Monday, June 24, 2024

Chrystia Freeland and the 2024 World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos - A Conflict of Interest?

Canada has the dubious privilege of having a Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister who serves Klaus Schwab as a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum.  As such, Chrystia Freeland's attendance at the annual WEF meeting held in Davos, Switzerland is a rather questionable adventure given that she has the option of attending the meeting as a representative of the voters of Canada or as a representative of Klaus Schwab or both.  This has become a sticking point for the federal Conservatives, particularly MP Leslyn Lewis who has repeatedly brought up the subject in Canada's House of Commons.


Here is an exchange between Ms. Lewis and Ms. Freeland as recorded in Hansard, the official written record of the proceedings of the House of Commons for Wednesday June 19, 2024:


Ms. Leslyn Lewis:


"With regard to Canada’s participation in the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, from January 15 to 19, 2024: (a) how many individuals were part of Canada’s delegation; (b) who were the members of the delegation, including, for each, their (i) name, (ii) title, (iii) role; (c) what are the details of all meetings held in Davos involving the Deputy Prime Minister, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) names and titles of the attendees, (iii) purpose of the meeting, (iv) agenda items, (v) summary of what occurred at the meeting, including any agreements made; (d) what are the details of all meetings held in Davos involving members of the Canadian delegation other than the Deputy Prime Minister, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) names and titles of the attendees, (iii) purpose of the meeting, (iv) agenda items, (v) summary of what occurred at the meeting, including anything that was agreed to; (e) what are the details, including the summary of terms, of any agreements entered into during the forum; (f) what are the details of all follow-up action taken by the government as a result of what happened at the forum; (g) what are the details of all memoranda or briefing notes prepared to support Canada’s delegation to the forum, including, for each, the (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipient, (iv) title, (v) subject matter, (vi) summary of contents, (vii) file number; and (h) what was the total cost to the taxpayer, broken down by category of expense?"

Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): 


"Mr. Speaker, the Department of Finance response to parts (a) through (h) is as follows:

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting was held in Davos, Switzerland, from January 15 to 19, 2024. As the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, I attended from January 16 to January 19, 2024, to advance Canadian economic interests.

"I held meetings with business leaders and other participants, including members of the Ukrainian delegation; a variety of business leaders about opportunities for Canada; and foreign government leaders and elected representatives.

I also participated in a panel entitled “No Recovery without Trade and Investment". Participants included Brian Moynihan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of America; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization; and Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commissioner for Trade.


Regarding the Department of Finance response to part (h): please note that travel expenditures for senior level departmental officers or employees, Ministers, ministerial advisors and ministerial staff are proactively disclosed on ("


You will notice that Ms. Freeland was particularly reluctant to provide any details about the contingent that accompanied her to the 2024 edition of the Davos meeting nor did she provide any of her memoranda or briefing notes used during the meeting.  One thing that we do know is that the trip cost Canadian taxpayers significant tax dollars as shown here:


This is not the first time that Freeland has availed herself of Canadians' tax dollars for her junkets to Davos.


While she claims that she represented Canada at Davos 2024, we have no way of knowing how much time she spent on her duties as a World Economic Forum representative.  At the very least and as I have pointed out in the past, the World Economic Forum is quite capable of financing the travel expenses of its Trustees as shown on this screen capture from its 2022 - 2023 Annual Report which you can find here:


With total revenue of US$457.6 million and assets of US$840.4 million effective June 30, 2023, one would think that Ms. Freeland would avail herself funding provided by her "globalist masters" rather than stiffing Canadian taxpayers for $12,170.73 when travelling to the annual Davos extravaganza.


But, then again, this is what happens when you put yourself into a situation where there is clearly a conflict of interest.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

How Washington is Begging for War with China

In the monthly archive of the foreign military sales which appear on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency's website for the month of June 2024, we find the following announcements of sales to Taiwan:


1.) Sale of Switchblade 300 Anti-Personnel and Anti-Armour Loitering Missile Systems:


Here is some background on the Switchblade 300 Block 20:


2.) Sale of Altius 600M-V Unmanned Aerial Vehicles:


Here is some background on the Altius 600M:


3.) Sale of F-16 Non-Standard Spare and Repair Parts:


4.) Sale of F-16 Standard Spare and Repair Parts:



These four sales of materiel to Taiwan in the month of June 2024 total $660.2 million.


All four of these sales fall under the proclamation that "the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region".  If that was the case, why approve the sales?  As well, I'm sure that China's leadership would wholeheartedly agree that this is not a direct threat to their plans for the region.


Of the sales, the sale of 291 Altius 600m-V Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and 720 Switchblade 300 drones follow this speech by Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks' comments at a lunchtime speech in September 2023:


"Last week I gave a speech, you all may know, about our need to innovate with urgency in this enduring age of strategic competition with the PRC. And there I described, in some detail, much of what we have been doing to enable and unleash the potential of U.S. and partner innovators....


And we've been doing quite a lot: Mapping and debugging DoD's innovation ecosystem. Rapidly iterating and investing to be a data-driven and AI-empowered military now. Incentivizing more joint experimentation and concept development. Extending bridges and express lanes over the so-called valley of death; of course, there are many valleys of death. Accelerating software acquisition and procurement of innovative technologies. And so much more. 


Why the urgency? Because our main strategic competitor today, the PRC, has spent the last 20 years building a modern military carefully crafted to blunt the operational advantages we've enjoyed for decades....


Last week, I announced our Replicator initiative — the latest effort to overcome the production valley of death, beginning with accelerating the scaling of all-domain attritable autonomous systems.


First, let's be crystal clear: Replicator is not a new program of record. We're not creating a new bureaucracy. And we will not be asking for new money in FY24. Not all problems need new money; we are problem-solvers, and we intend to self-solve.


So, Replicator will use existing funding, existing programming lines, and existing authorities to accelerate production and delivery at scale — by exerting leadership focus and attention on a singular operational challenge and maturing solutions, because that's what ultimately delivers....


With Replicator, we're beginning with all-domain, attritable autonomy, or ADA2, to help us overcome the PRC's advantage in mass: more ships, more missiles, more forces....


Let me give you a window into the possibilities of all-domain, attritable autonomy.


Imagine distributed pods of self-propelled ADA2 systems afloat, powered by the sun and other virtually-limitless resources, packed with sensors aplenty, enough to give us new, reliable sources of information in near-real-time.


Imagine fleets of ground-based ADA2 systems delivering novel logistics support, scouting ahead to keep troops safe, or securing DoD infrastructure.


Imagine constellations of ADA2 systems on orbit, flung into space scores at a time, numbering so many that it becomes impossible to eliminate or degrade them all. 


Imagine flocks of ADA2 systems, flying at all sorts of altitudes, doing a range of missions, building on what we've seen in Ukraine. They could be deployed by larger aircraft, launched by troops on land or sea, or take off themselves.


Bigger-picture, ADA2 systems let us think and act differently in doing things we've always done. Recall in Ukraine, a Patriot battery intercepted a Russian hypersonic missile; that's how traditional platforms do missile defense — and it's an incredible accomplishment, underscoring why we need them. 


Elsewhere, ADA2 systems might counter missiles differently — perhaps like active protection systems on a tank, or other types of countermeasures. 


And those are just a handful of the use cases for ADA2 systems."


She refers to it as "the small, smart and cheap" philosophy of warfare through the use of thousands of drones which will be used to overwhelm the Chinese advantage in "mass".


Washington has taken the first steps toward its new "Replicator Initiative" by arming Taiwan with Switchblade 300 Anti-Personnel and Anti-Armour Loitering Missile and Altius 600m-V drone systems.  How the nation's ruling class can think that China won't view these sales as anything but a provocation over its stated goal of reunifying Mainland China and Taiwan is beyond my comprehension.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Outlook for Electric Vehicles - How Do Consumers Feel?

Western governments are doing their very best to force feed voters into a carbon-free (according to them), electric vehicle future.  Sometimes, getting the masses that sweat while they work to obey government edicts is like herding cats; it looks good on paper but it doesn't always work.


The 2024 edition of the Mobility Consumer Pulse study by McKinsey & Co found that consumers are not as enamoured with electric vehicles as the ruling class would have us believe.  Let's look at some key points from the study which looks at consumer preferences from the world's 15 largest automobile markets including Japan, China, the United States, Norway, South Africa, Australia and Brazil among others:


1.) Likelihood that current EV owners would switch back to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles:


Australia - 49.21 percent


United States - 46.47 percent


Brazil - 38.4 percent


China - 27.64 percent


Germany - 24.41 percent


Norway - 17.78 percent


France - 17.68 percent


Italy - 14.8 percent


Japan - 12.86 percent


The reasons for switching back to ICE vehicles were because the total cost of ownership is too high (34.5 percent), inability to charge at home (33.8 percent) and the stress associated with needing to charge (i.e. range anxiety) (31.9 percent).  The inability to charge at home is a key issue for consumers living in densely populated urban areas where the only parking available is on-street which means that EV owners have to use inadequate and unreliable public charging infrastructure. 


2.) High cost of purchasing: 45 percent of respondents were unwilling to switch to EVs because they are too expensive even with taxpayer-funded government subsidies, 33 percent had charging concerns and 39 percent had range anxiety that would prevent them from switching to an EV.


3.) Range expectations are not being met: range expectations have increased by about 30 percent over the past five years and since 2022, consumers are demanding range increases of 5 percent but actual range has increased only 2 percent.  Consumers expect range of at least 291 miles (466 kilometres) on average before they would purchase an EV which puts many of the lower priced models out of contention, leaving consumers with premium-priced options like Tesla and a few others.  More specifically, in the United States, consumers expect an EV battery to have a range of 302 miles (486 kilometres) when the average advertised range is around 220 miles (354 kilometres) and the average actual experienced range is 190 miles (306 kilometres).  Consumers also must keep in mind that range decreases with high and low temperatures and battery aging so the vehicle with a 291 mile range today will not have that range in the future.  


Not everyone is going to agree with the findings of this study but it is interesting to see that there is some significant resistance to the government-mandated switch to battery electric vehicles.  Certainly, a BEV is of benefit to certain groups of consumers but it is also clear that consumers in some geographic locales will find that full EVs are less than a desirable option and that a one size solution does not fit all.


Sources - 

1.) Autopian


2.) Wards 100 


3.) Repairer Driven News