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CBSA Union president – ArriveCan wasn’t needed


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PACP’s Meeting No. 105 sheds light on the profound inefficiencies plaguing the Trudeau administration, as Mark Weber testifies on the ArriveCan’s failures and the cultural rot within the CBSA

In the latest episode of the ongoing saga that encapsulates the depth of dysfunction under the Trudeau administration, Meeting No. 105 of the PACP – Standing Committee on Public Accounts unfolded in what can only be described as a monumental barn burner. The spotlight shone intensely on Mark Weber, the resolute President of the Customs and Immigration Union, who took the stand to expose the underbelly of inefficiency and mismanagement festering with the ArriveCan from the perspective from his members on the ground.

In a testament to the burgeoning controversy, Weber’s testimony sliced through the facade of bureaucratic efficiency, laying bare the consequences of a government more concerned with image than substance. The ArriveCan debacle, with its spiraling $60 million expenditure, stands as a glaring symbol of the Trudeaus approach: reckless spending which is severely lacking accountability.

The session was a spectacle of irony and disarray that bordered on the comedic, as the theater of government dysfunction unfolded before our very eyes. Amidst the turmoil, Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan stood up, emblematic of the coalition’s unwavering detachment from reality, posing the question to Mark Weber:

“Can you please tell us what you have heard from your union members in terms of how ARRIVE can provide efficiencies to the previous paper-based system?”

Before diving into Weber’s response, it’s crucial to note the backdrop against which this farce was set. Here we had the Liberal party, clinging with desperate fingers to the thin reed of “efficiency,” as if this single word could magically overshadow the colossal sum of $60 million funneled into the abyss for an app that, as it turns out, was about as necessary as a screen door on a submarine.

Mark Weber’s response was as pointed as it was illuminating, a stark contrast to the fluff and bluster we’ve come to expect from the powers that be.

“In terms of the information that we needed for our purposes for customs officers, really all we needed was to be able to verify that the person was vaccinated, which everyone was able to do simply by showing us their vaccination on their phone or a printed-out copy.”

There it was, the moment of truth – the revelation that the taxpayer, the everyday Canadian, had been bilked out of $60 million for a redundant app, an app that wasn’t even a requirement in the practical conduct of our border security.

Weber then laid bare the operational fiasco that was the app’s implementation. The hours squandered on the ground, the bureaucratic hoops jumped through for information that seemed to serve no one, certainly not the Canadian public.

“It seemed like we were spending our time collecting information for others that in large part we don’t know or don’t think was used,”

he dissected mercilessly. And then came the kicker, the detail that should make every Canadian’s blood boil:

“As far as I know, no one verified where anyone was staying. You know, the hundreds of hours that our officers spent helping people collect this information at the border we don’t believe was really used at all.”

Mark was probed about another critical aspect: the training—or lack thereof—that his union members received on the proper use of the ArriveCan app. With a shake of his head, Mark’s response was disheartening but unsurprising. The training was minimal, leaving border guards underprepared and travelers equally bewildered. This lack of instruction exacerbated an already tense situation, pitting frustrated travelers against equally frustrated border personnel, a recipe for chaos and inefficiency at our nation’s gateways.

Mark didn’t stop there. He acknowledged that while technology can be a powerful ally, it is not a panacea for all woes. He underscored a fundamental truth: an app is merely a tool, and like all tools, its effectiveness is contingent upon the skill and expertise of those wielding it. In the realm of national security and border control, this means boots on the ground—trained, knowledgeable personnel ready to act. Mark stressed that despite the high hopes pegged on technological advancements like automated passport checkouts, these innovations have not significantly reduced wait times at airports. The anticipated streamline and efficiency, much vaunted by proponents of the app, have yet to materialize in any tangible form.

This situation leaves us with a glaring juxtaposition: on one side, a government heralding the dawn of a new, tech-savvy era in border management; on the other, the stark reality of frontline workers grappling with underpreparedness and ineffective tools. The mismatch between the glittering ideal and the gritty reality underscores a profound disconnect.

Mark painted a picture of an organization beset by inefficiency and bureaucratic bloat. He described a surreal scenario where the hierarchy was so top-heavy that there were instances of four superintendents tasked with supervising merely two employees. This, he argued, was indicative of a toxic culture that not only hampered operational effectiveness but also left little room for accountability.

