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NAVARRO-GENIE & MACINTYRE: A plan for post-pandemic economic recover that won’t bankrupt Canada

“Canada must not be reinvented by the light of failed ideas.”




Canadians want change. It has been more than a generation since we have felt the overreaching power of government like the past year. Daily freedoms have been curtailed, millions of livelihoods impaired, savings drained, and countless fines and arrests for newly created offences, like playing hockey outdoors. 

Our elected leaders have abdicated their responsibility during a global pandemic. Instead of balancing public health needs and expert medical advice with the economic and financial needs of families and businesses, a feckless political class buckled and failed at both. It has resulted in the preventable deaths of thousands of our most vulnerable and in the devastation of tens of thousands of small businesses. Not to discount the immeasurable social and psychological consequences of their heavy-handedness, which have been dire: numerous deaths by overdose, depression, suicide, denied medical diagnostics, family violence and child abuse. Round after round of lockdowns inflicts more suffering and demonstrate a gross inability to solve the problem. 

After two years of ineptitude, Ottawa finally tabled a budget with the largest deficit it ever recorded. The runaway spending will saddle the next generation with innumerable negative ramifications. On a per capita basis, Canada has spent more than any G7 countries and fared worst in outcomes. Our economy was downgraded. Debt to GDP ratios are unsustainable, and as the 2021 Budget demonstrates there is no sign of accountability for such unfathomable rates of spending. 

The minority Parliament was neutered by the gimmicky spending and media surrendered to a prime minister holed up in a cottage while he handed out massive contracts for his friends who repay his family with lucrative benefits. The vaccine fiasco continues indirectly to cost lives. It put Canada so far back in the world vaccination queue and snatched medicine from the world’s poor, while the prime minister hypnotically repeats that he has our backs.

This litany of failures has Canadians hungry for change, and Trudeau means to capitalise on it by adopting the Euro-leftist plan for a “Reset.” Though nebulous in details, the so-called Great Reset is a reinvention of government designed to make government increasingly bigger, assuming greater command of the economy. New economic arrangements aimed to reduce market freedoms and erode critical rights like private property. The larger the government’s presence in our lives, the less autonomous space for citizens. Witness Trudeau’s Bill C-10 through which Internet content will be state regulated. To say nothing of rewarding failure: Should governments that enabled and mismanaged the COVID-19 crisis and ravaged economies now be granted more powers and greater control over our lives?  Larger governments are always capable of greater oppression. 

Canadians do desire change and need a sustainable post Covid-19 economic recovery plan. But the path forward is not in the collectivism that grew the largest self-serving bureaucracies, squandered trillions, impoverished billions, and starved millions of people in the 20th century. Canada must not be reinvented by the light of failed ideas. 

Subjecting Canadians to greater dependency on government is not the way forward. The way forward should be focussed on modest but realistic goals: get back to work, rebuild and forge growth that is inclusive and realistic. First, let us repair what has been the most damaged, the small business. Despite Prime Minister Trudeau’s disdain for small entrepreneurs, small businesses in Canada employ 97.9% of the work force and contribute 41.9% of the country’s GDP. The 2021 Budget provides some nominal spending for small business recovery, but the way forward is to reanimate national economic capacity and unleash entrepreneurial creativity by removing barriers and foster conditions for families to advance.    

We propose three basic repairs to counter the mercantile mindset of the Great Reset: open internal trade, reform banking and telecommunications, and increase incentives for retraining. 

Canada should be one market. Let’s once and for all deal with inter-provincial trade barriers, rules and regulations that restrict the free flow of goods, services, people and capital inside the country. Current rules adding friction to interprovincial openness are the equivalent of a retrograde 7% tariff. They contradict the founding spirit of the Dominion. Liberalizing trade within Canada would generate upward of $130 billion yearly, a wealth pool equivalent to $7,500 per household. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. What Canada needs is leadership. The New West Partnership, which includes B.C. and the three prairie provinces offers a working model from which to expand.

The post-COVID economy will need to provide greater incentives for our labour force to become better skilled. Encourage more people to go into trades and emerging growth sectors, particularly digitization skills. And there is no better time than right now. Online educational offerings have finally caught up to market demand. The federal government in conjunction with the provinces and post-secondary institutions should develop a framework to provide advanced skills training for the expected changes to the economy. This requires leadership and the right mix of incentives and disruption. Those receiving the Canada Recovery Benefit should automatically qualify for skills training. Colleges and universities should collaborate with industry and provincial governments to get needed credential programs approved and offered quickly. Not the usual four to six years that is typically the pace now.

