Tag Archives: prime minister

PM WL Mackenzie King on Politics

   

  • If some countries have too much history, we have too much geography. 
  • The promises of yesterday are the taxes of today.
  • Every hour of useful work is precious.
  • Once a nation parts with the control of its credit, it matters not who makes the laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation.
  • Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognised as its most sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of parliament and of democracy is idle and futile. 
  • Government, in the last analysis, is organized opinion. Where there is little or no public opinion, there is likely to be bad government, which sooner or later becomes autocratic government.
  • It is what we prevent, rather than what we do that counts most in Government.
  • Far more has been accomplished for the welfare and progress of mankind by preventing bad actions than by doing good ones.
  • I really believe my greatest service is in the many unwise steps I prevent.
  • The news of any action should not be allowed to destroy our sense of perspective of this world-wide conflict. We have reached one of the gravest hours in history.
  • Not necessarily conscription, but conscription if necessary.
  • Let it be remembered, too, that at a time of war, nearly every one is under great strain.
  • From the outset of the war, the Canadian people have clearly shown that it is their desire to help in every way to make Canada’s war effort as effective as possible.
  • If the military might of Germany and Japan are ultimately to be crushed, the United Nations, one and all, must definitely and urgently strive toward a total war effort.
  • Workers in industry are the partners in war of the fighting forces.
  • As to the advantages of temperance in the training of the armed forces and of its benefits to the members of the forces themselves, there can be no doubt in the world.
  • Regardless of what one’s attitude towards prohibition may be, temperance is something against which, at a time of war, no reasonable protest can be made.
  • Fortunately, the Canadian people in all their habits, are essentially a temperate people.
  • Only the man who disciplines himself strictly can stand for long the terrific pace of modern war.
  • Over the grave of one who had unnecessarily sought change, there is written ‘I was well, I wanted to be better, and here I am’.

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

Quotes of PMs Arthur Meighen and RB Bennett

Here are quotes from two Conservative Prime Ministers – Arthur Meighen serving from 1920-21, 1926 and R.B. Bennett 1930-1935, through the years of the Great Depression in North America

  • We have one neighbor and one only, and that one an industrial colossus. It lies for four thousand miles along our border, producing what we produce, and doing constant but legitimate battIe to forestall us in the world’s markets and in our own. There is the dominating fact that meets Canadians every morning. – Arthur Meighen
  • The one unpardonable sin in politics is lack of courage. As a Government we are in an impregnable position, in point both of policy and of record, and I do not propose to make apology either by act [or] word. – Arthur Meighen
  • Loyalty to the ballot box is not necessarily loyalty to the nation. Political captains in Canada must have courage to lead rather than servility to follow. [criticism of McKenzie King] – Arthur Meighen
  • One great secret of successful debate: when you have a man under your hammer, never be tempted into doubtful ground and give him a chance to digress. How often I witnessed men in the House who had a case, and who really had their opponents cornered, doddle off into other ground and give the enemy a chance to change the subject and come out not too badly worsted. – Arthur Meighen
  • The slogan etched more deeply than ever on the heart of every Canadian should be: Unity, Stability and Progress. [Conservative campaign call of 1926] – Arthur Meighen
  • The powers of the Prime Minister are very great. The functions of and duties of a Prime Minister in Parliament are…supreme in their importance. – Arthur Meighen
  • We no longer live in a political Empire. [adoption that year of the Statute of Westminster] – RB Bennett
  • I propose that any government of which I am the head will at the first session of Parliament initiate whatever action is necessary to that end, or perish in the attempt. [1930 speech on the elimination of unemployment] – RB Bennett
  • In the last five years great changes have taken place in the world… The old order is gone. We are living in conditions that are new and strange to us. Canada on the dole is like a young and vigorous man in the poorhouse … If you believe that things should be left as they are, you and I hold contrary and irreconcilable views. I am for reform. And in my mind, reform means government intervention. It means government control and regulation. It means the end of laissez-faire. [on The Bennett New Deal of 1935] – RB Bennett
  • Your leadership of the party especially during the years when you were Prime Minister was marked by a distinction which has not been surpassed. . . . No one has ever been asked to carry the burdens of unprecedented depression such as you assumed and no one could have shouldered them with such ability. I am confident that we shall look to those years as landmarks in Canadian history because of your energy and direction. [on RB Bennett’s leadership] – Harold Adams Innis, professor of economics at the University of Toronto

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

If you were Prime Minister…

I asked my friend’s little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be Prime Minister of Canada some day.

Both of her parents, NDP supporters, were standing there, so I asked her, “If you were Prime Minister what would be the first thing you would do?”

She replied, “I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.” Her parents beamed, and said, “Welcome to the NDP Party!”

“Wow…what a worthy goal!” I told her. I continued, “But you don’t have to wait until you’re Prime Minister to do that. You can come over to my house, mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I’ll pay you $50. Then I’ll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out. You can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.”

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?”

