Tag Archives: politics

Lester B. Pearson unveiling the Canadian Flag

    

“And so the new Flag, joining and rising above the milestones of our history, today takes for the first time its proud place as the emblem of Canada, “The Maple Leaf Our Emblem Dear.”  May the land over which this new Flag flies remain united in freedom and justice; a land of decent God-fearing people; fair and generous in all its dealings; sensitive, tolerant and compassionate towards all men; industrious, energetic, resolute; wise, and just in the giving of security and opportunity equally to all its cultures; and strong in its adherence to those moral principles which are the only sure guide to greatness. Under this Flag may our youth find new inspiration for loyalty to Canada; for a patriotism based not on any mean or narrow nationalism, but on the deep and equal pride that all Canadians will feel for every part of this good land. God bless our Flag! And God bless Canada!” 

 

– Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson

Allan Gotlieb and 10 Rules for Canada-U.S. Relations

Former Canadian Ambassador Allan Gotlieb died last month but his approach to Canada-U.S. relations has revolutionized Canadian diplomacy with our closest cultural and largest trading partner. Gotlieb insights into America and the value of a pro-active diplomatic relations continue to have great relevance today.

Gotlieb’s methodical approach is best described in I’ll Be With You In A Minute, Mr. Ambassador: The Education of a Canadian Diplomat in Washington. It contains the Gotlieb “decalogue” for the conduct of the “new diplomacy” in Washington.

  1. The particular process by which a decision is reached in Washington is often so complex and mysterious that it defies comprehension.
  2. The most important requirement for effective diplomacy in Washington is the ability to gain access to the participants in the decision-making process.
  3. Given the vast numbers of players in the field of decision-making, and the great difficulty of predicting their likely behavior, the highest possible premium must be placed on political intelligence.
  4. Since there are so many participants in decision-making, so many special-interest and pressure groups and so many shifting alliances, a diplomat cannot design any grand or overarching strategy to further his nation’s interests. Every issue involves its own micro-strategy and every micro-strategy is unique.
  5. In Washington, a foreign power is itself just another special interest and not a very special one at that.
  6. A foreign power, as a general rule, has no permanent friends or adversaries on Capitol Hill.
  7. A foreign power, as a general rule, has no permanent friends or adversaries within the Administration.
  8. No permanent solutions are within reach of the ambassador or his government, only temporary ones. Instability is the norm, alliances and coalitions are always being forged, forces and counter forces are always mounting.
  9. Effective diplomacy means public diplomacy. The line between public diplomacy and interference in local affairs is a thin one and thus it must be practiced with considerable fi nesse.
  10. The best and often the only way to gain access to all the key players is through the social route. In Washington, parties are a continuation of work by other means.

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.

A Spotlight on Canada-China Relations

A Prelude: Mounting Condemnation for CCP Misleading the World on Coronavirus

More than one hundred senior political figures and China experts from around the world signed the open letter describing the CCP’s role in allowing the virus to spread beyond Wuhan.

Part 1:  PM Trudeau Has No Comment

In Ottawa, as the cries for a probe of China’s actions mounted, the official comment from the Canadian Government came from the Prime Minister, who stated he would not comment. 

Part 2:  Critical Assessments 

Obvious posturing has raised questions and concerns by two Canadians who are eminently qualified to analyze Canada-China relations: two former Canadian ambassadors to China, David Mulroney and Guy Saint-Jacques.

Part 3: Political and Business Ties

What Canadians are witnessing is that our country’s relations with China are as much about political and business ties as they are about Canada’s foreign policy position.

 

By George Journal archives Chris George’s weekly Niagara Independent articles. CLICK HERE

Find the original Chris George columns listed here on The Niagara Independent.

