Last year was a truly interesting and eye-opening year in the world of politics. However, it seems as if the extremely questionable decisions of some members of the Liberal caucus have gone unnoticed, due to the popularity of the president south of the border in terms of media attention.
First of all is the ironic and hypocritical Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, most known for supporting and imposing the Carbon Tax which is costing Canadian taxpayers hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year in extra taxes, she is often seen showing how she is making her own efforts to combat ‘climate change’ on her social media. She often posts pictures on her social media for example, of her biking to work. One picture posted on her Twitter last year, on May 30th, 2016, features her sitting on her bike at Parliament Hill wearing a knee-high dress and four inch high heels. I am truly impressed that she was able to bike to work dressed like that.
Despite representing the riding of Ottawa-Centre, last year she was able to rack up 23,971 kilometres of mileage on her government vehicles in 9 months of 2016 according to government documents. It’s astonishing that the minister of charge of climate change that supports the imposal of a carbon tax on canadian taxpayers has needed to travel that much when she represents the riding Parliament Hill is situated in. In those same 9 months, from January to September of 2016, she spent 2612.45$ on gasoline to fuel her climate-destroying and gas-guzzling vehicles.
Maybe the Honourable Minister needs to drive to places across Canada, and it’s not as if she takes dozens of flights, including private flights, a year, right? Maybe she would take a different approach to travel in 2017. Think again. The Government of Canada site on transparency, but more specifically travel expenses, shows that the Honourable Minister racked up 40+ trips from November 13th, 2016, to November 20th, 2017. It does not specify what type of travel these are (i.e. by car/by plane), but I doubt her trip to New York in September, 2017, was a drive that costed taxpayers a staggering $5,011.20. A drive from Ottawa to Toronto in August 2017 would not cost taxpayers $1,076.32. She certainly did not drive or take a boat to travel to London, England, Dublin, Ireland, Berlin, Germany, or Rome, Italy, just to name a few. These expenses in total cost taxpayers $117,291.81 last year. That’s $117,291.81 out of taxpayers’ pockets for her to travel across Canada, and around the world, and $117,291.81 of taxpayers’ money for her to add to ‘climate change’. Also, it’s not as if she’s the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or another crucial position in the Government. Many of her flights around Canada were just to make simple announcements. On one occasion, she announced the phasing out of coal in Ottawa, then proceeded directly to fly to Nova Scotia to make the same announcement. This figure is astronomically higher than the average Canadian will travel in a year, and also immensely more than the average Canadian will spend on gas guzzling jets in the same amount of time. The difference? She is a Liberal MP, and therefore gets taxpayers to pay for her flights, while the average Canadian is drowned in taxes, such as the Carbon Tax. It is so extremely hypocritical of her to lecture the average Canadian on how we should try to reduce our carbon footprint, while she is doing precisely the opposite.
Next is the Honourable Defence Minister, Harjit Sajjan, who seems to be using the government fleet of Challenger jets as you or I would use a car. According to the Globe and Mail, he has racked up $670,692 on government jet flights for himself in 20 trips from January 2016 to May, 2017. “These flights comprised more than 206 hours of flying time.” It should also be noted that the total cost of those flights is much higher, as the $670,692 does not take into account the cost of flying the planes or paying the pilots. “In February, 2017, Mr. Sajjan was the lone passenger on a Challenger jet flying from Ottawa to Washington and then on to his home in Vancouver. The cost: $36,605.” In addition, “On one occasion in December 2016, Mr. Sajjan opted to fly from Ottawa to the Trenton, Ont., military base rather than drive about 2 ½ hours in his government limousine. The cost of flying to Trenton was $6,358.” Costing taxpayers $3255 per hour of flight time, this is extremely hypocritical of him, given that this government is refusing to buy new fighter jets for our brave men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces, who are currently flying 35 plus year old CF-18 jets. Due to this government’s incompetence in dealing with budget regulating, they have a far higher deficit than they planned (billions of dollars worth), and therefore our service members in the CAF will have to continue using outdated jets, while he flies around the world in private government jets just so he can feel a sense of entitlement.
