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Scrap the green corporate slush fund

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the federal government to scrap the Sustainable Development Technology Canada slush fund and halt all program funding following today’s scathing Auditor General Report.

“Tens of millions of taxpayers’ money was improperly spent and taxpayers demand accountability, but so far the government has not gone nearly far enough,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “This slush fund must go.”

The Auditor General found major failings in the SDTC’s handling of taxpayers’ money, including awarding $76 million to companies where conflict of interest rules weren’t followed.

The SDTC awarded $59 million to companies that did not meet eligibility requirements, according to the report.

“We found that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada did not sufficiently assess and monitor Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s processes to award funding,” according to the Auditor General. “We also found that the department did not monitor conflicts of interest at the foundation.”

Following the Auditor General’s report, Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne announced that SDTC funding will continue, with the foundation to be transitioned under the control of the National Research Council “over the coming months.”

“Time and time again we see this government blow tens of millions of tax dollars without proper guardrails,” Terrazzano said. “Rolling this program under a different arm of the government is not a solution, because taxpayers can’t trust this government to protect the public purse.

“It’s time to turn off the taps.”

The SDTC approved $856 million in funding between March 2017 through December 2023.

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COVID-19

Ontario gov’t drops over 100 fines from COVID era for compliance violations

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Charges were withdrawn for violations of the Quarantine Act ‘due to a lack of reasonable prospect of conviction, delay, non-appearance of the government’s witness at trial, or a decision taken by the Crown not to proceed.’

Canadian legal advocacy group The Democracy Fund (TDF) says that because of generous donor support it secured the staying or withdrawal of 109 COVID-era tickets given to multiple people in Ontario.

The TDF said in a press update sent to LifeSiteNews that most often the charges were withdrawn or stayed “due to a lack of reasonable prospect of conviction, delay, non-appearance of the government’s witness at trial, or a decision taken by the Crown not to proceed.”

“It’s gratifying to see our hard work pay off, and a relief to our clients who have endured years of legal uncertainty,” TDF paralegal Jenna Little said.

“But the government is still doggedly pursuing many clients for charges that should not have been brought in the first place and consume scarce judicial resources.”

The TDF observed that its clients were charged under the Quarantine Act s.15 (failure to provide information to screening officer), s.58 (failure to complete ArriveCan, failure to arrange for quarantine), or s.66 (obstruct an officer).

It noted that the fine for each charge was around $5,000, with “with potential total fines for conviction on all charges reaching $681,250.”

“Though many of these cases have been successfully resolved, many remain,” the TDF said.

Some of the charges were issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, such as s.7.0.11 (obstruct an officer), which can carry a one-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine.

The TDF stated that in “rare cases” some clients were also charged under “s.10 of the Reopening Act (gather or fail to close premises).”

The TDF noted that despite the recent court wins, there are still “hundreds” of clients who are facing “potential fines and jail time for peacefully protesting or objecting to government overreach during COVID lockdowns.”

The TDF said that during COVID the government used the opportunity to enact “rights-infringing, overbroad laws.”

“Legislators and bureaucrats zealously enforced these laws against Canadians in an effort to secure compliance and suppress peaceful protest. Fortunately, The Democracy Fund (TDF) and its team of lawyers and paralegals, with the support of generous donors, fought back,” it said.

The TDF, founded in 2021, bills itself as a Canadian charity “dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty,” by promoting constitutional rights “through litigation and public education.”

In early July, LifeSiteNews reported that TDF lawyers helped get criminal charges against a Canadian man who participated in the pro-family 1 Million March 4 Children protest over radical LGBT ideology being taught in public schools dropped by the Crown.

Over the last couple of years, the TDF has been active in helping Canadians persecuted under COVID mandates and rules fight back. Notable people it has helped include Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill, an Ontario pediatrician who has been embroiled in a legal battle with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) for her anti-COVID views. She has also had the help of Elon Musk.

COVID vaccine mandates, which came from provincial governments with the support of the federal government, split Canadian society. The mRNA shots have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children.

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Addictions

Claims about ‘safer supply’ diversion aren’t disinformation

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News release from Break The Needle

This month, police in London, Ont., admitted to what critics have said all along: safer supply diversion is happening at alarming levels

Last spring, Canada’s minister of mental health and addictions claimed critics’ concerns about “safer supply” diversion — the illegal selling and trading of taxpayer-funded addictive drugs — were based on lies.

