How to remove a rogue PM — it's more complicated than Canadians might think

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau follows Gov. Gen. Julie Payette as she leaves the Senate Chamber following the throne speech late in 2019. A conspiracy by both offices could keep a rogue PM in office.

By Tristin Hopper

The final days of the Donald Trump presidency have come to include a

disproportionate amount of attention on the 25th amendment

, the constitutional mechanism by which a U.S. president can be forcibly removed from power.

It was all rendered moot by Trump’s

January 8th announcement

that he would facilitate an “orderly transition” of power. But what happens if Canada should ever be plagued by a rogue prime minister? A head of government who refuses to convene parliament, listen to their cabinet or acknowledge the results of an election? Surprisingly, the Westminster system may not be as prepared for such a scenario as we all would like to think.

First made law in 1967, the U.S. 25


amendment officially puts the vice-president in charge if the sitting president either dies, resigns or is otherwise “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” The amendment has usually been treated as a kind of failsafe in the event that a president became mentally unfit while in office.

“The thing to be clear is, [in Canada] there is nothing equivalent to the vice-presidential position where there is a clearly delineated line of succession,” Karl Salgo, executive director of the Institute on Governance and a former Parliament Hill procedural advisor, told the

National Post


If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau quit tomorrow, Governor General Julie Payette would probably ask his deputy Chrystia Freeland to take over – but there’s nothing saying Payette would have to. Technically, the Governor General can appoint


as prime minister of Canada; the only requirement is that they’re able to command the confidence of the House. If the House of Commons decided tomorrow that Ryan Reynolds was best equipped to man the tiller of our great dominion, he could be sitting in the Langevin Block by week’s end without so much as winning a seat in the House of Commons.

In Canada, transitions of power have usually relied on the cooperation of defeated leaders. When a prime minister loses an election or gets shunted out by their own party, the expected thing for them to do is drive to Rideau Hall and hand in their resignation. The last time this happened was November, 2015, when Stephen Harper stepped down from the top job after the Liberals’ win of a majority government.

But if a prime minister can’t or won’t resign for whatever reason, all the Governor General has to do is appoint another one, which automatically puts the prior officeholder out of a job. When Sir John A. Macdonald died in office of a series of strokes in 1891, his corpse unambiguously stopped being prime minister the moment Governor General Frederick Stanley (of Stanley Cup fame) appointed John Abbott as his successor.

The much dicier proposition is when a prime minister is still alive, but refuses to gracefully step aside. It’s never happened in Canada but “she (the governor general) can remove a prime minister who seeks to govern unconstitutionally,” said Salgo, adding that “the virtue of our system” is that, unlike the United States, the head of government and the head of state are not the same person.

In normal circumstances, prime ministers are removed from power by losing parliamentary confidence votes or by leadership rebellions within their own party. But both of those scenarios rely on a leader willing to voluntarily step down; in extraordinary circumstances a scofflaw prime minister could simply ignore their cabinet, refuse to convene parliament and continue issuing edicts from their executive office.

The real wild card is if an uncooperative prime minister has also managed to corrupt the office of the Governor General. While Governors General are technically appointed by the Queen, for generations Buckingham Palace has simply appointed whoever their various overseas prime ministers recommend. So while unlikely, it’s not inconceivable that a prime minister could simply put a willing confederate in Rideau Hall before going rogue.

“If the Prime Minister and Governor General were in cahoots we’d be in a bad spot,” said Philippe Lagasse, a Westminster expert at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. “The system depends on having Governors General who aren’t in league with the Prime Minister.”

One thing protecting Canada from the tyranny of a rogue diarchy, noted Lagasse, is the existence of a permanent public service. While most U.S. federal departments are controlled by political appointees, in Canada these positions are instead filled by non-partisan bureaucrats who might well balk at following orders from a prime minister who has alienated cabinet, parliament and appointed a buddy as Canada’s commander-in-chief.

“If a PM lost the confidence of the House, refused to resign or call an election, the public service could push back far more,” said Lagasse.

The result would be a full-blown constitutional crisis that, ultimately, could only be untied by the Queen herself.

While Buckingham Palace absolutely hates making decisions about governance, particularly in overseas dominions, they might make an exception if a cross-partisan Canadian delegation showed up in London asking them to fire a maniac holed up in 24 Sussex.

Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques

John Ivison: As Liberals abandon centre-right Canadians, O’Toole aims for more mainstream Conservative Party

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole.

From a timing point of view, Erin O’Toole’s disavowal of Trumpism has its critics.

His 600-word statement poured gasoline on an issue that was an obsession for Liberals on Twitter, and few others, it is claimed.

The statement came at a time when Canadians are more worried about vaccine delivery than the political preferences of the leader of the Opposition – a point that should have persuaded him to hold off, it is said.

They are valid criticisms. But the statement may still prove the most consequential 600 words of O’Toole’s leadership.

“The Conservatives are a moderate, pragmatic, mainstream party, as old as Confederation, that sits squarely in the centre of Canadian politics,” he said.

It is a proclamation that former leader Andrew Scheer didn’t make and probably didn’t even aspire to.

O’Toole outlined how he has welcomed Canadians regardless of race, religion, economic standing, education or sexual orientation to the party he leads.

He has raised the issue of Indigenous reconciliation and climate change (committing to the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050), and condemned the events at the Capitol building in Washington unequivocally.

That hasn’t stopped Liberal partisans trying to paint him as a Trump acolyte. Manitoba Liberal MLA Douglas Lamont offered 25 examples on Twitter of the Conservative Party being “a couple of degrees of separation” from the far right, invoking tenuous links to Rebel Media and the Proud Boys. The Liberal Party’s communications director, Braeden Caley, flagged comments O’Toole made about residential schools being “meant to provide education” and others by Conservative MP Derek Sloan who called vaccines “human experimentation.”

It’s true, there have been bozo eruptions by the leader and caucus members. Deputy leader, Candice Bergen, should probably speak about the now infamous photograph with her wearing a MAGA baseball cap. The caucus contains a sizeable number of social conservatives – before the last election, it was estimated that 40 per cent were pro-life.

But that was equally true of the Conservative Party that Stephen Harper built – and he governed Canada for nearly 10 years.