Earlier this year, Sajjan grossly exaggerated his role in Operation Medusa. For those of you who don’t know, Minister Sajjan served our country honourably in Afghanistan in the CAF Reserves. On April 18, Sajjan falsely claimed that he was the “architect” of Operation Medusa, a two-week battle in September 2006 in which 12 Canadian soldiers and 550 Taliban fighters were killed. Sajjan was a Major in the Canadian Forces Reserves when the largest offensive in our country’s time in Kandahar took place. He was not high enough in the rankings to be the person that planned the offensive, and thought his comments would go unnoticed. Veterans called for an apology and the Opposition called for his resignation, yet he is still our Defence Minister to this day.
Then comes the Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, who had a tough end to 2017, due to his coming under fire for potentially illegal acts. First of all, he did not disclose all of his assets upon being elected as an MP and he kept hidden his offshore company in France. Astoundingly, Mr. Morneau received no major repercussion for not disclosing that corporation. Later, he repeatedly said he disclosed all of his assets when in fact he did not. However, possibly the largest controversy to date is because on December 7th, 2015, the Minister introduced a motion on the floor of the House of Commons to raise taxes on January 1st, 2016. The stock market dropped, and so did the stocks of Morneau-Shepell, the Minister’s family company, but not before Mr. Morneau sold 680,000 Morneau-Shepell shares worth $10 million under 1 week before that bill was introduced. This would lead to him saving $500,000 by avoiding the tax changes that followed his tabling of new tax legislation on the floor of the House of Commons. After being questioned for hours on separate occasions during Question Period by the Opposition, he continually avoided the question, stating over and over again why the raise taxes: “to raise taxes on the top 1 percent, and to lower middle class taxes on 9 million Canadians.” The Honourable Minister from Carlton, Pierre Poilievre, continually questioned Minister Morneau, reiterating “It is the responsibility of government to ensure that no minister uses inside knowledge to benefit from transactions on the stock market.” This is extremely troubling, for the Minister of Finance, one of the most important ministers in the Canadian government, to have such a low level of accountability in terms of disclosing his assets, and using his position as Finance Minister to benefit himself financially. Because of these troubling revelations, and subsequent investigation of Minister Morneau by the Ethics Commissioner, the Leader of the Opposition has called for Mr. Morneau’s resignation.
Next comes the Honourable Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, an immigrant from Somalia himself. In the summer of 2017, a copy of the new Canadian Citizenship Guide that was being written by the Liberal government was leaked to the media. This Guide did not feature Female Genital Mutilation as an intolerable practice in Canada. This inhumane practice affects tens of millions of girls not only abroad, but in Canada as well. On December 7th, 2017, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met so that the Minister of Immigration could be asked questions about this. After 9 grueling minutes of questions from the Conservative MP Michelle Rempel, Mr. Hussen continually denied the accusations, saying “[he hasn’t] done that” and “the Citizenship Guide has not been written yet.” For 9 minutes he stated that they “were still in the consultation stage” over and over, and refused numerous times to answer the simple yes or no question: “Will FGM be included in Canada’s Citizenship Guide, listed as an intolerable practice and a crime as it currently is?” The Honourable Minister Rempel later stated that “There are over 17,000 Canadians who have signed a petition to keep this in here. I can’t imagine any group that would suggest that you would take it out.”
In 2016, all but four Liberal MPs rose to vote against an Tory motion declaring ISIS atrocities as genocide. In 2017, it was no different. This year, the Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale rose in the House of Commons to answer the question of if there were any ISIS fighters that have returned to Canada, and if so, how many. After numerous attempts to avoid the question, he finally stood up to say that 60 ISIS fighters have returned to Canada. Do you feel safe knowing that there could be an ISIS fighter living near you? This is absurd. In addition Trudeau has also decided not to strip ISIS fighters of their citizenship, but instead spend taxpayer dollars to reintegrate these terrorists.
Finally, and most importantly, is the Right Honourable prime minister Justin Trudeau, often seen flaunting himself in selfies on social media, showing off his ‘fancy’ socks, and avoiding questions from the Opposition in Question Period in the House of Commons, who has come under fire multiple times this year.
In May, 2017, Justin Trudeau proposed shutting down debate and showing up to Question Period only one day a week. Instead of showing up to avoid question, he wanted to not show up so he wouldn’t have to be asked questions at all. The fact that he only wants to show up and answer questions only one day a week shows not only his levels of accountability, but his level of appreciation for our democracy. In the words of the Interim Leader of the Opposition Rona Ambrose: “What the prime minister is proposing is to change the rules so he can silence the Opposition. His plan is to restrict debate, shorten the workweek and limit his attendance to Question Period to one day a week. No one has ever attempted gutting accountability like this.”
