Tag Archives: Niagara_Independent

It is time for Canadians to take stock of the country’s fiscal mess

The Niagara Independent, October 23, 2020  – Though no date has been announced, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is to provide Canadians with a fall economic update in the coming weeks. Don Drummond, Senior Fellow at C.D. Howe Institute and former chief economist for TD Bank, is hoping that Freeland’s financial statement will prompt a national debate over the country’s economic and fiscal future.

Drummond believes the pandemic, and government response to the crises, have amplified the economic, social, and health vulnerability of many Canadians. He observes, “We are now at a crossroads… We have been locked into a path of mediocre productivity and real income gains for far too long.” Drummond warns Canadians that it is time to take stock.

Recent economic data suggests the Trudeau Government has stumbled badly through the pandemic: Canada today has the biggest deficit amongst the G20 countries and the highest unemployment in the G7. At 19.9 per cent of GDP, Canada has the largest deficit among all countries and the federal Parliamentary Budget Office estimates the federal debt at more than $1.45 trillion by the year’s end and $1.6 trillion by 2021. The international forum, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, announced that Canada’s August unemployment rate of 10.2 per cent is the worst in the G7, well above the OECD 7.7 per cent average.

In the past few weeks there has been a constant trickle of embarrassing news stories concerning federal government spending.

  • The federal Infrastructure Bank, which was created in 2017, has managed $35 billion of government grants to fund private investment in public works. In three years the bank has zero projects to show for its spending — a fact revealed when PM Trudeau announced the Infrastructure Bank will pursue a new “growth plan” to spend $10-billion on greening infrastructure projects.
  • More than $20 billion spent on 20,000 infrastructure projects remain unaccounted for by Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna. There is no documentation for these projects. And a new federal audit of the infrastructure program reveals the federal department has “serious control failures” and its funding process lacks “due diligence.”
  • The Liberals refuse to provide details to Parliament of the contracts awarded to 41 undisclosed companies as part of the government’s $5.8 billion pandemic response to supply masks, gloves and testing equipment. MPs have uncovered that more than 60% of this money has gone to foreign-owned companies offshore.
  • The Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux stated in a Hill Times interview this week that he’s found it “much more difficult to get information out of the minister’s office” since Chrystia Freeland assumed responsibility for the nation’s finances. Giroux is troubled that there is no transparency about government expenditures and spending plans.

Lorrie Goldstein of Sun Media had the most colourful description of the Government’s economic performance through 2020, “Canadians shaking hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or any Liberal MP these days would be wise to count their fingers afterward. At this point, they have the collective credibility of carnival barkers.”

Don Drummond, on the other hand, provides a humourless assessment that Canada’s fiscal future is “foggy.” In a recently released C.D. Howe report, Drummond presents four unattractive scenarios for the country to manage its fiscal deficit spending and mounting debt load.

Scenario one has the Trudeau Government continuing with its habitual spending ways and deferring all pandemic spending costs to a future generation.

Scenario two has the government commit to a lower annual deficit of $25 billion – a move that would have Trudeau curtail his spending promises for Canada to “build back better.”

The third scenario is to place a higher ceiling on the government’s annual deficits (i.e. $50 billion) to provide more room for program spending, which would place a greater burden on future taxpayers.

The fourth scenario is to peg the annual deficits even higher – at $100 billion – and have the government find innovative ways to manage the growing debt burden.

In the C.D. Howe report, Drummond makes the point that the Trudeau Government’s deficit spending since 2015 has limited its ability to introduce massive government spending programs while effectively managing the country’s fiscal record.

John Robson, political columnist for the National Post, responded to this report with a siren cry: “Canadians need to wake up to the financial mess we’re in.” Robson sees that Canadians are sleep walking through the country’s fiscal nightmare. He presents five fundamental fiscal objectives that could be a starting point to get the country’s economic house in order. His objectives are:

Wealth must be created before it can be distributed;
Money is not wealth;
Borrowing has costs;
Who does not work shall not eat; and
Stealing from your kids is wrong.

Robson quotes American economist Thomas Sowell when lamenting that Canadians are being willfully ignorant about the consequences of overspending and incurring larger amounts of debt. Sowell wrote: “Too many people have always believed we can have whatever we can imagine, provided our sunny ways turn to a vicious snarl if anyone tries to disturb our pipe dreams of world peace, free love or free money with practical difficulties and past experience.”

Robson forewarns Canadians: “The day the county hauls our belongings away ’cuz we’re busted, dumping us unceremoniously on the bare floor, we will wonder how we could have been so stupored.”

As both Don Drummond and John Robson suggest, Canadians need to pay attention to the government’s economic and fiscal plan. For not to be fully engaged in the discussions of Finance Minister Freeland’s financial statement this Fall may cost us dearly.

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/it-is-time-for-canadians-to-take-stock-of-the-countrys-fiscal-mess/

PM Trudeau continues to dodge the WE scandal – but for how long?

The Niagara Independent, October 16, 2020  – In the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie Catch Me If You Can, the lead character Frank, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, successfully performs a string of cons worth millions of dollars. Frank is masterfully manipulative, having his way with people with his impeccable charm and easy-going personality. In the end (spoiler alert) Frank succumbs to hubris — being ego-centric and over-confident — and is caught when his deceptive ways become predictable.

This Hollywood flick is apropos of the drama being played out in Ottawa with PM Justin Trudeau, his family, the Kielburger brothers and a host of supporting actors. Though the ending is still to be written, there is a growing fascination around whether the government’s botched WE Charity handout may yet be the scandal that entraps the Prime Minister.

For months there has been a steady trickle of revelations of misdeeds involving the $912 million sole-sourced government deal with the WE Charity. This week’s pitched rhetoric between PM Trudeau and Opposition MPs has again drawn a spotlight on the WE saga and the PM’s attempts to dodge all scrutiny of his family’s involvement with the Kielburger’s charity.

MPs have begun to dig at unanswered questions about $43.5 million in administration fees, the WE’s $300,000 payment to Margaret Trudeau and further hundreds of thousands to Trudeau family members, and the government’s due diligence in approving the sole-sourced contract. Today, MPs want to understand under whose authority was a government cheque of $30 million written and handed to Craig and Marc Kielburger before the WE grant proposal was approved by Cabinet or Treasury Board.

It is now confirmed that Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth, misled the House of Commons Ethics Committee. Chagger testified back in July that she knew nothing about the WE charity’s application to government. Furthermore, Chagger could not tell committee MPs whether the Kielburgers had repaid the $30 million given to them (in fact, they did repay the money weeks later). Another line of questioning that is being ignored related to the $45 million worth of real estate assets the brothers acquired while operating their charity — was this money pocketed when the Kielburgers hastily closed the charity’s doors this summer? Or should it be subject to a CRA audit?

Lest it is forgotten with all these plot twists, PM Trudeau and former Finance Minister Bill Morneau are still being investigated by the Ethics Commission. In question is why the two men did not recuse themselves from the Cabinet approval of WE Charity’s $912 million contract, though both their families had pecuniary interests with the charity.

So, in mid-August, amidst the barrage of embarrassing questions at two parliamentary committees, the PM unexpectedly prorogued Parliament to remove WE Charity from the news headlines. Though Trudeau succeeded in this short term goal, opposition parties have returned to Parliament prepared to pick up where the inquiries had been aborted. Conservative ethics critic MP Michael Barrett set the tone, “Conservatives will continue to fight for answers that Canadians deserve… [the Liberals are] more focused on covering up Justin Trudeau’s unethical behaviour than helping Canadians.”

It has been only two weeks since Parliament has resumed and now Opposition MPs claim the Liberals are “inappropriately shutting down” the proceedings of two Parliamentary committees that seek to reopen WE Charity investigations. In Parliament’s ethics committee, Liberal MPs filibustered for 4 ½ hours in order to avoid a motion to release details of speaking fees paid since 2008 for the PMs’ wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, mother Margaret Trudeau and brother Alexandre Trudeau. MPs are interested in fact checking the financial records against WE and government statements that the Trudeau family received $560,000 in speaking fees between 2016 and 2020 — and MPs are also interested in knowing how much more the Trudeau family made from their relationship with the Kielburgers. 

Meanwhile at Parliament’s finance committee, its chairman, Liberal MP Wayne Easter, cut the mic on a Conservative MP and abruptly adjourned a meeting in a move to avoid a vote that the Liberals were sure to lose. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre decries the committee’s legitimacy is now in question, “Committees are supposed to hold governments accountable. It’s not appropriate for the chair to simply slam the gavel, flip the switch, and turn out the lights when the government is embarrassed.”

Conservative chief opposition whip MP Blake Richards has since commented in media on the Liberals tactics, “(The rules) were clearly broken. There’s clearly an effort here to avoid the meetings. There’s clearly an effort to cover up the matter at hand, which is the WE scandal.”

The Liberals’ stonewalling has now led to both the NDP and the Conservatives requesting that a special Parliamentary Anti-Corruption Committee be created to examine the WE Charity scandal in full. The NDP, Bloc Quebecois and Conservatives are all calling on the government to revise the excessively redacted WE documents so that MPs can properly conduct their review. MP Barrett observed, “There has to be something pretty significant, pretty explosive in those documents, to shut down Parliament, to stop their release and then, once Parliament resumes, to filibuster committee for days on end to prevent their further release.”

The PM answered the Opposition’s call by smiling into a camera on Tuesday and firmly stating: “We are entirely focused on the second wave of COVID-19. We will continue to stay focused on what we need to do to support Canadians facing a very difficult time right now. The Conservatives continue to want to focus on WE Charity, so be it…. “We’ve been open and transparent on these questions.”

However, not all reporters at that press conference were accepting the PM’s line. Sun Media encapsulates up to a half-dozen national press corps articles in its lead editorial entitled: “Shameless Liberals obstruct WE probes.” The editors opine: “Apparently Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t want to disclose the total amount of money the Trudeau family was paid in speaking fees and expenses for appearing at WE Charity and other events…. Trudeau’s tortured logic is that (a) he’s only capable of focusing on one thing at a time and (b) he gets to choose which one. In the real world, this is just more Liberal obstructionism on the WE scandal and Trudeau’s role in it.”

With political pundits and media editors beginning to question the PM’s intent and sincerity, is this the beginning of his final scenes? In Catch Me If You Can, a pressured Frank responds by flashing his smile and brushing his hand through his splendid locks. In Ottawa, Trudeau unknowingly mimics DiCaprio’s enchanting gestures. The similarities are uncanny.

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

LINK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/pm-trudeau-continues-to-dodge-the-we-scandal-but-for-how-long/

Federal Government will need to introduce a list of new tax measures

The Niagara Independent, October 9, 2020  – Next week the Trudeau Government will set a record for having gone the longest in Canadian Parliamentary history without presenting a federal budget (on Friday it will be 316 days). When asked just after the Throne Speech whether there would be a budget before the fiscal year-end March 31, 2021, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland simply dismissed the question. It appears neither PM Justin Trudeau nor Minister Freeland wish to account for the money spent or the new taxes that will be levied by this Government.

Recall in July, former Finance Minister Bill Morneau released a “fiscal snapshot” that reported a government operational deficit of $343 billion for this fiscal year. Since July, PM Trudeau has made a litany of program announcements totaling tens of billions of dollars in additional spending. For the fiscal year 2020-21 economists expect the government deficit to be approaching $400 billion and Canada’s national debt to have climbed beyond $1 trillion.

This is a dubious record for the Trudeau Liberals: the total federal government program spending is more than all previous federal government fiscal deficits combined through Canada’s history. For a country with a population of less than 38 million, these numbers are huge. The Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux warns that it is an imperative for the government to rein in its spending in the next two years or the country’s debt load will be “unsustainable.”

So the question is: How do Canadians pay for this? Short answer: With increased taxes.

In a Toronto Star feature this week, financial expert Gordon Pape listed the various new taxes the Trudeau Government will need to introduce to begin to pay for its unbridled spending since 2015 and its unprecedented pandemic spending through the last six months. Pape observes, “None of this is going to happen immediately. Imposing new taxes on a staggering economy would drive the country into a depression that could last for years. But a year or two from now, when the pandemic is under control and the economy is in recovery mode, watch out. Someone has to pay the bill, and it’s going to be us.”

Here is the checklist of new taxes Canadians should expect in future federal budgets.

Hike the GST rate to six or seven per cent.  This consumption tax collects $7 billion in additional revenue for every percentage point and Pape views it as “very tempting for any cash-strapped government.” The Liberals have repeatedly expressed concern over wealth inequity so a tax on consumer spending is fairest. Wealthier Canadians spend more and will be taxed more with their spending.

