Another Ooops

I see in an article by Patrick Brethour in the Globe and Mail that “Since the early days of the pandemic, the federal Liberal government has pointed to rock-bottom interest rates as a key reason why their spend-in-all-directions fiscal approach will not drive Canada into a debt wall …[and] … In the fall economic statement, the Liberals asserted that its pandemic debts would be affordable, citing the precipitous decline in yields for the government’s 10-year bonds, a gauge not only of Ottawa’s borrowing costs, but also of the credit market’s belief that economic growth and inflation would be lukewarm for years to come … [and these] … assumptions of a soft economy, and low interest rates, were also the basis for the Liberal plan for $70-billion to $100-billion in stimulus spending over the next three years. The arithmetic was simple: Large deficits would not be a problem, so long as the economy was growing faster than the government’s debt. In a world of ultralow interest rates, borrowing tens of billions to boost growth would pay off … [but, and it’s a Big BUT] … Those assumptions have been turned on their head, less than four months after the November update, and weeks ahead of the first pandemic-era federal budget. Economic growth in the fourth quarter was much stronger than expected, a trend that stretched into January. In the United States, a US$1.9-trillion stimulus package will help out not only the American economy, but also Canadian exporters as well.

But things have changed say Canada’s top economists ~ none of whom are in the Liberal government ~ and Mr Brethour explains that “Chief among those changes is the rapid run-up in the yields for the federal government’s 10-year Canada bonds since the start of the year, driven by the belief that the economy will rebound from its pandemic tailspin much faster than expected – and that inflationary pressures will also re-emerge sooner than previously thought.” In other words what Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland have been telling Canadians for the past year is, to be very charitable, rubbish. Did they know they were saying dumb things? I doubt it … I doubt that either has the mental capacity to really understand why and how interest rates fluctuate.

It’s not rocket science, everyone with a mortgage understands the process, I think. And I suspect we all ~ almost all ~ know that recessions, even ones caused by global pandemics, end, and that when the economy starts to grow, again, interest rates rise. Maybe, however, that’s news to Chrystia Freeland and Justin Trudeau. But it’s not to the senior officials in Finance Canada and that may explain why Ms Freeland and, previously, Bill Morneau seem to have been unable to craft a budget in the past two years ~ every other G7 country and every single Canadian province has brought down a budget during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ottawa seems to be uniquely incapable.

r/teslamotors - You don’t see this every day... 😂 Diesel fuel+generator+Tesla = 🤔

What the Trudeau-Freeland regime is doing is a lot like having a “green” vehicle charging station with a diesel generator chugging away, quietly, in the background. We all really want the government to help stimulate the economy and help to protect people from catastrophic financial problems but none of us really wants to have to pay the bills or, even, to understand how they are paid. We, and our children and grandchildren will, soon, become acquainted with debts and deficits again and we ~ taxpayers, because there is no one else ~ have to repay all the money that the Trudeau regime has borrowed, with interest, the rates of which both rise and compound.

It is time for Canadians to grow up. Growing up involves understanding that while Justin Trudeau is, undeniably, popular, he and most of his ministers are neither honest nor able. We need to elect a team of smart, honest, hard-working Canadians …

… who will NOT lead us into financial ruin.

What’s needed

So, another Globe and Mail editorial cartoon, this one by Brian Gable, gets right to the point:

Another “watchdog” is going to do exactly nothing. The former Ombudsman did his job, he did the right thing. The problem was that the political leadership ~ specifically Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan ~ decided to ignore him and then to shut him out of the process. I have no idea why Minister Sajjan decided to put the interests of the most senior military officers ahead of those subordinate to them, but he did. The Ombudsman was the watchdog we needed. He did all the right things. Defence Minister Sajjan failed the men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces, he failed the institution and he failed Canada. Another watchdog will not fix that.

