Tag Archives: Niagara_Independent

Canada’s subsidized mainstream media is not trusted

The Niagara Independent, October 7, 2022 – Canada’s mainstream media (a.k.a. legacy media) outlets are floundering with an existential question of journalistic independence as they are accepting increasing amounts of government subsidies. With this obvious conflict of interest, Canadians are losing trust in news reporting and editorial commentary from legacy newsrooms.

The impact (good and bad) of the federal government’s media subsidies is currently being assessed at a parliamentary committee studying Bill C-18, the Online News Act. This legislation is designed to produce a new advertising revenue stream for a select group of Canada’s legacy news organizations. Bill C-18 forces Google and Facebook to pay a fee for their hypertext links to Canadian news sources; a fee that is arbitrated as well as policed by the Canadian regulatory body CRTC.

Given Canadians’ loss of faith in their fourth estate, the committee’s legislative hearings are taking on added significance in addressing the integrity of subsidized media. And it is telling that Canadians are not learning of the committee’s work from the CBC or other legacy media. Thankfully, independent news source Blacklock’s Reporter (not government subsidized) is providing details of the committee’s testimony.

Bill C-18 is deeply flawed as assessed by ex-CRTC commissioner and former Calgary Herald editor in chief Peter Menzies: “It’s going to create more mistrust and it’s not going to end well. Trust in Canada’s media has never been lower. It will keep the wolves from the door of a few legacy companies for a few more years but won’t save journalism…”

“Bill C-18 will permanently entrench the industry’s dependency not on the loyalty of citizens, readers and viewers but upon the good graces of politicians.”

In his committee testimony Menzies explained the Catch-22 problem that legacy media wants to ignore (while continuing to take the money the government is handing it). Menzies stated: “The more government assistance news media gets, the more broken the relationship with readers becomes. The more that relationship is broken, the more subsidy will be required. The people who today think media are toadying up to the Liberal government will at some point in the future believe they are toadying up to someone else. It doesn’t really matter whether they are or they aren’t. What matters is people won’t believe them.”

Jeanette Ageson also provided an insightful testimony to MPs. Ageson is the publisher of the Vancouver news site The Tyee and she was appearing as spokesperson for the Independent Online News Publishers of Canada. Ageson observed, “Canada is facing not one news crisis but two. One is financial and the other is the crisis of mistrust… Canadians are expressing unprecedented distrust towards the news and the reporters who deliver it. Canadians need to know who is funding the news they receive and on what terms.”

So, let’s review what is publicly known about the subsides to Canada’s legacy news outlets.

  • In 2019 the Trudeau government doled out a $595 million bailout of cabinet-approved news publishers.
  • Subsidies to these select news organizations include 25 per cent payroll rebates to a maximum $13,750 per newsroom employee
  • Select news organizations also receive a 15 per cent tax credit for subscribers
  • Citing income tax confidentiality provisions, the government will not disclose the recipients of the bailout payments that have been made to a selected set of news organizations (selected by the Trudeau cabinet)

This summer the Trudeau cabinet let it be known that the government is committed to providing legacy media with long term financial support, beyond 2024 when the federal subsidies were scheduled to end. No doubt this promised largesse is well received by the legacy media, particularly those select newsrooms that know they will be covered through the next federal election.

The $595 million bailout money is only part of the dollars the federal government is shoveling to Canadian media. In the past two years, Canadian media also has received millions of dollars in “pandemic relief” payments. It was just disclosed that TV broadcasters were given more than $100 million of cash grants, and millions of dollars of mandatory licensing fees were waived. Direct payments to television networks and affiliates totaled $22.5 million in 2021 and $81.1 million in 2020.

CBC also received pandemic relief funding of $21 million. (Coincidently, in the last two years, salary increases at CBC totaled $21 million and managers were also awarded $30.4 million in bonuses.)

But, CBC is another story onto itself. Consider that this state broadcaster receives a $1.36 billion annual federal grant for its operations. Given this, MPs on the Bill C-18 committee were surprised to learn that CBC will be the largest beneficiary of the new subsidy win fall (which might explain why Canadians do not hear critical analysis of the legislation from CBC).

Aside from the money, there are continuous unethical activities occurring in the Ottawa press corps that bring into question the journalistic independence and integrity of Canada’s fourth estate. Here are a handful:

  • Senior Cabinet Minister Pablo Rodriguez thanked news agencies for their supportive coverage of the truckers’ convoy and the imposition of the Emergencies Act – as he was promising further subsidies for legacy media (ironically he made these statements on a webinar entitled “The Future of News”)
  • Legacy media were exposed photoshopping photos and editing news stories of Chrystia Freeland holding a pro-Nazi banner in a February 2022 Ukrainian protest parade
  • Finance Minister Freeland and her officials were caught having a “media blacklist” of news reporters that they would not take questions from (something they denied existed)
  • Federal government gave $600,000 worth of contracts to “media influencers” in 2021 to praise government programs and services on TV, in print, and in social media
  • CBC pundit was contracted by the Governor General’s office to comment on-air about the “perfect” appointment of the new GG Mary Simon

These incidents are routinely being reported to Canadians in independent news sources like Blacklock’s Reporter and True North Media – and they go unreported by the legacy media.

There is little wonder how trust in Canada’s media is waning. University of Oxford’s 2022 Digital News Report states only 42 per cent of Canadians were found to be trusting of “most news,” representing a 13 per cent decline since 2016. These numbers are corroborated by a Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism survey that found 42 per cent of Canadians “trusted the news,” compared with 58 per cent in 2018.

In the same Reuters survey, only 29 per cent of respondents indicated that the media is free from undue political influence. An earlier 2022 survey released by Edelman Canada found that 61 per cent of Canadians believe journalists and reporters purposely try to mislead them “by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”

Jen Gerson, editor of the Calgary online newsletter The Line, summed up Canadian media’s existential quandary to MPs at the Bill C-18 Committee when she said, “I have real concerns about making media outlets dependent on revenue that is subject to the whims of the government in power. The industry’s dependence on these revenue streams makes us pawns of partisan politics whether we wish to be or not.”

Canadians are left to ponder: What is there to trust in legacy media that is bought and paid for?

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-subsidized-mainstream-media-is-not-trusted/

Ottawa’s ‘sport’ has become a lot more entertaining

The Niagara Independent, September 30, 2022 – Political pundits and much of the national press corps will often resort to jockular descriptions of politicians’ debates and activities. Whether it is covering the pugilists’ blow by blow in the House of Commons or announcing who is nosing ahead in the latest opinion polls, the news from Ottawa is regularly presented as a contest. The punchy headlines and bellicose commentary grab and keep Canadians’ attention.

And now with the newly selected Conservative Leader in the ring, Ottawa’s “sport” has become a lot more entertaining.

September 22 was the first time combatants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre met two swords length apart in the House of Commons. Media reports of the encounter did not disappoint those anxious to get their first glimpse of the titans coming together: “Trudeau, Poilievre face off”, “Pierre Poilievre leans in as Justin Trudeau pushes back”, “Poilievre has first joust with Trudeau”.

Here’s the ringside call of that first fisticuffs:

  • PP came out with a few haymakers, “It’s good to see the prime minister here visiting Canada to fill up the gas in his private jet, but things are bad on the ground in Canada. Will the prime minister cancel the tax increases on gas, heating, food, and pay cheques?”
  • JT congratulated his opponent on his latest leadership victory and then shuffled and backstepped explaining his government is creating an economy that “works for everyone.”
  • PP advanced and landed a few jabs saying that “heating your home in January and February in Canada is not a luxury…” Canadians mustn’t be seen as “polluters” because of their energy consumption.
  • JT counter-jabbed that Poilievre “has an opportunity to support these measures and get help directly to Canadians.”
  • PP circled back and punched, “This from a prime minister who burned more jet fuel in one month than 20 average Canadians burn in an entire year. So will the prime minister ground the jet, park the hypocrisy, and axe the tax hikes?”
  • Again, skillfully backpedaling, JT scored with an uppercut before the bell, “If Canadians had followed the advice of the leader of the opposition and invested in volatile cryptocurrencies…they would have lost half of their savings.”
  • JT then looked over his shoulders as he walked back to his corner and taunted the new contender, “On this side of the aisle, we are going to stay focused on helping Canadians for real.”

The feistiness of this exchange was brash enough to have the Toronto Star lead editorial the next day plead, “Civility in politics, please.” Star editors wrote: “The issues confronting the nation should be vigorously debated in the House of Commons. Surely those debates can be civil too.”

The Hill Times has published a number of articles in the past weeks recording MPs’ impressions of what to expect in the House of Commons through the fall. It appears everybody is ready to rumble. A senior Liberal pundit admitted, “It’s going to be a fist fight. I mean, the Conservatives under Pierre Poilievre are going to be in a fist fight. They are going to punch Justin Trudeau and the Liberals in the head every day, every hour, every minute, every second, every week, and they’re going to use their different platforms to do it.”

A Liberal MP candidly stated, “We’re not going to just, you know, lay down and get punched. There’s a serious belief [in the] caucus that this guy is a serious contender, probably the biggest challenge that we faced in the last several years, and he’s very skillful. So I think there’s no question that they [the PMO] take him as a serious threat.”

Liberal veteran MP Judy Sgro adds a threatening warning, “We’ll take whatever steps are necessary to protect our brand…”

In all those interviewed by the Hill Times it was the NDP House Leader, MP Peter Julian, who offered a moment of sensible reflection when he observed, “I think one of the things that I’ve seen over my many years in Parliament is the Liberals and Conservatives love culture wars. And they love to paint each other as diabolical and outrageous, and I think people are really tired. People are frustrated. There is a level of anger up there. But I think what people want is someone to actually deliver.”

To switch venues, let’s consider the race program and recent results from the downs of Parliament Hill. It appears the earlier news of the Conservatives inching ahead of the Liberals is confirmed this week with three opinion polls indicating the Conservatives have opened up a considerable lead.

Earlier in September, Leger suggested newly crowned Poilievre and the Conservatives had surged from a five-point deficit in an August poll to take a 34 to 28 per cent lead over the Trudeau Liberals, Mainstreet’s poll reported the Conservative lead was greater, 40 to 32 per cent. Abacus Data released their numbers, showing a five-length lead for the Conservative horse, er Party, 35 to 30 per cent.

This week Ipsos released a poll exclusively conducted for Global News. Ipsos’s take is that the Conservatives are leading 35 to 30 per cent. But the more troubling news for the Liberals is the commentary that Opposition Leader Poilievre is the “best candidate for prime minister” (by a margin of 35 to 31 per cent). Furthermore, two out of three Canadians now believe it is time to change horses.

Angus Reid also shared their latest polling results and they have the Conservatives opening up a seven-length lead over the Liberals, 37 to 30 per cent. The Conservatives have a spring in their step as the polling results from voter-rich Ontario show their fortunes are rising to nearly 40 per cent support. Angus Reid’s summary on this surge is that Poilievre has harnessed the support of the People’s Party voters.

This same opinion poll has 49 per cent of Canadian respondents believing that the best descriptive for Justin Trudeau is “arrogant.” Another 45 per cent said Trudeau was “dishonest,” and 39 per cent said he was “corrupt.” A 56 per cent majority of those polled said they disapproved of the PM’s overall performance.

Many pundits are weighing in on these results and there is a general consensus that it is too early in the race to say who will cross the wire as the winner. The prevailing wisdom is the Tories need to run up the middle of the Liberals and NDP, while Trudeau needs to jockey his fortunes and convince enough voters that the Liberals are the only hope to defeat the Conservatives.

The track for the next two years appears to be hard and fast. Both Trudeau and Poilievre have solid support bases who have very different beliefs on how to approach the challenges facing Canada today: inflation and government spending, post-pandemic economic recovery, natural resources development, regional politics, international diplomacy… it is going to be a flat-out race to the finish.

So, in the Nation’s Capital the marvel of this spirited contest has captivated us all. It’s like cheering through a glitzy wrestling match where we are fully aware the scissor-kicks and sleeper holds are choreographed. But it’s the excitement of the sport and it was perhaps best captured by a Liberal MP, who confessed in a Hill Times back-to-parliament interview, “You just get your popcorn, make sure your popcorn is ready, you’re sitting in front of your tv, and it’s going to be entertaining.”

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/ottawas-sport-has-become-a-lot-more-entertaining/

Trudeau government vs. Canada’s financial experts

The Niagara Independent, September 23, 2022 – Parliament resumed this week and on the first day back the government introduced two pieces of legislation to signal its focus on helping Canadians cope with the rising cost of living. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau forecasted the government will spend billions of dollars to provide relief from the financial strain being inflicted by inflation. Yet, according to Canada’s leading financial experts, the Trudeau government’s unrestrained spending is fueling the country’s inflation and exacerbating Canadians’ financial headaches.

On Tuesday, Trudeau’s team introduced Bill C-30, which will double the next two GST rebate cheques to Canadians, as well as introduce a dental care subsidy to uninsured parents with children under 12. It also introduced Bill C-31, which will enact a plan to send a one-time, “rent support” cheque of $500 to lower-income Canadians. Liberal MPs state that these measures are a targeted approach to supporting low-income individuals and families.

The exact costs for these government payouts amount to $4.7 billion. It is estimated that the GST rebate cheques will cost $2.5 billion. The dental care payout will cost $650 per child, and it is estimated that 500,000 children will qualify. The total cost of the subsidy is nearly $1 billion dollars. The rent support cheques are estimated to cost the government $1.2 billion.

The $4.7 billion price tag on these new initiatives is added to the $9 billion accountability plan announced by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in June. That government package included inflation-indexed increases to the Canada Child Benefit, Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, as well an enhanced Canada Workers Benefit.

So, this year the Trudeau government has announced new program spending of $13.7 billion. This is over and above its 2022 federal budget announcement of $31 billion of new spending over the next five years (resulting in a fiscal deficit for 2022-23 of $52.8 billion).

PM Trudeau announced the latest “affordability package” while at a caucus retreat in New Brunswick a week ago. Trudeau explained in his presentation to the media corps, “My own perspective is Canadians are almost entirely preoccupied with the big issues we’re facing, whether it’s the rise in the cost of living, global inflation… We are retaining fiscal firepower and at the same time ensuring that those who need support don’t get left behind.”

Trudeau stated that the government’s $4.7 billion spending on new programs “is sufficiently targeted that we are confident they will not contribute to inflation.” The PM crowed, “These measures all put people at the centre of our plan to grow the economy. They are targeted to the middle class and people working hard to join it, while we continue to be responsible with public finances.”

