Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Tuesday, January 9, 2018

read from the source

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



     This is meeting number 85 of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. We're here to discuss a letter from Mr. Peter Kent.

    Thank you, Chair, and happy new year to colleagues around the table.
     I thank you for your decision to call this meeting in response to my letter, Mr. Chair.
    Just to remind the committee, and for the record, my request to you was to place this motion today to be considered by the committee:

That, the Committee invite the Prime Minister to discuss Commissioner Dawson's finding in The Trudeau Report released by the Commissioner's office on December 20th, 2017, and that this meeting take place either on January 17th or January 18th, 2018.
    To explain the logic behind this request, Chair, I'll remind all members that the commissioner released her report, “The Trudeau Report”, one week after the House of Commons rose in December. Several hours after that report was released, the Prime Minister did meet with the media in the lobby of the House and held what I think is most fairly described as a disjointed news conference, struggling to answer some very basic questions from journalists with regard to the commissioner's findings.
    The Prime Minister did make an apology in that news conference, but it was a qualified apology. In the same sentence, he made clear that he disagreed with Commissioner Dawson's finding against his claim of a deep and lasting relationship with the Aga Khan.
    Why today's meeting? Why my motion before the committee today?
     Well, most members of Parliament should be back on the clock. We've all had an appropriate holiday break. Just as important, the Prime Minister's schedule this month is somewhat more flexible than it will be, I anticipate, come the end of the month, when the House resumes and when he will have obligations elsewhere in the country and abroad.
    Why this motion to invite the Prime Minister? Well, questions with regard to his holiday in the Caribbean, in question periods throughout this past year, have not been met with meaningful answers.
     This committee is empowered by the Standing Orders of the House of Commons to respond to the report and the consequences reported by the Ethics Commissioner. This is a calm and respectful setting in which to discuss the commissioner's findings with the subject of that investigation and that report: the Prime Minister of Canada. There is no heckling, questions are respectfully answered, and questions can be put in a relaxed manner over a period of an hour or two. This committee has had a succession of ministers, departmental officials, deputy ministers, and commissioners here in recent months, without mishap and without complaint.
    What would such a meeting discuss with the Prime Minister? Well, aside from questions about his initial qualified apology, there are elements of the Prime Minister's testimony contained in the commissioner's report, observations and conclusions by the commissioner in this extensive report of 60 or 70 pages, depending on how you measure them, and comments by the Prime Minister—for example, on the way he sees himself as Prime Minister in situations with stakeholders or those petitioning for favours or financial benefit from the Government of Canada.
     I would point to the commissioner's observation that she concluded the Prime Minister felt that he could appear on two occasions with the Aga Khan, for example, exposing himself improperly under the Conflict of Interest Act, on the excuse that he wasn't there on official business: he was there to build relationships.


     To come to the motion before us, yesterday the spokesman at the Prime Minister's Office said that Liberal members of this committee were not influenced in the decisions they would take here today, and that they were open to vote with their conscience, to make their own choices on whether to support this motion.
    I must say that this morning I was disappointed in the Prime Minister's remarks from the east coast, when he said that he wants to avoid the Ottawa news “bubble”, that he wants to take questions on this matter from Canadians at round tables and in town halls across the country.
     I would simply respectfully remind the Prime Minister that he has the same duties and obligations as every member of Parliament to be accountable to Parliament and to respect the rules, regulations, and laws of Parliament, particularly the Conflict of Interest Act. Given the unprecedented serious findings of four violations of significant elements of the Conflict of Interest Act, I believe it is his responsibility to make himself available to members of Parliament to discuss the report and his feelings about the commissioner's findings, and there is no more appropriate location, I believe, than before this committee, which is responsible for the ethical practices of the House of Commons.
    That said, I'll close here, Chair, and simply invite my Liberal colleagues to walk through the door that was so generously opened by the Prime Minister's Office yesterday and support my motion to invite the Prime Minister to attend this committee in the near future.

    Thank you, Mr. Kent.
    I have a speaking order here. Mr. Cullen is next.

