Tag Archives: Niagara_Independent

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/

 

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/

Canada’s Shuttered Parliament and the Challenge to Our Democracy

The Niagara Independent, June 19, 2020 –-

Democracy is never a thing done.

Democracy is always something that

a nation must be doing.

– Archibald MacLeish

Canada’s federal Parliament has sat for a mere 40 days in almost 12 months. This week MPs suspended the House of Commons and they will not be back in Ottawa to debate the business of the Nation until September 21st (that is if an election has not been called). Given Canadians’ apparent lack of interest for what is happening in Ottawa, the question one must ask is, “Who really cares about what is happening to Parliament?” Yet, Canadians need to take note of its emasculated Parliament, for to paraphrase celebrated poet and Harvard professor Archibald MacLeish: we must use it or risk losing it.

Since the mid-March agreement by all political parties to shut down Parliament, Canadians have been entertained with a daily report from the Prime Minister on the Government’s respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the most part, opposition parties have been supportive of the Government’s endless announcements of relief measures. Governing has been smooth sailing for PM Justin Trudeau with a few notable exceptions. There was that dust up back in late March when Liberal MPs attempted a power grab that would allow the PM and Cabinet to spend money without parliamentary oversight until December 2021 – an overreach that was thwarted. Then, last week, the Government brought forward unseen legislation for MPs to enact an extension to the CERB payments. When the Liberals could not get cooperation to pass the measure from any other Party, they quickly recessed the House of Commons — frustrating all MPs, including veteran Liberal John McKay who acknowledged only four hours of parliamentary review to study $87-billion in government spending is inadequate: “It’s short-term gain for a long-term pain.”

For weeks PM Trudeau has continuously dismissed calls for a budget statement from his Government. Trudeau has argued that there are simply too many variables in play to assess what is in store for the Canadian economy. “There are so many things we simply don’t know … making projections about what our economy would look like in six months from now or a year from now is simply an exercise in invention and imagination.” Opposition parties are not accepting of the PM’s explanation. BQ Leader Yves-François Blanchet retorted: “The most poisonous pill of all of that is the government trying stubbornly to act as if there were not 338 people having been elected last October… We see that the Liberals are attempting to make the special rules last as long as they can in order to handle issues like if they were something between a majority government and the rule of a king.”

Indeed, the NDP gave its support to a Liberal motion to extend the suspension of MPs’ regular sittings until late September. This deal between Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau will effectively shutter Parliament and send MPs packing for another 13 weeks – without the ability to debate national issues dealing with the country’s economic recovery, Chinese relations, protests, pipelines, etc…. without the ability to review spending programs and, egregiously, without a federal fiscal statement. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is incensed: “This is not a partisan issue, this is about whether or not a democratic country like Canada should have a functional Parliament.”

In the House of Commons, Scheer called for MPs to not suspend Parliament during the pandemic noting that both the British and Canadian parliaments sat through two world wars and scores of crises. Scheer argued, “Democracy has unquestionably evolved in the intervening centuries, one of the few constants amidst this change is that the House of Commons always meets in person… Government scrutiny has largely been left to press conferences that the prime minister controls. The prime minister hosts a morning show at his doorstep, followed by a late show often hosted by the deputy prime minister.” Scheer expressed his profound disappointed in the Liberal-NDP deal to suspend Parliament by concluding: “I have never seen so many members of parliament work so hard during an election campaign to get elected and then work hard to not have to work hard.”

The Liberals’ dismissal of Canada’s democratic traditions has the national press corps itself bewildered. Lorne Gunter of Sun Media asks: “Where’s the outrage at the Liberals crushing Parliamentary procedure? The Liberals – who only have a minority – have largely governed without opposition for the past three months and intend to continue doing so for at least three more.” Financial Post columnist William Watson asks: “Why was this government’s reaction to the crisis to first curtail debate and then shutter Parliament altogether until fall?” and then makes the observation: “When the Liberals talk of “Canadian values,” they don’t mean democracy.”

The erudite Rex Murphy remarks: “The House of Commons is an empty gilded shell on a deserted hill in the heart of a city that is supposed to be the heart of Canada’s democracy…. We have the most impotent Parliament in Canadian history during one of the greatest crises in Canadian history. Terribly, it has signed onto its own impotence and irrelevance; it has conceded that it does not count when it should matter most. This is a national shame.”

It was Robert Hutchins, the twentieth Century American philosopher, who opined in his Education of the Modern Man: “The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” Certainly, Canadians’ seemingly lack of concern for the Trudeau Liberals’ continual chipping away of parliamentary traditions is putting Hutchins’ statement to the test.