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

On politics – wisdom of the ancient Greeks

  • platoThey should rule who are able to rule best. – Aristotle
  • This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are. – Plato
  • A state is not a mere society, having a common place, established for the prevention of mutual crime and for the sake of exchange…. Political society exists for the sake of noble actions, and not of mere companionship. – Aristotle
  • The basis of a democratic state is liberty. – Aristotle
  • Democracy… is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike. – Plato
  • If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost. – Aristotle
  • That judges of important causes should hold office for life is a disputable thing, for the mind grows old as well as the body. – Aristotle
  • Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered. – Aristotle
  • There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands. – Plato
  • One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. – Plato

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.

Liberal’s Machiavellian Power Grab “Defeated”

The Niagara Independent, March 27, 2020 – Partisan politics at any time is ugly, but during a national crisis partisan politics can be detestable. With the Liberal Government’s attempted end-run around Parliament this week, Canadians saw the very worst kind of political power-play. It was a calculated maneuver to sidestep Canada’s foremost democratic institution and ensconce the Prime Minister and his Cabinet with unassailable powers through an extended period of time. Even for former PM Jean Chretien advisor Warren Kinsella, it was daringly Machiavellian: “You cannot use a national emergency as a pretext to turn a Parliamentary minority into a de facto majority with no opposition. It is unethical and fundamentally wrong. It squanders, in 10 minutes, whatever goodwill Justin Trudeau had built up over 10 days.”

Political commentators were challenged to come up with insightful parallels to explain what was unfolding in Ottawa this week. Many reflected on the challenges democracies faced during WWII. Through the bombing of London, British PM Winston Churchill faced Parliament to address his government’s actions to turn the tide against the Nazi terror. At the same time, Canadian PM MacKenzie King faced Parliament to argue the necessity for conscription to meet the country’s commitments to the war effort. As these parliamentary experiences reveal, during a time of crisis our Westminster model of Parliament proves indispensable, not only contributing to responsible decision-making, but also providing its citizens with demonstrative leadership and reassurances that their elected leaders are considering all options in the best interests of all.

The echoes from these past troubled times served to underscore just how disturbing it is that the Liberals would attempt their unconstitutional overreach of power during a national crisis. On Tuesday morning the Prime Minister assured Canadians that he respected the country’s democratic institutions. However, Liberals’ actions speak louder than their Leader’s words, for had the Liberal backroom strategists been successful Trudeau would have erased Canada’s traditional parliamentary checks and balances. National Post political reporter John Ivison sums it up as “a Liberal plan to effectively neuter Parliament for 21 months.”

At the centre of this controversy is the Liberals’ “Trojan horse;” a piece of legislation they rolled out to enact $82 billion of promised relief to Canadians — and a poison pill hidden within. The story broke on Monday night when Global News revealed the Liberals’ emergency bill was to grant “extraordinary new powers to spend, borrow and tax without having to get the approval of opposition MPs until December 2021.” Global News described the new powers as “highly unusual” since “The Canadian Constitution enshrines taxation as a power of the parliamentary branch.”

The Liberals’ package provided all the necessary legislative authorities to implement the $82 billion of aid funding announced by the Prime Minister. The legislation permitted augmenting the GST/HST credit and the Canada Child Benefit, implementing a “temporary wage subsidy,” and amending the Employment Insurance. It included support for the private sector relating to deposit insurance coverage, measures with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Export Development Corporation and Farm Credit Corporation. Finally, the package contained measures that would authorize additional transfers to the provinces and territories. This was the gift horse.

What was not expected was what was hidden within: additional measures that would empower the government to unilaterally raise taxes without Parliamentary approval and amend tax laws through regulation. The legislation would create a new law to authorize the Minister of Health and Minister of Finance to spend “all money required to do anything” in relation to a public health crisis. The Health Minister would also be able to use any health information from authorities and the Cabinet would be given the power to circumvent patent protection to “make, construct, use and sell a patented invention to the extent necessary.” The Trudeau Cabinet would have the power to exercise these provisions for 21 months, through to the end of 2021.

