Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

National

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

Published

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.

Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

Follow Author

More from this author

Business

INDIGENOUS CONSULTATION AND ENGAGEMENT AT CANADA’S ENERGY AND UTILITY REGULATORS

Published on

INDIGENOUS CONSULTATION AND ENGAGEMENT AT CANADA’S ENERGY AND UTILITY REGULATORS

CAMPUT is the Association of Canada’s provincial, territorial and federal energy and utility regulators.  CAMPUT’s purpose is to improve energy and utility regulations in Canada and to educate and train our members.  We are highlighting the work of two of our members, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Canada Energy Regulator, in the areas of Indigenous consultation and engagement.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has a broad mandate, including to protect health, safety and security, and the environment, and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public, including Indigenous groups.   The CNSC is also an agent of the Crown with the responsibility of ensuring the Duty to Consult is met before making decisions.  The CNSC has explored various means to ensure that Indigenous groups’ voices are heard and integrated into Commission decision-making. The CNSC has also committed to developing on-going, respectful relationships that allow open dialogue in the spirit of reconciliation and trust building.

First, the CNSC focused in-house and put into place policies, practices and processes with an overarching regulatory framework and management system to confirm that CNSC decisions uphold the Honor of the Crown. This included a Regulatory Document (REGDOC 3.2.2, 2016) that sets out the Commission expectations on how proponents play a significant role in working with Indigenous groups to address concerns and mitigate impacts and / or treaty rights, early in design and project proposal stages.

The CNSC also has a dedicated team with expertise in Indigenous consultation and engagement that conducts ongoing engagement with Indigenous groups with interests in nuclear facilities. The long-term goal is to help build relationships and trust and help CNSC staff learn more about the history, rights, interests, and culture of the Indigenous groups. The CNSC continues to work with Indigenous groups to ensure they are provided the opportunity to present their views and give oral presentations at Commission hearings.

To support this participation, the CNSC has put in place a Participant Funding Program that in part, has helped Indigenous groups hire consultants to review technical scientific reports, fund Indigenous Knowledge studies, cover community meeting costs, pay Honoraria for elders, and costs for travel and preparations for hearings. Further, Commission hearings have taken place in communities near facilities to allow easier access by Indigenous groups, and teleconferencing, web access, live streaming and simultaneous translation in Indigenous languages has also been used.

The CNSC acknowledges the importance of working with and integrating Indigenous Knowledge alongside scientific and regulatory information in its assessments and regulatory processes, where appropriate and where authorized by Indigenous communities. Indigenous ways of knowing and cultural context enhance the CNSC’s understanding of potential impacts of projects and strengthens project reviews and regulatory oversight.

The CNSC also runs its own Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) that seeks Indigenous participation in taking samples from public areas around nuclear facilities and measuring and analyzing the amount of radiological and hazardous substances in the samples. Following discussions with many Indigenous groups, it was recognized that they could play a key role in identifying country foods and traditional harvest areas and participate as part of the IEMP. Getting meaningful monitoring results to Indigenous communities is a key priority for the CNSC.

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) welcomes change. In August 2019 we transitioned from the National Energy Board to the Canada Energy Regulator. The CER has been given new legislation and is focused on improvement. Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is a pillar of our renewal.

Our legislation directs us to find meaningful ways to engage with Indigenous Peoples. We embrace our new mandate and have woven specific deliverables on reconciliation into every aspect of our work.

Our vision: to transform the way we work with Indigenous Peoples, recognizing their unique cultures, knowledge and histories; and endeavor to reflect a renewed Nation- to-Nation relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

We recognize reconciliation is an ongoing process that occurs in the context of evolving Indigenous-Crown relationships. Sitting around the table with Indigenous communities, we are working to find new ways to co-manage regulatory oversight. We recognize the inseparable connection Indigenous Peoples have with the land and the water, and we will work collaboratively to protect them. We are also ensuring we equip the communities with the right skills and support to make the changes we envision a reality.

Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committees (IAMC) bring together Indigenous and federal leaders to provide advice to regulators and to monitor the Trans Mountain Expansion and Line pipelines. Members share the goals of safety and protection of environmental and Indigenous interests in the lands and water. Indigenous participation does not equal support or opposition for a project, allowing for better information-sharing within the group. This initiative represents a foundational change in the way the CER and the Federal government work with Indigenous Peoples. It aims to develop an enduring and meaningful relationship for the entire lifecycle of the project. We believe our work with the IAMCs can lead the way on co- management of regulatory oversight activities and has the potential to be applied across the rest of Canada’s energy system.