The fight against ISIS has been a brutal one for many years. Thankfully, according to the US government, ISIS has lost over 90% of its territory in the Middle East in the last year, including their strongholds Raqqa and Mosul, and has lost tens of thousands of militants in battle, due to coalition forces attacks and airstrikes. Now, given that ISIS is in retreat, there are many fighters who, as Canadian citizens who realizing they are soon to suffer defeat, are returning back to Canada. As I stated previously, Mr. Goodale, our Public Safety Minister has stated that there are 60 ISIS fighters that have returned to Canada, and are “being monitored” by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Border Patrol Services and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Now, instead of putting these terrorists in jail for the atrocities they have committed abroad, Mr. Trudeau is focused on re-integrating them into Canadian society. Yes, you heard that right, Mr. Trudeau, our prime minister has stated that he wants people who have willingly gone to fight as our enemies with a terrorist organization to be reintegrated into Canadian society. This is absolutely despicable, as the first job of any leader is that of its peoples’ safety. Trudeau is not taking the safety of Canadians seriously. Mr. Trudeau stated during a question period that returning ISIS fighters can be “an extremely powerful voice.” I think he’s lost his mind.
The Canadian Act called the Foreign Enlistment Act states that “Any person who, being a Canadian national, leaves or goes on board any conveyance with a view to leaving Canada with intent to accept any commission or engagement in the armed forces of any foreign state at war with any friendly foreign state or, whether a Canadian national or not, within Canada, induces any other person to leave or go on board any conveyance with a view to leaving Canada, with a like intent, is guilty of an offence.” Now, given that Canada and our allies are at war with ISIS, it is, in fact, against the law to leave Canada as a Canadian national to go fight for ISIS.
Going back to my previous statement, what will this so-called “re-integration” entail? The Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence is supposedly the main organization that will be focusing on the reintegration projects, according to CBC News. The prime minister said in a statement “We have methods of de-emphasizing or deprogramming people who want to harm our society...” Just what those methods are are still not known. This Liberal government has been extremely secretive and elusive when asked questions about what these reintegration methods could consist of. However, $3,000,000 has already been pledged to this Centre, according to CBC News.
The majority of Canadians think that reintegration is not the right thing to do, and won’t work. As stated on an interview on Fox News by Jim Hanson, President of Security Studies Group, “We’re talking about adults who made a conscious choice to live a life of slaughtering infidels, raping sex slaves, and burning people alive in cages. Bringing them back and expecting them to become productive citizens is absurd.” A Conservative MP said in the House of Commons “The ISIS brides that are coming back, they believe in the ideology,” and that is how “they’re going to raise their children.” He subsequently stated “You aren’t going to reprogram these individuals. The Liberals are committing $3.5 million to the Community Resilience Fund to do all sorts of things like poetry, like pottery, like blogging; Why we’re putting these terrorists back online to radicalize more people is beyond me.” Jim Hanson later added on: “Remember, these guys aren’t coming home because they saw the error of their ways, they’re coming home because they lost … Trudeau’s job is to keep Canadians safe, not to conduct some sort of sociological experiment to see if he can make these guys into productive citizens. They’re not, they can’t be, and he shouldn’t do it.”
During an media session that I personally found extremely questionable and frankly alarming, Mr. Trudeau made a statement, saying: “There are those who think we should engage in heated, over the top rhetoric when speaking about ISIL… Call us old fashion, but we think we ought to avoid doing precisely what our enemies want us to do... They want us to give into fear. To indulge in hatred.” Should we not hate ISIS? These are people who said they will infiltrate the refugee program with militants and attack our homeland. “The lethal enemy of barbarism isn’t hatred, it’s reason” Is he joking? Should we reason with barbaric terrorists now? Is that what his government is focused on? Should we not hate ISIS for barbarically murdering thousands of innocent men, women and children, Mr. Trudeau? These people need to be put in jail for the atrocities they have committed (or have at least voluntarily participated in, joining an organization that commits these horrendous acts). “Terrorists do not have the strength to defeat us, so they seek to have us defeat ourselves.” Well, Mr. Trudeau, if we open our borders and welcome murderous terrorists, I’m sure we will not fair too well either.
