UNDRIP: Interview with Ron Valiant on What’sUPCanada?
[Editor’s Note: This video, and others produced by Ron Vaillant on his YouTube channel, are of critical importance to every resident, landowner and taxpayer in the Province of British Columbia and the rest of Canada.
B.C.’s NDP government under then John Horgan signed on to this United Nations Agenda 2030 three days after the last election which, among many other controversial items, has now placed all Crown Land into the hands of the ‘Indigenous’ people of the province of B.C. The term “Indigenous” is not defined anywhere in the literature surrounding this agreement. What this means to the working people of the province and to private property owners and businesses across B.C. is that our future is now threatened by a international communist organization that was formed in the United States of America back on June 25th, 1945 in San Francisco, California.
It needs to be stated here in the most emphatic manner that person spearheading the formation of the UNO was a man by the name of Alger Hiss who occupied the directorial chair during the organizing conference in San Francisco and afterwards was made the first Secretary of the United Nations. Later he was exposed by a fellow traveler within the communist underground by the name of Whittaker Chambers and after a long and contentious trial (wherein Chamber’s lawyer turned out to be none other than Mr. Richard Nixon) was proven to be a Soviet agent and part of an extensive and pervasive Soviet spy network that had been operating out of the State Department throughout the 1930’s, 1940’s and into the 1950’s.
Vigilance is therefore advised when we hear mention of this international organization and its now undue influence on the fundamental rights and freedoms of the vast majority of citizens in the province.]
Editorial: PROMOTING PRIDE OR PERVERSION?
[Editor’s Note: The following Editorial is rather longish and will most likely be controversial as well but given the importance of the subject matter covered in it I won’t apologize for taking the extra time to explain its purpose in greater detail. The subject is fraught with emotion, confusion, and the ability to create divisiveness both in families and in communities large and small. It’s both timely and tragic and discernment and compassion are recommended.]
[Updated Wed. March 22, 2023]
Editorial: PROMOTING PRIDE OR PERVERSION?
By Arthur Topham
As a long time publisher/editor of alternative news and views it was quite disconcerting to read the March 7, 2023 Quesnel City Council Highlights and find that Council members, after receiving and listening to a Delegation from the Quesnel Pride Society who “provided Council an overview of their mission and an update of the Society’s many accomplishments in 2021/2022” then went on to state that “in response to recent hate speech distributed in our community” was there to ask that Council “affirm [its] commitment to ensuring Quesnel is a safe & welcoming place for members of the LGBTQ2+ community.”
Council, after hearing their concerns, passed the following resolution:
THAT Quesnel City Council affirms continued support for:
- Ongoing maintenance of the rainbow crosswalk
- Raising the Pride flag on the LeBourdais Park community flag pole during Pride month
- Supporting Quesnel Pride Society’s Pride Week events, including the rolling parade and celebration in LeBourdais Park.
As reported in the Cariboo Observer it was a unanimous decision on the part of Council members to support and “affirm” its “commitment to ensuring Quesnel is a safe & welcoming place for members of the LGBTQ2+ community.”
The one thing though that immediately caught my eye was the statement concerning “recent hate speech distributed in our community.” Not being present at the meeting it’s unclear just what the delegation spokesperson was referring to but given the past 16 years of having to personally deal with similar accusations made against my own person I can testify to the fact that those two buzz words “hate speech” have been manipulated and elevated by the msm and special interest groups to a level of controversy well beyond the realm of common sense and truthfulness.
As an investigative journalist for the past 35 years I decided to look into the background of the story and in doing so the most obvious place to start was to review the controversial “Hate” flyer the two spokespeople for the Quesnel Pride Society (QPS), Julia Dillabough and Alison Prentice, had made reference to in their presentations to Council.
I first reached out to a Council member who I know inquiring as to where I might find a copy of said flyer but didn’t hear back from them as they were out of town so I contacted Mayor Ron Paull and asked him if he or the Council had been given a copy of the flyer for review prior to or even during the actual presentation on March 7th. The Mayor was kind enough to reply and stated that he had not seen the flyer and thus confirmed for me that the councillors weren’t given a copy during the presentation by the QPS.
Knowing this only whetted my curiosity as to why Council wasn’t privy to this alleged event wherein, as stated in the Observer article, “Their request to address council came shortly after Quesnel’s downtown was bestrewn with flyers denouncing the scheduled appearance this summer of a prominent drag performer. It urged the public to send emails of protest to the city’s councillors.”
Given that the flyer matter came from the spokespeople I decided to reach out to Julia Dillabough and Alison Prentice and see if I couldn’t round up the missing flyer. I checked on Facebook and located Julia’s page which contained the following appeal to members of the QPS:
“Diversity: a call out to all my friends in Quesnel, (well all other communities as well)
I hope that you are ready to stand up to those who are spreading hate in our peaceful community. Race, sexual orientation, religion, etc: no one needs to agree to everything in life, it is what makes this world unique and quite frankly interesting to me. What should be expected is to be respectful of one another’s differences. “We all have belly buttons just like opinions, and guess what often they stink”.
Recently there have been flyers handed out for “critical race theory” and “anti-LGBTQ+” in our small community, very sad to see. If you think that things like anti-bullying, orange shirt day, black lives matter, pride days, me too movements are “not needed” in our community, please think again… now more then ever it is time to not be complacent bystanders and stand up against the negative disrespectful hate! I hope my friends on Facebook are not just acquaintances and that you all will pledge to do something positive to make our society a better place. One that is inclusive of all!”
It was clear to me that Julia was aware of the flyers so I messaged her on Sunday, March 19th: “Hi Julia. It’s Arthur Topham here. You may be aware that I am now publishing news stories on my site Cariboosentinal.ca. I’m working on an article related to the recent Pride event at Quesnel City Hall. You bring up the issue in the Observer story of flyers that were distributed around town and then speak about “hate speech” a topic which you likely know I am very familiar with. I have reached out to a number of people including Mayor Ron Paull regarding said flyer/s as I want to see what they or it actually say and was rather surprised to find out that no one, including the mayor or city council, had actually been given a copy to review. I thought that you would likely have a copy or copies if there were different ones posted. I would appreciate it if you could get back to me regarding this issue at your earliest convenience. My land line # is 250-992-1027. No cell service yet here in Cottonwood. I can also be reached via my Cariboo Sentinel email which is: firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks. Arthur.” To date I haven’t received a reply to my message.
The next day, Monday, March 20, 2023, I went on the Quesnel Pride Society’s website and located an email contact for Alison Prentice, President of QPS and wrote the following to her requesting a copy of said flyer:
I’m contacting you regarding the recent March 7, 2023 meeting of the Quesnel Pride Society with City Hall.
My name is Arthur Topham and I’m the Publisher/Editor of the online news site CaribooSentinel.ca. If you’ve been around Quesnel for any length of time you’re likely familiar with my name. I am also the person who started up the monthly Alternative Tabloid The Radical back in June of 1998 which ran for 42 consecutive editions up to June of 2002 when I took it online and it then became know as RadicalPress.com.
Every edition of The Radical contained a column written by a local gay writer who used the pseudonym “Randy Buckerman”.
Anyhow I’m working on an article related to the above meeting and have been trying to locate a copy of the infamous flyer that you are quoted in the Observer article as stating was bestrewn around the downtown area “denouncing the scheduled appearance this summer of a prominent drag performer.” I’ve reached out to Julia Dillabough via her fb messenger inquiring about it but haven’t received a reply yet. I’ve also reached out to Mayor Ron Paull and he informed me that he hasn’t seen the flyer either which I thought was rather unusual given the prominence that it has taken. I had just assumed that your organization would have presented it to the Mayor and Council for review but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
My own history, which you may be well aware of, has involved over a decade of legal proceedings and court appearances (beginning back in 2007) all to do with having been charged under Sec. 319.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada for allegedly publishing articles about a particular ethnic group which were deemed to be “hate”. Over the past 16 years of litigation I’ve become acutely familiar with the whole “Hate Propaganda” phenomenon and consider myself to be somewhat of a specialist in the field.
As you and myself are very well aware the development of the whole Gay/Lesbian movement has been fraught with much misinformation and disinformation as well as undue influence from outsider organizations.
That said it is my intention to cover this local story as well as present both sides of the picture when it comes to the issues that QPS brought up at the city council meeting and also the issues that generally are of concern to Canadians across the country. It would be helpful and appreciated if you could let me know where I might find a copy of the flyer. It’s not my intention to republish it online but I do need to review it in light of all that’s been said in the local media and also in light of my own experiences in these matters.
Mar. 22nd Editor’s UPDATE: Having received a copy of the missing flyer from an associate and looking it over I’ve decided to post it. I’ve reached out far enough to Alison Prentice, President of QPS and have not had a response from her or Julia Dillabough regarding said flyer. Contrary to what was stated in the March 15, 2023 edition of the Quesnel-Cariboo Observer regarding said flyer it’s now my judgement that it doesn’t at all measure up to what QPS spokesperson Julia described as “Hate speech”.
Editor’s Note: The portion of the flyer at the bottom where the text is in red and difficult to read states:
“murders that include cannibalism and Satanic-like rituals.”
In conclusion I also want to extend my condolences to you regarding the loss of your son. My wife and I lost our youngest son (age 46) in January of 2022 and words cannot suffice to express how that event has affected us. I have three other children as well and am a Grandfather to 8 grandchild some of whom are dealing with gender issues at this stage in their lives.
“Standing on Guard for the People and the Land.”
As of this writing, Tuesday, March 21, 2023 I haven’t had a reply back from Alison Prentice either. Both of these individuals may be busy and haven’t had the time to reply to my requests so I won’t accuse them of failing to do so.
