After being ignored for months and months, even having her phone calls and requests for meetings rebuffed, foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland finally got a meeting with her Chinese counterpart.
But that “meeting,” wasn’t a real meeting.
Jasmine Pickel is an entrepreneur and the Interim Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Our politicians are addicted to spending. Even though they speak poetically about their good intentions and virtue signal whilst cheque-signing on our behalf, much of that spending is wasteful and sinks us further into debt.
Here are five phrases that usually indicate that a politician is about to waste your money.
1) Politicians will say they’re “investing”
When politicians say they’re investing government money, what they really mean is that they’re spending taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, politicians at all levels of government in this country have a poor track record in this regard.
In Newfoundland, the government lost $260,000 when it tried to operate a Tim Hortons. Likewise, the Ontario government lost $42 million trying to sell marijuana.
Given that governments can’t make money selling double-doubles or weed brownies, they should let taxpayers keep more of their own money to invest it themselves.
2) “It’s not a spending problem–it’s a revenue problem!”
Imagine saying that in the context of your own life – that it’s not your fault you spent so much, it’s just that your job doesn’t pay what you’d like to spend. Unfortunately, our politicians just keep adding to our credit card bill.
A recent Ontario government report shows why it is in fact a spending problem. It found that Ontario would have spent $330 billion less in the 15-year period the former Liberal government was in power if it had simply kept spending in line with population growth.
Instead, spending increased in real terms by $2,200 per person, and now Ontario’s debt has surpassed $350 billion, making the province the largest subnational debtor on the planet.
Politicians love painting deficits as a revenue problem so they can raise taxes. Don’t fall for it. Tell politicians to manage their own budgets instead of taking more out of yours.
3) Politicians say they’re spending to “help the middle class”
While big government apologists like to pretend all of our tax dollars go toward vital services such as health care and education, the reality is that politicians will often take tax money from hard working Canadians to hand it over to large, profitable corporations.
Take for example the $12 million the Trudeau government gave to Loblaws to buy more energy efficient fridges (even though the company posted net earnings exceeding $800 million that fiscal year). That’s nothing in comparison to the $4 billion of taxpayer money that has been given to Bombardier though, a company owned by one of Canada’s wealthiest families worth close to $3 billion.
Taxes are the single largest expense for most Canadians, taking up approximately 45 percent of the average Canadian’s annual household income. If politicians really wanted to help the middle class, they’d stop giving corporate welfare handouts and instead lower our taxes.
4) Politicians justify their overspending by saying they’re on “a responsible path to budgetary balance”
Translation: “We’re going to keep adding to the debt for the next few years at least.” There’s simply nothing responsible about overspending, especially in good economic times.
In fact, it’s very irresponsible for politicians to ignore the opportunity costs of running up large debts. For example, this year Ontario will spend about $13 billion on interest payments. That’s more money than it will spend on colleges and universities put together!
Politicians should stop making excuses as to why they can’t balance budgets, and they should start paying down the debt.
5) Politicians say “we can keep spending as long as the debt-to-GDP ratio stays in check”
Although this is a favourite excuse used by our current prime minister, the reality is that this economic ratio isn’t reliable. For example, if Canada were to encounter tough economic times and our debt were to increase more sharply than planned, the ratio would be thrown out of whack. All of a sudden, we’d be in a position where we’d be saying “wow, we really need to pay down debt, but now we’re not in a financial position to do so.”
Conversely, even if our GDP were to increase sharply thereby lowering the ratio relative to our G7 counterparts, it doesn’t necessarily follow that more spending is justifiable or a good idea.
Canadians live within their means. It’s time our politicians followed suit.
Andrew Scheer’s departure as Conservative Party leader provides a strong opportunity for the party to get a more charismatic leader who can defeat Justin Trudeau.
But it also is a moment of serious risk.
The Conservative Party under Andrew Scheer has taken a much stronger approach towards Communist China than has been seen by Canada’s political establishment in a long time.
The Harper government had started with a tougher approach but then began getting closer to China under relentless pressure from the Liberals and the corporate establishment.
With China becoming more aggressive and mistreating Canada in recent years, the Scheer Conservatives have been one of the few parties with the stones to actually call out China’s actions and propose real ideas to push back, such as banning Huawei, pulling Canada’s money from the Asian Infrastructure Bank, and pursuing tariffs on the mercantilist empire.
