Former B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas lands on Taxpayers’ Nice List

Kudos from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for uncovering abuse of taxpayers' money

Former B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas lands on Taxpayers’ Nice ListDarryl Plecas has given British Columbians a gift that keeps giving all year long: government transparency. Before you stop reading because that sounds as dry as a Griswold Christmas turkey, remember that if it weren’t for the former speaker of the legislature, we wouldn’t know about the wood splitter and whale-watching party bought on our…

Ontario’s political welfare program is alive and well

Using the pandemic as a weak excuse to justify raiding the treasury

Ontario’s political welfare program is alive and wellIf your wallet feels lighter, it’s not just because of the rising cost of living and inflation. Ontario’s political parties have teamed up to take $14 million out of taxpayers’ pockets this year, and they’re just getting started. Back in 2014, former premier Kathleen Wynne introduced the per-vote subsidy. Under Wynne’s plan, political parties would…

Freedom of Information should be free

Charging money to access this essential information is an attempt to block people from knowing what the government is up to

Freedom of Information should be freeIf democracy dies in darkness, the government of British Columbia just threw our freedom of information rights into a black hole. Victoria has slapped a brand new fee on requests for public information. Now, when journalists and government watchdogs file freedom of information requests to get government documents, they will need to pay between $5…

Hunter Biden’s art career can’t help but ensnare his father

The president’s son could reap a small fortune from the sales of his mediocre art

Hunter Biden’s art career can’t help but ensnare his fatherMany public and political figures have enjoyed painting, drawing or sculpting as a budding career or a carefree pastime. United Kingdom Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill created over 500 paintings and sold a few in his lifetime. Several U.S. presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, displayed a…

Pragmatism is the rot at the heart of our institutions

And leads to government overreach and tyranny

Pragmatism is the rot at the heart of our institutionsThe overreach of government is a common refrain among conservatives this pandemic, and not without cause. As those such as Father Raymond de Souza, Ed Bosveld, and others have argued, the State has not merely expanded to the occasion of the crisis, nor only taken powers upon itself it finds necessary to meet the threat.…

Is your company being ripped off by your employees?

Ten ways you might be cheated and what you can do to reduce your risk

Is your company being ripped off by your employees?James and John came into my office one day and were noticeably shaken. James had just come from the accountant and learned that his business had lost $400,000 in the previous year. In obvious disbelief, he asked if I could help him figure out what the problem was. In our discussion it came out that…

Systemic racism is embedded in our economy

We pass laws for unjust taxes, reward unscrupulous businesses and hold money back from our children

Systemic racism is embedded in our economyIn a 2016 interview, CBC journalist Peter Mansbridge confronted children’s advocate Dr. Cindy Blackstock with this statement regarding public funding for Indigenous programs: “Billions of dollars have been spent in trying to come to grips with the situation that so many Indigenous Canadians face. And of those billions, it’s on the record that some of…

Pandemic has exposed the social, political rot at the core of India

Since independence India has seen the addition of one billion citizens, persistent communalism and little change for the marginalized

Pandemic has exposed the social, political rot at the core of IndiaThe COVID-19 pandemic may be the most important event of our lifetimes. It will define the legitimacy of governments and leave long-lasting impressions about how societies responded on behalf of their citizens. The devastation being played out across India is beyond tragic – it was predictable, ignored, supported by willful blindness and even encouraged. As…

Canada needs a foreign agent registry to curtail China’s influence

Apologists lured with lucrative board memberships, and other associations with the Chinese party-state

Canada needs a foreign agent registry to curtail China’s influenceRecently, Robert Oliphant, parliamentary secretary to the foreign affairs minister, told the House of Commons that Canada is considering creating a registry of foreign agents, along the lines of Australia’s Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act and the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act. It seems like a no-brainer to expect transparency whenever someone takes a foreign…

COVID-19 vaccine task force transparency crucial

Any appearance of conflicts of interest must be eliminated

COVID-19 vaccine task force transparency crucialBy Joel Lexchin, Lisa Bero, Marc-Andre Gagnon, Quinn Grundy and Barbara Mintzes COVID-19 vaccines are starting to come into Canada again and hopefully there won’t be any further interruptions. Public acceptance of vaccines will depend on how confident people are that the best decisions have been made about which vaccines to purchase. If it looks…

