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Opinion

Red Deer – Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins calls on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to resign

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14 minute read

What We Know About Trudeau’s Latest Ethics Scandal

BLAINE CALKINS

 

Over the past several weeks Canadians have been shocked at the details coming to light regarding Justin Trudeau’s WE Scandal. Justin Trudeau and the Kielburgers have been happy to benefit from each other for years. While they are quick to downplay their relationship, the facts tell a different story. According to WE Charity, Justin Trudeau and his family have participated in over 50 WE Events where they have been able to share their political message with young Canadians.

In 2017 WE created a campaign style ad featuring Justin Trudeau for Canada 150 and even pressured employees to go to a political event for the Minister of Finance in his Toronto riding. The Kielburger brothers have donated to the Liberal Party in the past, and under the Trudeau government WE has received upwards of $5.5 million in government funding.

This reciprocal relationship is concerning all on its own, before even considering the current scandal regarding the Canada Student Service Grant, Justin Trudeau and WE. The twists and turns in the story can be difficult to track, but it is clear that Justin Trudeau and former Finance Minister Bill Morneau have once again failed to live up to their legal obligations laid out in Canada’s conflict of interest laws. Here is what we know so far.

In April, WE sent an unsolicited proposal for a youth entrepreneurship program to Minister Chagger and Minister Ng. Ten days later WE received a call from Rachel Wernick, a senior bureaucrat with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) about the yet to be announced Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG). When the program was announced to the public a few days later WE co-founder Craig Kielburger sent Ms. Wernick a proposal to administer the grant that same day.

According to the Kielburgers someone at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) contacted them the next day about delivering the program, which they later recanted claiming it was a public servant who contacted them. Ms. Wernick is credited as being the public servant who recommended that WE was the only organization that could deliver the program.

 

On June 25th WE Charity was announced as the partner for the $900 million CSSG program, and Canadians were told they would receive $19.5 million to administer it. When asked, Trudeau suggested there was no conflict of interest because he and his wife had never been paid by the organization. A few days later Conservatives asked the Auditor General to probe the deal since parliamentary oversight was hindered by the program being outsourced, and due to concern over the well documented relationship between Trudeau and the Kielburgers.

 

By July 3rd Mark and Craig Kielburger announced that WE would be giving up the contract to administer the CSSG. On the same day, the Ethics Commissioner confirmed that he would be starting an investigation into Justin Trudeau for the third time. Less than a week later WE confirmed that the Prime Minister’s Mother, Margaret Trudeau had been paid $312,000 for 28 appearances since 2016 and that his brother, Alexandre Trudeau, was paid $40,000 for 8 events in 2017-2018. They also acknowledged that the Prime Minister’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau had received $1,400 for an appearance in 2012.

We later found out that on top of those fees WE Charity also paid an additional $212,846 in expenses between the three members of the Trudeau family. This brings the total remuneration to over $566,000. This revelation, in part, led to the Conservatives writing to the Commissioner of the RCMP to request that they look into this matter as it pertains to potential criminal code violations.

 

The Prime Minister isn’t the only one with an apparent conflict of interest in this matter, with former Minister Morneau also having close family ties with WE. Like the Prime Minister, he did not recuse himself despite the fact that his one daughter works for WE and another has been a speaker in the past and received a book endorsement. This led to the Ethics Commissioner launching an investigation into former Minister Morneau as well.

At an appearance before the Finance Committee former Minister Morneau would later go on to acknowledge that he and his wife had recently made two large donations, roughly $50,0000 each, and that he had also just written a cheque for over $41,000 to reimburse WE for expenses he and his family incurred on two vacations to Africa and South America, where they visited WE projects. WE later confirmed that the complementary trip was offered to former Minister Morneau and his family because of their history of significant donations to similar programs. These revelations led to the Conservative caucus calling for the now former Minister to resign.

 

The Finance Committee and the Ethics Committee began to look into this latest scandal, and the testimony and information they have received has painted a confusing and troubling picture. They uncovered a number of very concerning details before the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament in order to shut down the committees.

· WE stood to collect $45.53 million in fees, over double what was initially stated.

· The program, originally announced at over $900 million, was actually contracted out at $544 million instead. Why the discrepancy?

· The Clerk of the Privy Council stated that there were no red flags when considering WE, but that the Public Service didn’t probe the organizations finances. This is quite odd.

