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Dec. 31, 2021

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Jan. 22, 2021

1940 was a tumultuous year in Canada. We were at war.

On January 1, 1940, the Clerk of the Privy Council, Ernest Joseph Lemaire retired after 46 years of public service. He had been Privy Council Clerk reporting to the Governor General from 1923 to 1940.

On February 6, 1940, the Governor General,  John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, suffered a severe head injury when he fell after suffering a stroke, and he died on February 11. Canada was left without a Privy Council Clerk or Governor General.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King was still smarting from the 1926 King-Byng affair. Prime Minister King asked Governor General Lord Julian Byng to dissolve Parliament and call fresh elections. Byng refused and offered opposition leader Arthur Meighen the opportunity to govern. It ended with King winning an eventual election, but King resented the GG for having exercised his powers.

Prime Minister King saw an opportunity and decided to create a new position of Secretary to the Cabinet and Clerk of the Privy Council wrapped into one. His excuse was that the Cabinet was overwhelmed and he needed the extra hands to deal with the war effort.

In an effort to give his move legitimacy, on March 23, 1940, King issued an Order in Council P.C. 1121 restructuring the governance of Canada in violation of the constitution.

To fully understand the ramifications of the change, one has to consult the Letters Patent issued by the Monarch, which set out the Governor General's duties and powers. They are too long to reproduce here, but you can access a copy here: https://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/English/LettersPatent.html

In the 1940 Order in Council, Prime Minister King refers to himself as President of the Privy Council which is nonsense. The presiding officer of the Privy Council is the Governor General. Since the former Clerk had retired and the Governor General was dead, King had no one to argue the point.

All the on-line references to the Privy Council claim that appointment to the Privy Council is for life, which is also nonsense. The Letters Patent section V:

V. And We do further authorize and empower Our Governor General, so far as We lawfully may, upon sufficient cause to him appearing, to remove from his office, or to suspend from the exercise of the same, any person exercising any office within Canada, under or by virtue of any Commission or Warrant granted, or which may be granted, by Us in Our name or under Our authority.
    

     Our Constitution, Section 11 states:

11. There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Government of Canada, to be styled the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada; and the Persons who are to be Members of that Council shall be from Time to Time chosen and summoned by the Governor General and sworn in as Privy Councillors, and Members thereof may be from Time to Time removed by the Governor General.
 
Appointments to the Privy Council are made by the Governor General, without the Prime Minister’s advice and can be removed or suspended by the Governor General. This is necessary to ensure that the Privy Council is politically balanced and that other members are politically neutral. The current Privy Council has more than 350 members which is ungovernable and useless. The Privy Council is considered a joke by current parliamentarians, which is a mistake. The necessity for the Governor General to intervene, offer advice and find a way out of a crisis depends on his having a balanced and knowledgeable council to rely on for advice. An active Privy Council made up of current cabinet ministers is biased, ineffective and not seeking solutions others may put forward.
  
The effort initiated by Prime Minister King and carried on by his successors is to transfer executive powers from the Governor General to the Prime Minister effectively giving the Prime Minister regal powers. The intent was to keep executive powers in the hands of the Governor General in order to be able to sort out a constitutional crisis if it should occur rather than actively participate in governance.

The Governor General is tasked with calling federal elections, and although he could do so at any time, does not act unless a government is defeated, he is asked by the Prime Minister to call an election or mandatory term limits are triggered.

 Replacing the Governor General is not enough. Unless that position is restructured in accordance with our constitution, we will continue to be governed rather than represented. The charade must end.

 

Jan. 21, 2021

The news of Governor General Payette’s resignation or a similar problem was inevitable. There is a precedent and more to come. Our federal government is operating unconstitutionally. 

Our constitution requires that:

9.   The Executive Government and Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.

10. The Provisions of this Act referring to the Governor General extend and apply to the Governor General for the time being of Canada, or other the Chief Executive Officer or Administrator for the time being carrying on the Government of Canada on behalf and in the Name of the Queen, by whatever Title he is designated.

11. There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Government of Canada, to be styled the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada; and the Persons who are to be Members of that Council shall be from Time to Time chosen and summoned by the Governor General and sworn in as Privy Councillors, and Members thereof may be from Time to Time removed by the Governor General. 

There is more, but that is enough for now. The Privy Council is properly the Queen’s Privy Council, not the Prime Minister’s Privy Council. The Clerk of the Privy Council reports to the Governor General, not to the Prime Minister.

The Privy Council Clerk is also head of the federal civil service, must be politically neutral and ensure that the entire civil service is politically neutral. The civil service must serve whatever government the people elect without bias, favour, fear or partisanship. Having the Clerk of the Privy Council reporting to the Prime Minister is unconstitutional. It robs the Governor General of his/her powers and politicizes the Privy Council and civil service.

The executive powers exercised by the Governor General must be politically neutral. It follows that advisors on the Privy Council must also be neutral or politically balanced. The current practice of having the functioning privy council made up of government cabinet ministers does not serve Canada’s interests.

The Prime Minister is mucking about in affairs outside his constitutional jurisdiction to the detriment of the nation. The executive power resides with the Governor General, not with the Prime Minister. The Governor General, not the Prime Minister, decides who will sit on the Privy Council.