Eliminate the capital gains tax exemption on principal residences. A new home equity tax would have the sale of your family home subject to a 50% capital gains tax that will rake in billions of dollars annually for the federal treasury. The government commissioned the University of British Columbia to research this home tax. In its report, UBC researchers identified homes as “tax shelters” and described homeowners as “lottery winners.” Liberals have been quick to distance themselves from the report, however the idea keeps resurfacing in their finance policy discussions.

Raise the inclusion rate for taxable capital gains. In the 2019 election, both Liberals and the NDP campaigned that the capital gains exemption is a tax break for the rich. There have been trial balloons floated to increase the current 50 per cent rate for taxable capital gains to 75 per cent, or the full 100 per cent. The government factors a 75 per cent rate will raise $8 billion in tax revenue annually. This measure is very likely to appear in the upcoming budget because the minority Liberals are certain to receive support from the NDP to “tax the rich.”

Increase the carbon tax and introduce new carbon taxes. On April 1st the federal carbon tax increased from $20 to $30 a tonne on emissions. For consumers, that costs us an extra 2.5 cents per litre of gasoline at the pumps. (The Canadian Government was the only government in the world to raise taxes during the height of the pandemic this Spring.) Next year the carbon tax is to rise again, and the following year it is to rise yet again. On top of these tax increases, National Post reporter John Ivison warns: “Get ready for the Liberals’ secret new carbon tax — as Canadians emerge from COVID-induced hibernation, the Liberal government is preparing a plan to make their lives more expensive to meet its climate targets.” The Trudeau Liberals are introducing a new Clean Fuel Standard Tax that will have Canadians paying an additional 11 cents per litre at the pump. These are the carbon tax measures scheduled; it is unknown what further taxes Canadians should expect with the Trudeau Liberals’ green agenda.

Introduce new wealth taxes. The recent Throne Speech announced the Government will introduce wealth taxes in the immediate future. No surprise here. The Liberals and NDP campaigned in 2015 and 2019 to introduce new taxes on individual and family net worth. The Liberals also proposed a 10 per cent luxury tax on the purchase of cars, boats and private aircraft and a new speculation tax on vacant residential property. The latter two taxes will raise an estimated $850 million annually for Ottawa (actually, less than what the Liberals were going to pay the Kielburger brothers and WE this year). Former Liberal Finance Minister John Manley commented that proposing a new wealth tax is “one of the dumbest things” in the Liberal agenda. Manley stated: “There’s a basic problem with it that there aren’t enough rich people, and secondly, if you tax them enough, they’ll leave.”

In his column Gordon Pape also mentions that the Liberals will need to consider when to introduce new corporate taxes on Canadian business owners; eliminate tax free savings accounts established for individuals’ retirement planning; and, raise personal income taxes.

There is another highly contentious tax measure that Pape does not address, which is currently being publicly mused about in Ottawa: the introduction of an inheritance tax. As recorded in Blacklock’s Reporter, Liberal MP Sean Fraser, who serves as Parliamentary Secretary to the Finance Minister, believes that an inheritance tax addresses a “plague” of income inequality in our country. At Finance Committee this week MP Fraser boldly stated of the new tax: “if it requires us to ask the wealthy to contribute a little bit more, we will not be afraid to make that demand.” To which Calgary-based, political blogger Cory Morgan quips: “Not content with indebting our children and grandchildren with record government deficits, the Trudeau government is now considering taking their inheritance too.”

In considering Gordon Pape’s list of likely tax measures, it is suffice to say that Canadians should brace for future federal budgets. In the coming years we will be tapped to pay for the Trudeau Government’s prolonged spending spree. They are sure to be taxing times.

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/federal-government-will-need-to-introduce-a-list-of-new-tax-measures/

Canadian prairie provinces’ future prosperity put on track with A2A Rail

The Niagara Independent, October 2, 2020  – One week after the Trudeau Government’s Throne Speech ignored the economic distress of the oil and gas (and agriculture) industries of western Canada, United States President Donald Trump heralded a new era for Canadian and American natural resource exports.

The U.S. President issued a presidential permit for the development of a $22 billion (Cdn.) Alaska-Alberta rail line that will link Albertan oil sands and prairie resources to Alaskan deep-sea ports. The Alaska to Alberta Railway (A2A Rail) announcement is a godsend for western Canadians, promising new economic growth and prosperity where there has been little hope with PM Justin Trudeau’s design for a decarbonized nation.

The A2A Rail is a privately owned, Calgary-based corporation with plans for a 2,570-kilometre mega-project that will provide “a modern, safe, and efficient way to transport a wide range of bulk commodities, including grain, ore, and other resources, in addition to containerized goods and passengers.”

The new rail line will connect the network of railroads from Fort McMurray, Alberta to Alaska’s deep-water ports. For Americans, it completes a railway system that can move freight from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Alaska, and provide new economic development opportunities for the residents and businesses in isolated Alaskan regions. For Canadians, the rail line will open up export markets for the oil, natural gas, potash, ore, and agricultural products from Alberta and Saskatchewan.

A2A Rail Founder and Chairman Sean McCoshen stated this project provides “the missing link” to connect Alaska with the rail systems throughout North America. In a company press release Tuesday, McCoshen said, “We estimate that this rail line could unlock $60 billion in additional cumulative GDP through 2040 and create more than 28,000 jobs. In addition, A2A will lift household incomes by an average of 40 per cent in the communities we pass through in northwestern Canada and Alaska.”

A2A Rail construction can start as early as this Fall and it is anticipated to be complete by 2025, with trains beginning to roll in 2026. In the next five years there will be more than $15 billion spent in Canada to complete the rail line – which can be described as nothing less than “exciting” for western Canadians. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney commented, “The Government of Alberta is glad to see the approval of A2A rail project in the United States. We support the development of trade corridors that can unlock new markets for Alberta’s products.”

This is a big deal for the oil sands industries, and the natural resources and agri-food producers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It is also a big deal for prairie communities that are currently experiencing challenging economic and societal conditions. Consider:

  • In the past five years there have been billions of dollars of lost revenue as Canadian resource companies decided to not invest and/or pulled up stakes to leave western Canada. The latest example of this exodus was the $20 billion Teck Frontier mine project in Alberta that was scrapped – a loss of 7,000 construction jobs, 2,500 mine employees and $55 billion in taxes and royalties to Albertans.
  • Alberta (Calgary specifically) is experiencing the highest rates of unemployment in the country. Recent published research about suicide and the economy reveals that for every one per cent increase in Alberta’s unemployment rate, 16 more people die by suicide. There is great distress in Alberta that has resulted in 15 of 100,000 people choosing to commit suicide compared to a Canadian average of 11 of 100,000.
  • In the west there is a pervasive feeling of abuse by the federal government – recently exacerbated by the Throne Speech. The mounting frustration with Ottawa has spawned the separatist movement Wexit. Western Canadians increasingly feel alienated: 4 of 5 Albertans and Saskatchewans believe the country has never been as divided, and one in two feel “angry” with the outcome of the 2019 election. A third of Albertans believe they would be better off separated from Canada.

The certainty of getting natural resources to tidewater and the potential of a larger export market holds tremendous promise for the new growth and prosperity in western Canada. To appreciate just how significant the A2A Rail project can be for Alberta’s oil sands, consider the following Natural Resources Canada data on the country’s oil sector.

  • The Alberta oil sands has 96 per cent of Canada’s proven oil reserves and they account for 64 per cent of Canada’s oil production or 9 million barrels per day in 2018.
  • Canada is the fourth largest producer and fourth largest exporter of oil in the world with 96 per cent of the country’s exports – 3.5 million barrels per day – going to the U.S.
  • Western Canada export shipments of crude oil by rail have more than doubled since the start of 2018. Today there is an estimated rail loading capacity out of western Canada of approximately 2.8 million barrels per day.

The Canada-U.S. crude oil trade figures and the climbing exports to the Asian market reveal the incredible economic potential supported by the A2A Rail project.

  • Asia is the biggest importer of U.S. oil exports accounting for 56 per cent of total U.S. oil exports in mid-2018 (this is even after China stopped importing U.S. oil as a result of the Sino-U.S. tariff negotiations).
  • The S. is now the top oil-producing country in the world accounting for 18 per cent of the world’s production. American crude oil exports accounted for 35 per cent of total U.S. gross petroleum exports in 2019.
  • By Fall 2019, Canada’s heavy oil exports to Asia via the U.S. had surged to record highs; the U.S. exports rose to an average of 2.9 million barrels per day.

Given this data it stands to reason that by opening access by rail to the Alaskan deep-water ports, Americans and Canadians will be poised to increase their Asian exports of Canadian crude oil as well as a host of other natural resources.

This glowing horizon for westerners and their future prosperity starts with a rail line out of Fort McMurray. And, it has not gone unnoticed in Canada’s prairie provinces that the A2A Rail project is being hailed by the national leader in Washington D.C., and not Ottawa.

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/canadian-prairie-provinces-future-prosperity-put-on-track-with-a2a-rail/

Trudeau is prepared to give everything to everyone (except the dollars needed for health care)

The Niagara Independent, September 25, 2020  – Wednesday, with pomp and ceremony, Governor General Julie Payette presented the Trudeau Government’s Speech from the Throne. The GG took 55 minutes to pedantically work her way through the 17-page regal address to set out the government’s plan to manage our current health and economic crises.

The Throne Speech suggested a four-pronged approach to pandemic survival and recovery and, in sharing his laundry list of old commitments, PM Trudeau succeeded in promising everything to everyone.

The federal government offers Canadians a national pharmacare plan, a “Canada-wide” child-care program, the extension of wage subsidies and a new, more generous employment insurance program along with the largest jobs training program in the country’s history.

Other promises include ending systemic racism in the justice system, further toughening gun laws, giving more support for reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and introducing a new disability benefit regime.

The federal government pledges its green spending will create one million new jobs. It is also laying the cornerstone of the “resiliency agenda” by promising legislation that will establish the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and provide the unspecified amount of necessary cash for green technologies to achieve that goal.

The government’s promised agenda came with no price tag and no timelines; however, in summarizing, the GG pronounced, “Taken together, this is an ambitious plan for an unprecedented reality.”

Conservative Party Deputy Leader MP Candice Bergen, succinctly observed that it is “irresponsible” to make all those big-ticket spending promises with no plan to pay for them: “They’re still talking about how budgets will balance themselves, so it’s very, very concerning.”

Media editors’ and pundits’ reaction to the Throne Speech was uncharacteristically uncharitable towards Trudeau and Co. The Globe and Mail led with “Justin Trudeau prorogued Parliament – for this?” The Washington Post headlined: “Trudeau’s new agenda is full of old promises and unrealized hopes” and stated the major take away was that “it was quintessential Liberal,” “a letdown,” and “more of the same.” Brian Lilley of the Toronto Sun quipped: “The Throne Speech is much like “Oprah’s Favourite Things.”” Chris Shelley in the National Post concluded: “It’s a muddle, a mess, a Liberal greatest-hits album played on shuffle.” Shelley wrote: “You don’t need to haul the governor general out of bed to add specifics to pre-existing promises, let alone to simply reiterate them, as this speech does over and over again.”

In the event that Canadians may not have fully appreciated the weightiness of the Throne Speech as delivered by GG Payette, the Prime Minister felt compelled to take to the airwaves a few hours later to reiterate his government’s plan. CBC News profiled the PM’s TV appearance as “an attempt to command the moment” and compared it with former PM Mackenzie King’s addresses to the Nation – in 1936 in the midst of the Great Depression and in 1945 days after the end of the Second World War.

All the networks granted PM Trudeau prime time exposure to tell Canadians that we are “at a crossroads” with the second wave of COVID-19 now upon us. He surmised: “It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas.” And then he went on to repeat much of the key elements from the Throne Speech. PM Trudeau repeated the tone and tenor of the GG’s afternoon oration with his own personal reassurance that “We’re Canadians. And there’s nothing we can’t do.”

Again, media reaction to the political infomercial was less than kind. Perhaps the best analogy for the PM’s TV spot was the National Post’s column referring to it as a “Winger Speech” in reference to the sitcom Community. The comedy’s central character is known for his “glib, eloquent monologues designed to win arguments and mend problems through the power of silver-tongued charisma”; relying on “emotion, rhetorical gimmicks, clever-sounding turns of phrase.” The National Post assesses: “Like Trudeau last night, Winger appreciates that what often counts is what it sounds like you’re saying rather than what you’ve really said.”

For all that was said in the Senate Chamber and again in the TV talk, Canadians did not hear about the issue that they are most concerned with: Health Care. Earlier in the week, the Canadian polling firm, Ipsos, released its latest public opinion survey which found that 33 per cent of Canadians chose “immediate health measures to respond to the pandemic crisis” as their priority concern. Darrell Bricker, Ipsos CEO states: “The biggest priority item for Canadians, they tell us, is support for health care initiatives to fight COVID.”