In the meantime I continued to dig further into the issue using Twitter and also viewing videos that deal with the whole topic of the Gay/Lesbian/Transgender agenda. This morning I came across a video on Bitchute that basically covers the history of all that’s been coming down the track over the past half century and longer leading up to the present day. It’s an hour and 17 minutes long but the length is only due to the amount of critical information contained in it that helps to explain to the general public what the bottom line is when dealing with this overt effort to change the thinking patterns of men and women and humanity itself, all of whom have been following a code of conduct that’s literally thousands of years old.
It’s my intention to send the url to this provocative presentation to the Mayor and Council for the City of Quesnel and request that they all watch it. As well I’ll be sending it to my MLA, my MP, other politicians and other media outlets along with my list of recipients who regularly receive articles posted to the Cariboo Sentinel.
Redress is crucial to the survival of the human species and so I hope that after watching this enlightening video production that viewers will act upon the information and begin working together in order to put an end to the ultimate intended goals highlighted in the enclosed video.
[***As an aside I also need to state here that I believe not all of those who identify with the rainbow coloured flag are in favour of some of the more heinous objectives as stated in the enclosed video.]
Here is the url to the video for those who wish to view it on a larger screen. https://www.bitchute.com/video/A5MKkQlsi51Y/ It’s hoped that it will be viewed and shared by those concerned with their friends and family and associates.
Please consider commenting on the article if you are able to.
Punished for Doing the Right Thing? The Battle for Ethical Medicine in Ontario
Punished for Doing the Right Thing?
The Battle for Ethical Medicine in Ontario
By Dr. Matthew Evans-Cockle
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) continues to pursue disciplinary proceedings against three Ontario doctors for providing vaccine exemption letters and making allegedly “misleading” statements questioning the health benefits of CPSO policy on COVID-19. The stakes are high for Doctors Crystal Luchkiw, Patrick Phillips, and Mark Trozzi; with their medical licenses indefinitely suspended, they are risking their right to practice medicine, their income, and their reputations as health care professionals in a struggle over both the right of patients to receive personal health care and advice from their physicians, and the right of physicians to debate medical matters of public concern. For Dr. Mark Trozzi, it all comes down to following the golden rule of doing no harm, and the Hippocratic oath to uphold the medical profession’s ethical standards. The ethical practice of medicine is simply the non-negotiable means and end of being a real doctor. For Dr. Crystal Luchkiw, the ethical and effective practice of medicine depends upon doctors’ freedom to make independent clinical judgments based on the doctor’s knowledge of both the relevant medical domain and the patient’s unique needs. It is imperative that such judgements proceed from both expertise and cornerstone medical fundamentals, and that they be exercised free from any and all coercive external interference.
According to Doctors Luchkiw, Phillips, and Trozzi, the COVID-19 related restrictions that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has imposed upon doctors in Ontario are not only unethical and contrary to best medical practice, but they are also unlawful. As Dr. Patrick Phillips has explained, none of the policies imposed by the CPSO have any formal legal “force or effect to lawfully prosecute physicians.
” According to the most recent amendment of the Medicine Act of 1991, legally binding regulations may only be made by the CPSO’s council “subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council and with prior review by the Minister [of Health].“ The CPSO’s COVID-19 policies do not have the Lieutenant Governor’s approval and were not reviewed by the Minister, and they do not, therefore, meet the criteria of legally binding regulations. The point might seem insignificant at first glance, but it is of major importance. Essentially, if the COVID-19 policies imposed by the CPSO have no legally binding power, then the CPSO has no grounds for launching investigations against Doctors Luchkiw, Phillips, and Trozzi, no grounds for disciplinary proceedings and charges against them, and no grounds for suspending their medical licenses.
A recent hearing panel at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario rejected a motion to dismiss the CPSO investigations and disciplinary proceedings against Doctors Luchkiw, Phillips, and Trozzi. This means that all three of these highly qualified and ethically conscientious doctors continue to have their licenses suspended. In spite of this disappointing outcome, the hearing panel did result in several significant victories for the trio of physicians. In fact, the CPSO conceded that its restrictions on speaking out against public health orders, on prescribing off-label lifesaving treatments for COVID-19, and on writing exemptions for vaccines are only suggestions “properly characterized as guidance documents, not binding rules.” Now clearly, there is tremendous irony in this concession. The hearing panel has essentially exonerated all three doctors by admitting that the CPSO’s COVID-19 restrictions are recommendations that do not have the force of law and are not mandatory. At the same time, the panel refused to dismiss the CPSO’s disciplinary proceedings against Doctors Luchkiw, Phillips, and Trozzi, and their licenses to practice medicine remain suspended.
As Dr. Patrick Phillips has explained, what he and his two colleagues are facing, in the ongoing litigation with the CPSO, should be of major concern to all Ontarians and to all Canadians. What is at issue is, firstly, the right of all Canadians to receive personalized medical advice, treatment, and care; secondly, who determines the nature of that care; and thirdly, what advice and opinions medical doctors can express privately to patients and publicly to their communities. By depriving physicians of the freedom to treat and to communicate with patients in accordance with their medical experience and expertise and knowledge of individual patients’ needs, the CPSO effectively prohibits the basis for informed consent and compels patients to accept whatever advice is promoted by the CPSO in lieu of proper personalized care.
The threat to Doctors Luchkiw, Phillips, and Trozzi’s continued medical practice constitutes a real crisis in Canadian medicine that needs to be addressed immediately. The crux of the problem is that the colleges have been given virtually unlimited power to investigate, discipline and de-license doctors. Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” This section of the Charter should protect Canadian citizens from both investigations that are unconstrained by fact-based allegations, and from punishments being imposed before the allegations have been determined. Contrary to common sense, however, courts have ruled that section 7 does not apply to investigations related to professional licenses. Alarmingly, this restriction of section 7 rights and freedoms grants regulatory bodies like the CPSO unreasonably broad powers to investigate and to suspend medical practice licenses prior to a hearing. As Dr. Patrick Phillips writes, this means that the College “can charge anyone for absolutely anything and get away with it.”
The hearing panel at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario chose to schedule a hearing of the allegations against Doctors Luchkiw, Phillips, and Trozzi, even after conceding that the CPSO’s statements upon which the proceedings are based–regarding speaking out against CPSO COVID-19 policies, prescribing off-label lifesaving treatments for COVID-19, and providing individual vaccine exemption–were only ever suggestions and not binding rules. For a great many Canadians following these proceedings, it must surely appear self-evident that such suggestions should not be used as grounds for suspension, investigation or punishment of any doctor. Indeed, it seems highly questionable whether the CPSO panel has acted in good faith during the hearing. To wit, the CPSO hearing panel refused even to address Doctors Luchkiw, Phillips, and Trozzi’s key submissions that the CPSO “Registrar, Dr. Nancy Whitmore, did not have reasonable and probable ground to order [their] investigations [… and that] the College … failed to establish that [they] had violated a standard of practice.” Quite frankly, to ignore these submissions has all the earmarks of hubristic folly, appearing contrary to the principles of fundamental justice and the spirit of law in Canada. Dr. Patrick Phillips has expressed the matter succinctly–”In a free and democratic society, citizens are protected from laws that are so broad you can’t know if you’re violating them beforehand.”
Discussions of legal proceedings rarely make for good reading. The plodding pace of legal arguments and the barrier posed by technical vocabulary inevitably get in the way of visceral understanding. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that, in closing, we return to the fundamental issues. Doctors Crystal Luchkiw, Patrick Phillips, and Mark Trozzi have lost their licenses, their careers are under threat, and their lives are being marred by the unpleasant necessity of enormously costly ongoing legal battles. The personal cost they are paying is no laughing matter, but that personal cost is not what’s driving them, and it’s not where the gravity of this situation lies. These doctors are fighting for the right to care for their patients in the best way they know how, as determined by their medical knowledge and the individual needs of each individual patient. In reminding us what is at stake with the COVID-19 related restrictions imposed upon doctors by the CPSO, Dr. Phillips pulls no punches:
Countless patients have needlessly died from COVID while being denied early treatments with life-saving medications. Countless patients have been deprived of informed consent around the risks of vaccines. Countless patients were denied exemptions even though they had horrendous adverse events after the first dose. Countless patients have been forced to take genetic therapy against their will and many of those patients have died or been maimed by that therapy.
Dr. Phillips, for one, has had enough–in view of the terrible harms associated with the CPSO’s unchecked power over medical care throughout the declared pandemic, he is calling for a “complete dismantlement of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario” and the subsequent creation of a new College, “one with leaders who respect the rule of law“ and whose power is “limited to prosecutions of offences that are in line with the charter and protect the rights of all.”
Contact: Dr. Cockle email@example.com
It’s Time to Restore Ethical Integrity at the University of British Columbia: An Open Letter to the UBC Administration
It’s Time to Restore Ethical Integrity at the University of
British Columbia: An Open Letter to the UBC Administration
Dr. Matthew Evans-Cockle
As a University of British Columbia (UBC) alumnus, with a PhD from the UBC Department of English Language and Literatures, I share responsibility for UBC’s policies. Because my credentials are associated with UBC, whenever I make use of them to gain employment, or to secure positions as a volunteer or committee member, whenever I draw benefit in any way from the accreditation that I have received from UBC, I am tacitly supporting UBC as an institution.
As far as I am able, I attempt to live in an ethically responsible fashion that minimizes harm to others. As such, because my professional credentials are bound up with UBC, it is essential that I oppose any UBC policy which, in my view, constitutes an obvious and significant departure from ethically acceptable practice. I am writing this open letter because I believe UBC’s COVID-19 genetic vaccine mandate was egregiously unethical. I refuse to accept UBC’s decision to coerce students, staff, and instructors into receiving this experimental treatment. I refuse to accept UBC’s pretense that this treatment could be called safe when there was absolutely no long term safety data available to support that claim. Moreover, there remains no controlled phase 3 clinical studies that show these vaccines prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, reduce the severity of COVID-19, or prevent transmission. And finally, I refuse to endorse UBC as an institution of any merit until its administration has issued public apologies for its coercive COVID-19 policies, and for its role in misleading the general public with respect to the safety and efficacy of these mRNA vaccines.