    I share the salutations: happy new year to everyone around the table.
     It is somewhat unusual to have a meeting at this particular time, but I think we're into uncharted waters a bit. We've never had a report quite like this from an Ethics Commissioner, so I think our response should also meet the seriousness of what has happened.
    My colleague mentioned the notion of an opportunity. I would put this to my Liberal colleagues in particular, because I suspect the instinct might be to oppose a motion like this: a political calculation about a sitting Prime Minister appearing before a committee and answering questions. While this is not unprecedented in Canadian history, it is unprecedented to have a Prime Minister who has been found in violation of the ethics act. We have not had that before. I, too, watched the press conference that followed the release of this report, as I'm sure some of my friends across the way did. It was clear not only that some of the questions caused the Prime Minister some challenges in answering directly, but that the average Canadian watching that and looking for answers to some pretty specific points and decisions the Prime Minister and his office made with regard to this trip would have left that press conference still not having those answers.
    I don't want to knock down question period too much, Chair, because it does serve a purpose. It allows certain things to be demonstrated from time to time, but as members of Parliament, we all know that when something is of a serious nature that requires time and examination, committees are where the best work of Parliament happens. I think—and I hope my colleagues share this view—this committee works very well, even when discussing issues that have been difficult, issues around access to information and privacy and ethics. Only in rare instances have I felt any of the bad elements of partisanship enter into our conversations. I think this committee works very well in producing our reports, and often those are unanimous.
    Now, I want to be completely open about the intention behind such a meeting, for me. Here, I am addressing mostly my Liberal colleagues. I've heard Mr. Kent's sentiments; I share some of those, if not all of them. I take this incredibly seriously. Influencing office holders—as we all are—is about something that's very important to me, and I think it's important to the people I represent.
     I hope it's important to all of us and to the people we represent that, regardless of our partisan interest and regardless of the specific issues we fight on, the issue of not being influenced, of having clear ethical rules and clear consequences for breaking those rules, is important for the trust that Canadians need to maintain in all of us. Regardless of what views those Canadians hold, we hope they all hold the idea that ethics matter, that this isn't a game.
     I think there was an unfortunate analogy used by the Prime Minister this morning in referring to this as partisan games. I don't take ethics as a game. I think this is actually incredibly important. I assume the Prime Minister didn't intend the comments to be taken that way, but referring to things that happen here in Parliament as partisanship and games and to everything else that happens as serious is a wrong interpretation of our world, because then it implicates Parliament as being nothing but that.
    Prime Minister Trudeau set a very high bar coming into office, particularly in coming out of the previous government—no offence, Mr. Kent and others—in which accountability and transparency were a problem; we saw the affairs of the Senate and other issues, such as the Elections Act and whatnot. The Prime Minister came forward as a candidate and then as a sitting Prime Minister with some very strong and clear directives. I remember being quite taken by some of those commitments around things like conflict of interest, not just in the letter of the law, but in the spirit of the law: not only to not be found in a conflict of interest, but to not even have the appearance of a conflict of interest. I remember thinking, “That's a very high and appropriate bar for us to have as public office holders.”
    One of the questions—again, being transparent to my Liberal colleagues so they cannot concern themselves about this being some sort of malicious attempt—would be in regard to the Prime Minister's mandate letters, which he set out for all members of cabinet and which I assume applied to him as well: that in entering this Liberal cabinet, one of the clear rules would be not to be in a conflict of interest and not to have the appearance of a conflict of interest, and that's a clear mandate that we are all familiar with. Whenever an organization or a leader sets a rule, if the rule is broken, there are consequences. I assume that in putting that rule down, if a cabinet minister were to fall into a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, there would be a consequence to that action. Otherwise, what's the point of having the rule? The challenge we have in this case is that the boss himself has broken the rule, as has been found by the Ethics Commissioner.


    I'm trying to imagine the average Canadian workplace. You go to work for somebody and they say, “If you're going to work here, these are the rules you have to follow.” For example, if you're working at a bank, you can't accept gifts from somebody who is doing business with the bank. Then the next day you come into work and you see the bank manager accepting a gift from somebody doing work with the bank. You can draw a couple of conclusions. You can say, “Well, that rule doesn't really mean anything and I, too, can do it,” or you want to raise concerns about it.
    My assumption is that, in setting these rules, the Prime Minister's intention was good: to restore the public faith in elected office that had been lost, and to combat the cynicism that we often deal with from those who are not in politics saying, “It's all just a game. It's all just people looking out for themselves.” We set these rules. If there is no consequence other than a report and an awkward—if I can use that term—press conference, then that doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent for those who are intentionally looking to break the rules.
    Another question I would have would be about his choice and decision—as was reported by Ms. Dawson, the now former commissioner—not to recuse himself from meetings that pertained to the foundation that was established by the Aga Khan to lobby the government.
    I misspoke. The foundation exists. There is a lobbying group that has been established to lobby on behalf of the Aga Khan Foundation. Having just a few days prior returned from a trip that was essentially paid for, except for the commercial flights, by the Aga Khan, he was in a meeting dealing with business that affected the Aga Khan Foundation's interests and did not recuse himself from that meeting. That is a question I have for the Prime Minister. It's a question that remains unanswered to this date.
    This is the forum to do it. This is the forum where we can have a civil exchange, as Mr. Kent talked about, and find out where the lines are in the Prime Minister's own mind. Clearly, how he interprets these rules and their application affects not just him but everybody in his cabinet, and I would think, by extension, all of Parliament.
    I'm trying to imagine a scenario in which we, members of Parliament who are not prime ministers, would find ourselves if somebody offered us a nice painting. We said thank you and we accepted it. It was later determined by the Ethics Commissioner that it was accepted inappropriately. We should never have accepted the painting. The natural justice, to me—I don't know about my colleagues—at a bare minimum would be to return the painting. We wouldn't keep it, would we?
    For the Canadians watching, a relevant question I would put to the Prime Minister is this. I don't think he has denied this. I could be wrong, but someone will correct me. He has now admitted that accepting this trip was inappropriate, that to ask for and receive a vacation to a private island for him, his family, and some friends, while the Aga Khan was also lobbying the Prime Minister's Office, was inappropriate and broke the ethics rules that we have. Why hasn't there been a suggestion from the Prime Minister to pay that back?
    I'm going to disagree with my Conservative colleagues about the payment back of security fees. I have a different view of things. I think the Prime Minister incurs security costs just by nature of being a Prime Minister, but, for me, the cost of the trip itself remains. What's the difference between accepting that painting on the wall and accepting a free trip? If both of those gifts were found to be against our ethics rules, why does the Prime Minister remain in the enjoyment of that free vacation when that would not be offered to somebody else? As the commissioner found in her report, the argument of friendship—“Hey, do you want to use my cottage for the weekend, old buddy?”—doesn't work. It did not qualify and did not satisfy our commissioner.
    I don't want to go on more than this because I'm curious about my Liberal colleagues and what their views are. I believe questions remain unanswered.