Here are some other ways we are changing how we work with Indigenous Peoples:

  • We are meeting with Indigenous communities earlier on who may be impacted by projects we regulate to better understand their concerns and share how the CER holds companies accountable for the protection of Indigenous rights and interests.
  • We are adapting our hearing processes to allow for different paths of Indigenous participation. This includes sharing Indigenous Knowledge, allowing for ceremonies, selecting specific locations for the hearing that are convenient to Indigenous participants or elders, and allowing for remote participation if travel is not possible.
  • We are developing a National Indigenous Monitoring Policy so that all CER-regulated infrastructure projects can benefit from Indigenous Knowledge when they are being build and operated.
  • We are training our employees to understand more about Indigenous history, culture and contemporary issues facing Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This training ensures that consideration of Indigenous rights and interests and becomes embedded in our way of working.

Background.  The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual Energy Council of Canada initiative which provides opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration on a topic of shared interest across the Canadian energy sector, produced with the support of Canada’s national energy associations and Energy Council of Canada’s members. The stories contributed to the 2019 edition, Indigenous Energy Across Canada, highlight current conversations celebrating Canada’s dynamic energy sector and encouraging its continuous improvement.

Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.

Click to read a foreward from JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel
River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

 

Jacob Irving, President of Energy Council of Canada

The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual initiative by the Energy Council of Canada to provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discussion on current topics in Canada’s energy sector.  The 2020 Canadian Energy Compendium: Innovations in Energy Efficiency is due to be released November 2020.

Click to read comments about this series from Jacob Irving, President of the Energy Council of Canada.

COASTAL GASLINK PIPELINE PROJECT SETS NEW STANDARD WITH UNPRECEDENTED INDIGENOUS SUPPORT AND PARTICIPATION

Hydro-Québec takes partnerships, environmental measures and sharing of wealth to new levels

Read more on Todayville.

 

Continue Reading

Alberta

Being a Cop has Always Been a Thankless Job

Published on

Being a cop has always been a thankless job.

But in our current climate, police would be happy for the bygone days of a thankless community, compared to what they are currently enduring.

Never before in modern history have police officers been accused of being the worst of society.  Today, the reputation of cops is constantly under attack by the media. And fringe groups who purport to have a noble agenda are paradoxically allowed by our governments to wreak havoc on our cities without consequence. Entire city blocks have been burned, children have been murdered, and yet the media all but ignores the backlash of the problem, which they themselves are largely responsible for inciting.

Well-intended people have been duped into believing that roughly half of society are devout white supremacists, and that visible minorities are being hunted and killed by the police.  The media bolsters this false narrative daily, which has created an incredibly unstable and explosive environment. When a group of people believes that they are in danger of being killed by the police, it’s only natural for a member of that group to be afraid, and resist arrest.  When you resist arrest, you are making a safe situation dangerous by escalating the force required to arrest you. If you comply with the orders of the police officer, you are almost ALWAYS safe.  It is extremely rare that a compliant arrestee is harmed or killed as a result of the arrest. In those rare instances, the police officers are likely at fault, and deserve to be charged. Only improved training and selection practices can reduce these rare instances.

A part of policing which very few average people are willing to engage in is combat.  Most people have never been in a dangerous fistfight, but for cops, getting into scraps is a common occurrence.  Some of these fights involve armed bad guys who are high on crystal meth, and who are nearly impossible to control.  When a crazed meth head charges at you with a knife, the only realistic response is to pull out your pistol and fire a few rounds into the center of the target.  The pollyanic fools who cry, “you should have shot them in the leg!” have no concept of the reality of combat.  There isn’t a police officer alive that has the training and skill to reliably make a “leg shot” against a crazed charging assailant.  And no, a taser is not reliable enough to deploy in this situation either.