The Premiers convened in Ottawa last Thursday with the expressed purpose to call on the federal government to provide $70 billion in health transfers this year to help with management of the second wave of COVID-19. The additional funds would be used for increased testing, staffing the expected surge in the country’s hospitals and for increased measures to ensure seniors are safe in their long-term care homes.

The federal government’s silence on the health priority was disappointing for the Premiers and two of them let their frustrations show. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said, “Sadly, the federal government’s Throne Speech ignored one of the most pressing issues in our country to date, growing health care wait times. Demand is growing at a record level, federal support has never been lower, and Manitoba will continue to lead in standing up for better care sooner.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a statement: “Provinces require stable, long-term funding for health care. Today the federal government missed a critical opportunity to commit to a desperately needed increase to the Canada Health Transfer. I will continue to work alongside my provincial counterparts to advocate that the federal government invest its fair share in health care.”

The six days of Parliamentary debates on the Throne Speech are not yet scheduled and the vote on the Trudeau Government’s plan is unknown. Yet the Bloc Quebecois was quick to state their condition for supporting the Throne Speech: it is looking for the federal government’s commitment in the next week to “provide unconditional transfers to Quebec for health care.” Pushing all the political rhetoric heard this week aside, it is a rare instance when the separatist party from La Belle Province speaks for all Canadians’ desire.

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-is-prepared-to-give-everything-to-everyone-except-the-dollars-needed-for-health-care/

A Review of Key Issues in Ottawa

Canada’s Parliament resumes with a Throne Speech on September 23rd. Here’s a review of the key issues Canadians should follow as our MPs return to Ottawa and the business of the Nation.

What is to become of the unanswered questions?

Here are ten issues that PM Trudeau hopes and trusts Canadians will soon forget when enchanted by the exciting promises presented in his Throne Speech.

The consequential fiscal facts on Canada’s economy

Here are current fiscal facts that are certain to be consequential for the country’s economy and our future prosperity.

Trudeau and Freeland “Moving Canada towards full-blown Socialism”

Canadians are placed on notice: PM Trudeau and Finance Minister Freeland will advance “a bold, new progressive agenda.”

A primer on the Trudeau Liberals’ Green Energy Plan

With the pretext of jump-starting the national economy in the wake of the pandemic’s fallout, the Liberals are telling Canadians they are ready to “build back better” with a bold, progressive environmental agenda. Their new national Green Energy Plan is expected to be one of the cornerstones placed in the Government’s Throne Speech.

A Pivotal Week for the Trudeau Liberals’ Green Agenda

There now is Trudeau, Freeland and Carney (with a cast of supporting actors McKenna, Guilbeault and Wilkinson) all aligned to “build back better” by shifting Canada’s economy away from oil and gas and towards green energy, and introducing bigger, interventionist government to caretake national welfare, immigration, childcare and universal basic income programs.

Morneau will leave an unenviable record as Finance Minister

The federal Liberals, under the watch of Bill Morneau, are outspending all past federal governments, including those governments that had to respond to world wars and global recessions.

The Trudeau Government’s horrible week of scandalous stories

Warren Kinsella: “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.”

 

These columns were first published in The Niagara Independent through the months of August and September. 

A primer on the Trudeau Liberals’ Green Energy Plan

The Niagara Independent, September 18, 2020  – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a cadre of his senior ministers have not missed an opportunity in the past three months to forecast the launch of the Liberals’ Green Energy Plan. With the pretext of jump-starting the national economy in the wake of the pandemic’s fallout, the Liberals are telling Canadians they are ready to “build back better” with a bold, progressive environmental agenda. Their new national Green Energy Plan is expected to be one of the cornerstones placed in the Government’s Throne Speech next week. So, here is background on the genesis and core elements of this plan.

The chief architect of the Liberals’ Green Energy Plan is PM Trudeau’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts. As an ardent environmental activist, Butts has always been the driver of the green agenda for Liberals across Canada. In the 2000’s, Butts was Premier Dalton McGuinty’s principal advisor who designed the bundle of pricey renewables industry incentives introduced in Ontario’s Green Energy Act. He was then instrumental in assembling the package of green promises in the Liberal Party’s 2015 and 2019 election platforms. More recently, he has been counselling an orchestrated lobby by Canadian environmental groups advocating for billions of dollars of government money in “green recovery investments.”

Since 2015, Butts has been central to Canada’s international environmental commitments and to the implementation of the federal government’s carbon tax regime. The PM, Deputy PM-Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and a host of ministers such as Catherine McKenna, Steven Guilbeault and John Wilkinson are all scripted to suggest that the federal government restore the country’s economy with green investments. To quote the PM: “We need to reset the approach of this government for a recovery to build back better. And those are big, important decisions and we need to present that to Parliament and to gain the confidence of Parliament to move forward on this ambitious plan. This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair.”

Note the PM’s usage of the term “build back better;” a catch phrase employed by globalists and environmentalists. In Canada, it is a code for “greening” the country’s energy supply; to pursue policies that will subsidize green industries while applying tougher regulations on transportation and oil and gas sectors. As they have with its new laws regulating pipelines and banning oil tankers on the west coast, the Trudeau Liberals are prepared to further throttle back the resource sector. Finance Minister Freeland pulled no punches in her first news conference when she stated: “To the question about decarbonization as part of our economic plan going forward: Of course, it has to be part of it. I think all Canadians understand that the restart of our economy needs to be green.”

The Liberals also intend to jolt Canadians out of their energy habits so that the government may meet its Paris Accord emissions targets. In its Fall budget, the Government has signaled it will introduce a new carbon tax – the Canadian Fuel Standard. This new tax will be an equivalent of $350 per tonne tax on fossil fuels, in addition to the $50 per tonne carbon tax already scheduled for 2022. The tax will directly increase heating and transportation costs for households and businesses and indirectly increase prices of goods and services for all Canadians. John Ivison of the National Post recently sounded the alarm on this new tax, commenting: “As Canadians emerge from COVID-induced hibernation, the Liberal government is preparing a plan to make their lives more expensive to meet its climate targets.”

Canadian main stream media is filled with commentary about green energy and global climate concerns. And serving as a supporting chorus for the Liberal Government has been a new lobby group: the Task Force for Resilient Recovery – an “independent group” of Canadian sustainability leaders, including none other than Gerald Butts and Bruce Lourie, another architect of Ontario’s green program. This Task Force has the inspirational motto “Let’s make that recovery resilient” and its stated objective is to develop “actionable recommendations on how governments can help get Canadians back to work while also building a low-carbon and resilient economy.”

The Task Force released its final report, “A Bridge to the Future,” this week which calls for “five bold moves, supported by $55.4 billion in investments, to kickstart Canada’s long-term economic recovery from COVID-19.” In the report, the group couches its “green recovery investments” as a bridge to “a decarbonized and digitized world” that will take Canadians to “Canada’s natural capital and low-carbon future.”

In reviewing the 22 recommendations made by the Task Force, many are mirror images of the “bold moves” found in Ontario’s Green Energy Act back in 2009. In the $55 billion menu of proposed expenditures is $27.25 billion to be spent on retrofitting existing buildings to “make them more energy-efficient and safer from the effects of climate change.” There are also proposals that call for “new investments” in clean energy, such as hydrogen, and increased production and promotion of zero-emission vehicles. And there is the promise that the billions spent with the green recovery will create construction jobs, develop new green industries, all the while cutting carbon emissions and reducing Canadians’ energy bills.

Echoing the promises told to Ontarians by Premiers McGuinty and Wynne, the Task Force has painted a rosy picture indeed for the Liberals Green Energy Plan. Except consumer watchdog Dan McTeague, of Canadians for Affordable Energy, has fact checked the results of Ontario’s green policies to conclude: “Gerald Butts and Bruce Lourie are two folks well on their way to bankrupting Canada.” McTeague writes, “Ontario residents were not only massively subsidizing the generation of green energy in the first place – they then paid an additional subsidy to other jurisdictions, such as Michigan, to take the energy created “off our hands”… in 2016, Ontarians who were paying $100 in energy usage were actually paying $23 dollars for energy and $77 dollars for… the hidden tax used to pay for the green energy and associated mess-ups.”

In fact, McTeague points out that Ontario residents have paid, and will be paying dearly for the plan devised by Butts, Lourie and the Province’s environmental lobbyists. Ontarians’ energy bills increased 70 per cent from 2008-2016. The Province has some of the highest electricity rates in North America. Ontario’s Auditor General estimated that the Green Energy Act has cost the Province $170 billion over 30 years.

The Toronto Sun editorial team also recently warned Canadians of the potential of repeating Ontario’s fiascos: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vision of a taxpayer-funded, green energy revolution powering Canada out of the COVID-19 recession is the same one former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty had in Ontario during the 2008 recession. Trudeau is telling us now, as McGuinty did then, that we can spend ourselves rich by cashing in on a global green energy bonanza.”

Last word to Candice Malcolm of True North media who perhaps put it best: “Trudeau may pretend to be a visionary selling a green new future, but anyone who has lived through the nightmare of destructive green energy policies knows a snake oil salesman when they see one.”

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/a-primer-on-the-trudeau-liberals-green-energy-plan/

 

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.

 

What is to become of the unanswered questions?

The Niagara Independent, September 11, 2020  – Proroguing Parliament was a diversionary political tactic to turn the page on a scandal-laden script that had Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government on the defense. Heralding a bold Throne Speech that is to propel our country into a new progressive direction is another diversion designed to capture media headlines and take Canadians’ attention away from the current mess the PM and his PMO operatives find themselves in. This is the age-old bait-and-switch game that, when successfully executed, will produce a new political narrative and leave the prickly questions of corruption and ineptitude unanswered.

Here are ten issues that PM Trudeau hopes and trusts Canadians will soon forget when enchanted by the exciting promises presented in his Throne Speech.

#1. The on-going revelations of misdeeds involving the $912 million WE charity scandal got even more interesting this week with the news that the charity was closing its doors in Canada and its co-founders, Craig and Marc Kielburger, are immediately stepping away from the organization. Canadians learned last week that the brothers repaid the $30 million cheque advanced to them; however, there is no word what is to become of the brothers’ $45 million real estate assets that were tied to the charity. Conveniently, it appears the prorogued Parliament has allowed the brothers enough time to shut down and high-tail it from Ottawa, avoiding any further troubling questions from the MPs’ inquiry into the WE sole-sourced contract. PM Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau are still being investigated by the Ethics Commission for breach of ethics. The WE saga will continue to unfold but Canadians may never know the full story now that the Kielburgers have left the scene.

#2. Related to the WE scandal, it is now evident that MP Bardish Chagger, the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth, misled MPs on the Ethics Committee when she testified she knew nothing about the WE charity’s application to government and that the bureaucracy had advanced it. Recently released documents clearly identify Minister Chagger as the key player in the application process and Cabinet’s decision to have WE administer the nearly billion dollar student-volunteer program. In any other country, this falsifying evidence under parliamentary oath would result in the removal of the Minister. Yet with the proroguing of parliament, the MPs investigation is suspended – allowing the PM to turn a blind eye to his culpable minister.

#3. There is potential wrongdoing in an $84 million government contract outsourced to a mortgage company tied to the husband of the PM’s Chief of Staff Katie Telford. It is now known that Telford’s spouse, Rob Silver, lobbied ex-finance minister Bill Morneau to change the rules to the multi-billion dollar emergency wage subsidy program to benefit his company. Silver is not a registered lobbyist (but then he did not have to be given his closeness with the senior staff of the PMO and Finance Minister). Opposition parties have called for an ethics probe; Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has called for Katie Telford to be fired. The PM skirted having to take any immediate action when he prorogued Parliament.

#4. There remains tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects that are unaccounted for by Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna’s department. The Parliament’s Budget Office reported that there are no public documents for roughly 20,000 projects totaling approximately half of the program’s $57.5 billion budget. No official explanation has been forthcoming from Minister McKenna or any of her officials.

#5. The Government has avoided releasing any details of $5.8 billion worth of federal contracts awarded during the pandemic response. Senior bureaucrats in Public Services and Procurement Canada refuse to share with MPs any details on the basis of protecting Canada’s supply chains. What MPs do know of the billions being paid to private companies is that less than 40% of the contracts were given to domestic suppliers – more than 60% of Canadians’ money is going to foreign-owned companies offshore. The question remains whether MPs, and by extension Canadian taxpayers, will continue to be kept in the dark on these expenditures.