During Question Period, Andrew Scheer, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition summed this up perfectly, saying: “Nobody voted in this last election to elect a government that would be so focused on the rights of ISIS terrorists, people who watch soldiers burn alive in cages, people who sell women and girls into slavery! When people like that come home, they don’t need to spend writing haikus, they need to spend time in jail! When will the prime minister take that seriously!?”
In addition, Mr. Trudeau made another extremely questionable decision in the summer of 2017, when he decided to make a payout of $10.5 million to Omar Khadr. Omar Khadr was a Canadian citizen living in Afghanistan since the age of 8. His father had supposedly become friendly with Al-Qaeda, after he had been arrested in 1995 in Pakistan in connection with a bombing of an Egyptian embassy, and had been a suspect in the 9/11 attacks, as well as having a direct connection with Osama Bin Laden, being his ‘Finance minister’, according to intelligence services. In June 2002, at the age of 15 he was accused of throwing a grenade that ultimately killed US Army Medic Sgt. Christopher Speer, and blinded US Army Sgt. Layne Morris in one eye. Khadr was sent to Guantanamo Bay to be detained and interrogated. Khadr later admitted to killing Speer. Later, he wanted justice for the US and Canada’s treatment towards him at Gitmo. He threatened to go to court because the US and Canada violated his rights by sleep depriving him. In July, 2017, Trudeau decided for some reason it was not worth it to go to court, so he paid Khadr a supposed sum of $10.5 million. This payout happened during the summer, when the House of Commons was not sitting. Many Conservative MPs believe Mr. Trudeau made the payout at this time so that the Opposition could not question him in the House of Commons, as they would not return for several weeks. In addition, Mr. Trudeau did not even bother contacting Sgt. Speer’s widow, Tabatha, or Sgt. Layne, who was blinded by Omar Khadr’s actions. The overwhelming majority of Canadians were astonished with Trudeau’s decision to settle, both Conservatives, and Liberals. Polls showed over 70% of Canadians disapprove of Trudeau’s decision. Some were enraged because he payed a terrorist and self-confessed killer of Sgt. Speer, when the widow of Sgt. Speer, Tabatha received nothing but two of her children left fatherless. Trudeau said that if he hadn’t settle, the cost could have been $20 million or higher, but many opposition critics believe this not to be the case, as he had previously confessed to the killing in open court. I’m not sure if Trudeau does not believe in the Canadian judiciary system, has no respect for slain allied soldiers, or no respect for Canadian taxpayers, but his decision was truly sickening.
In December, 2017, Mary Dawson, Canada’s Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner came out with a report entitled “The Trudeau Report,” stating that Trudeau had been found guilty of violating four sections of the Conflict of Interest Act by accepting gifts of hospitality from the Aga Khan. Trudeau travelled to the Aga Khan’s private island in 2016 on private aircraft organized by the Aga Khan. It is in fact forbidden for a prime minister to use private aircraft, yet Mr. Trudeau admits he did. Mr. Trudeau said that they were family friends, although they had hardly spoke for 30 years. When asked if he, travelling to a private island on a private plane to a “friend” who he has barely spoken to and not seen for 30 years who also happens to be on the government lobbyist list posed any potential ethical dilemmas, he said that “[he] didn’t believe [he] had done anything wrong at the time.” This is a truly historic event. This is the first prime minister in Canadian history to have been found guilty under federal ethics law. Yet another example of Mr. Trudeau believing the rules don’t apply to him.
Just recently, on January 9th, 2018, Mary Dawson, Canada’s Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner presented her findings at a special meeting of the Commons ethics committee on Mr. Trudeau’s questionable 2016 vacation. "I had to consider whether Trudeau and the Aga Khan were friends for the purposes of the act" she said, "However Mr. Trudeau had no personal or private interactions from 1983 until 2013 when Mr. Trudeau became leader of the Liberal party of Canada, other than on the occasion of his father's funeral." She also stated that “[t]here was ongoing, official business between the government and the Aga Khan and his institutions at the time each invitation to visit the island was accepted,” and that “Mr. Trudeau as prime minister was in a position to be able to advance some of the matters of interest to the Aga Khan.” Very clear in her testimony, Ms. Dawson shows precisely how Trudeau violated sections 5, 11, 12, and 21 of Canada’s Conflict of Interest Act.
