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World Politics

Trudeau & the WE Scandal

What is the WE Scandal and why does it matter?  Traditionally the administration of taxpayers money is done by the Federal Public Service of Canada to prevent any potential fraud and misuse of funds.  For some unknown reason, Trudeau and his cabinet decided to take $912 million (almost a billion dollars) of taxpayers money and give it to the WE Charity, allowing them to administer a government program to help students.  The WE Charity agreed to administer this program as a “favour” to Canadians.  This so-called favour, however, entitled the WE Charity to charge Canadian taxpayers $43 million in administration fees (so far they have charged taxpayers for $30 million).  Canada has a huge capable federal public service, so why this arrangement was deemed necessary is anyone’s guess.

What Trudeau failed to tell anyone at the cabinet meeting is that his mother, Margaret Trudeau, had received $312,000; his brother, Alexander (Sacha) Trudeau, about $41,000; and his wife, Sophie Trudeau (a brand ambassador for WE), $1,400 from WE.  All of this money was for “speaker fees”.  They also received reimbursed travel expenses (the amounts and destinations are unknown).  At this same cabinet meeting was Bill Morneau, the Minister of Finance who also had a case of sudden “amnesia” and failed to tell everyone that his daughter was connected to WE, and that WE had paid over $41,000 for him to go to Kenya and Ecuador (on a family trip).  

Justin Trudeau has said that he is “sorry”.  He seems to be saying that a lot these days.  (This is his third ethics scandal.)   Is he sorry for doing something disreputable (which he did) or is he sorry that he got caught?  Canadians pay Justin Trudeau $361,500 per year and Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, $269,800 per year.  Both are also independently wealthy.  Surely our well-paid and wealthy politicians don’t need to come up with inventive schemes using taxpayer money in order to help their families out!   

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World Politics

Canadians Given Death Penalty in China

Canadians Sentenced to Death in China – Update

In addition to the “Two Michaels” who were recently charged with espionage, two other Canadians are still under arrest in China:  Fan Wei (known simply as Mr. Fan), arrested in 2012, and Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, arrested in 2016.  Both cases are alleged to involve drug smuggling.  In 2019, Chinese officials formally pronounced the death sentence on both of these men. Robert Schellenberg has launched an appeal (which stands very little hope of success, according to legal experts), and no one knows what has happened to Mr. Fan.  Both the Canadian government and media have said very little about the fate of these two men.  Their death sentences will be by lethal injection or by firing squad.  

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, prides himself on being a champion of Women’s Rights as well as Human Rights, yet has given the arrest of Canadian citizens very little attention.  In December 2018 when Sarah McIver, an ESL teacher from Alberta, was wrongly arrested for working illegally, he refused to even discuss her arrest with China’s President Xi. Out of 5 recent arrests, she is the only Canadian released from prison.  More than likely the other four Canadians will be killed by the Chinese authorities (two have already been sentenced to death). 

It is not surprising that Canada was not recently given a seat on the UN Security Council:  the international community felt that it didn’t deserve it. Instead of standing up for Human Rights, the Canadian government has tried to appease China’s communist government even if it means ignoring  the wrongful arrest and death sentence of Canadians. 

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World Politics

China: Canadians Charged with Spying

China: Two Canadians Charged with Espionage – Update

On June 19, 2020, Chinese authorities formally charged two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (known as the “Two Michaels”) with spying (espionage).  Both were arrested in China in December 2018.  Given Canada’s mediocre, if not non-existent, role in international affairs (e.g. it was beat out for a recent UN Security Council seat by Norway and Ireland), these charges are ridiculous.  Spying for Canada?  Really?  The Chinese authorities honestly expect us to believe that!

In effect, the Two Michaels are being held for ransom, as the Communist Chinese government wants Canada to release Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at the Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei.  She is being held in Vancouver, awaiting extradition to the USA for bank and wire fraud.  While the Two Michaels are being held in prison with no contact from the outside, Meng Wanzhou is being allowed to live in luxury at her $14 million (CDN) 7-bedroom mansion in the fashionable Shaughnessy district.

Recently several prominent American politicians (both Republican and Democrat) have joined together to speak out against their wrongful arrest and to fight for their release.  No such action has taken place in Canada.  The moral of the story may be:  if you are a Canadian and get arrested in China (or elsewhere), call the American Embassy, as they will actually try to help you!