Trudeau then repeated, “The help we’re announcing today will make a big difference for the people who get it in a targeted way that will not stoke inflation.”

Though not questioned by the mainstream media in attendance, the PM’s assertions did not reassure Canada’s financial community. In fact, there is a consensus view from a chorus of financial experts that unbridled government spending is problematic.

Derek Holt, head of capital markets economics at Scotiabank, sarcastically responded to Justin Trudeau’s statements. In a note to bank clients he wrote, “Any belief that it will ease inflationary pressures must have studied different economics textbooks.”

Holt reasoned “it seems sensible to assume that this will add to pressures on measures of core inflation” and it will “aggravate the Bank of Canada’s stance on monetary policy.”

Scotiabank’s financial expert also made this forecast, “The information today suggests that the Bank of Canada is likely to be dragged along by the Federal Reserve with domestic fiscal stimulus reinforcing the likelihood that the policy rate breaches 4 per cent by December, if not October.”

BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic was also critical of the government’s continued spending, “We’re not going to deny that there are households seriously in need of help right now in this inflationary environment. But, from a policy perspective, we all know that sending out money as an inflation-support measure is inherently inflationary.”

Avery Shenfeld, the chief economist for CIBC also warned his bank’s clients, stating “while there are times where fiscal largesse is just what the economy needs, these aren’t such times.”

Shenfield observed, “In a period of high inflation and excess demand, cutting taxes or handing out cheques can add fuel to the inflationary fire, and make the job of a central bank that’s raising rates to cool demand all that more troublesome.”

Shenfeld also forecasts potential dark clouds on the horizon for a government that has no financial discipline, “A recession is a distinct risk in the next two years, so this year’s revenue windfall might not last long. If another global crisis comes along in future years to sink growth and inflation, whatever fiscal room we can build up now will come in handy.”

Consider the rising cost of financing the federal debt with increased interest rates. In the recent budget, with the government’s planned deficit spending, the interest payments on the national debt will rise to $42.9 billion by 2027. This figure is factoring a near-zero interest rate, however with interest rates at three or four per cent, the government will be paying triple or quadruple that amount in servicing the debt. With higher interest rates, future governments’ ability to carry the debt is increasingly difficult.

Each day seems to bring more unsettling news related to inflation and interest rates.

  • Canadians collective net worth fell by nearly $1 trillion in the second quarter of 2022
  • Canada’s inflation rate hit a 40 year high of 8.1 per cent in June
  • the cost of groceries has risen by 10.8 per cent in the past year, which is the fastest increase in a grocery bill since 1981
  • home ownership rate is declining and now is at a 20-year low
  • the loonie is faltering at a two-year low against the American dollar
  • the Bank of Canada has raised interest rates five times in 2022 to 3.25 per cent and it has signaled it will do so again on October 26

On the last point, the Bank of Canada is widely anticipated to raise Canada’s interest rate to beyond 4 per cent by Christmas. Paul Beaudry, deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, has publicly stated these rates will remain above pre-pandemic rates through 2024, largely because inflation figures are not projected to decrease to a targeted 2 per cent for years. So, the Bank of Canada is forced to pursue an aggressive interest rate policy in order to wrestle inflation down.

High inflation necessitates high interest rates, which in turn dearly costs all Canadians’ cost of living. According to financial experts this vicious cycle is fueled by increased government spending. Verily, it is a relatively simple equation for those who understand monetary policy.

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/trudeau-government-vs-canadas-financial-experts/

Three international issues that deserve full parliamentary attention

The Niagara Independent, September 16, 2022 – Canada’s parliament resumes next week and domestic politics and policies are sure to dominate the fall session. There will be great theatrics from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exchanging daily barbs with newly crowned Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre. The House of Commons focus will be on national economic issues as the government pushes through its $4.5 billion relief package to combat rising inflation.

Though domestic debates are expected to draw most of the attention through 2022, still there are three serious international issues that deserve the full attention of our parliamentarians.

The virus research Canada was conducting with China in the Winnipeg lab 

The Trudeau government has attempted to run from this question repeatedly for more than two years, since the news broke on the firing of two lab scientists. Now there are renewed allegations raised in a U.S. Senate committee hearing. American physician scientist Dr. Steven Quay expressed his concern that the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg was engaged in research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and, in March 2019, the Canadian lab sent both Nipah and Ebola viruses to Wuhan.

In his testimony, Dr. Quay explained to Senators, “The Nipah virus is a smaller virus than SARS2 (the virus causing COVID-19) and is much less transmissible. But it is one of the deadliest viruses, with a greater than 60 per cent lethality. This is 60-times deadlier than SARS2.”

The fact that the Canadian lab shipped samples of Nipah and Ebola viruses to WIV was a subject of review by MPs in Canada’s previous Parliament. A special parliamentary committee was also probing the reasons for the dismissal from the Winnipeg lab of scientists Xiangguo Qiu and her husband Keding Cheng. Qiu and Cheng’s research prompted an RCMP investigation, but no details of their work nor of the police investigation have been revealed. The government cites privacy and national security concerns for withholding lab research documents. (MPs work was disrupted and their report was left unfinished with the call of the 2021 federal election.)

Given that there are confirmed accounts that Canada was engaged in research in 2019 with a virus that caused COVID-19 and another more lethal virus, it is disconcerting that our government is withholding the details of Canada’s role in this research.

Canadian government’s response to China’s human rights violations against the Uyghurs 

The United Nations has just released a damning report of China’s inhumane treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. The UN report substantiates abuses that “may constitute crimes against humanity” and it calls for an urgent international response.

The report details how China is separating families and severing human contacts, while causing particular suffering to Uyghur, Kazakh and other Muslim minority families. The victims are suffering persecution and arbitrary imprisonment, torture and ill-treatment, forced medical treatment, and incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly released a printed statement in response to the UN report that urged the Chinese government “to uphold its international human rights obligations and respond to the concerns and recommendations raised in the High Commissioner’s report.” Minister Joly stated the government would continue to collaborate with the international community to hold the Chinese government to account. Aside from this vague statement, there has been no suggestion of how Canada will address the ongoing human rights abuses affecting the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China.

The official stand of the Trudeau government remains unclear. In the previous parliament, MPs passed a unanimous motion calling China’s treatment of Uyghurs “genocide.” However, PM Trudeau instructed his cabinet ministers to abstain from voting on the motion – which they did on masse. Now, there are mounting concerns about how Canada can diplomatically respond to China’s human rights abuses when the PM has failed for more than eight months to name a new Canadian Ambassador to Beijing.

MP Sameer Zuberi, who serves as chair of a parliamentary subcommittee on International Human Rights, said the UN report is significant and deserves Canada’s immediate attention, “It really triggers responsibility for governments to act and to move ahead in a concrete way.”

MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, who is Bloc Québécois human rights critic, is openly critical of the government’s negligence. “Right now there is no leadership at all from Trudeau. We never took any leadership on crimes against humanity since 2015… All the opposition parties are working in this direction—now the Liberals have to take the lead.”

Canada’s lack of support for Afghan allies left behind 

Another special UN report on human rights was recently released on the horrors in Afghanistan since the UN Force abandoned the country to the Taliban in August 2021. The UN reports that one year later there has been a “staggering regression” of women’s and girls’ rights and “reports of ongoing extrajudicial and reprisal killings” by the Taliban.

Also, 95 per cent of the population is not getting enough to eat, with 800,000 children “acutely malnourished” and 3.5 million children in need of nutrition treatment. UN Humanitarian Coordinator Ramiz Alakbarov states frankly: “The fate of an entire generation of Afghans is at stake.”

For Canada, last June an MP report to parliament summed up an embarrassing chapter in our country’s history: “The way Canada left Afghanistan in August (2021) was a betrayal.” One year later… CBC reports the government has “quietly” ended their special immigration programs for Afghan refugees.

Our Canadian military participated for 13 years in the UN’s Afghanistan mission, including a lead role in Kabul. Through that time thousands of Afghan people were employed and assisted the Canadian government. So, at the time of the UN withdrawal, PM Trudeau made the commitment to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees, our allies who were left vulnerable under the Taliban rule. Ten months into the refugee relief efforts Canada had supported less than half that number. And now, the government has shut the door.

In light of the UN’s report of the humanitarian crisis facing Afghans, common sense and decency suggests the government be held accountable for its commitments – and its incompetency.

Canadians deserve answers to these three serious issues.

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/three-international-issues-that-deserve-full-parliamentary-attention/

Trudeau government to focus on the economy?

The Niagara Independent, September 9, 2022 – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made headlines this week when the federal cabinet met behind closed doors at a Vancouver resort ruminating on the increasing financial pressures faced by Canadians. The PM framed these discussions by stating his government will focus on Canada’s economy when parliament resumes on September 19.

“Our focus this week as we kick off what will be a busy and important fall of parliamentary work is on the economy. It’s hearing from Canadians, working with Canadians, to solve the very real pressures they’re facing,” Trudeau offered.

The PM and his cabinet colleagues were looking for “solutions” to ease the affordability concerns of Canadians. The PM cited two specific examples of his government’s focus to improve the country’s economic matters: affordable housing and the national childcare program.

With respect to affordable housing, the PM himself announced what is the largest loan in Canadian history to a housing project with the Squamish Nation. The government will provide a low-interest, 50-year loan of $1.4 billion to help with a ten acre residential and commercial development project in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver. The First Nation received this unprecedented loan to build affordable rental apartments.

Yet, the government made a special arrangement for this particular deal that will allow the Squamish Nation to skirt national affordable housing criteria. Of the 6,000 units being constructed, only 20 per cent are required to be affordable housing units. This is well below the 40 per cent affordable housing criteria set for government loans. In the end, there will be 1,200 units priced at Vancouver’s rental market value, instead of being available for low-income Canadians.

Although there was no specific news emanating from the cabinet retreat about implementing the national childcare program, CBC broke “insiders” leaks about the government’s plan to introduce a national dental care program as well as a one-time $500 benefit payment to low-income renters.

The CBC was also the first to report on the government’s plans to temporarily increase GST rebate cheques in the fall. Two “anonymous sources” said the Trudeau cabinet agreed to double the amount of the next two GST cheques – received by lower income Canadians every three months. The thought is this initiative will ease some of the hurt of inflation through 2022.

It has also been reported that the federal cabinet is considering new federal measures that might be provided to help Canadians with the cost of living. These measures could include a direct payment to middle and lower-income individuals, although in a media availability session Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland would not confirm specifics.

What is strikingly absent in the news from Vancouver is any substantive comment by the PM or his finance minister on Canada’s fiscal policy, or government spending, or industrial growth, labour issues, national trade objectives, etc. In what is being reported out to the public, the cabinet’s discussions centered around new government programs and new spending.

In related news this week, the Bank of Canada announced another interest rate hike of 0.75 percentage points. This is the fifth time since March that the Bank has increased borrowing costs in an effort to curb Canada’s inflation rate, which is at heights not seen in this country since the 1980s. Canada’s benchmark overnight rate is now at 3.25 per cent, the highest level since the economic troubles in 2008.

Inflation and higher interest rates are having a direct impact on Canadians’ budgets. An August Angus Reid survey revealed that three of four Canadians (76 per cent) worry about their finances, and more than half (56 per cent) cannot keep up with the cost of living. One in two Canadians (52 per cent) stated they could not manage a sudden expense of more than $1,000.

Then there was the report by Equifax Canada that revealed Canadians are racking up credit card debt to stay on top of their bills. There has been a 6.4 per cent increase in credit card balances between the first and second quarters of 2022.

This type of financial strain currently being felt by Canadians is likely not to be eased by doubling a GST rebate cheque or a one-time $500 hand out. Conservative MP Dan Albas who serves as the Opposition finance critic lamented the Bank’s interest rate hike “more pain for Canadians.” Albas issued a media statement on Wednesday claiming the Bank’s move is a direct result of the government’s “out-of-control spending” that has contributed to inflation.

Albas stated, “Canadians appear poised to face a significant economic downturn. Canadians deserve a government that will fight the cost of living crisis.”

A recent Scotia Bank analyst of Canada’s monetary policy points to unbridled government spending as a core reason for the Bank’s inability to harness inflationary pressures. The Scotia Bank report suggested The Bank of Canada should not be fighting inflation on its own. It concluded that “lower government spending on goods and services could help lower inflation.”

Clearly, Finance Minister Freeland and the Trudeau cabinet are not heeding this counsel for fiscal prudence. In June the government announced an additional $8.9 billion “affordability plan” that will have government spend its way out of its fiscal jackpot.

In Vancouver, Canadians heard more of the same.

On this point, Yves Giroux of the Parliamentary Budget Office has been highly critical of Freeland and the government’s long term fiscal plan. Giroux points to one factor that is seldom mentioned: the cost of financing the debt, particularly with increased interest rates. Consider the federal government’s interest payments on bonded debt totaled $20.4 billion last year. With the continuous deficit spending by this government the interest payments are projected to rise to $42.9 billion by 2027. This figure is factoring a near-zero interest rate, however with interests rates of three per cent one must triple that payment.

Given the government’s propensity to spend more and more money (it does not have) it is not surprising that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has projected that growth in living standards in Canada would rank dead last among its 38 developed member-countries over the next 40 years.

From the headlines out of Vancouver, it is evident there is no relief in sight for financially strapped Canadians. There is no reassurance to be had from a PM who does not think about monetary policy. There is no confidence in Trudeau with the claim his government will focus on the economy.

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/trudeau-government-to-focus-on-the-economy/

The last of the summer snippets

The Niagara Independent, September 2, 2022 – Unfortunately, every summer must come to an end. Labour Day Weekend marks the beginning of a transition when we all must begin to focus again on reality. Therefore, the last of the ‘summertime snippets’ provides final news and commentary on the current state of affairs in the Nation’s Capital – to help us brace for the eventualities of fall on Parliament Hill.

There are endless signs of incompetence. The last few weeks of national news were littered with stories of government incompetence and ministers routinely sidestepping all responsibility. Apparently, there is no accountability to be found in Ottawa.

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, is publicly stating that “someone else” let the government contract a hateful antisemite, Laith Marouf. Marouf led a government anti-racism program, though he himself authored such tweets as: “loud mouthed bags of human feces aka the Jewish White Supremacists,” they deserve “a bullet to the head.” He called former justice minister Irwin Cotler the “Grand Wizard of Zionism” and former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell a “Jamaican house-slave.”