After the Christmas break, the MPs sat down, and resumed Question Period on Monday, January 29th, 2018. Given that the Trudeau Report came out while the MPs were not sitting in the House of Commons, Conservative MPs were extremely eager to question Trudeau on his intentions when they both returned. “When will the prime minister do the right thing and pay back taxpayers money for the cost he imposed on them” was asked speedily, and repeatedly by Andrew Scheer. In the words of Mark Strahl, Conservative MP, all they got back were “scripted answers” by Bardish Chagger, Government House Leader for the Liberals.
Later, Mr. Strahl added an extremely interesting point, while referring to Trudeau’s apologies, he said “if a Canadian taxpayer files a false expense claim when they file their taxes and the taxman finds out they’ve broken the law, they don’t get to keep their ill-gotten tax return and just say ‘sorry, won’t do that again’, they have to pay it back with interest in penalties. Once again, there’s one set of rules for the prime minister and one set of rules for everyone else.”
When it was found out that former Health Minister Jane Philpott was taking expensive limo rides at the taxpayers expense, Justin Trudeau said she should pay them back. When it was found out that the Minister of Indigenous of Affairs was making inappropriate expenses, she was also told by the prime minister to pay them back. “Is this equal treatment?” asked Lisa Raitt, Conservative MP. She posed her question at the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, but instead, Bardish Chagger got up and repeated another one of her “scripted answers”, not having answer the question originally posed by Ms. Raitt.
Conservatives also brought up the fact that what kind of an example and precedent is this setting, when our highest elected official breaks federal law, and gets off with a simple apology, without even trying to right his wrong. What kind of an example is this setting to our youth? “An apology is meaningless if it doesn’t come with a sincere attempt to make amends” said Andrew Scheer, adding also “by the prime minister’s logic, it’s okay to bill taxpayers for expenses even when the purpose of those expenses is to break the law.” He concluded by stating: “Canadians do not want to see any more of his fake apologies, they want real action. If he truly wants to fix this issue and re-earn the trust of Canadians, he can pay them back for the money he cost them.”
The total cost of Mr. Trudeau’s two Christmas vacations, St. Kitts in 2015, and the Aga Khan private island in 2016 costed taxpayers more than $300,000, $200,000 of which was illegally spent. “The prime minister could perhaps consider vacationing in Canada in the final two years of his mandate.” said Conservative MP and ethics critic Peter Kent.
On January 9th, 2018, Mr. Kent called an ethics committee meeting. In this meeting, nine Members of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics voted whether or not Mr. Trudeau should appear in front of ethics committee to testify about his actions that resulted in him breaking four sections of the Conflict of Interest Act. All six Liberal members of said committee voted against him appearing to testify, while two Conservative members of the committee voted in favour of Trudeau testifying, as well as one NDP member. Mr. Trudeau doesn’t want to answer to this committee, and doesn’t want to answer to Canadians, which is perhaps one of the most worrying aspects of this story.
Posted to the Conservative MP Candice Bergen’s Twitter on December 30th, 2017, this photo calls into question Trudeau’s seriousness. Standing next to his brother with a big smile on his face, Trudeau happily dons a sweater of the Last Supper, featuring Jesus and his disciples with emojis over their faces, and “happy birthday” strung over them. For the leader of Canada, a G7 country, nobody would expect him to be so offensive to an entire religion. This photo raises the issue of Trudeau’s seriousness, as he has the very important job of representing 36 million Canadians, Canadians of all religion and beliefs, including Christianity.
In conclusion, in 2017, this was an alarmingly dishonest and hypocritical Liberal caucus. Some Liberal MPs believe the rules don’t apply to them. I only wish I had more time, as I was not able to comment on the Liberals’ broken promises surrounding veterans pensions, the federal budget deficit, military expenditure, Trudeau’s “peoplekind” comments at his town hall, Trudeau saying veterans are “asking for more money than [they] are able to give them” (when in reality, veterans are only asking for what the Liberals promised they would give them during the campaign), and their controversial stance on the Canada Summer Jobs program, where you must be pro-abortion in order to get a job grant... just to name a few. Their level of accountability is remarkable, and their hypocritical actions certainly raise questions surrounding their seriousness and their fitness of the enormous responsibilities they hold. However, I would like to congratulate Mr. Trudeau on his historic accomplishment of being the first ever Canadian prime minister found guilty under the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Act. In 2018, I will hope this government will focus on accountability.