Some years ago I said that our military needed to be seen in human terms. Our men and women in uniform, I said, needed to be tough, superbly disciplined, well trained, adequately equipped and also properly organized and well led, too. I believe that the Canadian Armed Forces are not well enough led and that has led to a breakdown in discipline which I said, back in 2016, “is the sine qua non of soldiering.” I stand by that. Nothing, not firepower, not leadership, not fighting spirit, not huge budgets and the finest hardware, nothing else matters as much as discipline. I will not be moved off that position because I know that I have 3,000 years of history to back me up.

Golden Oldies – e-Veritas

I remember, in 1961, reading an article, I’m pretty sure it was in Time magazine, but Google doesn’t help me out there, which noted that Lieutenant General Geoffrey Walsh had taken over (as Chief of the General Staff) (and I’m about 99% sure I have the words correct) “the small but superbly disciplined Canadian Army.” I showed the little article to an older soldier who said something like “this is some [expletive] Yank magazine, eh? Well, it figgers; they look at us and they think we’re the [expletive] Grenadier [expletive] Guards. All they see is the marchin’ and the drill and we look great ’cause they’re a sloppy bunch of [expletive]. But you remember, kid, what I tell ya. The real discipline ain’t on the parade square, it’s in the field and you listen to what I [expletive] tell ya’ and then you do like I [expletive] tell ya’.” ( It was that kind of [expletive]😉 army 60 years ago.) And he was right of course. Yes, our Regiment was a thing of beauty when we trooped the colour ~ as good as any other regiment in the world ~ but what made us better than any of the rest was self-discipline, learned the proper way by the examples set by good, tough leaders. Somehow the Canadian Armed Forces seems to have lost too much toughness, too much discipline and far too much leadership.

By my count, fully ⅓ of the most senior admirals and generals (four and three star officers) in the Canadian Armed Force shave been accused of some sort of impropriety. Now, I don’t know if that’s all there is ~ I fear there may be even more to come ~ and I don’t know if ⅓ of the colonels and lieutenants and sergeants are also going to be accused of misconduct (I certainly hope not), Nor do I know if ⅓ of bank presidents or corporate CEOs or very, very senior civil servants might be accused of the same sort of thing. What I do know is that is too much for Canadian admirals and generals; ⅓ must be totally unacceptable; 1⁄10 is also too much; maybe 1/100 is a more “normal” and acceptable figure ~ but, I hope, since the Canadian Armed Forces has over 120 admirals and generals and commodores in the full-time, regular force, that 1/100 is too high, too.

In each public affair involving the most senior officers there appears to be a case to be answered. This is not just rumours. People have come forward and have made complaints that the military’s own National Investigation Service thinks need formal investigation. If it was just one, isolated case one might have said, “oh, maybe it’s just a disgruntled subordinate who didn’t get the promotion or positing she was after,” but in at least two cases we know that very senior Canadian officers had extramarital affairs while serving in allied HQs and that, at least, brought those individuals into some disrepute, even if they did not break any Canadian military rules. (Unlike the more puritanical USA, adultery is not a military offence in Canada.) So, it seems evident, unproven but evident, that something is not right within the top leadership levels of the Canadian Armed Forces. I believe that there has been a series of ethical failures, going back years, decades, in fact, which have created leadership problems which have had a direct impact on the discipline of the officers and sailors, soldiers and air force members who serve in Canada’s Navy, Army and Air Force.

My solution remains as I said almost two weeks ago: “It is time, I believe, for Prime Minister Trudeau to tell ALL of the currently serving four and three star admirals and generals to retire, forthwith.” Maybe he cannot force them retire but he can put each on indefinite, paid, leave.

I know that I am proposing mass punishment and so on, all the things that we were taught were not the hallmarks of good leadership but when ⅓ of the senior leaders are being investigated for moral misconduct then I believe that a bit of overreaction might be acceptable.

The Canadian Armed Forces needs a new, interim leader, who will have a specific mandate to restore the military ethos in Canada. If (s)he does that then the leadership and discipline will regenerate themselves. There will be not need for another useless watchdog.

This looks about right

David Parkins, drawing in the Globe and Mail, seems to see the current situation very clearly:

Reconciling the Conservative Party‘s commitment to listen to Canadians (Policy 161 ~ which I discussed yesterday) with the realities of winning election by NOT alienating voters is hard.

