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Trudeau government outsources foreign aid assistance for Beirut

The explosions in Beirut have shocked Canadians. The death toll in that coastal capital city of Lebanon has reached 149 and officials expect that number to climb higher.

Meanwhile, the Trudeau government continues to manage the decline of Canada’s middling influence in the world by outsourcing its efforts on foreign development and disaster recovery.

The dilemma currently faced by Canada is that the Lebanese government of Hassan Diab is too closely linked to Hezbollah, a banned terrorist group in Canada. Yet, Canada’s ability to intervene directly in the region is negligible at best.

Instead, the Trudeau government is facing criticism for outsourcing its ability to leverage Canada as a state to charities — as it did with WE in order to manage a government financial relief package for students.

Questions that both Conservatives and NDP will want to ask: Have we become a nation of private-sector partnerships where the client is the Government of Canada?

And why do the service providers often seem to be the ones that play nice with Liberals?

I suppose we should be glad that this money (probably) won’t end up in the hands of the Beirut baddies this time.

One step at a time.

Twitter labels ‘state-affiliated’ accounts

Twitter announced that it has already started to label twitter accounts when they represent ‘state-affiliated’ media, or journalists that report for such organizations. The social media company has also promised that accounts that are run by government agents who post geopolitical content will also be labeled.

The policy will be initially applied to accounts that are resident in the five permanent nations of the UN Security Council — with others to come as twitter rolls this out.

News organizations such as RT, Sputnik, Xinhua, People’s Daily have already been labeled, but it seems that twitter is differentiating between state-affiliated and state-funded, as companies such as PBS, Radio Free Europe, and Voice of America have escaped being labeled, for now. Meanwhile, official accounts such as @POTUS and @10DowningStreet have been given these disclosure tags.

Twitter expressed its interest in defending a “free and independent press” and will also not take ad dollars from Russian or Chinese propaganda mills while also refusing to give lift to such tweets manually (through Moments) or algorithmically (through suggested tweets).

Recently, Twitter and Facebook have gone further than they have before in engaging in political censorship. The companies suspended Trump campaign accounts over COVID-related posts, and Twitter has taken to labeling other Trump missives as potentially misleading.

The smart question Canadians should ask: If Twitter is raising red flags over the independence of country’s press, how will that square when larger swaths of the media in Canada is directly supported by, and deemed to be qualified by, the state?

Further, when Trudeau’s PMO associates — both current and former — regularly and publicly provide critical feedback on news, editorial and even how newspapers conduct their business, it causes concern about how free and independent the press really is in this country.

We’ve already seen how behaviour changes when some journalists chase access. How will journalism be affected when the government holds the purse strings and bullies op-ed writers on twitter?

John McCallum to testify at the China committee

Pack your bags (or download Zoom) John McCallum, you’re testifying before committee! (with apologies to Kady for stealing her bit)

Yes, the former Canadian ambassador to China will be making an appearence before the Special Committee on Canada-China relations sometime in the next few weeks.

According to Conservative MP Garnett Genius, McCallum has been of great interest to his former parliamentary colleagues for some time now — at least to those in opposition — and so far he’s been giving them the slip.

After early retirement last year when Prime Minister Trudeau dropped the ambassador for musing that Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou had a ‘strong case’ to fight extradition to the US, McCallum quickly bounced back by landing work as a speaker for a Shanghai organization that helps people immigrate to Canada.

The problem? Allegedly McCallum was flexing the ‘friends in cabinet’ angle with clients.

So the Conservatives see an opportunity to add additional layers onto the growing Conflict of Interest heap — now reaching critical mass for the Trudeau government.

To review:

MPs will also want to press McCallum on his views regarding China’s hostage diplomacy and his alignment with other prominent Liberals on their desire to trade one Meng for two Michaels — a view that was roundly rejected by most Canadians, and indeed by the PM himself.

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