The ugly truth about democracy in decay

Perhaps it’s not democracy that has been corrupted, nor the democratic process, but rather the electorate itself

The ugly truth about democracy in decayIf the majority of the electorate is not already disillusioned and alienated by the extreme partisanship of politics, the upcoming United States elections will likely push another generation of voters into the void of disillusionment, apathy and abdication of franchise. The U.S. is the so-called beacon of democracy. Yet the two political extremes have become…

Why corruption in Canada is only going to get worse

We all have regrets and make mistakes. But we need to admit our errors and turn back to our intrinsic nature of goodness

Why corruption in Canada is only going to get worseIf I look back through the 40 years of my business career, the lowest points are those times when I betrayed my values. My biggest regret was something that happened 30 years ago. I was told of a business opportunity that would be of great benefit to me if I could only prove I had…

Trudeau’s lack of a moral code keeps getting him in trouble

And hiring a director of ethics won't do much to curb his natural tendencies

Trudeau’s lack of a moral code keeps getting him in troublePrime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon visit Canada’s ethics commissioner for the third time in five years. His ethical standards and lack of a moral code have been in question as the result of two previous controversies – visiting the Aga Khan’s private island and the SNC-Lavalin boondoggle. This new political controversy could be the…

Justin just keeps digging his political grave

With the WE scandal, Trudeau is at it again

Justin just keeps digging his political graveThe coronavirus pandemic is one of the biggest events of our collective lifetimes. You don’t have to take a poll. It just is. Millions of Canadians without work. Companies going bankrupt. Families in crisis. And, of course, 110,000 of us infected with Covid-19, and more than 9,000 dead. It has been a cataclysm. It has…

The Congo’s great liberation turned into abject failure

How great plans quickly descended into decades of dictatorship, corruption, kleptocracy and violence

The Congo’s great liberation turned into abject failureThe year 1960 was auspicious for European decolonization of Africa. In rapid succession, no fewer than 17 countries became independent. One of them was the Central African territory previously known as the Belgian Congo. June 30 was its magic date. And given its vast natural resources, some people had high hopes. Alas, things quickly turned…

Don’t be fooled by the COVID-19 cons

Don’t be fooled by the COVID-19 consWhen costs rise, most food companies adjust. Safe, fair and sustainable business practices are always a priority in this sector – almost. Several food science experts believe an increase in food fraud is inevitable due to COVID-19. The Food Authenticity Network advisory board, which includes more than 1,500 food science experts from around the world,…

Filmmaker chronicles Boushie family quest for legal reform

Award-winning documentary by U of A researcher follows family’s tireless efforts to turn grief into advocacy for change

Filmmaker chronicles Boushie family quest for legal reformTasha Hubbard, a filmmaker and Indigenous studies professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, had been filming with Boushie’s family since 2016. She wanted to document their experience as they sought justice for their loved one through the provincial legal system, and hoped to provide historical and personal context on Indigenous…

Baseball being buried by a tsunami of cheat

Baseball being buried by a tsunami of cheatThe first question to ask the Houston Astros signal corps is: Why did you think any of this would stay a secret? As the sports world struggles with the implications of a team cheating to win a World Series for the first time since the 1919 Black Sox scandal, there are more questions than answers…

Trump impeachment proceedings a politicized show trial

The Democrats' corruption of the impeachment process sets a dangerous precedent for the future

Trump impeachment proceedings a politicized show trialThe impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump has been moving full steam ahead. The House Intelligence Committee heard several testimonies, including Gordon Sondland (U.S. ambassador to the European Union), Admiral Alexander Vindman (National Security Council director for European affairs) and Marie Yovanovitch (former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine). The House Judiciary Committee is in the…

How to protect your company against fraud

Former RCMP investigator Greg Draper, now with MNP LLP, talks about who is most likely to commit fraud and what they target

How to protect your company against fraudGreg Draper is a former RCMP investigator and current vice-president of Valuations, Forensics and Litigation Support at MNP LLP. Who poses the greatest threat – and why – for fraud? Draper: The simple answer is: the person we least expect. You’d never hire someone if we thought they’d defraud the organization. Most of us go…