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather revealed that he had warned Hussen about the bigot Marouf. Apparently though, Marouf was fine to continue with his contract, that is until media exposed him to the public (full credit to Sun Media columnist Brian Lilley who was relentless in reporting on this story). Only then did the minister get around to cancelling the contract. (One has to ask, if there were no negative headlines would Marouf still be leading the government’s anti-racism program?)

Chris Bittle, St. Catharines MP, added another embarrassing twist to this story last week when he attacked University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist for criticizing the government’s contract with Marouf. Bittle said the professor himself was racist, suggesting he criticized Hussen because of his skin colour. The baseless, partisan attack prompted Brian Lilley to respond with, “Bittle isn’t worthy of the office he holds, he’s an embarrassment to his riding.”

Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, appeared in the news again when it was revealed that international students are now at risk of missing the start of their school year because of visa delays. Immigration officials reported that the department was overwhelmed because there is an unprecedented number of foreign students applying to come to Canada. This notion of Ottawa being “overwhelmed” has become Ottawa’s default response to all issues. In July, the department reported an immigration backlog of 2.7 million people. The backlog has been cited by immigration officials as the reason why Canada was challenged to rescue Afghanis and provide refuge for Ukrainians. So, who is accountable for this impossible situation, or is it so commonplace that now it is acceptable to regurgitate tired excuses to explain away the country’s immigration department failings?

Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, audaciously told MPs in a special summer committee hearing on the chaos at Canadian airports that there were no problems with the government’s ArriveCAN app, and that it was “helping reduce congestion.” Seriously, can we believe this given all the facts reported out by airport officials and travelers? This is the same minister who this spring blamed airport delays on Canadians who were too eager to travel and unaccustomed to airport protocol after not travelling during the pandemic restrictions. Alghabra basically told Canadians, “It is your fault.” However, now it has been uncovered that Alghabra had private department reports of a 25 per cent understaffing of airport security personnel. Obviously, this minister is adept at political doubletalk, inexcusably obscuring facts to evade his responsibility.

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, has been caught up in a number of “mis-communications” defending RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, who claims she is being caught up in a scandal that is nothing more than “mis-communication.” But, Mendicino has a remedy for this lack of clarity: the group overseeing the activities of the police force, the RCMP’s Management Advisory Board (a creation of the Trudeau government) will report directly to his office. (MPs believe the board needs to report to Parliament but, obviously, this would cause too much information dragged out into the public.) The minister’s solution would allow Mendicino to build Canadians’ trust and confidence in the RCMP. Imagine the end results. Had this reporting structure been in place this past year, there may not have been the unnecessary probing into RCMP conduct with the N.S. mass murder investigation. Mendicino would have taken care of it.

On a separate note, about this trusting minister, he appeared before a special committee this month that was looking into the RCMPs’ spyware technology. It has been exposed that RCMP used surveillance spyware on Canadian citizens and have also done so on opposition MPs. At the committee, Mendicino offered very few details – only the reassurance that he is managing it.

Melanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, takes the prize as the most incompetent of the Trudeau cabinet lot. Consider this minister’s actions – and Canada’s shame:

    • A year since Canadians abandoned Afghanistan to the Taliban and we now admittedly have left them behind. The government originally said it would resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees, but only rescued 17,000, and now has shut down its rescue program.
    • As Vladimir Putin was bombing cities in Ukraine, Joly’s diplomats were partying at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa – yet the minister stated she did not know anything about it (and therefore is not responsible).
    • Remember when PM Trudeau said “We’re back!”… But in many forums Joly is MIA. Recently the minister was marginalized at NATO talks reviewing the defence of Europe. Canada is not a member of the international alliances of AUKUS or QUAD. The Americans are openly expressing concern about Canada’s China policy and yet the minister has failed repeatedly to provide clarity. And Canada has not been invited into US President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific accord – and the minister has nothing to say on this?
  • When pressed to comment on the role of Canadian military in the world’s current conflicts, Joly made this remarkable statement about the country’s forces: “What we’re good at is convening.”

Who is there to steer Canada’s recovery? There are formidable challenges for Canada as the country looks to emerge from the pandemic. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has projected that growth in living standards in Canada would rank dead last among its 38 developed member-countries over the next 40 years. From 2015-19 (pre-pandemic) there were only four countries in the world that saw a decrease in foreign investment – and Canada was one of them. During 2020-21, the OECD reports Canada outspent all countries in the world to post an overall debt burden equivalent to 352 per cent of GDP.

To deal with these issues Canadians have a prime minister who admittedly does not think of monetary policy. And we have a finance minister in Chrystia Freeland who is a journalist with no formal financial background or business experience.

In a recent True North Media expose, Andrew Kozak catalogued the background of the 39 member Trudeau cabinet. A vast majority have zero business background:

  • five have degrees in economics
  • four have degrees in business administration
  • ten have experience owning or managing a small or medium-sized business
  • fourteen have experience working in higher positions of a business
  • eleven had careers in law or studied the subject in university
  • six have experience in journalism or media, and five hold degrees in political science

Do Canadians need to be concerned about who will lead the cabinet discussions on the economy and the country’s recovery? It’s a serious question. Consider PM Trudeau’s inability to make a case for exporting more Canadian oil to Europe…

Enjoy your Labour Day and welcome back to 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-last-of-the-summer-snippets/

More summertime snippets

The Niagara Independent, August 26, 2022 – Herein are more “summertime snippets,” presented with the requisite warning to read no further if you wish to enjoy what is left of the season. It is suggested that you clip and save the column until after Labour Day.

The Trudeau-Scholz Photo-Ops: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s end-of-the-summer sojourn in Canada with PM Justin Trudeau was no doubt fashioned to cast these progressive politicians as forward-thinking visionaries when it comes to their countries’ respective green energy goals. The leaders’ meetings were capped with a visit to Stephenville, Newfoundland and a signing ceremony on a hydrogen export “joint declaration of intent.” The Scholz tour’s success was incumbent on its expressed avoidance of any mention of Germany’s recent request of PM Trudeau to increase liquified natural gas (LNG) exports. In fact, it was dictated to Canadian mainstream media newsrooms by both Canadian and German tour officials that there were to be no questions about German industry having to ration their energy use or its residents freezing in the dark this winter.

According to script, Scholz and Trudeau (and Canadian media) waltzed through the tour and dutifully promoted a joint agreement for Canada to potentially develop a green-hydrogen facility that would, if built, at some time in 2025 (or later), be capable of exporting hydrogen energy to Germany. Clearly this ignores the current reality of the imminent energy crisis facing Europe. It ignores Scholz’s desire for an immediate increase of Canadian gas exports – and, as the National Post Tristin Hopper assesses, “It could well represent one of the biggest missed opportunities in Canadian history.”

Remarkably, when asked about Canadian LNG exports, the math-challenged Trudeau attempted to squelch the idea by questioning the business case for further developing Canadian gas exports. (In related news this month, StatsCan reports an increased trade surplus of $5 billion in June driven by rising oil export volumes. The Canadian dollar has rallied and strengthened against the U.S. greenback on the back of strong oil prices.)

The Trudeau-Scholz joint declaration for hydrogen energy is yet another remarkably nonsensical act by these two progressives who recently, secretly, mutually agreed to return turbines to Vladimir Putin (and word has now broke Canada will be sending five more turbines to Russia).

French Facts: StatsCan news report on Canada’s changing linguistic realities was released with many confusing narratives. The most often cited data told us that there is an increasing number of Canadians whose mother tongue is neither English nor French; 12 per cent of people speak something other than an official language at home. There are nine million people, or one in four, who have a mother tongue other than English or French.

This emphasis on the data resulted in English Canada headlines that focused primarily on the increased multicultural nature of the country. In Quebec however, the headlines expressed the threat of increased multiculturalism and the resulting decline of the francophone language.

In Quebec, much has been made of the fact there are now less than three of four Quebecers whose mother tongue is French. Quebecois appear anxious that there are now more than one million people speaking English as their first official language in La Belle Province. And PM Trudeau’s take on it: “The numbers that recently came out are extremely troubling and worrisome but not entirely a surprise.”

Let’s consider the StatsCan data without the governments’ francophone preoccupation. Without the political spin there is a clearer picture painted of the nation’s linguistic reality.

  • English is the majority language used by 75 per cent of Canadians
  • A total of more than 87 per cent of Canadians speak something other than French
  • There are more Canadians whose mother tongue is a foreign language (9 million) than there are francophones (less than 8 million)
  • The proportion of Canadians living outside Quebec whose first official language spoken is French has dwindled to 3.3 per cent. And French is not the second-most used language in most provinces today. In some cases, French is the fourth- or fifth-most used language.

With this assembly of the facts, the Globe and Mail published an opinion editorial that declared, “Official bilingualism is officially dead in Canada.”

Directly related to this mid-summer night’s data dump is the language debate that is about to unfold in Parliament this fall. The Trudeau government had pre-knowledge of the data and, in the spring session of Parliament introduced Bill C-13 amending the Official Languages Act. A briefing note for the legislation states: “saving the French language is fundamental to preserving the nation.” The intent of the legislation is to further strengthen the rights of francophones across the country. It will ensure all federally regulated private sector businesses are to offer French service to the public in places with “a strong francophone presence” (this term and its thresholds left undefined).

It appears the government is about to lead Canadians back onto the Plains of Abraham to reenact that infamous battle (this time with another Trudeau rewriting the terms of Malcolm’s defeat).

From the ArriveCAN App to Digital Identity: By every measure the ArriveCAN app is negatively impacting cross border traffic, and yet, the federal government will be transitioning from this app to a soon-to-be-unveiled digital identity program that every Canadian must use.

It matters not what border-town mayors say about the devastating decrease in American tourism, or what border agents say about not being able to properly do their job. Apparently, there is no downside to ArriveCAN, says transport minister Omar Alghabra, as it’s “actually helping process arrivals much faster and helping reduce congestion.” From the media reports of the congestive backlogs at Pearson and Trudeau airports, clearly Alghabra is either in denial or just gaslighting anyone who will listen to him as Liberals prepare for the next shoe to drop.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino this summer suggested the app is here to stay as part of the government’s strategy to better monitor Canadians’ health and safety. News is now trickling out of Ottawa that Treasury Board President Mona Fortier will be unveiling a new Digital Identity Program this fall. It will be billed to provide “a common and secure approach for a trusted digital identity platform to support seamless service delivery to Canadians across the country.”

Yet, government backgrounders state: “Digital identity is the electronic equivalent of a recognized proof-of-identity document (for example, a driver’s license or passport) and confirms that ‘you are who you say you are’ in a digital context.” In other words, Big Brother will be able to keep better track of you – for your own safety and security.

On a hopeful note, a federal court legal challenge of the ArriveCAN app has been launched and it appears the Conservatives are prepared to fight the new digital identity program in Parliament.

Bons mots: Gerard Deltell, Conservative MP from Louis-Saint-Laurent, Quebec observed: “The best politician is not the one who speaks the most, it’s the one who listens the most and who speaks better after that.” Imagine: a politician who listens to Canadians and will champion their needs… that’s novel.

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/more-summertime-snippets/


Summertime snippets: ICYMI news

The Niagara Independent, August 19, 2022 – In the dog days of summer many Canadians are trying hard to tune out the news of the nation. Many are taking a hiatus from the headlines, not to refocus on reality until sometime after Labour Day.

Yet, through the weeks of July and August there have been news items that are sure to impact Canadians. Over the next few weeks, this column will present “summertime snippets” of the more important stuff – ICYMI.

(WARNING – The snippets may cause grief and heartburn. For those who wish to live in blissful denial for the last weeks of the summer, the helpful suggestion is to save these columns and not pull them out until mid-September when you may want to begin to refocus.)

Federal Employees Just Keep Getting Richer: Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has uncovered that during the COVID-19 pandemic the number of federal government managers earning more than $100,000 increased by a whopping 66 per cent. There were 45,000 more bureaucrats – a total of 114,433 – now making the super-salary of 100K+ (which does not include the value of their perks).

According to the CTF’s Access to Information request, during the pandemic there were 312,825 federal employees who received a pay raise (while working from home). There was no record of an employee receiving a pay cut.

Let’s put this into perspective. The average national income of a full-time working Canadian is $54,630. The average household income in Canada is $92,764 (and after taxes this figure is $76,171). So, these numbers tell us that civil servants make so much more than Canada’s working stiffs that they pull up the average income figure across the country.

CTF’s federal director Franco Terrazzano neatly summed up this largesse, “We are not all in this together.”

Dr. Tam Cashes In: In a closed-door federal cabinet meeting, Justin Trudeau’s braintrust awarded Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam a 22 per cent pay increase with a three-year contract bump from $265,000 to $324,000.

This is the same Dr. Tam that was out front through 2020 assuring Canadians there was nothing to worry about. It’s the same Dr. Tam that echoed the Prime Minister’s pandemic narrative through the past two years. Obviously, her performance was appreciated by our country’s number one former drama teacher.

Canada is Now the Second-Most Indebted Country in the World: The Fraser Institute released a report in late June revealing that during the pandemic Canada had become the second highest most indebted industrialized country, behind only Japan.

Canada’s spending through 2020 and 2021 was the greatest per capita of any country. Canucks’ gross debt-to-GDP ratio is now 32 out of 33 countries covered by the International Monetary Fund. Canadians will need to bare the weight of this debt for decades, if not generations.

No Balanced Federal Budget for Two Decades: Another report released by the CTF provides the alarming bottom line that it will take the federal government at least 20 years to balance its budget – and that is a hopeful forecast. When factoring for the government’s total revenue, total spending, budgetary balance, and its interest charges on the national debt, there is little hope to see a balanced budget until 2041. That calculation does not take into account any new political promises.

The CTF commentary on this: “But taking another two decades to balance the budget is too long, and even that target won’t be met if interest rates tick up, the economy doesn’t grow every single year, or politicians can’t find the willpower to say ‘no’ to new spending.”

“By the time the feds balance the budget two decades from now, interest charges on the government credit card will have cost taxpayers more than $800 billion.”

Canada Funding the WEF: The 2020-2021 Public Accounts of Canada indicate that, in that single fiscal year, Canadians gave more than $1.5 billion to the United Nations in the form of financial support, contributions and grants. The government also slipped $3 million that year to the World Economic Forum (WEF) (yes, that global cabal of multimillionaires who annually jet to Davos, Switzerland to warn the world of carbon emissions).

