We Canadians are a fortunate people. Throughout our history we have been the beneficiaries of a consistently strong economy, based in large part upon the sheer good luck of having abundant natural resources that are in demand in the rest of the world. We are also geographically blessed, being located in a part of the world not often subject to natural disasters and next door to the most robust free enterprise economy in the world which, despite many Canadians’ closet resentment of anything American, has been a boon to our country in many ways. Looking at the chaos happening in much of Europe currently as a result of the migrant crisis, ongoing violence in the Middle East and other global disruption, we should also be thankful that we are insulated from much of that turmoil by having large bodies of water separating us from those catastrophes. The hard work and ingenuity of Canadians has surely played a role in our national success as well, but we also have to recognize the important of sheer dumb luck.
The downside of such good luck is that in many respects Canadians have become too complacent. The minimal outcry in response to the Trudeau government’s latest assault on our freedoms in its attempts to constrain freedom of the press is a good example. Any citizen that values their freedom should be outraged by what Trudeau is trying to do by establishing a hand-picked, highly self-interested and partisan group of organizations whose role is to determine the criteria for which legacy media outlets should be the beneficiaries of $600 million taxpayer dollars to bail out this failing industry. The very fact that such a fund exists at all is deplorable, let alone that such a biased group has been entrusted with allocating these funds. Many industries are threatened, declining or have already disappeared as a result of disruptive technological change, and why the dying legacy media business model should be singled out for such heavy subsidies is inexplicable. At best, the injection of even such a significant amount of tax dollars will only delay the inevitable.
It is very unlikely this media bailout would be happening if this were not an election year. All of the recent Liberal scandals, missteps and other self-inflicted wounds have imperiled Liberal election prospects, as they should have. Having a good chunk of the legacy media as lapdogs, not watchdogs, can only help Liberal fortunes. Liberal desperation is palpable, and they have gotten to the point of pursuing any avenue to help their election chances. So what if Canadian freedoms are trampled in the process? This is the kind of thing that is done by dictatorial regimes, and has no place in democratic Canada.
One of the most egregious elements of the panel that has been selected to oversee this program is the presence of Unifor, the uber-partisan, far-left union known for its thuggish tactics and waste of large amounts of its members forced dues on partisan politicking. It has been truly amusing to see Liberals attempt to defend the presence of Unifor on this panel, claiming that this really won’t have much impact on news coverage, the panel’s role is minimal, nothing to see here. When the Conservatives are in government, which may take place this year or sometime down the road, I look forward to a Conservative government retaining this media overlord panel with someone like Ezra Levant as a member. I’m sure those Liberals who are currently defending the indefensible presence of Unifor on the current panel will be just fine with that too.
To their credit, some journalists and media outlets have publicly declared their opposition to the existence of this strategy and the ridiculous panel that has been set up to implement it. Media outlets which reject this payola should advertise it far and wide as it will enhance their credibility, while those that accept the bribes should be vilified. As for individual reporters who have strenuously opposed this policy, they should put their money where their mouths are and launch a campaign to decertify Unifor in their workplace. Crocodile tears are one thing, but a serious effort to unseat biased and unrepresentative Unifor would send a much more powerful message.
We Canadians have indeed been very fortunate to live in a free, democratic and prosperous country, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to be vigilant at all times. The Trudeau government has consistently exhibited its disdain for the independence of our judicial system, has been hugely secretive while claiming transparency and has repeatedly lied when caught in various scandals such as SNC Lavalin and the Vice Admiral Norman fiasco. This Prime Minister holds the all-time record for ethics violations. Time and time again they have proven they cannot be trusted. The analogy of the frog in the pot of rapidly heating water comes to mind. Once the water gets too hot and our freedoms are profoundly eroded, it will be too late. We need to jump out of the pot while we still can.
Catherine Swift is currently President and CEO of Working Canadians (www.workingcanadians.ca. Prior to that, Catherine Swift had been with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business since September 1987, initially as Chief Economist. She became Chair in June 1999 after being named Chief Executive Officer in July 1997 and President in May of 1995. Her various responsibilities included coordinating policy issues at federal, provincial and municipal levels of government, representing CFIB with politicians, government, business, media and other groups.
Ms. Swift has worked with the federal government in Ottawa holding several positions with the Departments of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Industry and Communications. Her areas of specialization included corporate and industrial analysis and international trade. Catherine Swift has a MA in Economics.
She has published numerous articles in journals, magazines and other media on such small business issues as free trade, finance, entrepreneurship and women small business owners. Ms. Swift is a Past President of the Empire Club of Canada, a former Director of the C.D. Howe Institute and past President of the International Small Business Congress. She was cited in 2003 and again in 2012 as one of the top 100 most powerful women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network.