#6. Frank Baylis, a former Liberal MP, was sole-sourced a lucrative $237 million contract to make 10,000 pandemic ventilators – even though Health Canada flagged the Baylis Medical Company’s machine as not being approved in Canada – or any jurisdiction. It has been further uncovered that an additional $422,946 “research contract” was awarded to Baylis. The company has yet to produce the ventilators and it is unknown what research has been completed.

#7. Ottawa awarded a $6.8 million contract to a Communist China state-owned company to install and run x-ray scanners in Canada’s 170 embassies, consulates and commissions around the world. When pressed, government officials say little but that the contract went to the lowest bidder – a fact that has been disproven. The Trudeau Government is upholding its decision even though the Canadian International Trade Tribunal has launched a review of the contract on behalf of a Calgary-based firm that lost the bid.

#8. It is now almost 650 days that former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor have been imprisoned in China on unspecified national security charges. The two Michaels remain cut off from family and friends hopelessly languishing in crowded jail cells. The PM and foreign affairs officials remain silent about this travesty of justice and most serious violation of Canadians’ human rights.

#9. Prior to shutting down Parliament, MPs had been probing the government’s mismanagement of emergency medical supplies and why it chose to ship 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to China in mid-February; after the World Health Organization had already declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” and had predicted “severe coronavirus-related disruptions” in supply of PPEs. In return, China failed to provide medical equipment in our time of need – and when it did, the shipments proved unusable or faulty. MPs have identified the shortage of medical supplies as being both a serious health and national security issue, and they still hope to understand what occurred with China and why.

#10. While Parliament has been suspended, the Trudeau government used Orders in Council regulations to expand its list of banned guns to over 1,500 models. This move has frustrated legal, licensed gun owners. It has pitted urban Canadians against rural; easterners vs. westerners; law abiding gun operators against anti-violence advocates. Given that gangs and gun crimes continue to rise in urban centres, critics charge the government’s ban of hunting rifles is more about the appearance of taking action rather than on implementing an effective law. MPs want a Parliamentary review of gun crime and for the matter to be brought from behind the closed-doors of the PMO.

Each of these issues is complex and prompts multiple queries. But again, when PM Justin Trudeau reopens Parliament, his plan is for the bravado of the Throne Speech’s bold, progressive agenda to overwhelm any further inquiry into these matters. Canadians are to take the bait and leave the questions unanswered.

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/what-is-to-become-of-the-unanswered-questions/

The consequential fiscal facts on Canada’s economy

The Niagara Independent, September 4, 2020  – In a CBC interview this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “We are asking Canadians to embark on an entirely different direction as a government. We are going to rebuild the Canadian economy in a way that was better than before.”

The Liberals’ intention to restructure the country’s post-pandemic economy is being described by many political pundits as a “bold plan.” One unnamed senior Ottawa mandarin stated in a Toronto Star article that the bundle of social programs and spending about to be showcased in the upcoming Thorne Speech is “a structural change in the way government in this country operates.” A senior Liberal political insider who is familiar with the plan (who wished to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak publicly) commented, “It’s all going to take money on a scale we haven’t seen before.”

Through a seemingly orchestrated series of insiders’ leaks, the Prime Minister’s backroom appears to be preconditioning Canadians for an economic recovery plan the likes of which we have never seen or experienced in our country. This foreboding forecast has many in Ottawa, on Bay Street, and in boardrooms and living rooms across the country bracing themselves.

National Post political newsman John Ivison reports, “Trudeau’s “literally frightening” spending plan has some Liberals, bureaucrats very worried.” In the Post’s feature column on Thursday, Ivison writes of the Liberals’ design to remake Canada in their own progressive image and he quotes an Ottawa insider as saying, “It is literally frightening. I am very worried about my kids’ future and their capacity to service that level of debt. The fact is that the government is embarking on a major policy shift and this is a government that is not worried by deficits of 10 per cent of GDP.”

In advance of the Liberals Throne Speech promises, here are current fiscal facts that are certain to be consequential for the country’s economy and our future prosperity.

On government spending, the deficit and national debt: In three months, between April and June, the Finance Department reports the government operated a $120 billion deficit. The Government recently projected a $343 billion deficit for 2021, but this does not include Finance Minister Freeland’s recent announcement of an additional $37 billion in spending. This fiscal deficit is more than the total federal government program spending was through last year – and more than all previous federal government fiscal deficits combined through Canada’s history.

By the end of the fiscal year, many expect the deficit to be nearing $400 billion. Canada’s national debt will have climbed beyond $1.2 trillion.

On the country’s economic health: With many businesses shuttered, it is not a surprise that the Canadian economy shrank from April through June. Statistics Canada reports Canadian economic output dropped by 11.5 per cent compared with first-quarter GDP in 2020. This is the largest recorded quarterly decline since Statistics Canada began reporting quarterly figures in 1961.

There is no good news in the current economic numbers: Government revenues plummeted by 37 per cent, down $52 billion over the quarter. Household spending on goods was down by 8.4 per cent, and down by 16.7 per cent for services. Business investment fell 16.2 per cent, as a direct result of plant closures, low oil prices, and heightened economic uncertainty.

On costly mismanagement of pandemic support funds: The Fraser Institute released a report that estimates one in every four dollars of pandemic income support payments — a total of up to $22.3 billion — was sent to people who did not need support.  Financial Post columnist Diane Francis opines Canada’s pandemic funding was “distributed with a fire hose, rather than targeted at those in need.” Francis points out Canada’s stimulus package is dramatically higher than what other countries – the equivalent of 15 per cent of its GDP, compared to 10.6 per cent in Australia, five per cent in France, 8.9 per cent in Germany, and 4.9 per cent in Italy.

On Canada’s economy showing signs of systemic weakness prior to the pandemic: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates the value of reduced output in Canada this year will be $113 billion. And recall prior to the pandemic the Canadian economy was absorbing the loss of $20.6 billion investment in the Teck Frontier mine project, as well as the collapse of Quebec’s $9 billion Energie Saguenay pipeline project – and a recorded $200 billion of investment lost in the Canadian resource sector since 2015. The IMF has recently calculated the total economic losses already incurred by Canadian businesses and those projected due to the pandemic will be $226 billion.

On rising personal / household debt: Today, one out of two Canadians are within $200 of insolvency at the end of each month. In fact, insolvencies are on the rise. Equifax Canada reports consumer debt is rising in Canada, reaching $1.9 trillion. Canadian households owe $177 for every $100 of disposable income (up from $106 in 1999). Just released IMF data factors that Canadian household debt is growing nearly 50% faster than the country’s economy. In a recent financial report for Global News, David Akin surmised that the pandemic “began as a public health crisis then metastasized into an economic crisis is likely to finish as a debt crisis that could end up swamping not only some governments but also hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of Canadian households.”

All the fiscal facts aside, the upcoming Throne Speech will regale for Canadians the Trudeau Government’s bold plan to spend our way to recovery – “to build back better.” This illusory panacea of unbridled government spending is summed up in the bromide offered recently by Finance Minister Freeland: “Our government has taken on more debt so Canadians didn’t have to.” What an absolutely wonderful thought – reassuring for many Canadians.

Yet, if you still subscribe to the adage that “there are no free lunches” (and you remain doubtful that “budgets will balance themselves”), then consider Ayn Rand’s cautionary statement about blissful reassurances: “We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

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-consequential-fiscal-facts-on-canadas-economy/

Trudeau and Freeland “Moving Canada towards full-blown Socialism”

The Niagara Independent, August 28, 2020  – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has revealed to Canadians that when the shuttered Parliament reopens on September 23 his government will deliver a Throne Speech to introduce “a bold, new progressive agenda” designed to restructure the country’s social safety net and address climate change. The Trudeau government is ready to bring in sweeping changes to Canada’s social welfare framework, revamping unemployment insurance, expanding health programs, and bolstering all forms of social assistance.

The Prime Minister has said a number of times in the last couple weeks that the pandemic crises provide an “unprecedented” opportunity to restructure the country’s economy and “fill gaps” in the federal government’s social safety netting. Trudeau asserts, “This is our moment to change the future for the better. We can’t afford to miss it because this window of opportunity won’t be open for long.”

Repeatedly PM Trudeau has signaled that his prescription for economic recovery is introducing more spending, more programs, and more government. Having installed Chrystia Freeland as his new Finance Minister, he has empowered a trusted ally who aligns with the PM’s ambitious government interventionist plan.

At her initial press conference, Finance Minister Freeland indicated she shares the PM’s vision, “This is a once in a lifetime challenge for our whole country and our commitment as a government is to do whatever it takes to support Canadians as we get through that challenge.” Freeland gushed that the government wants “to turn this tremendous challenge into a fabulous opportunity for our country.”

Yet, Freeland takes over the financial levers of a country drowning in debt, with a projection of $343-billion deficit in 2021. Through the past four years, the federal Liberals have outspent all past federal governments, including those governments that had to respond to world wars and global recessions. The government’s recent fiscal snapshot suggested the federal fiscal planning would not balance the budget until at least 2040 (and this was assessed before COVID-19).

Unfazed by these details, Finance Minister Freeland told a press conference this week: “Our government has taken on more debt so Canadians didn’t have to.” Freeland proceeded to report that the government intends to spend by the end of the fiscal year an additional $37 billion on an extension of CERB support program and an estimated $15 billion on an expanded unemployment insurance program. With these increased spending measures, the Trudeau government’s deficit this fiscal year will be nearly $400 billion and the federal deficit will have climbed beyond $1.2 trillion.

David Rosenberg, founder and chief economist of Rosenberg Research & Associates Inc. of Bay Street says the Liberals approach is nothing more than “a damn-the-torpedoes, full-steam-ahead fiscal policy response.” Lorrie Goldstein of Sun Media agrees, writing that “Trudeau’s big plan is to spend ourselves rich… all Trudeau’s bold vision for the future seems to be is a promise of more spending and more debt facilitated by low interest rates, which Canadians had best pray continue for decades to come.”

However, there is a much more significant and disturbing aspect to Trudeau’s and Freeland’s approach to fiscal planning than the Liberal’s increased spending. Financial reporter Kait Bolongaro of Bloomberg News editorializes that, in placing Chrystia Freeland at the helm of Canada’s finances, the PM “signals the most decisive lurch to the left in economic policy in at least four decades.”

Bolongaro foresees a much greater interventionist agenda as Freeland remakes the country’s socio-economic architecture: “It’s a major expansion of the federal government along the lines of the one overseen by Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who increased program spending and deficits in the early 1980s to combat a recession.”

“In a minority government that continues to profit from pandemic protocol and prorogation, she’s been given the chance to put her affinity for far-left global economics into practice,” observes Bolongaro.

Ottawa political commentator Spencer Fernando concurs and goes as far as to warn: “The Liberals are moving Canada towards full-blown socialism.” In criticizing the new economic and social imperatives the PM and Finance Minister have foreshadowed for the impending Throne Speech, Fernando writes: “The Liberals are moving from measures that were good and important – providing people money when the economy temporarily collapsed due to CCP Virus – to something that is dangerous, providing a massive disincentive against work. So, the Liberals are going to simultaneously give out a bunch of money – at the expense of working class and middle class Canadians – to provide a disincentive to work… That is an absolute disaster, and all Canadians should be afraid of the consequences of this.”

Sun News political columnist Anthony Furey alerts Canadians to the opening of Parliament next month: “Is Trudeau really going to try to sneak an entirely new political agenda, one that he did not receive a mandate from voters for during the last election, into the same confidence vote that contains the renewal of COVID-19 measures? It looks that way.”

Furey suggests the Liberals’ philosophical shift in economic and social policy necessitates an election call: “This is cynical and dishonest politics. It would be far more honest to just separate the COVID-19 measures from what is sure to be a deeply ideological agenda. If Trudeau has finally given up pretending to be something of a centrist Liberal and is now embracing far-left progressivism, then he needs to seek a mandate from the people to enact it.”

So, Canadians are placed on notice: PM Trudeau and Finance Minister Freeland will advance “a bold, new progressive agenda” — and it is incumbent for Canadians to assess the costs and question where this shift to the left will lead our country.

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-and-freeland-moving-canada-towards-full-blown-socialism/

A Pivotal Week for the Trudeau Liberals’ Green Agenda

The Niagara Independent, August 21, 2020  – Canada’s drama-teacher-turned-Prime-Minister provided plenty of theatrics this week by first switching Finance Ministers and then bringing the curtain down on Parliament. With his performance, Justin Trudeau succeeded in consolidating power in his Prime Minister’s Office and placing trusted globalists in the government’s finance and economic portfolios.

This has been a pivotal week for advancing the Trudeau Liberals’ Green Agenda.

