Five Best Sentences in Politics

  1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealth out of prosperity.
  2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
  3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
  4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
  5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they worked for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation!

 

FROM OUR E-BOOK

The joke was selected from Epic Political Jokes & Quotes – the 150-page-plus e-book bursting with funny guffaws, “shaggy-dog” stories and sideways jokes about politicians and politics. Read more about it hereOrder your copy here.

 

Quotes on Elections

   

It’s been said that “The election is not very far off when a candidate can recognize you across the street.” So, with the Canadian federal election about to be called in the coming days, we bring you 20 political quotes on elections.  

 

  • A politician thinks of the next election – a statesman, of the next generation. – James Freeman Clarke
  • The election is not very far off when a candidate can recognize you across the street. – Kim Hubbard
  • Vote for the man who promises least. He’ll be the least disappointing. – Bernard Baruch
  • Of two evils, it is always best to vote for the least hypocritical. – American Proverb
  • If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. – Emma Goldman
  • Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody. – Franklin P. Adams
  • A politician should have three hats.  One for throwing into the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected.  – Carl Sandburg
  • Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party.  – Winston Churchill
  • Bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote. – George Jean Nathan
  • Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates. – Gore Vidal 
  • Half of the American people never read a newspaper.  Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half. – Gore Vidal
  • In every election in American history both parties have their cliches. The party that has the cliches that ring true wins. – Newt Gingrich
  • The only thing we learn from new elections is we learned nothing from the old. – American Proverb
  • If elected I shall be thankful; if not, it will be all the same. – Abraham Lincoln
  • In times of stress and strain, people will vote. – Anonymous
  • What in fact takes place in an election is that two hand picked candidates are propped up before the citizenry, each candidate having been selected by a very small group of politically active people. A minority of the people… then elects one of these hand picked people to rule itself and the majority. –  Robert J. Ringer
  • Whenever a fellow tells me he is bipartisan I know he is going to vote against me. – Harry Truman
  • However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. – Winston Churchill
  • Don’t vote, it only encourages them. – Anonymous
  • If elected, I will win. – Pat Paulsen

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

Prime Minister Attempting to Defuse Ethic Commissioner’s Findings

The Niagara Independent, August 16, 2019 — It was an explosive spectacle this week when Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion made public his findings on the conduct of the Prime Minister and his Office respecting their obstruction of justice in the SNC Lavalin scandal. It was as if all of Ottawa was caught up in some WWE SmackDown extravaganza. Though the core issue may be a question of ethical leadership and a non-partisan judiciary, it was raw politics that overshadowed every public statement on the Commissioner’s work.

The Ethics Commissioner report found the Prime Minister violated Canadian law by attempting to influence the former Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. The PM and his Office exerted continuous pressure on the former minister to advance a deferred prosecution agreement for Quebec-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. The Commissioner concluded: “The evidence showed there were many ways in which Mr. Trudeau, either directly or through the actions of those under his direction, sought to influence the attorney general.”

Commissioner Dion stated: “The authority of the Prime Minister and his Office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson‑Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”

The report cited strong-armed tactics by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office – Canada’s most senior public office-holders. The inappropriate pressure by the likes of the PM’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts and former Privy Council Office clerk Michael Wernick was for “partisan political interests” all to give SNC Lavalin (headquarters in the PM’s riding) a deal that would avoid prosecution on bribery and corruption charges.

Within Commissioner Dion’s report there are many facts that are now being made public, such as: SNC Lavalin lobbyists began their discussions with PM Trudeau in 2016 shortly after the Liberal Government was elected; and, the PMO pressure campaign continued long after Jody Wilson-Raybould told the PM and his officials that their actions were improper, and should cease.

Canadians now know “LavScam” has been an orchestrated and sustained political power-play by PM Justin Trudeau and his PMO operative Gerald Butts that spans years. Though the detailed report named many conspirators in the sordid activity, Commissioner Dion concluded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau bears the blame.