The risk now is that with Scheer departing, the corporate and political elites will take this opportunity to do China’s bidding and push to install a leader who is far weaker on China.
While the Conservative base is the strongest bastion of strong Canadian nationalism and strength against China, there are some who would seek to turn the party into an elitist organization that is out-of-touch with real Canadians.
That’s exactly what the Liberals have already become when it comes to China, with their party endlessly seeking a “free trade” deal, showing pathetic cowardice on China’s actions, and repeatedly ignoring Canadian public opinion (which has turned decisively against China).
If the Conservatives go that same direction it will be a huge loss for our country and will put our nation at serious risk of becoming a political and economic colony of the Communist State.
That’s why it’s essential for the Conservatives to continue Andrew Scheer’s strong approach against China, and why all of those who end up running for the Conservative leadership must be relentlessly pressured to maintain a similar approach.
There are good signs so far, with many Conservative MPs and Senators, including Leo Housakos and Erin O’Toole slamming the Liberals’ weakness on China and fighting for Canada to finally show some courage. That’s what needs to inspire the party going forward, and any effort by the elites to weaken the Conservatives’ resistance to China must be opposed.
Canada already has one political party that is selling us out to the communist state. We can’t afford another.
Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou may be one step closer to freedom from her ankle bracelet and house arrest in her Vancouver mansion now that a B.C. judge approved her lawyers’ application this week for more documents to be released, which could potentially reveal more coordination between Canadian and American authorities in the lead up to her arrest on Dec. 1 of 2018.
“When you drill down, the defence is saying, ‘You are not disclosing everything to us. We think that you knew about Meng Wanzhou was coming to Canada… and the US intelligence agencies, commercial agencies knew she was coming, so you cooked something up to sucker punch her,” Christopher Hicks, Toronto criminal lawyer and founding partner of Hicks Adams LLP who’s not involved in Meng’s case, said to The Post Millennial.
“They’re asking for a whole bunch of material. If it really does exist, and they’re going to get their hands on it, it could be explosive.”
Meng, whose father founded the Shenzhen-based company, was first arrested from the extradition request of the US authorities who are accusing her of fraud, breaking the rules of sanctions against Iran.
The Globe and Mail published a lengthy article, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Meng’s arrest, which included Canadian and American sources claiming the plan to arrest Meng came together very last minute, with only a day’s notice given to Canadian authorities that the US wanted her arrested when her flight landed in Canada.
This narrative of very short notice, Hicks says, could crumble depending on what is found in the new documents Meng’s counsel has forced the authorities involved to produce, including the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and RCMP.
The Globe and Mail article also paraphrased part of an interview with Scott Kennedy, China expert of Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, who told the newspaper there were three ways this international fracas between the two most powerful nations in the world could be resolved: “Canadian courts could say the U.S. has not provided proof to warrant an extradition, and set her free; Huawei can negotiate a plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department that leads to a withdrawal of the extradition request; or a deal between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi could lead to her freedom.”
But legal experts such as Hicks, as well as Meng’s own all-star legal counsel, would argue there’s a fourth alternative that’s a distinct possibility. If Meng’s Charter rights are found to have been violated in the three hours she was detained before being arrested, she could be set free and the evidence gathered from her electronics found inadmissible.
In affidavits and notes from RCMP and CBSA officers already in the court record, and obtained by The Post Millennial, there are several parts of the execution of the arrest of Meng that the defence alleges the Canadian authorities failed in their duty to perform due process.
The first point of contention is that the CBSA did not tell Meng her rights when they detained her (which Meng’s lawyers’ are arguing was under false pretense) for a customs inspection.
“Never mind if you’re under arrest, if you’re a suspect, and the police are talking to you, they have to tell you that you have your rights,” said Hicks.
“You’re supposed to arrest someone, not sucker them into making statements, or handing over their electronic information.”
RCMP officers’ notes show the initial plan to arrest Meng would have involved an RCMP officer arresting her on the plane as soon as it landed at Vancouver International Airport.
On the morning of Dec. 1, the day of the arrest, the RCMP and CBSA devised a new, revised plan, in which Meng would first be detained by the CBSA.