I volunteer with the Canadian Covid Care Alliance (CCCA)—a volunteer not-for-profit organization, of over 700 independent scientists, medical doctors and other health care professionals and hundreds of others from diverse backgrounds. I volunteer with the CCCA in the hopes of restoring integrity to Canadian healthcare. I am currently assisting a team of researchers—people whose work I respect and for whose tireless and care-filled diligence I am deeply grateful—in a project identifying, mapping, and explaining the pervasive conflict of interest that is plaguing Canada’s public health system.
The problem of conflict-of-interest corrupting health related decision-making and policy-making is particularly grievous in BC—one of the only provinces in Canada that has maintained the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. In spite of an extreme shortage of nurses, BC still has not re-hired those terminated for refusing vaccination. We’re talking about thousands upon thousands of BC nurses. These are qualified professionals with families to support. These are individuals who benefit from robust naturally acquired immunity after working on the frontlines of COVID-19 care throughout the first year of the declared pandemic! While the CBC and corporate media refuse to consider their plight, it is imperative for anyone capable of empathetic critical thinking to consider the financial difficulty imposed on these nurses and their families. It is imperative that we consider the emotional and psychological difficulty imposed on these nurses and their families by the nightmarish situation in which they find themselves –punished for standing up for the right to informed consent and the right to refuse unwanted medical interventions. They are being punished for doing the right thing. These frontline nurses are being punished for doing the right thing while UBC continues to stand by and endorse COVID-19 vaccine mandates that do far more harm than good. In fact, UBC is blocking the acceptance of students in medicine, dentistry, nursing and other health disciplines unless they agree to submit to vaccination against COVID-19. Contrary to all common sense, UBC is insisting on vaccination regardless of whether these individuals already have natural immunity, and they are doing this more than three years into the COVID-19 pandemic!
I realize that our universities are caught up in a similar web to that which has seized hold of our healthcare system. Cash-starved institutions are always vulnerable to corporate influence and even capture. But administrative expediency—simply doing whatever is required to maintain and increase funding—leads inevitably to real human harm. I have a friend who works at UBC. She really wanted to keep her job. She was injured by both of the Pfizer shots she received. She was hospitalized both times. Conscientious researchers have established that the shots pose similar risks—associated with the production of spike protein—to those posed by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Indeed, the shots pose much greater long-term risk to heart tissues than COVID-19 itself. We all now know that these inoculations are not effective at stopping or slowing transmission. That much has been admitted publicly by a Pfizer representative speaking before a European Union parliamentary committee. And we all know that they are not safe. When we take all of the reports of all of the vaccine injuries, hospitalizations, and deaths in the US VAERS, the UK Yellow Card, and the World Health Organization’s VigiAccess systems, what we see is that there are more vaccine injuries reported from the three U.S. approved COVID-19 vaccines in the past two years than from the combined sum of all the other vaccines administered over the last 30 years.
Instead of requiring COVID-19 vaccination for students admitted into its MD, dentistry, and nursing programs, UBC needs to stop endorsing this vaccination program immediately—the shots are NOT SAFE, and they are NOT EFFECTIVE! UBC needs to get in front of this catastrophe of pharmaceutical industry-leveraged global health policy. Real people need to take real responsibility at UBC. They need to apologize for coercing students, staff, and instructors into receiving these still experimental COVID-19 genetic vaccines. They need to actively seek out the injured and address their injuries. And once apologies have been issued and reparations begun, these responsible individuals need to initiate significant internal reform to prevent the imposition of similarly coercive policies in the future.
After three long years, I am tired of being continuously ashamed of UBC. I want to see representatives of the UBC community begin taking the steps necessary to restore UBC’s ethical integrity. I’m calling upon the UBC Board of Governors, the UBC Senate, the UBC Heads of Departments, the UBC Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic, and the UBC Office of the President—I’m calling upon the human beings in these offices, the human beings in these roles, to take responsibility and begin doing the right thing. I’m calling upon you all to begin making amends for the harm UBC’s COVID-19 policies have done to UBC as a community as well as for the harm they have done to UBC’s reputation as an institution of higher learning.
We can all do better,
Contact: Dr. Cockle firstname.lastname@example.org
Forget the Buyer It’s Now Seller BEWARE!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article is based on my FB experience on March 1, 2023. It should be be made clear that what happened to me (and others who were victims) is NOT the fault of Facebook and shouldn’t be misconstrued as criticism of Facebook Marketplace. It’s but a reflection of the times we’re living in and, in my estimation, a good example to illustrate some of the pitfalls to be aware of when selling items online.]
Like so many others these days I use local Facebook groups and Marketplace to sell my books that are part of my other business ArthursUsedBooks.com. I also use this venue to sell personal items and this article is based on an item that I have had listed on Marketplace for awhile.
Part of the selling side involves collecting the money for the item being sold. There are various aspects to this based upon where the actual item is located and where the buyer is located. On a local level a seller can get paid in cash for their item when they meet the buyer in town or wherever else they’ve agreed to meet in order to finalize the transaction.
Nowadays one of the more common methods of getting paid is to use Interac e-Transfer where the buyer simply sends the money to the seller’s financial institution online and once it has been deposited into their account the seller then arranges for the delivery of said item. Such was to be the case in the following tale.
Interac e-Transfer is an independent Canadian company located in Toronto, Ontario and many banks and financial institutions use it including my own which is CIBC. When I finally realized that the buyer was attempting to scam me I went to their website where I found a place to report the incident. It was headed:
Report scams or phishing incidents – email@example.com
My letter will explain in more detail the events of that day.
Apparent Serious eTransfer from Interac to my CIBC account
From: arthursusedbooks firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Interac Scams email@example.com
Cc: arthursusedbooks firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Thursday, March 2, 2023 at 10:57 AM
Yesterday, March 1, 2023 I was communicating with a prospective customer on Facebook’s Marketplace discussing the sale of a 14k Gold Necklace which the customer was inquiring about. They wrote to me telling me that they would purchase the item and I asked them to send the money to my ArthursUsedBooks email address which is in my CIBC account in Quesnel, B.C.
The customer, Gabrielle Goltz, agreed to send the cost of the item to my email@example.com account. Within a matter of a few minutes I received a new email in my Inbox stating: “You’ve received payment of $1600.00CAD from Gabrielle Goltz (INTERAC e-TRANSFER)”
In the “From” section it read: “From Interac Etransfer firstname.lastname@example.org“
I am including in this email a screenshot of the body of the email which shows all the information contained in it. The little blue/grey titled square next to the line saying “Transfer On Hold…Until (Shipment Tracking Number is Provided)” in the original email appears as a blinking type of icon.
I had never received such an email before so I became a bit suspicious about it but told the customer that I would send off the item and then send them the tracking number. (I have screenshots and the text of the full exchange between us on FB Messenger).
When I went into the Post Office in Quesnel I showed the clerk a copy of the email which I had printed off at home and brought along with me. They looked at it and said they had never seen such a thing before. Another clerk also said the same and then advised me to take it to my bank and see what they had to say. I went to my CIBC bank and showed it to the Manager and another staff person working there and they also had never seen or heard of such a thing and advised me to not sent the item to the address (which was in California, USA).
I didn’t send the item and replied to the sender in Marketplace messenger that their email appeared to be a scam. I haven’t heard back from them since yesterday afternoon.
The email itself is very authentic looking and you may already be aware of it for all I know but I would like to hear back from you regarding this matter. I am also an online publisher and editor of the Cariboosentinel.ca. It’s my intention to publish a story on this but I would first like to hear from you so I have all the facts correct.
Thank you for any assistance you may be able to provide me with.
***[Editor’s Note: Please understand that the name of the purchaser in the email which I received, i.e, Gabriele Goltz, is a real person and she does live in Germany and her friends on her page are also real persons. The only thing that isn’t real and doesn’t show is the FACT that the scammer was able to impersonate this person after first conning her into believing a similar story and then stealing not only her profile and money from her account but now is using her Facebook page to con others who may be selling other high-end items on Marketplace.]
After writing to Interac I went back into Messenger and did a search on the person called Gabriele Goltz. As it turned out they were living in Germany. There wasn’t much on the Home Page and there were only 7 Friends showing. I looked more closely and saw that 6 of them were in Germany but the 7th Friend was living in Prince George, B.C. Canada! I clicked on the name and it took me to the person and their page. They were also running a business in P.G. and had a website url and when I checked it out there was an email which I was able to use so I wrote them and briefly explained what I had been experiencing. I asked them to give me a phone call so we could discuss the situation and later that same day they did call and I was able to finally get “the rest of the story”.
The one thing that really made the con appear legitimate was the body of the email and the way it presented itself as an actual Interac e-Transfer embellished with the Canada Post logo. For anyone who didn’t read the fine print and look at the actual email address which was a “@gmail.com” address, one which a large corporation like Interac would never be using, overall it was pretty authentic looking.
Hopefully this example will be beneficial to others if they’re selling an expensive item and they get a similar message telling them to send the item first and then send the tracking number to a bogus email.
It would be appreciated if anyone reading this article has experienced similar cases that they could share them in the comments section.
Alberta to Introduce Bill to ‘Protect Firearms Owners From the Federal Firearms Confiscation Program’
Joseph Schow stands with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith after being sworn into cabinet as House Leader in Edmonton on Oct. 24, 2022. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)
By Marnie Cathcart
The Epoch Times
March 2, 2023Updated: March 2, 2023
Alberta says it will table legislation this month to “protect firearms owners from the federal firearms confiscation program.”
Bill 8, the Alberta Firearms Act, is one of three bills the United Conservative government has prioritized for the short spring session of the 30th legislature, which ends March 31.