The Liberal organ Toronto Star highlighted a story recently in which Canadians learned PM Trudeau and his inner circle were strategizing on how to coincidentally shut down parliamentary debate on his government’s scandals and implement a “bigger and bolder” post-pandemic government intervention and green economy agenda for the country. We were told Trudeau and his insiders did not want a Fall election and were looking for a way to simply assert their will on the country.

Toronto Star reported an anonymous Liberal backroom stagehand explaining the theme: “[It’s an] opportunity for us to think big to think about child care, to think about how we can accelerate the transition to clean energy and how we can fight climate change, how we can help vulnerable people, how we can root out discrimination and level the playing field for working people and on all the progressive ideas that we’ve talked about and made progress on but in a different context. So can we actually present a big vision? I think we can.”

With the Star’s idyllic prelude, CBC reported their anonymous sources foreshadowing the first act of the week: “Trudeau, Morneau clash over green plans, soaring deficit.” The CBC script read: “A deepening rift between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his finance minister about coronavirus spending is also fueled by disagreements over the scope and scale of proposed green initiatives… Trudeau, who campaigned on a platform to tackle climate change, believes the 2021 budget should have an ambitious environmental element to start weaning the heavily oil-dependent economy off fossil fuels…”

Exit stage-left Morneau; enter wire-flying Mark Carney from his United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Action position; and…

PM Trudeau surprised his captive audience by heralding Minister-of-Everything Chrystia Freeland as Canada’s new Finance Minister and then directed his embattled Governor General Julie Payette to shutter Parliament – promptly closing down the work of the committees reviewing the billion-dollar WE scandal, the PM’s ethical breaches, and China-Canada relations.

PM Trudeau took centre stage to deliver a soliloquy on his actions (in case the audience was confused by what they just witnessed): “We need to reset the approach of this government for a recovery to build back better. And those are big, important decisions and we need to present that to Parliament and to gain the confidence of Parliament to move forward on this ambitious plan. This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair.”

(As an aside, note the Prime Minster used the phrase “build back better.” This is a reoccurring mantra that environmentalists are echoing around the globe to describe their green agenda to be supported by a new global order. “Build back better” was also uttered by U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden this week in his battle cry for a new American economic plan.)

On cue, Canada’s freshly ensconced finance minister used her first media scrum in Ottawa to reemphasize the Liberals’ plot. Finance Minister Freeland said matter-of-factly about restoring Canada’s economy from the COVID-19 pandemic: “To [the] question about decarbonization as part of our economic plan going forward: Of course, it has to be part of it. I think all Canadians understand that the restart of our economy needs to be green.”

So, in the Ottawa troupe, there now is Trudeau, Freeland and Carney (with a cast of supporting actors McKenna, Guilbeault and Wilkinson) all aligned to “build back better” by shifting Canada’s economy away from oil and gas and towards green energy, and introducing bigger, interventionist government to caretake national welfare, immigration, childcare and universal basic income programs. True to that Toronto Star prelude, the Trudeau Liberals are using the pandemic to fundamentally change the way the Canadian economy operates. (It’s a page ripped from Obama backroom advisor Rahm Emanuel’s playbook: “Never let a crisis go to waste.”)

The stage-managed events in the National Capital this week elicited scorn from a range of Canadian economists, financiers, energy experts — and from the editorial board of Canada’s leading national paper. Here is a sampling of the critical reviews:

  • Ross McKitrick, Economics Professor at University of Guelph and a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute assesses: “Green technologies that were known money-losers before the pandemic are still money-losers today. The only thing that’s changed is that we have even less money to work with, so the need to avoid wasting it is higher than ever. It’s critical to choose investments that will lead to real growth and job creation.”
  • Dan McTeague, former Liberal MP and now head of Canadians for Affordable Energy, panned the Liberals’ vision of “a new green, eutopia”: “Carney, like Butts, McKenna, and other Canadian climate fanatics, see this economic disaster as an opportunity for the deconstruction of the Canadian resource sectors. These are the sectors that contribute billions of dollars to our economy, and underwrite the affordability of everything we take for granted. Moving away from a resource-based economy will only result in greater financial hardship for Canadians, and more expensive energy for a long, long time.”
  • Jack Mintz of the School of Public Policy at University of Calgary is concerned about the $50 Billion price tag on the recommendations forwarded by the Government’s “self-appointed Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, arranged by the PM’s former principal secretary, Gerald Butts.” Mintz writes: “Subsidies will widen a federal deficit that has already turned from pink to deep COVID red… The Trudeau government seems bent on bribing voters with mountains of new debt that it will leave for others to pay.”
  • Sun Media editorial succinctly states: “We need recovery, not decarbonization… What the Liberals should focus on is getting the economy firing on all cylinders, not using an ideological agenda to favour one sector over the others.”

The closing lines for the week go to the Globe and Mail editorial board who are alerting Canadians to PM Trudeau’s powerplay. In its lead editorial entitled “Justin Trudeau’s cynical disdain for Parliament, and for Canadian voters,” the paper suggests the PM is jeopardizing our country’s economic prosperity and undermining Canada’s democracy. Referring to PM Trudeau as a “callow scion” who is “ruthless, cynical and disdainful” the editorial trumpets: “Canadians should be alarmed by the way the Prime Minister is cynically trying to use this national emergency to his political advantage.”

With the Ottawa theatre now dark, Canadians need to be ever-mindful about what is unfolding off-stage in the recesses of the Prime Minister’s Office.

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

Photo: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a campaign stop at the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area in Sudbury, Sept. 26, 2019. 

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/a-pivotal-week-for-the-trudeau-liberals-green-agenda/

The Trudeau Government’s horrible week of scandalous stories

The Niagara Independent, August 14, 2020  – Though he was hiding away at an undisclosed summer holiday rental on Georgian Bay, this week proved particularly bad for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a steady stream of stories emerged relating to multiple scandals that threaten to swamp the Government’s agenda.

On Wednesday, Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet threatened to trigger a Fall election if the PM, his Chief of Staff Katie Telford, and Finance Minister Bill Morneau do not resign. Blanchet said, “Keeping people in office who are “mismanaging” the government would be more dangerous than sending Canadians to the polls in a pandemic.”

In the House of Commons, Conservative MP Candice Bergen received a standing ovation from the Opposition benches when she criticized the Liberals for “evasive non-answers.” Bergen stated: “Six months into this pandemic, and six years into this government, and the Prime Minister will be remembered for a $343-billion deficit and for setting the lowest bar ever for a prime minister’s conduct in the history of this country….  With the Liberals, it really is about who one knows, not what one knows. This makes the Liberal sponsorship scandal look like child’s play, actually. Can the Prime Minister tell us – oh sorry, he is not here. Can somebody on that side tell us why the Prime Minister thinks the rules do not apply to him?”

From the week’s headline news, there are many outstanding questions to be answered. Foremost, there are on-going revelations of misdeeds involving the $912 million WE charity scandal: questions about $43.5 million in administration fees, WE’s $300,000 payment to Margaret and Trudeau family members, and the government’s due diligence in approving the sole-sourced contract. Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth, told the House of Commons Ethics Committee Tuesday that an initial payment of $30 million was paid to the Kielburger brothers and she did not know whether they had returned the money upon the cancellation of the contract. This raises important questions as to how the government paid the Kielburgers before approval from Treasury Board and Cabinet? Who wrote the $30 million cheque to them and under whose authority?

PM Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau are being investigated by the Ethics Commission for not recusing themselves from the Cabinet approval of the $912 million contract, though both their families have pecuniary interests with the charity.

Then there is potential wrongdoing in an $84 million contract outsourced to a company tied to PM Trudeau’s Chief of Staff’s family. The story this week is that neither the PMO nor Finance Minister Office will disclose whether Katie Telford’s husband Robert Silver communicated with them since becoming senior VP of a mortgage company in January 2020. NDP MP Charlie Angus is seeking answers on how this $84 million contract was sole-sourced, “That’s very disturbing, considering that both the prime minister’s and finance minister’s offices are already under serious investigations for ethical lapses in conflict of interest. We have ethical standards, and if they can’t answer that question, it really raises the question whether or not the Liberal government believes that the laws actually apply to them.”

Also this week, two more questionable contracts made headlines. News broke that a Montreal-based company owned by Frank Baylis, a former Liberal MP, was given a lucrative contract to make 10,000 pandemic ventilators by October 21st, even though Health Canada flagged the Baylis Medical Company’s machine had not been approved by any jurisdiction. There was also news of a $381 million sole-sourced contract to produce medical masks to a Quebec firm Medicom Inc, despite the fact that this firm had no manufacturing facilities in Canada and will be producing masks in factories in China, Taiwan, the U.S. and France. Medicom has yet to deliver any surgical masks.

There’s more. MPs are pressing the Trudeau Government to reveal details of $5.8 billion worth of federal contracts awarded during the pandemic response through the last few months. However, senior bureaucrats in Public Services and Procurement Canada are refusing to make public any details on the basis of protecting Canada’s supply chains. So, $5.8 billion of taxpayers’ dollars has been given to private companies and there will be no public accountability. Furthermore, the latest figures provided by the federal department reveal that less than 40% of these contracts were given to domestic suppliers – in other words more than 60% of this money is going to foreign-owned companies offshore.

And further to this, we are now aware that there are tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects that are unaccounted for by Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna’s department. The Parliament’s Budget Office (PBO) has been unable to find any evidence of roughly 20,000 projects totaling approximately half of the program’s $57.5 billion budget. Head of PBO Yves Giroux reported to MPs that he is perplexed how 20,000 records of infrastructure projects are nowhere to be found.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre summed up the MPs’ frustrations with the Liberal Government’s cone of silence. “Our economy will take a $100 billion hit this year. And what is the Prime Minister focused on? Not on getting Canada through this crisis or rebuilding our economy, but on helping his friends, helping his cronies and creating programs that are so complicated that only the most sophisticated, with the best lobbyists and consultants, can benefit and profit.”

Warren Kinsella, long-time Liberal party strategist and former PMO staffer to PM Jean Chretien was more pointed in his criticisms of the Trudeau Government’s modus operandi. Kinsella stated: “… the allegation is that Trudeau’s cabal sought to enrich themselves during a pandemic that is impoverishing millions of Canadians… the governed were losing their homes, losing their jobs, losing their futures. While Trudeau’s gang were apparently making out like bandits. That is not merely wrong, it is actually evil. It is beyond the pale. Beyond words.”

Kinsella’s blog post this week concludes: “It goes on and on and on. 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.”

It was indeed a horrible week for the scandal-plagued Liberals in Ottawa — a fine time for the PM to be enjoying the sunny skies over Georgian Bay.

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-trudeau-governments-horrible-week-of-scandalous-stories/

 

Morneau will leave an unenviable record as Finance Minister

The Niagara Independent, August 7, 2020 – If rumours come to be true, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau will soon fall on his sword as the fall-guy for the Prime Minister and his Liberal insiders who are all caught up with the government’s WE ethics scandal.

Bill Morneau’s departure from the Ottawa scene is being forecasted throughout media, including many Liberal-friendly news agencies. The Toronto Star suggested that the Finance Minister is “blinded by his own privilege” and that he is “painfully out of touch with Canadians.” The National Post tagged Morneau as enjoying “a privileged life” having inherited a hugely profitable family business. CBC News did an investigative “gotcha” report that dissed him: “WE employees say they were told to attend 2018 holiday party in Bill Morneau’s riding.”  The Toronto Sun had a lead editorial that critically assessed the Finance Minister: “Morneau’s integrity appears to be kept in his cheque book.”

It appears inevitable that when the PM gets around to sharing his cabinet shuffle plans, Morneau’s cue will be “exit stage left.”  His leaving will lead to reviews of his record at the helm of Canada’s finances. Here is an overview of that record.

Recall that when newly elected Justin Trudeau unwrapped his first Liberal cabinet in Fall 2015 it was no surprise that he appointed a Toronto financial services businessman to manage the Liberal Government’s fiscal plan. Bill Morneau has always been the Trudeau Liberal’s finance backstop. In his first federal budget address, Morneau indicated there would be a new direction in fiscal policy, a “fundamental change” that would include substantial “investments by government.”

Despite the 2016 Budget projections, which stated the Liberal Government would balance the books in five years, the Trudeau Government ran $89.1 billion in accumulated deficits over the five years of their first mandate under Morneau’s stewardship. In those five years, spending on federal government programs increased every year and, in total, by nearly $70 billion or at a striking 27.2 per cent rate. In fact, the Trudeau Government has the dubious record of three of the highest levels of per-person program spending per year in Canadian history – and that is before the COVID-19-impacted recession.

Fast forward to the 2019 Liberal campaign platform and it is obvious that Bill Morneau and PM Trudeau had rejected the need to balance the country’s ledger. The Liberals’ second mandate was to feature a projected four years of $20 billion-plus deficits and an additional number of huge, uncosted spending items including pharmacare.