Legislators and policy makers would be well to recognize two significant obstacles to up-skilling and entrepreneurship in this country: banks and telecommunications. The banking sector, particularly the big five Charter banks, are the biggest barrier to entrepreneurship. It is virtually impossible to access home equity as a small business owner with any of the big five. A lack of available capital is holding back existing and potential small business owners from investing, hiring and training more Canadians. It is critical to unleash the economic power of the SMB to reform banking legislation in this country once and for all, however much the banking lobbyists oppose it.

We live in an online world, but 15% of Canadians do not have access to high-speed services. Access to quality internet services is essential in a large country with a small and dispersed population. The enshrined oligopoly that charges exorbitant rates for poor service and horrid customer service must change. The need for small businesses to digitize to compete is hamstrung by internet costs, mobile services and the absence of competition in the telecommunications sector. Instead of strengthening it, the CRTC and the Minister of Heritage should be working to break down the protected triad: Bell, Rogers and Telus. The most recent billion-dollar Rogers-Shaw deal is a prime opportunity for the Competition Bureau and the CRTC to put citizens, families and small business’ interests first.

Interprovincial barriers, banking and telecommunications are holding back Canadian entrepreneurs and small businesses. Let us reject the political scheme of a reset. It is time to free our entrepreneurs of the mercantilist shackles and unleash their power to create, grow and hire.

Marco Navarro-Genie is a Columnist for the Western Standard and President of the Haultain Research Institute
Sara MacIntyre is CEO of Vuca Sera Inc and an Advistor for the Haultain Research Institute 

Marco Navarro-Génie is a Columnist for the Western Standard. He is President of the Haultain Research Institute and a Senior Fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.


MORGAN: Big labour wants big government in Calgary’s civic election

“Calgary’s Future used to be called “Calgarians for a Progressive Future” and the Canadian Union for Public Employees pumped nearly $1.4 million into the group in 2019 alone.”




Alberta’s civic election fundraising laws used to be pretty ‘wild west’. There were no contribution limits for candidates. Disclosure requirements on contributors were loose and candidates could spend contributions on whatever they pleased.

Just think about how ridiculous that was. A person, company, or union could give tens of thousands of dollars to a candidate and we were supposed to pretend that it wouldn’t impact how they govern. There was no formal campaign period, so fundraising could happen during the entire term of the councillor. The official didn’t have to actually spend the funds on their campaign. They could and did build surpluses in their campaign accounts. It was a perfect system for (soft) bribery and money laundering, and let’s not pretend that it never happened.

Campaign accounts could be used as retirement funds for city councillors. Upon leaving office, whatever surplus funds were in the campaign account could go to the councillor as a tax-free gift.

Ward 11 councilor Barry Erskine was so flagrant in his abuse of the system, he can at least be credited for helping spur the reform of it. In 2004, Erskine claimed $67,000 in election expenses while he was acclaimed. How do you spend so much on a campaign against nobody? In 2007, Erskine pretended an intent to run right up until a couple of days before the deadline. He then dropped out of the race, pocketed whatever campaign funds were in his account, and rode off into the sunset. While the act was grossly unprincipled, it was entirely legal.

Multiple campaign finance reform bills have been passed since the unregulated days of 2007. Unions and corporations can no longer donate to candidates and the maximum that anybody can donate to a campaign is $5,000 per year.

Campaign finance reforms have not stopped the influence of well-heeled groups, however. Rather than donating directly to candidates as they used to, organizations have formed a myriad of Third-Party Advertiser (TPA) groups and have been funneling a lot of money into them. Most of these groups have modest funding. A TPA called “Calgary’s Future” is an exception and is sitting on a $1.7 million campaign war chest.

While contributions to TPAs are capped at $30,000 now, there was no limit on contributions to them prior to 2021. Calgary’s Future used to be called “Calgarians for a Progressive Future” and the Canadian Union for Public Employees pumped nearly $1.4 million into the group in 2019 alone.

Calgary’s Future may have dropped the term “progressive” from their name, but their leftward slant isn’t hard to see on their website. Every candidate that they have endorsed is running on a progressive platform. The group gives an impression of transparency but no organizers or principles behind the organization are disclosed beyond first names. It is hardly a secret that they are a creation of government unions.

