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Frontier Centre for Public Policy

They spent $8,000,000 without putting one shovel in the ground

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Brian Giesbrecht

That’s how much money the Kamloops Band spent on…..exactly what we have no idea. If you remember, that indigenous band claimed that the people running the local residential school had, for unexplained reasons, secretly buried 215 of the students under their care. They had no evidence that would have stood up in any court in the western world to back up that highly unlikely claim. But the federal government immediately gave them $8,000,000 to……well, that’s the mystery. What did they spend that money on? They have not put one shovel in the ground, but apparently they have somehow spent the $8,000,000 of taxpayers’ hard earned money. It was claimed that the money would be used to uncover the “heartbreaking truth”. But the only heartbreaking truth seems to be the complete waste of tax dollars.But it gets worse. A whole lot worse.

Because the Trudeau government- in addition to lowering the flag for six months, and performing teddy bear pantomimes in community ceremonies – then went on to promise not just $8,000,000, but $320,000,000 – to any other indigenous community that wanted to make similar claims.

It should come as no surprise to any sentient being that dozens of poor indigenous communities immediately took the bait and claimed the prize.

So, the result is that hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent somehow. But with no graves found. In fact, none have even put a spade in the ground.

Well, that’s not completely correct. The Pine Creek community in Manitoba was absolutely convinced that the stories about indigenous children dying under sinister circumstances, and being secretly buried under the local church, must be true. After all, they had all heard those stories.

The stories weren’t true. Excavations went ahead, and what was found? Stones.

The stories about priest murders and secret burials are just that. Stories. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars that should be spent on useful endeavours – like providing better health care for indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians – are being wasted. Rural paramedic services are being constantly cut back, for example. How many rural residents- indigenous as well as non-indigenous- will die from heart attacks because the paramedics were simply too far away from them to get them to the hospital in time to save their lives.There’s no money to improve rural medical services because millions are being wasted searching for phantom “missing children” and “unmarked graves”?

Canadians are beginning to wake up to the fact that they have been had. Somebody is getting rich on all of this government largesse. But it’s not poor indigenous Canadians. They remain stuck on the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder. And medical and other essential services go wanting, because of this complete waste.

So, are there people in “unmarked graves”?

Absolutely. Billions of them in fact. This planet is basically one huge graveyard. The number of marked graves, with headstones naming the person interred, is a tiny fraction of the billions of people who have died on this planet.

Are the remains of some of the children who died from disease while attending residential school in unmarked graves? Absolutely. For that matter, so are the remains of many of the children who attended day schools, or no school at all in unmarked graves. There is nothing sinister about this fact of life. It simply means that the families of those children did not keep up the graves and cemeteries where the children were interred. (The vast majority of children who died while enrolled in residential schools are buried on their home reserves). This is not a criticism of those families. In fact, some of those families might have died out, and cemetery upkeep became impossible. Others just had different priorities.

So, what we have is just a sad fact of life. Many children died of diseases a hundred plus years ago who would not have died today. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing. And indigenous children died in much greater numbers, for many different reasons. Tuberculosis, in particular, was a major killer of indigenous people.

In fact, tuberculosis is still 290 times higher in the indigenous community than in the mainstream community.

But the fact that death from disease was so much higher in the indigenous community than in the non-indigenous community has nothing to do with residential schools. It has nothing to do with the people running the schools, many of whom devoted their lives to working with indigenous people.

So, we come around to the question – why is $320,000,000 being spent to find the long lost burial places of children, simply because their families decided – for reasons of their own – to not keep up their gravesites? Because it is not true that there are thousands of “missing children” as alleged. Rather, as Professor Tom Flanagan puts it, in “Grave Error”, there are thousands of “forgotten children”. And as the special interlocutor, Kimberley Murray puts it, “These children are not missing, they are buried in local cemeteries”.

Perhaps that’s the reason that Murray’s upcoming National Gathering on Unmarked Burials has been postponed. Because there is nothing to say. Her six figure salary, and those of all of her staff and associates – to say nothing of the $320,000,000 that has been spent – somehow – on searching for phantom graves and phantom “missing children” – could have been better spent on the real needs of living children.

We are approaching the three year anniversary of the Kamloops claim that 215 children from the local residential school had been somehow killed and secretly buried in the apple orchard on the school grounds. There was no good reason to believe that highly improbable claim in the first place. It was only the foolish and emotional reaction of the Trudeau government, and the incompetence of the media that persuaded Canadians that they should take that nonsensical claim seriously in the first place.

It is time to get back to sanity. Treat those who claim – with no real evidence – that priests murdered and secretly buried children – exactly the same way that we treat those who claim that the Martians have landed, or that aliens have abducted their mothers.

Be polite. But don’t finance their delusions.

Brian Giesbrecht, retired judge, is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Energy

Why we should be skeptical of the hydrogen economy

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Hügo Krüger and Ian Madsen

Hydrogen has a low energy density by volume, compared to well-established and practical fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and natural gas. It also has a low ignition point and is three times as explosive as natural gas, which could be either positive or negative.

At first glance, using highly variable, intermittent, inexpensive renewable energy to produce hydrogen for energy supply stabilization seems logical. However, renewable energy is not always readily available. The concept of hydrogen as a ‘buffer,’ akin to a battery, to ensure consistent renewable power is more complex than it appears.

Upon further examination, the idea is impractical and expensive for several reasons. Among them, hydrogen has a low energy density by volume, compared to well-established and practical fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and natural gas. It also has a low ignition point and is three times as explosive as natural gas, which could be either positive or negative, depending on its use.

Contrary to claims, renewable energy is neither inexpensive nor environmentally benign. Storing hydrogen in a natural gaseous state requires massive, costly storage vessels. Electrolyzing is expensive and will likely remain that way. Similarly, the cost of producing hydrogen is higher than that of deriving it from natural gas, which produces carbon dioxide, which is unwanted. There are some other techniques, such as pressure, heat, and radiolysis from radiation emitted from nuclear reactors, that are feasible, perhaps in combination. Small ‘micro nuclear reactors’ may drive down these costs. Atomic reactors are already used in U.S. Navy aircraft carriers to produce aviation and diesel synthetic fuel.

There are also a series of impractical issues. Existing pipeline infrastructure cannot transport pure hydrogen due to hydrogen embrittlement, and hydrogen cannot easily be used as a transportation fuel. A new Teflon-coated pipeline and distribution system parallel to the existing natural gas network would have to be built, costing hundreds of billions of dollars in North America alone.

While the idea of synthetic fuels using hydrogen may seem more feasible, it would likely be limited to a ‘niche role,’ potentially in natural gas-deficient nations. However, this would still necessitate significant investment. Ultimately, diverting funds to this ‘hydrogen economy’ could be a misallocation of capital from other, potentially more viable, areas.

Download the full report in PDF format here. (16 pages)

Hügo Krüger is a YouTube podcaster, writer, and civil nuclear engineer who has worked on a variety of energy related infrastructure projects ranging from Nuclear Power, LNG and Renewable Technologies. He holds a Master’s in Nuclear Civil Engineering from École Spéciale des Travaux Publics, du bâtiment et de l’industrie, Paris and a bachelor’s from the University of Pretoria.

Ian Madsen, BA (Economics, University of Alberta), MBA (Finance, University of Toronto), holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He was an investment portfolio manager; owned his own investment counselling firm; published an investment newsletter; founded the professional society now known as CFA Saskatchewan in 1986; and was a director of an investment research operation in India. Since 2016, he has been the Senior Policy Analyst at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, performing valuation analyses on federal and provincial Crown corporations in Canada, and also written numerous policy analyses. He lives in Surrey, British Columbia with his family.

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Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Where was Canada’s Governor General on D-Day?