He succeeded because he brought forward conservative-minded policies that resonated with ordinary Canadians. As journalist Bob Plamondon wrote in his 2009 book, Blue Thunder, he “redefined the political centre, not in terms of socialist or capitalist extremes, but as a place of moderation that represents the wider values of Canadian society.”

Harper built a broad coalition of conservatives within his party, then maintained unity by giving each faction little victories – provided they did not offend mainstream sensibilities. So, for example, he cut funding to the Court Challenges Program and appointed Conservative judges, but did not bring forward any legislation on abortion.

 Conservative MP Derek Sloan at a Conservative caucus retreat on Parliament Hill, Jan. 24, 2020.

O’Toole has begun the groundwork for this kind of mainstream, pragmatic approach. Creating common cause in the Conservative Party, and lowering the testosterone level, will require “great art and some cordials to keep it loyal,” in the words of former British prime minister, Henry Pelham. It may also require a clean break with discordant individuals like Sloan, who is alleged to have accepted donations from a notorious neo-Nazi.

O’Toole’s spokesman said he was “outraged that anyone would accept donations from this individual and will be looking into the matter.”

This is not to suggest the Conservatives should become Liberals. Research before the last election suggested around one quarter of voters are “persuadable” – that is, they can be persuaded to vote for the incumbent government or the opposition.

But what is gained by adding new voters, if you lose your voting base?

As Bill Clinton’s strategist, Dick Morris, pointed out in his book Power Plays, you can move to the centre by trying to solve the problems normally associated with the other party, as long as you don’t abandon the traditional positions of your own party.

But the opportunity is there for a Conservative leader skilled enough to take it.

As I researched my 2019 book on Justin Trudeau, I became convinced the Liberals have miscalculated by thinking Canada is a far more progressive country than the facts warrant. Trudeau seems to believe he can govern in perpetuity if he wins the support of left-of-centre voters.

Yet Canada’s post-war history is the product of progressive Conservatives and conservative Liberals. Trudeau has pandered to the identity left but it remains my unproven contention that the vast majority of Canadians would be more comfortable with a governing party that simply promotes Canada as the best place to live, earn an income, and build wealth.

At least, that is if all else is equal – which is not the case during the pandemic. While it rages, and a significant proportion of the population rely on the federal government for their income, Trudeau is likely insulated from politics as usual.

Hence, O’Toole’s alarm at the prospect of a spring election. It would be “incredibly arrogant and dangerous for the Liberals to posture for an election in the middle of a national health and economic crisis,” he said.

But the pandemic will pass and the Trudeau Liberals will revert to type. A number of the Liberal ministers and MPs I spoke to for the Trudeau book expressed concern about the “relentless attempt to woo left-of-centre voters”, leaving the centre-right neglected and ignored.

That was true in 2019, when a more “moderate, pragmatic, mainstream” Conservative Party might have beaten Trudeau.

It is likely to be a true again post pandemic, and O’Toole is wise to position himself to take advantage.

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Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques

U.S. statehouse protests fizzle as country gears up for Joe Biden's inauguration

A protester carries a crossbow outside the capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Jan. 17, 2021, during a nationwide protest called by anti-government and far-right groups supporting U.S. President Donald Trump and his claim of electoral fraud in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Planned protests in support of U.S. President Donald Trump fizzled Sunday, as police and National Guard troops locked down the grounds of state capitols, a few protesters hosted small rallies in inclement weather, and America braced for further violence in advance of Wednesday’s inauguration of Democratic president-elect Joe Biden.

There had been a mass callout for pro-Trump protests on Sunday, on the last weekend of the Trump presidency, to promote the conspiracy theory that the November presidential election was rigged via vote counting machines, and the victory of Democrat Joe Biden was stolen with help from foreign actors including the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

In anticipation, state governors locked down their capitols, fearing a repeat of the violent and deadly insurrection that overran the national capitol just a few days previously, when Congress confirmed Biden’s victory.

In Washington, D.C., Capitol Hill was locked down for blocks around. At a security checkpoint, police arrested a 22-year-old man, Guy Berry, carrying a gun without a licence and unregistered ammunition. The weapon was holstered and “clearly visible,” police said. Otherwise, the day was peaceful.

This was in stark contrast to earlier in the month when police on Capitol Hill were overrun by protesters who stormed the building and attacked police, some of them with murderous intent against lawmakers including Vice President Mike Pence, according to legal filings in support of criminal charges.

Trump said nothing on Sunday. A spokesman, Hogan Gidley, claimed on Fox News that Trump “can’t say anything because the platforms have removed him.”

Since calling for his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol before the Jan. 6 riot, in which five people died including a police officer, Trump accounts have been suspended by large social media companies, including Facebook and Twitter.

Even with this ban in place, Trump has previously released video and written statements through the White House Press Office.

 Guards patrol outside the Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Jan. 17, 2021, during a nationwide protest called by anti-government and far-right groups supporting U.S. President Donald Trump and his claim of electoral fraud in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Trump was also impeached a second time by the House of Representatives, this time for inciting the insurrection. That vote passed this week with limited Republican support, but Trump remains in office pending potential removal by the Senate in a trial that will reportedly not happen before Trump leaves Washington this week for his resort in Florida. He has already said he would break with presidential tradition and not attend the inauguration of his successor.

The fizzling of protests on Sunday is likely to ramp up anticipation of larger protests on Inauguration Day.

There had been rumours on social media that Sunday’s planned rallies were somehow traps laid by Antifa, and they would become false flag operations designed to shame or entrap Trump supporters, including the Proud Boys movement, which announced it would sit out the Sunday rallies.

In Lansing, Mich., the protest was a small and sparsely attended affair in wet snow.

In Atlanta, Ga., where the state was flipped blue for Biden and the balance of Senate power shifted with a subsequent Democrat victory, dump trucks were positioned as makeshift barriers and National Guard troops patrolled the grounds.

In the national capital, the Washington Post reported on the disappointment of John Mastriano, a vendor who drove three hours to sell a load of shirts with gun rights logos on them, anticipating a hot market. Instead he found law enforcement officers, journalists, and few customers.

In Harrisburg, Penn., nearly 500 National Guard troops had been called up by mid-morning Sunday, but there was no one at the capitol grounds other than law enforcement and journalists with nothing to cover.