We can try to cork the bottle when it comes to campaign funding, but big money will always find another way to influence candidates. Having nearly $2 million in union dues directed towards promoting a specific set of candidates is surely going to impact the election. There is no TPA with a budget even close to Calgary’s Future. No other TPA has the paycheques of thousands of union members to tap for funding either.

If any of the candidates being backed by Calgary’s Future do get elected, they will have more than a little bias in favour of labour unions when contract negotiations with civil service unions are done. We are in a period of fiscal crisis and need councilors who will stand up to organized labour as opposed to being beholden to it.

We clearly needed to fix our unregulated campaign funding system; but have we now created a monster worse than what we had to begin with? Things are less transparent than ever and the dollars are bigger. Interest groups with multi-million dollar budgets will be supporting campaigns while the average voter doesn’t even realize it. It is more difficult to tie a candidate to who their backers may actually be. The money is still there, but now it is indirect.

It is too late to change the campaign funding system for 2021, but we should work to expose it. Organized labour is funding a large campaign for a small number of candidates. Calgary needs councilors who are working for the interest of the city as a whole rather than the labour unions for city employees. If Calgarians want the city to return to fiscal responsibility, they need to look at the list of candidates being endorsed by Calgary’s Future and choose not to vote for them.

Cory Morgan is the Alberta Political Columnist for the Western Standard and Host of the Cory Morgan Show

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Allison: Official bilingualism creates a regional power imbalance

Westerners must join the elite minority of bilinguals by learning a second language or be left behind when it comes to rising the ranks of Canada’s federal institutions.




Bilinguals make up only 18% of our population, yet they dominate our federal institutions.

The reason for this is no secret. Canada’s official bilingualism, legally enshrined in the Official Languages Act (1969), gives a distinct advantage to one class of Canadians; bilinguals, over all others. The Act requires that federal institutions provide services in both French and English. The result is that 40% of federal public service jobs are “designated bilingual.” This means that some 300,000 jobs which make up our federal bureaucracies are available only to 18% of Canadians and closed to the other 82%

What does this mean for regional representation in our federal institutions? It means overrepresentation from Quebec and underrepresentation from the West. About 45% of Quebecers are bilingual whereas only 7% of those in the prairie provinces are bilingual. Thus, the pool of qualified candidates for federal public service jobs is going to be overwhelmingly filled with Quebecers while having scarcely any Westerners. As spokesman for Canadians for Language Fairness, Gordon Miller, writes: “The Official Languages Act has allowed this group [the “Laurentian elite”] to dominate the federal government bureaucracy and further entrench the dominance of the Eastern provinces in federal affairs.”

The Laurentian elite does dominate the federal public service. A total of 67% of the federal public service is made up of Quebecers and Ontarians and only 11% are from the prairie provinces. Of course, official bilingualism is not the only cause that has explanatory power in the case of this discrepancy. The federal capital being located on the border between the two most populous provinces also plays a significant role in determining the regional makeup of the federal public service (a separate and distinct advantage that the Laurentians have over Westerners in controlling federal institutions). In fact, 42% of federal public service employees live in the National Capital Region in Ottawa-Gatineau.

But, when it comes to those who rise the ranks in Canada’s federal bureaucracy, official bilingualism provides an explanation for its overwhelmingly Quebecer makeup. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Richard Wagner, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal Marc Noël, the Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson for the National Film Board of Canada Claude Joli-Coeur, the Director and CEO of the Canada Council of the Arts Simon Brault, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Stéphane Perrault, and the Director of CSIS David Vigneault are all Quebecers. The board of directors for the CBC, is also made up of 33% Quebecers with only one member hailing from the prairie provinces — Jennifer Moore Rattray from Manitoba. As Washington Post columnist, J.J. McCullough, suggests: “It is really hard to argue that by some massive coincidence the most qualified people for all of these jobs just happen to be Quebecers.”

Indeed, it is no coincidence. Since all federal institutions must provide services in both French and English, it is likely to have a bilingual in charge of these federal bureaucracies in order to ensure that these institutions run smoothly. As a result, Quebecers with their disproportionate number of bilinguals, have come to dominate the highest ranks of these bureaucracies.