I smiled and said, “Welcome to the Conservative Party.”

Her parents still aren’t speaking to me.

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

 

Quotes of PM Sir Robert Borden

Sir Robert Borden was Canada’s Prime Minister from 1911 to 1920, leading the country during World War 1. Borden’s government introduced the first federal income tax to Canada and he nationalized the Canadian railways and he was responsible for WW1 conscription in 1917. 

 

  • It is a miserable irregular life one has to lead and I am more than sick of it, I can assure you. [in a letter to his wife on politics in Ottawa]
  • Canadianism or Continentalism [the victorious 1911 campaign slogan against PM Laurier’s vision of U.S. trade reciprocity]
  • Freely and voluntarily the manhood of Canada stands ready to fight beyond the seas in this just quarrel for the Empire and its liberties.
  • It can hardly be expected that we shall put 400,000 or 500,000 men in the field and willingly accept the position of having no more voice and receiving no more consideration than if we were toy automata. 
  • We must not forget that days may come when our patience, our endurance and our fortitude will be tried to the utmost. In those days, let us see to it that no heart grows faint and that no courage be found wanting. . .
  • In this country we are a peace loving people, and great tasks lie before us in the peaceful development of our resources. We have no lasting quarrel with the German people, who have great qualities and whose achievements in every important sphere of human progress are conspicuous, although they are temporarily misled by the militarism of Prussia; but we will fight to the death against the vain attempt of an arrogant militarist oligarchy to impose upon the world its ideals of force and violence and to achieve its unworthy purpose by “blood and iron”.
  • There is but one way to deal effectively with the Prussian gospel of force and violence and the Prussian ideal of absolutism. It must be smashed utterly and completely. The sooner that is accomplished the better for the German people and for all the nations. Canada joins wholeheartedly in that great task. What has been done is known to all. What remains to be done shall be limited only by the need.
  • Let us never forget the solemn truth that the nation is not constituted of the living alone. There are those as well who have passed away and those yet to be born. So this great responsibility comes to us as heirs of the past and trustees of the future. But with that responsibility there has come something greater still, the opportunity of proving ourselves worthy of it; and I pray that this may not be lost.
  • The Canadians who have fought so gallantly for our liberties and those of the world, and who have given to our country a great place among the world’s nations, will return to Canada with a wider vision and with a higher appreciation of the opportunities that lie before them.
  • Canada got nothing out of the war except recognition. [in a letter to his wife on what Canadians achieved from the war]

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

PM Sir Wilfrid Laurier Quotes

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s seventh PM

  • Canada has been modest in its history, although its history, in my estimation, is only commencing. It is commencing in this century. The nineteenth century was the century of the United States. I think we can claim that Canada will fill the twentieth century.
  • Confederation is a compact, made originally by four provinces but adhered to by all the nine provinces who have entered it, and I submit to the judgment of this house and to the best consideration of its members, that this compact should not be lightly altered.
  • I claim for Canada this, that in future Canada shall be at liberty to act or not act, to interfere or not interfere, to do just as she pleases, and that she shall reserve to herself the right to judge whether or not there is cause for her to act.
  • Let them look to the past, but let them also look to the future; let them look to the land of their ancestors, but let them look also to the land of their children.
  • A colony, yet a nation – words never before in the history of the world associated together.
  • We are here a nation, composed of the most heterogeneous elements–Protestants and Catholics, English, French, German, Irish, Scotch, every one, let it be remembered, with his traditions, with his prejudices. In each of these conflicting antagonistic elements, however, there is a common spot of patriotism, and the only true policy is that which reaches that common patriotism and makes it vibrate in all toward common ends and common aspirations.
  • Fraternity without absorption, union without fusion.
  • For us, sons of France, political sentiment is a passion; while, for the Englishmen, politics are a question of business.
  • Two races share today the soil of Canada. These people had not always been friends. But I hasten to say it. There is no longer any family here but the human family. It matters not the language people speak, or the altars at which they kneel.
  • Why, so soon as French Canadians, who are in a minority in this House and in the country, were to organise as a political party, they would compel the majority to organise as a political party, and the result must be disastrous to themselves.
  • If I were not French I would choose to be – Scotch.
  • He is ready, if the occasion presents itself, to throw the whole English population in the St. Lawrence.
  • I am quite prepared, if we can do it without any disrespect to the Crown of England, to bring our titles to the marketplace and make a bonfire of them.
  • It would be simply suicidal to French Canadians to form a party by themselves.
  • Quebec does not have Opinions, but only sentiments.
  • This country must be governed, and can be governed, simply on questions of policy and administration and the French Canadians who have had any part in this movement have never had any other intention but to organise upon those party distinctions and upon no other.
  • The Divinity could be invoked as well in the English language as in the French.
  • I am a subject of the British Crown, but whenever I have to choose between the interests of England and Canada it is manifest to me that the interests of my country are identical with those of the United States of America.
  • I am not here to parade my religious sentiments, but I declare I have too much respect for the faith in which I was born to ever use it as the basis of a political organization.
  • Whether splendidly isolated or dangerously isolated, I will not now debate; but for my part, I think splendidly isolated, because the isolation of England comes from her superiority.