“For Pierre Poilievre to state untrue information about safer supply, and try to create barriers to accessing harm reduction services that are saving lives amid this ongoing crisis, is incredibly irresponsible and dehumanizing to people who use drugs,” read a statement by then-minister Carolyn Bennett’s office.

Fast forward a year, and it’s clear which side was telling the truth.

This month, police in London, Ont., admitted to what critics said all along: diversion of pharmaceutically supplied opioids to the streets is happening at alarming levels. London is home to Canada’s longest-running safer supply program, which dates back to 2016 and was significantly expanded in 2020.

The London Police Service released data that shows a staggering 3,000 per cent increase in the seizure of hydromorphone tablets — the opioid predominantly given out by safer supply programs — over the last five years. In 2019, London police seized just under 1,000 tablets. By 2020, that number had tripled. In 2023, they seized 30,000 hydromorphone tablets.

For context, hydromorphone is as potent as heroin and just two or three of these pills, if snorted, can cause an overdose in an inexperienced opioid user.

Earlier this month, the city’s deputy police chief, Paul Bastien, told CBC’s London Morning, “We recognize the value that safe supply plays as part of that harm reduction piece, but diversion is an important issue that is affecting community safety. I won’t say that everyone’s doing it, but some of the tablets from safe supply are being diverted for that purpose.”

“Criminal groups are fairly adept at exploiting policy changes that are well intended. But unforeseen consequences sometimes arise and this appears to be, at least in part, one of them,” he continued.

A reasonable person may assume that, given this alarming new evidence, proponents of safer supply would change their tune about widespread diversion being “fake news.” Unfortunately, they haven’t.

Some activists are now claiming on social media that London’s spike in hydromorphone seizures was not caused by safer supply, but rather by a high-profile theft of 245,000 hydromorphone tablets from an Ontario pharmacy. Yet the spike in seizures began years before this theft and, according to multiple addiction physicians, the street price of hydromorphone collapsed in the city well before 2023, suggesting an earlier influx of diverted supply.

However, these mental contortions aren’t surprising. As more and more evidence of widespread diversion emerged over the past year, accusations of disinformation and misinformation haven’t stopped –– they have simply evolved. The narrative changed from “Diversion doesn’t exist” to “Fine, it exists, but only on a small scale” to, now, “Fine, diversion exists at scale, but imagine the alternative?”

This is the angle already emerging in British Columbia, where the province’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, authored a damning report that acknowledges the regularity and harms of safer supply diversion, yet still concludes safer supply is “ethically defensible” and advocates for its expansion.

Like many safer supply activists, Henry often argues diversion isn’t a significant concern because most opioid deaths are caused by fentanyl.

While it’s true that most opioid deaths are attributable to fentanyl, hydromorphone is still incredibly dangerous. When diverted into the black market, it creates new addictions, often among young people, which culminate in fentanyl use.

Moreover, data indicate hydromorphone is implicated in an increasing share of drug-related deaths in young people in B.C. In 2019, there were no reported deaths involving hydromorphone. By 2022, that number jumped to 22 per cent. Similarly, a recent report by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario found the number of youth in the province who self-reported using prescription opioids for “non-medical” reasons jumped 71 per cent between 2021 and 2023.

Still, safer supply activists continue to insist, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that widespread diversion isn’t happening.

In 2017, Collins Dictionary declared “fake news” the word of the year. Since then, the term –– along with sister terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” –– have taken on a disturbing new life.

While fake news, misinformation and disinformation are very real democratic threats, some politicians and activists realized they could delegitimize opponents’ arguments and unflattering media stories by simply proclaiming them fake. Now, we’re in the dizzyingly ironic position of real news, and real facts, being dismissed as misinfo and disinfo by self-declared guardians of the truth.

This is the exact problem journalists and concerned medical professionals continue to face when raising the alarm on so-called “safer supply.” Despite the abundance of solid reporting, emerging data, whistleblower warnings and first-hand accounts of widespread diversion, harm reduction activists and their allies in government don’t just recklessly dismiss the problem, they weaponize the language of fake news to discredit a reality they don’t like.

Communities across Canada, and addicts themselves, deserve better.

A guest post by
Sabrina Maddeaux
Bold opinions and analysis of the political and economic issues that matter.
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