The scene was much the same in Tallahassee, Fla., where, as USA Today reported, “As many as three dozen people were outside the Capitol, of which half are law enforcement, 40 per cent are journalists and the rest are tourists.”

Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques

Vaccines and variants: Ways for a better shot at winning the race against time

A woman receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Gillette Stadium on January 15, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. First responders and healthcare workers will be first to recieve the vaccinations at the stadium, starting with around 300 people per day, but advancing to thousands per day soon after.

A frightfully contagious form of the COVID-19 virus some say could become a “pandemic within a pandemic” is upping the urgency to speed Canada’s maddeningly slow vaccine rollout.

Is there a better way to do this? Focus now on the under-30s, the likeliest spreaders who are driving the winter wave? Move people who have already had COVID-19 to the back of the line, assuming they have some lingering immunity? Concentrate on vulnerable communities, including Black and other racialized populations? Ditch dosing deadlines for giving the second shot?

“One of the tough balancing challenges in this vaccine roll-out is how much fine-graining to do,” Dr. David Naylor, co-chair of Canada’s national COVID-19 immunity task force, said in an email to the

National Post.

“We can tie ourselves up in knots trying to develop and implement a precisely and perfectly fair queue for vaccines, and time is very much of the essence right now.”

While Canada is staring down a SARS-CoV-2 variant first identified in England believed up to 74 per cent more transmissible than the current dominant strain, and another variant from South Africa, it’s not just a race between vaccines and mutations. Large parts of the country were in a mess before the variants emerged. Health-care workers are exhausted. Intensive care doctors in Quebec and Ontario are dusting off triage protocols and conducting dry runs of who should get routed to the ICU and who should be left behind in preparation for a possible total saturation of ICU resources.

Federal modelling released Friday is predicting 10,000 cases daily by the end of January. Deaths may soon surpass those in the first peak. Provinces will face a scarcity of vaccine until millions more doses start arriving in April, while Alberta and Ontario are already running low of the approved Pfizer and Moderna shots.

Israel, by comparison, has vaccinated more than two million people, at a rate of 25 doses per 100 people, according to Bloomberg data. The total number of shots given in Canada so far? A mere 458,000, or a rate of 1.22 per 100 people.

Are there ways of getting Canadians out of the pandemic misery any sooner?

Young people first

After front-line workers, Indonesia, home to one of Southeast Asia’s most devastating COVID-19 outbreaks, is prioritizing its young, working age population, rather than the elderly, partly because its vaccine — CoronaVac, made by China’s Sinovac Biotech — comes with a scarcity of data on how it behaves in older people (it wasn’t tested in people over 59). But officials also told Bloomberg that vaccinating those 18 to 59 would help Indonesia build a “fortress” around the elderly and slow viral spread.

In Canada, 20- to 29-year olds account for the highest percentage (18.7) of all confirmed COVID-19 infections. However, 96 per cent of the nation’s more than 17,500 deaths have occurred in people 60 and older.

If the main goal is to minimize deaths, those 60 and older should go first,

according to a recent preprint of a modelling study comparing five different vaccine strategies.

There were a few scenarios in which prioritizing everyone over age 20 provided greater mortality benefits, but only under certain conditions — a large enough vaccine supply, say, and a vaccine highly effective in young adults, and less effective in the old.

 Helath workers wait for patients to administer Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines at the opening of a new vaccination site at Corsi Houses in Harlem New York on January 15, 2021.

Canada’s two approved vaccines, Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, are 90 to 95 per cent effective at preventing people from getting sick with COVID-19, should they get infected. Less clear is whether they prevent people from spreading the virus to others, though vaccinated people may shed less virus, making them, therefore, less contagious.

“If everything were flipped, and what we knew was that the vaccines were 95 per cent efficacious in preventing transmission, but we had no data about whether it would prevent disease or mortality, perhaps that would shift my thinking,” said Maxwell Smith, a bioethics professor at Western University and a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force.

But 80 per cent of the mortality from COVID-19 has been among older adults in long-term care homes.

While he appreciates the argument it would be nice to prevent transmission in the first instance, given the high death rates among the elderly, “I think there’s an ethical obligation to go in and protect those populations, first and foremost, before anyone else,” Smith said.

Stretch out shots

Both Pfizer and Moderna are two-dose vaccines, with a 21-day (Pfizer) and 28-day (Moderna) wait between the first jab and the booster. The Pfizer trials suggest protection starts kicking in 10 to 12 days after the first dose.

CTV reported this week

that seven residents of a nursing home in western Montreal have tested positive for COVID after getting their first shot. The infections occurred within 28 days of vaccination, meaning they could have started before vaccine protection kicked in. Still, the reports are fraying nerves over Quebec’s decision to space doses out up to 90 days in order to vaccinate more people.

“There’s been a little bit of polarization of view on vaccine timing in Canada,” said Naylor, with “fundamentalists” wanting to hold back equal numbers of second doses, to ensure strict compliance with the authorized dosing schedule, and “absolute speed demons who want first doses yesterday and second doses whenever.”

Most of Naylor’s colleagues are taking a pragmatic approach, he said, aligning with Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), as well as a World Health Organization scientific group, both of which have decreed doses can be stretched to 42 days apart in exceptional circumstances — severe shortages, for example.

The concern? While the first dose is considered protective, though not fully, it’s not known how long that protection lasts, a worry given the variants and the potential for creating “made-in Canada mutants,” Naylor said. The second shot also provides a dramatic boost in immune response.

On the other hand, given the grim supply shortages some provinces find themselves with, slight delays — going out to six weeks — may be necessary, now and then, to manage supply chain wobbles and avoid holding back large numbers of shots that could cost many vulnerable lives, Naylor said. In the Pfizer trial some people received their second dose as early as 19 days, and as much as 42 days after the first.

De-prioritize the infected 

“There’s no contraindication to immunizing people who have had a past COVID-19 infection,” Naylor said. However,  the federal vaccine advisory group has said that, with limited supply, “initial doses may be prioritized” for those who have not had a previously confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.