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

 

Quotes from Canada’s earliest PMs

Sir Charles Tupper, Canada’s 6th Prime Minister    

Tupper was a Canadian Father of Confederation who, as Premier of Nova Scotia (1864-67) led that Province into confederation. He was sworn into the office of Prime Minister on May 1, 1896, seven days after Parliament had been dissolved. He lost the June 23 election and resigned on July 8, 1896. His 69-day term as prime minister is the shortest in Canadian history.

 

Here are ten quotes from five of our country’s earliest Prime Ministers:  Alexander Mackenzie (1873-1878), Sir John Abbott (1891-1892), Sir John Thompson (1892-1894), Sir Mackenzie Bowell (1894-1896), and Sir Charles Tupper (1896).  

  • I have always held those political opinions which point to the universal brotherhood of man, no matter in what rank of life he may have taken his origin. – Alexander Mackenzie
  • But I refer to it now merely to say this: that the Reformers of this country will remember — those who were not alive at that time by reading, and those who were alive by having been in the midst of these events — with gratitude that it was the great leaders of the Reform party who first gave perfect civil and religious rights to the people of Canada. – Alexander Mackenzie
  • We shall all respect the principles of each other and do nothing that would be regarded as an act of oppression to any portion of the people. – Alexander Mackenzie
  • I hate politics and what are considered their appropriate measures. I hate notoriety, public meetings, public speeches, caucuses and everything that I know of which is apparently the necessary incident of politics—except doing public work to the best of my ability. – Sir John Abbott
  • I cannot promise that my services shall be of great account, or that I shall render great service to my country. I can promise that my whole strength of mind and talent, whatever it is, shall be devoted to its interests. – Sir John Abbott
  • We look forward to it as one of the aims which are to be accomplished in the public life of Canada, because the Conservative party believes that the influence of women in the politics of the country is always for good. I think, therefore, that there is a probability of the franchise being extended to the women on the same property qualifications as men. –  [on women’s suffrage] Sir John Thompson
  • I hope the time is fast approaching in Canada when we shall never hear the question raised of a man’s birth, or the creed that he professes. We live in a country and under a constitution in which every man has a right to act as his judgment dictates, or as his education leads him, upon matters of this very important character. – Sir Mackenzie Bowell
  • I have lived long enough to come to the conclusion, that if a man believes in one particular principle, or one particular creed and thinks it is the best, it is not for me to interfere with his conscience, nor do I think any one else should interfere with his conscience, or with the course which he may think proper to pursue, so long as he does not attempt to interfere with others. – Sir Mackenzie Bowell
  • The human mind naturally adapts itself to the position it occupies. The most gigantic intellect may be dwarfed by being cabin’d, cribbed and confined. It requires a great country and great circumstances to develop great men. – Sir Charles Tupper
  • Each little Province is a little nation by itself. – Sir Charles Tupper

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

In defence of Sir John A. Macdonald and his legacy

Reposting…. The Macdonald-Laurier Institute issued an important statement this day. Here is the media release and links to the pertinent articles. 

OTTAWA, ON (January 12, 2021): Those who see Canada’s history as little more than a shameful series of mistakes and failures have grown increasingly vocal in calling for the shunning of figures like our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Macdonald, however, is owed not our contempt and derision, but our thoughtful measured thanks.

This is the message of more than 150 historians, policy experts, educators, business leaders, public figures, and thought leaders who have signed a joint statement in defence of Macdonald. This statement, a joint project of the Friends of Sir John A. Macdonald and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, ran today in the National Post as a full-page advertisement to coincide with Macdonald’s birthday. The statement can be read in full here.

Macdonald’s legacy is one of remarkable accomplishments. He, alongside his contemporaries like George-Étienne Cartier, set themselves the task of creating Canada, overcoming sectarian and linguistic strife and years of mistrust and political deadlock. He led the original Confederation effort, persuaded three other provinces to join, hugely expanded Canada’s territory, dissuaded American expansionism, brought economic stability, promoted unity between Canada’s language and religions factions, and much more.

The statement’s signatories also note that Macdonald, like all national leaders, had significant failures. These include his policy establishing the residential school system – a decision with a dark legacy that hangs over the country to this day.

Macdonald’s undoubted errors must be weighed, however, against “an impressive record of constitution and nation building, his reconciliation of contending cultures, languages and religions, his progressivism and his documented concern for and friendship with the Indigenous peoples of Canada,” suggest the authors.

According to Professor Patrice Dutil, one of the organizers of this initiative, “the sustained attacks on monuments to Sir John A. Macdonald and the attacks on his good name in schools and at Queen’s University in 2020 prompted many of us to simply say: Enough!” Professor Dutil goes on to note that while Macdonald’s record is hardly without blemish, “his policy failures must be weighed against his phenomenal policy successes. This effort, I hope, will become a turning point in how Canadian society examines Macdonald, and its past generally.”

As MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley puts it:

“It is easy to criticize the past and the decisions made there. But it is a conceit of each and every generation that it alone is free from poor judgments, intellectual shortcomings and historical myopia.”

“Macdonald was neither angel nor devil, but a fallible human being who accomplished great things. Looking solely at our past errors is not the right standard by which to measure Canada or Sir John A. and their great achievements,” argues Crowley, who was one of the signatories of today’s statement.

The signatories urge governments, historians, teachers, media and other engaged Canadians to ensure everyone has access to a balanced view of our common past and the people who made us.

“Looking at our history with a dispassionate eye will give us a much clearer vision of the future,” they write. “Let’s start with Sir John A. Macdonald.”

IN DEFENCE OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD’S LEGACY:

Born on January 11th, 1815, he came here from his native Scotland in 1820. When he died 71 years later, Macdonald had become one of our greatest immigrant success stories, and the most respected and honoured Canadian of his era, having been Prime Minister for 19 of our first 24 years.

Sir John:

  • Re-imagined British North America as Canada and did so with courage, wisdom and integrity.
  • Dissuaded aggressive American expansionism. Macdonald, with Cartier, stared down opponents of Confederation in Quebec and Nova Scotia.
  • Acquired territory that made Canada the second largest country in the world.
  • Persuaded Manitobans, British Columbians and Prince Edward Islanders to join Confederation. Brought economic stability, with a farsighted Bank Act and an economic National Policy.
  • Spearheaded the building of a railway to the Pacific.
  • Championed unity between English and French, Protestant and Catholic.
  • Promoted freedom of expression and the press.
  • Launched policies that failed, as happens to all national leaders. This is certainly the case with the establishment of a national policy on Indian Residential Schools. Even though widely supported at the time, the schools had a dark legacy that hangs over the country to this day.
  • Made many other mistakes respecting Indigenous peoples and policies Canadians today strongly disapprove; we understand the frustrations of the descendants of those affected by these mistakes. Macdonald’s failures must, however, be weighed against an impressive record of constitution and nation building, his reconciliation of contending cultures, languages and religions, his progressivism and his documented concern for and friendship with the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

All Canadians deserve to hear the full story about Macdonald, the founding of Canada and Canadian history generally. Only then can we form reasoned views about that historical record.

We urge governments, historians, teachers, media and other engaged Canadians to ensure everyone has access to a balanced view of our common past and the people who made us. Looking at our history with a dispassionate eye will give us a much clearer vision of the future. Let’s start with Sir John A. Macdonald.

View all signatories here.

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

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.

Canada’s Prime Ministers on Politics

Sir John A. Macdonald is Canada’s first Prime Minister

and a grand and colourful character whose accomplishments

helped forged a nation from sea to sea.

 

Over the course of the next three weeks, we will focus on providing quotes from our country’s Prime Ministers.

We begin with the quotes and quips of perhaps our greatest leader, Sir John A. Macdonald:

  • Politics is a game requiring great coolness.
  • Anybody may support me when I am right. What I want is someone that will support me when I am wrong.
  • An election is like a horse-race, in that you can tell more about it the next day.
  • There were, unfortunately, no great principles on which parties were divided – politics became a mere struggle for office.
  • If you would know the depth of meanness of human nature, you have got to be a Prime Minister running a general election.
  • Politics is a game requiring great coolness and an utter abnegation of prejudice and personal feeling.
  • Give me better wood and I will make you a better cabinet.
  • The time has come, I think, when we must choose men for their qualifications rather than for their locality.
  • We are all mere petty provincial politicians at present; perhaps by and by some of us will rise to the level of national statesmen.
  • The Government are merely trustees for the public.
  • I don’t care for office for the sake of money, but for the sake of power, and for the safe of carrying out my own views of what is best for the country.
  • Even if all the territory Mr. Mowat asks for were awarded to Ontario, there is not one stick of timber, one acre of land, or one lump of lead, iron or gold that does not belong to the Dominion, or to the people who purchased from the Dominion Government.
  • Had I but consented to take the popular side in Upper Canada, I could have ridden the Protestant horse much better than George Brown, and could have had an overwhelming majority. But I willingly sacrificed my own popularity for the good of the country, and did equal justice to all men.
  • He shall hang though every dog in Quebec bark in his favour. [referring to Louis Riel]
  • I have no accord with the desire expressed in some quarters that by any mode whatever there should be an attempt made to oppress the one language or to render it inferior to the other – I believe that would be impossible if it were tried, and it would be foolish and wicked if it were possible.
  • I would be quite willing, personally, to leave that whole country a wilderness for the next half-century but I fear if Englishmen do not go there, Yankees will.
  • But if it should happen that we should be absorbed in the United States, the name of Canada would be literally forgotten; we should have the State of Ontario, the State of Quebec, the State of Nova Scotia and State of New Brunswick. Every one of the provinces would be a state, but where is the grand, the glorious name of Canada? All I can say is that not with me, or not by the action of my friends, or not by the action of the people of Canada, will such a disaster come upon us.
  • If Canada is to remain a country separate from the United States it is of great importance to her that they (the United States) should not get behind us by right or by force, and intercept the route to the Pacific. But in any other point of view, it seems to me that the country is of no present value to Canada. We have unoccupied land enough to absorb immigration for many years, and the opening up of the Saskatchewan would do to Canada what the Prairie lands of Illinois are doing now – drain away our youth and our strength.
  • The word ‘protection’ itself must be taboo, but we can ring the changes on National Policy, paying the U.S. in their own coin.
  • There is no maxim which experience teaches more clearly than this, that you must yield to the times. Resistance may be protracted until it produces revolution. Resistance was protracted in this country until it produced rebellion.
  • When fortune empties her chamber pot on your head, smile and say, ‘We are going to have a summer shower.’
  • I am afraid I shall have to give you the answer of the Irish servant who got into a place where the food was not as it should be – ‘there’s too much to swallow and too little to eat’.
  • A compliment is the statement of an agreeable truth; flattery is the statement of an agreeable untruth.
  • Never write a letter if you can help it, and never destroy one.
  • A sweet smile from the teeth outwards. [referring to John Abbott] 
  • When a man has done me an evil turn once, I don’t like to give him the opportunity to do so twice.
  •  [Macdonald was well known for his wit and also for his alcoholism. He is known to have been drunk for many of his debates in parliament. Here is a story from an election debate in which Macdonald was so drunk he began vomiting while on stage.]  His opponent quickly pointed this out and said: “Is this the man you want running your country? A drunk!” Collecting himself, Macdonald replied “I get sick … not because of drink [but because] I am forced to listen to the ranting of my honourable opponent.”