The outcry to this power-play was immediate. A Hill Times editorial assessed, “It would be unconscionable for any government, whether they hold the majority or the minority of seats in the House, to propose giving themselves unfettered powers in a time like this.” The Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, Conservative Andrew Scheer said: “In a crisis, broad all-party agreement is essential… we are prepared to have Parliament sit as needed to transact the business of Parliament.  But we will not give the government unlimited power to raise taxes without a parliamentary vote. We will authorize whatever spending measures are justified to respond to the situation but we will not sign a blank cheque.”

So, noon Tuesday, Liberals sheepishly acknowledged their overreach and promised to revise the legislation. The House of Commons convened and MPs immediately suspended so that the Parties could agree on an acceptable set of conditions for governing the country through the crises. At 3 a.m. Wednesday, after 15-hours of backroom negotiations, MPs reconvened in the House to debate the new legislation, and this was passed just before the morning sunrise.

That revised legislation was markedly different, with significant concessions made to the original Liberal package. In the approved legislation, the Government:

  • removed the section that allowed the Cabinet to raise taxes without parliamentary approval
  • shortened to 6 months, the period the Cabinet has its unlimited spending powers
  • included explicit reference to putting taxpayers’ rights first
  • placed sunset clauses in the legislation
  • established accountability measures with regular reports to parliamentary committees
  • agreed Opposition Parties have the right to recall Parliament if any abuse is identified

In the wee hours of Wednesday, Pierre Poilievre, MP for the Ottawa-area riding of Carleton, expressed satisfaction with the outcome, tweeting the news: “Canadians will get COVID-19 aid. The power grab is defeated.”

The last word on the Liberals’ failed power-play is given to the ever-observant Rex Murphy, whose commentary on this turn of events reads as a poignant reminder to our elected representatives and their political operatives of what must be their first calling in a time of crisis. Murphy writes, “We need all leaders, all qualified voices, not a series of edicts from people who are severely overconfident of their abilities and understanding. We are Canadians, not Liberals and Tories. At this moment, let us try to live that truth.”

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/liberals-machiavellian-power-grab-defeated/

A British take on conservatism

In the March 14th, 2020 edition of The Economist, the column Bagehot was entitled “The meaning of conservatism” and it reflected the views of British politico Nick Timothy. Here is an excerpt on modern conservative thinking.

First, Nick Timothy has been at the heart of the British government for over a decade, first as Theresa May’s adviser at the Home Office and then as her co-chief of staff at 10 Downing Street. Timothy is recognized a conservative both with a small and large “c.” He has a new book on the lessons he learned from his experiences called “Remaking One Nation: Conservatism in an Age of Crisis.

The Economist article excerpt:

     Mr Timothy argues that, since the French revolution, the role of conservatism has been to act as a corrective to the extremes of liberalism. Today those extremes come in two forms: neo-liberalism, which sees markets as the solution to all problems, and woke liberalism, which sees the world through the prism of minority rights and all-pervasive oppression. Many see these two liberalisms as polar opposites. But for Mr Timothy they are both degenerate versions of classical liberalism. The first undermines markets by failing to see that they require popular legitimacy and the second sacrifices what is best in liberalism (pluralism, scepticism, individualism) on the altar of group rights.

     Mr Timothy presents a dismal picture of the consequences. Bosses have seen their compensation more than quadruple while the value of their companies has hardly risen at all. The largest demographic group—the white working class—has seen incomes stagnate for over a decade. Britain has the highest level of regional inequality in Europe. It also has one of the worst systems of vocational education, with 80 undergraduate degrees awarded for every post-secondary technical qualification. Woke liberals are increasingly willing to no-platform or shout down opponents because they see their objectives as quasi-sacred and their critics not just as wrong-headed folk needing to be reasoned with but as evil-minded enemies who must be destroyed….