That could be a logistical nightmare: How do you screen everyone for antibodies to the virus before agreeing to inoculate them? Do we do serological testing on every single person we’re trying to register for a vaccine? Think about the rollout thus far, Smith said. It could slow down the process further.

COVID reinfections can happen. There isn’t great evidence concerning the duration of protective immunity that might come from having been infected naturally, and who is to say people previously infected would be protected against the new variants?

“You’re gambling a bit there if you think that those who have had a previous diagnosis are any less in need to be vaccinated,” Smith said.

Target the hot spots

COVID-19 hits poor neighbourhoods harder. Should we be focusing more on those living in the most racially and economically diverse communities?

In Quebec and Alberta, the COVID mortality rate in neighbourhoods with the highest proportion of visible monitories was more than three times higher than neighbourhoods with the lowest proportion of visible minorities, according to Statistics Canada. While it has had relatively fewer deaths compared with Quebec and Ontario, British Columbia’s death rate was more than 10 times higher in neighbourhoods with the highest proportion of visible minorities.

 A patient arrives at the 28 de Agosto Hospital in Manaus, Amazon State, Brazil, on January 14, 2021, amid the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic. Manaus is facing a shortage of oxygen supplies and bed space as the city has been overrun by a second surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

“We know that Black and racialized communities have experienced a greater burden,” Smith said. Under Ontario’s Phase 2, scheduled to start April, populations facing barriers to the “determinants of health” — economic stability, employment, education, access to health services, decent and affordable housing — will be among those eligible for shots. A special group has been struck to “think that through a bit more, and get to a more granular level to see how that will be operationalized,’ Smith said.

Smarter, faster logistics

“Provinces need to know when supplies of given vaccines will arrive, in what numbers and with what degree of certainty,” Naylor said. Supplies need to be distributed strategically across sites and usage rates monitored so that people don’t leave vaccines in storage others could happily, and rapidly, be deploying. “We need advanced logistics integrating both levels of government and the sites where vaccines are being given,” Naylor said. “Otherwise we’ll be holding back vaccines in freezers as much by accident as design.”

How much fine graining do we do? When dealing with a countrywide rollout, broad guidelines make sense, Naylor said. But we also need the latitude to make “defensible exceptions.”

In the broader scheme, “here’s how I see the math,” he said. The federal government has said it still expects to receive six million doses of vaccines by the end of March. With six million doses, three million Canadians can be immunized, leaving roughly 35 million more to get shots. Subtract about five million kids under 13 (the merits of immunizing 0 to 12 are still unclear, Naylor said). That leaves 30 million teens and adults. “Immunizing two-thirds of those 30 million souls won’t stop the epidemic, but could slow things down meaningfully,” Naylor said.

That’s 20 million people, or 40 million doses. The federal government has said we can expected 20 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna shots in the second quarter, from Apr. 1 to June 30. Approving Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine would provide more breathing room.

But the bottom line is simple, Naylor said: We need to figure out how to move many times faster than we’re moving now.

National Post

Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques

Fomenting war, bribery, treason: The U.S. officials who faced impeachment after leaving office

Portrait of William Blount by Albert Rosenthal.

When William Blount, a United States’ founding father, went into debt on massive land purchases, he cooked up one of history’s more audacious real estate speculation schemes.

The then-senator from Tennessee conspired to help Great Britain forcibly take over Spanish-controlled Louisiana, a plan that would have conveniently fattened his properties’ value.

The House of Representatives did not take kindly to the plot when it leaked and

impeached Blount

in 1797. The Senate separately expelled him, meaning his impeachment trial in the Senate unfolded after he had actually left office.

The senators declined to convict Blount. But he’s now one of a trio of American historical figures whose unique political fates are feeding a hot debate south of the border: Can Donald Trump be tried for impeachment even after he ceases to be president?

The other two test cases involve a 19


century secretary of war whose opulent lifestyle was allegedly fueled by bribes, and a federal judge who absconded to the Confederacy during the U.S. civil war. Both faced impeachment after leaving office.

None of the episodes leave a crystal-clear precedent for what can happen once Joe Biden moves into the White House. A wide array of U.S. constitutional experts have offered conflicting opinions in

media interviews


newspaper op-ed

articles and

blog posts


“It is an open question as to whether a former president can face a Senate impeachment trial,” concluded Scott Bomboy of Washington’s

National Constitution Center

this week.

Meanwhile, though, the debate has turned a rare light on those somewhat obscure characters whose crimes were deemed dire enough to haunt them even after they’d left the building.

For starters, the American constitution’s fairly unique impeachment provision for punishing “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” applies not just to presidents, but also to vice presidents and “civil officers of the United States.” And the constitution says impeachment can result in both removal from office and a ban on holding federal positions in future.

Familiar questions about those laws arose in 1876 when

William Belknap

met his comeuppance.

As secretary of war under President Ulysses S. Grant, Belknap had a salary of $8,000 — about $160,000 in today’s terms — yet lived a lavish existence in Washington that included parties with as many as 1,200 guests.

An explanation for his extravagant ways arrived with evidence that he had taken kickbacks in exchange for approving frontier trading posts. The House of Representatives voted unanimously to impeach him. But before the House vote, and before the case got to the U.S. Senate, Belknap rushed to resign, in tears, to Grant.

That didn’t deter the House or the senators. They ruled that he could be tried “notwithstanding his resignation of said office before he was impeached.” A majority approved all five articles of impeachment but without the required two-thirds margin, Belknap was acquitted.

Then there was

West H. Humphries

, a federal judge in Tennessee who joined the rebel Confederacy as it went to war with the Union. In 1862, the House impeached Humphries and later the Senate voted to convict and bar him from holding federal office again — even though he was long gone from his original post.

Blount, though, gets the prize for committing the most elaborate and creative “high crimes and misdemeanors” of the three men.

A signatory of the U.S. Constitution who eventually became one of

the first two senators from Tennessee

, he also invested heavily in land west of the Mississippi, much of it on credit. Blount was heavily in debt and land prices had already sunk when France defeated Spain in the War of the Pyrenees, raising the prospect that it would take over the Spanish territory in present-day Louisiana. That could potentially impede American merchants’ access to Blount’s lands, making them worth even less.

Undaunted, it seems, Blount worked with Indigenous tribes, frontiersmen and Britain on a scheme that would have the British take over the territory in exchange for ensuring free passage west.

