The 401 Liberals in the Prime Minister’s Office

The Niagara Independent, November 29, 2019 — As mentioned in last week’s column, National Post columnist John Ivison punted aside the list of newly appointed cabinet ministers with his insightful commentary “Who’s in Trudeau’s cabinet? It doesn’t matter, political power lies elsewhere.” Ivison observed that nothing really has changed as a result of the election because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “has surrounded himself with advisors of like mind and experience who act like a political praetorian guard.” With the Trudeau’s old guard again ensconced in the Prime Minister’s Office one cannot expect that there will be a change of direction with his second Government.

The PMO staff is predominately Central Canadian with an inherit Laurentian bias. Professor Donald Savoie, the country’s premier public administration and governance expert, observed that the Trudeau Government of 2015-19 was one of the most centralized governments in recent political history. Senior PMO staffers dominated the policy and political process to a far greater extent than ever before. In his recent book Democracy in Canada, Savoie states, “Trudeau has strengthened the centre of government rather than rolled it back.” He also makes the point that there’s a lot of discontentment with the PMO among those who live “outside the Quebec-Windsor corridor.”

In a Hill Times review of Trudeau’s staff, Ottawa pollster and political pundit Nik Nanos suggested PM Trudeau needs to ensure his second term as PM is not driven by staffers coming out of the McGuinty-Wynne Queen’s Park era. Nanos stated in the Hill Times, “The trap that [Trudeau] has to avoid is the narrative that he’s hostage to Ontario and this is an Ontario-driven government. That will be political poison to him in every single region outside of Ontario. If it’s too Ontario focused, it undermines his ability to operate in this environment.”

Yet the PMO remains comprised primarily of “401 Liberals” – a term for political staff who travelled directly from the Queen’s Park backrooms to the PMO. As Ivison suggested, it is these 401 Liberals behind the doors of the PMO who hold the real power in this centralized Trudeau Government. So, who are these people?

The PM’s chief of staff Katie Telford has been in Trudeau’s top staff positon from day-one in 2015. But, her history with the PM predates this. Telford started in 2012 when she was asked to manage Trudeau’s leadership campaign and was always by his side through the 2015 election. Prior to that she served as former senior aide to then Liberal opposition leader Stephane Dion. Before that she was at Queen’s Park as chief of staff to education minister Gerard Kennedy.

Gerald Butts and Katie Telford are the wagon masters for the 401 Liberals, both hailing from senior positions in the Liberal backrooms of the Dalton McGuinty – Kathleen Wynne Governments. The Butts-Telford tag team was with the PM though his first term and, although Butts no longer holds the title of PMO principal secretary, it is expected this dynamic duo will continue to be the central force guiding PM Trudeau — and herding their 401 colleagues.

Here are ten more PMO operatives who are of Queen’s Park pedigree and/or from the Liberals’ political backrooms in Toronto:

#1 Zita Astravas is PMO Director of Issues Management. This Ms, Fix-It was Premier Wynne’s director of media relations and previous to that, press secretary for Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews.

#2 Matthew Mendelsohn, who serves the PMO as deputy secretary to the cabinet in the Privy Council Office, is central to managing policy development within the bureaucracy. Mendelsohn is the former special policy advisor to both Premiers McGuinty and Wynne.

#3 John Zerucelli was integral to the 2019 election campaign tour in the GTA and he is rumoured to be returning to the PMO as a senior advisor. Zerucelli served as a chief of staff in the Wynne Government, and he was a staffer in both former PM Jean Chretien’s office and Premier McGuinty’s office. (Zerucelli’s better half is Jane Almeida, former press secretary to Premier McGuinty.)

#4 Ben Chin is a trusted senior advisor, who has a reputation for his partisan metal. Chin was one of the PMO staffers to be embroiled in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Recall that Chin served as the strong-armed envoy for Gerald Butts as he attempted to influence then-Attorney General Jody Wilson Raybould.

#5 PMO advisor Brian Clow is a longtime Wynne Government staffer who served as the Premier’s issues manager, then moved to Ottawa as Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland’s chief of staff. Now Clow is rumoured to be tapped for an important hands-on political role in a PMO, which is retooling without the services of Gerald Butts.

#6 Susan Menchini, who is one of the leads in PMO Tour Office, was special assistant for tour in Premier Wynne’s office.

#7 Lindsay Hunter is director for the Ontario Regional Desk in the PMO and the former director of operation for Health Minister Eric Hoskins.

#8 Sarah Hussaini, policy advisor in the PMO Cabinet and Legislative Affairs Branch, is a Toronto Liberal who first arrived in Ottawa to assist then-Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.

# 9 John Broadhead who was chief of staff in Trudeau’s first term of Government, left to manage the federal campaign – and is expected to return to the PMO. Broadhead’s history at Queen’s Park included a key policy advisor for the green initiatives in Premier McGuinty’s office.

#10 There’s the Honourable Mary Ng. One must not forget Ng, who served as chief of staff to ministers in McGuinty and Wynne governments and then move to the PMO as a special advisor in 2015. In the previous Parliament Ng won a Toronto bi-election and became MP, then soon invited into Cabinet in a junior portfolio. Ng has now been given increased power in the new Cabinet. She is not only Trudeau’s eyes and ears in Parliament and in the GTA, but also an important PMO confidant at the Cabinet Table.

There are many more connections than this space allows. It is a tangled web that the 401 Liberal operatives weave. In watching this minority Parliament, it will remain to be seen whether this group’s prowess continues unchallenged – or if the PM and his Office will get caught up in the endless strands stretching from Queen’s Park to the PMO.

 

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-401-liberals-in-the-prime-ministers-office/

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet of 36

The Niagara Independent, November 22, 2019 — With all the traditional pomp and ceremony, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week announced his Cabinet to guide the minority government in the 43rd Parliament. The PM has increased the number of ministers on his front bench to three dozen. A great many of these ministers were members in Trudeau’s pre-election Cabinet, and eleven ministers maintain the same portfolios. And yet, there were a few noteworthy appointments in this executive council that provide Canadians with a hint of what can be expected in the months ahead.

Most significant, the new Cabinet is weighted with representatives from Central Canada. The majority are MPs from Ontario and Quebec – and then there are four from BC, one from Manitoba, and one from each of the Atlantic Provinces. It is remarkable that Ontario and Quebec have 28 of 37 spots at the cabinet table, including the PM. Breaking this down: nearly half (17) are from Ontario with 6 from Metro Toronto, and there is an overrepresentation of 11 from Quebec with 7 from Montreal (again, including the PM). There are two words to aptly describe the Cabinet’s composition: “urban Laurentians.”

Regardless the total number of ministers, the central figures in this Cabinet can be counted on one hand. Foremost, there is Deputy Prime Minister and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. She has been harnessed with the formidable tasks of improving strained relations with the US as well as mending an increasingly divided Nation. On the latter, there has been a great amount of ink spilt over her Peace River Alberta childhood — as if this may endear the jet-setting Torontonian to western Canadians. It remains to be seen just how far this narrative can be stretched.

Toronto Centre MP Bill Morneau was entrusted as Canada’s Finance Minister for another Parliamentary Session. In the lead up to this week’s announcement, it was widely broadcasted that Bay Street wanted the reinstatement of Mr. Morneau in the finance portfolio (being the only elected Liberal with any tie to the country’s finance community). However, the news of his return was anything but welcoming. The Financial Post ran an opinion piece calling on the Finance Minister “to start speaking for business – not Team Trudeau.” FP’s columnist Kevin Carmichael sums up Bay Street’s less than flattering assessment: “Bill Morneau has been a disappointment, if only because his background suggested that he would have a greater impact… Morneau was parroting the Prime Minister’s made-for-social-media lines about helping the middle class. No separation, just another member of Team Trudeau.”