The PM’s response to the Ethic Commissioner’s conclusion was swift and the news headlines in the Toronto Star and with CBC heralded his key message: “I take responsibility.” Indeed, PM Trudeau stated he accepts full responsibility for what transpired. However, in his media conference, this assertion was nuanced and PM Trudeau remained unapologetic to his former minister and to Canadians for what he now acknowledges was his obstruction of justice.

Justin Trudeau said, “We recognize the way that this happened shouldn’t have happened… My job as prime minister is to stand up for Canadians and defend their interests. Yes, it is essential that we do that in a way that defends our institutions and upholds prosecutorial independence, but we need to talk about the impacts on Canadians right across the country of decisions being made. I can’t apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs.”

The following day the Prime Minister repeated the rationale that his sense of “what is in the public interest” will trump any notion of an unencumbered Canadian judiciary. “I’m not going to apologize for standing up for Canadians’ jobs because that’s my job — to make sure that Canadians, communities and families across the country are supported, and that’s what I will always do.”

Many found this response incredulously inappropriate. As political columnist Brian Lilley puts it: “Apparently to Trudeau, helping a company that has a long history of bribery and corruption avoid criminal charges is in the best interests of the country. In Trudeau’s world, having politicians decide which individuals or corporations get prosecuted criminally, based on electoral considerations, is in the interests of the country.”

For her part, Jody Wilson-Raybould responded in a written statement that the Ethic Commissioner’s report was a vindication as it “ confirms critical facts, consistent with what I shared with Canadians, and affirms the position I have taken from the outset.” Wilson-Raybould observed: “In a country as great as Canada, essential values and principles that are the foundation for our freedoms and system of government should be actively upheld by all, especially those in positions of public trust. We should not struggle to do this; and we should not struggle to acknowledge when we have acted in ways that do not meet these standards.” 

The fall-out from the initial news of the Ethic Commissioner’s report has been a score of opinion pieces that reassess the circumstances surrounding the SNC Lavalin scandal. Opposition Leaders are calling for a RCMP investigation and claiming Justin Trudeau has lost his moral authority to govern. In response, the Liberal campaign machine has launched a social media campaign “IStandWithTrudeau” to defend the PM, and deflect and devalue the facts within the report.

It is a SmackDown. Ottawa’s political spin-masters know that in the arena of public opinion, whoever wins this round will have the momentum going into the election campaign. The fact that the Prime Minister is guilty of obstruction of justice is secondary to the political match playing itself out. In one corner, PM Trudeau and his BFF Gerald Butts; and, in the other corner Madame Justice (not Jody Wilson-Raybould, but the fundamental principles that should underpin our Canadian justice system). It would be remarkable entertainment if it was not so very important.

 

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/prime-minister-attempting-to-defuse-ethic-commissioners-findings/

The Return of Gerald Butts and the Question for Canadian Voters

The Niagara Independent, August 2, 2019 — As surmised in the February 22, 2019 Niagara Independent column, “There’s much more to this Gerald Butts story.” And it now appears, perhaps, the puppet master never truly left the Liberal Party’s backrooms.

Liberal Party “insiders” recently leaked that the former PMO Principal Secretary and Justin Trudeau’s best friend Gerald Butts is back and ensconced on the PM’s campaign team to guide the Liberals to victory in the October federal election. Butts has returned as a senior political strategist and it is learned has been advising the Liberal campaign for several weeks.

For Butts, the insiders’ whispers of his return were inauspicious given his flash and dash exit of mid-February; recall his dramatic resignation at the height of the SNC-Lavalin scandal to effectively take the spotlight off the PM. The insiders shared with the press corps that Butts is not leading the team and there is no certainty of whether his is a paid position (that is, beyond his generous severance pay that he is receiving after resigning from his PMO post). Apart from the vagueness of the news, the expressed takeaway for Canadians is that Gerald Butts is back in service within the Liberal fold.