As a post-script, the latest Angus Reid poll places the Liberals with a nine point lead over the Conservatives among decided voters. A May 2020 Nanos survey recorded high satisfaction marks for the federal government performance and steady approval ratings for PM Trudeau. It is conceivable that this minority Liberal Government may not have to face Parliament again before it faces Canadians to restore Justin Trudeau with a democratically elected majority.

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

LINK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/canadas-shuttered-parliament-and-the-challenge-to-our-democracy/

Foreign investments prompt concerns for national security

The Niagara Independent, June 12, 2020 – In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and as Canadians brace for the impending economic crisis, concerns about Canadian companies being sold to foreign investors at fire-sale prices are sounding alarm bells in Ottawa. The greatest concern is the possibility of aggressive takeover bids from Chinese companies with ties to the country’s communist government. From Hope Bay gold mine to Huawei’s bid for Canada’s 5G network, there seems to be a growing wariness with Canadian-Chinese business relations.

This week, MPs on the House of Commons Industry Committee began special hearings to discuss a temporary freeze on large foreign takeovers of Canadian businesses, primarily, to guard against national security threats posed by Chinese firms tied to its communist state. The Industry Committee is studying whether the Investment Canada Act needs to be reinforced to more effectively evaluate the “net benefits” of proposed foreign takeovers, factoring potential risks versus potential jobs. Currently, Canadian security agencies CSIS and the RCMP review the risks of a sale and share any concerns with the federal cabinet. Following the cabinet review a decision is made on whether to block a foreign takeover that is “hostile” or consequential to critical or sensitive industries.

Industry Committee MPs heard testimony that Canada should implement tighter rules on foreign investment by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) — such as China’s — during the pandemic and seriously consider making these new rules permanent. Michelle Rempel Garner, the Conservative MP who initiated the committee’s study of foreign takeovers, explained her concern: “Companies across Canada have reportedly experienced significant devaluations due to the pandemic. In some circumstances, companies in financial distress may seek to be acquired by a foreign owned entity as a way to stave off bankruptcy.”

“Investment in Canada is a good thing and should be encouraged. The worry comes when companies that are vital to Canada’s national interest are acquired by firms tied to authoritarian SOEs. That’s when it becomes a matter of national security. If enough of these takeovers occur, there is a concern that those investments could be consolidated, and we could be in a situation where a foreign government controls a portion of Canada’s strategic industries,” said MP Rempel Garner.

These concerns are echoes of warnings being heard around the globe. In April European Union’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager was advising member countries to buy stakes in European companies to prevent Chinese takeovers. Vestager stated: “It’s very important that one is aware that there is a real risk that businesses that are vulnerable can be the object of a takeover,” she added. “The situation now really underlines the need so we work really intensively.” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg recently called for a “more global approach” in response to China. He said the coronavirus pandemic had “magnified “security concerns and the West must be conscious of the dangers of relying on China for goods and technology: “…China is coming closer to us – we see that in the Arctic, we see they are heavily investing in critical infrastructure in Europe, and we see of course China also operating in cyberspace.”

In Canada, in an annual report released a few weeks ago, CSIS underlined the risks posed by foreign takeovers to Canadian national security. Canada’s lead intelligence agency assessed that the country’s “economic wealth, open business and scientific environments, and advanced workforce and infrastructure” posed an attractive target to foreign investors. CSIS warned that those sales to foreign state-owned enterprises and firms with close ties to governments or intelligence services need to be weighed very carefully. The annual report stated: “Corporate acquisitions by these entities pose potential risks related to vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure, control over strategic sectors, espionage and foreign influenced activities, and illegal transfer of technology and expertise. As difficult as it is to measure, this damage to our collective prosperity is very real.”

Consider the recently announced $207 million deal that would have Canada’s TMAC Resources sell its Nunavut Hope Bay gold mine project to Shandong Gold Mining, a Chinese state-owned mining company. What may have been a “done-deal” a few years ago has today raised red flags over military and geopolitical concerns. The international community recognizes China has a major strategic interest in expanding control over the Arctic. The country has an interest in the key shipping routes through the North and the region’s resource development. As a result, the Canadian government has initiated a review of the sale for “a mix of security considerations and political considerations.”

Canada-China business news this week reports that Canadian telecommunications giants BCE and Telus have decided to use Nokia and Ericsson equipment to develop Canada’s 5G network – freezing out Huawei Technologies. Industry analysts are forewarning the Canadian business community of a backlash from Beijing over this decision. One response by the Chinese government could be to withhold exports of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Canada. Other possible repercussions are for China to reduce Canadian lumber and pulp imports, and B.C. coal and copper imports – potentially impacting hundreds of millions of dollars in trade.

