Trudeau Liberals spend $4.2 billion in ‘borrowed money’ since SNC-Lavalin scandal broke
The federal government has made more than $4.2 billion in spending announcements since the SNC-Lavalin scandal broke on February 7, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
“That’s a lot of money going out the door and I don’t think anyone is paying attention to it,” said CTF director Aaron Wudrick. “So we just thought we’d provide a public service by letting people know.”
The list of 267 spending announcements made since allegations of political interference in criminal proceedings against the Québec construction firm
“There’s money for a cheese expertise centre, so I think a lot of people would scratch their head at why the government needs to be funding something like this,” said Wudrick of $376,000 federal largesse to the Québec-based non-profit.
Other spending includes nearly $600,000 for a ‘safe boating’ mobile app, $1.2 million for ‘creating job opportunities for youth in B.C.’ and nearly $370,000 for ‘understanding right-wing extremism in Canada’.
Wudrick acknowledged that spending for “fixing and building infrastructure are obvious ones that are hard to criticize.”
“But spending money to promote tourism seems to be with the idea that people don’t use the internet these days to figure out what to do and see when they travel,” said Wudrick of more than a million dollars that was dispersed around the country with this objective.
Additionally, the federal government announced $140 million in assistance to the country’s beleaguered steel industry – $40 million for steelworkers in western Canada and $100 million for small and medium-sized manufacturers of steel and aluminum – to compensate against U.S. tariffs that came into effect in June of 2018.
“It’s not unfair that SNC is dominating the news, it’s a very serious issue and to downplay it is wrong,” said Wudrick. “But the consequence is people have to judge for themselves whether some of these announcements are designed to distract from that.”
As federal government’s Budget 2019 promised $19.8 billion in deficit spending, all of these announcements are effectively being funded with borrowed money, Wudrick added.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says the CN Railway strikes have left la Belle Province in dire straights, as the province is left with less than five days worth of propane—a shortage which would cause mayhem in hospitals, nursing homes, farms, and barbeques everywhere.
The province, which is left with about 12 million litres of propane, uses roughly six million litres per day and has since rationed the daily usage down to three million litres.
Premier Legault says hospitals, retirement homes, and health centres have been given top priority to the precious resource, with farms being second priority.
Legault says he’s optimistic that a settlement between CN Rail and its employees will be met, but called upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pass urgent emergency back-to-work legislation.
Canadian Propane Association CEO Nathalie St-Pierre told The Canadian Press six-hour truck lines for propane have already been formed in Sarnia, Ontario.
Roughly 85 percent of Quebec’s propane comes by via rail, with most of it coming from Sarnia and Edmonton, both known for their propane.
As the country faces serious challenges at home and abroad, the proof will be in the pudding for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority government cabinet picks, who were sworn in at Rideau Hall in Ottawa Wednesday.
To address growing discontent in the West, whose voters denied Liberals seats in Saskatchewan and Alberta, Trudeau has tapped Winnipeg MP and former Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr to serve as “special representative to the Prairies.”
While Bill Morneau stays in his Finance portfolio, Catherine McKenna has been shuffled out of the Environment and will take on the role of Minister of Infrastructure.
Chrystia Freeland was also shuffled from Foreign Affairs and will now serve as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Québec MP and former Infrastructure minister François-Philippe Champagne assumes Freeland’s portfolio as minister of Foreign Affairs.
Other notables include Ottawa-Vanier MP Mona Fortier’s cabinet posting to a new portfolio: Minister of Middle Class and Prosperity.
And the Ministry of Democratic Institutions appears to have gone the way of the dodo and its previous minister Karina Gould, shuffled to International Development.