But a letter outlining part of the plot, known as “Blount’s Conspiracy,” got into the wrong hands, and he soon became the first U.S. official ever to face impeachment.

Complicating matters, the Senate expelled him under a different provision before it tried him on the House’s impeachment articles.

It was another issue, though, that saved Blount from undergoing a Senate trial after he’d already left office. Senators ruled 14-11 that he did not qualify as a “civil officer” as set out in the Constitution.

Blount retreated to Tennessee, where he lived out his life a popular local politician.

Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques

Nova Scotia embraced rapid testing for COVID-19 months ago. Why have other provinces been so slow?

A swab is taken at a pop-up COVID-19 testing site on the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020.

On Nov. 21 in downtown Halifax, N.S., health officials opened a pop-up rapid testing clinic where almost anyone in the community who wanted a 15-minute test for COVID-19 could get one.

Volunteers, often with no medical background, were trained to run the tests on the Abbott Panbio antigen devices, which had been approved by Health Canada in early October.

It was not meant to be a perfect, mass testing campaign. Positive cases are rare, and the antigen tests are known to miss some. Participants were warned a negative result meant they could still be positive a day or two later.

But it was a proactive, innovative effort to find the virus where it might be circulating undetected, and to get community buy-in for staying vigilant. The pop-up clinics have continued ever since, moving around the province, and in the first month tested about one per cent of Nova Scotia’s population. Last weekend, officials started training people in Halifax’s bar and restaurant industry to run rapid tests.

“People have been far too hung up on the imperfect test, and so perfection has become the enemy of good,” said Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious diseases expert with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and Dalhousie University — and the driving force behind the pop-up program.

Barrett said there has long been a problem with health officials being overly cautious about whether promoting too much testing will encourage risky behaviour.

“When we brought in HIV tests and STI tests way back in the day, people were afraid that if everyone got tested and got a negative, they would just go hog wild and no one would wear condoms and the world would be a very infected place,” she said. “They thought that’s what would happen if we let people get tested a lot. And the word ‘let’ always came into it. It’s a very paternalistic, or maternalistic, model. And that’s what we’re seeing here (with COVID-19).”

It’s not quite that simple, as Barrett is the first to acknowledge. It’s easier right now for Nova Scotia to do surveillance testing in the community because their case counts are extremely low compared to provinces outside Atlantic Canada. When health systems are overwhelmed by a raging second wave, pop-up clinics are of limited use at best.

But over the past few months, many other places in Canada could have been experimenting in this way with rapid testing, but chose not to. Although numerous pilot projects are now underway across the country, in general the rollout of rapid testing in Canada has been tepid, small-scale and very cautious.

At both the provincial and federal levels, public comments from health officials have repeatedly warned that rapid testing is “no panacea,” and could give people a false sense of security.

In some cases, public officials have said they simply don’t see an urgent need for rapid testing. “We have nothing against rapid test but since the beginning, especially in the second wave where we have been able now to test 35,000 to 40,000 a day and even more than that, we don’t need additional tests,” Quebec’s health minister Christian Dubé told reporters on Monday. He emphasized, as health officials frequently do, that the rapid tests are not as accurate as lab-based testing.

This kind of attitude exasperates David Juncker, chair of McGill University’s department of biomedical engineering. Juncker has been one of many experts calling for a greater use of rapid testing to proactively find the disease in asymptomatic people who are spreading it.


Juncker compares the attitude Canadian officials had toward vaccines with their half-hearted adoption of rapid testing.

“We started committing resources to vaccines very early on in the pandemic, and at that time there was huge concern that these vaccines will never work, that it’s going to fail, that it’s going to take a long time,” he said. “But lo and behold, they got the fastest-ever vaccine, it’s an experimental vaccine, and it’s being rolled out now. These investments (on rapid testing) early on could have had a huge payoff, but we missed this and we may never be able to catch up.”

Even so, Juncker still urged health officials to make these investments and signal to companies that we’re willing to innovate. “I think we’re not too late,” he said. “I think the best place to start was eight months ago, the second best time to start is now.”

The lab-based PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing used by provinces is incredibly accurate, but many experts argue it will never allow us to get out ahead of the virus’ spread. For one thing, turnaround time for results is at least 24 hours and often longer, taking days for someone to learn whether they tested positive or not.

The PCR test’s incredibly high accuracy can also cause some problems, paradoxically. A person can test positive with only small amounts of active virus left in their system, long after they’ve stopped being infectious. In these cases, even robust contact tracing comes too late to cut off transmission chains.

Rapid tests miss some cases, but they catch the vast majority of people who are chock-full of virus and actively spreading it. Rapid tests are done on location and, depending on the device, typically require much less specialized equipment and medical expertise to operate. When they catch a positive case, a lab test can still be used to confirm it.

 People arrive at a pop-up COVID-19 testing site on the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax on Wednesday, Nov. 235 2020.

There is at least hope that the situation is improving. On Friday, the federal government’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel released a report with four priority areas of action. Recommendation number two was “accelerating the use of rapid tests, primarily for screening.” The panel recommends targeting rapid testing at selected groups, particularly in high-risk settings. It’s not a mass testing program as some experts would like to see, but it’s a start.

Health Canada has authorized seven rapid tests and, as of the most recent count, has shipped 14.3 million rapid tests to provinces. Of those, 10.9 million are the Abbott Panbio tests, 1.3 million are the Abbott ID NOW tests, and 2.1 million are the BD Veritor tests.

On Jan. 12, the Ontario government announced it will start providing up to 300,000 rapid tests per week — to cover 150,000 workers — for workplaces in manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain and food processing, as well as additional tests for schools and long-term care homes.

“This volume of rapid tests would support antigen screening for up to 150,000 workers per week over the next 4-5 months in Ontario’s most critical workplaces,” the news release said, adding that Ontario expects to receive 12 million Panbio tests from the federal government in that time and is looking to purchase more for itself.

Most provinces are now — belatedly, but nevertheless — putting rapid testing to increasing use in remote communities and for screening people in hospitals, long-term care homes and schools.