     The Prime Minister is, by law and nature, accountable to Parliament. Town halls are great. I do them all the time. But they do not substitute for this and should not be seen as substitutions for this. I think Canadians would broadly agree. They enjoy the opportunity to ask their Prime Minister questions. The Prime Minister of Canada is accountable to Parliament, ultimately.
    None of us sitting around this table are in the government. None of us are in cabinet. We don't work for the Prime Minister's Office, none of us. Our job, collectively, is to hold the government to account, because the government has an extraordinary amount of power. The founders of our country built this for us to do our jobs.
    It is not unprecedented, but is maybe unusual, for a Prime Minister to appear before a parliamentary committee. My commitment, and I hope my colleagues know this of me from our experiences, would be to treat him with the utmost respect deserving of his office and to ask questions that I believe are pertinent and on the minds of Canadians about the rules as he interprets them, about the consequences for breaking those rules as he interprets them, and about the culture that has been created in his office and in his cabinet with respect to ethics and conflicts of interest.
    We've heard, Chair, previously, in conversations, that the Liberals are open to the idea of reviewing and strengthening the act, as Madame Dawson has urged us to do in many Parliaments now. I think it would be encouraging to hear from the Prime Minister an actual commitment to make some of the changes. I would be curious about his ideas. What changes could we make that would more firmly and clearly define what the rules are, remove some of the loopholes that have been identified by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, and move this forward so that it does not simply concern a scandal or an issue raised about the Prime Minister's choices around a trip but actually demonstrably improves Parliament and the trust Canadians can have in it?
    I look forward to comments from my Liberal colleagues across the way, and to our resolving this. While I appreciate that the instinct might be to resist such a scenario as calling the Prime Minister, I think he is more than capable of answering questions—hopefully thoughtful ones—from us as committee members so we can understand how we can make things better and understand the decisions that were made.


    Thank you, Mr. Cullen.
    Next up I have Mr. Gourde. Go ahead, Mr. Gourde.


    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    First, I too would like to wish all of the members of the committee a very Happy New Year.
    I want to begin by saying that the motion to invite the Prime Minister to testify before the committee is quite relevant. We owe it to ourselves to go through this exercise. Some may think that the committee is acting relentlessly, but I think that this aligns with the purpose of our committee.
    The Conflict of Interest Act exists to help all of the members of Parliament. We need guidelines to help us in our work. If there are excesses, we have the opportunity to discuss things with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. If there are things that need to be changed, it is up to the members of the committee to make recommendations and continue the work.
    There is a lot of concern surrounding the Prime Minister's trips to the island belonging to the Aga Khan. There were, in fact, three trips, two of which were quite complicated. They were prepared by the Office of the Prime Minister. The decision to make these trips was not made at a moment's notice. Those who took the trouble to read the report will know that the preparations for the December 2016 trip began in the summer of 2016. Those who did this preparatory work would have been very aware that transportation to the Aga Khan's island posed challenges and required special means of transport. There were surely other ways of arranging these transfers while avoiding conflicts of interest.
    Throughout this whole affair, I've been wondering how the Prime Minister could have avoided this type of conflict of interest.
    What is unfortunate is that he breached not one, two, or three sections of the Conflict of Interest Act, but four. A Prime Minister breaking a federal law is an unprecedented situation in the history of this country. We expect our Prime Minister to be above reproach and to respect our federal laws, and all legislation. The Prime Minister has to set an example for all Canadians.
    I have other concerns regarding his last trip, when he was accompanied by members of his family and other guests. We do not know who these guests were. Did they receive special advantages?
    Moreover, we have to realize that the Aga Khan heads certain foundations, and the Government of Canada has a relationship with them, as it invests over $15 million dollars in them.
    Why did the Prime Minister benefit from so much attention on the Aga Khan's island? We were told during 2017 that they were close friends. However, it is hard to believe that persons who have not spoken in 30 years are close personal friends. Suddenly, now that Mr. Trudeau occupies a high position in our country, he has become very interesting and much sought after. Unfortunately, the person who invited the Prime Minister is also registered as a lobbyist. Gifts of a value far superior to that prescribed by law were given to him. Could these gifts have influenced a future decision? We aren't privy to that, but that is the sort of question we could put to the Prime Minister when he appears before our committee. These are very interesting questions.
    In the report, certain aspects of the Prime Minister's defence are bizarre. It even says that the English and French versions of the act are contradictory. In light of that, people may use the version that suits them. If the two versions of the act are really inconsistent, we could examine that situation and make sure that the translation is accurate and that the law is fair in both official languages. This is something we need to look at.
    What is peculiar in this story is that the Prime Minister and his government proposed changes to the Conflict of Interest Act in 2015 in order to strengthen its provisions pertaining to trips, and these amended provisions are the very provisions breached by the Prime Minister's travel. So, must we conclude that what is good for all MPs is not necessarily good for the Prime Minister, and does not necessarily apply to him? I doubt that that is the case. The act is clear: it applies to all members of Parliament, including the Prime Minister. There is no provision excluding the Prime Minister from its application.