     Mr Timothy presents an ideologically eclectic list of solutions to Britain’s problems. They are reminiscent of John Ruskin’s description of himself as both “a violent Tory of the old school” and “the reddest also of the red”. But two ideas give his arguments organising force: the nation-state and civic capitalism. A long-standing Brexiteer, Mr Timothy argues that the nation-state has been uniquely successful in holding global elites accountable to voters while also giving citizens a sense of common purpose. He points out that the welfare state was constructed after the second world war, when the sense of common purpose was at its height. A proud citizen of Birmingham, he champions the sort of civic capitalism practised by Joseph Chamberlain, a local businessman who looked after his workers and went on to be a reforming mayor….

    …This is a conservatism which celebrates the power of the state to achieve collective ends by dealing with regional and inter-generational inequalities; which challenges the self-dealing of business elites by rewiring the rules of corporate governance; and which puts a premium on rebuilding local communities and reigniting civic capitalism.

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.

On “Wild Pigs”

Take a moment to let this sink in.. and here’s a thought to remember as you read this: Marx said, “Remove one freedom per generation and soon you will have no freedom and no one would have noticed.”

There was a chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab, the professor noticed one young man, an exchange student, who kept rubbing his back and stretching as if his back hurt.

The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting Communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country’s government and install a new communist regime.

In the midst of his story, he looked at the professor and asked a strange question.  He asked: “Do you know how to catch wild pigs?”

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch-line. The young man said that it was no joke. “You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free food. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat that free corn again. You then slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

“Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.”

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening in Canada. The government keeps pushing us toward socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of government programs to feed us from cradle to grave, while we continually lose our freedoms, just a little at a time.

One should always remember two truths:
1.  There is no such thing as a free lunch, and
2.  You can never hire someone to provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.

If you see that all of this wonderful government “help” is a problem confronting the future of democracy in our country, you might want to share this with your friends.

God help us all when the gate slams shut!

A here’s a thoughtful quote to pass along:  “The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are now outnumbered by those who vote for a living.”

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(Received in my email today – and could not not reshare it. – cg) 

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.

Canadians’ Musings on Politics

“[Canadians] … we are content to elect a prime minister with the appointment powers of an autocrat for the duration of his term. It is a curious anomaly of an otherwise sensible people in accepting such an archaic governance system. Louis himself couldn’t have asked for anything more.” – Richard Finlay

“Political parties in Canada and beyond have increasingly become machines designed to win. Democracies benefit when active citizens are working to grab their attention and to force them to address the tough policy issues. All it takes are some citizens who have done the work, a few Canadians with knowledge, passion, eloquence, and persistence – and maybe more women in politics.” – Alex Himelfarb

“Parliament Hill is de-energizing and demoralizing, where people imagine the worst, see the worst and bring out the worst. It is a place that members of Parliament need to get away from as often as they can, to rediscover the country, to rediscover why they are doing what they are doing.” – former MP Ken Dryden

“An MP has a choice. He or she sits at a fork in the road. One road is downhill, smooth sailing and leads to a cabinet or shadow cabinet post. You just have to keep your mouth shut and be rabidly partisan and don’t question what you’re given. The other road is uphill, rocky, full of potholes and doesn’t lead to any personal advantage… that road is where you’re using your knowledge and objectivity to independently assess what’s given you. It’s also the road where you’re trying to advance ideas that may not be sanctioned by your party.” – former MP Keith Martin

“The dysfunction in Parliament is much more a lack of democracy by successive prime ministers.” – former MP Joe Comartin

“There is a growing divide between a body politic that is becoming increasingly apolitical and a Parliament that is becoming more and more partisan.” – MP Michael Chong

“The current climate in Parliament is interested in slinging mud on the other side, and simply trying to destroy your political opponents as opposed to beating them at the ballot box because you have better, more innovative ideas to deal with the big challenges that face us as citizens.” – MP Michael Chong on the previous Parliament