More alarmingly, Mark highlighted a significant gap in the organization’s framework: the lack of whistleblower protection. This absence of safeguards for those willing to speak out against malpractices further entrenched the culture of silence and complicity, stifling any potential for reform or improvement from within.

In response to these criticisms, the Liberals and NDP, now bound in a coalition, deflected by invoking the specter of the Harper era, suggesting that the policies instituted during his tenure continued to cast a long shadow over the CBSA. However, this attempt to pivot away from current issues falls flat. The reality is, with the power and mandate to govern, the coalition could have engaged with the union or the CBSA long ago to address and reverse any contentious Harper-era policies. Yet, they chose inaction.

My fellow Canadians, as we close this chapter, let’s reflect on a critical issue that has metastasized within our public institutions—a malignancy that threatens the very integrity of our governance: the lack of whistleblower protection.

This deficiency, a silent but deadly cancer, undermines the moral and operational foundation of our services. When our dedicated public servants, those tasked with safeguarding the public good, stand muted, crippled by the fear of reprisal, we face a grave crisis. How can we expect improvement or rectitude within our systems if those witnessing wrongdoings remain shackled by fear? A system that stifles the courageous voices calling out corruption or malpractice is a system that has failed its people.

Consider the case of Luc Sabourin, a former employee of the CBSA. His experience is a stark illustration of this systemic failure. Sabourin spoke out, did his civic duty by reporting wrongdoing within his organization. But what reward did his honesty fetch? Bullying, ostracization, and a clear message: silence is safer than integrity. This is the dire consequence of a system that fails to shield its truth-tellers.

This, my fellow Canadians, is unacceptable. It’s high time we demand more than just superficial changes and empty promises from the Liberals and the NDP. Mere band-aid solutions and deflections to past administrations will not heal the deep-seated issues within our governance. The controversies swirling around instruments like ArriveCan and the toxic culture within the CBSA demand rigorous scrutiny, not mere sidestepping or finger-pointing. The swamp of corruption and malaise within our government requires draining, not mere change of guards or partisan rhetoric. Pierre Poilievre and his team, along with every conscientious lawmaker and citizen, must grab their metaphorical shovels. It’s time to excavate the entrenched bog of mismanagement and cleanse the festering wound of corruption that plagues our country.

Let this be a call to action: a plea for transparency, accountability, and genuine reform. For the health of our democracy, for the integrity of our institutions, and for the well-being of every Canadian, the time to act is now. Let’s unite in this critical endeavor to rejuvenate our system, to transform it into one that truly serves, protects, and represents us all.

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Liberals shut down motion to disclose pharma payments for Trudeau’s ‘safe supply’ drug program

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Liberal MP Majid Jowhari

From LifeSiteNews

By  Clare Marie Merkowsky

Liberal Members of Parliament (MPs) resisted a motion to disclose payments made to pharmaceutical companies for “safe supply” opioids.

During a May 15 session in the House of Commons, Liberal MPs blocked a vote on a motion by Conservative MP Garnett Genuis to publish the contacts between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government and pharmaceutical companies for “safe supply” opioids.

“Allow the public to see the contracts,” Genuis told the Commons government operations committee, questioning, “What do you have to be afraid of?”

“There are contracts involving this government and big pharmaceutical companies involved in producing and selling dangerous hard drugs which then end up on our streets,” he argued.

“Big pharmaceutical companies are involved in supplying hard drugs that are used as part of the government’s so-called ‘safe supply’ program,” Genuis continued. “These programs are a failure. We oppose them. In any event, we believe the public has a right to see the contracts.”

However, a committee vote on his motion was quickly blocked by Liberal MPs.

“I don’t think this is a motion we should move forward with,” Liberal MP Majid Jowhari said.

“I think we should go back and look at it and say our objective is to get an understanding of the source of safe supply and how it is being procured, which is different than going and saying, ‘Give us all the contracts,’” he continued.

Similarly, Liberal MP Irek Kusmierczyk claimed the request was a political tactic, saying, “They are against safe supply and safe consumption sites. That is clearly spelled out by my Conservative colleagues.”