The anticipated wrath of the Chinese Government underlines the need for the federal government to come up with a plan that will safeguard Canadian companies by being targeted by authoritarian regimes. Stephanie Carvin, a national security expert teaching at the Norman Patterson School of Public Affairs at Carleton University says, “We can’t split the economy away from national security. This is what we’re seeing with Huawei right now but Huawei isn’t the end — Huawei is the beginning. This is going to be possibly one of the biggest national security challenges that Canada faces for the next decade is trying to figure out how to manage these geo-economic threats.”

University of Ottawa Professor and a national security expert Wesley Wark concurs, “There is an awakening concern about Canadian economic security and even economic sovereignty, which will be accelerated by the impacts of COVID-19 and challenges around maintaining critical supply chains for health-care supplies. There will be increasing focus on preserving Canada’s economic security in the midst of a turbulent global economy.”

Concerns for Canada’s national security amplify the importance of the Industry Committee’s hearings and MPs’ questioning of Chinese SOEs investments and takeovers. The committee testimony is candid: “sellers beware.”

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/foreign-investments-prompt-concerns-for-national-security/

Trudeau’s Coveted United Nations Security Council Seat

The Niagara Independent, June 5, 2020 – On June 21st we will know whether “Canada is back” sitting in one of the two available seats at the United Nations Security Council table. Since the Liberal Government was first elected in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has coveted this seat on the Security Council and set about on a costly campaign to have our country back at the table. Trudeau has inserted himself into the bid – trekking across the African continent in February and more recently participating in UN video conferences – doubling down on what appears to be an obsessive, personal mission that critics observe is more style than substance.

The Security Council “maintains international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations.” It is a body that monitors situations threatening world peace – such as the current troubles in Syria and Hong Kong – and is charged with leveling economic sanctions to restore stability. The Security Council has five permanent members – United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – and is comprised of a rotating cast of 10 non-permanent members who serve terms of two years. Today, countries like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Estonia, Niger, and Tunisia have chairs at the table.

On Thursday PM Trudeau took part in his third international summit in a week to discuss the UN’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The PM joined leaders from 50 countries and major organizations, along with billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, to discuss ensuring all poorer nations will have timely access to the eventual COVID-19 vaccine. The summit was another of the UN’s pledging conferences to raise $10 billion for GAVI, an international vaccine alliance. PM Trudeau is a welcomed participant of this alliance having already announced Canada’s five-year, $600-million pledge to GAVI.

Trudeau’s attendance at the GAVI meeting came 24 hours after Trudeau delivered a speech at a virtual summit of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States in which he promised Canada would champion the developing countries request for debt relief in the face of their pandemic crises. And both these meetings were preceded a week ago with Trudeau co-hosting an UN meeting that explored the possibilities of coordinating post-pandemic economic recovery plans. At that event, Trudeau pledged Canada’s support and urged all countries to accept the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund as the institutions to lead the international recovery efforts.

Apart from these UN meetings, in the past few weeks PM Trudeau has held numerous virtual meetings with representatives from eastern European countries, from Asia-Pacific countries, and from Arab countries all concerning Canada’s candidacy for the Security Council seat. Trudeau also called the heads of government from Mozambique, Barbados, and Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron to have private chats with no fixed itinerary.

Canadians might expect the PM’s pitch in his private conversations to sound a lot like his statement during one of his recent daily Rideau Cottage appearances. Trudeau explained that Canada needs to be at the table to have a say in how the world recovers from the pandemic.

“… we have another crisis that is comparable in scale to that Second World War, and I think there need to be real reflections on how we move forward as a world, how we update and adjust our various multilateral institutions to better respond to the world we’re becoming part of right now in a post-COVID era. Canada’s voice is going to be really important, as it was around the forming of the Bretton Woods Institutions, as it will be as we create a better, more prosperous, fairer world for everyone. And Canada having a voice at the UN Security Council will allow us to continue to be at the heart of those discussions as we move forward as a planet.”

The CBC has filed many stories on the PM’s bid, covering it much like some boxing match. Our state-funded news organization’s prediction: it’s “a close contest.” The CBC reveals “Canada is in a tight fight with Norway and Ireland… Most experts think Norway has a lock on one of those seats, leaving Ireland and Canada to duke it out for the other one.” The tale of the tape: Canada requires 128 votes from the 198 UN member nations to secure one of two seats that are open.

Our federal government representatives are optimistic that Canada’s international standing has grown in 2020 with the PM taking a leading role in the UN’s efforts to respond to the pandemic. However, there are two core items that are sure to factor greatly in the choice for the Security Council membership and Canada has proven to be sorely deficient in them both.

