Yes, Democracy Is At Risk Within The Commonwealth

It is in Australia AND Canada at the moment. Part 2-Perversion of Justice.

On behalf of the millions of Canadians like myself who did not vote Liberal, we apologize to the world for having inflicted you with him too. It is our national embarassment and we assure you this will be rectified in October. Only too late did many of those that did vote for him realize that Little Potato actually has the IQ of a little potato.

Perversion of Justice

Unlike previous Liberal scandals, this one should send a chill down every Canadian spine.


Vice-Admiral Mark Norman leaves court with his lawyer Marie Henein following a hearing in Ottawa, Tuesday September 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

As the SNC Lavalin affair dominated the news in Canada, another scandal has been brewing for month’s in the form of the prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. Second to the Chief of Defense Staff, Norman was charged with breach of trust, the allegation being he leaked cabinet information.

At issue was the Trudeau government’s decision to cancel the procurement of a supply vessel for the navy, Norman’s alleges leaking of document’s to the media pertaining to a November 2015 meeting where it was decided that the project would be put on hold. The leak would anger the cabinet, prompting them to call for an RCMP investigation.

I won’t go further into the details of the matter, since it isn’t the details I am concerned about, so much as the actions of the PMO. Admiral Norman’s defense attorney is filing an abuse of power motion, and key to this are the records of the troika who run the government, Justin Trudeau, Gerald Butts, and Katie Telford, Trudeau’s Chief of Staff.

Miscalculating the blow-back.

The team had a small problem with their plan however. They seriously misjudged how Canadians would react. They were expecting that the process would drain Admiral Norman of resources, and that eventually he would have to take a plea deal.

He had hired high-profile lawyer Marie Henein, and his legal bills soon reached half a million dollars. A Go-Fund me campaign was started to raise money for his defense, and before long it had swelled to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of the contributions were made by current or former members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Shortly thereafter, the Crown dropped all charges against him.

As the details of these scandals begin to see the light of day, something becomes clear. The Justin Trudeau Liberal’s will be remembered for their attempts to obstruct or otherwise pervert justice, not for their climate action bullshit. Unlike the scandals of Liberal government’s in the past, the ramifications of this one affect every Canadian, and it this needs to be pointed out.

LavScam a Different Kind of Scandal Than AdScam


The Gomery report detailed the existence of an ‘elaborate kickback scheme’ to funnel money to the Liberal Party’s Montreal headquarters. Jacques Corriveau, a close friend to Jean Chrétien, has been charged with fraud in connection with the case. (Canadian Press/CBC)

The Sponsorship Scandal was typical of those we tend to see in politics, involving money, graft, kickbacks, the type of things that tend to come to mind when the words “political scandal” are said. Influence peddling and other similar types of corruption usually involve a small number of people, and typically, financial transactions have taken place.

As a rule, these types of crimes don’t have a direct effect on the rights of the average Canadian. It’s possible that some constituents in some areas may be affected on an economic level, but by and large, their rights under the law are not affected.

Now they’ve gone too far.

By showing that they are willing to obstruct and pervert justice. the Trudeau Gang have shown that they are willing to deprive anyone of their legal rights, while breaking the law as they see fit. This isn’t a financial scandal, this one’s ideological, and it shows just how far Justin Trudeau is willing to go to get what he wants.

Katie Telford and Gerald Butts. The brains of the outfit.
The dim-witted boob they foolishly chose to execute their plan.

The Slippery Slope

If the PMO is willing to interfere in the administration of justice in these matters, what would stop them from doing the very same thing in other matters of their interest? And what would be stopping them from putting the screws to any average Canadian whose views were opposed to theirs. Although people cannot be arrested and prosecuted for their beliefs, how much of a stretch would it be for the PMO to go so far as to manufacture criminal charges? They’ve already proven they are willing to break the law so it’s not unreasonable to believe that this scenario could play out.

That you, or any of your family or friends could end up in prison for opposing an ideology is something that could only have happened in Cuba, or China, or any of the other regimes that Justin Trudeau admires. Gerry Butts may not be an employee any more, but he still writes the play-book, and it reads like a Kafka novel.

One and Done

Justin Trudeau can no longer be oblivious to the fact that he has a major problem, and his performance in Toronto is proof. Whether he was high or on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he was obviously different to many observers and pundits. Whether removed from within, or at the polls, he will not see another Christmas in the Prime Minister’s office.

The scandal has made news around the globe, getting coverage from the BBC, The New York Times, and even Russia Today. Those who once thought that Justin Trudeau was the model of a modern and enlightened leader, will now have to find another vacuous shill to take his place.

What’s important is that Canadian’s do the right thing in October, and unseat the Liberal’s. There’s now a lot more at stake than we first realized.

DB

Is Democracy At Risk Within The Commonwealth?

It is in Australia AND Canada at the moment. Part 1-Quebec’s Culture of Corruption

In my article titled “The Aussie Files: Scandal of Criminal Proportions”, I made mention of the fact that the Canadian government was also acting illegally and attempting to subvert democracy.

For those of you reading this outside of Canada, these next two articles will explain exactly how Justin Trudeau and his minions in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), have attempted to obstruct justice. Along the way they decided which laws they would choose to follow and which ones they wouldn’t, depending upon who wrote them.

The SNC Lavalin scandal I mention at the beginning of the article involves a number of company officials who were brought up on corruption charges. If found guilty, it would be banned from bidding on lucrative government contracts for 10 years.