Her lawyers assert this last-minute new plan ended up violating the court order in the warrant, which called for Wanzhou’s “immediate arrest” upon arriving in Canada.
Affidavits and notes from Canadian authorities also reveal that during that detention period CBSA officers gathered evidence, including Meng’s and her business associates electronics, which they then passed along to the RCMP who were working on behalf of US authorities instructions. The RCMP also provided mylar bags–special foil bags to preserve the contents of electronics from intercepting signals of remote devices that are capable of wiping or altering the contents–to the CBSA.
The CBSA also compelled Meng to provide her password to her phones and then passed this information along to the RCMP. According to documents authorities’ communications before the court, Meng was arrested seven minutes later by the RCMP after giving her password to the CBSA officers, who didn’t look at the contents of her electronic devices for their customs inspection, but instead retrieved them for other means.
During the September court hearing a Crown Prosecutor admitted it was a “mistake” by the CBSA officers to share the password with the RCMP.
The court documents also reveal that the CBSA withheld her luggage despite their being no customs violations found because the officers were coordinating with the RCMP who went up the chain of command to the Canadian Department of Justice to see if the FBI wanted the luggage.
The defence also argues that Meng repeatedly asked why she was being detained by the CBSA but wasn’t given the real reason behind the supposed routine custom inspection or told her Charter rights.
Meng’s defence team also asserts the officers’ affidavits are leaving out key, unfavourable information, which led to the latest court application for further documnetation being approved by the judge.
“So the arrest warrant was for an immediate arrest,” Richard Kurland, a lawyer and federal policy analyst not involved in the case, said to the Vancouver Courrier in October. “Immediate means immediate means immediate. It doesn’t mean after she gets off the plane. It doesn’t mean after she collects her luggage. It doesn’t mean after her customs examination, and it doesn’t mean after several hours of questioning. That’s not immediate.”
Former Liberal deputy prime minister John Manley recently said in an interview that Canada should have avoided detaining Meng through “creative incompetence” by purposefully bungling detaining her, letting her slip away to her destination in Mexico.
In light of the evidence presented thus far in the court, and more possible records of coordination between Canada and US authorities being revealed in the near future, the intended or unintended bungling of the arrest of Meng could ultimately be what gets Canada out of its current predicament with China; a predicament that has thus far led to stiff trade sanctions against Canadian farmers and the retaliatory arrests of former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, still stuck in harsh conditions in Chinese prison cells.
Public opinion is growing skeptical on promoting more and new economic ties with China, Canada’s second largest trading partner after the US, according to an Angus Reid poll.
The survey polled 1,499 Canadians and found that Canadians’ positive views of trade with China are starting to wane. The now yearlong imprisonment of two Canadians by Beijing was a recent development in the changing attitude towards the super power.
Many Canadians responded with concerns for human rights in China, and seven-in-ten felt the rule of law should take greater precedence in our relationship. That number is up from the last time Angus Reid polled Canadians on the issue back in February 2019, when 62 percent of people said the same.
In 2015, the poll found that 62 percent said that we should increase trade ties with China in the future, that number dropped by 40 percent this year, now only 22 percent of people feel that way.
Two thirds of Canadians now hold an unfavourable view of China, a number that was only 51 percent back in 2018.
Ottawa has had close ties with Beijing in the past due to the country’s roaring economy needing lots of natural resources.
During Chretien’s time as Prime minister he sent many large delegations of cabinet ministers and government officials on trade junkets to China.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited China on a state visit back in 2017 in an attempt to kick-start free trade talks with Beijing but the trip was ultimately unsuccessful.
Trade only looks increasingly bleak with the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
Ninety percent of respondents said China can’t be trusted on human rights and the rule of law.
The overall views on trade with China were mixed. While respondents were more likely to acknowledge that trade with China has a negative impact on our economy and communities they also felt it was to Canada’s economic benefit as a whole.
The highest level of negative sentiment towards China’s restrictions on beef and canola export came from Alberta and Saskatchewan, the two provinces affected most by the restrictions.
The future of trade was a close split in terms of Canadians optimism towards the relationship. Fifty-four percent of respondents to the poll said that the current diplomatic spat will sort itself out and things will go “back to normal.” While the other forty-six percent felt the relationship is in long-term trouble.