Morneau’s pre-COVID-19 fiscal management has proven costly. As a result of tax changes in the federal budgets through 2019, a vast majority (80 per cent) of middle-income Canadians have experienced increases to their personal income tax. Also, the mountain of new debt will prove an even greater burden on future generations of taxpayers. Former NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair wrote in a Sun Media editorial earlier this year: “Trudeau will have created $10,000 of new debt for every man, woman and child in Canada during his time in office. The sums are staggering…. Once again, this generation of leaders is putting everything on the maxed-out credit card of our grandchildren.”

The Trudeau Government’s pre-COVID-19 fiscal record has been brought under greater scrutiny with the pandemic pressures now bearing down on Canada’s economy. In the “fiscal snapshot” last month, Bill Morneau revealed the deficit for 2020-21 is expected to rise to $343.2 billion. This is greater than in any single year deficit during the Great Depression; ten times the projected $34.4 billion deficit before the pandemic hit!  Due to $212 billion in direct support to individuals and businesses, the federal debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to rise to 49 per cent this fiscal year, up from 31 per cent in 2019-20. (This is alarming given the 49 per cent rate is far above what the International Monetary research tells us is the optimal 26-30 per cent of GDP.)

To put all these numbers in context, this is by far the worst financial statement in Canada’s history. The federal Liberals, under the watch of Bill Morneau, are outspending all past federal governments, including those governments that had to respond to world wars and global recessions. And despite the unbridled government spending and persistent year-over-year deficits, the Finance Minister has offered no plan to reach a balanced budget. Yet, in his silence, the federal department of finance has come forward to estimate that with the current fiscal planning, deficits will last until at least 2040 (note that this estimate pre-dates COVID-19).

The Morneau fiscal plan is failing Canadians according to Fraser Institute economists who opined that “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. And that all happened before anyone had heard of COVID-19.”

If Pierre Trudeau and John Turner go down in Canadian history as “the fathers” of our national debt and the fiscal innovators who introduced the notion of “deficit financing,” then Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau will be notorious for their seemingly unrestricted spending and being responsible for amassing the country’s burdensome $1 trillion-plus national debt.

Conservative finance critic MP Pierre Poilievre recently provided this analogy in an editorial: “The economy is like a horse carrying big bags of debt on his back up a hill. There is just one horse who must carry not only federal government debt, but also all the provincial, municipal, household and corporate debt. As of 2018 (BEFORE COVID-19!), total public and private debt equaled about 356 percent of GDP. So, the horse carried more than three and a half times his weight that year…. [Now] total private and public debt could reach 400 percent of GDP by the end of this fiscal year…. these debts will break the horse’s back. Whispering in his ear about imaginary “balance sheets” will not stop him from collapsing. He is a horse after all. Not a unicorn.”

This dark assessment of Canada’s financial situation is a marked difference from the Liberals’ sunny-days prediction that “a budget will balance itself.” If one is to accept ministerial responsibility, the dismal reality of today’s numbers must be attributed to the fiscal stewardship of Minister Morneau. And it is for his record as finance minister that Bill Morneau should be removed from his cabinet post, and not because of some PM power play to save face in the aftermath of the WE scandal.

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/morneau-will-leave-an-unenviable-record-as-finance-minister/

George Soros casts a long shadow across Canada (Part 4)

The Niagara Independent, July 31, 2020 – George Soros 4-part series reviews his life and achievements, beliefs and goals, and his ties and influence in Canada.

You could be a roughneck 100 kms outside of Fort McMurray, a Wet’suwet’en Nation member employed by Coastal GasLink, or even a backbench Liberal MP representing your Maritime constituents – and in all cases the forces that are driving Canadian policy decisions and impacting your life are obscured to you.

What is unknown to many is the influence of billionaire George Soros.

For a man who casts such a long shadow across our country, most Canadians are stumbling forward without any true sense of what the Soros world vision means for the future of Canada.

George Soros’ “philanthropic” agency, the Open Society Foundations (OSF), funds hundreds of millions of dollars annually to advance a globalist agenda and the specter of a One World Government governed by the United Nations (U.N.). For the past 20 years, Canada has been pulled into the Soros vortex with the infiltration of OSF-funded lobby organizations and with his own recalibration of the Liberal Party of Canada. Since the election of the Liberals in 2015, the country has become an unfolding post-national experiment.

Ostensibly, Soros took control of Canadian policy with the electoral victory of the Liberals. It is well documented in the research of the Canada Decides Report to Elections Canada as well as investigative journalist Vivian Krause (https://fairquestions.typepad.com/rethink_campaigns/) that the 2015 election campaign is a textbook example of foreign influence on election results.

For Soros, defeating Stephen Harper was held out as an important pivot. Soros facilitated exchanges between U.S. Democratic backroom operatives and the Liberal Party campaign team and he channeled OSF funds into Tides Canada, an off-shoot to Soros’ left-of centre American Tides Foundation. With Tides Canada financial support, organizations Leadnow and Dogwood spent millions of dollars and mobilized thousands of campaign workers to defeat Harper’s Conservatives in a total of 40 ridings.

Ensconced in Ottawa with a majority four-year mandate, the Trudeau Government began to systematically transform the country’s economic and societal fortunes into a Soros phantasm.

Central to the Liberal Government’s agenda has been an unwavering commitment to global environmentalism and the reduction of carbon emissions. In its first budget, the Government introduced a punitive carbon tax (and a schedule to increase it) to attempt to meet a Paris Accord target by which Canadians will reduce global carbon emissions by less than half of one percent. Fast forward to today and Canadians are about to learn the second part of the Liberals’ environmental agenda: subsidizing green industry projects. Gerald Butts was the architect of the Ontario Green Energy Program and now he is masterminding a national “Building Back Better” campaign to introduce government sponsored green programs, worth billions of tax-payers’ dollars. Butts’ green initiative is reportedly to deliver the post-coronavirus Canadian economy away from our rich, fossil fuel resources.

An anti-oil lobby has always been the core mission of the OFS-funded environmental causes. From the American lobbyists’ first meetings in 2008 when they devised the “Tarsands Campaign,” the environmental lobby has been relentless in smearing the reputation of the Canadian oil and gas industries. In a number of her articles, Krause surmises that 10 years and a half-billion dollar misinformation campaign on the Alberta oil sector has effectively turned many Canadians against the development of our country’s energy resources.

Playing off this public opinion campaign, the Trudeau Government kneecapped the Canadian oil and gas industry by introducing debilitating legislation — Bill C-69 banning future pipelines and Bill C-48 banning Canadian oil bearing tankers on the West coast. Together, foreign lobbyists and the Trudeau Government have landlocked western Canadian oil and gas and prevented it from reaching international markets. Given that Canadian oil and gas exports accounted for more than $112 billion or 19 percent of Canada’s total export revenue last year, this policy direction is nothing less than sabotaging the country’s economy.

As an aside, Canada’s financial standing has been directly impacted by the Trudeau Government’s unbridled spending and its year-over-year deficit financing. Since 2015, this Government added approximately $80 billion to Canada’s debt load. And now, with the splurge of coronavirus spending, Canadians have taken on another $343 billion of debt this year. This mountain of new debt will require financing by international bankers – and billionaires like George Soros are sure to capitalize on our indebted Nation.

Nowhere is Soros’ direct influence on Canadian policies more evident than in the Trudeau Government’s promotion of U.N. priorities, particularly the concept of “open borders.” Early in the Liberals’ mandate, they announced Canada had entered into a partnership with the U.N. and with George Soros to implement refugee sponsorship programs around the world. The Trudeau Government had introduced a new private refugee sponsorship program in 2016 and Soros looked for the program to be introduced into other countries. The U.N. program would expand private sponsorship criteria, encourage greater resettlement efforts for migrants, and advocate for refugee protection measures. The point person for Canada on this global initiative: Gerald Butts.

Since 2015, Canada has consistently been a champion of U.N. initiatives. Recall the celebrated tweet by PM Trudeau that Canada would welcome refugees crossing the United States border, stating that our country has open borders for all who wish to live here. Further to this, the Liberals have produced new immigration thresholds that align with U.N.-promoted targets and promise to bring in more than a million new Canadians in less than three years. They have also pushed forward the approval of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was presented as legally non-binding for our country, yet today is being employed in Canadian courts. This Liberal Government has been a cheerleader of the U.N.’s climate change agenda and, recently, a staunch defender of the World Health Organization’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Remarkably, in five short years the Trudeau Government has changed the character of the country – and their efforts have been ferried along with the affluence of George Soros. At the forefront of Canada’s march towards a post-national state are Soros’ disciples: Butts, Trudeau, Freeland, Carney, McKenna, Guilbeault, etc.  Canadians are now coming to recognize our worrisome situation: bankrupt finances with limiting means to generate new wealth, and laws and regulations that are increasingly adherent to U.N. agencies, their mandates and policies.

On August 12, Canadians have the opportunity to reflect on the man who is largely responsible for our new status in the world. George Soros turns 90 that day and his accomplishments around the world will undoubtedly be feted. His success is a testament to his life’s influences: to his childhood experiences and his father who taught him that the end justifies the means; to his mentor Maurice Strong who coveted global control through the U.N.; to his tens of billions of dollars that have been used to bankroll a globalist agenda and undermine Nations’ sovereignty; and, finally, to his ego and sense of “moral” righteousness in all world affairs.

On his birthday, Canadians will hear much about George Soros.

What will be most telling is who among us will still be singing and clapping after the smoke from the candles has cleared.

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/george-soros-casts-a-long-shadow-across-canada-part-4/

George Soros and his Canadian Chess Game (Part 3)

The Niagara Independent, July 24, 2020  — George Soros 4-part series reviews his life and achievements, beliefs and goals, and his ties and influence in Canada.

The United Nations (U.N.) representative of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea made news headlines last August when he critically assessed the actions of George Soros and his Open Society Institute. Anatolio Ndong Mba was furious at a Soros-sponsored Amnesty International report to the U.N., “It’s known that George Soros is a billionaire, financial speculator, and a criminal with obvious geostrategic and imperialist interests who has been dedicating his life to support imperialist movements…” Mba cited a list of Soros’ “destructive interventions” in different countries as being “endless” and he concluded his rant stating, “The children of this Nation cannot be moved as pieces on the global chess board where the criminal George Soros is playing.”

Mba is not the first (nor will he be the last) to liken Soros to a chess player moving pieces across the globe in some end-game pursuit. It’s an apropos analogy. Soros has repeatedly claimed he is playing towards a globalist vision of a One World Government. Spending billions through the years, Soros has acquired many pieces and placed them in positions around the world. Indeed, Canada has a store of Soros chess pieces in the Nation’s Capital. Let’s examine the game board.

Central to advancing the Soros agenda in our country is the US$1.3 million knight-errant Gerald Butts. Canadians have come to know Butts as the most powerful man in Ottawa, the BFF of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. However, before he reunited with his university pal to embark on an election campaign that would end with capturing the Prime Minister’s Office, Butts was the head of the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Public records show that from 2008 to 2012 Butts was Chairman of WWF Canada, one of those international agencies born from Maurice Strong’s U.N. construct and financially supported through the years by Soros’ coffers. There he proved an effective unapologetic globalist mouthpiece, furthering Soros’ agenda on international stages, and in closed-door meetings of the World Economic Forum and Bilderberg Group. Then in late 2012 Butts received a most generous US$361,642 severance package from WWF to support him through a “volunteer position” on Trudeau’s campaign team.

(Full credit is deserving to Canadian investigative journalist Vivian Krause, who has doggedly “followed the money” to uncover the behind-the-scenes activities of a host of globalists bent on impacting resource development and political interests in Canada.)

As it happened, the knight-errant was also a Trojan horse that opened the gates of Ottawa to many of Soros’ minions. The Financial Post reports: “Butts would use his new powerful position to bring other former campaigners with him: Marlo Raynolds‏, chief of staff to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, is past executive director of the Tides-backed Pembina Institute. Zoë Caron, chief of staff to Natural Resource Minister Amarjeet Sohi, is also a former WWF Canada official. Sarah Goodman, on the prime minister’s staff, is a former vice-president of Tides Canada.”  In a recent Hill Times column we learn, “Goodman has just been promoted to Director of Policy in the PMO.” Butts also brought a pack of colleagues with him from his stay in Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office:  Katie Telford (now the PM’s Chief of Staff), Zita Astravas, Matthew Mendelsohn, John Zerucelli, Ben Chin, Brian Clow, John Broadhead, Mary Ng (now a cabinet minister responsible for Liberal politics in Toronto) to name a few. Butts’ maneuvering has solidified a globalist braintrust at the epicenter of the Trudeau Government.