 

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

Happy Birthday Sir John A.!

Happy birthday to one of Canada’s fathers of Confederation, our country’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

Take a look at the By George Journal archive of posts on this storied man.

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.

Celebrating Sir John A.

Upon Sir John A. Macdonald’s death, (the soon-to-be Prime Minister) Wilfred Laurier paid tribute to him in the House of Commons (June 8, 1891):

“The place of Sir John A. Macdonald in this country was so large and so absorbing that it is almost impossible to conceive that the politics of this country – the fate of this country – will continue without him. His loss overwhelms us. For my part, I say, with all truth, his loss overwhelms me, and that it also overwhelms this Parliament, as if indeed one of the institutions of the land had given way. Sir John A. Macdonald now belongs to the ages, and it can be said with certainty that the career which has just been closed is one of the most remarkable careers of this century. . .

“As to his statesmanship, it is written in the history of Canada. It may be said without any exaggeration whatever, that the life of Sir John Macdonald, from the time he entered Parliament, is the history of Canada.”

And, so that you may discuss this great man at your next social, here are some interesting trivia most may not know about Sir John A.

  • While there is some debate over his actual birthdate, January 10 is the official date recorded and January 11 is the day Macdonald celebrated it.
  • Having personally written the largest part of the Canadian constitution ( BNA act ), and having been the main lobbyist for its adoption at London, Macdonald can truly be called “THE Father of his country.”
  • Macdonald’s nicknames included Old Chieftain and Old Tomorrow – the latter for his habit of putting off any large political problems until conditions were personally favourable to him.
  • Sir John A.Macdonald is one of two Canadian prime-ministers to die in office (The other is John Thompson).
  • Macdonald’s nephew Newton Ford was the father of iconic Canadian-American actor Glenn Ford.

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

A Review of Key Issues in Ottawa

Canada’s Parliament resumes with a Throne Speech on September 23rd. Here’s a review of the key issues Canadians should follow as our MPs return to Ottawa and the business of the Nation.

What is to become of the unanswered questions?

Here are ten issues that PM Trudeau hopes and trusts Canadians will soon forget when enchanted by the exciting promises presented in his Throne Speech.

The consequential fiscal facts on Canada’s economy

Here are current fiscal facts that are certain to be consequential for the country’s economy and our future prosperity.

Trudeau and Freeland “Moving Canada towards full-blown Socialism”

Canadians are placed on notice: PM Trudeau and Finance Minister Freeland will advance “a bold, new progressive agenda.”

A primer on the Trudeau Liberals’ Green Energy Plan

With the pretext of jump-starting the national economy in the wake of the pandemic’s fallout, the Liberals are telling Canadians they are ready to “build back better” with a bold, progressive environmental agenda. Their new national Green Energy Plan is expected to be one of the cornerstones placed in the Government’s Throne Speech.

A Pivotal Week for the Trudeau Liberals’ Green Agenda

There now is Trudeau, Freeland and Carney (with a cast of supporting actors McKenna, Guilbeault and Wilkinson) all aligned to “build back better” by shifting Canada’s economy away from oil and gas and towards green energy, and introducing bigger, interventionist government to caretake national welfare, immigration, childcare and universal basic income programs.

Morneau will leave an unenviable record as Finance Minister

The federal Liberals, under the watch of Bill Morneau, are outspending all past federal governments, including those governments that had to respond to world wars and global recessions.

The Trudeau Government’s horrible week of scandalous stories

Warren Kinsella: “There’s a name for a government like Justin Trudeau’s – a government run by those who seek status and personal gain at the expense of the rest of us. It’s a kleptocracy.”

 

These columns were first published in The Niagara Independent through the months of August and September. 

The Trudeau Government’s horrible week of scandalous stories

The Niagara Independent, August 14, 2020  – Though he was hiding away at an undisclosed summer holiday rental on Georgian Bay, this week proved particularly bad for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a steady stream of stories emerged relating to multiple scandals that threaten to swamp the Government’s agenda.

On Wednesday, Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet threatened to trigger a Fall election if the PM, his Chief of Staff Katie Telford, and Finance Minister Bill Morneau do not resign. Blanchet said, “Keeping people in office who are “mismanaging” the government would be more dangerous than sending Canadians to the polls in a pandemic.”

In the House of Commons, Conservative MP Candice Bergen received a standing ovation from the Opposition benches when she criticized the Liberals for “evasive non-answers.” Bergen stated: “Six months into this pandemic, and six years into this government, and the Prime Minister will be remembered for a $343-billion deficit and for setting the lowest bar ever for a prime minister’s conduct in the history of this country….  With the Liberals, it really is about who one knows, not what one knows. This makes the Liberal sponsorship scandal look like child’s play, actually. Can the Prime Minister tell us – oh sorry, he is not here. Can somebody on that side tell us why the Prime Minister thinks the rules do not apply to him?”

From the week’s headline news, there are many outstanding questions to be answered. Foremost, there are on-going revelations of misdeeds involving the $912 million WE charity scandal: questions about $43.5 million in administration fees, WE’s $300,000 payment to Margaret and Trudeau family members, and the government’s due diligence in approving the sole-sourced contract. Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth, told the House of Commons Ethics Committee Tuesday that an initial payment of $30 million was paid to the Kielburger brothers and she did not know whether they had returned the money upon the cancellation of the contract. This raises important questions as to how the government paid the Kielburgers before approval from Treasury Board and Cabinet? Who wrote the $30 million cheque to them and under whose authority?

PM Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau are being investigated by the Ethics Commission for not recusing themselves from the Cabinet approval of the $912 million contract, though both their families have pecuniary interests with the charity.

Then there is potential wrongdoing in an $84 million contract outsourced to a company tied to PM Trudeau’s Chief of Staff’s family. The story this week is that neither the PMO nor Finance Minister Office will disclose whether Katie Telford’s husband Robert Silver communicated with them since becoming senior VP of a mortgage company in January 2020. NDP MP Charlie Angus is seeking answers on how this $84 million contract was sole-sourced, “That’s very disturbing, considering that both the prime minister’s and finance minister’s offices are already under serious investigations for ethical lapses in conflict of interest. We have ethical standards, and if they can’t answer that question, it really raises the question whether or not the Liberal government believes that the laws actually apply to them.”

Also this week, two more questionable contracts made headlines. News broke that a Montreal-based company owned by Frank Baylis, a former Liberal MP, was given a lucrative contract to make 10,000 pandemic ventilators by October 21st, even though Health Canada flagged the Baylis Medical Company’s machine had not been approved by any jurisdiction. There was also news of a $381 million sole-sourced contract to produce medical masks to a Quebec firm Medicom Inc, despite the fact that this firm had no manufacturing facilities in Canada and will be producing masks in factories in China, Taiwan, the U.S. and France. Medicom has yet to deliver any surgical masks.

There’s more. MPs are pressing the Trudeau Government to reveal details of $5.8 billion worth of federal contracts awarded during the pandemic response through the last few months. However, senior bureaucrats in Public Services and Procurement Canada are refusing to make public any details on the basis of protecting Canada’s supply chains. So, $5.8 billion of taxpayers’ dollars has been given to private companies and there will be no public accountability. Furthermore, the latest figures provided by the federal department reveal that less than 40% of these contracts were given to domestic suppliers – in other words more than 60% of this money is going to foreign-owned companies offshore.

And further to this, we are now aware that there are tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects that are unaccounted for by Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna’s department. The Parliament’s Budget Office (PBO) has been unable to find any evidence of roughly 20,000 projects totaling approximately half of the program’s $57.5 billion budget. Head of PBO Yves Giroux reported to MPs that he is perplexed how 20,000 records of infrastructure projects are nowhere to be found.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre summed up the MPs’ frustrations with the Liberal Government’s cone of silence. “Our economy will take a $100 billion hit this year. And what is the Prime Minister focused on? Not on getting Canada through this crisis or rebuilding our economy, but on helping his friends, helping his cronies and creating programs that are so complicated that only the most sophisticated, with the best lobbyists and consultants, can benefit and profit.”