There are few records explaining where Canadians’ money went into the U.N. And there has been no explanation from the government on the details of the $3 million payment to Klaus Schwab’s global forum. Perhaps WEF board members Chrystia Freeland or Mark Carney could enlighten us?

Of interest on the subject of the WEF, the forum issued findings this week from an international survey that showed “70 per cent of adults across 19 countries believe children will be financially worse off than their parents.” Most striking for Canadians is the data: “At least three-quarters of adults in Japan, France, Italy and Canada say children will be worse off financially than their parents.” Canadians rank among the most negative about the prospects for the next generation.

If the WEF’s Great Reset is to bring about positive change for the world, is it not disconcerting to imagine this change will come at the expense of our Canadian children?

Canada’s Tree Planting Program: Figures recently released indicate that the federal government planted 29 million trees in the second year of Trudeau’s feted national tree planting program. The PM promised $3.2 billion for Ottawa to manage the planting of two billion trees by 2030. A recent Globe and Mail editorial explains this commitment will cover an area twice the size of PEI, approximately two per cent of Canada’s land mass. Canada’s forests have more than 300 billion trees and the country’s forest industry presently manages an ample reforestation program.

Another remarkable fact about Trudeau’s program is the news from the federal Department of Natural Resources that in the first year of the program (when not a single tree was planted), the Ottawa bureaucrats paid $3.1 million for a study to tell them how to plant trees.

Of course, this absurdity begs a couple of questions for levity’s sake: Just how many Ottawa bureaucrats does it take to plant a tree? If the PM plants a tree in Brampton does that offset the carbon emissions used to fly him there for his 30-minute photo-op?

Next week: More summertime snippets

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/summertime-snippets-icymi-news/

Trudeau government’s green plan is hurting Canadians and failing the global community

The Niagara Independent, August 12, 2022 – The irony was not lost to many Canadians (and even mainstream media) that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was jetting across the country to deliver his dire warnings about climate change and how Canadians must do their part. The PM, his Minister of Environment Steven Guilbeault and a cadre of Liberal ministers and MPs spent July sharing the paramount objectives of the Liberal green plan that will get Canada to “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050.

The age-old adage may be “the devil is in the details,” but already there is mounting evidence to conclude the Trudeau government’s green plan is hurting Canadians and failing the global community.

First and foremost, when it comes to being responsible for one’s own carbon footprint, it is hard to reconcile the PM’s July tour that was, in part, to highlight the Liberals’ green plan. Last month the PM spent 20 days in the air flying 26,238 kms aboard CanForce One. His 20 flights took Trudeau from coast to coast, touching down in some locations for only a few hours to plant a tree, gladhand on main street, or visit a local business – and then there were the trips coordinated to include a Liberal fundraising event. What is most noteworthy is Justin Trudeau’s flights in July released nearly 120 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide into the environment (and for comparison, a Canadian’s average annual emissions total is 4.1 tonnes).

PM Trudeau capped his Canadian tour with the revelation that his family would be holidaying in Costa Rica. More irony: the day the PM jetted off for the south, CBC News featured a piece prodding Canadians that we have a moral responsibility to give up personal ownership of vehicles for the good of the planet’s environment.

Central to the Trudeau government’s green plan is a schedule of carbon tax hikes on gas pump prices and home fuel, purposefully designed to raise energy prices and cause a behavioural change in Canadians’ lifestyle habits. The government has proved regimented to their tax hikes; Canada was the only country in the world to hike taxes during the pandemic.

Carbon taxes have raised the price of all goods and services in Canada and, in this way, has contributed to the country’s inflation rate. Yet rising fuel costs, inflation and the financial stress bearing down on Canadians is “good,” as Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland explained at one of her recent tour stops, for it will help speed along Canadians’ transition to green energy choices.

With this rationale, Trudeau and Freeland are soon to double down on taxing Canadians by introducing a second carbon tax, estimated to drive up gas prices 13 cents per litre and cost an additional $220 annually on an average home fuel bill. The government’s own estimates forecast that this new tax will shrink the Canadian economy by $9 billion and the Fraser Institute estimates it will result in the loss of 184,000 jobs. (To paraphrase Freeland: no pain, no gain.)

The Trudeau government’s emissions reduction plans have adversely impacted domestic and foreign investment in the country’s natural resource industries, most strikingly the oil and gas sector. The regulatory straight jacket placed on all resource development projects – new mines, oil and gas projects, and pipelines – has had serious repercussions in Canada as well as beyond our borders. The most recent case in point is how Canada responded to the call for energy resources from Germany.

Europe is in the grips of an energy crisis brought about with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s threats of turning off the flow of natural gas to Europe this winter. Germany turned to Canada to request liquified natural gas (LNG) exports. Though Canada is one of the world’s largest producers of natural gas, the country currently has no capacity to export gas anywhere other than the U.S. So, Canada was unable to assist with the requested LNG exports. Instead, PM Trudeau made a closed-door promise with Germany that would have Canada break with the solidarity of the international community and violate our country’s own sanctions against Putin. Trudeau promised to return a gas turbine to Russia so Putin could then export his gas.

On a related matter concerning the development of LNG export facilities in Canada, this week Enbridge CEO Al Monaco stated the Trudeau government needs to “get out of our own way when it comes to energy and building infrastructure… We need a sense of urgency and clarity around regulatory and permitting certainty to make sure we attract capital.” Monaco is quoted in the Globe and Mail to say that this is important for Canada and the world: “Our ability to export low-emission natural gas can have a massive impact on global emissions.”

Still, the Trudeau government’s zeal for its environmental objectives remains unyielding. Steven Guilbeault continues to suggest options for Ottawa’s Emissions Reduction Plan, which is to cut oil and gas emissions by more than 40 per cent by 2030, and emissions from electricity generation by almost 80 per cent. With the government’s heightened rhetoric about Canadians doing their part for the existential global climate challenge, the government’s green plan has effectively put a chill on all Canadian energy projects.

Canada’s former Finance Minister Joe Oliver summed up the government’s green plan with this frank assessment: “Trudeau’s fixation has become an obsession. His preoccupation with a climate emergency has morphed into a moral, quasi-religious imperative that tolerates no dissent and justifies policies, irrespective of their harm to Canadians and people around the world.”

This places the Canadian energy sector on the sidelines – at a time when international bodies would welcome Canadian resources. Consider what is happening in the world:

  • Germany, Holland, and UK have fired up decommissioned coal plants
  • European Union is revisiting its ban on fracking
  • India has increased its coal usage and increased imports of Russian oil and gas
  • China has increased the number of coal plants being built (currently coal supplies 60 per cent of the country’s energy)
  • China has increased imports of Russian coal, oil, and LNG

Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, assessed the current global energy requirements, “We will still need oil and gas for years to come. I prefer that oil is produced by countries… like Canada who want to reduce the emissions of oil and gas.”

With respect specifically to China, former Canadian envoy to Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan Randolph Mank, suggests Canada could make a significant contribution on geo-environmental issues if they were to change tact and encourage development of LNG facilities. Mank stated, “We account for 1.5 to 1.7 per cent of global emissions, and China is 30 per cent. So it would seem a natural way to contribute to the global effort to reduce emissions.”

However, this type of international contribution would require the Trudeau government, as Al Monaco put it “to get out of the way”; something that will not occur as Freeland introduces the Liberal’s new carbon taxes and Guilbeault details his Emissions Reduction Plan.

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/trudeau-governments-green-plan-is-hurting-canadians-and-failing-the-global-community/

The public health care system is Canada’s Gordian Knot

The Niagara Independent, August 5, 2022 – On July 15, a B.C. Court of Appeal delivered a decision that tightens the country’s Gordian Knot: our revered public health care system. The court’s decision rejected user-paid medical care, even if the patient must wait an unreasonable and potentially harmful amount of time for care. For defenders of the public system, this edict pulled taut those Canadian ties that bind us to an increasingly strained (and some will describe as “broken”) care system.

The B.C. court justices upheld a lower provincial court decision which rejected arguments made by Dr. Brian Day that Canadians’ right to life was being violated by not being able to receive timely medical attention. Dr. Day, an orthopedic surgeon, argued that where the public health care system fails to meet the needs of an individual, the individual should have the ability to access personal care at their expense. But, the court ruled against the individual in favour of the common good, rationalizing the necessity of banning private health care in order to protect the public system.

In their written decision, the justices went so far as to say that, even though long wait times may risk poor health outcomes – in some cases denying patients their charter right to life and security of the person – these violations are within “principles of fundamental justice” as they assure the sustainability of Canada’s public health system.

The subtext to the court decision was the justices’ recognition of the ailing state of public health care in B.C. where it is appreciated that wait times can be excessive and increase risks to patients. In March 2018, almost 33,500 adults were waiting for necessary medical care beyond the maximum wait time – and since the COVID pandemic this number has grown. On this point, the court admitted the lower court judge had erred by minimizing the harm to patients and failing to acknowledge that wait times could even lead to death.

In the weeks following this notable decision, Canadians learned of the extreme harm our public health care system can inflict. In New Brunswick, a patient in pain and visible discomfort died while sitting for hours in the waiting room of a Fredericton hospital ER. In Vancouver, an elderly woman died while laying on a stretcher in a hospital waiting room for two days without attention.

A 76-year-old Ontario man made national news when he was left for four days on a stretcher in a hallway of a Wiarton hospital. He had shattered his femur in a cycling accident and required transportation and surgery in a London hospital.

The Ontario care system is in critical care this summer.

  • There are now 13 ERs – from Wingham to Perth to Huron County – forced to close because of staff shortages.
  • The Ontario Nurses’ Association reports that 25 hospitals were forced to make changes over the Civic holiday weekend due to staff shortages.
  • In the hospitals opened, the average wait time to be admitted has climbed to an unprecedented 20.1 hours.
  • People needing an ambulance must wait longer due to ambulance offload delays that keep paramedics in ER departments with their patients waiting for admission to the hospital.
  • In May, patients waited an average of 2.1 hours for a first assessment by an ER doctor. They remained waiting after the assessment as beds were simply unavailable due to lack of staff.

Registered Nurses Association of Ontario President Claudette Holloway sounded the alarm bells in a recent Toronto CP24 news interview this week, “I have not seen it this bad… this is certainly a dire and a dangerous situation that needs drastic responses from our politicians.”

In another frank interview, ER doctor Raghu Venugopal stated the health system has collapsed.

“Nurses and doctors across Ontario and Canada who are working in emergency departments are greatly dismayed, honestly, by the human situation that patients and families have to face on a daily basis… There is no metric or no nothing that your eyes can’t see as a patient or family member in the ER that says the system has not anything but collapsed as we know it.”

The mounting pressure on the public health care system has Ontario Premier Doug Ford calling for the federal government to provide financial support to help an impossible situation for existing hospital staff and medical professionals. Premier Ford assessed, “It’s not sustainable that the federal government is giving us 22 per cent. We’re paying 78 per cent. And that’s across the country. Unacceptable. We’re going to continue asking the federal government to step up and do their fair share. There’s never been a more important time to do so.”

These comments echo the repeated requests made by premiers in March 2021 when they wanted the federal government to expand its share of health care costs from the current rate of 22 per cent to the historically agreed upon share of 35 per cent. That sizable increase would see an additional $28 billion poured into the public system.

This federal cash would allow provinces to increase training positions for staff, hire nurses and PSWs, increase pay to retain staff, increase the number of doctors, open and support more beds, and keep ERs open.

Yet, to date, the plea for financial assistance has fallen on deaf ears. The federal budgets in 2021 and 2022 were silent on the subject of health care transfers. Instead, the Trudeau government touted investments of $3 billion for mental health services, $3 billion for long-term care, $3 billion for home care and $2 billion to help provinces address surgical backlogs. Some of these investments are spread over three to five years and all come with an understanding that there will be federal regulatory strings attached.

The federal government’s offerings is not enough to begin to address the foundational cracks in the country’s health care system. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Canada has the fourth-lowest number of funded acute care beds per capita among its member countries. The Commonwealth Fund has ranked Canada’s health system second-last among 11 rich countries.

The bottom line is that without the federal government increasing the health transfers, the provinces remain cash-strapped. This leaves Canadians with a threadbare public health care system that will remain strained in meeting even the most critical health care needs.

Health care analyst Susan Martinuk of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy reflects, “Every province is paying more than 40 per cent of its revenues into health care. And it’s still not enough. We’ve got a million people on waiting lists. In my mind, it’s time to stop talking about who’s going to pay for health care, and start talking about how we’re going to change health care.”

This is the very discussion Dr. Day intends to take to the Supreme Court of Canada. Those justices will need to consider whether a public health care system that is consistently proving to be inadequate requires a new approach – perhaps akin to Alexander’s legendary sword stroke that cut free the knot.

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-public-health-care-system-is-canadas-gordian-knot/

A fitting proverb: a fish rots from the head down

The Niagara Independent, July 29, 2022 – With a growing number of inconveniences and increased financial stresses in daily living, there are more Canadians realizing our federal government’s inability to manage Canada’s affairs. Political leadership is wanting, and the country’s bureaucracy is proving incapable of delivering basic services. Headaches in obtaining a passport or flying out of Pearson airport are prompting Canadians to ask, what is happening to the country, its services and standing in the world?

A recent lead editorial in the Toronto Sun exclaimed, “Federal services collapsing under Trudeau.” It cites the daily chaos unfolding at airports and the unheard-of flight disruptions. According to aviation industry experts, the primary cause of Canadians’ travel turmoil is federal government mismanagement. This has led to the critical shortages of federal security and customs officers. To respond to this crisis PM Justin Trudeau immediately struck a task force committee of 10 cabinet ministers to improve the situation (and now more than a month later there is no word from the committee or any action to alleviate the problems).

There was also a damning National Post editorial, “Canada’s public service is collapsing.” It recounts details of the federal bureaucracy’s “passport pandemonium.” The Post reports on exhaustive, hours-long line-ups at passport offices, airline counters, and airport security lines. It describes an overwhelmed bureaucracy that is haplessly coping with the crisis. Imagine the management at the Montreal passport office ordering 801 chairs so people will not have to stand in line?!

In a separate National Post piece, columnist John Ivison posits: “The rot in Canada’s dysfunctional government is coming from the top.” Ivison lays blame squarely on a tired and wayward Liberal government.