PM Trudeau has turned to Pablo Rodriguez to keep order in the House of Commons, naming this veteran Montreal MP as both Government House Leader and the PMs Quebec lieutenant. Rodriguez is challenged to find common ground with opposition parties and make the minority Parliament work. Key to that mission will be to keep in check the reinvigorated Bloc Quebecois. Though this minister will not get the headlines that Ministers Freeland and Morneau garner, Rodriguez will be omnipotent behind the scenes with the reins on both the Government’s legislative agenda and Quebec’s patronage machine.

Media reaction to the Prime Minister’s selection was mixed. Predictably, CBC News lauded his work: “Trudeau’s cabinet picks seem designed to project stability, seriousness.” Sun Media Brian Lilley noted: “Most of the cabinet couldn’t get picked out of a police lineup and the reality is that the days of cabinet ministers being powerful is mostly a thing of the past.” Macleans’ Paul Wells observed the bloated membership will make most ministers inconsequential: “A multiply redundant federal cabinet will quickly become a pretext for central control even if that wasn’t the point of building it that way, because none of the title-holders hold enough of the elephant to discern its shape, let alone influence its path.”

John Ivison of the National Post insightfully asserted the group of ministers around Trudeau does not matter in relation to the group of advisors in the Prime Minister’s Office. In a column entitled: Who’s in Trudeau’s cabinet? It doesn’t matter, political power lies elsewhere,” the columnist contends, “What we are talking about is a shuffling of deckchairs – if not on the Titanic, then perhaps on the Queen Mary, a cruise ship that is no longer fit for purpose… Both cabinet and Parliament have been relegated to the role of rubber-stamping decisions taken elsewhere. The prime minister has surrounded himself with advisors of like mind and experience who act like a political praetorian guard.”

Ivison concludes: “Justin Trudeau’s cabinet re-jig will do little to arrest the continuing disintegration of Canada’s democratic representation.” (An interesting side note is that there is no longer a minister for democratic institutions.)

With Paul Wells and John Ivison pointing to where the real power lies, the question becomes who are the policy and political advisors behind the doors of the PMO (to be taken up next week!)? That being said, the story this week from Ottawa is the regal ceremony revealing Prime Minister Trudeau’s selection for Cabinet. So, we now have seated 36 ministers on the front bench waiting for Parliament to resume Dec. 5.

 

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-justin-trudeaus-cabinet-of-36/

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.

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 Tale of Two Regions – Our Canadian Paradox

The Niagara Independent, March 29, 2019 — Last week, the Government of Quebec heralded a budget with a $2.5 billion surplus and featuring increased spending in health care and education. On the other end of our country, Albertans entered into an election campaign feeling agitated about the treatment they are experiencing from the federal government and central Canada. This is the latest in the tale of two regions – and one needs not look too hard to discover the disturbing set of facts that underpin our Canadian paradox.

The 2019-20 Quebec budget highlighted an increased surplus of $2.5 billion from $1.65 billion over last year. On the strength of their books, the Quebec Government is planning for total increased spending of $16.1 billion through 2023-24. In this next year, there is a five per cent increase in spending in health care. There is also a five per cent increase in education budgets, delivered with a 17 per cent reduction overall in school property taxes.

What was not communicated in this good-news budget is that the Province of Quebec is expecting a $1.4 Billion increase in equalization payments this fiscal year – from last year’s payout of $11.7 Billion to $13.1 Billion in 2019-20.

Meanwhile, in Alberta, the inequality of Canada’s equalization payments has become a focal point, and given the slumping oil prices and the country’s on-going pipeline debate, it is now an election issue. United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney has tapped into Albertans’ sense of grievance on this issue saying that “Albertans are being forced to write cheques to Quebec.”

Kenny has stated publicly: “If the federal government continues its attacks through the National Energy Board (NEB) and the federal carbon tax, then Alberta should take a common-sense approach and hold a referendum demanding the removal of non-renewable resource revenues from the equalization formula.”

Alberta’s payments have become the subject of a grassroots appeal. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation recently sent out a message encouraging all Albertans to write/email all the leaders of the political parties to call for a referendum question. The CTF wrote: “…most Albertans are concerned regarding the present mechanism on how federal equalization payments are calculated and adversely affects Alberta… “Should the Government of Alberta challenge the federal equalization payment program under the Canadian Constitution?” Yes or No.