Warren Kinsella, long-time Liberal party strategist and former PMO staffer to PM Jean Chretien was more pointed in his criticisms of the Trudeau Government’s modus operandi. Kinsella stated: “… the allegation is that Trudeau’s cabal sought to enrich themselves during a pandemic that is impoverishing millions of Canadians… the governed were losing their homes, losing their jobs, losing their futures. While Trudeau’s gang were apparently making out like bandits. That is not merely wrong, it is actually evil. It is beyond the pale. Beyond words.”

Kinsella’s blog post this week concludes: “It goes on and on and on. It never stops, this fetid, foul stew of corruption and moral blindness. Even during a pandemic, the Trudeau government’s descent into the muck continues unabated. So, there’s a name for what we’ve now got. There’s a name for a government like Justin Trudeau’s – a government run by those who seek status and personal gain at the expense of the rest of us. It’s a kleptocracy.”

It was indeed a horrible week for the scandal-plagued Liberals in Ottawa — a fine time for the PM to be enjoying the sunny skies over Georgian Bay.

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

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-trudeau-governments-horrible-week-of-scandalous-stories/

 

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

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.

Happy Birthday 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.”

Happy Birthday Sir John A.! We certainly miss your national vision and your leadership today. For more, click here to see the By George archived articles on this great man.

 

 

PMs and their Wingmen

Through the ages, our Canadian Prime Ministers have had a few elected bench mates who loyally served them as their trusted wingmen – their closest advisors, often the Cabinet’s Mr. Fix-It or a dependable Party workhorse. Often, we can look back at the PM’s tenure and see the successes (or failures) of their governments as reflective in how effective their wingmen were in advising on crisis situations and managing the caucus.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has had a series of wingmen through his time as Leader of the Conservative Party. At the beginning there were old Reform partners, like Vic Toews, Jason Kenny and Jim Prentice, who provided a great deal of input. Throughout his stint at 24 Sussex Drive, Mr. Harper has called upon an Ontario triumvirate of Mike Harris ministers — Jim Flaherty, John Baird and Tony Clement.

John BairdOf all these men mentioned, perhaps the person with the greatest personal suasion was John Baird – close friend of the family, (wing)man-about-Ottawa and one of Mr. Harper’s earliest political operators east of the Prairies.  For this reason, Baird’s resignation is a huge loss for the Prime Minister – and an untimely exit for a Party rallying their troops for the next election battle. Baird’s departure, along with the resignation of Jim Flaherty a month before his death last year, has resulted in two of Harper’s most powerful ministers vacating his inner circle in less than a year.

So, the Harper Government of Fall 2015 will look very different from its image of not 12 months ago. Gone are the leading support cast that so defined the Harper Government:

Jim “Smiling” Flaherty and John “Attack Dog” Baird

There is a huge vacuum that will need to be filled in the coming months…

Beside every PM is…

This turn of events today, got By George reflecting on past Prime Ministers and their able wingmen. In the last 40 years, how can we forget these Trojan MPs who worked so hard for their Leader?

PM Pierre Trudeau’s operatives: Allan MacEachen, Daniel MacDonald and Francis Fox, and there was P.E.T.’s “White Knight of Bay Street”, his Finance Minister John Turner

PM Brian Mulroney’s main dancing partners: Michael Wilson, westerners Don Mazankowski and Harvey Andre, and the unforgettably humourous John Crosbie.

PM Jean Chretien’s henchmen: PM-in-waiting Paul Martin, John Manley, “Rat Pack” members Sheila Copps and Brian Tobin, and then there was the Leader’s ultimate Parliamentary caretaker: Herb Gray.

For politicos, the mention of each of these Cabinet Ministers conjures up fiery debates and events that have defined their Prime Minister and his time in office.

As John Baird departs the Hill, one must wonder who can fill the role as both mirror and foil for Stephen Harper now? Who will be his new wingman?

 

PHOTO CREDIT: By DFATD (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Sir John A. Day!

John_A_MacdonaldThis January 11, 2015 marks a special anniversary for our country: the 200th birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister.

Since 2002, this day is set aside for Canadians to remember their first Prime Minister, one of the Fathers of Confederation. So it is fitting to that we take this occasion to highlight a few interesting facts and celebrate the man.

Through the years, By George has lamented the ignored legacy of Sir John A in many of our posts (and we have tagged “John A. Macdonald“). We have compiled lists of his quotes and a few years back featured our 10 favourite quotes.

To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir John A., Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote a stirring piece that commemorates our first PM. PM Harper writes:

Others had ruminated about Confederation but only he saw how to get it done — how to make the case for unity, how to rally common hopes and fears, how to overcome different perspectives and interests.