“What’s happened to politics is that it becomes a career for too many. And the idea of moving up through the ranks, of getting into cabinet and becoming a minister, often overshadows the concept of serving the people who elected you.”  – former Ontario MPP Kim Craitor

“Politics is a business that inverts all the normal rules of human conduct. In most walks of life, it is thought dishonourable – personally shaming – to lie, or even to shade the truth; to boast of one’s own achievements, and sneer at others’; to flatter and connive in private, to mock and rage in public. Yet these and worse are the daily work of those we elect.” – Andrew Coyne

“As long as there has been politicians, they have been mistrusted. Only ignorance of history and a factitious nostalgia could make anyone think otherwise.” – John Pepall

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

Canadian quips on politics

“Here’s a little tip for politicians everywhere: If you find yourselves with more time than issues on your hands, go home.” – Lorne Gunter

“Power is a drug on which the politicians are hooked. They buy it from the voters, using the voters’ own money.” – Richard Needham

“Canada is divided by great mountains, great prairies, Great Lakes, and eleven governments that really grate.” – Hugh W. Arscott

“Power tends to connect; absolute power connects absolutely.” – Peter Newman

“The only farewells that politicians handle well are deaths. You can hear some excellent eulogies in the House of Commons.” – Carol Goar

“Ottawa feels a lot like Hollywood these days.” – Tim Powers

“If America was trying to keep the bubonic plague out of its hemisphere, Canadians would import it just to show their independence of American foreign policy.” – Barbara Amiel

“Canadians live with liberal rhetoric, but we conduct our lives as social conservatives.” – David Crombie

“The political parties of any era have always had groupings or clubbings of people whose raise d’etre has been for that party to win. That’s not new.” – Tim Powers

“Like an episode of Seinfeld, Canadian politics has become a show about nothing.” – Alex Himelfarb

 

This collection originally appeared in By George Journaal in January 2017.

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

 

10 quotes on bureaucracy

“You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.” – Thomas Sowell

“Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.” – Honore de Balzac

“The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is its inefficiency.” – Eugene J. McCarthy

“Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work.” – Albert Einstein

“Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible.” – Javier Pascual Salcedo

“Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.” – Franz Kafka

“Any change is resisted because bureaucrats have a vested interest in the chaos in which they exist.” – Richard M. Nixon

“Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.” – Mary McCarthy

“Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.” – Laurence Peter

“Bureaucracy gives birth to itself and then expects maternity benefits.” – Dale Dauten

 

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

Canadians On Politics – from Marshall McLuhan to Stephen Harper

  • Politics offers yesterday’s answers to today’s problems. – Marshall McLuhan
  • Canada is like an old cow. The West feeds it. Ontario and Quebec milk it. And you can well imagine what it’s doing in the Maritimes. – Tommy Douglas
  • The disconnect between Canadians and those who govern on their behalf is deep, wide, and growing. At a time when people are demanding greater accountability and transparency, they see their government institutions becoming more remote and opaque. – Lynne Slotek
  • In Canada the philosophical differences between the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives are scarcely perceptible. The main motive for joining one of these parties is to acquire power or a lucrative job. So political patronage flourishes. Politics (is) run on ‘jobs for the boys.’ And Canadian ministers arrange for large amounts of federal money to go to their constituencies. – Lord Moran
  • We are the government. I don’t see why we can’t try to get credit for what we do (patronage). I hope we do so. There is nothing to be ashamed in that. – Jean Chretien
  • To be complex does not mean to be fragmented. This is the paradox and the genius of our Canadian civilization.  – Adrienne Clarkson
  • We only need to look at what we are really doing in the world and at home and we’ll know what it is to be Canadian. – Adrienne Clarkson
  • My fellow Canadians, learning from our history, we have discovered is the better way to build our country. It has made us history’s benefactors, instead of its prisoners. – Stephen Harper
  • Let it be a cheerful red and white reminder of a quiet and humble patriotism, that, while making no claims on its neighbours, is ever ready to stand on guard for itself. We will ask the world to forgive us this uncharacteristic outburst of patriotism, of our pride, to be part of a country that is strong, confident, and tall among the nations. – Stephen Harper
  • Canada, our Canada is truly worthy of our pride and our patriotism. – Stephen Harper

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.