· The President of the Public Service Alliance disputed that only WE could have delivered the CSSG, stating that to say the Public Service was unable to was insulting. He pointed to the various government grant programs, Canada Summer Jobs and the Canada Service Corps as comparable programs. The theory that only WE could handle the program was further dismantled when it turned out that they had to subcontract part of the program because they weren’t able to deliver it in French.

· The contract for the CSSG wasn’t actually with WE Charity, but with WE Charity Foundation, a shell foundation that had no previous experience in delivering these types of programs.

· The former Chair of the Board at WE Charity testified that she had been forced to resign by Craig Kielburger for requesting financial documents from WE Executives to justify the layoff of hundreds of employees.

· The Kielburger brothers testified, claiming that they were running the program as a favour to Canada, and that their organization was to be reimbursed for expenses, but not make money off of the program. In a leaked document, a draft budget dated May 4th outlined some expenses including for staff salary. This included 175 program managers at $30,0000 each for 4.5 months work, ten supervisors at $45,000 each for 5.5months work, five group leaders at $70,000 each for 6 months work, and two project leaders for $125,000 for eight months work.

· WE Charity started to incur eligible expenses on May 5th, despite Cabinet not approving the program until May 22nd. This was being done with the full knowledge of ESDC, and allegedly at the financial liability of WE.

· Trudeau testified that he only found out about WE’s involvement on May 8th, shortly before it was set to be discussed at Cabinet. He claims that he removed it from the agenda and asked the public service to complete additional due diligence given his family connection to WE. He did not contact the Ethics Commissioner despite the concerns. This additional due diligence did not unearth any of the problems disclosed by the former Chair of the Board. It is noteworthy that no Minister, prior to the Prime Minister making his claim, had a story that would corroborate this feeble explanation.

 

The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff confirmed that a handful of employees in PMO were aware of WE’s involvement and had interactions with the organization in the lead up to the approval. This included an interaction on May 5th, the day WE started incurring eligible expenses. So far, every time someone has come forward to try and explain away the Liberal’s latest mess, Canadians are left with more questions than when they started. Canadians deserve answers, and my Conservative colleagues and I are committed to finding them using every tool at our disposal.

While the studies at committee may have been temporarily halted by Trudeau’s prorogation Conservatives will continue to investigate this matter, and pursue every whiff of corruption like when we called on the Elections Commissioner to look into the political benefits that the Liberals have been given by WE. While the Prime Minister may be attempting to prevent Canadians from knowing the truth, Members of the Finance committee received thousands of heavily redacted documents from the Liberal government on the same day that Trudeau prorogued Parliament. They paint a very different picture of how WE came to be selected for this program than the one that the Liberals have offered up.

These documents suggest that the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth told WE to develop a proposal for a summer service opportunity before the CSSG was even announced. They go on to claim that the former Minister of Finance was “besties” with WE and that senior members of the Prime Minister’s office were involved in the development of the program and were having conversations with WE from an early stage. You can see these documents for yourself at wedocuments.ca.

 

The timeline of Mr. Trudeau’s version of events simply doesn’t add up. The CSSG was announced on April 22nd. A member of PMO spoke with WE about their proposal on May 5th, the same day they started to charge expenses for administering the program, but Cabinet wouldn’t approve the program for two and a half weeks.

Why was a charity that had to recently lay off hundreds of employees due to financial hardship related to COVID-19 so willing to accept the liability of starting the program without approval? Why were they so sure they would be approved? Why were they told they could start charging expenses before approval?

To answer that, you only need to look at the cozy relationship between Justin Trudeau, former Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, the Liberal Party and WE. Now that the former Minister Bill Morneau has resigned and more than 5000 pages of documents have been released for review, Canadians are hungrier for that truth than ever before. The Liberals are banking on Canadians forgetting about this scandal during their prorogation and hoping that they can change the channel later this month with a new Throne Speech, but it isn’t going to work. Despite prorogation and all of the confusion and misdirection, one thing is absolutely clear – Justin Trudeau must resign for his part in this scandal.

Fraser Institute

Bill Maher is right about Canadian health care

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From the Fraser Institute

By Mackenzie Moir

Recently, popular American comedian and talk show host, Bill Maher, took aim at some of Canada’s public policy failings in one of his monologues. In entertaining fashion, Maher highlighted our high housing costs, unemployment rates and “vaunted” health-care system.