One of the indicators of how wrong the current framework is was when the Privy Council Clerk was badgering the Solicitor General in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. That is not the constitutional role of the Privy Council Clerk. He is not the Prime Minister’s servant and must be politically neutral. That is particularly important following a general election when the Governor General may be called on to choose the Prime Minister of a minority government.

Now the Governor General has been deemed unfit for office and resigned. Had she been appropriately guided by a politically neutral and experienced Privy Council Clerk, the debacle could have been avoided.

The Privy Council Clerk was moved to the Prime Minister’s Office under an Order in Council in 1940 by then Prime Minister Mackenzie King. An Order in Council cannot change the constitution. At the time, a constitutional change would have required Whitehall’s consent, which was not applied for or given.  

We must repair the unconstitutional federal government framework. Installing a replacement Governor General is not sufficient. He/she must have constitutional powers and a neutral Privy Council to ensure that he/she can lawfully exercise his/her duties.

 

Jan. 20, 2021

CBC News – Conservative MPs today voted to expel Derek Sloan from caucus after the eastern Ontario MP accepted a donation from a notorious white nationalist.
     Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole initiated the ouster earlier this week after news emerged that Paul Fromm — whose ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi causes have long been documented — had contributed $131 to Sloan's leadership campaign.
  
  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/derek-sloan-expel-caucus-result-1.5880171?ref=mobilerss&cmp=newsletter_CBC%20News%20Politics%20Headlines_1636_234327

 

CBC News – “There is no place for the far right in our party.” That’s a quote from a statement released on Sunday by Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, where he condemns the riot in the U.S. Capitol and paints a moderate picture of the Conservative Party under his leadership.  

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/frontburner/erin-o-toole-s-far-right-line-in-the-sand-1.5878504

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The federal conservatives appear determined to lose the next election. Several things about the above articles are bothersome.

First, whoever is advising O’Toole on public relations and media strategy should be fired forthwith. Why would a Conservative leader use the derogatory term “far-right,” ordinarily aimed at anyone who disagrees with a leftist? The correct response is that there is no room in our democracy for extremists of any political stripe.

Second, the CBC is not impartial and cannot be since the federal government funds it. It follows that the CBC is not a free press under our Charter. Either the CBC has to be privatized, or it must be prohibited from political and government commentary.

Third, airing a kerfuffle over a $131 donation to a leadership contest in public is insane. The image projected is that a potential CPC leader can be bought for the price of a decent dinner for two. There are no principles involved. Did no one consider the donation amount was deliberately under the $200 mark that would require mandatory listing by Elections Canada?

Fourth, O’Toole walked into a setup with his eyes open and blew it. Canadians are looking for a responsible replacement for the incumbents, and this stupidity makes O’Toole and the party look petty and silly. We are creating a scandal where there is none.

Fifth, while O’Toole and the CPC caucus are in an internal battle, they are failing to counter a media effort to paint O’Toole as Trump north. Enter “O’Toole and Trump” in your favourite search engine, and you will find articles from the Financial Post, Torstar, Globe and Mail, Hamilton Spectator, the Georgia Straight, CBC, and others. 

We need our Loyal Opposition to focus on the virus and the economy and to put forward plans that will work. We are, as the government keeps telling us, in unprecedented times. The environmental plans and climate change plans that were viable in 2019 are no longer so.  

The robust economy that allowed the luxury of engaging in ideological policies lies in ruins. We need to resurrect the oil and gas sector to generate income to kick-start the economy. U.S. President Biden has killed the Keystone pipeline. It is clear we have to build pipelines to tidewater on all three coasts and build an energy self-sufficient Canada.

Conservative efforts should be on presenting a competent government in waiting. Internal bickering in public while the media defines us as suffering from Trumpism is a disaster. Who knew that Trumpism is even a word? Our media is completely mad.

Jan. 20, 2021

I received the following e-mail Wednesday afternoon:
From: <get.updates.on.covid19@notification.canada.ca>
Sent: January-20-21 13:38
To:   jfeldsted@shaw.ca
Subject:  Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update from the Government of Canada 
Someone from your household returning from travel

Travellers to Canada must quarantine for 14 days. If someone in your household is quarantined, here are tips to keep yourself safe.

• Stay in separate parts of your home.
• Disinfect high- touch surfaces.
• Track their symptoms.
• Clean common areas (bathroom and kitchen).
• In shared spaces like the kitchen, wear a mask. 

See the full list here:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html
For more information on the Government of Canada’s response to COVID-19, refer to https://www.canada.ca/en/public- health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

Is this email useful? Answer some questions to tell us more: http://www.canada.ca/feedback-covid-19-updates
 
You signed up to “Get Updates on COVID-19”. To unsubscribe please visit: https://apps.canada.ca/x-notify/subs/remove/5f790d36340bdf68f882b939/853e0212b92a127.

 If you are not yet signed up, please visit: http://www.Canada.ca/covid19-updates

Travellers arriving in Canada are still allowed to travel to their home destination before quarantining, and household members are not required to quarantine, although the traveller may be infected. There is no protection for people the traveller may encounter from the point of entry to home destination. That is outrageous.

Our medical personnel are scratching their heads and claiming they cannot understand how the UK and African variants of COVID have travelled across Canada so quickly.

They are facilitating the spread. Our confidence in government management of COVID is rapidly sinking. It is hard to believe that so many allegedly educated people can be so dense.