    The Prime Minister's role in connection with the act is really important. It is incumbent upon him to set an impeccable example. He may have had good reasons for what he did, but it would be courageous of him to come and explain himself; it would be his duty to do so. He would not just be explaining his actions before committee members, but before all Canadians. It is the Prime Minister's duty to explain his actions in this case. If he has valid reasons, Canadians will accept them. If not, we will see what the future holds for him politically.
    This morning I was disappointed to learn that the Prime Minister seemed to say that being asked to appear before the committee was petty politics. I am very disappointed by that. We are all members of Parliament and we are all equal. We don't all have the same duties, but basically, we all get elected in our ridings and it is incumbent upon us to represent all Canadians to the best of our ability, while complying with the laws of the land. I hope that Mr. Trudeau will have the courage to come here and that the members of the committee will permit us to invite him to appear.
    I don't want to belabour the point any longer, but it is my duty to speak out here. If there are loopholes in the provisions regarding travel, I hope we will be able to make recommendations together. We accept the Conflict of Interest Act, as we should, but we can strengthen it so that this kind of situation does not arise again. All Canadians have to understand that we are here to work for them and that we don't use taxpayers' money for our personal holidays. I think we are all able to pay for our own holidays.
    When it concerns issues that affect our nation, taxpayers are ready to spend money so that we can travel to other countries. However, when we travel for personal holidays, we must be more circumspect.
    I will yield the floor to my Liberal colleagues.

continued .... 
read from the source

Trudeau has weaponized the Charter, using it as a sword against nonconforming citizens.

Trudeau has weaponized the Charter, using it as a sword against nonconforming citizens. 

He has forgotten that the Charter is meant to be a shield for citizens against the abuse of state power.

 With the change to Canada Summer Jobs, Trudeau is weaponizing the Charter, forgetting that it is meant to be a shield against the abuse of state power.           


It is troubling when the state coerces citizens to think as it does on controversial moral issues. This tactic is expected in undemocratic states. It is concerning to witness it in a liberal democracy like Canada.

The Trudeau government is using this tactic in a peculiar context: the Canada Summer Jobs program. The program helps create summer jobs for secondary and post-secondary students by offering federal funds to entities such as not-for-profit organizations to hire these Canadians.

For the 2018 program, details of which were announced in December, any organization that requests funding for a job must attest that “both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights.”

So far, so good. The problem appears in the sentences that follow. The human rights that applicants must endorse include “reproductive rights” such as “the right to access safe and legal abortions.” As a result, applicants that oppose abortion on moral or religious grounds may be denied funding for their summer initiatives.

This move by the Trudeau government is not altogether surprising. In 2014, Trudeau decreed that all Liberal MPs must vote in a pro-choice manner on legislation concerning abortion. In March 2017, Trudeau announced that Canada will provide $650 million in foreign aid for female sexual and reproductive health — including abortions.

 Last fall, he defended the decision to block the appointment of a female MP as head of the parliamentary committee on the status of women on account of her anti-abortion views.

The reach of Trudeau’s views on abortion has steadily grown since he became Liberal leader in 2013. What started inside the walls of his caucus later spread across Parliament. With the requirement of this attestation for Canada Summer Jobs funding, it has now spilled into Canadian society.

There is reason to wonder if the federal government carefully scrutinized the lawfulness of the attestation. While it speaks of upholding Charter values, requiring the attestation may, ironically, violate the Charter. By requiring conformity to its moral position on abortion, the state may breach the freedom of conscience and religion of organizations that consider abortion to be immoral. 

The Charter guarantee of equality is also engaged, as the attestation discriminates against religious and other organizations due to their beliefs on abortion. An anti-abortion group in Toronto is challenging the attestation in court on these Charter grounds.

The state must justify Charter breaches. If it cannot, the breaches are unlawful. I suspect many Canadians are perplexed by the change to Canada Summer Jobs. What prompted it? What wrong is being righted? 

The only explanation given is that Canadians who disagree with the government on abortion have received summer job funds in the past. In this case, the actions of the federal government look like an exercise of power rather than principle.

Trudeau’s government is free to believe that access to abortion is a human right. It cannot, given the inescapable moral controversy surrounding abortion and the Charter rights of Canadians who profess a different moral view, impose this belief on all Canadians. Trudeau has weaponized the Charter, using it as a sword against nonconforming citizens. 

He has forgotten that the Charter is meant to be a shield for citizens against the abuse of state power.

Using the Charter to legitimize this tactic is disturbing given that Morgentaler — the Supreme Court of Canada’s key decision on abortion — suggested that the state can restrict abortion in certain circumstances. The state’s interest in restricting abortion, Justice Bertha Wilson noted, becomes more compelling the closer the unborn child is to birth. There has been a deliberate distortion of what Morgentaler stands for as a matter of law since its release in 1988. The ruling does not constitutionally guarantee unrestricted access to abortion in Canada.

The attestation may form part of Trudeau’s mission to create a Canada that is more inclusive and diverse. He often invokes these values. Yet by excluding many Canadians from participating in Canada Summer Jobs, the attestation does the exact opposite. It appears that the type of diversity and inclusion that Trudeau champions comes with some exclusionary fine print.

Some might argue that no one is automatically entitled to public funds. That may be true, but here the state has offered funds to the public. The Charter requires the state to make that offer in a manner that is not discriminatory and that respects the fundamental freedoms of Canadians.