Another of Soros’ pieces adorning a key square on the Ottawa chessboard is Deputy Prime Minister (a.k.a. Minister of Everything) Chrystia Freeland. There is a personal friendship between George Soros and Freeland that goes back over a decade when she was a journalist covering European politics and chasing after the uber rich. In a 2011 article entitled “Rise of the New Global Elite,” Freeland describes Soros as a “good, technocratic friendly plutocrat.” In another article in 2012, she gushes over him, “Soros is a more narrowly focused hedgehog. He has been pondering, articulating, elaborating, and publicizing variations on one big idea for more than half a century.” George Soros enjoyed Freeland’s adorations and their friendship flourished – so much so that when Freeland was unemployed in the mid 2010’s, he asked his friend to write his biography. Soros commissioned Freeland to be his scribe, before she moved back to Canada to run for Parliament in the 2015.

Since the 2015 election, there has been an interesting interplay between chess master Soros and his queen. He was very pleased to see her electoral success and commented that with her he has “very great hopes for Canada.” In the initial Trudeau Cabinet, Freeland was given the Minister of Foreign Affairs position to help chart a new course for Canadian diplomacy. In that role, Freeland carried forward a globalist viewpoint that (not surprisingly) aligns with Soros’s world view. Every few months photos will surface of the two of them – some formal, some informal. Canadians will recall that shot of Soros giving an audience to the PM and her when Justin Trudeau first appeared at the U.N. assembly to announce “Canada’s back.” More recently, Canadian news showcased Freeland in her position as Deputy PM conversing with Soros about his thoughts of a new world order and working with China to accomplish that. Nobody can question the depth of their friendship with the comfortableness displayed in this exchange.

The year 2015 was pivotal for George Soros’ fortunes in Canada. It was the year that he crowned a king. There is no need to belabour the significance of this coup. (In Part 4 of this series, we will review how the Trudeau Government has been enacting policies that are changing the character of Canada in order to transform our Nation to a post-national state.) Justin Trudeau has been true to George Soros’ script. In May of this year at the Coronavirus Global Response conference he called for “more globalism” and that Canada is poised to take care of the world. Trudeau said, “I think it’s extremely important, the way the world has come together and understanding that a global crisis requires a global response.” The PM applauded the efforts of the World Health Organization and the U.N. – and one can imagine Maurice Strong himself would have given a standing ovation for this performance.

There are other noteworthy Canadian pieces in Soros’ game. In nurturing the faith of global finances and environmentalism, there is the bishop Mark Carney who recently moved diagonally back to Canadian soil. Carney last joined forces with Soros in their fight to turn back the populism of Brexit.  The then Governor of the Bank of England emerged during the Brexit process as the unofficial leader of the campaign “Project Fear,” a movement that Soros invested $500,000 pounds in. Now Carney has accepted a U.N. appointment as a special envoy for climate action and finance – a volunteer position while he waits for his next opportunity.

In the rook’s position – a cornerpiece for Ottawa’s backroom Liberals – is an organization called Canada 2020.  Maclean’s magazine called them “the progressive think tank that really runs Canada.” This column does not allow enough space to reveal Canada 2020’s ties to the Obama Democrats and the pools of Soros’ Open Society Foundation money the Trudeau’s political operatives have had access to over the years. (Read Maclean’s October 2017 feature to begin to understand how incestuous Soros-sponsored Liberal Party of Canada politics can be.)

There is MP Catherine McKenna, named Minister of Environment and Climate Change in 2015, who was swept into Parliament by a third-party campaign that turned the Ottawa-Centre riding red… there is the current Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault whose Montreal environmental organization was given well over $100,000 from the Tides Foundation… Then there are countless pawns dutifully marching forward in well-healed environmental and political groups to shout down and trample local interests for some greater cause…  Too many pieces, too many moves to fully comprehend what is happening. It’s the game according to chess aficionado George Soros.

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/george-soros-and-his-canadian-chess-game-part-3/

The core beliefs and aspirations of George Soros (Part 2)

The Niagara Independent, July 17, 2020 — George Soros 4-part series reviews his life and achievements, beliefs and goals, and his ties and influence in Canada.

What are George Soros’ core philosophical beliefs; what are the man’s mental constructs that motivate and drive him? What is Soros’ view of the world and his role within the global community? To address these questions is to begin to better understand Soros and the influence he wields.

George Soros’s thought processes revolve around the philosophy of Sir Karl Popper and his classic work The Open Society and Its Enemy. Soros studied under Popper at the London School of Economics and it is not surprising that the professor’s teachings resonated with the young Soros, who had survived wartime Hungary. Soros became attached to the theory of “open societies,” that would guarantee and protect rational exchange where, alternatively, closed societies coerced people to submit to political authority.

Soros’ early notions of open societies evolved with his life experiences and, today, he conveniently smudges the purer objectives of Popper’s desired society. In a 2011 essay on the subject, Soros explains what he sees as the essential adjunct to his original teachings. He writes, “If thinking has a manipulative function as well as a cognitive one, then it may not be necessary to gain a better understanding of reality in order to obtain the laws one wants. There is a shortcut: ‘spinning’ arguments and manipulating public opinion to get the desired results. Today our political discourse is primarily concerned with getting elected and staying in power.” Here we see Soros appreciates the utility of spinning arguments; ends will justify means.

Another key influencer in Soros’s world view was his mentor Maurice Strong. This Canadian oil businessman and diplomat is arguably the greatest global visionary of the modern, post-World Wars era. He is recognized as a founder of the international environmental movement. Involved from the early 1970s in the United Nations (U.N.) bureaucracy, Strong’s self-promoted mission was to empower the U.N. as the global authority that would manage a new era of global governance through three of its international organizations: the World Wildlife Fund, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the World Resources Institute. Strong was bent on establishing a new world order with an overseeing group of leaders within the U.N., stating: “In order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring this about? This group of world leaders forms a secret society to bring about an economic collapse.”

Soros was drawn to Strong’s vision of a new world order and his machinations for the U.N.  For decades, the two men collaborated and directed the U.N. non-governmental organizations in advancing the goals of a One World Government. Before Maurice Strong’s death in 2015, American political commentator Glen Beck assessed their working partnership, “Maurice Strong has almost as much impact on average Americans as the air that they breathe… One World Government begins and ends with Maurice Strong. George Soros is merely the financier.”

Beck has downplayed the role of “the financier,” yet Soros has proven dominant in his own right. He has effectively guided his own Open Society Foundations (OSF) grant network to champion the One World Government idea. And through the last 30 years, George Soros has published 14 books and numerous print articles that define his principles of internationalism. He repeatedly espouses that the creation of a global open society is the only way mankind can succeed against today’s formidable world challenges of climate change and nuclear proliferation. One can hear echoes of both Popper and Strong.

The multi-billion dollar OSF is the strong arm of Sorus’ global activism. In a 2017 essay that reveals private information leaked from Soros’ papers, City Journal contributing editor Stefan Kanfer exposes the underbelly of the OSF involvement in Syria. Kanfer writes, “Underneath its lofty rhetoric, the organization was clearly devoted to the eradication of national sovereignty. A key Open Society paper, hacked in its entirety, described the Syrian refugee crisis as an opportunity to “shape conversations about rethinking migrations governance.” Translation: use agitprop to flood Europe and the U.S. with evacuees (among them some probable terrorists); make the old borders and institutions irrelevant; and, in the process, create a world liberated from the restraints of constitutionalism, American exceptionalism, free-market capitalism, and other obsolete isms.”

Another illustrative example of Soros financing social discord can be found with Extinction Rebellion (XR), a U.K.-based, global environmental movement with a publicly stated aim of using nonviolent civil disobedience to prompt action on climate change. However, in an internal briefing memo to XR’s members, it is evident that the organization’s mission is not so well-intentioned. This is verbatim from the XR memo:

  1. To show to radical people (and internationally) that it is possible to have an “impossible” plan and carry out a rebellion – however small (or large!) and thus increase the “overton window” of acceptable discourse on the ecological crisis.
  2. To create a national conversation about the ecological crisis and climate breakdown – including that our families/communities/society and state are facing existential threat. This includes to discuss our demands with the government/ political parties (see below). Also to support further uprisings to demand change off the back of the door we open.
  3. To build structure, community and test prototypes in preparation for the coming structural collapse of the regimes of western “democracies” – now seen as inevitable due to stored up crisis. Thus preparing a foundation to transform society and resist fascism / other extremes. This includes creating Rising from the Wreckage- a Citizens Assembly based on sortation.

Supported in part by OSF funds, XR last year had more than one million pounds in its war chest.

The Capital Research Center is an American organization examining how foundations, charities, and other nonprofits spend money and get involved in politics and advocacy. Shane Devine recently wrote for the Centre an expose on George Soros in which he comments, “Soros is honest about who he is, repeatedly calling himself a selfish man, who sought money and recognition throughout his life to satisfy his large ego. But he argues that this selfishness was ultimately good, since he was able to cultivate it into a moral force through philanthropy.”

In a 2018 New York Times interview, Soros himself explains his ideological approach to world matters, “My ideology is nonideological. I’m in the club of non-clubs.” But surely George Soros jests. His intellectual influences tell us otherwise. The modus operandi of the hundreds of groups around the world financed by the OSF tell us otherwise. George Soros is a man with the design for this world – and every country, including Canada, factors into his plan for One World Government.

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-core-beliefs-and-aspirations-of-george-soros-part-2/

Photo Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Introducing George Soros (Part 1)

The Niagara Independent, July 10, 2020 — George Soros 4-part series reviews his life and achievements, beliefs and goals, and his ties and influence in Canada.

Who exactly is George Soros? Is he a billionaire investor and philanthropist or a Machiavellian globalist bent on creating discord? Soros’ multi-million dollar donations to political causes has had direct influence on the outcomes of political battles and on elections around the world, including in Canada. So, what are the beliefs, aspirations, and goals of this man?

According to Forbes magazine, in 2018 George Soros was the 29th richest person in the world and the richest hedge-fund manager with a net worth of over $25 billion U.S. That same year the British news organization Financial Times named Soros “Person of the Year,” describing him as “a standard bearer for liberal democracy, an idea under siege from populists.” Next month, when Soros will turn 90-years young, it is expected he will be adorned and feted for his leadership in advancing global causes. Bottom line: George Soros has a lot of money and is an influential force on the world stage.

Soros injecting himself into current affairs as a mega-donor for progressive movements around the globe has expectedly created his detractors, many fueling conspiracy theories about the man and his intentions. Veronika Bondarenko, reported in Business Insider that “For two decades, some have seen Soros as a kind of puppet master secretly controlling the global economy and politics.” Dubbed in the media as the “Connoisseur of Chaos,” he has been accused of being the sultan of Antifa — hiring protesters, renting buses, and even stashing piles of bricks to be hurled at police and through glass storefronts. Currently there is a campaign urging international authorities to “investigate George Soros for funding domestic terrorism and his decades-long corruption.”

Most recently, Soros made headlines with his private dinner speech to elite business leaders at the annual 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He unloaded on U.S. President Donald Trump, forecasting in the upcoming elections, “He will fail!” Soros claims the President is “a con man and a narcissist, who wants the world to revolve around him… This has turned his narcissism into a malignant disease.” A stinging condemnation, but not unexpected by the U.S. Democratic Party’s most affluent donor. Still, to understand Soros’ bravado, one must first appreciate his life story.

George Soros was born Gyorgy Schwartz into a prosperous upper-middle class, non-observant Jewish family residing in Budapest Hungary. Experiencing the anti-Semitic prejudices rising from Nazism in 1930s Europe, the family changed its name to a Hungarian surname. Then at 13, the young Soros witnessed Nazi-Germany occupy his country and begin to strip Hungarian Jews of their rights. He recounts an indelible life lesson delivered by his father at the time of the Nazi invasion; his father instructed the family: “This is an emergency. If we remain law-abiding citizens and continue our current existence, we are going to perish.” The family did what it could – including having George sent from his family home to live with a government official – and they managed to survive the brutality of Nazi rule where half a million Hungarian Jews were sent to death camps.

Soros attended the London School of Economics where he earned a masters degree in philosophy. He ventured to the U.S. to begin a business career in various merchant banks. In 1973, at age 43, Soros established his own hedge fund Quantum Fund, which has generated more than $40 billion through four decades of operation (the fund made $5.5 billion in 2013 alone).

Soros’ meteoric hedge fund career included some notorious dealings. In 1992, Soros was named “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” because of his short sale of $10 billion U.S. worth of pounds sterling, which made him a tidy $1 billion profit on the U.K.’s infamous Black Wednesday. Similarly, in 1996 he profited from a Finnish financial crisis; and in 1997 he profited from the Asian financial crisis.