“Organized crime groups are trafficking not only illicit substances but any prescription drugs they can get their hands on,” Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, commander of the RCMP in British Columbia, testified.

Genuis put forward a motion asking that the committee “order the production of all contracts, agreements or memoranda of understanding to which the Government of Canada is a party signed since January 1, 2016” concerning the purchase of opioids.

Liberals’ refusal to release the contracts comes as the Trudeau government recently rejected a proposal from the Alberta government to add a “unique chemical identifier” to drugs offered to users under “safe-supply” programs so that authorities could track its street sales.

Indeed, the Trudeau government seems determined to pretend their “safe-supply” programs are a success despite the rising deaths and crime in cities that have adopted their policy.

However, the program proved such a disaster in British Columbia that the province recently requested Trudeau recriminalize drugs in public spaces. Nearly two weeks later, the Trudeau government announced it would “immediately” end the province’s drug program.

Beginning in early 2023, Trudeau’s federal policy, in effect, decriminalized hard drugs on a trial-run basis in British Columbia.

Under the policy, the federal government began allowing people within the province to possess up to 2.5 grams of hard drugs without criminal penalty, but selling drugs remained a crime.

Since being implemented, the province’s drug policy has been widely criticized, especially after it was found that the province broke three different drug-related overdose records in the first month the new law was in effect.

The effects of decriminalizing hard drugs in various parts of Canada has been exposed in Aaron Gunn’s recent documentary, Canada is Dying, and in U.K. Telegraph journalist Steven Edginton’s mini-documentary, Canada’s Woke Nightmare: A Warning to the West.

Gunn says he documents the “general societal chaos and explosion of drug use in every major Canadian city.”

“Overdose deaths are up 1,000 percent in the last 10 years,” he said in his film, adding that “(e)very day in Vancouver four people are randomly attacked.”

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Canadians experiencing second-longest and third steepest decline in living standards in last 40 years

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From the Fraser Institute

From 2019 to 2023, Canadian living standards declined—and as of the end of 2023, the decline had not yet ended, finds a new study published today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Despite claims to the contrary, living standards are declining in Canada,” said Grady Munro, policy analyst at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Changes in Per-Person GDP (Income): 1985 to 2023.

Specifically, from April 2019 to the end of 2023, inflation-adjusted per-person GDP, a broad measure of living standards, declined from $59,905 to $58,111 or by 3.0 per cent. This decline is exceeded only by the decline in 1989 to 1992 (-5.3 per cent) and 2008 to 2009 (-5.2 per cent). In other words, it’s the third-steepest decline in 40 years.

Moreover, the latest decline (which comprises 18 fiscal quarters) is already the second-longest in the last 40 years, surpassed only by the decline from 1989 to 1994 (which lasted 21 quarters). And if not stabilized in 2024, this decline could be the steepest and longest in four decades.

“The severity of the decline in living standards should be a wake-up call for policymakers across Canada to immediately enact fundamental policy reforms to help spur economic growth and productivity,” said Jason Clemens, study co-author and executive vice-president at the Fraser Institute.

  • Real GDP per person is a broad measure of incomes (and consequently living standards). This paper analyzes changes in quarterly per-person GDP, adjusted for inflation from 1985 through to the end of 2023, the most recent data available at the time of writing.
  • The study assesses the length (number of quarters) as well the percentage decline and the length of time required to recover the income lost during the decline.
  • Over the period covered (1985 to 2023), Canada experienced nine periods of decline and recovery in real GDP per person.
  • Of those nine periods, three (Q2 1989 to Q3 1994, Q3 2008 to Q4 2011, and Q2 2019 to Q2 2022) were most severe when comparing the length and depth of the declines along with number of quarters required for real GDP per person to recover.
  • The experience following Q2 2019 is unlike any decline and recovery since 1985 because, though per person GDP recovered for one quarter in Q2 2022, it immediately began declining again and by Q4 2023 remains below the level in Q2 2019.
  • This lack of meaningful recovery suggests that since mid-2019, Canada has experienced one of the longest and deepest declines in real GDP per person since 1985, exceeded only by the decline and recovery from Q2 1989 to Q3 1994.
  • If per-capita GDP does not recover in 2024, this period may be the longest and largest decline in per-person GDP over the last four decades.

Adobe PDF Read the Full Report


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