But Macdonald did more than achieve it; he made it work…. Of the greatest importance for all of us, perhaps, was that Macdonald appropriated from the British constitution its conception of freedom, of “ordered liberty,” of the balancing of popular rule and minority rights, of (in the terms of the era) equality before the law and governments responsible through the legislature to the voters.

Richard Gwyn, the celebrated biographer of John Macdonald wrote in the Toronto Star a column trumpeting: “Sir John A. Macdonald, the greatest PM of all”

Gwyn makes the point that “had there been no Macdonald, there would be no Canada for anyone to be a citizen of.”

Under Macdonald’s leadership as prime minister (1867-1873 and 1878-1891), the country was extended from sea to sea, giving — at last — it a certain geographical coherence. Macdonald also led Canada to achieve the National Dream, a railway the entire way from eastern Canada to the West Coast. The railway, together with Macdonald’s policy of high tariffs to protect Canadian companies from their far more efficient American rivals, made it possible for Canadians to do business with and get to know each other despite all their differences (French vs. English, Catholic vs. Protestant, Aboriginal vs. European) and the immense distances between them.

By other initiatives, Macdonald fashioned a distinctive Canadian way of getting things done that has stayed with us ever since.

In a National Post article noting the significance of this day, Bob Plamondon, respected political observer and author, makes the perceptive comment:
Macdonald’s greatest gift to us, then as now, was to show us how we can be stronger as a nation when we celebrate and respect our diversity.

All of this is by way of hanging our collective heads with the discouraging fact that Canadians really do not know enough about Macdonald and his legacy. On Canada.com, there is a telling release this week: Poll conducted ahead of the 200th anniversary of Macdonald’s birth

One in four Canadians can’t identify Sir John A. Macdonald as the first prime minister of Canada, according to a new poll commissioned by Historica Canada.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid, shows Canadians don’t know their history as well as Historica would hope. Twenty-eight per cent of Canadians don’t know the year of confederation, and 44 per cent don’t know Canada turns 150 years old in 2017.

So, today, take a moment and share a story or two about our first Prime Minister. Talk about him. Toast his legacy. Canada is very much a living testament to Sir John A. Macdonald’s vision and efforts. It is so important that more Canadians appreciate this fact.

30 years ago today!!

MULRONEY MILA

30-years ago today, the Progressive Conservatives swept across Canada in a remarkable election that ushered in Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

This government did a lot of small things wrong, and Mr. Mulroney wasn’t the most popular of Prime Ministers. However, he and his government got a few big things right: Canada – US Free Trade leading to a North American agreement, GST helping to eliminate deficit spending, an enviable environmental record, leading the call for the end to apartheid and projecting Canada favourably on the world stage.

Happy Anniversary Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservatives of 1984!

The (factual) record of Pierre Trudeau

The Truth about Trudeau by Bob Plamondon is one of those books that is destined to redefine the manner Canadian historians and writers pen biographical accounts. This is a book that makes an unchallengeable case on the record of a Prime Minister, wholly contrary to the prevalent narrative of our country’s liberal, chattering-class. Bob Plamondon’s mastery over government statistics and economic facts, his skills accumulating and researching government policies and outcomes of the period, and his laser-like abilities to parse a truth from the many legendary tales of the man – all of this makes his study of the Trudeau years in power a must read.

Here are some of the highlights (lowlights?) of Pierre Trudeau’s tenure in office as recorded in The Truth about Trudeau.  

  • The accumulated deficit rose tenfold, from $19.4 billion to $194.4 billion, or from 25.5 percent of GDP to 43.2 percent. Total annual federal spending was $12.9 billion in 1968 and $109.2 billion in 1984, leaping from 17 percent of GDP to 24.2 percent. This fueled inflation in Canada, to an average of 15 percent while Trudeau was in office – the worst inflation rate among developed nations.
  • The Trudeau Government purposefully undermined our traditional alliances with Britain and the U.S.; pointlessly annoyed our major trading partners; and, of his own independent accord, Trudeau befriended communist dictators and regimes that were devoid of Canadian interests. His cavalier approach to foreign affairs resulted in multiple failed Canadian initiatives on the world stage: his North-South, Third Option, and world peace initiatives all failed.
  • Trudeau’s misleading Quebecers and repatriating the constitution without Quebec’s consent created a difficult and lasting rift between Quebec and TROC. It also sowed the seeds of mistrust that born PQs’ rise to power and the creation of Bloc Quebecois.  
  • The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was not the jewel in the crown of a repatriated constitution, but rather a tool that has been used to Americanize our constitutional structure by making our culture more litigious and enabling judicial activism.   
  • And much more is recounted: the gutting of the military, effectively leaving the country defenseless; the implementation of a National Energy Program that was disastrous for western Canada’s economy and a lasting source of resentment; and, the social-minded, state-intervention approach to Canadian business that challenged free enterprise and destroyed private sector confidence – leading to greater inflation and unemployment rates of 11.2 percent in 1984 (it was 4.5 percent in 1968).

Click through Bob Plamondon’s website to know more about the author and click to Amazon where you can order a copy of this must-read!