The idea that certain groups in Canada should not receive public funds is often voiced by individuals who simply reject the views of the group that seeks funding. This attitude fails to recognize that this funding is not a pot of money that the governing political party brought to Ottawa when it assumed power. 

These funds come from taxes that all Canadians, with our range of views and beliefs, have paid. That these funds might at times be given to groups with which we disagree is part of the price of living in a truly inclusive and diverse society.

The notion that people who disagree with the government on controversial moral issues such as abortion must either adopt the government’s view or be excluded is acceptable in totalitarian regimes. It is not acceptable in Canada — a country that strives, in the words of the Charter, to be a “free and democratic society.”
Photo: student statue on Sherbrooke Street, Montreal. Shutterstock, by BakerJarvis.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Justin Trudeau woke a sleeping giant when he banned summer job grants to pro-life employers

Blogger note: #babyTrudeau is DE-Constructing Canada and building Babel ... he is so blinded by that fact.... that NO one in his office sees differently than he..... Pity. His kind of radical extremist feminism is a dis ease for him ..there is NO cure.

Justin Trudeau woke a sleeping giant when he banned summer job grants to pro-life employers 


January 10, 2018 (The Bridgehead) – When it was announced several weeks ago that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government had decided to insist on an “attestation” from all organizations and non-profits applying for funding from the Canada Summer Jobs Program—an attestation that indicated that group’s support for abortion and transgenderism, among other things—I noted that although the Liberals were obviously trying to specifically target pro-life groups, that everyone from churches helping refugees to the Salvation Army would be rendered ineligible by this new ideological purity test. According to the National Post yesterday, it turns out that this is precisely the case:
Churches and religious groups across the country are struggling over what to do with a confusing clause in the Canada Summer Jobs application that seems to require them to endorse access to abortions in order to get funding. The new “attestation” on the grant application is aimed at anti-abortion groups who have received the federal grants in the past. It requires stating that your organization’s core mandate respects “reproductive rights,” along with other human rights, and the online application can’t be submitted unless the box is checked.
The Liberals began this process to ensure that organizations like the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, where I serve as communications director, would no longer be able to secure funding from the Canada Summer Jobs Program after a campaign by abortion activists insisting that pro-life groups be declared ineligible resulted in the Liberals declaring that pro-life Canadians would be rejected if they applied. CCBR and several other pro-life groups took the government to court, and the Liberals were forced to settle with three pro-life groups for the amount they had been approved for by the Canada Summer Jobs Program prior to the government interference. 

The attestation process was intended to ensure that they would never have to pay out pro-life groups again—but it seems that Trudeau and the Liberals, in their arrogance, had no idea just how many organizations this policy would impact and just how many Canadians do not support their abortion agenda:
But hundreds of churches, charities, day camps and other religious organizations who hire students for summer programming are upset about the attestation, saying they feel like they’re being forced to sign a statement that goes against their beliefs.
“As a small Christian church that was planning to apply for the Canada Summer Jobs program to offer a summer internship, the recent changes have been quite a shock and disappointment,” said Brad Jones, the pastor at Woodgreen Presbyterian Church in Calgary. 

He said their church has sponsored three Syrian refugees and offers a free English-as-a-second-language cafe to the community. “And yet, because of our commitment to the sanctity of life and to biblical teachings, our government is discriminating against us,” he said.
“The very groups that the Liberal government claims to care about — students, refugees, children and people in need — will all lose because of these changes.”
What many Canadians are discovering is that while Trudeau’s Liberals may claim to care about refugees and other marginalized groups, charity will always take the backseat to ideology. Progressives have been ferocious in their attempts to shut down charities, adoption agencies, and other organizations that do much-needed work, but do not agree with every jot and tittle of their far-left ideology. 

The Liberals may not have intended to exclude these churches and charities, but by a combination of their ideological rigidity and their belief that nearly all Canadians have the exact same beliefs that they do, this exclusion was inevitable. More:
Rosemary Redshaw, the executive director of Ontario-based New Life Prison Ministries, a Christian organization that works with inmates, says she can’t sign the attestation because of her own beliefs and those of her organization, and thus can’t apply for the grant this year.
“We have had extremely successful summer placements of students of all backgrounds,” she said. “We will feel the loss of students this summer.”

The Canadian Council of Christian Charities, which represents 3,400 organizations, says it has been slammed with phone calls and emails about the new application form.

“Right now, many members are saying ‘we can’t sign this attestation,’ and if they don’t click it on the online application, their application is stopped,” said Barry Bussey, the organization’s director of legal affairs. He has been advising groups to send in a paper application with a letter that includes their own interpretation of the attestation.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada says it’s heard from 160 churches and organizations so far who are disturbed or confused about the attestation and aren’t sure if they can send in a Canada Summer Jobs application this year.
“The wording of the attestation is either very ambiguous and it needs to be clarified, or it’s completely unambiguous and it needs to be changed,” said Julia Beazley, the EFC’s director of public policy.

“The end result, whatever the intent may or may not have been, is that those who can’t check off that attestation are being denied equal access to a public benefit solely because of their religious belief.”
Of course, this applies not only to Christian groups, but also to any number of other religious groups that oppose or are uncomfortable with abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy or the new gender ideologies. 