The end of the CPC?

There are those who believe that the Conservative Party of Canada suffers from some sort of political suicide ideation. There seem to be factions in the Party that are emotionally incapable of accepting any sort of compromise or moderation. The Campaign Life Coalition might be one of them. I see, in an article in the Peterborough Examiner, that, being dissatisfied with the Party’s current position, called Policy 70

… it hopes “to push the party to abandon its pledge that a Conservative government would not support a law regulating access to abortion.

Campaign Life Coalition - Canada's Premiere Advocate for Legal and Cultural  Change

Let me say, first, that I have the utmost respect for the good people in Campaign Life Coalition. I understand that they believe, in their minds and hearts, that their position is the ONLY one that is morally acceptable and that social ruin will come to Canada because of those who follow the current Conservative and Liberal and NDP party lines. But, do they, I wonder, not understand that their proposal, to reopen the abortion debate, is exactly what Justin Trudeau ~ the most committed “pro-choice” leader in Canadian history ~ wants? The Campaign Life Coalition is NOT an arm of the Conservative Party. The Campaign Life Coalition doesn’t care about the other 160 Conservative Policy statements from 1. Role of Government to 161. Policy Development Principles. They care only about Policy 70.

Now, the Conservative Party says, in Policy 161, that it “believes true democracy involves vigorous participation by all citizens in the affairs of the country … [and] … We will commit to broad consultation with citizens across Canada to further the ongoing policy development process and ensure Members of Parliament have the fullest input from all Canadians.” That means that the Campaign Life Coalition must be given a fair hearing; it must be allowed to make it case. The Conservative Party is not like Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

… it’s not like that “basic dictatorship” that Justin Trudeau admires so much. Thus, I expect that the Campaign Life Coalition will try to force the issue and if they succeed they will:

The Pollcast: Lessons from the federal PC-Alliance merger | CBC News
  • Guarantee a landslide Liberal victory in the planned 2021 general election; and
  • Destroy the Conservative Party of Canada that Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay cobbled together in 2003 and which gave Canada the best government (2006-2015) that it has had since the 1967.

I am not exaggerating. The Conservative Party cannot continue to exist as a useful political movement if it is formally, aligned against the wishes of a majority of Canadians.*

I do not believe that Erin O’Toole could or would stay on to lead a party that decided to make itself an officially pro-life party within its constitution. I doubt that e.g. Rona Ambrose, Candice Bergen, Michael Chong, Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay, Caroline Mulroney, Pierre Poilievre or Michelle Rempel-Garner would associate themselves with that party, either. I know that I would not be able to support its candidate in my riding.

I have said, before, that I believe that there is room for more political parties in Canada. I mean that there is “room,” specifically for a party that stands to the right of the Conservatives. That is what will have to happen if the Campaign Life Coalition succeeds in destroying the current Conservative Party. Canada is, already, a moderate, slightly left-leaning country. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are working very hard to peel off the moderate (right) wing of the NDP by promising almost everything that has been in NDP election manifestos for decades. The NDP seems intent on helping by reaching out to proven anti-Semites like Jeremy Corbyn, but perhaps the absolutely loony-left wing is all that’s left for them.

As the Liberals move left they actually leave their own right wing exposed and the Conservatives need, now, to move in on that by being more, not less moderate. Faced with the Campaign Life Coalition threat, Erin O’Tool needs to get tough. He needs to reach out to every MP, to every candidate, to every riding association executive member and say: “You’re either with me and our Party or you’re working to destroy us, there is no middle ground on this issue. If I lose this then I’m gone and so are our Party’s chances of winning an election much before 2035. But, I intend to win, and then I WILL clean our Party’s house of all those who did not stand with me.

Quite frankly, the religious right has no place to go. They would, if they were really honest, form their own political party, but they know that do not have the support of enough Canadians to ever be more than a handful of independents, à la the Greens. There is a place for the religious right in the Conservative Party IF that movement can accept that it will get a respectful hearing but that’s all … its policies will not become Conservative policy because the Conservative Party is a moderate centre-right and right-of-centre party, not a right wing one.