The following is the new “gender-balanced” cabinet of 36 ministers in alphabetical order, as issued by the Prime Minister’s Office today:
Anita Anand becomes Minister of Public Services and Procurement
Navdeep Bains becomes Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Carolyn Bennett remains Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Marie-Claude Bibeau remains Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Bill Blair becomes Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Bardish Chagger becomes Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth
Jean-Yves Duclos becomes President of the Treasury Board
Mona Fortier becomes Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity and Associate
Minister of Finance
Marc Garneau remains Minister of Transport
Karina Gould becomes Minister of International Development
Steven Guilbeault becomes Minister of Canadian Heritage
Patty Hajdu becomes Minister of Health
Ahmed Hussen becomes Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Mélanie Joly becomes Minister of Economic Development and Official
Bernadette Jordan becomes Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
David Lametti remains Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Dominic LeBlanc becomes President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada
Diane Lebouthillier remains Minister of National Revenue
Lawrence MacAulay remains Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate
Minister of National Defence
Catherine McKenna becomes Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Marco E. L. Mendicino becomes Minister of Immigration, Refugees and
Marc Miller becomes Minister of Indigenous Services
Maryam Monsef becomes Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
Bill Morneau remains Minister of Finance
Joyce Murray becomes Minister of Digital Government
Mary Ng becomes Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and
Seamus O’Regan becomes Minister of Natural Resources
Carla Qualtrough becomes Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
Pablo Rodriguez becomes Leader of the Government in the House of
Commons and the party’s Québec Lieutenant
Harjit Sajjan remains Minister of National Defence
Deb Schulte becomes Minister of Seniors
Filomena Tassi becomes Minister of Labour
Dan Vandal becomes Minister of Northern Affairs
Jonathan Wilkinson becomes Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Kirsty Duncan will serve as Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Mark Holland will serve as Chief Government Whip
Ginette Petitpas Taylor will serve as Deputy Government Whip
Kevin Lamoureux will serve as Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Justin Trudeau has announced his new cabinet for the 43rd Parliament. Despite there being a great deal of speculation as to who would be included in the cabinet, there has only been insignificant change.
One of the more noteworthy changes is that Chrystia Freeland has been moved from her position as Minister of Foreign Affairs to her new position as the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. She will also serve as the Deputy Prime Minister: a position that was first created by Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre, and was done away with by Stephen Harper.
This will give Freeland broad power across the government and will only fuel speculation that she is being lined up as Trudeau’s successor. Quebec MP Francois-Philippe Champagne has replaced Freeland in the Foreign Affairs position.
The darling of the right, Catherine McKenna has been moved out of her position as Minister for the Environment. McKenna’s removal will delight the Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney, who has previously demanded that McKenna leave her position for the sake of national unity. The Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, Johnathan Wilkinson, is expected to take over McKenna’s position.
Despite Bill Morneau being heavily criticized for running deficits, and also being attacked for “elitist” campaign posters, he will continue to remain in his position as finance minister.
Due to Trudeau’s woeful results in western Canada, the prime minister was unable to select a member of parliament who was from Alberta or Saskatchewan to serve in his cabinet. Trudeau has also declined to bring in a senator to represent western Canada. As a result of this, the Prairies will be entirely unrepresented in Canada’s executive.
Aside from the names previously mentioned, here is the list of other cabinet transitions, as listed by the CBC:
- Ahmed Hussen, going to families, children and social development.
- Melanie Joly, to economic development and official languages, in charge of regional development agencies.
- Bernadette Jordan, to fisheries and oceans.
- Catherine McKenna, to infrastructure and communities.
- Dominic LeBlanc, now president of the Queen’s privy council, chair of the operations committee.
- Joyce Murray, to digital government.
- Mary Ng, to small business export promotion and international trade.
- Carla Qualtrough, to employment, workforce development and disability inclusion.
- Filomena Tassi, to labour.
Chrystia Freeland will no longer serve as foreign affairs minister, as the job will instead go to Saint-Maurice—Champlain MP Francois-Philippe Champagne.
Champagne served as minister of infrastructure and communities in the Trudeau government’s last parliament, and will be replacing cabinet faithful Chrystia Freeland. Champagne, who also worked as a trade lawyer, has served as minister of international trade in the past.
It is not yet known what position Freeland will be moved to, though it has been rumoured by sources that she will serve as deputy prime minister.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make a formal announcement on Wednesday afternoon to unveil his new cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
Additionally, North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson will serve as the new environment minister, according to Radio-Canada. Pablo Rodriguez will be government house leader, and Steven Guilbeault will serve as the new heritage minister, according to CBC-Radio Canada‘s sources.