Indeed, citing work published by the Fraser Institute, he explained that after adjusting for age, Canada spends 13.3 per cent of our economy on health care (2020), the highest level of spending by a developed country with universal coverage that year. And that Canada has some of the poorest access to timely appointments with family doctors when compared to our peers.

Unfortunately, while that’s where his segment on health care ended, the bad news for the Canadian system doesn’t stop there.

On top of Canada continuing to be one of the most expensive universal health-care systems in the world, we get little in return when it comes to both available medical resources and wait times. For example, among high-income countries with universal health care, Canada has some of the lowest numbers of physicians, hospital beds, MRI machines and CT scanners.

And in Canada, only 38 per cent of patients report seeing a specialist within four weeks (compared to 69 per cent in the Netherlands) and only 62 per cent report receiving non-emergency surgery within four months (compared to 99 per cent in Germany).

Unfortunately, wait times in Canada aren’t simply long compared to other countries, they’re the longest they’ve ever been. Last year the median wait for a Canadian patient seeking non-emergency care reached 27.7 weeks—nearly three times longer than the 9.3 week-wait Canadians experienced three decades ago.

This raises the obvious question. How do other countries outperform Canada’s health-care system while also often spending less as a share of their economies? In short, their approach to universal health care, and in particular their relationship with the private sector, departs drastically from the approach here at home.

Australia, for example, partners with private hospitals to deliver the majority (58.6 per cent) of all non-emergency surgeries within its universal health-care system. Australia also spends less of its total economy (i.e. GDP) on health care but outperforms Canada on every measure of timely care.

Even with restrictions on the private sector, Canada has some limited experience that should encourage policymakers to embrace greater private-sector involvement. Saskatchewan, for example, contracted with private surgical clinics starting in 2010 to deliver publicly-funded services as part of a four-year initiative to reduce wait times, which were among the longest in the country. Between 2010 and 2014, wait times in the province fell from 26.5 weeks to 14.2 weeks. After the initiative ended, the province’s wait times began to grow.

More recently, Quebec, which has some of the shortest wait times for medical services in the country, contracts out one out of every six day-surgeries to private clinics within the publicly-funded health-care system.

Maher’s monologue, which was viewed by millions online, highlighted the key failings of Canada’s health-care system. If policymakers in Ottawa and the provinces want to fix Canadian health care, they must learn from other countries that deliver universal health-care at the same or even lower cost, often with better access and results for patients.

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Censorship Industrial Complex

Now We Are Supposed to Cheer Government Surveillance?

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Jeffrey A. TuckerJEFFREY A. TUCKER 

The powers that be are leading us from the Declaration of Internet Freedom from simpler times (2012), to the  Declaration on the Future of the Internet. Do we need to say more than the word “freedom” has been left out of the future?

They are wearing us down with shocking headlines and opinions. They come daily these days, with increasingly implausible claims that leave your jaw on the floor. The rest of the text is perfunctory. The headline is the takeaway, and the part designed to demoralize, deconstruct, and disorient.

A few weeks ago, the New York Times told us that “As It Turns Out, the Deep State Is Pretty Awesome.” These are the same people who claim that Trump is trying to get rid of democracy. The Deep State is the opposite of democracy, unelected and unaccountable in every way, impervious to elections and the will of the people. Now we have the NYT celebrating this.

And the latest bears notice too: “Government Surveillance Keeps Us Safe.” The authors are classic Deep Staters associated with Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush. They assure us that having an Orwellian state is good for us. You can trust them, promise. The rest of the content of the article doesn’t matter much. The message is in the headline.

Amazing isn’t it? You have to check your memory and your sanity. These are the people who have rightly warned about government infringements on privacy and free speech for many decades dating way back.

And now we have aggressive and open advocacy of exactly that, mainly because the Biden administration is in charge and has only months to put the final touches on the revolution in law and liberty that has come to America. They want to make it all permanent and are working furiously to make it so.

Along with routine warrantless surveillance, not only of possible bad guys but everyone, comes of course censorship. A few years ago, this seemed to be intermittent, like the biased and arbitrary actions of rogue executives. We objected and denounced but generally assumed that it was aberrant and going away over time.

Back then, we had no idea of the scale and the ambition of the censors. The more information that is coming out, the more the full goal is coming into view. The power elite want the Internet to operate like the controlled media of the 1970s. Any opinion that runs contrary to regime priorities will be blocked. Websites that distribute alternative outlooks will be lucky to survive at all.