—–

* Recent (2020) data says that a solid majority (75%) of Canadians are “satisfied” with the current abortion laws ~ which means they are satisfied with no laws regulating abortion. The data suggests that only 13% of Canadians identify as “Pro-life,” which is to say that they agree with the Campaign Life Coalition. But there is also data which says that many, i some cases even most Canadians, want some restrictions, most notably, a majority oppose “sex-selection” abortions and many want some rules regarding third term abortions. (I think that it is not so much that Canadians are happy with the current state of affairs; they are, I suspect, simply unable to believe that any political debate will do any good.)

Four months?

Is four months a safe interval for two-shot COVD-19 vaccinations? I have no idea. But just days ago the NACI (National Advisory Committee on Immunization) said that “real world” evidence suggests that a four month period was acceptable for the two-shot vaccines (Astra-Zeneca, Moderna and Pfizer) approved for use in Canada even as it said that, contrary to other “real wold” evidence, the AstraZeneca should not be given to people over 65. Caveat lector: this matters to me because I’m 78.

What I am sure of is that a four month gap between first and second “jabs” will do wonders for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reelection chances. If we actually start large scale vaccinations in April or May and if we can have a safe long delay between “jabs” then almost all voting age Canadians might get their first jab before August ~ what a great time for a general election!

The members of the NACI all appear to be very highly qualified and I, personally, trust their scientific/medical judgment … but it appears that Pfizer, for example, and the British Medical Association do not. They recommend a maximum of six weeks, not 16, between jabs.

Is that NACI decision driven by politics? I think not. But, I do think it is driven by logistics. I believe that there can be no doubt, not even a tiny shred of doubt that IF Canada had an adequate supply of vaccines then the NACI would never have suggested such a long delay. They are doing so because it is the least bad choice given that, as I said just the other day, Justin Trudeau’s government is FUBAR. They were asked, I suspect, something like: “how do we vaccinate the most people as quickly as possible, given our limited supply?” The obvious answer is to vaccinate everyone once, as quickly as possible and then hope that two things happen:

  • First, the supply situation improves in the late spring/early summer when, for example, the USA will be, effectively, 100% vaccinated; and
  • The effective rate at which one dose prevents spread of the virus is, as the evidence seems to suggest, 75% or more. Then, on the basis of a good prevention rate the four month gap is probably the longest that is scientifically justifiable, no matter what others think.

Prime Minister Trudeau has jumped all over this because it improves his electoral chances. But I reiterate, that is not (I most sincerely believe … and hope) why the National Advisory Committee on Immunization made the recommendation. They did so because they had to, they did so because Prime Minister Trudeau totally screwed up the procurement and supply of vaccines. He failed Canada, again, and he will continue to fail if Canadians give him another term in office, which, as I said yesterday, many seem inclined to want to do.

A stab in the back?

Just as some Canadians in the commentariat are saying that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is giving our country “the worst Canadian government ever,” John Ibbitson, an astute observer, says, in the Globe and Mail, that “Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole needs to do a better job.” He’s got a long way to go, Mr Ibbitson says before he can  “convince us he is prime minister-in-waiting.

John Ibbitson deals, first, with the perpetual Conservative problem: the Big Tent is hard (impossible?) to unify on too many issues. “The party,” he says, “has no coherent position on the issues that matter most: helping the economy to recover while controlling the deficit and acting credibly to reduce carbon emissions.” It really doesn’t matter how badly Justin Trudeau is doing on those issues, unless and until the Conservatives can persuade voters that they have practical plans to do better, Canadians will give him the benefit of the doubt.

Mr Ibbitson says, and I agree that “As politicians like to say, let’s be clear: People who oppose abortion or who believe marriage can only be between a man and a woman can be part of the conservative coalition, provided they understand that they may not impose these views, which most of us, including most conservatives, don’t share … [and] … People … [like me] … who believe that private-sector innovation is the best way to bend the curve on global warming can be part of the conservative coalition, provided they understand the state must also play a role … [and, further] … people … [like me, again] … who believe that government should be as small as practically possible and that each individual should be free and responsible for the life they live belong at the very heart of the conservative coalition, provided they understand that inequality and racism hold some people back.

