Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Post

Sweet, sweet, week-end, ahoy!

What a difference a day made:

(Sidebar: not that. This.)

Following days of accusations that he was putting himself in a conflict of interest, Finance Minister Bill Morneau has announced he will set up a blind trust and sell off his ownership stake in his family’s pension services company.

He also denies he was ever in a conflict, despite having personally introduced legislation last year that proposes changes to pension regulations.

The finance minister pointed out that a conflict-of-interest screen has been established in his office that requires him to be recused from discussions that directly affect Morneau Shepell, except by way of “general application.”

He could recall at least two times when he had been pulled out of a meeting because of the screen, but could not clarify what exactly those meetings had been about. “I don’t know what the issues were discussed in those meetings, because I was taken out,” he said.

Morneau described the controversy over his finances as a distraction from the work the government is trying to do, and said it was time to go “above and beyond” what Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson had previously told him was required.

And this:

New details uncovered by the Toronto Sun show that Morneau Shepell — the firm founded by the father of Finance Minister Bill Morneau — has a contract with the Bank of Canada worth over $8 million.

A spokesman for the Bank of Canada confirmed this relationship in an email exchange with the Sun. “The Bank of Canada has had a pension and benefits service contract with Morneau Shepell since November 1, 2012,” said Louise Egan. “The contract covers administration services for the Bank’s Pension Plan and benefits program.”

When asked if any changes had been made to this contract since Morneau became Finance Minister, Bank of Canada confirmed that there had.

“The original contract granted a right to the Bank to extend the contract for four years,” said Egan. “The Bank opted to exercise this option on Feb. 27, 2017.” ...

This relationship raises further questions for Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who has millions of dollars of shares in Morneau Shepell and is responsible for the administration of Bank of Canada.

As minister of finance, Morneau has significant influence over the Bank of Canada.

He holds the entire share capital of the bank on behalf of Canada and appoints the members of Bank of Canada’s board of directors, which manages the day to day affairs of the bank.

One might think that a resignation would be in order.

From the most "transparent" government in Canadian history:

Federal cabinet ministers were on the defensive Wednesday as opposition parties hammered proposed changes to the law that gives Canadians access to government files.

The criticisms largely echoed those voiced last month by the federal information watchdog, who said the Liberals' plan to amend the Access to Information Act would take people's right to know backwards.

The Liberals say their proposed access legislation, introduced in June, will raise the bar on openness and transparency following years of inaction by the previous Conservative government.

That was the message Treasury Board President Scott Brison, who is responsible for overseeing the act, and Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould delivered to the House ethics committee Wednesday.

"As we developed these reforms, we were guided by the principle that government information belongs to the people we serve," Brison told committee members. "We remain committed to this principle."

But opposition MPs zeroed in on proposals that would let an agency refuse to process an access request unless it identified the specific type of record, the subject, and time-frame.

Conservatives and New Democrats noted that Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault has called the proposed criteria unreasonable, and they expressed concern the clause would be abused.

Brison said the measure was intended to prevent "frivolous or vexatious" requests that are made in bad faith and often "gum up" the access to information system.

But he refused to say who would determine whether a request meets the criteria, and a senior Treasury Board official testified that less than one per cent of current requests are considered frivolous.


The Liberals are blaming the previous Harper government for the failing grade they received in an independent audit of compliance with the Access to Information Act, saying the Conservatives left behind a badly damaged system.

The national freedom of information audit found the federal access system is bogged down to the point where, in many cases, it simply doesn’t work.

The annual audit focused on the federal access regime this year — given Justin Trudeau’s election campaign promises of increased transparency — and concluded it is faring worse than in the latter years of the Conservative government.

“The Liberal government has a long way to go if it is to deliver on its promises of transparent government,” the audit report says.

The audit was funded by national industry group News Media Canada, which represents more than 800 print and digital titles across the country. It was researched and prepared independently by a team headed by lead author Fred Vallance-Jones, who teaches journalism at University of King’s College in Halifax.

A total of 428 requests sent to different levels of government were included in the analysis.

In their 2015 platform on open and transparent government, Trudeau’s Liberals stated that transparent government is good government, the report notes. “It’s a sentiment shared by just about every opposition party that seeks power, but often falls out of favour once power is achieved.”

The federal access act allows people who pay $5 to request records ranging from correspondence and studies to expense reports and meeting minutes. Agencies must answer requests within 30 days or provide a reason why more time is needed.

The researchers found the federal system continues to be far slower and less responsive than provincial and municipal freedom of information regimes.

Who will the Liberals blame next?

Also in "screw what the public thinks" news:

A senior political staffer nicknamed a project to wipe clean computer hard drives — allegedly to erase data linked to the gas plants scandal — within the office of former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, court documents alleged Thursday.

Laura Miller, McGuinty’s former deputy chief of staff, who hired her husband Peter Faist, an outsider, for the job, dubbed the assignment “Pete’s Project.”

Miller and her boss, David Livingston, McGuinty’s then chief of staff, are accused of deliberately and illegally destroying relevant public records stemming from the billion-dollar gas plants cancellation boondoggle. Both have pleaded not guilty to charges of breach of trust, mischief to data and unauthorized use of data.