First, Canada’s peacekeeping commitment is embarrassing when considering today the UN has 83, 000 men and women in service around the world. Canada currently has just 35 personnel involved in UN peacekeeping, the lowest number of “Blue Berets” since 1956. By comparison, Norway had 66 active peacekeepers and Ireland has 533 peacekeepers contributing to UN operations.

Second, Canada’s record on the UN’s foreign aid commitments is shameful. Canada ranks very low among the 30 richest countries spending only 0.28 per cent of its gross national income (GNI) in 2019 on foreign aid – about a third of the UN’s target spending of 0.7 per cent. In comparison with its competitors, Ireland spends 0.35 per cent of its GNI and is committing to increase that figure. Norway contributes more than one per cent of its GNI to international assistance.

On the latter point, Canada has recently pledged sizeable amounts of money for UN efforts. Trudeau promised $850 million in post-pandemic relief funds and Government officials have stated that “It’s only the beginning.” Indeed it might prove to be as this week the UN upped its global appeal for pandemic humanitarian aid to $6.7 billion (U.S.) – and this figure is in addition to the urgent appeal for $2.4 billion (U.S.) to help the war torn Yemen.

Stephen Lewis, a former Canadian ambassador to the UN, is closely following the country’s bid for the Security Council seat and he is doubtful of Canada’s chances. He believes the Liberal Government has not matched its “rhetoric with performance.” Lewis states: “The government espouses generosity: in fact, they’re begrudging pretenders.” Lewis assesses the Canadian efforts to schmooze foreign leaders for their country’s vote as “a bit of a sham.”

Global News reporter David Akin concludes much of the same: the Prime Minister is betting he will win the UN Security Council seat on the strength of his own personal brand and his courting exercises of the past few months: “Trudeau is binding himself — and himself only — to the success or failure of the bid.”

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

LINK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/trudeaus-coveted-united-nations-security-council-seat/

Butts is Back to Have Canada “Build Back Better” (Part 2)

The Niagara Independent, May 29, 2020 – Gerald Butts has resurfaced in Ottawa as a member of the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery. This is a group that has tasked itself to review the Resilient Recovery Framework document, and then report into the federal government a recovery plan to support Canada’s 2030 and 2050 climate goals. The Task Force’s primary goal 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 Resilient Recovery Framework that the Task Force is reviewing is a document that was submitted to the group the very day it came into being, authored by the Smart Prosperity Institute of the University of Ottawa – the same institute that is listed as a research arm of the Task Force. (Does this not beg the question how the Task Force will maintain its objectivity assessing the Institute’s work while employing Institute researchers?)

On the Task Force’s website www.recoverytaskforce.ca it encourages Canadians to get to know “our insights and recommendations for government” by highlighting (who else!) leading experts from the Smart Prosperity Institute, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (the second research arm of the Task Force) and a news magazine Corporate Knights which is “The Voice for Clean Capitalism” with a mission to advocate for a “green recovery” by promoting “a green renovation phase.” It appears the Task Force has a limited scope, drawing from its own research bodies and a sustainable industry publication dedicated to advancing social and environmental sustainability worldwide.

The Resilient Recovery Framework sets out the criteria for Canada’s best recovery investments. It states: “When Canada turns the corner on the COVID-19 health crisis, the nation will make a once-in-a-generation investment in economic recovery. That investment needs to kick start growth and jobs right away, while also continuing Canada’s progress toward building a stronger, cleaner economy.” In the document’s executive summary it indicates its focus on “a decarbonized and digitized world” steering the government towards “Canada’s natural capital and low-carbon future.”

The document poses three key questions to assess investments: 1) Does the measure stimulate timely, lasting economic benefits and jobs? 2) Does the measure help the environment and support clean competitiveness? 3) Is the measure equitable, implementable, and feasible? Drilling down to the next level, it is noted that investments are to show economic benefits in a timeframe of 6-18 months, meet Canada’s climate change targets, and have a positive or at least neutral impact on vulnerable, marginalized or underrepresented groups, such as Indigenous peoples and women. (PMO staff might not have been able to write a better criteria for this Liberal Government to use.) 

This is all part of what veteran financial columnist Terence Corcoran calls “The “’resilience” ploy to seize the economy.” The hidden agenda has been “to lift economy out of deep lockdown hole politicians threw us into by having the same politicians take control and re-engineer the whole system.” In a May 27 Financial Post article, Corcoran explains the global environmentalist branding exercise:

“Resilience is the post-COVID-19 replacement for sustainable (117,000,000 Google results). In pre-pandemic economic policy terms, sustainable development called for a rethink of global, national and local economic objectives. The United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development policy goals describes the agenda as “ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth — all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.” These sustainable development objectives are identical to those of the global resilience movement. The only difference is the label.”