“It is important that we’re defending firearm owners in this province, and making sure that Albertans feel as though this government has their back,” said House Leader Joseph Schow at a March 1 news conference.
A spokesperson for Alberta Justice, Ethan Lecavalier-Kidney, told The Epoch Times that details regarding the specific legislation will become available once the bill is tabled, which will occur this month.
Schow said that “a number of firearms owners in the province have reached out” to him and other MPs, and that Albertans “feel the federal legislation is an overreach.”
In response, the province is “taking action within our abilities to protect legal firearms owners,” said Schow. He said the province needs to codify the responsibilities of the Chief Firearms Officer.
The bill “would protect firearms owners from the federal firearms confiscation program and establish a provincial firearms regulatory system that will promote the safe and responsible use of firearms,” the government said in a March 1 statement.
In 2020, the federal government issued a ban on more than 1,500 models of previously legal firearms. In October 2022, the government put a freeze on the transfer and importation of handguns, which effectively bans handgun ownership in Canada.
The legislation was paired with a buyback program that proposed to compensate owners for firearms that were confiscated under the ban.
In December, the government tabled sweeping last-minute amendments to Bill C-21, which if passed, would ban most semi-automatic shotguns and rifles—including many hunting shotguns and rifles purchased legally. The proposed amendments would also ban any gun that can hold a detachable magazine.
The bill and sweeping last-minute amendments sparked an uproar from firearms owners and opposition parties, who say it targets hunters, farmers, ranchers, and sport shooters and involves thousands of popular, common makes and models of rifles and shotguns—most of which are unregistered and were legally purchased by vetted, trained, licensed gun owners.
Opposition members stopped the Commons public safety committee from passing C-21, and pushed for at least eight public hearings on the bill, to include rural, northern, and indigenous communities.
Funding approval for MP’s travel related to these meetings cannot be approved until April, with the start of a new fiscal year. As such, the passage of the bill has been delayed until spring.
Justice Minister Tyler Shandro previously said the federal government’s legislation “will criminalize hundreds of thousands of Canadians overnight—the majority of which reside in Western Canada.”
The Alberta government, on Jan 11, was granted intervenor status by the Federal Court, to intervene in six lawsuits related to federally proposed firearms laws that would ban more than 1,500 models of firearms.
Bill 36: Destroying Healthcare in BC. by Dr. Charles Hoffe
[EDITOR’S NOTE: One of British Columbia’s foremost medical sentinels, Dr. Charles Hoffe, MD, a man of great courage, dedication and integrity, has been in the trenches on the front line of the Covid-19 disinformation war since April of 2021 when he first alerted the general public to the dangers of the vaccine the NDP government of John Hogan had mandated for Health Care Workers and the citizens of the province.
Since going public Dr. Hoffe has been put through the wringer by the NDP government, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Interior Health Authority, the Mainstream Media across Canada, and, of late, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC for having spoken out about the dangers of what has now become known euphemistically as “the Jab”.
As the good doctor waits to hear whether the planned hearing by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. will go ahead he continues to speak out on public forums and rallies and video interviews informing the public about B.C.’s Health Care System. The following article deals specifically with the draconian legislation contained in the current NDP government’s Bill 36. It’s information that every citizen of the province and the nation should be cognizant of if they’re concerned about the future of their own health and the health of coming generations.
I would ask that readers do their very best to help spread the message Dr. Hoffe presents in his article to their friends, family, politicians and every social media platform they can access. He needs our support more than ever now and one thing is certain – he deserves it!]
Bill 36: Destroying Healthcare in BC.
Another triumph for medical tyranny,
And another nail in the coffin of healthcare in British Columbia.
By Charles Hoffe, MD
One year ago, the truckers drove to Ottawa with the historic Freedom Convoy. They were protesting against the tyrannical, unethical and illogical public health legislation. Unvaxxed truckers were being forced to quarantine for 14 days whenever they crossed the US border.
These were the grievances of the truckers:
- Mandating a vaccine that does not stop the spread of the disease is completely illogical. If the shots don’t stop you getting Covid, and they don’t stop you spreading Covid, then they cannot possibly keep anyone else safe. So the mandates were completely senseless.
- Restricting travel to stop the spread of the virus that was already on both sides of the border was completely senseless.
- Forcing people to have a medical treatment that they did not want, is illegal in Canada. (Supreme court decision 1980)
So clearly, the vaxx mandates are not based on either science, logic or truth. They are simply just about tyrannical control.
The truckers went to Ottawa to protest against this tyranny, the massive government over-reach and these violations of our constitutional rights.
And the response of the Trudeau government was not to engage in dialogue as one would expect in any democratic society. But instead they responded with violence and force. The response to the protest against government tyranny and massive government over-reach, was even more tyranny and massive government over-reach.
The response of the government completely validated the entire freedom protest by demonstrating to all the world exactly what the protesters were complaining about.
During the course of the last year there have been numerous medical tyranny protests, three of which have been outside the offices of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. I and other doctors pleaded with the public health authorities to return to the ethical practice of medicine.
• It is never acceptable for anybody to be forced to have a medical treatment that they do not want.
• It is never acceptable to conceal evidence of harm from a medical treatment.
• It is never acceptable to withhold medical treatment from people with a life-threatening infectious disease as they have done with Covid by blocking the prescription of ivermectin.
The mandate of public health, is to protect the public. And the mandate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons is to protect the public from the unethical and illegal practice of medicine. Every doctor in Canada is held accountable to the Code of Ethics of the Canadian Medical Association. Yet, our public health doctors across the country have violated it, their own code of ethics, and threatened retribution upon any who disagreed.
So, just as the Trudeau government responded to the protest against tyranny, with even more tyranny, exactly the same has happened in British Columbia. Bill 36 is, to the doctors of BC, what Trudeau’s commissars were to the freedom protesters in Ottawa. Another tyrannical act to crush dissent.
The response of our medical leaders to our protests against medical tyranny was even more medical tyranny. Bill 36 demonstrates exactly what we have been protesting about. We have a crisis of moral integrity in the leadership of this country.
And we have a crisis of healthcare in British Columbia because our public health leaders chose to fire 2500 healthcare workers in BC who refused to get the ineffective vaccine. Firing healthcare workers in a pandemic is beyond stupidity. And firing them for refusing to take a medical treatment that cannot keep anybody safe is even more stupid.
How can firing healthcare workers in a pandemic possibly align with their mandate to provide healthcare?
There are one million people in British Columbia who have no family doctor. I constantly have new requests to take on more patients. People are desperate. Rural emergency rooms across the province are recurrently closed due to the lack of doctors, and surgical wait lists grow ever longer. Meanwhile, vax-free doctors are not allowed to work in the hospitals under these absurd and illogical public health policies.
So, this seems to be a planned demolition of healthcare in BC. This is a fabricated crisis.
Bill 36 is yet another nail in the coffin of healthcare in British Columbia and the response to our protests against medical tyranny was only more of the same tyranny. In truth Bill 36 is medical tyranny on steroids!
Just to give you a quick glimpse of the absurd violations of medical ethics and our constitutional rights these are the high points of Bill 36:
- Bill 36 gives the medical colleges the right to mandate any vaccine, at any time, as a licensing requirement in BC. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1980 that informed consent is required by law. So forced injections are never legal. Yet the college now has the legal mandate from Bill 36 to forcibly inject any healthcare practitioner against their will as a licensing requirement.
So for the benefit of our medical leaders who do not understand either the law, nor medical ethics, I wish to say the following:
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins with the sentence: “Whereas, Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law;”
For those who do not understand the supremacy of God, let me say this: Your body, just like every other created thing in the universe, was created by Almighty God. God gave your body to you to possess for the duration of your life on Earth. Therefore, your body belongs to you. It does not belong to the government. It does not belong to your employer. It does not belong to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, or anyone else.
Your body belongs to you, and no one else has the right to do anything to your body that you do not want. Forced injections are a violation and a desecration of your personhood. I have met so many people who are victims of forced vaccination who went to their vaccine appointment with trembling and tears knowing that they were being violated and desecrated. They were being forced to receive an experimental gene therapy injection that they did not want, they did not trust, and they did not need. They felt like they were being raped.
When the government demands to inject things into you that you do not want they are claiming jurisdiction over your own body. Forced injections are tantamount to rape. They are a violation of your God ordained personhood and your human rights. The code of ethics of the Canadian medical Association enshrines the principle of patient bodily autonomy. Bill 36 violates of this code of ethics. And the fact that our public health authorities do not understand this foundational principle of medical ethics is deeply concerning.
When you have to submit to forced injections to be able to work, you are no longer your own person, you have been bought with a price. You have been bought for the price of your paycheque or your freedom. You are a slave. And your slave master will control what you can do, where you can go and for how long. And if, at any time, you rebel against your slave master your ability to work or travel will be revoked. That is why you are a slave.
- Bill 36 threatens any healthcare practitioner who they consider to be guilty of the crime of “misinformation” with a $200,000 fine and/or six months in jail. This is a violation of our constitutional right to freedom of speech but worse than that it shows a profound misinterpretation and revisionism of the very nature of science itself. Just as freedom of speech is the bedrock of democracy, scientific debate is the lifeblood of science. The facts of science and medicine are never settled.
Science and medicine are always a work in progress. Without scientific debate science cannot progress. The “facts” are always evolving. Anyone who has the most basic understanding of science, will know that the concept of scientific misinformation is an oxymoron.
Back in the 16th century the mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) proposed that the sun was stationary in the centre of the universe and that the earth revolved around it.
Later, in the same century, a brilliant scientist called Galileo (1564-1624) also supported Copernicus’s theory. His views, of course, deviated from the accepted views of the scientific community. This was considered to be dangerous misinformation. He wasn’t given a $200,000 fine but was put under investigation, given a gag order and placed under house arrest in order to protect the public from this “dangerous misinformation”.