Earlier, Crown attorney Sarah Egan said Miller and Livingston “acting together destroyed records that they had a legal duty to preserve.”

Egan said that days after Livingston obtained the passwords, purportedly so that he could delete personal information from his computer before exiting his job, Faist “began wiping the hard drives.”

Egan said Livingston even coached his staff on how to double delete e-mails to make sure they were really gone.


The Ontario Ministry of Energy has turned over about 13,000 of potentially 145,000 e-mails requested by Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, who’s probing the government’s Fair Hydro Plan financing, Minister Glenn Thibeault says.

Lysyk raised the issue Tuesday as part of a damning report that accuses the government of deliberately wasting $4 billion of Ontarians’ money over 30 years to keep the true cost of its 25% hydro bill break from taxpayers.

At that point, 7,000 documents had been produced.

Thibeault said he expects that it will take a couple of weeks to hand over all the e-mails.

Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne threatens to sue known weasel, Patrick Brown:

Ontario’s premier says she is taking another step toward a defamation lawsuit against the province’s Opposition leader.

Kathleen Wynne’s lawyer demanded in a letter last month that Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown retract comments suggesting the premier is personally on trial.

That letter came minutes before Wynne testified as a witness at a trial in Sudbury, Ont., involving two provincial Liberals facing Election Act bribery charges.

The day before, Brown had said to reporters that he hoped Wynne would give answers about the scandal “maybe when she stands trial” and went on to describe her as a “sitting premier, sitting in trial.”

Nearly six weeks later, Wynne’s lawyers followed up with another letter to Brown today saying it constitutes a notice of libel.

In today’s letter they warn Brown that he must preserve all relevant documents, because if Wynne proceeds with a lawsuit he will be required to disclose them all.

Putin is dreadfully upset over the Magnitsky Law:

Russian President Vladimir Putin is accusing Justin Trudeau’s government of playing “unconstructive political games” with its newly-adopted Magnitsky law. 

During a question-and-answer period at a conference in Sochi, Russia Thursday, Putin alleged events leading to the adoption of the law are part of a conspiracy to “blow up more anti-Russian hysteria,” according to a transcript posted on the Kremlin’s website.

On Wednesday, the Canadian parliament passed its final approval of a Senate bill proposed by Conservative Sen. Raynell Andreychuk. It would allow the federal government to impose sanctions on foreigners accused of human rights violations, including freezing any Canadian-held assets and barring them from entering the country. 

(Sidebar: that does include China?)

Remember - election in 2019:

Asylum seekers who illegally crossed the U.S. border into Canada this year are obtaining refugee status at higher rates, new data shows, as authorities accept claims from people who say they feared being deported by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. 

More than 15,000 people have crossed the U.S.-Canadian border illegally to claim refugee status in Canada this year. Many were in the United States legally and some interviewed by Reuters said they might have stayed were it not for an immigration crackdown. 

The influx, mainly at the Quebec/New York border, prompted the military to set up a temporary tent encampment in Quebec and sparked a backlash from anti-migrant groups.

Lawyers who have handled dozens of cases said that members of refugee tribunals, who evaluate requests for asylum, have grown more sympathetic toward people who have spent time in the United States and who say they now fear immigration policies under Trump.

One could say many things about Trump but the worst he could do to people who overstayed their visas is return them. 

Pretending that he is an ogre only to make another country a dumping ground for a few votes is morally and intellectually dishonest.

When the welfare runs out, I hope that the illegal migrants realise that.

The embrace of political multiculturalism, while a badge of honour for the virtue-seeking, is also a great method to prove people's utter ignorance.

Case in point:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received a bit of backlash this week for a tweet he made about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

The post published Monday night said: “Diwali Mubarak! We’re celebrating in Ottawa tonight. #HappyDiwali!”

It was accompanied by a photo of the Liberal leader lighting a lamp while wearing a black sherwani, which is a coat-like article of clothing worn by Indian men.

The message seemed simple enough, but it quickly turned into a debate online over the use of the word “Mubarak,” which means “blessed.” Mubarak is an Arabic word often used in languages such as Urdu and Hindi as part of a blessing during celebrations.

Some were quick to say the word has ties to Arabic and is more often associated with the Muslim holidays known as Eid, which is celebrated twice a year.

Putting aside Trudeau's ineptness, propensity for gaffes, both verbal and visual, his melodrama, his overtures towards the Islamist community and attempts at showmanship, this latest effort encapsulates the typical hollow liberal gestures that further prove what complete rot political multiculturalism and the lack of self-awareness its adherents possess. Cobbling together some affectations and phrases to prove one's global worth comes off as laughable and proof that one doesn't know and understand other cultures. It is the seeming of virtue rather than the understanding and application of it. No work in the former is really necessary.

And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.

These hypocrites and jack@$$es were called out ages ago and don't have enough sense to stop while they still can. 

Failure to understand cultures and the failure to stand for one's own are reasons why faltering politicians in Ontario and idiot Quebeckers with their futile gestures of "solidarity" will fail miserably. Defending the misogynist practice of face-covering might score a few votes and might seem like the "nice" thing to do if one is not paying attention to how utterly wrong, divisive and barbaric such a practice is. It sure looks good in selfies, though.