The resilience movement and its warriors also have a new rally cry — as Canadians will come to recognize from multiple Corporate Knights articles, Task Force interviews, and CBC headlines: this orchestrated green recovery from COVID-19 is going to help Canada “build back better.” Euphemistically, to build back better is to “green the energy supply”, “tap into Canada’s renewable cornucopia”, and “to establish a reference level for a carbon-free generation in Canada.”

There have been clarion warnings about the political maneuvering of Gerald Butts, the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, and its cadre of environmental lobbyists and green business interests. Former Liberal MP Dan McTeague warns “Gerald Butts and Bruce Lourie are two folks well on their way to bankrupting Canada.” Jocelyn Bamford, president of the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada, warns that the PM’s green energy plan will bankrupt us as “it is built upon the same priority as the one pushed by former Ontario premiers Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne.”

Trying to get ahead of the resilience movement’s likely investment recommendations, Calgary Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein flatly stated: “As the global economy struggles to recover from the recession caused by COVID-19, what we don’t need are more wind turbines and solar panels.” In the Financial Post, Canada’s former finance minister Joe Oliver assessed that the Trudeau Liberals are worsening the countries fiscal problem: “Canada has the dubious distinction of being the only country rich in energy resources whose government’s policy is to keep most of its wealth buried forever.”

Then there is Gwyn Morgan, the retired founding CEO of Encana Corp, who in a recent C2C Journal article stated: “No other country has so deliberately turned itself into a climate-change martyr. And yet for all the economic, social and national unity pain inflicted, our sacrifices will have no perceptible impact on global climate change. Entering the third decade of this troubled millennium, we can only hope our federal government somehow realizes the future of our Confederation requires leaving behind blind ideology and finding some basic common sense.”

Still Gerald Butts and the Task Force are on track in July to bring forward recommendations for recovery investments so that the Liberal Government can champion a resilient recovery that will ensure Canada will “build back better.” And with Parliament suspended, who is there to speak up and hold Butts, PM Trudeau, and their resilience warriors to account?

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/butts-is-back-to-have-canada-build-back-better-part-2/

Butts is Back to Help Shape the Liberal Government’s Green Policies (Part 1)

The Niagara Independent, May 22, 2020 – The understated announcement of the “Task Force for a Resilient Recovery” went largely undetected by national media and political pundits. Though the Ottawa grapevine was abuzz with the mention of Gerald Butts’s resurfacing, there was no commentary beyond recognizing his membership on the Task Force. The possibilities that this man’s return to counsel the Prime Minister and the Liberals’ backroom as they prepare for the impending election battle went wholly unconsidered.

Gerald Butts has re-entered the Nation’s Capital as a member of the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, “a new and independent group of finance, policy and sustainability leaders.” The Task Force has proclaimed for itself the task of “developing actionable recommendations on how governments can help get Canadians back to work while also building a low-carbon and resilient economy.” With a time frame of eight weeks, it will review and assess a variety of potential environmental “recovery investments” to recommend for inclusion in the federal government’s economic plans to kick-start the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Remarkably not one member of this Task Force, that is to assess Canada’s economic recovery plans, has run a corporation or industrial business. The membership includes international non-governmental agencies, academics, and leadership from environmental groups. It is being co-chaired by Barbara Zvan of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Don Forgeron of the Insurance Board of Canada, and Elizabeth Beale, formerly with the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council. The Task Force states it has advisory support by eight business and finance advisors and that it will be supported by two research organizations — Smart Prosperity Institute and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Its primary focus will be a review of The Resilient Recovery Framework, a document submitted to the Task Force by the Smart Prosperity Institute on the very day of its launch. (The framework document, as well as the close relationships between the Task Force and the Institute is reported on in my next column.)

In a written statement, the Task Force declared: “Canada’s investments to recover from COVID-19 will either lock us into a vulnerable future or put us on a resilient path towards net-zero emissions, good jobs and a strong economy. This is an important opportunity for Canadians everywhere. We’re determined to help Canada’s governments seize it.” In an exclusive CBC pre-launch interview, a spokesperson explained that the Task Force’s goal is to help seize a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to “build back better” by directing government stimulus funds to sustainable projects. Task Force member Bruce Lourie, who is president of the Ivey Foundation at the University of Western Ontario, told CBC News they want to make sure the government does not take its eye off the ball and invest in the “wrong kinds” of areas for the future.