To understand what’s going on, see the White House document called Declaration on the Future of the Internet. Freedom is barely a footnote, and free speech is not part of it. Instead it is to be a “rules-based digital economy” governed “through the multistakeholder approach, whereby governments and relevant authorities partner with academics, civil society, the private sector, technical community and others.”

This whole document is an Orwellian replacement of the Declaration of Internet Freedom from 2012, which was signed by Amnesty International, the ACLU, and major corporations and banks. The first principle of this Declaration was free speech: don’t censor the Internet. That was 12 years ago and the principle is long forgotten. Even the original website has been dead since 2018. It is now replaced with one word: “Forbidden.”

Yes, that’s chilling but it is also perfectly descriptive. In all mainline Internet venues, from search to shopping to social, freedom is no longer the practice. Censorship has been normalized. And it is taking place with the direct involvement of the federal government and third-party organizations and research centers paid for by tax dollars. This is very clearly a violation of the First Amendment but the new orthodoxy in elite circles is that the First Amendment simply does not apply to the Internet.

This issue is making its way through litigation. There was a time when the decision would not be in question. No more. Several or more Supreme Court Justices do not seem to understand even the meaning of free speech.

The Prime Minister of Australia made the new view clear in his statement in defense of fining Elon Musk. He said that social media has a “social responsibility.” In today’s parlance, this means they must obey the government, which is the only proper interpreter of the public interest. In this view, you simply cannot allow people to post and say things that are contrary to regime priorities.

If the regime cannot manage public culture, and manipulate the public mind, what’s it there for? If it cannot control the Internet, its managers believe, it will lose control of the whole of society.

The crackdown is intensifying by the day. Representative Thomas Massie shot a video after the Ukraine vote for a total foreign aid package of an astonishing $95 billion. Vast numbers of Democrats on the House floor waved Ukrainian flags, which you might suppose smacks of treason. The Sergeant-at-Arms wrote Massey directly to tell him to take down the video or get a $500 fine.

True, the rules say you cannot film in a way that “impairs decorum,” but he simply took out his phone. The decorum was disturbed by masses of lawmakers waving a foreign flag. So Massie refused. After all, the entire disgraceful scene was on C-SPAN but the presumption is that no one watches that but everyone reads X, which is probably true.

Clearly, GOP speaker Mike Johnson doesn’t want his perfidy this well-advertised. After all, it was he who shepherded the authorization of spying on the American people using Section 702 of FISA, which 99 percent of GOP voters opposed. Just who do these people think they are there to represent?

It’s actually astonishing to do a conjectural history in which Elon did not buy Twitter. The regime monopoly on social media today would be 99.5 percent. Then the handful of alternative venues could be shut down one by one, just as with Parler a few years ago. Under this scenario, closing the social end of the Internet would not be that difficult. The domains are another matter but those could be banned gradually over time.

But with X rising in a meteoric way since Elon’s takeover, that is now far more difficult. He has made it his mission to remind the world of core principles. This is why he told the boycotting advertisers to jump in a lake and why he refused to comply with every dictate by the despotic head of the Brazilian Supreme Court. Daily he is showing what it means to stand up for principle in extremely hard times.

Glenn Beck puts it well: “What Elon Musk is doing in both Brazil and Australia is this: He is simply standing where the Free world used to stand. They have moved, not him. They are the radicals not him. HAVE THE COURAGE to remain standing, unmovable in the truth that can never change and you will be targeted and eventually change the world.”

Censorship is not an end unto itself. The purpose is control of the people. That is also the purpose of surveillance. It is not, rather obviously, to protect the public. It is to protect the state and its industrial partners against the people. Of course, just as in every dystopian film, they always pretend otherwise.

Somehow – call me naive – I just didn’t expect the New York Times to be all-in on the immediate establishment of the surveillance state and universal censorship by the “awesome” Deep State. But think of this. If the NYT can be fully captured by this ideology, and probably captured by the money that goes with it, so can any other institution. You have probably noticed a similar editorial line being pushed by WiredMother JonesRolling StoneSalonSlate, and other venues, including the entire suite of publications owned by Conde Nast including Vogue and GQ magazine.

“Don’t bother me with your crazed conspiracy theory, Tucker.”

I get the point. What is your explanation?

Author

  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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