Montreal businessman Sandy White, co-founder of advocacy group Rapid Test & Trace Canada, is hoping to push things further. He plans to submit a proposal next week to the Alberta government for

a mass testing program in Banff

, where he grew up and still owns two small inns. He said the goal is to use rapid tests to screen five to ten per cent of the local population each day, and eventually tourists as well. His plan would see the equipment supplied by the province, but the funding and management of the program by the business community and municipality.

“We think we’ve got a very, very good pilot proposal plan, not just for Banff but really for anyone who wants to run rapid testing pilots,” White said.

Such experiments with widespread rapid testing, if they come to pass, will be important to reopening our society soon — even if vaccinations go as planned.

“Testing is going to be a long-term part of life as we go forward, even with vaccines,” said Barrett, the Nova Scotia doctor. “Sorry to tell people this, but it’s true.”

She said that’s another benefit to Nova Scotia’s pop-up testing clinics: they reach the general population, not just people who are symptomatic or close contacts of positive cases.

“To consider opening up a little bit of our society and world, whether it’s school or going out to get a meal with people, we also recognize the need to make routine and regular testing a part of what people are getting used to doing,” Barrett said.

In an ideal world we’d have at-home rapid testing, Barrett said, though she thinks that’s probably still months away at best. No self-administered test will be 100 per cent accurate, but even a reasonably good one will need to be authorized by Health Canada and then backed by local health officials.

“I think it will take all of that and more before Canadian bureaucracy buys into that idea,” Barrett said. “But I’m hoping that projects like what we’re doing here in Nova Scotia are going to demonstrate that we can do it, and we’re a responsible bunch of humans who should be allowed to do that.”

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Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques

Fugitives wanted in Canada for murder, kidnapping found with an arsenal during U.S. traffic stop, police say

Dayne Adrian Sitladeen, 29 (L) and Muzamil Aden Addow, 29 (R) are both wanted for high-profile crimes in Ontario

When a Minnesota State Trooper stopped a pickup truck for speeding on a U.S. highway this week, he not only discovered an arsenal of 67 suspected crime guns inside but two Toronto fugitives — one wanted for murder and the other for the kidnapping of a wealthy Chinese student.

Dayne Adrian Sitladeen, 29, and Muzamil Aden Addow, 29, are both wanted for high-profile crimes in Ontario.

Sitladeen is a popular Toronto rapper known as Yung Lava who appeared in a 2019 documentary with hip hop star Drake and others admonishing gun violence the same year he was at the top of the Toronto police’s Most Wanted list — considered armed and dangerous — until his name and photo were removed after his arrest.

He is one of three men wanted for first-degree murder in the shooting death of Blain Grindley, a 26-year-old Toronto man killed in an Etobicoke home on May 1, 2019, police said at the time. The other two suspects have been arrested.

Addow was named as one of four men wanted by York Regional Police for a bizarre kidnapping that made international headlines in March 2019.

Three masked men grabbed Wanzhen Lu, a 22-year-old student at a private university, from the parking garage of his upmarket condo building in Markham, north of Toronto.

When Lu struggled, he was zapped with a stun gun and forced into a van driven by a fourth man. While a huge search was underway a ransom demand was made, but Lu escaped and banged on a door in cottage country, 200 kilometres north, asking for help.

Lu was known for a lavish lifestyle, including his Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and Range Rover. When he was grabbed, he was wearing a $2,000 Gucci Guccify hoodie.

 Sitladeen, a rapper who goes by Yung Lava, appeared in the documentary “Remember Me, Toronto” with Drake, admonishing gun violence the same year he was on the Most Wanted list for murder.

 Sitladeen, a rapper who goes by Yung Lava, appeared in the documentary “Remember Me, Toronto” with Drake, admonishing gun violence the same year he was on the Most Wanted list for murder.

Addow was wanted for seven charges, including kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault with a weapon. He too was considered armed and dangerous. He was also wanted by Toronto police on 15 gun charges.

Their run ended Sunday night.

Shortly after 10 p.m., a Minnesota State Trooper driving east on Interstate 94, near Fergus Falls, MN, passed a pickup truck heading in the opposite direction at a high rate of speed.

He turned around, caught up and pulled over the Chevrolet Silverado with Texas licence plates. It had been rented from Hertz, according to a criminal complaint filed in court.

The driver handed the trooper an Ontario driver’s licence in the name of Zakaria Taajir, according to the complaint. The passenger turned over a Florida identification card.

The pair couldn’t get their story straight, the trooper said.

The driver said he was on his way to Fargo to work for his uncle’s construction company and rented the truck at Minneapolis airport after flying in from Canada with his passenger. He couldn’t tell the trooper the name of the construction company, the trooper said.

The passenger, however, said he lives in Minneapolis and didn’t fly in with the driver but was going to work at the same construction job.

The trooper asked the driver to accompany him to his squad car. There, according to the complaint, he told the trooper he just met his passenger a month ago through his cousin. When the trooper spoke to the passenger, he said he had known the driver for more than a year.

 Three suspects in the kidnapping of Lu Wanzhen, in security images of the abduction released by York Regional Police.

The trooper said he smelled marijuana in the truck. He asked the driver for permission to search it. The driver said he could search the truck but not the content of the bags or himself.

The trooper pat searched both for weapons and told them to stand away while he opened the back door of the truck. He saw several duffle bags and back packs on the back seat and floor.

He opened a bag and saw about a dozen guns and high-capacity magazines inside and he immediate radioed for back up, according to the complaint.

He ordered the pair to put their hands on their head.

The driver at first disregarded the order and tried to make a phone call on his cell and then appeared to have a brief phone conversation on his Apple watch, the complaint says.

When other officers arrived, investigators found the passenger was Sitladeen and wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service at the request of Canada for murder and fentanyl distribution, authorities say.

He was arrested by the troopers.

The driver, thought to be named Taajir, was arrested for carrying a firearm without a permit but after speaking with Toronto police, he was identified as Muzamil Aden Addow. He, too, was wanted in Canada, U.S. authorities were told.

Officers found 67 guns and numerous magazines in four bags in the truck, according to the complaint. One was loaded with live ammunition.

Both men were in the United States illegally. They were found to be Canadian citizens with no record of a legal border crossing. Under U.S. federal law, illegal aliens are not allowed to possess a firearm.