Armchair critics are quick to judge and condemn the use of violent force, without having the faintest idea of the reality of a combat environment.  Many will recoil at the word “combat”, by saying, “combat is for a battle field, not for our streets! Our cops are not soldiers!”   And, they would be wrong.  Combat is a violent “must win” altercation.  When someone is violently resisting arrest…that absolutely qualifies as combat.  It’s not the police who initiate the combat…it’s the person being arrested who creates the combat situation, which the police have no choice but to respond to with force.

Police officers work in a world that is completely foreign to most middle class folks.  The average person can no more understand what it is to be a cop, than they can understand what it’s like to live on Mars.

It seems that the public has forgotten the simple fact that cops are just people.  Flawed, regular human beings who have decided to risk their lives so that others may live safely.

When people join the police force, they do so for one of four reasons.

  1. Most join out of a sense of responsibility to provide meaningful service to their community. These people tend to make the best police officers, and often make up the majority of a good police force. Lately the media has been ignoring the fact that most police officers fit this description.
  2. Some others join out of a sense of adventure, craving fun and action in their job.
  3. And there are those who join simply to have a respectable, and reliable source of income.
  4. But unfortunately, there are a few who join because they crave having a sense of power.  These are the problem cops which every police organization tries to weed out, yet every police service has at least a few of these problem children to deal with. These are the minority of cops, which the media are currently focusing on, and they are painting all police with this contaminated brush.

In addition to these four types of police officers, there is a rare outlier. Occasionally, a trigger-happy psychopath will slip through the cracks.  The psychological evaluations are put in place as a filter to weed out these types of applicants, but no system is perfect.  Psychopaths often know the right words to say, and how to mask their true identity.  Even a lie detector test can be defeated by a psychopath or sociopath.  I won’t pretend that these people don’t occasionally make it onto an otherwise honourable police service, however I also won’t agree that police services across the western world have been over-run by them as the media would have you believe.

There are bad apples in every organization, and try as you might, you’ll never weed 100% of them out.  If you’re going to have a large group of people, there will always be a tiny minority within the ranks who will potentially cause great harm.

The truth about police officers is that they have chosen a life of dangerous, high stress service, so that you and I can live a safer, less stressful life.  They deal with dangerous people, so that YOU don’t have to.  They literally get punched in the face, so that YOU don’t have to.  Lets face it, most people have no ability whatsoever to defend themselves against a violent attacker.  We should all be grateful to those who put themselves in harms way so that they can arrest, and lock up the people who are a danger to society.

Now, with all of that being said, how can Police officers muscle through the negativity and added danger they now face?

Let’s’ start with something we can control, which is our perspective. 

“I hate you!” are three words a parent never wants to hear from their child. When it happens, although it may sting for a moment, a good parent quickly realizes that their kid is simply having a fit, and doesn’t know how else to express themselves.   Also, it’s easy to discard unkind words from a child by realizing that they simply don’t know any better.  “If they knew better, they would do better” is a mantra I strive to remember.

When it’s a large group of “adults” who are pitching a fit in the form of a riot, it’s difficult to remember that they don’t know any better.  EVERYONE feels justified in their cause, regardless of the facts at hand.

Regardless of the haters, try to remember why you’re there in uniform.  You are there to serve those who need you, with or without their appreciation.  Your life is one of sacrifice, and some days suck worse than others, but there are still good days.  You help.  You DO make a difference, and whether the public knows it or not, they need you.

Remember that the anti-cop sentiment is based on a belief in a false narrative.  Despite the demonstrative evidence to the contrary, these misguided people actually believe that the Police are out to get people of colour.  We must realize that although misguided, their outrage is real to THEM. They really don’t know any better, and it’s not their fault.   The media has created this environment with their bias.

Be mindful of your focus.

Now is a great time to stay off of Facebook.  If you can’t limit your social media, then at least purge everyone from your contacts list who shared negative posts about the police.  It’s easy to unfriend, unfollow, or even BLOCK people.  You don’t need to engage. You won’t change anyone’s mind, so why try?

Remember, and focus on those who appreciate you.  If you look, you’ll see armies of supporters who are cheering for you.  They may be the “silent” majority, but they are there all the same.

Mark E. Meincke
Listen to this article on Operation Tango Romeo HERE
Continue Reading

september, 2020

sun27sep10:00 am4:00 pmWith This Ring...Bridal Gala Central Alberta'a largest bridal gala.10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Trending

X