“Over the past seven years, the Liberals have lost, or jettisoned, some of their most seasoned ministers and political staffers. They have often been replaced by farm-team players with less experience and less rounded skill sets. The upshot is a preoccupation with issues management and the politics of spin.”

Ivison draws the analogy of the Trudeau government’s inconsistencies with that of a decaying body. His argument proceeds to conjure up that ancient Turkish proverb: A fish rots from the head down.

Indeed, there are many stories from Ottawa that signal the country’s mismanagement. Apart from airports and passports, in the last month there have been two significant news stories unfolding that go beyond mere inconvenience and speak directly to the devolution of the country. In both instances, PM Trudeau and his PMO operatives are at the centre marshalling the policy decision and government action.

In mid-July an international news story broke in Moscow that Canada was returning a repaired turbine to Russia for its Nord Stream gas pipeline. This news reverberated around the world as the surprise shipment violates the free-world’s sanctions of Vladimir Putin in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It was initially reported that Canada’s actions occurred without knowledge of its allies, including besieged Ukraine. In fact, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told PM Trudeau directly, “Ukrainians will never accept Canada’s decision regarding the Nord Stream turbine.”

Since, Trudeau cabinet ministers have rationalized it was a hard decision that was made to remove the threat by Russia to turn off its flow of gas to Europe. PM Trudeau made the final decision (without any parliamentarian discussions) as a result of private conversations he held with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the recent G7 Summit. Still, it seems unconscionable that the Canadian PM made his decision while Russian missiles were killing civilians in the bombing of apartment buildings and a shopping centre.

Yet, this is just the last inexplicable foreign policy move for the Trudeau government. There has been no consistent Canadian foreign policy with quizzical stances taken on failing to call out Uyghur slavery, silence concerning democracy in Hong Kong, the abandonment of Afghanistan, the secret Canadian-Sino virus research project in Winnipeg, etc. For a country that has no ability to defend its borders or people, does it not appear to be dangerously brash for the PM to be continuously undermining the Canada’s international relations and allies’ trust?

The second damaging story from Ottawa, being revealed at a parliamentary committee, is the travesty of Canadian law that took place in the public inquiry into the horrific Nova Scotia mass shootings. RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki was called out by senior RCMP officers for making a promise to the PMO and public safety minister Bill Blair that the RCMP would make public certain firearms information about the Nova Scotia massacres to tie it to the government’s new gun control legislation. In essence, Commissioner Lucki was directing the RCMP investigators to shill for Trudeau’s gun control agenda.

Commissioner Lucki contests this accusation, as well as the fact that she reprimanded senior Nova Scotia Officer Darren Campbell for his unwillingness to play to the PMO script. This drama is playing itself out in Ottawa right now and MPs are left to decipher the facts from the conflicting accounts: on one hand there is the decorated, career RCMP commanding officer and, on the other, Justin Trudeau’s handpicked commissioner and his lackey public safety minister.

But it seems Canadians have no interest in news on the corruption of Canada’s justice system – likely because it has been a recurring theme of the Trudeau government since it took office. There was the PMO-led attack on the reputation of Vice Admiral Mark Norman and the intense pressuring of then Justice Minister Jody Wilson Raybould for SNC Lavalin favours. There’s been repeated stories involving named judges selected from Liberal donor lists.

And is it not disconcerting that our ethically challenged PM (Trudeau has been charged three times for violating the country’s ethics laws) sets the tone for his government? Does this not beg the question, if our PM and his government are above the law, what does it say for the country’s justice system?

Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau gets a haircut and makes a week’s worth of headlines jetting cross-country on a photo-op campaign. From one coast to another, and one BC town to another, Trudeau mugs with kids, and lectures Canadians about reducing their carbon emissions. The PMO staff is again successfully changing the channel… if only it weren’t for that rank, fishy smell.

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-fitting-proverb-a-fish-rots-from-the-head-down/

Photo credit: Reuters/Jennifer Gauthier 

Trudeau’s and Freeland’s fiscal management is no laughing matter

The Niagara Independent, July 22, 2022 – There is a political meme circulating these days of PM Justin Trudeau and Deputy PM and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland whispering to one another. Trudeau leans over to ask, “How did we destroy the economy so badly?” Freeland reminds her friend, “Well, you’re a drama teacher and I’m a journalist, so…”

The country’s financial community may have known for some time but now there is an increasing number of Canadians learning that this meme accurately sums up Ottawa’s fiscal mismanagement.

Again, this week the economic news is grim for Canadians.

The country’s inflation rate hit 8.1 per cent, and that was after the Bank of Canada shocked our financial markets with a full percentage point interest rate hike. The stubbornly high inflation rate spells more interest rate shock therapy in the near future, and inevitability that is sure to exacerbate the financial woes most Canadians are stressing over these days.

Statistics Canada factors the price of store-bought food in Ontario has risen by 10 per cent or more since last June (in April and May it was 9.7 per cent). Stats Can also reveals gas prices have risen more than 55 per cent compared to a year ago.

The rising cost of living is taking its toll on Canadians. A MNP survey reveals 59 per cent of Canadians are concerned about their financial situation, and 27 per cent are cutting back on food, utilities, and housing just to get by. The Toronto organization Stop Community Food Centre reports that there has been a 26 per cent increase in families with children accessing their food bank in 2022.

Many financial experts have assessed Canada’s current economic state and point to the federal government’s spending as the primary cause of pain that Canadians are only beginning to feel. In an informative National Post column, John Ivison interviews Philip Cross, former chief economic analyst at Statistics Canada. Cross provides this important background:

“Nearly two years ago, the OECD said that, as Canada’s GDP fell by 10 per cent in the second pandemic-hit quarter of 2020, household income grew by 11 per cent, thanks to generous government hand-outs. The same phenomenon did not happen in Germany, France, the U.K. or the U.S.”

Cross also provides key numbers required to begin to understand the country’s financial problems:

  • Family median market income was $56,300 in 2015 and $55,700 in 2020 (all figures adjusted for inflation and expressed in constant 2020 dollars). In other words, employment income was practically unchanged.
  • Family after-tax income rose to $66,800 in 2020, because government transfers increased to $16,400 from $6,900 in 2015.
  • After-tax income for all Canadians rose by five per cent in 2020, even though employment income fell two per cent.

Cross states that the 2020 pandemic year was “the only recession in Canadian history where people were actually better off.” He says, “We just stuck a huge mixer in the economy and hit top speed. We are still trying to figure out what happened.”

John Ivison cleverly calls it “Trudeau’s helicopter money experiment.”

The Liberal government followed up its 2020 pandemic experiment with yet further spending. Finance Minister Freeland’s 2021 and 2022 budgets earmarked billions of dollars in new initiatives. With Trudeau and Freeland, there appears to be no forecasted balanced budgets.

A recent report by the Fraser Institute calculates that the federal debt per person has grown to a total of 35 per cent under Justin Trudeau since 2015, which includes an increase of more than 25 per cent from 2019 to 2022. Soaring annual deficits are sure to be the hallmark and the legacy of the Trudeau government.

Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, has described this government’s spending as being seriously out of control. After Freeland’s 2021 fiscal update, Terrazzano sounded the alarm bells: “The cost of living is soaring and Canadians should be worried about how the government is going to pay for its unprecedented spending and hundreds of billions of dollars in new debt. The feds need to stop dishing out cash we don’t have and pouring fuel on the inflation fire. Freeland needs to hit the brakes on this government’s runaway spending train.”

This week in a BNN Bloomberg News interview, former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge echoed the concern that the federal government was adding “fuel to the fire.” Dodge called on Freeland to postpone the government’s 2022 budget expenditures to help get inflation back under control. His advice to Canadians was to contact MPs to “ask the [finance] minister why she’s not doing what she can from her side in order to help control the excess demand at the moment.”

Chrystia Freeland has heard the suggestion from the financial community a few times recently that she is not doing enough to combat inflation.

  • Scotiabank Chief Economist Jean-Francois Perrault and Director of Forecasting Rene Lalonde were highly critical of the government’s elevated spending, stating the government was “doing nothing” and “shirking Canada’s inflation fight.”
  • From his new Bay Street perch, former finance minister Bill Morneau criticized the federal government for its short-term, politically motivated thinking on fiscal policy and economic growth.
  • In a Globe and Mail editorial the paper notes, “Economists worry that Ottawa’s fiscal plan is still pulling in the wrong direction on inflation”, concluding Liberals’ fiscal policy is more a part of the problem than the solution.

This repeated critical analysis of Freeland from the country’s leading financial minds has left Canadians shaken. Four of every five Canadians have lost faith in the Trudeau government to manage the country’s economy. According to a recent Maru Public Opinion poll, 55 per cent of Canadians do not believe Trudeau has a “solid plan” to battle inflation and weather the country through economic troubles. Another 25 per cent believe the PM is on the wrong track.

In the same poll, Canadians showed no more confidence in Chrystia Freeland: 55 per cent of Canadians believe that the finance minister has no plan to tackle inflation and 24 per cent believe Freeland has a specifically “bad plan.”

On one hand we have Justin Trudeau who frankly admitted that he does not think about monetary policy and, on the other hand, we have Chrystia Freeland who nonsensically lectures us that inflation is the reason we must double down on climate change.

There is no wonder how “we” got into this economic mess. That meme of the two of them would be funny if it were not so true.

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/trudeaus-and-freelands-fiscal-management-is-no-laughing-matter/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld

Woke activists are intently, purposefully rewriting Canadian history

The Niagara Independent, July 15, 2022 – When reflecting on Canadian history these days it seems to be, at best, an exercise of self-flagellation and, at worst, the expunging of historical facts to promote specific narratives. Woke activists are intently, purposefully rewriting Canadian history and their actions are being furthered – in some cases sponsored – by the Trudeau Government.

It is the oft quoted George Orwell who wrote, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

And so it has passed with one of Canada’s Founding Fathers of Confederation and first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, pioneer educator Sir Edger Ryerson, Upper Canada Governor John Graves Simcoe, Halifax founder Lt.-Gen. Edward Cornwallis, as well as Hector-Louis Langevin, Samuel de Champlain, Captain James Cook, Henry Dundas…

Candice Malcolm, founder and editor-in-chief of True North, has been a constant critic of the woke refashioning our country’s history. In a 2021 editorial, Malcolm assessed, “According to the woke, everyone and everything is viewed through the lens of race, and anyone who doesn’t bow down to the woke mantra gets mobbed, bullied and ultimately canceled. The ultimate goal of the woke mob is to tear down what they call hierarchies of power, essentially dismantling every institution in our society. Canada seems to be ground zero for this new uprising.”

The woke’s revisionism of Canadian history got a huge boost in 2019 when the federal cabinet issued a directive to review and revise historic plaques and monuments nationwide to address concerns of the Canadian legacies of “colonialism, patriarchy and racism”. Then Environment Minister Catherine McKenna directed more than 2,100 historical designations be inspected to, in her own words, “guide the way history is shaped at Parks Canada places for years to come.”

The federal Historic Sites and Monuments Board set about to develop new designations that would “address conflict and controversy” and “power dynamics”; “confront the legacy of colonialism and its impact on Indigenous peoples”; stress “inclusiveness”; and focus on “diversity of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and religion.”

As a result of this review, Blacklock’s Reporter reveals that a total of 205 plaques and monuments are placed on a blacklist for removal based on “public requests” and/or “identified as urgent by Indigenous consultants.” A few examples are cited:

  • A Toronto plaque honouring Goldwin Smith, prolific and celebrated 19th century journalist and editor, is being reviewed due to complaints about specific antisemitic comments found in his writings.
  • An Ottawa plaque placed in 2012 for Dr. Helen MacMurchy, Canada’s first federal director of children’s welfare, is under review due to her controversial association with eugenics in the early 1900s.
  • In Saskatchewan, all plaques commemorating battles of the 1885 North-West Rebellion are to be “vetted with the First Nations” for revision.

Increasingly Canadians learn of the federal government’s obvious attempts at obliterating or revising the country’s history. It was recently revealed that the federal cabinet was responsible for ensuring Canada would not issue commemorative medals in observance of the Queen’s platinum jubilee. Justin Trudeau’s Quebec Lieutenant Pablo Rodriquez, who currently is Canadian Heritage Minister, led a cabinet discussion that nixed jubilee medals to recognize the remarkable longevity of Canada’s Head of State. (Aside from snubbing our Queen, this cabinet decision also prevented Canadians of Commonwealth ancestry any chance to formally celebrate Canada’s British history.)

Earlier this year the news surfaced that Leslie Weir, Canada’s chief archivist, is systematically purging documents from the federal government’s webpages. Weir is rewriting the government’s account of the country’s history, expunging documents that “may offend people.” Without a definition of “offensive,” more than 7,000 web pages on the Library and Archives Canada website have already been removed. These include references to PM Macdonald and Egerton Ryerson, the War of 1812, and “Anything lacking Indigenous perspectives and/or that ignores or dismisses the impact of colonialism on First Nations, Inuit and the Metis Nation.”

The Library and Archives Canada website also recently deleted a “History of the Prime Ministers of Canada” from its webpages. Weir and her colleagues have labelled this information “outdated and redundant.”

Increasingly, historical references are being removed from the public space. These actions are not restricted to the federal government. For example, the Ontario government removed from the Legislature’s lawn and crated a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald; the Manitoba government will not replace the toppled statue of Queen Victoria at its Legislature; and the BC government approved the Royal BC Museum’s move to close its floor of exhibits dedicated to the early logging and fishery settlers of Canada.

The deliberate revision and removal of our country’s history is occurring in spite of a majority of Canadians who oppose the woke’s actions. A Leger poll conducted in February for Postmedia found that 44 per cent want a version of history that relates both “good and bad.” Another 30 per cent opposed “rewriting” history because the people involved “do not look good by today’s standards.”

Yet, the woke are having a direct impact on how Canadians view their nation’s history. Another 2022 Leger poll, this one completed for the Association for Canadian Studies, found that 51 per cent of Canadians believe Canada was founded by three people: British, French and Indigenous peoples. Furthermore, one in four Canadians under the age of 25 believe Canada was founded solely by Indigenous peoples. This is in spite of the facts that underline the original notions and the evolution of this country’s nation state: the agrarian New France settlement in 1534 and the victorious British conquest of 1763, the establishment and adherence to “peace, order and good government”, the Confederation agreement, a fledgling Dominion’s proud contributions to WW1 and WW2, etc.