Spencer Fernando, an Ottawa political reporter, immediately identified the possible implications of having Gerald Butts involved. “The group – anticipating massive government stimulus spending – is seeking to direct funding to what they see as parts of the economy key to building a ‘green economy’” and Fernando explains, “The problem will be if the group seeks to use the CCP Virus Crisis as a pretext for pushing for the destruction of Canada’s oil and gas sector.” In his editorial comment “Butts Pushing New Movement,” Fernando concludes, “It remains to be seen whether this new group will be focused on good ideas that can help all Canadians, or on playing political games that further divides our nation.”

Whether the Task Force recommendations reflect beneficial or divisive suggestions for Canada’s future economic recovery, they will certainly advance green investment programs and services. And this is where Gerald Butts will be indispensable to the Task Force and its success in packaging its green investment solutions. Given Butts’ past record with green programs, and his adeptness at presenting environmental concerns as wedge issues in political campaigns, Canadians can expect to see much of the Task Force work finding its way into the Liberal campaign platform.

As Principal Secretary to former Premier Dalton McGuinty, Butts is acknowledged as the chief architect for many of Ontario’s environmental initiatives and its infamous Green Energy Program. As a result of unscrupulous solar and wind power projects, an ill-conceived coal shutdown, and pricey incentives to renewable industries, Ontario taxpayers are now saddled with hydro and energy expenses in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Ontario manufacturers are paying the most expensive rates of electricity in North America. The Liberal Government’s last Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault issued a mea culpa by way of an admission that the Green Energy Act not only led to “sub-optimal outcomes” for consumers, but increased prices in electricity for families and businesses in Ontario. On the 2018 election campaign trail, then Premier Kathleen Wynne herself conceded that many Ontarians must “choose between paying the electricity bill and buying food or paying rent.” In part, this is Gerald Butts’ green legacy in Ontario.

Fast forward to his actions in Ottawa as the PMO confidant of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Butts is credited with the development and implementation of the federal government’s carbon tax regime. He is also widely recognized as framing the Liberals’ energy and resource development strategy, which has been nothing less than an orchestrated assault on Canada’s resource sectors, driving out Encana, Koch, Stratoil, Marathon Oil, to name a few – and cancelling mega-energy projects such as Teck Resources’ Frontier Project and the Energie Saguenay natural gas project. Today, the Trudeau Government showcases its environmental policies as a top priority. Jocelyn Bamford, President of the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada, observes that this environmental focus is the very same priority of former Ontario Premiers Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne. Bamford states: “At both the federal and provincial levels, the brainchild of the liberal policy aimed at kick-starting green energy initiatives is former Trudeau principal secretary Gerald Butts.”

Indeed, Justin Trudeau’s BFF is back. There is much to Gerald Butts’ resurfacing; his seemingly inconsequential role as a member of an unheard of task force is likely much more of a story for the Government’s green recovery investments and for the Liberals’ election platform.

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/butts-is-back-to-help-shape-the-liberal-governments-green-policies-part-1/

Optimistically Canadians will have a $252 Billion deficit this year and more than $1 Trillion debt

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux waits to appear before the Commons Finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday March 10, 2020. Photo: Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Niagara Independent, May 15, 2020 –  A budget deficit of $252 billion this year and a national debt of more than $1 trillion? But then, who is counting?

Two weeks ago the Parliamentary Budget Officer Report was issued and it projected that, given the combined impact of the pandemic and the collapse of world oil prices, Canada will have a budgetary deficit of $252.1 billion this year. The country’s GDP (the value of all goods and services produced) will fall by 12 per cent for the fiscal year. This will result in federal tax revenues falling by $60 billion, while the government’s program spending will increase by $168 billion.

To put all these numbers in context, it is the worst financial statement in Canada’s history. The deficit figure that is about to blot the ledger books of our country is greater than in any single year during the Great Depression.

That was two weeks ago. Fast forward to this week when Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Yves Giroux appeared before MPs to testify at a finance committee meeting. Giroux said the $252 billion figure he cited in his report is “optimistic” and that it is “a low-ball estimate” of how much the federal government programs will cost the federal treasury this fiscal year. He anticipated the figure to be higher as the government continues to spend billions of dollars on emergency economic support programs to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Giroux explained, “The figure of $252 billion is very likely to be the very optimistic scenario, as opposed to the number for the deficit for the current fiscal year. It’s very difficult to estimate what is a likely deficit figure given that details are missing for some of these potentially very expensive measures.”

Giroux also projected that the coronavirus lockdown could result in Canada’s debt climbing to surpass $ 1 trillion. The PBO replied to Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre’s question whether it was “possible or realistic” that the federal debt could reach a trillion dollars during this fiscal year. He answered, “Possible, yes. Realistic? Yes. Certainly not unthinkable.”