Then, Mr Ibbitson looks at Mr O’Toole and says that he self-describes (as do I, by the way) as a “a socially moderate fiscal conservative. But he must surely understand that, in courting the social conservative vote during the leadership campaign, only to pivot to the centre as soon as he’d won, he upset a lot of so-cons and left others confused … [and] … On the major issues, he talks about the need to manage the economic recovery more effectively, without saying how. He insists Conservatives must make environmental issues a priority, but has offered no plan to address global warming.” Those are valid criticisms. Both the Conservative base and the larger population is confused about Erin O’Toole. Is he a “True Blue Conservative,” whatever anyone might conceive that to be, or is he a moderate, which has its own range of connotations? “He is in danger,” John Ibbitson says, “of falling into the same trap that ended Andrew Scheer’s leadership: trying to hold onto the base while appealing to persuadable voters by talking about his suburban roots, avoiding clear stands on difficult issues, and trashing the Liberals when they don’t deserve it as well as when they do. It left Mr. Scheer appearing weak and evasive and mean. Mr. O’Toole is halfway there.

The Justin Trudeau campaign team, which consists, inter alia, of the Prime Minister’s (taxpayer funded) Office, some fairly large slices of the (also paid with our tax dollars) federal bureaucracy, especially the “communications” branches, and probably the largest slice of the Canadian media, (much of which receives both direct and indirect (and often very substantial) government funding), is working hard to make sure that the divisions in the Conservative Party of Canada are on full display and cause the maximum political damage, and even those media outlets that not part of the Trudeau campaign team will run the stories because political dissension is newsworthy.

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The Conservatives says that they are ready to do whatever it takes to get Canada back on track. They need to start being specific. They have enunciated some good ideas: getting tough on China by, just for a start, getting Huawei out of our networks and out of our university research programmes and rebuilding relations with India. They are trying to focus on jobs, even as they, very properly, continue to try to hold the government to account for what appears to be major-league corruption, as Pierre Poilievre explains in this video clip. But, evidently, it’s not enough. The recent (almost a week ago) polls show that Canadians voters seem intent on giving Prime Minister Trudeau another chance …

… and his chances of winning a majority will grow as the prospects of a real vaccine rollout programme improve. This, I suspect, is what is causing dissent in the Conservative ranks ~ if a fundamentally decent, honest, capable person like Erin O’Toole cannot make a dent in the political armour or a lazy, unethical, dishonest coward then the problem must be him.

I suspect that someone fairly high up in the Conservative Party, someone who did not support O’Toole in 2020 or in 2017, has been working the phones to e.g. John Ibbitson and Brian Platt and Chris Selley at the National Post. There is always discontent with a leader, even the best one. There is a small opposition faction in the Liberal Party, too …

… but it has been driven out by an absolutely ruthless leadership team that does not tolerate any dissent, at all.

NZ's path to United Nations Agenda 2030 | Star News

I can understand the frustration in the Conservative ranks: nothing they say or do seems to have any impact on Prime Minister Trudeau’s popularity with some voters ~ especially those in suburban Ontario. The biggest English language media outlets ~ CTV and CBC ~ seem, to many, to have been bought and paid for by the Trudeau Liberals. I don’t quite share that view ~ the CBC is, of course, the government’s own network, but the problem is that many journalists share a single world view. They, mostly, went to the same universities, took the same courses from the same professors, most of whom were/are believers in things like the Freeland-Trudeau Great Reset, which is, really, the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. That, which I would guess less than 1 Canadian in 100 has even heard about, much less understands, is hugely popular in the chattering classes. And who could be opposed? Just read §§7 to 9 in “Our Vision,” in the document. That’s what Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland are selling and the media, most of it, anyway, is buying it, lock, stock and barrel.