“We are aware of the arrests,” Const. Caroline de Kloet of Toronto police said. “However, we are unable to confirm at this stage whether an arrest has been made in regards to our homicide investigation. This is an active investigation with a lot of sensitivities surrounding it.”

Const. Laura Nicolle, of York police, confirmed their detectives were notified of Addow’s arrest and are working to have him return to Canada to face trial.

Sitladeen and Addow appeared in court in Minneapolis on Thursday. They were ordered to remain in custody pending a detention hearing.

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Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques

B.C. raises the interprovincial border issue as tourist hotspots see influx of visitors

People wearing protective face masks, goggles and Tyvek suits who said they traveled from Colombia wait for a car rental company shuttle, after arriving at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, December 31, 2020.

British Columbia is the latest province to consider a ban on interprovincial travel to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with Premier John Horgan saying this week the government is seeking legal advice on whether or not such a policy would be possible.

“I want to put this either to rest, so that British Columbians understand that we cannot do that, and we’re not going to do that, or there is a way to do it and we’re going to work with other provinces to achieve it,” Horgan said Thursday.

At present, British Columbia has asked residents to avoid non-essential travel. But for weeks now, concern has been building in several tourist hotspots along the B.C.-Alberta border, such as Revelstoke, that out-of-province visitors — mainly from Alberta — are flooding ski resorts and backcountry jumping-off points.

Cody Younger, a councillor in Revelstoke, wrote on his Facebook page recently that “it’s becoming increasingly frustrating for many in our community including myself who see the double standards.”

“The majority of people in Revelstoke have been wearing masks, social distancing, sticking to their bubbles and not travelling outside of the community (for non essential reasons). Yet we continue to see people flocking to Revelstoke to come and have a winter vacation,” he wrote, arguing for a mandatory provincial quarantine.

Alberta has recently loosened restrictions, and has confirmed at least five cases of the highly contagious U.K. variant and two cases of the South Africa variant. B.C. has also confirmed cases of the South Africa variant of the COVID-19 virus.

Unlike other parts of Canada that have some sort of travel restrictions, British Columbia’s a tricky one because there are multiple points of entry. There are at least a half-dozen roads between B.C. and Alberta, and at least seven between northern British Columbia and the Yukon.

A number of other provinces and territories have border restrictions, and most have guidelines for visitors, some with significant penalties for violating the rules.

Nunavut and the Northwest Territories both have had travel bans in place for months. The Northwest Territories has, realistically, only one entry point, from northern Alberta, and there are no roads into Nunavut from anywhere in the country. While the Yukon doesn’t have a ban, it does have self-isolation requirements upon arrival.

The  “Atlantic Bubble” has sealed off New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador from the rest of Canada. This bubble has been simple to enforce because the highways into the region are limited. New Brunswick has been able to establish roadblocks to screen anyone trying to enter.

In the rest of the country, travel is discouraged, but not strictly enforced. Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until February and interprovincial travel is not recommended. Ontarians are expected to isolate for 14 days if they leave the province.

Quebec, meanwhile, has a curfew in place that would limit travel between certain hours, but has no specific bans on leaving the province.

Manitoba has orders in place prohibiting travel to the north of the province, and anyone who returns to the province has to self-isolate, except for those who have travel to northwestern Ontario, and all western provinces and the territories.

Meanwhile, in Saskatchewan and Alberta, there are few restrictions: residents are asked to avoid non-essential travel.

All Canadians are subject to the federal government’s advisory not to travel internationally during the pandemic.

Strict travel bans have been controversial and in a number of instances have ended up in court. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has argued that some travel bans are unconstitutional, restricting mobility rights of Canadians that are guaranteed under section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They argue less-restrictive measures should be tried before border closures.

“What’s the specific evidence justifying its necessity?” wrote the civil liberties group on Twitter. “If not, then no way it’s constitutional. If so, are there less intrusive ways of limiting mobility rights, like (a provincial) quarantine?”

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Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques

New trial for the man convicted of dousing his girlfriend in gas and setting her alight

Mark Borel, 51 when convicted in 2014 of attempted murder of his girlfriend.

The conviction against an Ontario man found guilty of dousing his girlfriend in gasoline and setting her ablaze has been overturned because significant questions about the evidence went unanswered while inappropriate opinions from police were allowed.

The incident in a Niagara parking lot in 2011 was horrific.

Passersby said it looked “like a zombie movie” when the woman slowly moved towards the road, burnt from her knees to her shoulders.

Mark Borel, 51 when convicted in 2014 of attempted murder, maintained his innocence, and now has a new shot at proving it.

Borel and the woman, who was 13 years his junior, were both married at the time, but not to each other. Their 10-month affair was rocky. He was controlling and sometimes violent and she had a drinking problem, court heard.

In the summer of 2011, they arranged to meet in the parking lot of a community centre in Lincoln, Ont., 40 kilometres west of Niagara Falls.

Sometime after they arrived in separate vehicles, Borel called 911 asking for an ambulance. Emergency crews found a woman on the ground in the parking lot badly burned. Court heard she had serious burns to 60 per cent of her body and smelled of gasoline.

Four days later, Borel was arrested for attempted murder. He consistently denied setting her on fire.

Borel was found guilty by a jury and then sentenced to almost 20 years in prison in 2014 by Ontario Superior Court Justice Linda Walters.

Both the woman and Borel testified at the trial. Each said they were trying to end the relationship. Court read threatening messages from Borel’s email account to her, including one saying “wait till the real fireworks start.” He denied sending them.

The woman told court that in the parking lot Borel said he had a “present” for her and went to his car and returned with a jug of gasoline and started “swishing” gas at her. He then lit a match and threw it at her. He swore at her as he watched her burn, she said.

Borel denied that. He told court they argued in the parking lot because she had been drinking. He told her she shouldn’t drink and drive and if she tried to drive away he would call police.

He said he went to his car to make a call when he heard her screaming. He turned and saw her enter a trail at the edge of the parking lot. He ran after her. He found her burning and rolling on the ground. He said he had no idea how she was burnt.

Court heard that when police arrived at the scene, Borel handed an officer a set of keys, a lighter and matches and said they were hers and were in her hand, court heard.