At the core of this dissention are the federal government’s equalization payments, a complex redistribution of federal tax dollars to “have-not” provinces to maintain their public services. In June 2018, it was revealed that Finance Minister Morneau committed to keeping the current formula for another five years – until 2024. Under the federal government’s renewed plan, it will be increasing payments to the “have not” provinces from $18.3 billion in 2017-2018 to $22.1 billion by 2022-2023. Remarkably, Quebec is scheduled to receive the lion’s share of these payments. For example, in this 2019-20 fiscal year, Quebec is receiving 67 per cent of the equalization payments. (Alberta, as a “have province,” will receive no payments this year, or for the next five years.)

Again, the inequity of the federal equalization formula is underscored when considering the total amounts of federal payments to provinces since 1957, the year these annual payments were introduced. The figures reveal that in the last 61 years Quebec has received $221 billion or more than half of all equalization dollars.

The billions of dollars of payments will assist Quebec with its education, health care – and with its surplus budgets. At the same time the Quebec Government opposes Canadian pipelines in favour of Saudi oil. The Quebec Government has also been silent on the implementation of the federal carbon tax or the new federal environmental review process that critics warn will shut down resource development in Alberta and the western provinces.

Last week, the Alberta Independence Party was given official party status and is fielding candidates in 46 election contests. Party Leader Dave Bjorkman states:  “It’s always been the right time for Alberta to separate. It absolutely has to be done now. We’ve taken too much abuse from Ottawa.”

Recent national polling reveals that three of four Canadians who live west of Ontario do not feel the federal government treats their province fairly. There is the Western Party in Manitoba, billboards in Saskatoon asking “Should Saskatchewan leave Canada?”, and now in Alberta a provincial separation party movement and as much as 50 percent of the population supporting secession from Canada.

Here is the paradoxical question: As the Province of Quebec continues to receive increased government services and programs, all Canadians should join with Westerners to ask “What will be the ultimate cost of the equalization payments to the future of our country?”

 

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-tale-of-two-regions-our-canadian-paradox/

It’s “the epic” collection of political jokes and quotes

Here is “the epic” collection of political jokes from the campaign trail.

With just two weeks left in the Ontario election, By George is re-publishing its political jokes and quotes book with many more jokes and feature sections.

This 150-page e-book is bursting with funny guffaws, “shaggy-dog” stories and sideways jokes about politicians and politics. The collection has some of the absolute best classics. It also has a selection of the most humourist and provocative memes culled from Facebook and Twitter.

Epic Political Jokes & Quotes will put a smile on your face, one page after another. For many, it is a sure tonic for surviving the final days of this bitter Ontario campaign. For politicos, this is a great resource that you can pull material from for your next Party event.

Order your e-copy of  Epic Political Jokes & Quotes from the By George E-Bookshelf

Enjoy the read and laugh all the way to the polls!

 

The Inequity of Canada’s Equalization Payments

The Niagara Independent – June 29, 2018 – As Parliament recessed for the summer, news leaked out that the Trudeau Government quietly renewed the current federal equalization formula for provinces through the year 2024.

In the 584-pages of 2018 budget documentation, Finance Minister Bill Morneau had buried a provision that extended the existing equalization formula, providing no formal notices to provinces or the public. With the passage of the omnibus budget legislation, stealthily, Morneau unilaterally assured the renewal of the federal-provincial equalization arrangement — to the huge benefit of Quebec, and over the vocal protests of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the western provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The federal government’s equalization payments are a complex redistribution of federal tax dollars to “have-not” provinces – those provinces requiring assistance to maintain their public services. Equalization is written into subsection 36(2) of the Canadian constitution to ensure provincial governments have “sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.”

Federal equalization dollars are not funds for specific use, but dollars that get placed into the general revenue of “have-not” provinces. The payments have no strings attached. (These payments are not to be confused with the explicit federal transfers to provinces for health, social programs, and infrastructure expenditure programs.)