Taking action on the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development - Canada.ca

What the Freeland-Trudeau team is selling is seductively attractive because it conforms to our liberal beliefs and values: peace, justice, equality and prosperity for all. No one in their right minds thinks those are bad goals. But there ought to be a political question about how we plan to gt there … ought to be, but isn’t.

While there is nothing much wrong with the United Nations’ vision, there is a lot that should be debated about how Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland plan to implement it … should be and could be if Team Freeland-Trudeau will ever bring down a budget. But they will delay that for as long as they can and when it comes, just before a late spring (June) or mid-summer (July-August) election it will be a looooong list of popular spending promises which will go, largely, unquestioned by most of the media.

And that’s Erin O’Toole’s problem: the Liberal agenda is neither published nor asked for … Canadians, the Liberals assume, probably correctly, believe that Liberals are liberal. But, they are not; they are Canada’s illiberal party and have been since 1968, but only rarely does anyone ever say it. The Conservatives are the liberal party but in their own ranks, the word liberal is badly misunderstood and is equated with e.g. progressive and “woke” and so on rather than with the ideas of John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Margaret Thatcher, Condoleeza Rice and Stephen Harper …

… about individual rights and freedoms, and, yes Stephen J Harper belongs on that list: read his book: Right Here, Right Now, it’s all about preserving and promoting pragmatic liberal values.

A Kuwaiti Citizen Arrested For Stabbing A Compatriot | Kuwait Local

I believe that Erin O’Toole is the best available choice for the Conservative Party of Canada and for Canada, too. Can he win in 2021? I don’t know. The odds, right now, are against him, and just when he doesn’t need it, some internal, Conservative, opponents have decided to launch an attack ~ it’s as though they want another Trudeau government. Quite frankly, the mind boggles. At this point, a flea-bitten, three-legged, one-eyed dog would be a better choice to lead Canada than Justin Trudeau is, but some people in the Conservative Party seem intent on getting behind their leader only so that they can stab him in the back and give Canada another Trudeau fiasco.

FUBAR

I was glad to see, in yesterday’s Globe and Mail, that Health Canada has approved another vaccine for use in Canada. But, the same newspaper tells us, “as of this week, Canada ranked behind more than 30 countries in vaccination rates. Its number of inoculated citizens stalled in February, hovering at about 5 per cent – while peer countries such as Britain and the United States, as well as poorer countries such as Chile and Morocco, have accelerated their rollout.

In an editorial, the Globe and Mail also says that “Right now, Canada’s pandemic response remains located somewhere between comparatively mediocre and completely FUBAR.” That’s right, the Good Grey Globe has used some old soldier’s slang to characterize just how bad the Trudeau regime’s response to the COVID 19 pandemic has been: F’ed up beyond all recognition.

Crude as it may be it is impossible to argue with the Globe and Mail‘s editorial board’s conclusion that Prime Minister Trudeau has failed on a scale that would shame most third world despots.

Oe of my interlocutors asked, “How did we get here?

The answer, it seems to me, is simple: Justin Trudeau got us here because, in the summer of 2020, when other world leaders like Prime Ministers Johnson (UK) and Netanyahu (Israel) and even President Donald Trump were actually working to actually secure vaccine supplies for their countries, he was too busy trying to cover up his, and his family’s, involvement in the WE Charity Scandal.

We don’t, yet, know the full extent of his involvement because his PMO improperly redacted documents

… then he prorogued Parliament to avoid questions about the scandal, and then he instructed his trained seals MPs to filibuster committee hearings. His contempt for the people’s Parliament, for our Parliament and, therefore, for us, Canadians, is nearly boundless.

That’s why we are in this mess, in a situation that the Globe and Mail‘s editors describe as FUBAR: Justin Trudeau, when he should have been focused on helping Canada to fight back against a global pandemic, was busy mounting a Watergate level coverup. Why was he doing that? My only answer is that he must be trying to conceal Watergate level wrongdoing, which, I need not remind you, saw a head of government resign in disgrace and some of his close associate sent to prison.