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Colin Alexander

There really are non-partisan functions that need to be done by the representative of all Canadians, the Governor General, and not that of a self serving, partisan and narcissist politician in pursuit of photo-ops.

On D-Day June 6 Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon should have taken her rightful place. At ceremonies in France. But she wasn’t there. Instead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed her aside. As usual.

The D-Day landings may seem like ancient history even as June 6, 1944 was a defining day for Canada. But it’s important to recall that over 14,000 Canadians stormed Juno Beach, as part of the largest amphibious landing in history. More than 5,000 Canadian troops were killed and thousands more injured in the Battle of Normandy. While we celebrate the eventual defeat of Germany, we may also recall Winston Churchill’s saying we need to remember that there was a Germany before Hitler.

The military historian Basil Liddell Hart had a view of history that’s largely gone missing in the western democracies. Essential reading is his book, Why don’t we learn from history? He quoted the Roman historian Polybius: “There are two roads to the reformation of mankind—one through the misfortunes of their own, the other through the misfortunes of others; the former is the most unmistakable, the latter the less painful…we should always look out for the latter, for thereby we can, without hurt to ourselves, gain a clearer view of the best course to pursue… the knowledge gained from the study of true history is the best of all education for practical life.”

Arguably, the conflicts in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine and Gaza could have been averted or could have evolved less disastrously by heeding the lessons of history—and, specifically, from history of the two World Wars. Undoubtedly, the mismanaged exit from Kabul emboldened President Putin. Disaster in Ukraine since the invasion of Crimea represents failure to heed the ancient principle, also from Roman times, If you want peace, prepare for war. There was no deterrent to the invasion of Ukraine. And the western democracies have consistently delivered far too little materiel and far too late.

There’s abject disrespect at the highest levels for truth and tradition, and the values that made of Canada a great country. I came across a phrase in news  reports that made me shudder. The Governor General was relieved of her duties when it was she who should have hosted a state dinner for President Joe Biden in 2023. Prime Minister Trudeau had no business relieving her of her duties. He usurped her constitutional role.

The Governor General was also relieved of her duty to attend the D-Day ceremonies in France. Arguably, it was her job to unveil unveiled a statue commemorating Canada’s participation. In her capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regina Rifles, Princess Anne performed that ceremony. Fair enough. But as a minimum, the Governor General should have been there too. Instead, of course, Trudeau traveled to France after shunting the Governor General off to perform a token ceremony in New Brunswick.

My point is, there really are non-partisan functions that need to be done by the representative of all Canadians, the Governor General, and not that of a self serving, partisan and narcissist politician in pursuit of photo-ops.

Canadians don’t normally need to know that the British North America Act vests in the Governor General an ultimate duty to override political abuse. But that’s why King Charles’s representative signs legislation into law as well as other proclamations. That function, and the power to withhold it, is the last resort for maintaining the free and democratic society that Canada purports to be.

History tells of ultimate leaders who failed that duty to their people. In 1921, under pressure of riots, Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel III refused to declare a state of emergency and impose martial law. Instead he dissolved the parliament and asked Mussolini to take the power that evolved into his dictatorship. Similarly, in 1933 Germany’s ailing President Paul von Hindenburg signed into law the Enabling Act that empowered Hitler’s unbridled exercise of power.

D-Day reinforces this lesson from history, from two thousand years ago. The Roman political philosopher Cicero warned: “Though liberty is established by law, we must be vigilant, for liberty to enslave us is always present under that very liberty. Our constitution speaks of the people’s general welfare. Under that phrase all manner of excesses can be employed by lusting tyrants …”

In sum, it’s important to learn history and to maintain traditions. That includes having Governors General who insist on taking the lead role as Canada’s functional head of state—and, most importantly, not having politicians usurping the vice-regal role.

Colin Alexander’s degrees include Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Oxford. His latest book is Justice on Trial: Jordan Peterson’s case shows we need to fix the broken system.  

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