Officials within the PMO approached then Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Justice, Jodi Wilson-Raybould, telling her that the federal prosecutor was refusing to negotiate a deal with SNC Lavalin, based on a newly minted remediation agreement regime. The regime had been passed into law by the previous Conservative government. Officials wanted her to tell the federal prosecutor to make a deal.

The reason, ostensibly, was that if SNCL lost the case, they would pack up and leave Quebec for Europe, along with 5,000 jobs. This was disingenuous, since the workers would simply be absorbed back into the labor force with other companies.

This brings me to another hotbutton issue in Canadian politics right now, that being the re-emergence of a Western Seperatist movement. Canada is very much a country of regions. These are B.C., Western Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba), Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime provinces (New Brunswick. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfounland & Labrador).

To make this as short as possible, the western provinces, in particular Alberta, feel taken advantage of by the other provinces, in particular Quebec. You see, Alberta has oil and gas, which contributes greatly to the overall Canadian economy.

Canada’s scheme of equalization and transfer payments has seen over $150 BILLION of Alberta tax money go to Quebec since it began.

Right now the Alberta economy still has not recovered from the 2014 oil crash, and there are 250,000 unemployed Albertan’s. This has been the last straw for many, as seperatist voices last heard under Justin’s father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, rise up once again. For a more detailed analysis, go to the articles Grounds for Seperation Parts 1 and 2

After repeatedly refusing to bow to pressure, she was removed from her position in a cabinet shuffle, and would ultimately leave caucus. Her appearance at a hearing of the House of Commons justice committee would leave Canadians transfixed.

It is from this point that Justin Trudeau’s fate was sealed and his popularity would begin to drop like a stone.

https://globalnews.ca/news/5006450/jody-wilson-raybould-testimony-transcript/

Quebec’s Culture of Corruption

Corruption is just a part of life in Quebec, and Alberta tax dollars are helping to fund it.

Quebec: The most corrupt province


As the SNC Lavalin scandal gains momentum and threatens to bring down Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government, word emerges of another potential scandal brewing in Quebec, this time involving Bombardier, another darling of la belle province. Bombardier and the Liberal’s have had ties for years, and they have been the beneficiary of many a government hand-out, so this really comes as no surprise.

In fact, that Quebec is rife with corruption comes as a surprise to nobody. It seems to be ingrained into the culture, at least politically, and it has been in the news in Canada for decades, with the ’76 Olympics in Montreal being perhaps the ultimate testament to corruption, with Olympic Stadium being the billion dollar center piece.

I’ve pored over the vast repository of information that is available to me, and have put together this brief look at politics and corruption in the province of Quebec.

First, the SNC Lavalin story.

The company at the center of the current political firestorm in Ottawa traces it’s roots back to 1911, when the appropriately named Arthur Surveyer founded the engineering firm Surveyer, Nenniger & Chenevert in Montreal (SNC). 25 years later engineers Jean-Paul Lalonde and Romeo Valois form the firm Lavalin, merging in 1991 to become SNC Lavalin.

SNC’s international experience dates back to 1963, while Lavalin began the massive James Bay hydroelectric dam project in 1974. The combined company would go on to acquire contracts for major projects around the globe in the 1990’s and by 2018, had claimed it’s place as the largest construction company in Canada. It had 50,000 employees worldwide, offices in 50 countries, and operations in more than 160.

Saadi Gadaffi, progeny of a despot, failed soccer player, and known reprobate.

Libya

By the year 2000, SNC Lavalin had been doing business in Libya for a number of years. One of their most important partners in Libya was Saadi Gadaffi. son of strongman Muammar Gadaffi, and the head of his father’s special forces. Saadi was typical of the sons of other despots in the region, more playboy than aspiring leader of a nation. Rather than focusing on much needed development projects for his country, he envisioned creating a “new Hong Kong” in Libya, and it became well known that when going to a meeting with Saadi, you brought cash.

In 2008, SNC Lavalin invited Saadi to move to Canada, who would go on to live in Montreal and Toronto. For Saadi, it was an opportunity to improve his english, as well as to network with political and business leaders, while learning the intricacies of doing business in North America.

SNCL would hire private security firm Garda to provide protection for their guest, and four contractors were hired for the job. It would be up to the security detail to pay for all of Saadi’s expenses, illicit and otherwise. These would in turn be invoiced back to SNCL, who would report the expenses as being related to business in Libya. Nearly $2 million in such expenses were reported, as has been revealed in the past week.

Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel informs parliament of her discovery that SNC Lavalin procured prostitutes for Saadi Gadaffi.

In early 2011, the Arab Spring had made its way to Libya, and SNCL projects across the country would come to a sudden halt amid the violence and political uncertainty. Saadi had managed to flee the country and in November of that year, Mexican authorities broke up a bid to smuggle him into the country. A consultant hired by SNCL and the VP/Controller were arrested and charged in Mexico. Saadi would make his way to Niger, where he received asylum, but was eventually extradited back to Libya to face murder charges, though a court acquitted him of the charges in 2018.

2012 would bring more bad news when, in February, two former SNCL executives were arrested in Canada in relation to alleged corruption at a project in Bangladesh that the World Bank was underwriting. The following month, CEO Pierre Duhaime resigned in disgrace after an internal audit revealed that $56 million in payments had been made to agents in contravention of the company’s policies.

In April, another former executive was arrested in Switzerland on corruption charges relating to a projects in North Africa, and in Canada, SNCL headquarters was the subject of an RCMP search relating to corruption involving high-ranking Tunisian officials between 2001 and 2010.

In November, Duhaime was arrested, when charges of fraud, conspiracy, and using forged documents, in relation to SNCL’s contract to build Montreal’s super-hospital, which it had won in 2010. SNCL’s bad year would end with December seeing accusations against another former executive, relating to the Bangladesh project.

Less than a week ago, on February 1st, Duhaime plead guilty to a single charge of breach of trust, avoiding jail time for what some have said is the biggest fraud in Canadian history.


Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime leaves a Montreal courtroom on Friday, after pleaded guilty to a charge of helping a public servant commit breach of trust for his role in the MUHC superhospital bribe scandal. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

In March of 2013, the Charbonneau Commission, tasked with examining corruption in Quebec’s construction industry, had been sitting for nearly two years. Yves Cadotte, VP of SNCL, would testify before the commission telling of collusion with other firms in order to secure contracts in Montreal, as well as details of illegal payments to political parties. In April, the World Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) barred SNCL from bidding on contracts for 10 years.

Organized Crime in Quebec

Justice France Charbonneau’s report was issued in November of 2015. After four years and at a cost of $40 million, the nearly 1,800 page report contains 60 recommendations. The commission would find that the prevalence of organized crime in Quebec, primarily in the form of the Italian mafia and the Hell’s Angels, played a major role in the corruption that was running rampant and unchecked in the construction industry.

Nicolo Rizzuto, the former boss of the Rizzuto Crime Family in Montreal, was shot dead in his Toronto home in November 2010.

Since forming in the early 1970’s under Nicolo Rizzuto, the crime family that bears his name has been operating out of Montreal. Prior to the 1970’s, corruption in Quebec doesn’t appear to have been more of a problem than it was anywhere else. But after the arrival and rise of the Rizzuto family in Quebec, things began to change drastically, as the mafia and the Hell’s Angels begin to exert their influence over Quebec’s labour unions.

Soon, they would control nearly every aspect of the industry, having influence over the awarding of lucrative contracts, and collecting concessions from unions, contractors, and suppliers. Stacks of cash were used to buy political influence, and violence and intimidation were used to keep everyone in line. Eventually, this would become the norm, and Quebec’s culture of corruption would become entrenched in society.

It seems particularly entrenched in Quebec politics, as politicians of all stripes and at all levels of government seem to behave as though that’s just the way things run. For the Liberal Party in Quebec, it is almost standard practice to engage in illegal shenanigans for political gains, to the point where they see themselves as entitled and above the law.

Alberta Tax Dollars in the Pockets of Mobsters

If this were strictly a Quebec or a Montreal problem, it wouldn’t even appear on the radar, but it isn’t. Over the years billions of dollars in tax revenue has left Alberta in the form of transfer payments, the majority going to Quebec. The likelihood that at least some of that money made its way into the hands of organized crime is great. The amount of Alberta money illegally circulated in Quebec over the years has to be in the billions of dollars.

It’s bad enough that we have to give it up in the first place, but to know that it is being used to improve the lot of criminals makes it even more infuriating. Thousands of Alberta families are suffering, with many on the brink of disaster. Countless lives have been forever turned upside down, and some have even been lost as a result of the economic crisis in Alberta.

The result of all of this is evident in the news stories and polls coming out of Alberta. More and more of us see separation as the only solution to a situation that has become untenable to the point that, eventually, people will begin to rise up and willingly break the law. In Quebec, it would seem as though crime actually does pay. Maybe we need to start thinking that way in Alberta as well, because if things keep going the way they are, it might the only choice we have left if we want to survive.

DBC

A HISTORY OF SNC-LAVALIN Woods, Allan . Toronto Star ; Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]25 May 2013: IN.3.

Grounds For Separation, Part 2

The Devastating Impact.

6. Unemployment Rate

In February of this year, Calgary once again reclaimed the title of Highest Canadian Metropolitan Unemployment, reaching 7.6%, edging out St. John’s, Nfld where the rate remained a steady 7.4%.

It spent most of 2016 and part of 2017 on top of this list before it got a reprieve, but it would top the list again early in 2019. The unemployment rate in Calgary rose and fell in a gentle slope on a line chart. It covers the period of time that most people would have been eligible for unemployment benefits. The fact that the rate fell by no means that those unemployed found work, it only means that their benefits have run out and they are no longer technically “unemployed” for statistical purposes.

By all accounts there are over 200,000 unemployed in Alberta at this moment. Many of them worked in or relied on the energy industry for employment. Based on anecdotal evidence there is a very large population of unemployed geologists and land men in Alberta right now. These were good paying professional jobs, and now many of these geologists have no more savings, the unemployment ran out years ago, had to sell their homes and vehicles, and are now on the verge of economic ruin. Men who previously made $100,000 a year are now begging to flip burgers for $15/hr.

Many energy companies now no longer operate in Alberta due to the fact that it is no longer feasible for them to do so. Policies put in place by the provincial and federal governments have scared off investment in Alberta, leading to the increase in unemployment in the energy sector.

7. Bankruptcies

Between 2014 and 2018 the number of personal bankruptcies and consumer proposals in Alberta jumped an incredible 76%, going from 8,281 in 2014 to 14, 555 in 2018. Comparatively, the national rate rose by a mere 5.8%.