Canadians quoted on government

On this, MPs’ first day back in Ottawa, By George offers some classic observations on government from notable Canadians through the ages.

 

“Canada:  a land endowed by heaven with incalculable wealth… a people free and brave and strong with the strength that comes from the mountains and the prairies, the rivers and the sea.” – R.B. Bennett

“Stumbling through darkness and racing through light, we have persisted in the creation of a Canadian civilization.”  – Adrienne Clarkson

“I don’t mind being a symbol but I don’t want to become a monument. There are monuments all over the Parliament Buildings and I’ve seen what the pigeons do to them.” – Tommy Douglas

“The election is not a time to discuss serious issues.” – Kim Campbell

“Politics is hockey. It’s not golf. It’s a team sport.” – Joe Jordan

“As a rule, the Government appoints its friends.” – MP Sir Hector Langevin

“Parliament has become a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money.” – MP Keith Martin

“It is hardly possible to overstate the point that the competition in contemporary politics is now between a choice of personalities rather than between political parties and their policies. The one constant in recent years is that political parties have lost their place to the ‘celebritization’ of party leaders…. They’ve been captured by cronies and lobbyists and in the process they’ve lost their soul.” – Don Savoie

“In the bowels of the Canadian bureaucracy are a bunch of guys who want to pluck a feather from the American Eagle. When they get out of hand, we whack them hard and they run for cover.” – James Blanchard

“We cannot work or eat or drink; we cannot buy or sell or own anything; we cannot go to a ball game or a hockey game or watch TV without feeling the effects of government. We cannot marry or educate our children, cannot be sick, born or buried without the hand of government somewhere intervening. Government gives us railways, roads and airlines; sets the conditions that affect farms and industries; manages or mismanages the life and growth of the cities. Government is held responsible for social problems, and for pollution and sick environments. Government is our creature. We make it, we are ultimately responsible for it, and, taking the broad view, in Canada weave considerable reason to be proud of it. Pride, however, like patriotism, can never be a static thing; there are always new problems posing new challenges. The closer we are to government, and the more we know about it, the more we can do to help meet these challenges.” – Senator Eugene Forsey

 

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 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.

 

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.

Sideways quips on politics

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. – Winston Churchill

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. – P.J. O’Rourke

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavours to live at the expense of everybody else. – Frederic Bastiat

I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. – Will Rogers

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. – Voltaire

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you! – Pericles

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. – Mark Twain

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a government. – John Adams

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. – Douglas Casey (classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University)

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. – Mark Twain

The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. – Ronald Reagan

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. – Mark Twain

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. – Aesop

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free! – P.J. O’Rourke

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. – Edward Langley

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. – Thomas Jefferson

Talk is cheap…except when government does it. – Anonymous

 

(ed. – Thanks to our Ottawa friend Dick Inwood for this series of humourous political quotes.)

 

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.

 

Will Rogers on politics

 

  • Liberty don’t work near as good in practice as it does in speeches.
  • Nobody wants his cause near as bad as he wants to talk about his cause.
  • Common sense is not an issue in politics; it’s an affliction.
  • If you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.
  • If you get to thinking you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.
  • Last year we said. “Things can’t go on like this,” and they didn’t, they got worse.
  • People’s minds are changed through observation and not through argument.
  • The business of government is to keep the government out of business – that is, unless business needs government aid.
  • The short memories of American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.
  • There’s no trick to being a humourist when you have the whole government working for you.

 

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.

