between Canada’s West Coast and East Asia are uncontested, safe and secure. Canadian ports are also in closer proximity to customers in Northeast Asia than U.S. ports,” said Kurcharski.

This scenario suggests promising prospects for Canadians if the Trudeau government drops its bias against the oil and gas sector and takes the necessary steps to ensure Trans Mountain successfully reaches tide water.

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

LINKS:

The importance of Canada’s oil and gas industry: part one

The importance of Canada’s oil and gas industry: part two

The 2021 federal budget set to impact Canadians for decades

The Niagara Independent, May 28, 2021 — In the House of Commons this week MPs debated second reading of Bill C-30, the legislation that will enact the Trudeau government’s 2021 federal budget. When Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered her budget address last month, she explained that the Liberals’ expenditures through the next five years would deliver Canadians from the pandemic crisis. In response, critics of the government’s fiscal plan cited irresponsible levels of spending that are sure to impact generations of Canadians for decades to come.

To recap, the budget document announced $135.2 billion of new expenditures in the next five years. It outlined more than $100 billion for the government’s new ‘green’ agenda, an additional $17.6 billion for Canada to exceed its 2030 carbon emissions targets, and an additional $18 billion to “improve the quality of life” in Indigenous communities. The big-ticket item was the announcement of a $30 billion expenditure to create a nationwide childcare system.

The finance minister reported that the federal deficit for the past fiscal year through the pandemic (ending March 31, 2021) was $354.2 billion. In the upcoming 2021-22 fiscal year the deficit is projected to be $154.7 billion. She also revealed the federal debt will exceed $1.4 trillion by 2026 – which effectively doubles Canadians’ debt load in five years.

In conjunction with this new spending, the Trudeau government also passed legislation that raises its debt ceiling by 57 per cent to a new borrowing limit of $1.83 trillion. Surprisingly, at a parliamentary finance committee in March, Minister Freeland could not detail for MPs the government’s intention for the extra $663 billion in borrowing. She stated, “We are saying this is the upper limit to which the government may borrow, but we are not saying the government will undertake those borrowings, nor are we saying anything about government spending.”

However, many financial analysts forewarn of financial difficulties for a government carrying such a whopping debt. Jack Mintz, professor at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, stated, “The debt, while easily manageable today, could quickly become unwieldy should Ottawa fail to trim its spending habits and encourage a strong private sector revival.”

“There are no more fiscal anchors holding back the Liberals after this budget,” Mintz observed. “Canadians should take note that they will be paying $40 billion in taxes just to cover interest expenses…Just a one-point increase in interest rates would then increase the annual deficit by close to $5 billion. It’s kind of like rolling the dice.”

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux agrees that there are numerous factors that could lead to higher deficit numbers in the years to come. Giroux has publicly assessed the government’s annual deficits to be $5.6 billion higher on average over the next six years. He says the government appears to be underestimating the cost of emergency programs such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and overestimating the economic stimulus impact of the new budget spending.

Giroux forecasts that the higher federal deficits will lead to decades of higher debt. Fred McMahon of the Fraser Institute echoed this projection in saying, “Canada has entered perilous fiscal territory. Total government debt is 107 per cent of GDP, with more on the way. Risk from mounting debt casts a shadow on the future.”

It is also concerning that Canadians may have little to show for all the government spending. In an editorial piece, Jock Finlayson and David Williams of the Business Council of British Columbia wrote, “This mounting debt seemingly did nothing to make Canada a more productive country, because there was virtually no growth in GDP per capita during the five years ending in 2019.”

High indebtedness means Canada’s economy has become more susceptible to future economic and financial shocks and to the eventual normalization of interest rates. Budget 2021 lacks a coherent strategy for tackling indebtedness, apart from providing stimulus to prop up short-term economic growth.”

The government’s $101 billion stimulus plan was at the focus of a recent conversation Finance Minister Freeland had with the country’s top private-sector economists. Globe and Mail reporter David Parkinson recounted that some experts warned the government’s stimulus spending would overstimulate the economic recovery. They argued that the government’s plan will fuel demand in the economy and not increase supply, “The post-pandemic recovery package neglects a chronic weakness in Canada’s economy that could really use some serious help – namely, business investment.”

A lack of a plan to encourage greater private sector investment is also the conclusion of a C.D. Howe Institute report From Chronic to Acute: Canada’s Investment Crisis. This report details the fact that Canada badly lags behind the United States and most OECD countries in business investment. Since 2010, business investment in Canada has faltered. Today, new investment per available worker in Canada is about 58 cents for every dollar of investment per worker in the United States.

This lack of private sector investment puts more of an onus on public sector spending. It is a vicious circle that necessitates greater government spending – resulting in greater deficits and higher debts. (Might this be why the debt ceiling needed to be raised $663 billion?)

The planned deficits and debt burden of the federal government is perhaps most ominous for the younger generations of Canadians. As business leader and former Conservative MP Rona Ambrose factored, “A Canadian who turns 18 today will not see the books balanced until they are 56 years old. That is Justin Trudeau’s legacy.”

Much of the MPs’ debate on the budget legislation this week has been on the government’s intended spending plans and what it means for future Canadian taxpayers. Remarkably, mainstream media has reported little on the debate. Likewise, over the past few weeks, financial analysis of the budget from the country’s leading economists have received little media coverage. Yet, the 2021 federal budget will impact Canadians for decades.

Candice Malcolm recently editorialized in the Toronto Sun on this point: “I’m sure the Trudeau government would much prefer if it were a simple 24 hour news story. Take a few blows and wait for the news cycle to move on to something juicier – like an inevitable media pile-on against Conservative premiers Jason Kenney or Doug Ford.”

“When it comes to news on this budget (can we even call it a budget? That word tends to imply a certain level of frugality and restraint), this spending mess is a story that bears repeating. The house is on fire. Everything is not fine.”

Malcolm provided a frank conclusion about the Trudeau government’s ‘pandemic budget’: “Today’s recovery is being led by a group of economically illiterate ideologues. God help us all.”

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-2021-federal-budget-set-to-impact-canadians-for-decades/