In follow-up to the PBO appearance, the Federal Department of Finance reaffirmed Giroux’s projection, saying that the department had no estimate on the amount of money spent by the Trudeau Government in the last nine weeks. As it turns out, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada is also not able to provide any performance audits of federal departments. It has been reported that the Trudeau Government has been withholding operations funding from the office, preventing it from conducting its regular schedule of audits.

So, one trillion dollars of debt: $1,000,000,000,000. Can Canadians carry this burden? The short answer is “yes.” Given the current projections, the PBO sees the federal debt-to-GDP ratio rising to 48.4 per cent this year (Trudeau Government has boasted it has always been able to keep it at a manageable 30 per cent). Even at this inflated rate, the debt-to-GDP remains below its peak of 66.6-per-cent back during the PM Jean Chretien years of 1995–96. In the mid-90s Canadians were paying 38 cents of every tax dollar to pay the interest on the national debt. As it is in our post-pandemic world, Canadians will be paying about 30 cents on the dollar in interest payments – but that depends on interest rates.  As Paul Boothe, a former senior bureaucrat at Finance Canada also explains, it will depend on the foreign government(s) who will set the conditions on the debt they will finance (about one-third of government’s debt).

For the PM, this is a problem for another day. Trudeau said recently, “There will be time after this is all done as we figure out how exactly this unfolds, where we will have to make next decisions on how that recovery looks. But right now our focus is on getting through this together as a country.” When pressed about how Canadians may be told what the country’s books look like, Trudeau offered, “We’ll find ways to share this with you but we have not yet been able to determine what the best way is of looking at a budget or an economic update or maybe another way of sharing information with Canadians about what we foresee for the months to come.”

It is difficult to keep track of the multiple financial commitments made by the Trudeau Government. The numbers are alarming. Last reported, more than 7.3 million Canadians have applied for emergency assistance. Another 96,000 employers have applied for the 75 per cent wage subsidy to cover about 1.7 million workers. Another 518,000 businesses have applied for $40,000 government-backed loans.

And there are increasing concerns being expressed by MPs and media about the lack of government controls in place to monitor its own spending. This week, details of how the federal government has suspended “compliance and enforcement” of the EI program during the pandemic were exposed. Federal civil servants revealed to media that massive fraud is taking place. There are as many as 200,000 cases being given the $2,000-a-month emergency payment; yet, questions to the PM about this $400-million-per-month-boondoggle were dismissed.

In a special column to the Globe and Mail, Preston Manning sounded an alert on the gross spending by the federal government. He wrote, “Sooner or later – and preferably sooner – Canadians will come to realize that the country is headed into a financial and economic crisis of unprecedented magnitude with, as yet, no realistic plan or demonstrated capacity on the part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority government to deal with it.”

Last word goes to an unlikely left-of-centre character, former NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, who was also highly critical of the Trudeau Government’s spending ways. Mulcair wrote in a Sun Media editorial: “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. Trudeau swatted away questions on that, not because it isn’t a huge problem but because he knows there’ll be an election before he has to bring in new taxes to start dealing with it.”

Mulcair concluded his criticisms with a lament for Canada’s future taxpayers, “Once again, 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.”

(Is it now not accurate to say that with this $1 trillion dollar debt legacy, Trudeau Jr. has far surpassed the dubious legacy of Trudeau Sr., the father of Canada’s debt and its deficit-spending tradition?) 

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/optimistically-canadians-will-have-a-252-billion-deficit-this-year-and-more-than-1-trillion-debt/

A Spotlight on Canada-China Relations (Part 3)

The Niagara Independent, May 8, 2020 – In responding to the unfolding crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the glare of the spotlight on Canada-China relations has illuminated the Liberal Party’s affairs with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). What Canadians are witnessing is that our country’s relations with China are as much about political and business ties as they are about Canada’s foreign policy position.

Consider Canada’s reluctance to join with its traditional allies on matters relating to China. Australia’s initial call for an independent international investigation into the origins and spread of the coronavirus resulted in an Australia-China diplomatic tussle. Australia’s foreign minister publicly questioned the CCP’s transparency surrounding the pandemic and accused Chinese officials of destruction and suppression of evidence. The country’s PM Scott Morrison followed up with statements about greater transparency from both Beijing and the World Health Organization (W.H.O.). The response from China was public threats about trade embargos on Australian wine and beef and a travel ban that would not permit Chinese tourists and students to go down under.