This begs an important question. Is this acceptable and how Canadian politics is today, or is Gerald Butts’ return an affront to a common decency in our country? The answer to that question depends on whether Canadians believe backroom political operatives should be held to account for their actions.

Gerald Butts resigned as a result of the testimony from former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould that he was pressuring her and her staff to assist the Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. When he was confronted by the Justice Minister’s Chief of Staff that his actions were a travesty of justice, Butts is said to have stated: “There is no solution here that does not involve some interference.” From his own statements before the parliamentary committee, we understand that Butts believes that he, the PM, and PMO did nothing wrong in advancing the interests of SNC-Lavalin.

Yet, at the time, Canadians were feeling queasy about the unfolding LavScam scandal and, so, Butts staged an exit. The links between the PMO and LavScam were removed from media headlines and there is still the hope this sordid scandal is forgotten. However, as Sun Media observes in a lead editorial entitled “The return of Butts speaks volumes”: “The legal repercussions never surfaced. But that doesn’t mean the players were formally cleared of wrongdoing. It just meant there was no investigation. The stench lingers to this day.”

LavScam aside, for Liberals, Butts’ return is reassuring. He is credited with defining the Trudeau Liberal message and its 2015 campaign narrative. Hope springs eternal that this “modern-day rainmaker” will be able to manage the PM’s triumphant reelection bid. Gerald Butts himself said of his resurfacing, “It’s no secret that I have a lot of friends who are still actively involved, whom I care about very deeply, and I care about my country very deeply… we’re at a really important moment, in particular on the issues that I care most about, like climate change. We’re at a turning point and it’s important for people who care about those issues to get involved and try and make positive change happen.”

(Some background context on this statement: Butts is an unapologetic globalist. He is formerly CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada. As chief to Premier Dalton McGuinty he was responsible for creating Ontario’s Green Energy Act and implementing its renewable energy contracts. Since 2015, he is the architect of the federal carbon tax, as well as the Trudeau Government’s approach to resource development and pipeline projects.)

The condemnation from the Liberals’ political opponents was as expected. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer tweeted: “And just like that, the Trudeau team that brought Canadians the SNC Lavalin scandal is right back together.” Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre stated, “This week’s news tells us a lot about Justin Trudeau. The LavScam bully is in and the principled women who spoke truth to power are out. That’s everything you need to know about Justin Trudeau’s ethics.” Poilievre went on to say about Butts’ resignation, “Now we know that that was just a big phony act to cover for the boss.”

Ottawa’s political pundits seem to agree that announcing Butts’ return mid-summer will make it a non-story in the minds of Canadian voters during the Fall race. Liberal strategist Jonathan Scott was on the news circuit spinning the opinion that Canadians will not be “particularly animated one way or the other about who is staffing the Liberal campaign.” Then there are pundits like Warren Kinsella who excuses Butts’ reemergence as politics as usual for “Canada’s Natural Governing Party”: “Liberal arrogance has felled many a Liberal government. It is the greatest Grit weakness. And the return of Gerald Butts signals its unfortunate return, in marquee lights.”

So, the question remains whether Gerald Butts will be viewed in the annals of Canadian political history as some shadowy Svengali figure or the reincarnation of rainmaker Allan J. MacEachen. And this Fall, Canadian voters will have a say on whether this man and his best friend are to be held to account.

 

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-return-of-gerald-butts-and-the-question-for-canadian-voters/

The Other Woman – Jane Philpott

The Niagara Independent, April 5, 2019 — She was argumentatively the most able of all Trudeau cabinet ministers. Yet the remarkable drama that unfolded between the Prime Minister and his former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould has overshadowed the devastating loss that has occurred to the Government (and now the Liberal Caucus) as a result of casting out Jane Philpott.