Remembering John Crosbie, his wit and insights

  • In 1979 when the Joe Clark government fell on a non-confidence vote on respecting the budget, less than nine months in office: “Long enough to conceive, just not long enough to deliver.”
  • On Question Period: “The usual lot of noise not signifying very much.”
  • “Mr. Speaker, I am glad the honourable gentleman finally got around to asking me about this question, because if you want an answer, you have to go to the horse’s mouth…. In this case, Mr. Speaker, the other end of the horse asked the question.”
  • “In fact, Mr. Speaker, they are not interested in the answers at all. They are howling and bawling like a bunch of banshees.”
  • “Mr. Speaker, the longer this House continues, the more I become in favour of capital punishment.”
  • “I refused to act as though I’d been weaned on a pickle.”
  • “The media, however, wouldn’t make the effort to listen to what I was saying or understand what I was doing. Instead, they stereotyped me as a buffoon, an entertainer, a jokester who was incapable of taking serious matters seriously.”
  • “[It’s not correct to describe me as a] loose cannon because I refused to pussyfoot around issues and only say safe, predictable things.”
  • “No one took things in politics personally if they wanted to be successful.”
  • “With a Polish pope and a Newfoundland finance minister, you mainlanders had better watch your jokes.”
  • “I would sooner have a foot in my mouth than a forked tongue.”
  • “I’ve spoken too long, I’ve said too much, I’ve been too frank, and I don’t give a damn.”
  • On politics: “People are ambitious and so you know this is always a big risk, right? It’s not namby-pamby.”
  • “I represented several parties. I never had any hesitation to change parties. All parties have got something to be said for them and if I got fed up with one party and pissed off with whatever they were doing, I was always quite willing to go with another party, and I didn’t suffer any bad feelings of conscience or anything as a result. I think politics is probably the most difficult profession one can get oneself involved with, but for me, I’ve had no regrets.”
  • The celebrated June 1985 House of Commons exchange with MP Sheila Copps: “Just quiet down, baby,” to which Copps responded: “I’m not his baby, and I’m nobody’s baby.”
  • Further to this exchange, he quoted lyrics of a Bobby Bare song at a B.C. fundraising dinner: “Pass the tequila, Sheila, and lay down and love me again.”
  • Regarding John Turner’s 1984 election campaign gaffe when was caught on TV cameras slapping Liberal MP’s Iona Campagnolo’s backside: “The Hon. leader of the Opposition knows all about butts. He has had his hands on more butts than there are members of this House.”
  • Responding to the Liberal Opposition: “What is their alternative? Not once have we heard an alternative from the ragtag, tatterdemalion remnants on the Liberal benches.”
  • On the Liberal MPs known as the Rat Pack: “We have been awaiting with trepidation all week the charge of the rodent brigade.”
  • Responding to the NDP Opposition: “The honourable gentlemen in the NDP are members of the neurotic, demagogic and paranoid party. They are the party of professional whiners, they are the professional groaners, they are the professional moaners, they are the down-at-the-mouthers … not offering any solutions, but just making the welkin ring with their complaining.”
  • Describing NDP MP Dawn Black: “[One of the} four horsewomen of the apocalypse.”
  • On the NDP: “The NDP does provide an alternative. It provides Canadians with the alternative of committing suicide, of committing hara-kiri, the alternative of all of us getting together and marching off the wharf like a group of lemmings.”
  • On July 2, 1992 at a protest against shutting down the northern cod fishery: “Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t take the fish from the God damn water.”
  • Questioned about his inability to speak French: “I cannot talk to the Chinese people in their own language either.”
  • Referring to Trudeau’s bilingualism: “It is better to be honest and sincere in one language than a twister, a trickster and a twit in two.”
  • “The best Prime Minister that we’ve had since ’49? It would be difficult to pick one because we’ve had some very fine men, though Brian Mulroney would probably be my favourite politician. He’s the one I got along best with. I enjoyed being involved in his cabinet. It was a congenial atmosphere because you could always express your opinion and if you had a different opinion than his and you disagreed with him in cabinet or expressed a different opinion, it didn’t cause any difficulty with him. He accepted the fact that you had the right to your own opinion and he welcomed you to express your opinion, so my favourite prime minister during my years in politics was Mulroney. I give him high marks for being a good PM for Canada, and for Newfoundland.”
  • On PM Kim Campbell and the 1993 election defeat: “The world knows who’s responsible. It’s the leader and those immediately around her who advised during the course of the election campaign. They must bear the burden of responsibility.”
  • On Canada-US Trade during his 1983 PC leadership bid: “Someday we’re going to have a North American continent that’s an economic union. That’s inevitable. These economic forces are there, and government policy can’t stop them. It’s only a question of, How do you get into a more secure position? They’re next door and geography dictates. Like it or not, we’re going up or down with the US.”
  • “Americans were far more popular in Newfoundland than Canadians, so I was never hung up about the United States. There’s always seemed to be a hang up with the Toronto cultural literati about the US. But that’s never been the feeling in Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada.”
  • “The secret to every success for every man is a good woman.”
  • Referring to Jane, his wife of 65 years: “This here is the secret to my success, if I had any.”
  • “How important is having a strong family when you’re in politics? It’s very important. Any man involved, or any woman involved for that matter, needs the willing support of husband or wife. I always said that in my political career my family were always a tremendous help to me. Without their help I couldn’t have accomplished much. If I accomplished anything it was because I had support. You’ve got to have a willing wife and a family that’s supportive if you are going to be a success at anything.”
  • “My proudest thing would be that I survived through it all, that I managed to get elected and re-elected in various positions despite what attitude I was taking. That was a major accomplishment. I’d like to be remembered for being a person unafraid to express his opinion about public issues, either publicly or in cabinet. I’ve always expressed my opinion.”