Official bilingualism lays the groundwork for these regional disparities in Canada’s federal bureaucracies. Quebecers are overwhelmingly more likely to be bilingual than Westerners. As such, Westerners must join the elite minority of bilinguals by learning a second language or be left behind when it comes to rising the ranks of Canada’s federal institutions.

Andrew Allison is a PhD philosophy student at the University of Calgary

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SLOBODIAN: Doug Ford’s daughter could teach her father a thing or two about freedom

Daughter champions freedoms, daddy seizes them. Some who despise Premier Dad’s authoritarian decrees say the wrong family member heads Ontario.




Krista Ford Haynes, daughter of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, is going to make for some interesting Thanksgiving Dinner family conversation.

On Tuesday, Krista issued another dire warning against governments forcing vaccine passports, urging people to “collectively wake up” and not be obedient and unquestioning.

The following day, her father, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, launched COVID-19 vaccine passports, forcing people to choose between taking the jab, or losing many of their most basic freedoms. He claimed the passports are temporary.

Sure, they are. And 14 days would flatten the curve. No government relinquishes control it grabs. When COVID eventually passes, the newly established government powers will be turned elsewhere.

Daughter champions freedoms, daddy seizes them. Some who despise Premier Dad’s authoritarian decrees say the wrong family member heads Ontario.

Ford family get-togethers can’t be fun. Hopefully, they’re amicable. That’s not always the case.

Polarizing COVID-19 views about forced-masking, lockdowns, vaccines, and mandatory vaccine passports are dividing and destroying families and friendships.

Screaming matches and brawls over masks and social distancing aren’t confined to the aisles of Walmart among strangers.

Loved ones nearly, or maybe do, come to blows at dinner tables before the soup gets cold. That only happens when the government permits them to visit in between intermittent lockdowns.

Everyone’s ready to fall on their swords, convinced that their side — whichever it is — is solely righteous and right.

Haynes, 30, is an anti-vax crusader. Insults are hurled at her. The indignant demand she is reported. She’s been called “ignorant.” She makes people’s “blood boil.”

The feisty Haynes won’t back down from views some declare extreme.

Haynes, with thousands of followers, delivered her latest message in a video posted to Instagram after the federal election.

“Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. As we could have all expected, the Liberal government won last night with a minority government,” said Haynes.

The Liberals will carry on “stripping our freedoms away one day at a time,” she said.

Haynes has long warned that forced masking was a steppingstone to vaccine passports. She was mocked. Few are laughing now.

The passports are here. Alberta succumbed, despite Premier Jason Kenney’s solemn vow to gallantly fight the feds if they forced them. Then he did a 180 and imposed them with a vengeance.

Now Haynes warns vaccine passports are a steppingstone to more controls and lost freedoms.

“When I posted in May or June of last year about the upcoming mask mandates and not to comply, this is why I wanted people, urged people, not to comply,” she said.

“We found out right away that masks weren’t very effective at all based on how people were wearing and revising them, and it actually could have made things a lot worse for some people and are making things a lot worse for certain age groups today.”

“That was one, but we complied, we complied. We could have put our foot down collectively, and we didn’t.”

So, the worst of it has arrived?

“You think it’s just going to be movie theatres, restaurants, gyms. That’s the first step. The first step. They’re going to take it all. They’re going to take it all and we’ve allowed it.”

Australians wore their masks and obeyed ‘temporary’ lockdown orders. The former penal colony turned into one of the freest countries, has become an effective police state. Citizens face the most extreme lockdowns globally. Wednesday, police fired rubber bullets into a crowd of 400 unarmed and peaceful protestors against severe lockdowns and vaccine passports.

Chaos erupts around the world. People fear pandemic “mandates” have morphed into a sinister grab for complete control over their lives to advance ever-greater government control.

Many are losing their jobs for no good reason.

Citizens are enraged their children suffer abuse, being forced to wear masks with little proof they effectively prevent transmission of COVID.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s booster (third) shot six months after full immunization for the elderly and high-risk. It rejected an application to approve booster shots for all Americans 16 and older. They’ll circle back to that.

Haynes urged people to ask questions, discuss, research. She, like others who advocate this, are ridiculed, attacked, discredited, even fired.

Their critics just want everyone to comply with the latest orders and shut up.

Fear, anger and distrust over this curse called COVID-19 prevail. There’s little common ground.

Doctors who question the official doctrine are dismissed, shamed, and now, being fired in some cases.

Asking questions is a good thing. Blindly complying isn’t.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard

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