Herein lies the serious issue with the woke activists’ revisionism. It points to an Orwellian fate that will have Canadians’ sense of their origins and core values blurred and confused. Recall that scene in the novel 1984 when Winston is talking with an old man in a pub about their history before the Revolution: “Within twenty years at most, he reflected, the huge and simple question ‘Was life better before the Revolution than it is now?’ would have ceased once and for all to be answerable.”

And so it has appeared to have passed with Sir John A., and so it may pass with Canada.

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/woke-activists-are-intently-purposefully-rewriting-canadian-history/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes

The ‘Woke’, the Trudeau Liberals, and Canadian politics

The Niagara Independent, July 8, 2022 – This week the National Post featured a book excerpt authored by one of its political columnists, Tasha Kheiriddin. She asserts that Trudeau’s true legacy is his “stoking the woke” in our country. On a litany of issues – LGBTQ+, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, Indigenous rights, anti-Muslim discrimination – Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau purposefully virtue signals to embolden a radicalized social justice movement within the country.

The Trudeau Liberals have consistently aided and abetted Canada’s woke. Their approach is tactical and mindfully taken to extend the Liberals political advantages with their progressive base. It’s a name and shame game that fuels division and promotes woke objectives to disparage conservative values and traditional mores in the country.

The recent, most blatant use of this approach was PM Trudeau’s response to the Ottawa trucker protest this spring. Trudeau and his ministers’ actions followed a pattern:

  1. Misrepresent the issue and create strawmen (convoy is filled with anti-vaxxers)
  2. Draw lines of division to label opponent (“those people” are alt-right)
  3. Denigrate and vilify opponent (protests led by white supremacists, arsonists and rapists who want to overthrow the government)
  4. Claim moral high ground and virtue signal (PM represents decent Canadians, those who are responsibly vaccinated)

Today, as the facts are revealed on what occurred with this citizens’ protest, there is mounting evidence of Trudeau’s fabrications and manipulations, furthered by a complicit mainstream media, to frame the national narrative and political debate.

At the time of the truckers’ protest, Jonathan Kay wrote an insightful piece in Washington’s Wall Street Journal, “If Donald Trump Were a Woke Canadian, He’d Be Justin Trudeau.” Kay contends the PM has become “a divisive demagogue.” The editorial recounts the manner in which Trudeau attacked his critics by labelling them racist and misogynist and identifying them as right-wing extremists and Nazi sympathizers. It was a “hyperbolic response” and taken to the Trumpian extreme of invoking the Emergencies Act to squelch any political dissent.

Kay also draws on the 2017 controversies surrounding Canada’s 150th birthday when Indigenous leaders refused to celebrate the nation’s milestone. This was Canada’s “Great Awokening,” a time when being woke required agreeing that “Canada is a racist and genocidal hellhole.” Recall in 2017, Canada Day was cancelled, flags lowered indefinitely, and mainstream news consisted of nothing but commentaries of national self-recrimination and self-flagellation. This was a watershed moment for the woke social-justice warriors who were empowered by Canada’s political leadership (and Trudeau ensured he surfed the waves of discontent).

The London, UK-based The Telegraph headlined a similar editorial to the Wall Street Journal’s that compares Trudeau to Trump as a polarizing figure. The paper claims: “Justin Trudeau’s woke agenda is tearing Canadian society apart.” The posit is that Canada has become a left-leaning society due to three generations of political correctness in education and media. The Trudeau Liberals have increasingly given a voice to groups who consistently demonize conservatives and the white working-class. This has resulted in a great divide that has polarized Canadian politics: the PM’s approval ratings among conservative-minded people are in low single digits and “switching between the Tories and Liberals, once commonplace, is now rare.”

Lisa Bildy is a civil rights lawyer from London, Ontario who has placed herself on the frontline fighting social justice activists. Bildy effectively sums up the current state of the Canadian populous, stating in a @LDBildy Twitter thread: “Our population is divided, possibly beyond repair. We don’t just disagree, we live in completely separate & irreconcilable realities. We have different facts, different science, different media, different narratives, different values. We view each other as distorted caricatures.”

At every opportunity, the Trudeau Liberals are enabling the woke to further divide Canadians and create an unbridgeable chasm between progressive and conservative-minded people. The Ottawa news agency Blacklock’s Reporter broke the story this week of a publication and soon-to-be “values” awareness campaign for school kids. The publication identifies the Conservative Party as being “infiltrated” by racists.

Blacklock’s Reporter revealed that the federal government gave a $268,400 grant to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN) to fund the writing and publishing of a guide Confronting And Preventing Hate In Canadian Schools. The CAHN is a federally-subsidized group that has received an additional $268,400 federal grant to operate its website, where it will begin promoting its anti-hate awareness program to teachers and directly to students.

(Kudos to Blacklock’s Reporter for exposing this government activity and to True North and Lorne Gunter of PostMedia for repeating the story. Remarkably there was no other mainstream media on this half-million-dollar-plus awareness campaign. The publication can be found here.)

The online book, on two occasions, identifies the Conservative Party as having members who are bigots and “groypers,” which is defined as “a loose collection of young white nationalists.”

In a chapter on “hate promoting symbols,” the Red Ensign flag (Canada’s national flag predating the current red Maple Leaf flag) is identified as a symbol of hate. Apparently, the flag is offensive because “Its usage denotes a desire to return to Canada’s demographics before 1967 when it was predominantly white.”

The book instructs students to “know your enemy” and to call out bigoted students who may use “a defence” like “freedom of speech” or “reverse racism” to further their hate. It also encourages students to challenge their peers who may favour a problematic politician or political policy.

The goal to incite divisions could not be more blatant. Confronting And Preventing Hate In Canadian Schools indoctrinates a “wokeness” that is both manipulatively biased and politically charged. As Lorne Gunter assesses it is nothing more than propaganda, “This guide is a glaring example of the reflexive prejudice of Canadian ‘progressives.’”

In extoling the virtues of CAHN, federal Minister for Diversity Ahmed Hussen proudly launched the sponsored publication. Hussen shared, “This new resource will be delivered through workshops in schools across the country and it will help raise awareness with students… to teach core values to our kids.”

Two sidebars punctuate the point: 1) Ahmed Hussen is the politician who was caught on camera telling an audience of Torontonians during an election campaign that they should not vote Conservative because they are against blacks. 2) CAHN issued two news releases last week to bookend Minister Hussen’s launch of their awareness campaign. On June 28th the group released “Ottawa Facing Far-Right Protests ‘All Summer Long’” and on June 30th it reported “Ottawa’s Summer of Far-Right Protests Has Begun.”

There may be no better example than the publication Confronting And Preventing Hate In Canadian Schools for connecting the dots on “the woke,” the Trudeau Liberals, and Canadian politics. This insulting publication signals Canadians need to wake up.

NEXT WEEK: Woke activists rewriting Canadian history

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-woke-the-trudeau-liberals-and-canadian-politics/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick  — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes a knee for George Floyd during a rally in Ottawa, June 5, 2020.

Lament for our post-national state

The Niagara Independent, July 1, 2022 – From his earliest revelations about wanting to transform this country into a post-national state, PM Justin Trudeau and his enablers have been on a mission to hollow out the idea of Canada. There is to be no core identity, no proud history, no mainstream traditions, no sense of belonging. Seven years into his mission, the country marks its 155th birthday with chaotic and politically charged gatherings across the land that, at best, reflect a shaken sense of nationhood; but, perhaps more accurately, they signal Canadians’ social contract has been forsook. 

Whether it’s the PM’s response to the truckers or the Liberals embrace of the World Economic Forum’s agenda, Canadian editorialists and political pundits now openly debate the damage being done by the Trudeau Government’s constant undermining of the Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights, its destabilization of the country’s resource economy, and the rewriting of Canada’s history to shame our cultural and societal legacies. 

Andrew Coyne’s commentary this week in the Globe and Mail identifies “the vacuum at the centre of Canadian politics” with politicians degrading and disregarding “obligations to common sense, or the ordinary routines of democratic politics, or the rule of law.” Independent journalist Matt Gurney suggests our lack of political leadership has Canadians settling for mediocrity. Numerous columnists including William Gairdner are documenting how the government has morphed from soft socialism to soft totalitarianism. Some like Rupa Subramanya and Warren Kinsella often write on the perverse nature of Trudeau’s authoritarian kleptocracy.

So, this day’s scenes of unrest in the Nation’s Capital and its various cross-country protests against the celebration of “Canada” speak directly to the crisis of our nationhood’s legitimacy, a crisis that is continuously being stoked by the Trudeau Government. Trudeau’s ceaseless use of wedge politics has effectively eroded Canadians’ trust and faith in one another. The PM and his operatives do not let a single opportunity pass by without virtue signaling a division between Canadians. Case in point is most recently when Trudeau and his senior ministers infused the U.S. political maelstrom on abortion into Canada’s public debate, purposefully to 1) embolden his progressive base, and 2) highlight the moral and political divides on this contentious issue.

In the Financial Post, Joe Oliver offers his Lament for a misgoverned nation: “As they prepare to celebrate their country’s 155th birthday, Canadians are suffering at the hands of a divisive, incompetent government that has undermined prosperity, freedom, parliamentary responsibility, the independence of institutions, national unity and our country’s global standing.”

From the deluge of hapless news coming out of Ottawa these days, it seems that the very fabric of our nation is threadbare. Consider how these situations will end.

Canadians are being told there has been no impropriety or “undue influence” exercised with the latest scandalous news that RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki “made a promise” to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office to use the mass murders in Nova Scotia to help pass the Liberals gun control law. Senior Mounties have exposed the political power play. Yet, the same people who caused the obstruction of justice scandals involving Jody-Wilson-Raybould and SNC Lavalin, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, and the WE Charity payouts, claim the senior Mounties are fabricating their story. 

Canadians are now camping out for days in front of federal government offices with hopes that they might get their passports in time for their summer and fall vacations. To address the snake-like lineups moving at glacier speed, PM Trudeau announced a 13-member ministerial taskforce committee that (in his words) “will help guide the work of the government to better meet the changing needs of Canadians and continue to provide them with the high-quality services they need and deserve.” The committee will begin meeting in early July.  

Inflation last month hit almost 7.7 per cent, the highest it has been in 40 years when the current PM’s father was PM. Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberals now know nothing more of how to handle runaway inflation as the Trudeau Liberals did then. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s latest budget included more fiscal stimulus, more debt, more regulation and more taxes. Recall, she appeared beside the Bank of Canada governor to pronounce inflation was “transitory.” Recently, when asked about government actions to tamper inflationary pressures, she claimed the government has “done enough already.” In another interview when asked about the frustrations Canadians are experiencing with rising prices, Freeland offered “it is okay to be mad.” 

Gas pump prices in Canada continue to climb causing increasing strain for daily commuters, suburban families, and commercial drivers. Though Canadians are being told this is a global pressure in part caused by Russia, the fact is our country has the highest and highest-rising prices of any oil-developing nation. In comparing pump prices in Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York the gap has widened to more than 33 per cent more per litre. (News Thursday from an internal Department of Environment report tells us that new regulatory taxes on gas to be imposed July 1, 2023 will have a direct impact on prices by as much as 36 cents per litre.) The Americans are considering tax relief for motorists; any type of gas tax relief is something the Trudeau government has repeatedly rejected. 

More horrors were reported from Ukraine this week when missiles hit residential buildings in Kiev and one missile struck a shopping centre, killing 16 and injuring over 40. While this news shook the world, PM Trudeau was hamming it up at the G7 meetings in Germany, mocking Vladimir Putin and photos of him bare-chested horseback riding. The Canadian PM had nothing more to offer his colleagues at the NATO summit. In the past couple of years, it is evident Canada has been marginalized in international affairs – left out of AUKUS, no mention with the QUAD Alliance, and our diplomats are MIA in any discussions of defending Ukraine. Still our Trudeau Government boasts its hashtag diplomacy: #IStandWithUkraine. 

Finally, consider the news that Canada Day in Winnipeg has been replaced with “New Day” celebrations, a solemn statement to support Indigenous rights and to stand with those who hold grievances against Canada as a nation. Queen’s University professor Bruce Pardy makes this observation in an Epoch Times article, “The cancellation and renaming of Canada Day… reflects a kind of cultural self-hate that has gripped the body politic in Canada.” 

Professor Pardy homes in on the sobering significance, “Our institutions have embraced the premises of critical theory, an anti-Western ideology that insists that Canada and other Western nations are fundamentally unjust, systemically racist, oppressive, and destructive… the most serious threat to Canada may be its conditioned disgust with its own history and traditions.”

So, returning to Joe Oliver’s column and his use of the adjective “misgoverned”. Oliver assumes the Trudeau Government is rudderless and unfocused when, in fact, there is plenty of evidence what is at play here is more than incompetence. On this Canada Day, Parliament Hill is off-limits. The PM is insulting “those people” again, purposefully dividing and erasing the idea that we should celebrate our country. 

Oh Canada, this is lamentable. 

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-our-post-national-state/


Bad government begets bad public policy

The Niagara Independent, June 24, 2022 – An increasing number of op-eds being written conclude that the governing Liberals have effectively undermined the institution of Parliament to a point that our government’s executive and legislative branches are dysfunctional. National Post columnist John Ivison observed this week that the coalition between Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh, guaranteeing a parliamentary chokehold until 2025, has made the PM, ministers and MPs too comfortable and complacent. Ivision states: “The NDP-Liberal coalition has made an inefficient government inept.”

A recent Globe and Mail editorial assessed that the federal Parliament has been neutered; PM Trudeau has handcuffed Parliament’s role as to keep government in check. This Liberal government is advancing its agenda unabated, passing government bills with as little debate as possible and, as the Globe’s editorial board concludes, Trudeau “has subverted the role of Parliament to his political interests.”

In surfacing from a six-week sabbatical, this scribe was numbed reviewing Ottawa’s legislative news. An observation by renowned author Mark Twain perhaps best describes my reflections, “To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals.” 

Let’s consider three important public policy debates that unfolded in the spring session of Parliament. Given how the Liberals and NDPs managed the parliamentary proceedings, many Canadians may be unaware of these issues and the consequential decisions being made in Ottawa.

Censoring the Internet 

In this parliamentary session, the government has fast-tracked Canada’s new Internet censorship law that will control what people watch, read, and hear. Though the Liberals insist their legislation will not impede Canadians’ abilities to generate, use and view content on the Internet, experts claim the government has provided the CRTC with sweeping, unlimited powers to censor all of Canadians’ online activities. In fact, current CRTC chair Ian Scott confirmed in his testimony before a parliamentary committee that, “As constructed, there is a provision that would allow us to do it as required.”