 

R.I.P. John Crosbie

 

 

 

 

 

[With special acknowledgement to interviews published in 2018 in The Newfoundland Herald. Links: https://nfldherald.com/john-crosbie-no-regrets-pt-1-of-2/ and https://nfldherald.com/john-crosbie-no-regrets-part-ii/ ]

Photo credits: Toronto Public Library / Toronto Star License & Wikimedia Commons 

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.

 

Great Quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald

  • . . . one people, great in territory, great in resources, great in enterprise, great in credit, great in capital. [a 1860 speech summed up his lifelong political creed and political goals] – Sir John A Macdonald
  • If I had influence over the minds of the people of Canada, any power over their intellect, I would leave them this legacy: ‘Whatever you do, adhere to the Union. We are a great country, and shall become one of the greatest in the universe if we preserve it; we shall sink into insignificance and adversity if we suffer it to be broken.’
  • God and nature made the two Canadas one—let no fractious men be allowed to put them asunder. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Let us be English or let us be French . . . and above all let us be Canadians. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Everyone admits that Union must take place sometime. I say now is the time. [At the Charlottetown Conference 1864] – Sir John A Macdonald
  • There may be obstructions, local differences may intervene, but it matters not — the wheel is now revolving, and we are only the fly on the wheel, we cannot delay it. The union of the colonies of British America under one sovereign is a fixed fact. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • The statement that has been made so often that this is a conquered country is a propos de rien. Whether it was conquered or ceded, we have a constitution now under which all British subjects are in a position of absolute equality, having equal rights of every kind – of language, of religion, of property and of person. There is no paramount race in this country; we are all British subjects, and those who are not English are none the less British subjects on that account. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • My sins of omission and commission I do not deny; but I trust that it may be said of me in the ultimate issue, ‘Much is forgiven because he loved much,’ for I have loved my country with a passionate love. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • A public man should have no resentments. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • As for myself, my course is clear. A British subject I was born, a British subject I will die. With my utmost effort, with my latest breath, will I oppose the veiled treason which attempts by sordid means and mercenary proffers to lure our people from their allegiance. [on Canadian-American trade] – Sir John A Macdonald

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 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/