I really, sincerely hope that whatever Prime Minister Trudeau is hiding does not rise (or fall) to that ~ Watergate and criminality ~ standard. No one, not even the most ardent Conservative partisan, wants to see the prime minister of Canada in the dock. But it is time for good Liberals

… and Liberal supporters to rise up and reclaim the Liberal Party of Canada from the Laurentian Elites and sundry other special interests, foreign and domestic, and make it, once again, a proud national institution that serves all Canadians, not just a few.

The Liberal Party, under Justin Trudeau is, indeed, FUBAR. That’s a serious problem for Canada and its one that Liberals and their friends need to fix.

Front page shame

This was the front page of the Globe and Mail just the other day:

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It is beyond shameful that 39 Canadian communities are still under boil water advisories. But the problem is not just boil water advisories, Corinna Dally-Starna, in an article in The Conversation, an independent journal established by the Canadian academic and research community, explains that there are deeper, underlying problems which make boil water advisories just a symptom of a bigger engineering problem.

The good news is that, at its root, and despite some social and political influences, it is an engineering problem and, as I have said before, in relation to e.g. environmental issues, we, humans, including we Canadians, have been solving difficult engineering problems for millennia.

It seems to me that we need to “scope” each individual problem, and there are several hundred First Nations in Canada and many of them are in remote areas and many of them also have some or all of the problems that Ms Dally-Starna enumerated including being in remote areas, sometimes too close to resource extraction sites which have compromised water quality, and a lack of engineers and technical staff.

Ms Dally-Starna makes the key point that in too many communities, even when there is clean water, many people are not connected to a water supply (or electrical) network. The real problem is not just water. There are a whole host of related problems, including, in some cases, community leadership, about which I am not sufficiently well-informed to comment, but engineering is one of them.

Too many remote communities, not just First Nations, have less than first rate technical services. It is always expensive, and sometime practically impossible to get enough full-time, resident technical staff to live in remote communities. But a small town needs a doctor and a dentist and a someone to maintain the electrical and water supply and waste disposal and telecommunications infrastructure just like bigger towns from St John’s or Esquimalt do. It is better, but not essential, if they are local people with ties to the communities they serve, but, throughout our history, “outsiders” have often contributed to building communities.

This is not totally a First Nations issue. Many remote communities are not as well served are small towns and villages in say, South Western Ontario or British Columbia. The problem starts with reliable broadband communications and includes electricity and water supply. But the problems are more easily settled in non-First Nations communities because they only have to deal with provincial governments that, as often as not, actually listen to voters rather than just thanking them for their donations.

Time and again our Supreme Court has told us that, in their dealings with First Nations, the governments we elect have besmirched the honour of the crown. The Supremes really mean that the governments we elect dishonour us by lying to and cheating our fellow Canadians. It is past time for some action. It will not be simple and it will not be cheap but the answers are not rocket science, either: they are relatively straight forward, day-by-day, engineering and technical service issues ~ plumbing and electrical supply and sewage treatment and so on. If they can be done, not always as well as they should be, to be sure, in rural and small-town Ontario, then they can be done in remote regions, too. If we have to use the Canadian Armed Forces to get things rolling then do so … if we can supply clean water to countries halfway around the world then we must be able to do it for our fellow citizens here at home.

The Globe and Mail‘s headline should shock and appal all Canadians. The Trudeau government has, yet again, disgraced us all. It’s time for a change.

Ooops

So, about a month ago, when the allegations about now retied General Jonathan Vance first surfaced, “Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan repeatedly said he was “surprised” by the allegations made against former Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance but would not disclose when he learned of allegations, stating that his hands were tied when it came to providing any such details.” Now it appears, according to testimony provided the other day that “Former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne says he specifically told Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan about allegations of misconduct against Gen. Jonathan Vance during a “hostile” closed-door meeting three years ago.” In fact, “Walbourne said he met with Sajjan in March 2018 to brief him about the allegations. The ombudsman also had evidence to give Sajjan, but the minister refused to accept the material … [Mr Walbourn said that] … “Yes, I did directly tell him about an allegation of inappropriate behaviour against the chief of defence staff,” Walbourne said to the committee. “I did tell the minister what the allegation was. I reached into my pocket to show him the evidence I was holding. He pushed back from the table and said, ‘No.’”