Canada falling behind on corporate accountability

Trudeau government’s global reputation at risk over how Canadian companies do business abroad

Canada falling behind on corporate accountabilityEarlier this year, Canadians were given a behind-the-scenes view on attempts by the federal government to ensure that SNC-Lavalin would escape potential criminal liability under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. What may be less clear is that the government’s stance in this case is reflective of its broader approach to corporate accountability. The…

Corporate corruption spreads its wings around the world

Even in our law-abiding, transparent country, graft happens. In some countries, it’s the cost of doing business

Corporate corruption spreads its wings around the worldFederal politics are transfixed by apparent managerial indiscretion yet again. SNC-Lavalin – whose officials have been found guilty of corruption in the past – faces criminal prosecution with consequences that could cripple it if found guilty. The company would face a ban on federal contracts for years, and such a ban could be honoured by…

Political parties have become a threat to Canada’s democracy

The Liberal caucus has shown again that it values blind obedience over principle and that it puts party before country

Political parties have become a threat to Canada’s democracyThey're gone! The caucus of the Liberal Party of Canada has officially expelled Jody Wilson-Raybould, former minister of Justice and attorney general, and Jane Philpott, former president of the Treasury Board. These one-time party stars have been forced from the governing party and won’t be allowed to run as Liberals in the upcoming federal election.…

SNC-Lavalin affair strikes at the heart of legal integrity

Democracy can’t survive when equality before the law becomes a cynical joke

SNC-Lavalin affair strikes at the heart of legal integrityAndrew Scheer contributed significantly to Canadian political life by saying recently that the SNC-Lavalin affair isn’t just about choosing between Justin Trudeau and Scheer. The Conservative leader did further good by making clear that the SNC-Lavalin mess isn’t even just about an abstraction called the rule of law. It is, he spelled out for those…

Brain drain puts Venezuela at a further disadvantage

If 7% of the Venezuelan population has fled, that must include some of the best and brightest

Brain drain puts Venezuela at a further disadvantageWestern nations like Canada and the U.S. have watched the pressure-filled political situation in Venezuela with interest and concern. It’s a powder keg that seems ready to explode at any moment. And it may require our intervention. On one side is Venezeula’s presidential dictator, Nicolas Maduro. The former bus driver and trade unionist is a…

Why an SNC-Lavalin failure would be good for Canada

Canada shouldn't tolerate bullies. And we need to stand firm in the face of business practices we find unacceptable

Why an SNC-Lavalin failure would be good for CanadaWhen I was in secondary school, there was a bully who had to have his way. He figured because he was bigger and stronger than most other kids his age, he should be able to do whatever he wanted. He coerced other kids to do his dirty work and sometimes even his homework. He intimidated…

What CBC gets wrong about the crisis in Venezuela

The Maduro regime has inflicted massive human suffering. You wouldn't know that by watching the National

What CBC gets wrong about the crisis in VenezuelaIn the early 2000s, CBC faced charges of deep-seated left-wing bias. In recent years, it cleaned up its act and is rated centre-left by Media Bias/Fact Check, a website that rates accuracy and political bias in news media. Not unbiased but a big improvement from where it was. Yet, the CBC’s flagship National newscast recently…

Trudeau should lift the gag order on Wilson-Raybould

Failing to do so creates the horrible image of a government unwilling to get to the bottom of an important controversy

Trudeau should lift the gag order on Wilson-RaybouldThe House of Commons justice committee heard the testimonies of former principal secretary Gerald Butts, Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick and deputy justice minister Nathalie Drouin last week. They provided different accounts to what former Justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould told the committee about allegedly being pressured by the prime minister’s office to…

The end of Pierre Trudeau’s vision of Canada

The former prime minister's "vision" of Canada created the culture of entitlement and corruption in Quebec that has led to the SNC-Lavalin scandal

The end of Pierre Trudeau’s vision of CanadaThe SNC-Lavalin affair has become a nightmare for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But more importantly, it signals the beginning of the end for a Canada designed and built by his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. It seems Justin Trudeau attempted to bully his minister of Justice into helping SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. By doing…