Science and medicine are always a work in progress. The concept of scientific misinformation, is an oxymoron, simply because we cannot know what we do not know. The absolutes of science are provisional at best for this very reason.
So when Bill 36 threatens doctors with jail time and crushing fines for daring to disagree with an unscientific and illogical public health policy this is tantamount to a denial of reason itself and constitutes what would best be described as a totalitarian, dictatorial reaction to medical common sense. It is not about health; it is not about science; and it is not about safety. It’s all about government control over every aspect of a person’s medical well being and that is why it boils down to nothing else but medical tyranny.
Pasteur was ridiculed for years, for his theory that germs cause disease. And Semmelweiss was treated like an outcast for trying to persuade surgeons to wash their hands and sterilize their instruments. These doctors were considered to be spreading misinformation, and were punished for it. History repeats itself.
Our Public health policy is going from bad to worse and that is why we are now in a healthcare crisis; one that has arisen from extremely misguided healthcare policy.
Informed consent and the concept of patient bodily autonomy is the bedrock of medical ethics and yet those ethical healthcare professionals who hold to these principles have been fired from their jobs for refusing the jab, thus creating a health-care crisis that has put the public at risk.
So what are BC’s health authorities planning to do about this dire situation? Are they sitting down with the anti-vax medical practitioners to work out an amiable solution to the issue? No, they certainly are not. Instead the health authorities are trying to attract foreign healthcare workers to fill the void.
But what healthcare worker in their right mind would ever move to BC with the knowledge that they have to relinquish autonomy over their own body to the state and be injected with whatever the state chooses, as a condition of employment?
And what healthcare worker in their right mind would move to BC with the threat of jail time and/or a $200,000 fine for saying anything with which the government disagrees?
Furthermore, Bill 36 is driving even more BC doctors into retirement as they are simply unwilling to work under this draconian legislation. This is the last straw.
So, Bill 36 is the final nail in the coffin of BC healthcare and the ethical practice of medicine in BC. It is also another nail in the coffin of our democratic society where freedom of speech and scientific debate are now no longer tolerated in the medical community.
Bill 36 detrimentally impacts every patient and every healthcare professional in BC who are all victims of this misguided, unethical and illegal legislation.
It is time that a public health policy was drafted by people who understand democracy, the scientific process and most important of all, medical ethics. We have a crisis of moral integrity in our leadership and the people of Canada deserve better.
Dr Charles D. Hoffe, MD
20 February, 2023
City of Quesnel Council Highlights
February 21, 2023 Regular Council Meeting
Quesnel Ambassador Leadership Program – 2023 New Candidate Presentation
Mayor Paull introduced the 2023 Candidates and the 2022 Ambassadors, while Councillor McKelvie led the pinning ceremony.
Coordinator: Rose Scott
2023 CANDIDATES & SPONSORS
• Avery Cassidy – Wizards Garage
• Anna Simpson – O’Flynn Roofing Ltd
• Makenzie Konrad – West Quesnel Business Association
• Alexi Howe – Hohmann Brothers Logging Ltd
• Samuel Agboji – William Lacy Real Estate
• Jamie-Lynn Fedoruk – Craig’s Table
• Nevaeh Kueber
• Jada Crossman
Photo courtesy of the Quesnel Ambassador Leadership Program
Delegation – City of Quesnel Water System Update
New information on the effects of manganese on human health prompted the 2019 change to regulations on Maximum Acceptable Concentration (MAC) for manganese in drinking water. Northern Health identified that the manganese levels in Quesnel drinking water exceed the new guidelines of Health Canada and, the City of Quesnel is working with Urban Systems on water system updates to meet the new guidelines.
Urban Systems provided Council an update on the Quesnel Water System project, which included work to date and next steps.
Public information sessions will be held.
Water Conservation Strategy
Council adopted the City of Quesnel 2020 Water Conservation Strategy, which outlines phased implementation of measures to reduce overall water demands on in the City.
Notices on Title
Council directed Staff to file a Notice on Title, for contravention of the City of Quesnel building regulations, for the following properties:
• 495 Edkins Street
• 223 Redden Road
• Lot A Redden Road
• Lot B Redden Road
Operating Budget – 2023
Council approved the 2023 Operating Budget which includes a 5.3% increase in the total tax levy driven largely by inflation. Council also approved a 1% tax shift from Commercial tax payers to Residential tax payers, which will see residential municipal taxes increasing by approximately 9.5% or $115.50 for the average residence and commercial municipal taxes decreasing by approximately $3.87 per $100,000 of assessment.
• Bylaw 1939 City of Quesnel Comprehensive Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw 1939 of 2023 – Final Adoption • Bylaw 1940 City of Quesnel Appointment of Officer and Delegation of Authority Amendment Bylaw 1940 of 2023 – Final Adoption • Bylaw 1941 City of Quesnel Parks and Public Places Bylaw 1941 of 2023 - First Reading
Council Highlights provide a summary of business conducted by Council at Regular Council meetings. For specific details, visit www.quesnel.ca. Contact: Rhya Hartley, Deputy Corporate Administrator at 250-991-7471.
Connect with the City of Quesnel:
Vladimir Putin’s Address to the Russian Federal Assembly
Vladimir Putin’s Address to the Russian Federal Assembly
February 21, 2023
Vladimir Putin delivered his Address to the Federal Assembly. The ceremony took place in Gostiny Dvor, Moscow.
February 21, 2023
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Good afternoon, Members of the Federation Assembly – senators, State Duma deputies, Citizens of Russia,
This Presidential Address comes, as we all know, at a difficult, watershed period for our country. This is a time of radical, irreversible change in the entire world, of crucial historical events that will determine the future of our country and our people, a time when every one of us bears a colossal responsibility.
One year ago, to protect the people in our historical lands, to ensure the security of our country and to eliminate the threat coming from the neo-Nazi regime that had taken hold in Ukraine after the 2014 coup, it was decided to begin the special military operation. Step by step, carefully and consistently we will deal with the tasks we have at hand.
Since 2014, Donbass has been fighting for the right to live in their land and to speak their native tongue. It fought and never gave up amid the blockade, constant shelling and the Kiev regime’s overt hatred. It hoped and waited that Russia would come to help.
In the meantime, as you know well, we were doing everything in our power to solve this problem by peaceful means, and patiently conducted talks on a peaceful solution to this devastating conflict.
This appalling method of deception has been tried and tested many times before. They behaved just as shamelessly and duplicitously when destroying Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. They will never be able to wash off this shame. The concepts of honour, trust, and decency are not for them.
Over the long centuries of colonialism, diktat and hegemony, they got used to being allowed everything, got used to spitting on the whole world. It turned out that they treat people living in their own countries with the same disdain, like a master. After all, they cynically deceived them too, tricked them with tall stories about the search for peace, about adherence to the UN Security Council resolutions on Donbass. Indeed, the Western elites have become a symbol of total, unprincipled lies.
We firmly defend our interests as well as our belief that in today’s world there should be no division into so-called civilized countries and all the rest and that there is a need for an honest partnership that rejects any exclusivity, especially an aggressive one.
We were open and sincerely ready for a constructive dialogue with the West; we said and insisted that both Europe and the whole world needed an indivisible security system equal for all countries, and for many years we suggested that our partners discuss this idea together and work on its implementation. But in response, we received either an indistinct or hypocritical reaction, as far as words were concerned. But there were also actions: NATO’s expansion to our borders, the creation of new deployment areas for missile defence in Europe and Asia – they decided to take cover from us under an ‘umbrella’ – deployment of military contingents, and not just near Russia’s borders.
I would like to stress –in fact, this is well-known – that no other country has so many military bases abroad as the United States. There are hundreds of them – I want to emphasize this – hundreds of bases all over the world; the planet is covered with them, and one look at the map is enough to see this.
The whole world witnessed how they withdrew from fundamental agreements on weapons, including the treaty on intermediate and shorter-range missiles, unilaterally tearing up the fundamental agreements that maintain world peace. For some reason, they did it. They do not do anything without a reason, as we know.
Finally, in December 2021, we officially submitted draft agreements on security guarantees to the USA and NATO. In essence, all key, fundamental points were rejected. After that it finally became clear that the go-ahead for the implementation of aggressive plans had been given and they were not going to stop.
The threat was growing by the day. Judging by the information we received, there was no doubt that everything would be in place by February 2022 for launching yet another bloody punitive operation in Donbass. Let me remind you that back in 2014, the Kiev regime sent its artillery, tanks and warplanes to fight in Donbass.
We all remember the aerial footage of airstrikes targeting Donetsk. Other cities also suffered from airstrikes. In 2015, they tried to mount a frontal assault against Donbass again, while keeping the blockade in place and continuing to shell and terrorize civilians. Let me remind you that all of this was completely at odds with the documents and resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, but everyone pretended that nothing was happening.
Let me reiterate that they were the ones who started this war, while we used force and are using it to stop the war.
Those who plotted a new attack against Donetsk in the Donbass region, and against Lugansk understood that Crimea and Sevastopol would be the next target. We realized this as well. Even today, Kiev is openly discussing far-reaching plans of this kind. They exposed themselves by making public what we knew already.
We are defending human lives and our common home, while the West seeks unlimited power. It has already spent over $150 billion on helping and arming the Kiev regime. To give you an idea, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the G7 countries earmarked about $60 billion in 2020–2021 to help the world’s poorest countries. Is this clear? They spent $150 billion on the war, while giving $60 billion to the poorest countries, despite pretending to care about them all the time, and also conditioning this support on obedience on behalf of the beneficiary countries. What about all this talk of fighting poverty, sustainable development and protection of the environment? Where did it all go? Has it all vanished? Meanwhile, they keep channeling more money into the war effort. They eagerly invest in sowing unrest and encouraging government coups in other countries around the world.
The recent Munich Conference turned into an endless stream of accusations against Russia. One gets the impression that this was done so that everyone would forget what the so-called West has been doing over the past decades. They were the ones who let the genie out of the bottle, plunging entire regions into chaos.
According to US experts, almost 900,000 people were killed during wars unleashed by the United States after 2001, and over 38 million became refugees. Please note, we did not invent these statistics; it is the Americans who are providing them. They are now simply trying to erase all this from the memory of humankind, and they are pretending that all this never happened. However, no one in the world has forgotten this or will ever forget it.
None of them cares about human casualties and tragedies because many trillions of dollars are at stake, of course. They can also continue to rob everyone under the guise of democracy and freedoms, to impose neo-Liberal and essentially totalitarian values, to brand entire countries and nations, to publicly insult their leaders, to suppress dissent in their own countries and to divert attention from corruption scandals by creating an enemy image. We continue to see all this on television, which highlights greater domestic economic, social and inter-ethnic problems, contradictions and disagreements.
I would like to recall that, in the 1930s, the West had virtually paved the way to power for the Nazis in Germany. In our time, they started turning Ukraine into an “anti-Russia.”
Actually, this project is not new. People who are knowledgeable about history at least to some extent realize that this project dates back to the 19th century. The Austro-Hungarian Empire and Poland had conceived it for one purpose, that is, to deprive Russia of these historical territories that are now called Ukraine. This is their goal. There is nothing new here; they are repeating everything.
The West expedited the implementation of this project today by supporting the 2014 coup. That was a bloody, anti-state and unconstitutional coup. They pretended that nothing happened, and that this is how things should be. They even said how much money they had spent on it. Russophobia and extremely aggressive nationalism formed its ideological foundation.
Quite recently, a brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was named Edelweiss after a Nazi division whose personnel were involved in deportations, executing prisoners of war and conducting punitive operations against partisans in Yugoslavia, Italy, Czechoslovakia and Greece. We are ashamed to talk about this, but they are not. Personnel serving with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Ukrainian National Guard are particularly fond of chevrons formerly worn by soldiers from Das Reich, Totenkopf (Death’s Head) and Galichina divisions and other SS units. Their hands are also stained with blood. Ukrainian armoured vehicles feature insignia of the Nazi German Wehrmacht.
Neo-Nazis are open about whose heirs they consider themselves to be. Surprisingly, none of the powers that be in the West are seeing it. Why? Because they – pardon my language – could not care less about it. They do not care who they are betting on in their fight against us, against Russia. In fact, anyone will do as long as they fight against us and our country. Indeed, we saw terrorists and neo-Nazis in their ranks. They would let all kinds of ghouls join their ranks, for God’s sake, as long as they act on their will as a weapon against Russia.
In fact, the anti-Russia project is part of the revanchist policy towards our country to create flash points of instability and conflicts next to our borders. Back then, in the 1930s, and now the design remains the same and it is to direct aggression to the East, to spark a war in Europe, and to eliminate competitors by using a proxy force.
We are not at war with the people of Ukraine. I have made that clear many times. The people of Ukraine have become hostages of the Kiev regime and its Western handlers, who have in fact occupied that country in the political, military and economic sense and have been destroying Ukrainian industry for decades now as they plundered its natural resources. This led to social degradation and an immeasurable increase in poverty and inequality. Recruiting resources for military operations in these circumstances was easy. Nobody was thinking about people, who were conditioned for slaughter and eventually became expendables. It is a sad and dreadful thing to say, but it is a fact.
Responsibility for inciting and escalating the Ukraine conflict as well as the sheer number of casualties lies entirely with the Western elites and, of course, today’s Kiev regime, for which the Ukrainian people are, in fact, not its own people. The current Ukrainian regime is serving not national interests, but the interests of third countries.
The West is using Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia and as a testing range. I am not going to discuss in detail the West’s attempts to turn the war around, or their plans to ramp up military supplies, since everyone is well aware of that. However, there is one circumstance that everyone should be clear about: the longer the range of the Western systems that will be supplied to Ukraine, the further we will have to move the threat away from our borders. This is obvious.
The Western elite make no secret of their goal, which is, I quote, “Russia’s strategic defeat.” What does this mean to us? This means they plan to finish us once and for all. In other words, they plan to grow a local conflict into a global confrontation. This is how we understand it and we will respond accordingly, because this represents an existential threat to our country.
However, they too realize it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield and are conducting increasingly aggressive information attacks against us targeting primarily the younger generation. They never stop lying and distorting historical facts as they attack our culture, the Russian Orthodox Church and other traditional religious organizations in our country.
Look what they are doing to their own people. It is all about the destruction of the family, of cultural and national identity, perversion and abuse of children, including pedophilia, all of which are declared normal in their life. They are forcing the priests to bless same-sex marriages. Bless their hearts, let them do as they please. Here is what I would like to say in this regard. Adult people can do as they please. We in Russia have always seen it that way and always will: no one is going to intrude into other people’s private lives, and we are not going to do it, either.
But here is what I would like to tell them: look at the holy scripture and the main books of other world religions. They say it all, including that family is the union of a man and a woman, but these sacred texts are now being questioned. Reportedly, the Anglican Church is planning, just planning, to explore the idea of a gender-neutral god. What is there to say? Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Millions of people in the West realize that they are being led to a spiritual disaster. Frankly, the elite appear to have gone crazy, and it looks like there is no cure for that. But like I said, these are their problems, while we must protect our children, which we will do. We will protect our children from degradation and degeneration.
Clearly, the West will try to undermine and divide our society and to bet on the fifth columnists who, throughout history, and I want to emphasize this, have been using the same poison of contempt for their own Fatherland and the desire to make money by selling this poison to anyone who is willing to pay for it. It has always been that way.
Those who have embarked on the road of outright betrayal, committing terrorist and other crimes against the security of our society and the country’s territorial integrity, will be held accountable for this under law. But we will never behave like the Kiev regime and the Western elite, which have been and still are involved in witch hunts. We will not settle scores with those who take a step aside and turn their back on their Motherland. Let this be on their conscience, let them live with this – they will have to live with it. The main point is that our people, the citizens of Russia, have given them a moral assessment.
I am proud, and I think we are all proud that our multi-ethnic nation, the absolute majority of our citizens, have taken a principled stance on the special military operation. They understand the basic idea of what we are doing and support our actions on the defence of Donbass. This support primarily revealed their true patriotism – a feeling that is historically inherent in our nation. It is stunning in its dignity and deep understanding by everyone – I will stress, everyone – of the inseparable link between one’s own destiny and the destiny of the Fatherland.
My dear friends, I would like to thank everyone, all the people of Russia for their courage and resolve. I would like to thank our heroes, soldiers and officers in the Army and the Navy, the Russian Guards, the secret services staff, and all structures of authority, the fighters in Donetsk and Lugansk corps, volunteers and patriots who are now fighting in the ranks of the BARS combat army reserve.
I would like to apologize that I will not be able to mention everyone during today’s speech. You know, when I was drafting this speech, I wrote a very long list of these heroic units but then removed it from my text because, as I said, it is impossible to mention everyone, and I was afraid to offend anyone I might leave out.
My deepest gratitude to the parents, wives and families of our defenders, the doctors and paramedics, combat medics and medical nurses that are saving the wounded; to the railway workers and drivers that are supplying the front; to the builders that are erecting fortifications and restoring housing, roads and civilian facilities; to the workers and engineers at defence companies, who are now working almost around-the-clock, in several shifts; and to rural workers who reliably ensure food security for the country.
I am grateful to the teachers who sincerely care for the young generations of Russia, especially those that are working in very difficult, almost front-line conditions; the cultural figures that are visiting the zone of hostilities and hospitals to support the soldiers and officers; volunteers that are helping the front and civilians; journalists, primarily war correspondents, that are risking their lives to tell the truth to the world; pastors of Russia’s traditional religions and military clergy, whose wise words support and inspire people; government officials and business people – all those who fulfill their professional, civil and simply human duty.
My special words go to the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. You, my friends, determined your future at the referendums and made a clear choice despite the neo-Nazis’ threats and violence, amid the close military actions. But there has been nothing stronger than your intent to be with Russia, with your Motherland.
I want to emphasize that this is the reaction of the audience to the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. Once again, our deepest respect for them all.
We have already begun and will expand a major socioeconomic recovery and development program for these new regions within the Federation. It includes restoring production facilities, jobs, and the ports on the Sea of Azov, which again became Russia’s landlocked sea, and building new, modern road,s like we did in Crimea, which now has a reliable land transport corridor with all of Russia. We will definitely implement all of these plans together.
Russia’s regions are currently providing direct assistance to the cities, districts and villages in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. They are doing it sincerely, like true brothers and sisters. We are together again, which means that we have become even stronger, and we will do everything in our power to bring back the long-awaited peace to our land and ensure the safety of our people. Our soldiers, our heroes are fighting for this, for their ancestors, for the future of their children and grandchildren, for uniting our people.
Friends, I would like to ask you to pay your respects to our fellow soldiers who were killed in the attacks of neo-Nazis and raiders, who gave up their lives for Russia, for civilians, the elderly, women and children.
(A minute of silence)
We all understand, and I understand also how unbearably hard it is for their wives, sons and daughters, for their parents who raised those dignified defenders of the Fatherland – like the Young Guard members from Krasnodon, young men and women who fought against Nazism and for Donbass during the Great Patriotic War. Everyone in Russia remembers their courage, resilience, enormous strength of spirit and self-sacrifice to this day.
Our duty is to support the families that have lost their loved ones and to help them raise their children and give them an education and a job. The family of each participant in the special military operation must be a priority and treated with care and respect. Their needs must be responded to immediately, without bureaucratic delays.
I suggest establishing a dedicated state fund for bringing targeted, personalized assistance to the families of fallen fighters, as well as veterans of the special military operation. This entity will be tasked with coordinating efforts to offer social, medical support and counseling, and also address matters related to sending them to health resorts and providing rehabilitation services, while also assisting them in education, sports, employment and in acquiring a new profession. This fund will also have an essential mission to ensure long-term home care and high-technology prosthetics for those who need that.