In the last few weeks, the government has rushed the legislative committee review of the new censorship measures that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation warns may lead Canada to become “like China and North Korea.” There were inadequate answers to the concerns about the CRTC’s use of government-controlled algorithms to filter what “legitimate” content and videos Canadians will be able to see online. The full scope and minute details of what is to be censored is found in CRTC regulations, which will only to be made public once Bill C-11 is passed.

In the face of all the concerns about government overreach and Canadians’ rights to free expression, the Liberals – with the support of the NDP – imposed motions to rush the clause-by-clause review to a single day. One of Canada’s foremost Internet experts Professor Michael Geist expressed outrage: “over 100 amendments were voted on without public disclosure, debate, questions to officials, or the opportunity for sub-amendment.” Geist called this “an affront to democracy.”

The Liberals and NDPs followed up this parliamentary atrocity by invoking closure on the House of Commons debate and passing the legislation onto the Senate – where it now is being debated. On a related note, in a recent Nanos Research poll, unprompted, Canadians cited free speech and freedom as the second “most important” national issue of concern (behind only COVID).

Extending Assisted Suicide 

This week a Special Joint Committee of MPs and Senators tabled a report on their recent study of the federal government’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) program that considered the implications of permitting applications for assisted suicide from consenting children, people with disabilities or people suffering from mental illness.

By way of background, in 2016 the Trudeau Liberals introduced and passed its MAID legislation that permitted euthanasia to Canadians whose death was “reasonably foreseeable.” Since, a Quebec Superior Court struck down the “reasonably foreseeable death” provision as being unconstitutional, and this has opened a pandora’s box to identifying the groups of individuals who can access the MAID program. The federal government has indicated it will not appeal the Quebec Court’s decision; instead, the Trudeau Liberals passed new legislation that will extend the list of eligible conditions for its state-sponsored MAID program in 2023.

On one hand, the national advocacy group Dying With Dignity argues a majority of Canadians support end-of-life rights and back the extension of the MAID program. On the other hand, euthanasia opponents fear death will become an industry in Canada, especially if this government takes the unprecedented step of allowing a medically assisted death on the basis of conditions that could include everything from depression to bipolar disorder to schizophrenia to anorexia.

And the recent media accounts of Canadians seeking MAID support puts this contentious issue into focus. Where should our society draw a line? Is it with a 30-year-old woman suffering with mental illness, a 20-year-old man with an undiagnosed illness, a teenager with anorexia, a 50-year-old man who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a 20-year-old who suffers from an eco-anxiety believing the world will burn in 2050, a chronically ill 30-year-old woman who cannot access needed palliative care support?

Current Liberal thinking suggests all of these people will be eligible for the MAID program. The Special Joint Committee’s final report and recommendations are forthcoming in October.

Failing to Support Afghans 

This week there were further disturbing reports from Afghanistan. The Taliban are hunting down more than 200 Afghans – mostly women – who are in hiding after being identified as “spies” working on Canadian humanitarian aid projects. This news echoes many other accounts of depleting food and aid during a period of drought and famine, of women being denied basic rights of movement and education, of desperate people engaging in organ harvesting and human trafficking.

In Parliament there have been reviews of Canada’s embarrassment in failing to provide support to Afghans who our Canadian Forces and diplomats worked with during Canada’s Afghanistan missions. Ambassador Reid Sirrs (who has the distinction of leading one of the first diplomatic staff to leave the country) told MPs, “Kabul was unsafe for me.” Through committee testimony it was revealed that the ambassador and his staff fled aboard a half-empty military plane. Yet, Canadians have been told only half the story as Liberal MPs used procedural tactics to conceal embassy records and Cabinet documents and discussions.

Canadians did hear from one Afghan interpreter with the Canadian Forces who testified the hopelessness of what transpired: “I am disappointed that Canada has left us high and dry.” In summing up their committee hearings the MPs report concluded the obvious: “The way Canada left Afghanistan in August was a betrayal.”

So, if readers of this column will allow me this parting personal thought… Regardless of Justin Trudeau’s political interests and the repeated failures of our federal parliamentary process, with issues like freedom of speech, state-sponsored assisted suicide, and fulfilling our international obligations, Canadians must attempt to hold our federal government accountable. We must continue to “stand on guard” if we are to remain “strong and free.” 

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/bad-government-begets-bad-public-policy/

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Art Babych

The cost of the Trudeau government’s green agenda

The Niagara Independent, March 18, 2022 – There is a growing number of experts and financial analysts who are summarizing that the Trudeau government’s green agenda is costing Canadians dearly. Their conclusions paint a dire economic picture for Canadians.

PM Justin Trudeau’s “bold” international climate change commitments to achieve a “net-zero emissions economy” by 2050 will come at an exorbitant price. The state intervention plans of Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and PM advisor Mark Carney will cripple the country’s industrial sectors and increase Canadians’ cost of living. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault’s missionary zeal to shut down the country’s oil and gas industry while subsidizing renewable resources will result in tremendous job loss, energy price hikes, a significant hit to the national GDP, and it will deny the global community of much needed energy resources.

Recently, Environment Minister Guilbeault declared that the green energy sector runs without federal subsidies, which is a blatant fabrication as Blacklock Reporter states: “No federal authority to date has calculated total costs to taxpayers of direct federal subsidies for green energy. Programs include a $9.2 billion Green Infrastructure Fund, $2 billion Low Carbon Economy Fund, $964 million Smart Renewable and Electrification Pathways Program…”

Similarly, Guilbeault avoids commenting on the cost of capping oil and gas emissions and supporting a green energy transition over the next 30 years, stating only that information regarding the costs and benefits of the regulations would be known at a future date.

The government’s illusive answers belie the facts as estimated by industry and financial experts. Here are some statistics and troubling analysis about the government’s subsidy programs.

  • TD Economics estimates that 450,000 of Canada’s direct and indirect oil and gas jobs will be lost by 2050. The analysts warn that it is wrong to assume that displaced oil and gas workers will find new jobs in the clean-energy sector.
  • Government audits show there are multiple green projects subsidized without any regard for costs or return on investment. A 2018 Treasury Board memo tracked 45 separate programs subsidizing green projects in eleven different departments and agencies. A 2019 Department of Environment audit red-flagged that there is little financial oversight: “There is no departmental plan… no guidance.” A 2020 Department of Industry audit reported green tech companies were three times more likely to rely on taxpayer subsidies through grants, subsidies and non-repayable contributions than other small- and medium-sized businesses.
  • The Canadian Gas Association, Canadian Association of Energy Contractors, and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers all complained to a House of Commons committee recently that there is little detailed information about the government’s approach to capping emissions and this has caused a chill in private sector investment and development of energy projects in Canada.

By all accounts it is near impossible for the government to transition Canada’s energy to green renewables and achieve its 2030 or 2050 emission targets. Consider these facts:

  • An October 2021 RBC Economics report concluded it would take a $2 trillion investment for Canada to achieve the target of “net zero” by 2050. This would require annual spending of at least $60 billion.
  • University of Victoria economist G. Cornelis van Kooten estimated the government would have to build 28,340 wind turbines or some 30 nuclear power plants in the next eight years to meet its 2030 emissions-reduction targets. That would cost between $16.8 and $33.7 billion annually for the next eight years.
  • Carleton University business professor Ian Lee assesses that for the government to meet its 2050 net-zero goals, Canada would have to replace three-quarters of its current oil and gas energy supply with “green” electricity. That would be more than 75 nuclear plants the size of Darlington – which was built for approximately $23 billion in 2020 dollars.
  • The 2020 International Energy Agency study estimates that green transition will demand an increase in mining rare earth minerals such as nickel, copper, cobalt and lithium from 700 to 4,000 per cent depending on the mix of renewable energy sources developed. Currently, the world does not have enough rare earth mines in operation – and the majority of existing producing mines is in China.

This data suggests that for the government to meet its 2050 “net-zero” emission target it must do so with an energy strategy that includes oil and gas. In a strongly worded Hill Times editorial Senator Scott Tannas presents an alternative path forward for the government: “Until we make the enormous effort and investment required to shift fully to renewables, the world will need a reliable, affordable supply of conventional energy… Canada can take a more balanced and pragmatic approach to help reduce dependency on fossil fuels without impeding critical oil and gas production.” (This is a course that the Trudeau cabinet will not entertain.)

However, one policy matter the Trudeau government is standing firm on is its scheduled carbon tax hikes. In two weeks, on April 1, the carbon tax will again be hiked to reach the government’s arbitrarily set price of $50 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. The government’s stated policy objective of annually increasing carbon tax is to alter Canadian energy consumption behaviours. In a recent Department of Environment brief Pricing Carbon Pollution, the federal officials crowed, “Canada has proven that carbon pricing can be done in a manner that keeps life affordable.” The brief forecasts that an additional 40 cent tax per litre of gas at the pump and an additional 34 cent tax per cubic metre of natural gas for heating homes will be affordable for Canadians to manage in 2030.

Yet, increasing carbon taxes on all fossil fuels is not just felt at the pump and heating your home; this tax raises the cost of everything for Canadians. It increases the cost of business for farmers, manufacturers, and truckers – and, as a result, the carbon tax will raise the price of all groceries and consumer goods. Numerous studies have concluded the government’s current carbon tax will significantly increase the cost of living for all Canadians. And a recent Bank of Canada report suggests the carbon tax will slow the country’s economic growth.

Furthermore, the hikes in carbon taxes are not sufficient to meet the government’s 2050 emission targets – and this has prompted ministers like Guilbeault to suggest the scheduled hikes must be hiked. The Parliamentary Budget Office provided a 2021 analysis that found the government “net zero” targets can only realistically be reached by raising the carbon tax five times greater than it is currently scheduled through 2030. This level of taxation would have Canadians paying approximately $160 of additional carbon taxes every time they filled up their vehicle.

Factoring the cost of the Trudeau government’s green agenda is not just a dollar and cents argument. Given the current Russian invasion of Ukraine and the political and humanitarian crises that are unfolding, there must be an ethical price considered when assessing the implementation of Canada’s green transition. On the PM’s recent European tour Trudeau balked at the suggestion Canada would supply Europe with the gas and oil it required to replace existing Russian exports. Canadian environmental experts are backing the PM in positing the war is not reason to extract more oil or build new pipelines.

Yet there are now a growing number of voices that are calling on the government to recalculate its green transition plans to include an increased role for oil and gas production that will, in part, come to the aid of Ukraine and European countries who must wean themselves off Russian fossil fuels. Canadian oil and gas has the potential to replace fossil fuels from Russia as well as other countries where production is not as environmentally sound as in Canada. It will also ensure countries such as Germany, India, and Britain do not need to resort to reopening their coal-fired power plants.

Most poignant are the critics of the Trudeau government’s green agenda who state that, in these perilous times, Canadians have a moral imperative to develop its oil and gas resources. Ken Coates, Munk Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, puts this sentiment best when he writes: “Opportunities exist for Canada to become a major global player; our current strategy, however, is sending us headstrong to national mediocrity, inaction on meaningful climate change initiatives, and to a lower quality of life. This is not the outcome that Canadians desire.”

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-cost-of-the-trudeau-governments-green-agenda/

Photo credit: Bloomberg/David Kawai

Inconvenient facts of the Trudeau government’s green agenda

The Niagara Independent, January 21, 2022 – The federal government has Canada (a.k.a. the Great White North) in fervid pursuit to meet international climate change commitments and to achieve a “net-zero emissions economy” by 2050. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made it his singular mission to implement a “bold” green agenda that will position Canada as a global leader in reducing greenhouse carbon gas emissions.

To the applause of various United Nations audiences, the Canadian PM committed the country to cut its carbon emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below the 2005 levels by the year 2030, and to reach a net-zero emissions mark by 2050. At the recent Glasgow climate summit, he pledged to cap the emissions of Canadian oil and gas companies at today’s levels and put regulatory measures in place that will have this energy sector meet a net-zero emissions target by 2050.

To make this happen, PM Trudeau selected “a climate activist” as the country’s environment and climate change minister. Steven Guilbeault has been extended a free rein to take a hardline in realizing the government’s green dream. He is unabashed, recently stating, “My timeline is two years. So, in the next two years, more stringent methane regulations, zero emission vehicle standards, net zero grid by 2035, cap on oil and gas and obviously phasing out fossil fuels – all of these things must be in place in the coming eighteen months.”

The PM’s political operatives are also on the move. Backroom maneuvers were exposed recently when U.S. Ambassador to Canada David L. Cohen posted on his Twitter feed of a policy meeting with the PM’s BFF Gerald Butts, Catherine McKenna (former environment minister, now private citizen), and Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance (and celebrated Liberal leadership aspirant). The American ambassador described the meeting with the unelected friends of the PM as “a discussion on how Canada and the United States can work together to achieve our shared goals toward a greener, cleaner future.”

And so, all the PM’s players may be fully engaged, but there is a glaring fallacy that Canada’s pursuit and achievement of a net-zero emission target by 2050 will mean anything at all. In fact, it is meaningless in the reduction of the actual total amount of gas emissions. The reality is that if Canada were to eliminate all its carbon gas emissions tomorrow, the 184 coal plants currently being built in China would more than replace this accomplishment. In 2020, China built more than three times as much of new coal power capacity as all the other countries in the world combined – and China has repeatedly refused to sign onto any international agreement to reduce its coal use.

It is furthermore evident that the government’s drive towards a net-zero emissions target is a quixotic pursuit when appreciating that Canada ranks tenth on the list of global polluters. It is but a miniscule 1.6 percent fraction of the world’s greatest emitters. Now consider more than half (53 per cent) of the world’s carbon emissions come from four countries: China – 27.2 per cent, U.S. – 14.6 per cent, India – 6.8 per cent, and Russia – 4.7 per cent.

It is another inconvenient fact that, at today’s measurements, China emits in 20 days the carbon emissions Canadians pollute in an entire year.

That said, it is questionable whether Canada can substantially reduce its carbon emissions, let alone meet a net-zero target. Since 2015, Canada’s emissions have actually risen. According to a recent U.N. Emissions Gap Report, Canada is set to miss its next emissions target in 2030 by 15 per cent. The country’s vast geography, cold climate, and its citizens’ suburban lifestyles requiring travel for work, all challenge the notion that in less than 30 years Canadians can significantly curtail their energy use and carbon emissions.