Not even PM Hair-Boy will completely blast his home province for Bill 62 as doing so will cost him the votes he sorely needs. But he's always been afraid of challenging others. His cowardice is an accepted trait.

Also - scrapping the entire censorious M-103 because it chafes the wet bottoms of the Islamist-supporting class should be the goal of every citizen who still thinks Canada matters:

David Matas, an Order of Canada recipient who began his career as a clerk for the Chief Justice of Canada in the 1960s, delivered testimony Wednesday before the M-103 committee hearings in his capacity as senior counsel to B’nai Brith Canada.

“Not every fear of Islam is Islamophobia,” Matas said to the House of Commons Heritage Committee, noting that anyone who is not afraid of the various radical Islamic terrorist outfits in the world is “foolhardy”.

“Islamophobia does not appear in a vacuum,” Matas told MPs. “It grows out of a fear of incitement and acts of hatred and terrorism coming from elements of the Islamic community.”

During my presentation, I asked the committee some pointed questions such as “Why would the House not agree on a more precise term to combat anti-Muslim sentiment and instead insist on a vague and all-inclusive term such as Islamophobia?” A term, I might have added, which also has Islamist overtones.

Also, why would the House accede to a demand that is clearly unpatriotic by casting an unfair aspersion on Canada’s society and current laws?

I explained the connotations of Islamophobia to the house, stating that in Islamic nations and some Islamic circles in the West, the term clearly also means mere criticism of Islam.

I also explained that the term is often falsely considered parallel to the term anti-semitism. This was important as MP Khalid had also implied an equivalence between the two.

A common dictionary meaning of anti-semitism is “hostility to or prejudice against Jews”. 
Islamophobia, on the other hand, also includes criticism of Islam as a religion. The common dictionary meaning is “intense dislike or fear of Islam, esp. as a political force; hostility or prejudice towards Muslims.”

While I could state my case without interruption for the ten minutes allotted, I felt the committee was reluctant to ask me any further questions, as I would have reinforced a viewpoint that countered the Liberal Party’s position.

My only questions were from Conservative MP Scott Reid.

I had recommended erasing Islamophobia from the motion, because in my view it is a vaguely defined term; I asked why the House would not agree to a more specific term to investigate anti-Muslim sentiment. Mr Reid's response was to ask if Islamophobia defined strictly as “hatred toward Muslims” would work.

No, just get rid of the damn thing.

The "green" road to hell is paved with stupid intentions:

Remember all those new, green jobs Ontario’s Liberal government promised us under premier Dalton McGuinty and now, Kathleen Wynne?

A new study by the Fraser Institute released this week suggests rising electricity prices caused by Ontario’s green energy policies, ended up costing more jobs than they created.

In “Rising Electricity Costs and Declining Employment in Ontario’s Manufacturing Sector”, Ross McKitrick and Elmira Aliakbari conclude Ontario may have lost at least 1.8 permanent manufacturing jobs for every new job created under the Liberals’ green energy initiatives, many of them temporary, since 2008.

That’s because the heavily-subsidized jobs governments create when they invest money in things like wind and solar power, have to be measured against the economic damage caused by the higher electricity prices that result.

These higher prices force many manufacturing businesses to downsize, shut down, or leave the province for more energy competitive jurisdictions.

McKitrick and Aliakbari estimate 74,881 of the 116,435 jobs lost in Ontario’s manufacturing sector between the start of the global recession in 2008 and 2015 — 64% — can be attributed to Ontario’s higher electricity costs, caused in part by its green energy policies.

Between 2010 and 2016, they note, electricity costs for small industrial consumers in Toronto increased by 48% and in Ottawa by 50%, compared to an average rate increase in the rest of Canada of just 15%.

These higher energy prices drove Ontario’s traditionally competitive electricity rates to the highest levels in Canada, provoking substantial job losses, McKitrick and Aliakbari conclude.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the newest poster boy for the worldwide global warming crusade, and justifiably so. No nation’s leader more cares for the planet, judged by the climate metric, than Canada’s own.

It is becoming a lonely battle, however. Unlike Trudeau, whose signature on the Paris climate agreement meant something — he has been nothing if not diligent in imposing climate action on provincial premiers — most signatories are ignoring, if not altogether abandoning Paris commitments, undoubtedly because voters in large part put no stock in scary global warming scenarios.


Dirty air in India and China. Tainted water in sub-Saharan Africa. Toxic mining and smelter operations in South America. Pollution around the globe now contributes to an estimated 9 million deaths annually – or roughly one in six – according to an in-depth new study published Thursday in the Lancet. ...

The two-year project, which relied on data from researchers in more than 130 countries documenting the causes of disease and premature deaths in recent decades, found that poor air quality was the most significant pollution-related killer. That includes both outdoor pollution tainted by mercury, arsenic and other harmful particulates, and household air dirtied by the burning of wood, dung and other organic materials. The result: An estimated 6.5 million deaths in 2015 from heart disease, strokes, lung cancer and other respiratory problems.

But carbon is bad.

Or something.

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