Trudeau’s Employment Minister, caught off guard by this backlash, is telling Christian groups just to check the stupid box and they’ll get the money—after all, it’s only a pinch of incense:
Employment Minister Patty Hajdu’s office says the attestation refers only to a group’s “core mandate,” and that there’s a distinction between an organization formed solely to oppose abortion access and a group that holds religious beliefs that include anti-abortion views. It has been encouraging religious groups to apply.

But that hasn’t mollified many organizations who are faced with having to check off the box. The ministry’s Applicant Guide says the attestation is consistent with “the Government of Canada’s commitment to human rights, which include women’s rights and women’s reproductive rights, and the rights of gender-diverse and transgender Canadians.” It says the government recognizes that “women’s rights are human rights,” and include “sexual and reproductive rights — and the right to access safe and legal abortions.”
As the pro-choice political commentator John Ivison noted earlier this week, Trudeau and the so-called “Party of the Charter” believe firmly in the right of Canadians to hold all of the beliefs that they hold, and if not—well, then you’re out in the cold. 

Trudeau sees the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a tool to implement his agenda, rather than something to be upheld for all Canadians. Now, the Liberals are discovering to their shock that Canadians have a far greater diversity of belief than they thought possible—and a political backlash is beginning:
The Canada Summer Jobs grants are normally a public relations bonanza for MPs, who build the lists of local priorities for their riding and then sign off on who gets the grants. The government announced an extra $113 million annually for the program last year, doubling the number of placements across Canada to 70,000.

But now the program has become controversial, with numerous stories already in local media where MPs are having to either defend the attestation (if they’re Liberals) or attack it as an unnecessary politicization of a federal grant program.

Conservative MP Ted Falk, the party’s critic for the file, says he’s heard from groups all over his rural Manitoba riding of Provencher, including from teen drop-in centres run by Youth For Christ and churches that run daycares and summer camps. He’s been telling them to send in a paper application with a letter.

“I wrote the minister a letter on Jan. 2 asking her to immediately rescind that requirement of the application, I have not heard back from her yet,” he said. “But I’m hoping that I will.”
Toronto Right to Life is already taking the government to court, and the Conservative Party is speaking out against the Liberal move. In all likelihood, this won’t budge Trudeau—he sees pro-life Canadians as second-class citizens, and if a few organizations helping refugees and the homeless get hurt during his campaign to sideline those who believe in rights for pre-born children, then so be it. 

But the Liberal MPs fielding angry phone calls are beginning to realize that there are millions of pro-life Canadians living in this country—and that discriminating against them comes with a cost.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Taking OFF the white gloves on Trudeau:

Bloggers note: Taking OFF the white gloves on Trudeau:

Please do NOT Comment unless you take one whole hour to read and reflect: That Justin Trudeau is “pro-choice” is no surprise, but one has to wonder where his passion for abortion comes from.

TO BE READ INTEGRALLY click on the links for related articles.

Here are a few Extraxct from this Trudeau Saga....
Justin Trudeau is passionate about abortion. Is it because his mom aborted his half-sibling? | Blogs | Lifesitenews https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/justin-trudeau-is-passionate-about-abortion.-is-it-because-his-mom-aborted

That Justin Trudeau is “pro-choice” is no surprise, but one has to wonder where his passion for abortion comes from.
One wonders if the fact that the half-sibling of Justin Trudeau was aborted the year before Margaret met Pierre at age 18 has ever given Justin any pause—or if that revelation has informed or solidified his own abortion support.
Margaret, like Pierre, had rather schizophrenic views on abortion. After giving birth to her own children—Justin himself being the first—she noted that, “Because I have been pregnant and given life, I find that personally, I really believe a child to be alive from the moment it is conceived—that’s a mixture of spiritual and physical feeling. That doesn’t mean I don’t think that women should have abortion made available to them. I can certainly see many instances when it really is the best way.
One has to wonder: Did his father’s actions and lifestyle and his mother’s confession to Playgirl magazine about her own abortion inform not only Trudeau’s beliefs, but his passion for abortion? Did these circumstances develop Trudeau’s conceptualization of abortion not as a “necessary evil,” as some politicians would phrase it, but as a genuinely good thing?
Justin Trudeau has chosen to champion the Sexual Revolution and the abortion carnage that has resulted from it, but his own history provides us with a cautionary tale and highlights the ugliness and heartbreak that accompanies the so-called freedoms progressives like to celebrate.

The final tragedy is that Justin Trudeau has learned all the wrong lessons from his family’s history.
Justin Trudeau is passionate about abortion. Is it because his mom aborted his half-sibling? | Blogs | Lifesitenews https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/justin-trudeau-is-passionate-about-abortion.-is-it-because-his-mom-aborted
January 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Yet again this week, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party are in the news over an issue they enjoy accusing the Conservatives of wanting to raise: Abortion.
This time, it is because of a requirement in the application process for Canada Summer Jobs Program funding—that all organizations attest that they support abortion on demand, among other things.
The backlash has begun, although considering the fact that Trudeau has previously declared that no pro-life Canadian can run for Parliament as a Liberal, this move is as predictable as it is disgusting.