I am asking the Government to work with the State Council Commission on Social Policy and with the regions to resolve the organizational matters as quickly as possible.
The state fund must be transparent in its work, while streamlining assistance and operating as a one-stop-shop, free from red tape or administrative barriers. Every family without exception, and every veteran will have their personal social worker, a coordinator, who will be there for them in person to resolve in real time any issue they might face. Let me emphasize that the fund must open its offices in all regions of the Russian Federation in 2023.
We already have measures in place for supporting Great Patriotic War veterans, combat veterans, as well as participants in local conflicts. I believe these essential elements will be added to the state fund’s mission moving forward. We need to explore this possibility, and I am asking the Government to do so.
Make no mistake: the fact that we are establishing a state fund does not mean that other institutions or officials at other levels of government will be relieved of their responsibility. I expect all federal agencies, regions and municipalities to stay focused on veterans, on service personnel and their families. In this context, I would like to thank the senior regional officials, mayors, and governors who routinely meet with people, including by visiting the line of contact, and support their fellow countrymen.
On a special note, let me say that today, career service personnel, mobilized conscripts, and volunteers all share frontline hardships, including in terms of provisions, supplies and equipment, remuneration, and insurance payments to the wounded, as well as healthcare services. However, there are complaints that make it all the way to my office, as well as to the governors, as they have been telling me, and to the military prosecutor’s office and the Human Rights Commissioner, showing that some of these issues have yet to be resolved. We need to get to the bottom of each complaint on a case-by-case basis.
And one more thing: everyone understands that serving in the special military operation zone causes immense physical and mental stress, since people risk their lives and health every day. For this reason, I believe that the mobilized conscripts, as well as all service personnel, and all those taking part in the special military operation, including volunteers, must benefit from a leave of absence of at least 14 days every six months without counting the time it takes them to travel to their destination. This way, every fighter will be able to meet family and spend time with their loved ones.
Colleagues, as you are aware, a 2021–2025 plan for building and developing the Armed Forces was approved by a Presidential Executive Order and is being implemented and adjusted as necessary. Importantly, our next steps to reinforce the Army and the Navy and to secure the current and future development of the Armed Forces must be based on actual combat experience gained during the special military operation, which is extremely important, I would even say absolutely invaluable to us.
For example, the latest systems account for over 91 percent, 91.3 percent, of Russia’s nuclear deterrence forces. To reiterate, based on our newly acquired experience, we must access a similarly high quality level for all other components of the Armed Forces.
Officers and sergeants who act as competent, modern and decisive commanders, and they are many, will be promoted to higher positions as a matter of priority, sent to military universities and academies, and will serve as a powerful personnel reserve for the Armed Forces. Without a doubt, they are a valuable resource in civilian life and at governments at all levels. I just want our colleagues to pay attention to that. It is very important. The people must know that the Motherland appreciates their contribution to the defence of the Fatherland.
We will widely introduce the latest technology to ensure high-quality standards in the Army and Navy. We have corresponding pilot projects and samples of weapons and equipment in each area. Many of them are significantly superior to their foreign counterparts. Our goal is to start mass production. This work is underway and is picking up pace. Importantly, this relies on domestic research and the industrial base and involves small- and medium-sized high-tech businesses in implementation of the state defence order.
Today, our plants, design bureaus and research teams employ experienced specialists and increasing numbers of talented and highly skilled young people who are oriented towards breakthrough achievements while remaining true to the tradition of Russian gunsmiths, which is to spare no effort to ensure victory.
We will certainly strengthen the guarantees for our workforce, in part concerning salaries and social security. I propose launching a special program for low-cost rental housing for defence industry employees. The rental payments for them will be significantly lower than the going market rate, since a significant portion of it will be covered by the state.
The Government reviewed this issue. I instruct you to work through the details of this program and start building such rental housing without delay, primarily, in the cities that are major defence, industrial and research centres.
As I have already said, the West has opened not only military and informational warfare against us, but is also seeking to fight us on the economic front. However, they have not succeeded on any of these fronts, and never will. Moreover, those who initiated the sanctions are punishing themselves: they sent prices soaring in their own countries, destroyed jobs, forced companies to close, and caused an energy crisis, while telling their people that the Russians were to blame for all of this. We hear that.
What means did they use against us in their efforts to attack us with sanctions? They tried disrupting economic ties with Russian companies and depriving the financial system of its communication channels to shutter our economy, isolate us from export markets and thus undermine our revenues. They also stole our foreign exchange reserves, to call a spade a spade, tried to depreciate the ruble and drive inflation to destructive heights.
Let me reiterate that the sanctions against Russia are merely a means, while the aim as declared by the Western leaders, to quote them, is to make us suffer. “Make them suffer” – what a humane attitude. They want to make our people suffer, which is designed to destabilize our society from within.
However, their gamble failed to pay off. The Russian economy, as well as its governance model proved to be much more resilient than the West thought. The Government, parliament, the Bank of Russia, the regions and of course the business community and their employees all worked together to ensure that the economic situation remained stable, offered people protection and preserved jobs, prevented shortages, including of essential goods, and supported the financial system and business owners who invest in their enterprises, which also means investing in national development.
As early as in March 2022, we launched a dedicated assistance package for businesses and the economy worth about a trillion rubles. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this has nothing to do with printing money. Not at all. Everything we do is solidly rooted in market principles.
In 2022, there was a decline in the gross domestic product. Mr. Mishustin called me to say, “I would like to ask you to mention this.” I think that these data were released yesterday, right on schedule.
You may remember that some predicted that the economy would shrink by 20 to 25 percent, or maybe 10 percent. Only recently, we spoke about a 2.9 percent decline, and I was the one who announced this figure. Later it came down to 2.5 percent. However, in 2022, the GDP declined by 2.1 percent, according to the latest data. And we must be mindful of the fact that back in February and March of last year some predicted that the economy would be in free fall.
Russian businesses have restructured their logistics and have strengthened their ties with responsible, predictable partners – there are many of them, they are the majority in the world.
I would like to note that the share of the Russian ruble in our international settlements has doubled as compared to December 2021, reaching one third of the total, and including the currencies of the friendly countries, it exceeds half of all transactions.
We will continue working with our partners to create a sustainable, safe system of international settlements, which will be independent of the dollar and other Western reserve currencies that are bound to lose their universal appeal with this policy of the Western elite, the Western rulers. They are doing all this to themselves with their own hands.
We are not the ones reducing transactions in dollars or other so-called universal currencies – they are doing everything with their own hands.
You know, there is a maxim, cannons versus butter. Of course, national defence is the top priority, but in resolving strategic tasks in this area, we should not repeat the mistakes of the past and should not destroy our own economy. We have everything we need to both ensure our security and create conditions for confident progress in our country. We are acting in line with this logic and we intend to continue doing this.
Thus, many basic, I will stress, civilian industries in the national economy are far from being in decline, they have increased their production last year by a considerable amount. The scale of housing put into service exceeded 100 million square meters for the first time in our modern history.
As for agricultural production, it recorded two-digit growth rates last year. Thank you very much. We are most grateful to our agricultural producers. Russian agrarians harvested a record amount – over 150 million tonnes of grain, including over 100 million tonnes of wheat. By the end of the agricultural season, that is, June 30, 2023, we will bring our grain exports to 55–60 million tonnes.
Just 10 or 15 years ago, this seemed like a fairy tale, an absolutely unfeasible plan. If you remember, and I am sure some people do remember this – the former Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture are here – just recently, agrarians took in 60 million tonnes overall in a year, whereas now 55–60 million is their export potential alone. I am convinced we have every opportunity for a similar breakthrough in other areas as well.
We prevented the labour market from collapsing. On the contrary, we were able to reduce unemployment in the current environment. Today, considering the major challenges coming at us from all sides, the labour market is even better than it used to be. You may remember that the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent before the pandemic, and now, I believe, it is 3.7 percent. What is the figure, Mr. Mishustin? 3.7 percent? This is an all-time low.
Let me reiterate that the Russian economy has prevailed over the risks it faced – it has prevailed. Of course, it was impossible to anticipate many of them, and we had to respond literally on the fly, dealing with issues as they emerged. Both the state and businesses had to move quickly. I will note that private actors, SMEs, played an essential role in these efforts, and we must remember this. We avoided having to apply excessive regulation or distorting the economy by giving the state a more prominent role.
What else there is to say? The recession was limited to the second quarter of 2022, while the economy grew in the third and fourth quarters. In fact, the Russian economy has embarked on a new growth cycle. Experts believe that it will rely on a fundamentally new model and structure. New, promising global markets, including the Asia-Pacific, are taking precedence, as is the domestic market, with its research, technology and workforce no longer geared toward exporting commodities but manufacturing goods with high added value. This will help Russia unleash its immense potential in all spheres and sectors.
We expect to see a solid increase in domestic demand as early as this year. I am convinced that companies will use this opportunity to expand their manufacturing, make new products that are in high demand, and to take over the market niches vacated or about to be vacated by Western companies as they withdraw.
Today, we clearly see what is going on and understand the structural issues we have to address in logistics, technology, finance, and human resources. Over the past years, we have been talking a lot and at length about the need to restructure our economy. Now these changes are a vital necessity, a game changer, and all for the better. We know what needs to be done to enable Russia to make steady progress and to develop independently regardless of any outside pressure or threats, while guaranteeing our national security and interests.
I would like to point out and to emphasize that the essence of our task is not to adapt to circumstances. Our strategic task is to take the economy to a new horizon. Everything is changing now, and changing extremely fast. This is not only a time of challenges but also a time of opportunities. This is really so today. And our future depends on the way we realize these opportunities. We must put an end – and I want to emphasize this – to all interagency conflicts, red tape, grievances, doublespeak, or any other nonsense. Everything we do must contribute to achieving our goals and delivering results. This is what we must strive to achieve.