Alberta business bankruptcies during the same period rose by 46% going from 141 in 2014 to 206 in 2018, while nationally the amount actually decreased by 15% going from 4,219 in 2014 to 3,580 in 2018.

http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/bsf-osb.nsf/eng/h_br01011.html

8. Income Support

In Alberta, the Income Support program provides assistance to low-income individuals and families. Child and health care, subsidies, and income assistance are among the services available. Households are categorized according to group: Single, Single with One or More Children, Couples, and Couples with One or More Children.

These are then further categorized by;Expected to Work(ETW):Unemployed and Able to Work, Unemployed and Unable to Work (ie. due to Illness, caring for family, etc.) and, Barriers to Full Employment(BFE) in which recipients are unable to work due to chronic long-term illness. The amount of benefits available depends upon marital status, number of dependants (if any), and, level of ability to work.

Starting in the year 2014, I measured the number of households receiving income support benefits in the month of July, until the current year where I measured the month of January.

A massive increase.

In July of 2014 there were a total of 33,522 households receiving assistance. By January of this year that number had nearly doubled to 59,940.

The number of people who were not working but were available to work skyrocketed from 5,820 in 2014 to 21,745 in 2019, more than three times what it was four and a half years before. Those unavailable to work rose by 50% going from 7,979 in 2014 to 12, 338 in 2019.

The segment of the population hardest hit has been single people. In 2014, of the 33, 522 households on benefits, 22, 037 were single individuals or 66%. In January they accounted for 69% of the 59,940 households collecting benefits. This would be an increase of 79% over 2014.

9. Crime

During periods of economic instability, crime rates tend to increase. This is no more evident than in Calgary, where crime rates soared in 2015 following the collapse in oil prices. In the years that followed, although the rates have stabilized, they remain high and show no signs that they will be coming down.

Crimes across virtually every category rose sharply in 2015. Naturally there were significant increases in “the usual suspects”, Property Crimes, Theft, Robbery, and Domestic Violence. There has also been an alarming increase in the number of violent crimes as well, especially in the number of assaults. There has also been a disturbing increase in the number of assaults on police officers.

They are categorized as 1) Social Disorder, 2) Property Crime (Theft, B&E, Robbery, Vehicle Theft, Fraud) and, 3) Person Crime (Assault, Domestic Assault, and Sex Offenses.

I will be providing more details in another post addressing Calgary crime statistics.

9.1 Social Disorder 2014 – 2018

Social Disorder calls are the ones police respond to the most in a typical day. They include such things as: Drunk, Disturbance, Indecent Act, Juvenile Complaint, Landlord/tenant, Mental health concern, Neighbor dispute, Party complaint, Prowler, Suspicious person, Threats, Drugs, Noise complaint, Possible gunshots, Unwanted guest/patron, Prostitution, Speeder, Suspicious Auto (grouped as Social Disorder), Fire, Property damage and Abandoned auto (grouped as Physical Disorder). 

Defying my expectations, the number of Social Disorder calls fell for the first time in nearly five years. It wasn’t alot, roughly one percent, but at least it is moving in the right direction. Among the complaints seeing the most significant deceases year over year were:

  • Disturbance – 348 (8.8%)
  • Drugs -104 (13.2%)
  • Intoxicated Persons -128 (13.7%)
  • Landlord/Tenant Issue -70 (7.6%)
  • Noise Complaint -115 (9.3%)
  • Party Complaint -56 (13.2%)
  • Speeder -33 (13.2%)
  • Suspicious Vehicle -412 (10.8%)
  • TOTAL SOCIAL DISORDER: -910 (1%)

9.2 Property Crimes: B&E, Theft, Vehicle Theft 2014-18

There was a large spike in property crimes in 2015 as unemployment began to rise. The increase in drug use, especially crystal meth, has contributed to them remaining at high levels, placing further strain on police resources.

Between 2014 and 2018: Break & Enters rose 68.7% (3,994), Thefts increased 50% (9,903), and Vehicle thefts were up by 44.5% (2,131).

9.3 Person Crimes: Robbery, Assaults, and Sex Offenses 2014-18

Crimes against people didn’t see the dramatic increases in 2015 as property crimes did. There has however been a steady increase in the number of these crimes, especially the number of assaults and sex offenses.

Between 2014 and 2018 the total number of Assaults rose by 51% (3,037) while Sex Offenses were up by 63% (490). Among assaults, the number of assaults against police is seeing a dramatic increase, up 79% (150).

In 2018 Sex Offenses were up by a dramatic 63% over 2014 (+490).

10. Suicides

Sadly, the spike in the number of suicides in Alberta in 2015 was also to be expected, as the number of people who took their own lives rose by 22% over the previous year. The biggest increases occurred in 5 age groups: 25-29, 40-44, 45-49, 55-59, and 65-69.

A similar statistic is seen in Saskatchewan at the same time. Information from the Government of Saskatchewan shows that suicides rose by 27% in 2015 over 2014. Most significantly, the number of men rose by 43% year over year. This trend was not seen on other provinces, however there were other trends evident in other provinces, and at different times.

The suicide rate in Alberta, and likely everywhere else, is not a true representation of the number of suicides. I can say this with certainty because recently somebody I knew committed suicide, and their death was ruled an overdose. Had a complete death investigation done I’m confident the correct determination would have been made, but such investigations cost money and often aren’t done. Many suicide deaths are wrongly attributed to overdose, accident, or misadventure.

https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resource/alberta-suicide-stats-region-age/

Conclusion

The human impact of the economic crisis in Alberta has been immense. With over 200,000 unemployed, many for an extended duration, it is critical that steps be taken immediately to create an environment that will attract investment

Although Jason Kenney will do what he can to salvage the Alberta economy and get it moving forward again, the biggest impediment to a Alberta’s success is and will always be lack of pipeline access to a deep-water port. By opening up these markets, Alberta will ensure that it, and Canada, will receive the maximum benefit from Alberta’s resources.

Alberta’s fate is being left up to others to determine, and this has proven to be as disastrous in the past as it is now. The only way to end this is to either make some serious changes to the equaliztion formula (highly unlikely), or for Alberta to separate and control its own destiny (the best option).

The people of Alberta deserve better.

D.B.

Grounds For Separation

Alberta has ample grounds to walk away.

I started this blog back in January with the post “The Last Good Day”. It was intended to provide a thorough and comprehensive statistical view of life in Alberta, with an emphasis on Calgary.

In order to provide the best overall picture of the situation, I have chosen the statistics and information rerlating to a number of areas including:

  • Population
  • Federal Payments to Provinces
  • Oil Prices
  • Alberta Government Revenues
  • Downtown Calgary Office Space Vacancy
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Personal and Corporate Bankruptcies
  • Provincial Income Support Levels
  • Crime Rate in Calgary
  • Suicide Rate in Alberta

While these numbers may come as a shock to some, others simply will not care, engaging in schadenfreude at Alberta’s expense. For others nothing short of the complete destruction of Alberta would satisfy them.

This message isn’t for them. It’s for anyone who wonders why we in Alberta feel the way we do. This is why we are angry and so many of us are ready to break from Confederation. We have plenty of good reasons to want a better deal and if one isn’t forthcoming then the only alternative is to strike out on our own.

A joint effort.

To be fair, what has happened in Alberta isn’t solely Justin’s fault. Regressive job-killing policies and taxes on the part of former Premier Rachel Notley and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi have also contributed to the ruination of Canada’s former economic engine.

With Jason Kenney now at the helm in Alberta things will slowly atart to improve, but if justin Trudeau somehow manages to win in October, any hope of recovery will be ruined.

I told you what was going to happen.

Back in January I warned that if something didn’t happen to help the Alberta economy, and soon, the effects would soon be felt throughout the Canadian economy.

The latest economic numbers seem to be bearing this out, and soon, the numbers that are being seen in Alberta will be seen across the country. If Justin Trudeau and the rest of the Worst Canadian Government Of All Time aren’t voted out of office in October, Canada will become an economic basket-case.

1. Population

For reasons that confound me, more people continue to come to this province than leave it. All this is managing to do is add more stress to a system that is already strained. With continuing high unemployment, unless these people have jobs to come to Alberta for they will only be a drain on the social system.

Link to Q3 Alberta Population Report:

https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/aa3bce64-c5e6-4451-a4ac-cb2c58cb9d6b/resource/a71df6d9-4a40-446f-b209-e7e1feb22a21/download/2018-q3-population-report.pdf

2. Federal Payments to Provinces

Equalization and Transfer Payments

Major Federal Transfers

The Government of Canada provides significant financial support to provincial and territorial governments on an ongoing basis to assist them in the provision of programs and services. There are four main transfer programs: the Canada Health Transfer (CHT), the Canada Social Transfer (CST), Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing (TFF).

The CHT and CST are federal transfers which support specific policy areas such as health care, post-secondary education, social assistance and social services, early childhood development and child care.

The Equalization and TFF programs provide unconditional transfers to the provinces and territories. Equalization enables less prosperous provincial governments to provide their residents with public services that are reasonably comparable to those in other provinces, at reasonably comparable levels of taxation. TFF provides territorial governments with funding to support public services, in recognition of the higher cost of providing programs and services in the north.

https://www.fin.gc.ca/access/fedprov-eng.asp

Equalization and Total Federal Payments Charts 2012-2020

Ontario goes from receiving 21% of Equalization funding in 2012/13 and by 2019/20 that number would dwindle to 0%. Quebec would pick up Ontario’s share however as it goes from receiving 48% in 2012/13 to 66% in 2019/20

The total amount of federal support going to the provinces remains at a constant rate from year to year. What changes is the amount being distributed. In 2012/13 those payments totaled nearly $57 billion and have risen to over $78 billion in 2019/20, an increase of 72%.

3. The Price of Oil

The closing prices on May 6, 2019. WCS $49(US)/bbl. WTI $58.70(US)/bbl. A price spread of $9.70(US).


The benchmarks off of which our oil is priced are West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Western Canadian Select (WCS). WCS is the grade of crude produced by the oil sands. It is heavier, and not as easy to transport as the light and medium grades of crude oil, such as WTI, therefore goes for a lower price. The difference in price between WTI and WCS is called the “spread”.

The price difference can also be attributed to other factors, such as supply and demand. The price of WCS plummeted in relation to WTI in November of this year, and the spread hit an all-time high of $55(US)/bbl as inventory levels reached capacity. Over time, the lack of pipeline capacity has resulted in an over-supply of WCS, translating into a lower price.

There has been slightly less volatilty in the price since measures were put in place to reduce inventory levels, however the province is still losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to the lack of a pipeline to a deep water port.

4. Alberta Government Revenues 2013/14-2017/18

Fiscal 2015/16 saw a huge drop in resource revenue for the Province of Alberta, falling by 50% over 2014/15. Bitumen royalties fell from $5.04 Billion in 2014/15 to $1.22 Billion the following year. Crude oil royalties plummeted from over $2.2 Billion to under $700 Million and natural gas royalties fell from $989 Million to $493 Million. This would also translate into lower income tax revenue for the province.

While the amount of personal income tax collected fell slightly between 2014/15 and 2017/18, the amount of corporate income tax collected fell by over 40% over the period. The amount of fuel taxes rose by over 45% in 2015/16, due in large part to an increase in the provincial fuel tax in 2015.

The “sin taxes” collected also seem to tell a story. Albertans gambled less after 2015/16, drank more between 2013 and 2018, and seemed to be smoking about the same amount of tobacco. After realizing a budget surplus of $1.1 Billion in 2014/15, the Government of Alberta ran budget deficits totalling $25.1 Billion between 2015/16 and 2017/18. The forecast for 2018/19 is for a deficit of $7.5 Billion.

The one thing Alberta does have going for it right now is that Jason Kenney can set about making things right again, but we still don’t know the true extent of the damage the Notley regime did to the provincial finances. In any event, it’s going to take time.

The increase in fuel tax revenue was due to an increase in the tax rate by the Notley government.

5. Downtown Calgary Office Space

In Q1 of 2014 there was over 40 million square feet of downtown Calgary office space with a vacancy rate of 8.13%. The average rent for class “A” office space was $34 per square foot. In Q1 of 2018 there was close to 44 million square of downtown Calgary office space and the vacancy rate had jumped to over 27%.

The average rent for class “A” office space was down to $14 per square foot. Assuming the same vacancy rate and price per square foot over this period, this translates into a loss of $2 Billion in rental income, and a report released in March suggests the city has lost $250 million in tax revenue as a result of the decline in non-residential property values.


To Be Continued In Grounds for Separation, Part 2

The human impact of the crisis in Alberta with a look at unemployment, bankruptcies, income support, crime, and suicide. See the toll the last 5 years has taken.

An Open Letter to the People and Government of Canada

Derek Bodner

Calgary, Alberta

T3C 1Z9

Loftner1969@gmail.com

March 13, 2019

An Open Letter To:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada, Ottawa

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Ottawa

The Honourable Lawrence MacAuley, P.C., M.P., Minister of Veteran’s Affairs, Ottawa

The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, P.C., M.P., Minister of Defense, Ottawa

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P., Minister of Health, Ottawa

The Right Honourable Richard Wagner, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

The People of Canada

My name is Derek Bodner, and I am writing this letter as a private citizen, residing in the city of Calgary, in the province of Alberta.

I am writing this letter to appeal to the Government of Canada to reconvene the Somalia Commission of Inquiry which was adjourned in 1997 with the final report issued in July of that year.

In the years since then however, a great deal of information has come to light regarding the anti-malarial drug mefloquine and its adverse effects. This evidence, had it been known at the time, would be exculpatory in a court of law, and at the very least would be sufficient to justify a re-trial if used as the basis of an appeal.

The problem here is that, unlike the court process, there is no mechanism for appeal or redress in a public inquiry. There is no means of introducing new evidence, no way of having another body independently assess the merits of the case, and no possibility for individuals or entities to rehabilitate reputations that may have suffered wrongly as a result of the decisions mad by the public inquiry.

In remarks to the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice at their annual conference on October 10, 2007, Mr. Justice Dennis O’Connor, then Associate Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal said:

The theme of this conference is “Doing Justice: Dispute Resolution in the Courts and Beyond,” and I am here to talk today about public inquiries.  In Canada , public inquiries have played an important role in the delivery of justice, broadly defined.   In this broader definition of delivering justice to the community, there is a spectrum of approaches.  At the one, very familiar end, is the traditional trial, which is designed to determine what happened, and what ought to be done about it, in a very specific context – the Crown vs. the accused, plaintiff vs. defendant.  Generally, courts are good at answering the limited questions posed in individual trials, through a transparent process that depends on fair and full procedural safeguards, a fair decision-maker, and an open court. 

At the other end are alternative models of justice which this conference will examine – private courts, arbitration, mediation, faith-based dispute resolution, and so on.  These models represent in part a triumph of choice – parties selecting their decision-maker, and designing models of decision-making appropriate to the circumstances, which may include efficiency, cost, responsiveness and specific expertise.  Legitimacy does not flow from publicity, but from the concept of choice of procedures to meet the needs of parties.

If justice is to be truly served, then I would ask that the government reconvene the Somalia Commission of Inquiry. This matter is not over, and the people whose lives have been turned upside down because of it deserve to have their chance to testify, and to seek the justice that up until now has been denied them.

In Canada, and in countries around the globe, the number of veterans and active duty soldiers who are experiencing debilitating psychiatric issues as a result of taking mefloquine, is growing, and soon the matter will be litigated in those countries legal systems.

Although the government is not compelled to do so under the letter of the law, it must also abide by the spirit of the law, which I believe compels the government to act accordingly.

Sincerely,

Derek Bodner

Quebec’s Culture of Corruption

Corruption is just a part of life in Quebec, and Alberta tax dollars are helping to fund it.

Quebec: The most corrupt province


As the SNC Lavalin scandal gains momentum and threatens to bring down Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government, word emerges of another potential scandal brewing in Quebec, this time involving Bombardier, another darling of la belle province. Bombardier and the Liberal’s have had ties for years, and they have been the beneficiary of many a government hand-out, so this really comes as no surprise.

In fact, that Quebec is rife with corruption comes as a surprise to nobody. It seems to be ingrained into the culture, at least politically, and it has been in the news in Canada for decades, with the ’76 Olympics in Montreal being perhaps the ultimate testament to corruption, with Olympic Stadium being the billion dollar center piece.

I’ve pored over the vast repository of information that is available to me, and have put together this brief look at politics and corruption in the province of Quebec.

First, the SNC Lavalin story.

The company at the center of the current political firestorm in Ottawa traces it’s roots back to 1911, when the appropriately named Arthur Surveyer founded the engineering firm Surveyer, Nenniger & Chenevert in Montreal (SNC). 25 years later engineers Jean-Paul Lalonde and Romeo Valois form the firm Lavalin, merging in 1991 to become SNC Lavalin.

SNC’s international experience dates back to 1963, while Lavalin began the massive James Bay hydroelectric dam project in 1974. The combined company would go on to acquire contracts for major projects around the globe in the 1990’s and by 2018, had claimed it’s place as the largest construction company in Canada. It had 50,000 employees worldwide, offices in 50 countries, and operations in more than 160.

Saadi Gadaffi, progeny of a despot, failed soccer player, and known reprobate.

Libya

By the year 2000, SNC Lavalin had been doing business in Libya for a number of years. One of their most important partners in Libya was Saadi Gadaffi. son of strongman Muammar Gadaffi, and the head of his father’s special forces. Saadi was typical of the sons of other despots in the region, more playboy than aspiring leader of a nation. Rather than focusing on much needed development projects for his country, he envisioned creating a “new Hong Kong” in Libya, and it became well known that when going to a meeting with Saadi, you brought cash.

In 2008, SNC Lavalin invited Saadi to move to Canada, who would go on to live in Montreal and Toronto. For Saadi, it was an opportunity to improve his english, as well as to network with political and business leaders, while learning the intricacies of doing business in North America.

SNCL would hire private security firm Garda to provide protection for their guest, and four contractors were hired for the job. It would be up to the security detail to pay for all of Saadi’s expenses, illicit and otherwise. These would in turn be invoiced back to SNCL, who would report the expenses as being related to business in Libya. Nearly $2 million in such expenses were reported, as has been revealed in the past week.

Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel informs parliament of her discovery that SNC Lavalin procured prostitutes for Saadi Gadaffi.

In early 2011, the Arab Spring had made its way to Libya, and SNCL projects across the country would come to a sudden halt amid the violence and political uncertainty. Saadi had managed to flee the country and in November of that year, Mexican authorities broke up a bid to smuggle him into the country. A consultant hired by SNCL and the VP/Controller were arrested and charged in Mexico. Saadi would make his way to Niger, where he received asylum, but was eventually extradited back to Libya to face murder charges, though a court acquitted him of the charges in 2018.

2012 would bring more bad news when, in February, two former SNCL executives were arrested in Canada in relation to alleged corruption at a project in Bangladesh that the World Bank was underwriting. The following month, CEO Pierre Duhaime resigned in disgrace after an internal audit revealed that $56 million in payments had been made to agents in contravention of the company’s policies.

In April, another former executive was arrested in Switzerland on corruption charges relating to a projects in North Africa, and in Canada, SNCL headquarters was the subject of an RCMP search relating to corruption involving high-ranking Tunisian officials between 2001 and 2010.

In November, Duhaime was arrested, when charges of fraud, conspiracy, and using forged documents, in relation to SNCL’s contract to build Montreal’s super-hospital, which it had won in 2010. SNCL’s bad year would end with December seeing accusations against another former executive, relating to the Bangladesh project.

Less than a week ago, on February 1st, Duhaime plead guilty to a single charge of breach of trust, avoiding jail time for what some have said is the biggest fraud in Canadian history.


Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime leaves a Montreal courtroom on Friday, after pleaded guilty to a charge of helping a public servant commit breach of trust for his role in the MUHC superhospital bribe scandal. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

In March of 2013, the Charbonneau Commission, tasked with examining corruption in Quebec’s construction industry, had been sitting for nearly two years. Yves Cadotte, VP of SNCL, would testify before the commission telling of collusion with other firms in order to secure contracts in Montreal, as well as details of illegal payments to political parties. In April, the World Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) barred SNCL from bidding on contracts for 10 years.

Organized Crime in Quebec

Justice France Charbonneau’s report was issued in November of 2015. After four years and at a cost of $40 million, the nearly 1,800 page report contains 60 recommendations. The commission would find that the prevalence of organized crime in Quebec, primarily in the form of the Italian mafia and the Hell’s Angels, played a major role in the corruption that was running rampant and unchecked in the construction industry.

Nicolo Rizzuto, the former boss of the Rizzuto Crime Family in Montreal, was shot dead in his Toronto home in November 2010.

Since forming in the early 1970’s under Nicolo Rizzuto, the crime family that bears his name has been operating out of Montreal. Prior to the 1970’s, corruption in Quebec doesn’t appear to have been more of a problem than it was anywhere else. But after the arrival and rise of the Rizzuto family in Quebec, things began to change drastically, as the mafia and the Hell’s Angels begin to exert their influence over Quebec’s labour unions.

Soon, they would control nearly every aspect of the industry, having influence over the awarding of lucrative contracts, and collecting concessions from unions, contractors, and suppliers. Stacks of cash were used to buy political influence, and violence and intimidation were used to keep everyone in line. Eventually, this would become the norm, and Quebec’s culture of corruption would become entrenched in society.