The federal payments this fiscal year are nearly $19 Billion. Provinces are receiving these amounts: PEI $419 Million, NS $1.9 Billion, NB $1.9 Billon, ON $963 Million, MB $2.0 Billion and QB receives $11.7 Billion. With the current equalization formula, Quebec receives more than 60 per cent of the total paid out. The “have” provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador, B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan receive no equalization payments.

The current redistribution of federal tax dollars has prompted calls for a re-calculation of the equalization formula.

  • Tom Osborne, finance minister from Newfoundland and Labrador, says, “When you see other provinces with a smaller geography and a much larger population and are receiving a large portion of equalization payments, I challenge anybody to explain to me how Newfoundland and Labrador is still considered a ‘have’ province.”
  • Alberta Premier Rachel Notley states, “It’s disadvantaging Alberta,” and Opposition Leader Jason Kenney says, “This is a slap in the face to Alberta. It means we will continue to be forced, even when times are bad in Alberta, forced to subsidize public services in other parts of the country where politicians have been trying to block out pipelines and impair our energy industry.”
  • Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe states, “There are provinces across the nation looking to have this discussion. This is obviously a flawed program.”

In the end, the Trudeau Government ignored these calls for a review by the provincial leaders.

The arguments over the equalization payouts are fanning regional tensions between western provinces and Quebec, particularly this year when Quebecers helped to cancel the Energy East pipeline project. As Alberta Conservative Leader Jason Kenny points out, “We’ve been sending Albertans’ tax dollars to politicians who have opposed our energy industry, which helps to create the wealth transferred through equalization.”

Reflecting westerners’ frustrations, Don Braid, Calgary Herald’s political editorialist, observes “rarely has there been a sneakier ploy… The closest for sheer nose-thumbing gall may be the 1980 meeting of Pierre Trudeau’s cabinet in Lake Louise, to discuss details of the National Energy Program.”

The inequity of the federal equalization formula is underscored when considering the total amounts of federal payments to provinces since 1957 — the year these annual payments were introduced.

NL – $ 25 B

PEI – $ 10 B

NS – $ 47 B

NB – $ 46 B

QB – $ 221 B

ON – $ 19 B

MB – $ 50 B

SK – $ 8 B

AB – $ 92 M

BC – $ 3 B

The figures reveal that in the last 61 years Quebec has received more than half of all equalization dollars. Now the Trudeau Government has assured Quebec receives its cash bonanza for another five years. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is blunt about the unfairness of it all: “Five years of zeroes for Saskatchewan, Alberta, Newfoundland, while Quebec keeps receiving $50-$60 Billion.”

 

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

LINK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-inequity-of-canadas-equalization-payments/

 

 

Identifying “Governmentium”

A research institution announced the discovery of the heaviest element known to science.  The new element has been tentatively named “Governmentium “. Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 11 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

 

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

 

Since governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of governmentium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete when it would normally take less than a second.

 

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 3 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization causes some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

 

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration.  The hypothetical quantity is referred to as “Critical Morass.”

 

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.

 

10 Proverbs for Legislators

  1. Law is a necessary evil.
  2. Pass as few laws as possible, consistent with the demands of justice and the maintenance of order.
  3. Where custom is sufficient, there is no need for law.
  4. Do not pass laws that cannot, or will not, be enforced, for such breed contempt for both the law and the State.
  5. Penalties must be minimally sufficient to deter infractions, given adequate enforcement. Less renders the law ineffective; more inflicts unnecessary pain.
  6. There is an inverse proportion between the severity necessary to deter infractions and the certainty of punishment.
  7. Enshrine your principles in constitutions, codify your common sense in laws, and leave the rest to regulation.
  8. Even more than on your wisdom, the legitimacy of the State depends on your integrity.
  9. In public life, integrity requires not only an honest heart but an honest face.
  10. Your primary object must always be not the satisfaction of your constituents but the continued legitimacy of the State, for upon that depends the welfare, even the survival, of us all.

(ed. – These proverbs are a repost from an earlier By George Journal entry, found here: https://www.bygeorgejournal.ca/?p=896 )

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.