Jane Philpott is a learned, principled individual, an accomplished professional and community minded citizen with interests in promoting medical education in Africa. She is not a life-long, card-carrying Liberal Party member. However, she entered the political arena captivated by an energetic Party Leader who stated he was going to do politics differently and that, as a feminist, he was going to ensure females would be at the centre of his government’s decision-making. So, Jane stepped away from her responsibilities at the Markham-Stouffville Hospital to run under the Liberal banner in the riding of Markham-Stouffville.

Who is this “other woman?” Jane was born in Toronto, the eldest daughter of Presbyterian Reverend Wallace Little, and as a child bounced from Winnipeg to Princeton New Jersey and then to settle in Cambridge, Ontario. Jane received her medical training and was granted a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Western Ontario, graduating cum laude. She later earned a Masters of Public Health in Global Health Concentration from the University of Toronto, a Tropical Medicine fellowship at Toronto General Hospital, and her Family Medicine Residency in Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa. From 2008 to 2014, Jane served as Chief of the Department of Family Medicine at the Markham-Stouffville Hospital and she was the Lead Physician of the Health for All Family Health Team in Markham.

In 2014 Jane was acclaimed as the federal Liberal candidate, and during the 2015 federal election campaign she was often called on to be the Liberal spokesperson on the CBC program Power & Politics. (She was a favourite of not only the Liberals but also the CBC, where her husband, career radio journalist Pep Philpott toils.)

Not surprisingly Dr. Jane Philpott was named to the initial Trudeau Cabinet as Minister of Health. Point of fact: Dr. Philpott is the first medical doctor to hold the post. As Minister of Health, she shone. Toronto Sun Parliamentary Bureau Chief David Akin graded her an A+: “Philpott has been a quick master of a high-profile file and is flawlessly executing against her mandate letter from the PM…” Conservative political pundit Alise Mills observed on her performance: “Gracious, composed and knows her files.”

Despite her stellar management of the health portfolio, Jane’s talents were required elsewhere at the cabinet table. In less than two years she was shuffled from health to the challenging post of Minister of Indigenous Services. Then, in January 2019, when PM Trudeau needed to plug a hole due to the demotion of Attorney General Wilson-Raybould, Jane was shuffled to become the President of Treasury Board.

What has transpired in the last 12 weeks is further testament to the character of this Reverend’s-daughter-family-physician. On March 4 Jane resigned from cabinet. She wrote bluntly – and eloquently:  “It grieves me to resign from a portfolio where I was at work to deliver an important mandate. I must abide by my core values, my ethical responsibilities, constitutional obligations. There can be a cost to acting on one’s principles, but there is a bigger cost to abandoning them.”

She left no doubt about the core issue that drove her from cabinet: “Unfortunately, the evidence of efforts by politicians and/or officials to pressure the former attorney general to intervene in the criminal case involving SNC-Lavalin, and the evidence as to the content of those efforts, have raised serious concerns for me. Those concerns have been augmented by the views expressed by my constituents and other Canadians. Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised.”

This past Tuesday, PM Trudeau announced he had removed Jane from the Liberal Party caucus. She was denied the right to speak directly to her caucus colleagues. Instead she wrote to them: “This isn’t about a lack of loyalty. On the contrary, I recommended that the government acknowledge what happened in order to move forward …This also isn’t about political advantage or strategy. It is frankly absurd to suggest that I would leave one of the most senior portfolios in government for personal advancement or merely out of friendship with Jody Wilson-Raybould.”

Jane is resigned to her fate as an outcast:  “…it appears that the caucus is intent on staying the current course, regardless of its short-term and long-term consequences to the party and to the country, and it has been decided that there is no place for me in the caucus.”

It appears Jane Philpott will likely not run in the upcoming election, but who can blame her for resuming a career where she can make a difference? In a CBC Radio interview Thursday morning, Jane sums up the sordid SNC Lavalin ordeal and her predicament. “The issue at the heart of this is the independence of our justice system. We cannot have a democracy without an independent justice system that is free from political interference… I chose the truth… That’s more important than my political career.”

 

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-other-woman-jane-philpott/