Still Australia’s call for an investigation has gathered momentum. The U.K., German, Polish and Netherlands Governments have been publicly critical of the CCP’s bullying tactics. The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made overt political claims this week that there is “enormous evidence” that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory. This was followed up with the European Union’s 27 member states joining together to co-sponsor a resolution calling for an independent review at the W.H.O. assembly when it meets May 18th. A spokesperson for the European Commission is quoted as saying it is “essential” that the world gets answers.

With the international community uniting in a quest for truth, it remains unclear what Canada’s position is – unclear how the Canadian W.H.O. delegation will vote when it comes to launching an investigation. If the delegation were to parrot PM Trudeau’s views on the matter, Canada will abstain or, perhaps, vote against an investigation. The Prime Minister, yet again, said this week Canada is not drawing “firm conclusions” on allegations about the origins and spread of the coronavirus. Trudeau stated Canada would continue to work “independently” with its intelligence partners and would want all countries, including China, to participate in any international investigation.

Financial Post columnist Diane Francis penned a strongly worded rebuke of this political-speak: “Canada needs a prime minister who will stand up to China and hold it accountable for the untold damage this pandemic has caused the world. Instead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sanctimoniously says that now is not the time for criticism, but for international co-operation. How bloody naive.”

Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier institute, Charles Burton offered a more reserved observation in calling on the PM to support a “meaningful and full investigation” of the origins of the coronavirus. “If we decided that we would not support an international investigation of what went on in Wuhan and how the matter was handled by the government of China, we would in effect be giving in to a form of diplomatic and trade blackmail that would clearly not be in Canada’s longer term interest in maintaining the international rules-based order.”

A commentary published in The American Conservative received mainstream coverage south of the border. The column entitled, “Justin Trudeau’s Weak Sauce Approach To China Is Embarrassing” asserts that the Canadian PM is coddling the Communist Party at the worst possible time, further eroding his own authority. The publication opines: “In recent years, there have been numerous reports of Beijing’s tyrannical abuse of its own citizens and economic ruthlessness abroad. Yet Justin Trudeau still lacks the guts to even broach the subject, ostensibly undermining the foreign policy of our closest allies.”

On both sides of the border, there has been continuous editorializing on the possible rationale for Canada’s reluctance to join with the call for an independent investigation. Is the Canadian Government attempting to chart its own post-pandemic diplomacy with China? Or is it something more evident – like securing China’s endorsement for a seat on the United Nations Security Council? PM Trudeau has long coveted this UN seat and has spent untold resources and millions of dollars to secure it. Is Canada’s avoidance of irritating the CCP part of its strategy to win the June vote? Sun News pundit Lorne Gunter has no doubt it is, “They undoubtedly figure if they can show themselves to be playing along with the phony narrative about COVID-19 being spun by the Chinese government with the help of the UN’s World Health Organization, they will win brownie points for their Security Council bid against Norway and Ireland.”

There is perhaps another not-so-evident but much-more-compelling reason for Canada’s response to all matters relating to the CCP and China. It could be the multifarious financial dealings that members of the Liberal Party of Canada (particularly those from the old families of Montreal) have with the CCP. At the heart of Canada-China commerce is the Demarais family’s Power Corporation, which has significant investments in China, including assets bought from the China International Trust Investment Corporation, a firm owned by the Chinese government. Power Corp and Montreal Liberals are interchangeable: former PM Jean Chretien’s son-in-law Andre Desmarais is President and co–CEO; John Rae, brother of former Liberal leader Bob Rae is a long-serving senior manager; and former PMs Paul Martin, Jean Chretien and Pierre Trudeau all served within Power Corp – in fact, Chretien is a Power Corp lobbyist within China. And PM Justin Trudeau also works this corporate network – his trusted advisor has been Peter Harder, President of the Canada-China Business Council and member of the Power Corp Board of Directors. (Incidentally, one of the first Senators named by Justin Trudeau was his friend Peter Harder.)

So, perhaps these intricate Power Corp business interests may have had some pull with the Montreal Liberals – from Trudeau Sr. through to Trudeau Jr.? They may also be a clue to (Shawinigan-born-Montreal-schooled-MP) Canada’s current Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne’s assessment of China when he says the country is a “beacon of stability, predictability, a rule–based system, a very inclusive society.” Certainly the ties were precisely what former Liberal MP and Ambassador to China John McCallum was alluding to when, before the 2019 federal vote, he advised Chinese officials not to hurt the Liberals’ chance of reelection. Recall McCallum said, “The Conservatives would be harsher in holding China to account.”

On many levels, Canada-China relations will be one of the most significant policy areas for our country in the post-pandemic world. Canadians will expect their government to have their best interests at the centre of foreign policy positions. And that is where what has come to light is most revealing.

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-spotlight-on-canada-china-relations-part-3/