Repeatedly, Soros made cash from market chaos. In fact, Soros’ impact on the markets prompted Nobel-prize winning American economist Paul Krugman in 1999 to observe:  “Nobody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is “Soroi.”

Soros (and many others) has attributed his success in the stock markets to the “Theory of Reflexivity” – developed by Soros himself. In simple terms, this theory is used to decipher asset bubbles, market value of securities, and value discrepancies to short and swap stocks. Soros reads the boom and bust cycles of the market and anticipates investors’ trading patterns. The more volatile the markets, the greater the opportunity to cash in.

Through his life, George Soros’ money has funded groups that advanced his beliefs. In 2018, he donated more than $32 billion to the Open Society Foundations (OSF), an umbrella institute Soros himself had created in 1993 to help fund groups working for “justice, democratic governance, and human rights.” On its website, the OSF states it “works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve its mission, OSF seeks to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights….” Today OSF is funding a global web of activity in 60 countries, giving an average of $600 million a year to progressive causes.

One core recipient of OSF funding is the Tides Foundation and Tides Centres, which in turn directly and indirectly fund World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union, and a multitude of grant-making philanthropic foundations across North America. In the U.S., the Tides Foundation is a registered charity organization, fostering special interest groups, advancing progressive policy — and distributing money from anonymous donors to liberal causes and political campaigns.

The primary beneficiary of Soros and the OSF’s political agenda in the U.S. has been the Democratic Party. Soros’ generosity to the Party is legendry. In 2004, Soros spent more than $25 million to support 527 groups to defeat George W. Bush. In the 2016 presidential election, he spent more than $20 million on Democrats’ Political Action Committees (PAC) and doled out $8 million on a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC. In Fall 2019, Soros donated $5.1 million seed money to create his own Democracy PAC. Then in the first three months of 2020, Soros has pumped $28.3 million into Democratic groups for the 2020 election, including $5 million to pro-Biden Priorities USA PAC. The flow of money is constant, the well deep; Soros is intent that U.S. President Trump does indeed fail.

George Soros is an incredible man. He survived an incredible childhood, accomplished incredible financial success and is now wielding incredible influence. Canadians need to know more about Soros and the shadows he casts across our country.

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/introducing-george-soros-part-1/

Photo Credit: Georg Hochmuth/AFP/Getty Images

The staggering costs of the Government’s response to the pandemic

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will provide an “economic update” July 8.

The Niagara Independent, July 3, 2020 – It has been referred to as Canadians’ “second war” – what will be our collective efforts to survive the ensuing national economic crisis brought about by government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The federal and provincial governments have been spending seemingly limitless amounts of money to support individuals and businesses through a staged shutdown of the economy. Today, as the shutters are being removed across the country, Canadians are left to assess the costs.

One variable is Canada’s lost economic activity. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has calculated losses incurred by Canadian businesses and projected estimates for the coming years. The IMF projects Canada’s GDP this year will be 6.5 percent below that of 2019, which was pegged at $1.7 trillion. Therefore, the value of reduced output in 2020 is $113 billion. By the time we account for all economic losses through the duration of the multi-year pandemic, economists are expecting costs for Canada to be at least double this amount — $226 billion lost to our economy.

While the Canadian business community will carry forward its diminished financial standing, governments will be managing their unwieldy deficits and weighty debt loads. Consider the challenging fiscal situation Canada was in before the coronavirus scare. Last year total federal government spending was $346 billion and revenues were $332 billion, leaving an operational deficit of $14 billion. Provincial and territorial spending totalled $449 billion and revenues $440 billion, leaving an operational deficit of $9 billion. Total federal and provincial government net debt totalled $1.4 trillion – a sum that was 61 per cent of GDP. And when one factors in promised pension and health liabilities over the next 30 years for all levels of government, the debt is projected to be $2.3 trillion or 104 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Now, consider the federal government’s unprecedented spending spree which will result in Canada’s federal debt reaching an astonishing $1 trillion. Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) Yves Giroux recently estimated this year’s federal deficit to reach $256 billion and he parsed numbers relating to the government’s pandemic spending for Members of Parliament. In part, the PBO reported:

  • the government is spending a total of $169 billion on income support programs with statistics indicating that, by the end of April, three million Canadians had loss their job with the closure of non-essential businesses;
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is providing $2,000 monthly to more than 8.4 million Canadians and will cost a total of $71.3 billion – more than the allotted $60 billion budget;
  • extending the CERB by an additional eight weeks through the summer (as the government just did ) will cost $17.9 billion; and,
  • the federal wage subsidy program is currently being underused by businesses – originally provided with a $45 billion budget, as of June 15 the government has approved only $13.28 billion in payroll to 223,918 companies.

These numbers indicate businesses are simply closing rather than attempting to manage through the shutdown period; millions of Canadians will not have their pre-pandemic job to go back to in the weeks ahead.

Buckling to the pressure applied by Opposition MPs and business groups, the federal government will provide a fiscal “snapshot” of our country’s finances to be delivered by Finance Minister Bill Morneau July 8.  PM Justin Trudeau explains, “This will give Canadians a picture of where our economy is right now, how our response compares to that of other countries, and what we can expect for the months to come.”  PM Trudeau stated his Government could not provide any more than a snapshot at this time. “I’ve consistently said that an economic and fiscal update would be unrealistic right now because it automatically includes projections for a year, three years, five years ahead of time, which quite frankly we simply couldn’t make any responsible predictions about.”

Though the PM does not wish to share his Government’s current thinking on the country’s fiscal course, there are certain realities that foreshadow what the “second war” will mean for Canadians. The increased debt must be financed and this signals the need to raise taxes – either immediately or for future generations (or both). Former NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair states the Trudeau Government has created $10,000 of new debt for every man, woman and child. “This generation of leaders is putting everything on the maxed-out credit card of our grandchildren. One of the greatest inequalities in our society is that which exists between generations and it’s getting more and more unfair.”

Paying for this mountain of new debt has the potential to sink Canadians’ fortunes. It is also expected to burden the next generation of taxpayers through the whole of their working lives (hence the defining term “Generation Screwed”). Today, one and two Canadians are within $200 of insolvency at the end of each month. Before the pandemic, Canadian households owed $176 for every $100 of disposable income – and now this situation has worsened. If the government attempts to spare today’s overburdened Canadian household, the debt does not go away and will still need to be paid. In a National Post column reporting the prognosis of various financial analysts, John Ivison concludes: “Ottawa’s COVID-19 debt binge runs the very real risk of ruining the next generation.”

Professor Don Savoie, Canada Research Chair in public administration and governance at the Université de Moncton, in an interview with the Hill Times this week, commented: “…there’s going to have to be some realignment between revenues and spending and that’s going to require an incredible amount of political will. It doesn’t require much political will when you’re spending every day. It requires political will, when you deal with the hangover and that hangover is going to be very, very, very difficult to manage… It takes an incredible jolt at the wheel to turn off spending. So when people get accustomed to receiving benefits from the government, it’s very difficult to cut it back…”

When the Prime Minister announced the July 8 fiscal snapshot, the Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet quipped, “I fear that the government will try to make it happen in the middle of summer in order to have people not watch it, while they will be having a beer around the barbecue.” Yet, considering what is at stake for Canadians and their pocketbooks, it is best if Canadians put down the beer, put off mealtime, and pay attention to what is said about this country’s economic predicament.

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-staggering-costs-of-the-governments-response-to-the-pandemic/

 

Lament for (what once was) a Nation

The Niagara Independent, June 26, 2020 – Back in October 2015, the newly-elected Justin Trudeau’s seemingly obtuse comments on the country he was about to lead are now understood as a foreshadowing of his debasement of “Canada” as Canadians once knew it. In the now infamous New York Times Magazine interview, Canada’s new PM declared “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada” and he speculated that the country could become the “first postnational state.” At the time nobody thought the advance of postnationalism would be a governing imperative. Now nearly five years later, Canadians have come to recognize it as the hallmark of Justin Trudeau’s time in office.

By definition “postnationalism” is pertaining to a time or mindset in which the identity of a nation is no longer important. Wikipedia concisely describes postnationalism: “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 continues to list a variety of factors constituting the postnational process: shifting national economies to global ones, increasingly referencing global identities and beliefs, and transferring national authorities to multinational corporations and the United Nations.

By looking at Canada through Justin Trudeau’s postnational lens, Canadians can better understand what is happening in the country. For example, Canadians learned this week that Canada has lost its AAA credit rating. Canada’s indebtedness has risen from 88 to 115 percent of the country’s GDP. This is being explained away as a result of necessary government spending to support Canadians through the pandemic. However, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre critiques the country’s financial state: “The Liberal government has destabilized our finances and downgraded our debt, through over four years of reckless deficit spending. The United States, the European Union, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Singapore, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have all retained AAA debt ratings with Fitch. All of these countries have had to contend with COVID-19, but Fitch has downgraded none.”

MP Poilievre assesses the Trudeau Government’s fiscal record: “Going into the pandemic Trudeau gave us $80 billion in debt, growth of 0.3%, half of Canadians $200 from insolvency, higher unemployment than the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Germany and the second highest total public and private debt/GDP in the G7. All of this occurred before the first COVID-19 case.”

With the additional pandemic spending, Canada’s national debt is now nearly $1 trillion. The country’s weakened economic state and loss of credit rating puts Canadians in a more vulnerable position in international markets, increasing the cost of borrowing and our burden of debt payments for years.

Across the land, the Nation seems to be splintering. Saskatchewan news columnist and former federal MP John Gormley this week surmised “In Trudeau-land, maybe this really is post-national Canada.” Gormley is very critical of PM Trudeau’s devaluing of a core Canadian identity – particularly in Western Canada and states that now there is “nothing that anchors us — from longtime to new Canadians — to a common purpose or strives to unify us behind an ideal.” He cities the PM as being responsible for the rising civil disobedience that has resulted in growing activism, barricades and contempt for the law. Gorley writes: “His non-stop campaign of piety, virtue signalling, grandstanding and lecturing us on the holy troika of Indigenous reconciliation and “balancing the economy with the environment,” has been a green light for many activists to stop all oil and gas.”

National Post columnist Jonathan Kay went further to suggest the PM has desecrated the country’s history, its builders and past leaders. Kay argues that Canada’s identity has transformed to a country convinced that we are “a genocide state.” Canadian media, academic and political elites are obsessed with the narrative that we are “an ugly scar on traditional Indigenous lands,” and the “whole vocabulary — settler, neo-colonial, appropriation — declares that Canada is garbage, hoping that an attitude of self-abasement would somehow lead us to “reconciliation.””

Donna Kennedy-Glans, former Albertan MLA, and former CBC broadcaster Don Hill coauthored an editorial that also voiced frustration with Trudeau’s vision of the country. “Our prime minister is focused on a global agenda. Meanwhile, he and his team are setting Canada against itself…. Our prime minister’s neglect, even callousness, is driving a wedge between regions and igniting Western alienation. He’s playing with fire. Trudeau and his cabinet have been preoccupied with their global vision of how things ought to be at the expense of how things are in the country.”

The Trudeau Liberals’ disregard for the country’s diverse national interests has resulted in a new separatist Party to take western Provinces from Confederation. This week Wexit Canada Party leader Jay Hill stated, “…in the end, [federal] governments have to cater to the golden triangle of Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa and the West will never get a fair deal.” In previous interview, Hill pulls no punches: “I’m saying that this is an illegitimate government. It was elected by Ontario. Ontarians decided to re-elect Mr. Dressup despite his clear disdain for Western Canada and for our resource industries. And we just simply cannot take it anymore.”

In a 2019 Sun Media editorial Candice Malcolm dissected the PM’s rejection of Canadian nationalism arguing he has devalued Canada’s racially diverse and pluralistic society for undefined globalism. Malcolm states, “Trudeau has engineered these changes and created a toxic brew in Canada: lax integration policies juxtaposed with a forced multiculturalism that downplays Canadian values and divisive identity politics that demonizes Canadian heritage and identity.”

So if Malcolm, Kay, Gormley and others are correct with their assessments of what is left of our country, it is a vast land devoid of national identifiers. Justin Trudeau’s Canada defies unifying definitions: with our embarrassing history, there are no acceptable norms or politically correct culture, no respected traditions, no legitimate mythos. We are but a mass of cosmopolitan people, gasping at some notion of globalism, without a grounding in a Nation’s past or its peoples’ efforts to get us to where we enjoy one of the best standards of living on the planet.

Oh (what once was) Canada! Enjoy your postnational Wednesday.

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/lament-for-what-once-was-a-nation/