Police found no evidence of a gas container. Borel’s clothes had no trace of gas on them and his car did not smell of gas. But there was a strong smell of gas in the woman’s car and tests found gas on her driver’s seat, in her purse and in her car’s cup holder.

The appeal court found problems with how evidence from three witnesses were handled at trial.

Court heard from an ambulance attendant who said she spoke to the woman in the back of the ambulance on the way to hospital. She asked who did this to her and offered categories, such as aunt, uncle and husband. The woman shook her head at each option but nodded when she said boyfriend.

The prosecution also led inappropriate opinion evidence from police witnesses: the detective who interrogated Borel and the 911 dispatcher who took his call.

Their testimony should have been curtailed by the trial judge and the jury instructed on what and how it should be used, the appeal court said.

The law can tolerate some errors if a case is so overwhelming the mistakes wouldn’t make a difference. That isn’t the case here.

“The errors here were not harmless nor trivial,” Justice Ian Nordheimer wrote on behalf of a three-judge panel. “I do not dispute that the case against the appellant was a strong one, but it does not rise to the very high level of being overwhelming.

“There are questions that arise on the evidence, with which the jury would have had to contend, in arriving at their verdict beyond a reasonable doubt.”

He asked some himself: Why was there gasoline inside the cup holder of the woman’s car? If Borel threw gas on her, how did he not get any on his clothes or on the ground? What happened to the jug she said he brought the gas in? How did her shoes, blood and burned hair get on the trail across the parking lot?

Those questions may have been enough for at least one juror to have reasonable doubt, the court said.

Borel has been in custody since his trial.

“I’m pleased with the result,” said Philip Norton, Borel’s lawyer. “The Court of Appeal recognized the legal errors that happened and dealt with them.”

Norton said a decision on seeking bail has not yet been made.

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Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques

Gun-toting Canadian triggers FBI probe of alleged white-supremacist terror plot tied to U.S. election

National Guard troops move along the National Mall the day after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time January 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.

If the 22-year-old Canadian man thought his border crossing into Detroit would be routine, he was sorely mistaken.

First the driver was directed into secondary inspection at the Ambassador Bridge entry point, and then interviewed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “tactical terrorism response team.”

What they found was troubling: an assault rifle and two other guns, plus extremist white-supremacy material on his cellphone, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit that came to light recently.

Before sending the traveller identified as “E.G.” back to Canada, the border officers concluded he was part of a cell in the planning stages of an extremist attack.

Indeed, further investigation of the man’s teenage contact in Dublin, Ohio, uncovered a plot to disable chunks of the American electricity grid, the conspirators vowing to die for their cause, the affidavit says.

The group was to be “operational” as soon as this past November, in case Donald Trump lost the U.S. presidential election, according to the document, which was inadvertently unsealed and obtained by

The Associated Press

last month, before being put under wraps again.

The conspiracy appears to have popped onto law-enforcement radar thanks to that ill-fated border crossing in Michigan.

The affair marks the second time in the last year that Canadians have been accused by U.S. police of associating with far-right terrorists there.

E.G. tried to get into the U.S. in October 2019. Former army reservist Patrik Mathews of Winnipeg crossed the border a few months earlier, allegedly joining up with members of the Base, a white-supremacist group bent on precipitating a race war. Mathews faces numerous charges and has been in custody since his arrest early last year.

It’s unclear whether any charges have been laid in the E.G. episode.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in southern Ohio, which is overseeing the case, could not be reached for comment Thursday, but previously told the

National Post

it could provide no information about the matter as there were no publicly filed documents.

Asked if Canadian police are looking at E.G., RCMP spokeswoman Robin Percival said the force works closely with its international partners, but does not comment on investigations “by other countries.”

Barbara Perry, an expert on extremism at Ontario Tech University, said the case underscores how violent far-right groups have extended their tentacles into Canada, helped by the Internet.

“It was chilling,” she said of the FBI affidavit. “There are connections between the Canadian and American movements because so much of their activity is online. So those borders mean nothing … It really is a global movement.”

The affidavit, filed last March in U.S. federal court in Wisconsin, supported an application for a search warrant.

It says officers at the U.S. border found an AR15 assault rifle, a high-volume shotgun and a pistol in E.G.’s vehicle, though all had U.S. permits. He said he was planning to visit friends Natalia in Tennessee and Chris in Ohio.

On his phone, they found multiple images of Nazi, white power and anti-LGBTQ propaganda, said the affidavit. Some of it appeared to evoke the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi terrorist organization founded in the southern U.S.

Further investigation indicated that he and Chris, who was just 17, had known each other online for about two months. It appeared to be a recruitment relationship, where the Canadian was trying to “suggest his bonafides” for joining the group, wrote FBI special agent Tiffany Burns. E.G. said at one point he was Italian, but that “they were fascists.”

Chris later told investigators he thought E.G. might be autistic, as he was “so detailed by nature and very focused on rules.”

In a series of texts, the pair discussed taking out student loans to buy a bus and convert it into a motor home. “If we aren’t going to be alive to pay it back, it’s free money,” Chris exclaimed at one point.

When Chris said he didn’t like his Mexican stepmother, the Canadian suggested they “go siege on her,” an apparent reference to the book


, in which neo-Nazi author James Mason urges followers to commit acts of violence to destabilize the system, according to the affidavit. The book was discussed by the duo and images of it appeared in their texts.

Meanwhile, a former white supremacist acting as an undercover source for the bureau detailed Chris’s plans with other collaborators.

He wanted to create neo-Nazi cells across the U.S. to commit acts of violence, becoming operational by 2024 in the belief the Democratic party would win the U.S. election that year. But he said the timeline would be accelerated if Trump lost the 2020 race, alleged the affidavit.

In late 2019, Chris began discussing a plan, which he dubbed “Lights Out,” to impose a large-scale power outage by firing rifle rounds into electrical sub-stations.

“Leaving the power off would wake people up to the harsh reality of life by wreaking havoc across the nation,” another member of the group told the source.

The same person predicted their efforts would end violently.

“I can say with absolute certainty that I will die for this effort. I swear it on my life,” the FBI’s source quoted him as saying.

“I can say the same,” echoed Chris, Canadian E.G.’s friend.

Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques