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Kielburger brothers face jail if they don’t testify

An ongoing Commons investigation of We Charity lobbying for a $43.5 million grant is stuck in neutral pending testimony from co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger.

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We Charity’s Kielburger brothers could be thrown in the slammer if they don’t show up to testify in front of the Common’s finance committee, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“There are precedents,” said Philippe Dufresne, the Commons law clerk.

“They are old precedents. It’s not something that has been done in more than a hundred years.”

An ongoing Commons investigation of We Charity lobbying for a $43.5 million grant is stuck in neutral pending testimony from co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger.

The Kielburgers previously have admitted they didn’t disclose payments and gifts totaling $481,751 to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family.

We Charity also didn’t disclose it hired then-Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s daughter out of college and covered $41,366 in expenses to have Morneau visit resorts in Kenya and Ecuador. Morneau resigned last August 21.

The Kielburgers’ lawyer William McDowell in a March 3 letter to MPs said the brothers refuse to take questions.

“Our clients will not appear before the committee whether in answer to a summons or otherwise,” said the letter.

“I certainly hope the Kielburger brothers will respond to a committee summons,” New Democrat MP Peter Julian (New Westminster-Burnaby, B.C.) said Thursday.

“There can be somewhat serious consequences.”

Dufresne told the finance committee, a summons has the weight of a court order under threat of jail.

“Historically there has been the authority to summon and issue a warrant to bring an individual into custody,” said Dufresne.

Parliament last jailed a hostile witness in 1913. A federal contractor named R.C. Miller, president of the Diamond Light & Heat Company Ltd. of Montréal, was arrested after refusing to testify at hearings over his payment of $41,926 in kickbacks to unnamed MPs in Québec.

Miller was held for 106 days at Ottawa’s Carleton County Jail by order of the House.

In a separate 1873 incident, Ottawa Alderman John Heney was jailed four days for failing to take questions on his attempted bribery of an MP.

In both cases, the uncooperative witnesses were freed after Parliament prorogued.

“The House of Commons, should it so wish, could have law enforcement authorities take the Kielburgers into custody and compel them to testify if it so wishes and if they refuse,” said Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, Ont.).

“The power does exist. If the Kielburgers refuse, then we can exercise these powers. And I have no doubt Parliament would do exactly that.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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O’Toole says his carbon tax is ‘not a tax’, denies breaking promise

And he said he didn’t break his promise to kill the hated Justin Trudeau carbon tax because with his tax, the money doesn’t go to the government.

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Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says his proposed new carbon tax is “not a tax”, and that he didn’t break his promise to kill the Justin Trudeau carbon tax because his carbon tax’s revenues will be managed by bankers appointed by him, and not be held in government accounts.

“Well I’ve always been consistent on wanting to eliminate Mr. Trudeau’s carbon tax, and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

O’toole on ctv’s question period

“The low carbon savings account we’ve proposed will be kept by consumers, not one cent goes to government.”

In a shocking flip-flop, O’Toole tore up his leadership campaign’s signature promise to end carbon tax last Thursday, and will be campaigning on a large, re-branded carbon tax in the next federal election. O’Toole written pledge with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation included a clear commitment to not replace the Trudeau carbon tax with “any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.”

O’Toole is proposing to charge a $50/tonne carbon tax on everything from gasoline to home heating fuel, and use the money to fund government-controlled bank accounts, which Canadians can use to purchase government-approved, environmentally friendly products.

Canadians would pay a carbon tax beginning at $20 per tonne, increasing to $50 a tonne, but the Tories promised it would go no higher than that. However, O’Toole promised emphatically that there would be no carbon tax at all under his leadership.

When running for party leader, O’Toole signed a Canadian Taxpayers Federation pledge to oppose the federal carbon tax. The vow said: “I, Erin O’Toole promise that if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax, and reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.”

O’Toole repeated his pledge to fight against any consumer carbon tax during the campaign for the Tory top spot.

The O’Toole carbon tax may also leave less money in taxpayers pockets than the Trudeau plan does.

Under the Trudeau plan, a portion of the federal carbon tax is rebated to taxpayers to spend as they see fit. Under the O’Toole plan, revenues will go into personalized “green” savings accounts that Canadians could only spend on government-approved environmentally friendly products.

People could then draw on those accounts for “things that help them live a greener life,” according to the Secure The Environment document. 

“This will not be a government-run program, it will be something that we view the industry doing in a similar way that the financial services industry developed and innovated with the Interac system, which people use far more now than then traditional old currency,” said O’Toole on CTV.

“This will be an account that is then tracked, it will not be big government, it will be actually run in a similar fashion to a loyalty-type program.

“I hear all the time from all parties on the spectrum saying every Canadian needs to take their role in a climate change plan. This allows that through full transparency, and for people to have their low carbon savings account and make smart decisions.”

The flip-flop angered the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“O’Toole is insulting our intelligence, of course this is a carbon tax,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Federal Director.

“If you’re going to break your promise and hammer Canadians with a carbon tax at least have the spine to admit it.

“Instead of playing word games with Canadians, O’Toole should live up to his promise and fight carbon taxes.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Feds say costly Super Bowl ads needed to make Canadians aware of COVID

Authorities earlier credited millions in advertising, not blanket news coverage, for alerting Canadians to the risks of COVID-19.

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The feds paid almost $182,000 for COVID-19 safety ads aired during the Super Bowl, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

That works out to $1,347 per second of taxpayers’ money for 135 seconds of Feb. 7 ad time. The total cost was $181,879.

An estimated 8.8 million people in Canada watched a portion of the game.

Authorities earlier credited millions in advertising, not blanket news coverage, for alerting Canadians to the risks of COVID-19.

A $120-million government-wide marketing budget included funding for “behavioral scientists,” according to a July 16 report.

“Up to $3.7 million is related to estimated salary costs for up to 16 (employees) that will support this initiative, including behavioural scientists and dedicated resources in the digital communications, public opinion research and advertising teams,” wrote staff in the Annual Report On Government Of Canada Advertising Activities.

Ken McKillop, assistant secretary to cabinet, testified June 16 at the Commons government operations committee the advertising blitz was intended to “get the news to Canadians” about the pandemic.

MacKillop credited the Privy Council’s own $49.5 million ad budget with “encouraging social distancing,” a claim disputed by committee members.

“COVID’s on the TV every second, every newspaper, every Facebook feed, everything, it’s Covid all the time,” said Conservative MP Kelly McCauley (Edmonton West):

  • MP McCauley: “Everyone knows about social distancing. Everyone knows there is Covid going on. Do you find it justifiable to spend the $50 million on something every single person knows about?”
  • Assistant MacKillop: “Well you know, you’re not wrong. People know about it because we’ve advertised.”
  • MP McCauley: “No, I think because it’s on the news cycle 24 hours a day. I’m asking, do you think this is a fair use of taxpayers’ money to advertise about something that every single person in the entire world knows is going on right now?”
  • Assistant MacKillop: “I do think it’s worth the money to advertise to Canadians on health and safety and what we’re asking them to do. Again, the virus has been unpredictable.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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O’Toole wants carbon tax placed on Chinese imports

“It’s certainly something we’re interested in,” Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said.

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A day after flip-flopping on Canada’s carbon tax, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole says the Liberals should slap one on imports from China, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“Most Canadians don’t want to see Canadian jobs being shifted to China where they don’t respect the climate change commitments democratic countries are making, where their aluminum, where their steel is five, six, seven times more carbon intensive than the incredible production in the Saguenay region or in British Columbia or Ontario,” said O’Toole.

“That tariff will price out some of these bad actor countries’ products.”

The Conservative Party proposed the carbon tariff in a document, Secure The Environment.

“We will study the imposition of a carbon border tariff which would reflect the amount of carbon emissions attributed to goods imported into Canada,” it stated.

Access To Information records indicate the Department of Environment has researched the proposal for five years.

Department of Industry managers, in 2016 testimony at the Commons trade committee, said they had no way of punishing importers that pollute. Chinese steel mills produce more than 10 times the greenhouse gas emissions of Canadian plants, about 598 kilograms of carbon for every tonne of steel, by official estimate.

“It’s certainly something we’re interested in,” Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said.

“While we are very interested in the idea – we are working on the discussion with the Americans and with Europeans – I think anybody who says that’s something you could do in the very short term doesn’t really understand how it works.

“We are very positive with respect to the potential for border carbon adjustments, but I do think folks need to understand how complicated that discussion is. In order to actually put in place a border carbon adjustment you either need to have alignment between Canada and the United States – for example, on carbon pricing – or you need to be able to have agreement about how you’re going to impute carbon pricing that is associated with either investments or regulation.”

In a shocking flip-flop, O’Toole tore up his leadership campaign’s signature promise to end carbon tax Thursday, and will be campaigning on a large, re-branded carbon tax in the next federal election.

O’Toole is proposing to charge a $50/tonne carbon tax on everything from gasoline to home heating fuel, and use the money to fund government-controlled savings accounts, which Canadians can use to purchase government-approved, environmentally friendly products.

Canadians would pay a carbon tax beginning at $20 per tonne, increasing over time to $50 a tonne, but the Tories promised it would go no higher than that. However, O’Toole promised emphatically that there would be no carbon tax at all under his leadership.

When running for party leader, O’Toole signed a Canadian Taxpayers Federation pledge to oppose the federal carbon tax. The vow said: “I, Erin O’Toole promise that if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax, and reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.”

O’Toole repeated his pledge to fight against any consumer carbon tax during the campaign for the Tory top spot.

The O’Toole carbon tax may also leave less money in taxpayers pockets than the Trudeau plan does.

Under the Trudeau plan, a portion of the federal carbon tax is rebated to taxpayers to spend as they see fit. Under the O’Toole plan, revenues will go into personalized “green” savings accounts that Canadians could only spend on government-approved environmentally friendly products.

People could then draw on those accounts for “things that help them live a greener life,” according to the Secure The Environment document. 

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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