The Trudeau government’s plan to finance its environmental agenda is also doubtful. The proposed green plan is currently costed at $109 billion of government investment in the next decade. The economic underpinning of this plan depends on considerable private sector investment. For every one taxpayer dollar the government will spend, the Trudeau government is looking to encourage six private sector dollars of investment. However, this is highly unlikely as the Canadian private sector is reluctant to partner with subsidized federal projects and Canada itself has become increasingly unattractive to foreign investors.

But the Trudeau government has a solution for the funding challenges posed by the drought of private sector equity that is torn directly from the pages of the World Economic Forum (WEF) playbook. Taking up the WEF recommendation for direct government intervention in corporate boardrooms, the Trudeau government will legislate and regulate to ensure sufficient private sector capital is redirected to underwrite its environmental programs.

To turn this trick WEF board member Chrystia Freeland (who is also Trudeau’s finance minister) is working with the beforementioned UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney to secure adequate financing for Canada’s green agenda. Recall, Carney was a feature speaker at the Glasgow summit to explain how corporate boardrooms and the private sector must invest in countries’ global climate change objectives. Carney’s foreboding message was that the private sector will be expected to underwrite governments’ subsidized development of renewable energy sources.

Is it only a coincidence that the Bank of Canada announced it is developing new models and data sources to monitor the effects of climate change on the economy? Or that Freeland has secured a much higher debt ceiling to allow for even more government spending in the years ahead?

Minister Freeland and her deputy minister Michael Sabia (a globalist who was parachuted into his position a year ago) are following helpful WEF suggestions regarding new tax revenues for green initiatives. The finance department has had a busy six months floating trial balloons: a wealth tax on high income earners, an increase on the capital gains rate, a variety of new capital gains taxes on the sale of primary residences, and an inheritance tax. There has also been a suggestion to increase the scheduled hikes of carbon taxes on gasoline and home fuel.

Echoing the WEF presentation scripts, Canadians have already heard that the government’s new economic policies are introduced “to fight climate change.” In that way, Trudeau’s insistence that Canadians must “pay for pollution” becomes a Trojan Horse for the onslaught of new corporate and personal taxation.

The country’s green plan may not make rational or economic sense, but why let the facts of the matter get in the way of a global mission. As it is, the federal government is actively implementing a green agenda with two core objectives to decarbonize Canada’s economy: shut down Canada’s oil and gas industry, and transition Canadians’ energy use to renewables sources.

PM Justin Trudeau and his supporting cast – Guilbeault, Freeland, Carney, Butts, and others – are prepared to strike grand international commitments and then impose the government’s heavy hand to achieve their ends, apparently, at any cost.

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/inconvenient-facts-of-the-trudeau-governments-green-agenda/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault at COP26 in Glasgow, Nov. 2, 2021.

Our Canadian emperor is exposed in Europe

The Niagara Independent, March 11, 2022 – There is a Hans Christian Andersen folktale entitled The Emperor’s New Clothes about a foolhardy leader who parades through town to everyone’s embarrassment. Much like the Canadian Prime Minister’s public relations tour through Europe this week, Justin Trudeau’s exposure revealed naked truths about his government and its commitment to the crisis unfolding in Ukraine.

In British media there appeared humourous comparisons between “dreamboat Justin Trudeau” and frumpy British PM Boris Johnson, with one fawning observation that the Canuck’s stylish threads and catwalk strides had him “looking like he had just stepped out of the pages of a menswear catalogue.”  However, reports back home shared news of crowds chanting unpleasantries outside Number 10 Downing Street, and a series of press conferences that had foreign reporters rolling their eyes at the Canadian PM’s non-speak. There were also three particular poses PM Trudeau struck that were anything but vogue.

NATO: “threadbare”

In Europe, there is a heightened political sensitivity on how the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) can provide more to the defense of Ukraine. PM Trudeau was questioned at almost every press conference on whether his government would accept Canada’s military commitment to NATO; Maclean’s magazine reported that Trudeau “ignored the question or used standard platitudes.” In response to a direct question of whether Canada would boost its military budget to meet NATO’s spending target of two per cent of GDP, Trudeau said: “We need to make sure that the women and men in the Canadian Armed forces have all the equipment necessary to be able to stand strongly, as we always have as members of NATO.”

To put it politely, Canada’s contribution to NATO is threadbare. The tale of the tape is this: NATO has a defence spending target of two per cent of GDP for its member countries. Last year Canada placed 24th of 30 members in spending an unfashionable 1.39 per cent of GDP to NATO. In a press conference Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “Canada is contributing in many ways. But then, of course, I would like to see all allies to do even more, and therefore I call on all allies to step up.”

Through the week, as he pledged Canadians’ good-faith, Trudeau would repeatedly mumble, “we continue to look at what more we can do.” Then mid-week Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland hinted at increases to the country’s defence spending to be announced in the spring federal budget. Apparently, NATO members and the besieged Ukrainians will need to wait until then to get a straight answer to their question.

Refugee Program: “ill-fitted” 

The news of nearly two million people fleeing from the advancing Russian firepower has pulled at heartstrings throughout Canada, home to the largest population of Ukrainian diaspora. To its credit, the Canadian government was quick to answer the call of this rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis. In a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, PM Trudeau promised, “Canada would continue to be there for them.” On Thursday in Warsaw, Trudeau recommitted Canada’s pledge to Polish President Andrzej Duda.

The Canadian government will expedite refugee applications and develop an emergency travel stream that eliminates many of Canada’s visa requirements for Ukrainians. Pending security checks, Ukrainian refugees can work or attend school for at least two years. The government is also prioritizing applications from Ukraine for permanent or temporary residency.

These are all excellent initiatives, however, the details of this hastily stitched program tell us we should consider making alterations ASAP. For example, the government admitted it will take two weeks before the Canadian program is operational as officials must implement identification procedures, including biometrics, for receiving the refugees. Another concern is the program is only available to Ukraine citizens; non-citizens need not board the flights to Pearson. This has distressed the great number of displaced people without citizenship – racialized minorities and asylum seekers – who will not be able to return to Ukraine or their home countries.

So, as PM Trudeau was providing reassurances before microphones in Europe, immigration experts in Canada voiced skepticism about the ill-fitted program. Immigration Canada is renowned for its processing delays – so, why exactly do we need to process refugees before flying them to safety? What impact will the Ukrainian refugees have on other refugees awaiting resettlement to Canada? What about the urgent need to assist in Afghanistan, where Canada has only resettled 8,580 of the promised 40,000 Afghan refugees since August 2021?

Oil and Gas: “faux fashion” 

In one of his first stops this week, PM Trudeau held a press conference with U.K. PM Johnson and Dutch PM Mark Rutte. The PMs’ joint presentation focused on the need for European countries to lessen their dependence on Russian oil and gas. Rutte talked about the risks to energy supplies in Europe, “The painful reality is that we are still very much dependent on Russian gas and Russian oil. We have to consider how we can all move away as fast as possible from dependence or reliance on Russian hydrocarbons.”

Then Trudeau suggested Canada would be there to support European nations weaning off Russian energy. When asked whether Canada could supply the oil and gas that Europe required, Trudeau was confidently vague, “We will be there to support, as the world moves beyond Russian oil and indeed, beyond fossil fuels, to have more renewables in our mix. We need to move forward on decarbonizing our economies, but we need to do that in a way that supports people through that process and we’re going to continue doing that.”

In other words, our fashion-conscious, trendy PM told Europeans they should not look to Canada for oil and gas, but expect sometime in the future to benefit from dependable Canadian renewable resources. As Boris Johnson speculated on the possibility of re-firing U.K. coal plants to meet his country’s immediate energy needs, Justin Trudeau’s faux fashion was on display for all to see.

And there was good reason no promise for Canadian oil and gas was forthcoming. The Trudeau government is aggressively refashioning the Canadian economy to transition from oil and gas. Just last week the government announced it was halting all further spending on the Trans Mountain Pipeline, effectively killing this half-finished project. Last month the government buried the Québec Energie Saguenay liquified natural gas export facility, north of Quebec City. It also recently announced an additional delay in reviewing a Bay Du Nord offshore oil project off the coast of Newfoundland. Across the country, the Trudeau government is doing everything it can to shut down carbon-based industries and replace them with “tomorrrow’s fad”: subsidized renewable resources.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians For Affordable Energy, astutely critiques what this means in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “The opportunity exists to have our Canadian energy resources made available to Europeans who are threatened with serious energy shortages… Europe really does miss Canada – from the table of grownups who understand the realities of global politics and day to day life for the millions threatened by an absence of affordable energy.”

From Trudeau’s posturing on NATO, to refugees, to oil and gas, respectfully, Hans Christian Andersen himself could not have written this.

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/our-canadian-emperor-is-exposed-in-europe/

Photo credit: Twitter/Justin Trudeau — PM Trudeau meets with his British counterpart Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street in London, Mar. 7, 2022.

The WEF and the Liberals’ agenda for Canada

The Niagara Independent, March 4, 2022 – MP Colin Carrie rose in the House of Commons to enter into the debate on the use of the Emergency Act, and began posing a question to the government benches, “Klaus Schwab is the head of the World Economic Forum, and he bragged how his subversive WEF has ‘infiltrated’ governments around the world. In the interests of transparency, could the member please name which cabinet ministers are on board with the WEF’s agenda…”

The MP was interrupted by the Speaker who claimed the parliamentary audio and video were not working. Then MP Charlie Angus immediately took the floor on a point of order to say that Carrie was “openly promoting disinformation.” With that outburst, the Speaker looked past Carrie and recognized another MP to speak.

Carrie’s question about the WEF and the Trudeau Cabinet was purposely ignored. So, “in the interests of transparency,” here are the pertinent facts that were denied parliamentarians. First, to provide context, let’s connect some dots.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international organization that is based in Geneva, Switzerland. The WEF was established in 1971 and it organizes an annual summit for world leaders in Davos, Switzerland. Its website states, “The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.”

Klaus Schwab, a German octogenarian economist, is the founder and current Executive Chairman of the WEF. In the early 70’s he wrote the original Davos Manifesto, and WEF makes the exalted claim that, “Stakeholder capitalism was born.” Through the decades, Schwab has been central in establishing a global dialogue on creating a world order in which international bodies operating with the United Nations (U.N.) oversee global agendas – set at his Davos summits.

An important sidebar to the Davos summits is the Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers programs, in which participants are indoctrinated on the WEF agenda and schooled on how to effectively implement it. The Global Shapers program today has more than 1,300 youth activists operating in 450 cities around the world advocating through “grassroots movements” for societal change and climate change solutions.

In 2016, Schwab released a document entitled “The Great Reset,” which argued capitalism is dead and every aspect of society needed to be refashioned. The prescription was to move nations’ economies and corporate structures from “shareholder capitalism to stakeholder responsibility.” Governments and international corporations were to be regulated and measured by WEF environmental, social and governance metrics, and managed by the U.N.

In July 2020, the WEF published a document co-authored by Schwab entitled, “COVID-19 – The Great Reset.” In this thesis, Schwab describes how the COVID pandemic has disrupted economic and social order around the world. He posits that the health crisis provides an opportunity “to create a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable world going forward.” Schwab then advanced a WEF plan to alter nation states and their institutions over a ten year period so that, by 2030, countries will be in adherence with U.N. economic and social governing bodies.

Schwab’s 2020 book concludes: “In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism. We must build entirely new foundations for our economic and social systems.”

So, this is the contextual background information necessary to understand the significance of a recent video clip that has surfaced of Klaus Schwab being interviewed at the John F. Kennedy School of Government about how the WEF would implement its plan to reset the global economic and social structure. The video clip can be viewed here.

Schwab states verbatim, “The notion to integrate young leaders is part of the WEF since many years. I have to say, when I mention now names, like Mrs. Merkel and even Vladimir Putin, and so on, they all have been Young Global Leaders of the WEF. But what we are very proud of now is the young generation like Prime Minister Trudeau, the president of Argentina, and so on. So, we penetrate the cabinets. So yesterday I was at a reception for Prime Minister Trudeau and I know that half of his cabinet, or even more than half of his cabinet, are actually Young Global Leaders.”

It was a travesty of democracy when MP Carrie was silenced for questioning the impact of Klaus Schwab and the WEF on PM Justin Trudeau and his cabinet. Schwab’s agenda is constantly being championed by senior Liberals in Ottawa. Two bald examples from the past couple of years:

  • Trudeau addressed the U.N. in September 2020, “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset. This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change.”
  • Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and former health minister Patty Hajdu in 2021 spoke at the WEF’s Great Reset Initiative. Freeland participated in an “Implementing Stakeholder Capitalism” panel while Hajdu spoke at a “Restoring Cross-Border Mobility” panel.

As disturbing as the intimacies between the WEF and the Canadian PM and Cabinet are, the conflicting interests of Chrystia Freeland are more alarming. Canada’s Deputy PM and Finance Minister is also a Trustee on the WEF Board and, as such, is responsible for advancing WEF objectives. The WEF board of trustees “act as guardians of its mission and values” and are its “highest-level governance body.”

In a 2021 National Post column entitled “Chrystia Freeland’s side gig with the WEF is endangering Canadian democracy,” Rupa Subramanya put it best when she observed, “There’s no need to invent conspiracy theories. The attempt by global elites to subvert local democracy is fully on and in plain view.”

And there is much more to be weary of when understanding that the Liberals are lockstep with the WEF reset agenda. One example occurred recently with the financial takedown of those Canadians supporting the truckers’ protest. Canadians witnessed what is possible with the government’s use of FINTRAC to freeze and seize financial accounts. This absolute digital control of personal and corporate finances makes for frightening scenarios if misused by a government with an agenda. Additionally, it is noteworthy that the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) is the agency contracted by the WEF to create its global digital ID, akin to the QR codes used in Canada to verify a person’s vaccination status.

On this WEF-CBA work, there is a theory circulating that the government’s abrupt cancellation of the Emergencies Act was a result of agitated WEF officials who felt Freeland’s financial powerplay may have caused anxiousness and undue attention to the government’s digital control over citizens.

Could it be that, perhaps, Schwab phoned Trudeau? Or perhaps, Canadians wondering about the links between WEF and their government’s agenda are like MP Angus has suggested: openly promoting disinformation. Alas, Canadians may never know for sure. MP Carrie never got to ask the question.

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-wef-and-the-liberals-agenda-for-canada/

Photo credit: EPA / Salvatore Di Nolfi