That Justin Trudeau is “pro-choice” is no surprise, but one has to wonder where his passion for abortion comes from.
  • He pledged $81 million to the UN Population Fund, which funds abortion.
  • He pressured Prince Edward Island to begin offering abortion on the island by threatening to withhold federal health funding.
  • In response to Trump’s defunding of abortion services overseas, he announced an abortion fund of $650 million for developing countries to make up for the lost cash.
  • On a visit to Ireland, Trudeau pushed Irish leader Leo Varadkar on the legalization of abortion—and Varadkar declared himself a feminist after claiming that Trudeau had explained what that meant to him.
  • And the Liberal government insisted that a female Conservative MP could not become chair of the Status of Women committee because of her pro-life views
Previous Liberal prime ministers have been universally pro-abortion, but none of them have exhibited the level of passion Justin Trudeau has for the abortion cause. Some who have actually spoken to Trudeau about the issue have told me that he sees it as one of his most prized principles, and that abortion is far more than just another line item on the progressive checklist for him.

Trudeau, as his actions in the short time he has been prime minister prove beyond a doubt, intends to use his time in office to expand abortion access in Canada, fund abortions in developing countries, and recast pro-life Canadians as second-class citizens without the same access to government programs as everyone else.
So where did this passion come from?

Shortly after Trudeau’s election in October of 2015, I took a look at one of the reasons: The Trudeau family is one that is deeply rooted in the Sexual Revolution. Pierre Trudeau was the one to decriminalize abortion in 1969, although his belief in restricting the procedure would have rendered him ineligible to run in his son’s Liberal Party. Despite Pierre’s tumultuous marriage to Justin’s mother Margaret—he gave her black eye at least once—his sexual appetites remained legendary, and he even flaunted his girlfriends to his young wife (she was thirty years his junior) as their marriage broke down.

Most significantly, when Pierre fathered a daughter with lawyer Deborah Coyne at the age of 71, he took pains to inform Coyne that he had no desire to be a parent to his only daughter, even discouraging them from living in the same city as him. His “pro-choice” approach to parenting was hugely indicative.
But the key to understanding Justin Trudeau’s passion for abortion may lie not with his father, but with his mother.

Margaret Trudeau expressed her support for abortion and birth control very early on, saying that her views on those issues were “very liberal.” Later, in a train-wreck interview she granted to Playgirl in 1979 that Vanity Fair would refer to as “one of the biggest mistakes of her life,” she recounted, among other things, that she’d had an abortion at age 17. One wonders if the fact that the half-sibling of Justin Trudeau was aborted the year before Margaret met Pierre at age 18 has ever given Justin any pause—or if that revelation has informed or solidified his own abortion support.

Margaret, like Pierre, had rather schizophrenic views on abortion. After giving birth to her own children—Justin himself being the first—she noted that, “Because I have been pregnant and given life, I find that personally, I really believe a child to be alive from the moment it is conceived—that’s a mixture of spiritual and physical feeling. That doesn’t mean I don’t think that women should have abortion made available to them. I can certainly see many instances when it really is the best way.”

One wonders if she is referring to the abortion of Justin’s half-brother or sister here.

Any pro-life activist can tell you that one reason people become resolute in their support for abortion is because someone they love very much has had one—and as such, they equate supporting abortion with supporting their loved one. The discussion about abortion suddenly becomes a very personal one.

And according to Jonathan Kay, much about Justin Trudeau can only be explained by his relationship with his mother. As the ill-fated marriage between Pierre and Margaret collapsed noisily, Margaret hit the road to live a whirlwind life of drugs, drinking, and promiscuity, attempting to outrun or self-medicate her mental health issues and struggles with depression. The tabloids lapped it up, and photographs of her dancing in Studio 54 made headlines in Canada. She toured with rock stars, had affairs with prominent celebrities, and became a cultural symbol of the Sexual Revolution.
Occasionally, she came home to see her boys. As Kay wrote after working with Trudeau on his memoirs:
What remains in my memory are the stories from his childhood. It’s one thing for daddy to leave. That happens all the time, sadly. But when mommy walks out, that’s something very different. We are conditioned to think of a mother’s love as the one unshakable emotional pillar of a child’s life. When that pillar folds up and walks out the front door, how do you keep the roof from collapsing?
Many ordinary people never recover psychologically from that kind of rejection. And Justin’s case was far from ordinary—because the whole world knew he’d become motherless. There she was, on the pages of sleazy magazines, partying it up in skimpy clothing at Studio 54. Trudeau’s classmates showed these photos to him at school. Lots of boys endure “yo momma” taunts. Not all of them come with a glossy, full-colour appendix.
A need to deal with maternal rejection doesn’t just define Justin Trudeau. It defines the attitudes of people around him. Once you enter his world and know something of the emotional pain he experienced as a youth, the knowledge knocks the metaphorical silver spoon out of his mouth. What good is the glitz of being a prime minister’s son when you’re living a childhood parched of mother’s milk?
Trudeau and his mother, of course, famously repaired their relationship as Margaret came to realize the impact mental illness was having on her behavior and sought help in what would become a very public journey. But as Kay notes, her actions—and departures—have done much to create the man who now serves as Canada’s prime minister.

Trudeau adores his mother, and obviously adored his father as well. One has to wonder: Did his father’s actions and lifestyle and his mother’s confession to Playgirl magazine about her own abortion inform not only Trudeau’s beliefs, but his passion for abortion? Did these circumstances develop Trudeau’s conceptualization of abortion not as a “necessary evil,” as some politicians would phrase it, but as a genuinely good thing?