It seems particularly entrenched in Quebec politics, as politicians of all stripes and at all levels of government seem to behave as though that’s just the way things run. For the Liberal Party in Quebec, it is almost standard practice to engage in illegal shenanigans for political gains, to the point where they see themselves as entitled and above the law.

Alberta Tax Dollars in the Pockets of Mobsters

If this were strictly a Quebec or a Montreal problem, it wouldn’t even appear on the radar, but it isn’t. Over the years billions of dollars in tax revenue has left Alberta in the form of transfer payments, the majority going to Quebec. The likelihood that at least some of that money made its way into the hands of organized crime is great. The amount of Alberta money illegally circulated in Quebec over the years has to be in the billions of dollars.

It’s bad enough that we have to give it up in the first place, but to know that it is being used to improve the lot of criminals makes it even more infuriating. Thousands of Alberta families are suffering, with many on the brink of disaster. Countless lives have been forever turned upside down, and some have even been lost as a result of the economic crisis in Alberta.

The result of all of this is evident in the news stories and polls coming out of Alberta. More and more of us see separation as the only solution to a situation that has become untenable to the point that, eventually, people will begin to rise up and willingly break the law. In Quebec, it would seem as though crime actually does pay. Maybe we need to start thinking that way in Alberta as well, because if things keep going the way they are, it might the only choice we have left if we want to survive.

DBC

A HISTORY OF SNC-LAVALIN Woods, Allan . Toronto Star ; Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]25 May 2013: IN.3.

Perversion of Justice

Unlike previous Liberal scandals, this one should send a chill down every Canadian spine.


Vice-Admiral Mark Norman leaves court with his lawyer Marie Henein following a hearing in Ottawa, Tuesday September 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

As the SNC Lavalin affair dominated the news in Canada, another scandal has been brewing for month’s in the form of the prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. Second to the Chief of Defense Staff, Norman was charged with breach of trust, the allegation being he leaked cabinet information.

At issue was the Trudeau government’s decision to cancel the procurement of a supply vessel for the navy, Norman’s alleges leaking of document’s to the media pertaining to a November 2015 meeting where it was decided that the project would be put on hold. The leak would anger the cabinet, prompting them to call for an RCMP investigation.

I won’t go further into the details of the matter, since it isn’t the details I am concerned about, so much as the actions of the PMO. Admiral Norman’s defense attorney is filing an abuse of power motion, and key to this are the records of the troika who run the government, Justin Trudeau, Gerald Butts, and Katie Telford, Trudeau’s Chief of Staff.

As the details of these scandals begin to see the light of day, something becomes clear. The Justin Trudeau Liberal’s will be remembered for their attempts to obstruct or otherwise pervert justice. Unlike the scandals of Liberal government’s in the past, the ramifications of this one affect every Canadian, and it this needs to be pointed out.

LavScam a Different Kind of Scandal Than AdScam


The Gomery report detailed the existence of an ‘elaborate kickback scheme’ to funnel money to the Liberal Party’s Montreal headquarters. Jacques Corriveau, a close friend to Jean Chrétien, has been charged with fraud in connection with the case. (Canadian Press/CBC)

The Sponsorship Scandal was typical of those we tend to see in politics, involving money, graft, kickbacks, the type of things that tend to come to mind when the words “political scandal” are said. Influence peddling and other similar types of corruption usually involve a small number of people, and typically, financial transactions have taken place.

As a rule, these types of crimes don’t have a direct effect on the rights of the average Canadian. It’s possible that some constituents in some areas may be affected on an economic level, but by and large, their rights under the law are not affected.

By showing that they are willing to obstruct and pervert justice. the Trudeau Gang have shown that they are willing to deprive anyone of their legal rights, while breaking the law as they see fit. This isn’t a financial scandal, this one’s ideological, and it shows just how far Justin Trudeau is willing to go to get what he wants.

Katie Telford and Gerald Butts. The brains of the outfit.
The dim-witted boob they foolishly chose to execute their plan.

The Slippery Slope

If the PMO is willing to interfere in the administration of justice in these matters, what would stop them from doing the very same thing in other matters of their interest? And what would be stopping them from putting the screws to any average Canadian whose views were opposed to theirs. Although people cannot be arrested and prosecuted for their beliefs, how much of a stretch would it be for the PMO to go so far as to manufacture criminal charges? They’ve already proven they are willing to break the law so it’s not unreasonable to believe that this scenario could play out.

That you, or any of your family or friends could end up in prison for opposing an ideology is something that could only have happened in Cuba, or China, or any of the other regimes that Justin Trudeau admires. Gerry Butts may not be an employee any more, but he still writes the play-book, and it reads like a Kafka novel.

One and Done

Justin Trudeau can no longer be oblivious to the fact that he has a major problem, and his performance in Toronto is proof. Whether he was high or on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he was obviously different to many observers and pundits. Whether removed from within, or at the polls, he will not see another Christmas in the Prime Minister’s office.

The scandal has made news around the globe, getting coverage from the BBC, The New York Times, and even Russia Today. Those who once thought that Justin Trudeau was the model of a modern and enlightened leader, will now have to find another vacuous shill to take his place.

What’s important is that Canadian’s do the right thing in October, and unseat the Liberal’s. There’s now a lot more at stake than we first realized.

DBC