This puts the Minister and the former Ombudsman on directly opposite sides of the question: he said vs. he said. The relationship between government officialdom and an ombudsman is complex ~ there are many privacy issues, especially surrounding those who might ask the ombudsman to investigate a complaint. Mr Walbourne, a career civil servant, seems to have had a somewhat difficult relationship with a minister’s office that was trying to work out procedures for financial accountability after the Auditor General released (2015) a scathing report about his predecessor’s expenses.

Now, if this was a Conservative government then I am absolutely certain that the media, all of it, would be calling for the defence minister’s head on a platter but the notion that Liberal ministers should be accountable for their own actions and decisions, much less the actions of their officials, seems quite foreign to all of us. This is, after all, Justin Trudeau’s government so it cannot be held responsible for anything, can it?

It has been five and a half years since Prime Minister Trudeau was elected in October of 2015. Allegations of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces preceded him. In fact, then newly minted Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance launched Operation HONOUR in August of 2015 in response to a judicial inquiry report. The problems were not a secret but the solutions, beyond platitudes, were elusive. There are attributes of military service, especially when deployed overseas or at sea, which are different from the working experience of 99% of Canadians. None of those differences excuse sexual harassment or sexual assault but what was needed, in the 1990s when I was still serving, and in the 2000s, was action, leadership, not just more words.

Now the situation is coming to a head in a growing political war-of-words which is not what Prime Minister Trudeau needs now, as he considers when to go to the polls in 2021. Should he fire Harjit Sajjan? The Minister of National Defence is a highly visible reminder of the Liberal Party‘s links to the politically powerful Sikh-Canadian community …

… there are, currently, about a dozen Sikh-Canadian MPs in the Liberal caucus, many representing crucially important suburban seats in Ontario and British Columbia. But he is also a reminder of yet another Liberal policy failure.

Over five years I explained that I was perplexed by the choice of Mr Sajjan to be the Minister of National Defence. Medals, I suggested, do not make the man, and if they did then I wondered by Andrew Leslie, who has a much more impressive “rack” had not been given the job. I think the reason was obvious then and it remains so now. But I suspect that if he had made better choices in 2015 Prime Minister Trudeau would not be facing problems now.

Justin Trudeau came to power with an unspoken promise to ignore the military. Harjit Sajjan was a safe choice to be a do-nothing Minister of National Defence, and the bloated, actually morbidly obese military command and control (C2) superstructure, with many dozens ~ now well over 100 ~ admirals and generals and commodores, was happy enough to relax a bit, after the Afghanistan War, while the generals wrote memoranda to each other, gave one another medals and awards, designed colourful new shoulder patches for their HQ staffs and told critics that they were all doing their best to preserve what they could in a time of budget constraint and so on. Canada was “back,” as Justin Trudeau promised, but back in a manner that we hadn’t seen since Pierre Trudeau’s days.

Well, now the military is back in the news … in the worst possible way and it’s a problem for Justin Trudeau and for the country. My prescription is unchanged from last week: a thorough cleaning of the top ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces, for a start ~ every single one of the dozen or so admirals and vice-admirals and lieutenant generals to be retired, early. A new, interim Chief of the Defence Staff should be appointed with a mandate to restore the military ethos and to make operational effectiveness the primary goal. (If you fix the ethos then the sexual misconduct will fix itself.)

Photo - Hon. Lawrence MacAulay - Click to open the Member of Parliament profile
Photo - Hon. Joyce Murray - Click to open the Member of Parliament profile

And, now, a new Minister is needed, too, I think. I understand that Harjit Sajan may need to stay in the cabinet, but Lawrence MacAuley, and able and honest man, is underemployed in Veterans Affairs, and Joyce Murray could certainly do something more than whatever Digital Government might involve.