We can only speculate, of course. The evidence is circumstantial, although an examination of Trudeau’s childhood and background tells us much about the prime minister he would become. There is tragedy inherent in the Trudeau story: Little boys left without their mother after a marriage publicly collapsed, an aborted half-sibling they never met, and a little girl rejected by her father, who did not even want to reside in the same city as his daughter.

Justin Trudeau has chosen to champion the Sexual Revolution and the abortion carnage that has resulted from it, but his own history provides us with a cautionary tale and highlights the ugliness and heartbreak that accompanies the so-called freedoms progressives like to celebrate.

The final tragedy is that Justin Trudeau has learned all the wrong lessons from his family’s history.
Choose a picture


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Rex Murphy: Justin Trudeau's year-long descent from celebrity selfie-prince to typical politician

2017 was not kind to the PM nor his government. And that last press conference? In Star Wars Yoda-tongue: Ill, it will bode for him.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with the media in the foyer of the House of Commons following the release of an ethics report in Ottawa on Wednesday December 20, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
What’s true about first impressions — that you never get a second chance to make them — is logically symmetrical with the truth about last ones. No do-overs for them either, by definition. The last impression many Canadians have of Justin Trudeau in this year of Our Lord, 2017, was of him, shock-faced, rattled and babbling incoherently for a TV eternity of a minute and a half. 

For all the sense he made, he could have been speaking Njerep ( I have a Masters in Google search) a language that survives only on the tongues of four people in the entire world, the youngest of whom is already 60.
It’s not because the question was tough, nor could it possibly have been unforeseen. He had been found guilty by the ethics commissioner of, not one, but four provisions of the conflict of interest law.

And, naturally, he was asked, how could a prime minister not have known that hopping on private helicopters on a “vacation” to the Aga Khan’s private island, with buddies and Liberal party personnel in tow, was not — to use a word much in favour at Wilfrid Laurier U — problematic?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the Aga Khan on Parliament Hill on May 17, 2016. Sean Kilpatrick/CP
  This was not quantum mechanics. It was a hot issue for the PMO for all of 2017. Yet there he was in the Commons foyer, having been asked the inevitable question, looking gobsmacked and wounded, stammering like an old outboard motor on the last pint of gas, and stacking up enough non sequiturs and platitudes to fill a Costco warehouse. How bad was he? For that 90 seconds, he made George Bush look like the oratorical son of Martin Luther King Jr. and Margaret Thatcher.

That was the last impression for public view Mr. Trudeau left for the year now gliding into its final hours. In the Star Wars Yoda-tongue: Ill, it will bode for him. Not smart, it will seem.

The year 2017 was not kind to the PM nor his government. It began with his attempt to hide the Aga Khan vacation +and ended with a demonstration of why he tried to hide it. The course of the year marked his descent from a celebrity selfie-prince to an all too typical politician, equipped with a genetic sense of entitlement and personal exceptionalism. 

The press, here and abroad, were no longer half-worshippers. His initiatives were seen by all critics, and some friends, too, as less policies than postures.

 Next year's slogan will be more modest: 
Can I take a rain cheque on that?

On NAFTA, for example, the eerie attempt to inject his “feminist” proclivities and adoration of the green gods into trade negotiations did nothing for trade, greenism or feminism. He bungled mightily on trade with the Asian countries, too — not showing up, embarrassing Japan and angering the members of the TPP. The international press was starting to get a touch dismissive.

 Rightly so. After all, the “The world needs more Canada” sloganism, not showing up at all and ticking off a half-dozen world leaders was a curious choice. Next year’s slogan — “Can I take a rain cheque on that” — will be more modest.

His Number 2, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, made a perfect and protracted hash on the Trudeau tax policy — the one that was supposed to win the hearts of Mr. T’s beloved middle class. 

That ticked off almost everyone in the middle class or aspiring to it, from dentists to sales clerks. The finance minister’s campaign to sell the policy was a disaster, the climactic moment of which came with having the minister himself being, like his boss, under investigation for conflict of interest from the ethics commissioner.

A government that spent a fortune on deliverology (which I personally think of as the Scientology of spin doctors) proved itself incapable of getting cheques out to its employees. The Canada 150 celebrations were, in the main, a dull bomb. There was more fervour and kick in the Chase the Ace phenom in the small town of Goulds outside St. John’s.

The most sensitive cabinet position, the minister for disabled persons, was filled by the most insensitive person in the cabinet, Kent Hehr — a politician in the Don Rickles mode.
The MMIW inquiry is on yet another reset. The Energy East pipeline was, naturally, cancelled — another sacrifice to Mr. Trudeau’s woeful attachment to the ignis fatuus of global warming.  

Meantime, south of us, the Trump kingdom is both more successful in reducing the dreaded carbon dioxide emissions and simultaneously leading a revival in the U.S. energy industry and putting a shredder to the EPA’s cat’s cradle of over-reaching regulations. 

And Trump has just passed a monumental change in the U.S. tax code, which will inevitably — just as his energy policies — place Canada at a massive industrial and economic disadvantage.

And so Mr. Trudeau leaves this year with a bundle of negotiations unsettled, wounded ministers, pledges undelivered, in violation of the law governing conflict of interest, at odds with the UN economy, and no single major policy achievement. 

He caps that with that parting press conference horror, signalling a prime minister struggling, anxious and incoherent — an image which, if it takes, will be fatal for an administration that has made the prime minister’s image its only ace. Much like the Goulds, only in reverse.

A bad year, it was.