Enabling Russian companies and small family-run businesses to successfully tap the market is a victory in itself. Building cutting-edge factories and kilometres of new roads is a victory. Every new school, every new kindergarten we build is a victory. Scientific discoveries and new technologies – these are also victories, of course. What matters is that all of us contribute to our shared success.
What areas should we focus the partnership of the state, the regions and domestic business on?
First, we will expand promising foreign economic ties and build new logistics corridors. A decision has already been made to extend the Moscow-Kazan expressway to Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Tyumen, and eventually to Irkutsk and Vladivostok with branches to Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. This will, in part, allows us to considerably expand our ties with Southeast Asian markets.
We will develop Black Sea and Sea of Azov ports. We will pay special attention to the North-South international corridor, as those who work on this every day know. Vessels with a draft of up to 4.5 meters will be able to pass through the Volga-Caspian Sea Canal this year. This will open up new routes for business cooperation with India, Iran, Pakistan, and the Middle Eastern countries. We will continue developing this corridor.
Our plans include expedited modernization of the eastern railways – the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal-Amur Railway (BAM) – and building up the potential of the Northern Sea Route. This will create not only additional freight traffic but also a foundation for reaching our national goals on developing Siberia, the Arctic and the Far East.
The infrastructure of the regions and the development of infrastructure, including communications, telecommunications and railways will receive a powerful impetus. Next year, 2024, we will bring to a proper condition at least 85 percent of all roads in the country’s largest metropolises, as well as over half of all regional and municipal roads. I am sure we will achieve this.
We will also continue our free gas distribution program. We have already made the decision to extend it to social facilities – kindergartens and schools, outpatient clinics and hospitals, as well as primary healthcare centres. This program will now be permanent for our citizens – they can always request a connection to the gas distribution system.
This year, we will launch a large program to build and repair housing and utility systems. Over the next ten years, we plan to invest at least 4.5 trillion rubles in this. We know how important this is for our people and how neglected this area has been. It is necessary to improve this situation, and we will do it. It is important to give the programme a powerful start. So, I would like to ask the Government to ensure stable funding for this.
Second, we will need to significantly expand our economy’s production capabilities and to increase domestic industrial capacity.
An industrial mortgage tool has been created, and an easy-term loan can now be taken out not only to purchase production facilities, but also to build or upgrade them. The size of such a loan was discussed many times and there were plans to increase it. It is a decent amount for a first step: up to 500 million rubles. It is available at a rate of 3 or 5 percent for up to seven years. It sounds like a very good program and should be put to good use.
New terms for industrial clusters took effect this year, including a lower fiscal and administrative burden on resident companies, and long-term state orders and subsidies to support demand for their innovative products, which are just entering the market.
According to estimates, these measures will generate high-demand projects worth over 10 trillion rubles by 2030. Investment is expected to reach about 2 trillion this year alone. Please note that these are not forecasts, but existing benchmarks.
Therefore, I would like the Government to expedite the launch of these projects, give a hand to businesses and come up with systemic support measures, including tax incentives. I am aware that the financial bloc does not like to provide incentives, and I partly share this approach: the taxation system must be consistent and without niches or exemptions, but this particular case calls for a creative approach.
So, starting this year, Russian companies will be able to reduce their revenue taxes if they purchase advanced domestic IT solutions and AI-enhanced products. Moreover, these expenses will be credited at one and a half times the actual cost, meaning that every ruble invested in purchasing such products will result in a tax deduction of 1.5 rubles.
I propose extending these deductions to purchases of all kinds of Russian high-tech equipment. I would like the Government to come up with a list of such equipment by specific industry and with the procedure for granting deductions. This is a good solution to reinvigorate the economy.
Third, a crucial issue on our economic development agenda to do with the new sources of funding investment, which we have been talking about a lot.
Thanks to our strong payments balance, Russia does not need to borrow funds abroad, kowtow and beg for money, and then hold long discussions on what, how much and on what conditions we would pay back. Russian banks are working stably and sustainably and have a solid margin for security.
In 2022, the volume of bank loans for the corporate sector increased, I repeat, increased. There was considerable concern about that, but we have reported growth, an increase of 14 percent, or more than we reported in 2021, before the military operation. In 2021, the figure was 11.7 percent; last year, it was 14 percent. The mortgage portfolio went up by 20.4 percent. We are growing.
Last year, the banking sector as a whole operated at a profit. It was not as large as in the preceding years, but it was considerable nevertheless: 203 billion rubles. This is another indicator of the stability of the Russian financial sector.
According to our estimates, inflation in Russia will approach the target figure of 4 percent in the second quarter this year. I would like to remind you that the inflation rate has reached 12, 17 and 20 percent in some EU countries. Our figure is 4 or 5 percent; the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry are still discussing the figure, but it will be close to the target. Given these positive dynamics and other macroeconomic parameters, we are creating objective conditions for lowering long-term interest rates in the economy, which means that loans for the real economic sector will become more affordable.
Individual long-term savings are a vital source of investment resources around the world, and we must also stimulate their attraction into the investment sphere. I would like the Government to expedite the submission of draft laws to the State Duma to launch the relevant state program as soon as this April.
It is important to create additional conditions to encourage people to invest and earn at home, in the country. At the same time, it is necessary to guarantee the safety of people’s investment in voluntary retirement savings. We should create a mechanism here similar to the one used for insuring bank deposits. I would like to remind you that such savings, worth up to 1.4 million rubles, are insured by the state on guarantee deposits. I propose doubling the sum to 2.8 million rubles for voluntary retirement savings. Likewise, we must protect people’s investment in other long-term investment instruments, including against the possible bankruptcy of financial brokers.
Separate decisions must be taken to attract funds to rapidly growing and high-tech businesses. We will approve support for the placement of their shares on the domestic stock market, including tax benefits for both the companies and the buyers of their stock.
Freedom of enterprise is a vital element of economic sovereignty. I will repeat: against the backdrop of external attempts to contain Russia, private businesses have proven their ability to quickly adapt to the changing environment and ensure economic growth in difficult conditions. So, every business initiative aimed at benefiting the country should receive support.
I believe it is necessary to return, in this context, to the revision of a number of norms of criminal law as regards the economic elements of crime. Of course, the state must control what is happening in this area. We should not allow an anything-goes attitude here but we should not go too far, either. It is necessary to move faster towards the decriminalization I mentioned. I hope the Government will consistently and seriously conduct this work together with Parliament, the law-enforcement bodies and business associations.
At the same time, I would like to ask the Government to suggest, in close cooperation with Parliament, additional measures for speeding up the de-offshorisation of the economy. Businesses, primarily those operating in key sectors and industries should operate in Russian jurisdiction – this is a fundamental principle.
Colleagues, in this context I would like to make a small philosophical digression. This is what I would like to single out.
We remember what problems and imbalances the Soviet economy faced in its later stages. This is why after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its planned system, in the chaos of the 1990s, the country began to create its economy along the lines of market relations and private ownership. Overall, this was the right thing to do. The Western countries were largely an example to follow in this respect. As you know, their advisers were a dime a dozen, and it seemed enough to simply copy their models. True, I remember they still argued with each other – the Europeans argued with the Americans on how the Russian economy should develop.
And what happened as a result? Our national economy was largely oriented to the West and for the most part as a source of raw materials. Naturally, there were different nuances, but overall, we were seen as a source of raw materials. The reasons for this are also clear – naturally, the new Russian businesses that were taking shape were primarily oriented toward generating profit, quick and easy profit in the first place. What could provide this? Of course, the sale of resources – oil, gas, metals and timber.
Few people thought about other alternatives or, probably, they did not have the opportunity to invest long-term. This is the reason other, more complex industries did not make much headway. It took us years – other governments saw this clearly – to break this negative trend. We had to adjust our tax system and make large-scale public investments.
We have achieved real and visible change. Indeed, the results are there, but, again, we should keep in mind the circumstances in which our major businesses developed. Technologies were coming from the West, cheaper sources of financing and lucrative markets were in the West, and capital started flowing to the West as well. Unfortunately, instead of expanding production and buying equipment and technology to create new jobs in Russia, they spent their money on foreign mansions, yachts and luxury real estate.
They began to invest in the economy later, but initially the money flowed rapidly to the West for consumption purposes. And since their money was there, that is where their children were educated, where their life was, their future. It was very difficult and almost impossible for the state to track and prevent these developments, because we lived in a free market paradigm.
Recent events have clearly shown that the image of the West as a safe haven for capital was a mirage. Those who failed to understand this in time, who saw Russia only as a source of income and planned to live mostly abroad, have lost a lot. They just got robbed there and saw even their legitimate money taken away.
At some point I made a joke – many may still remember it – I told Russian business people that they will make themselves sick running from courtroom to courtroom and from office to office in the West trying to save their money. That is exactly how it turned out.
You know, I will say something that is quite simple, but truly important. Trust me, not a single ordinary citizen in our country felt sorry for those who lost their assets in foreign banks, lost their yachts or palaces abroad, and so on. In their conversations around the kitchen table, people have all recalled the privatization of the 1990s, when enterprises that had been built by our entire nation were sold for next to nothing and the so-called new elites flaunted their lavish lifestyle.
There are other key aspects. During the years that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union, the West never stopped trying to set the post-Soviet states on fire and, most importantly, finish off Russia as the largest surviving portion of the historical reaches of our state. They encouraged international terrorists to assault us, provoked regional conflicts along the perimeter of our borders, ignored our interests and tried to contain and suppress our economy.
I am saying this because big business in Russia controls strategic enterprises with thousands of workers that determine the socioeconomic well-being of many regions and, hence, the overall state of affairs. So, whenever leaders or owners of such businesses become dependent on governments that adopt policies that are unfriendly to Russia, this poses a great threat to us, a danger to our country. This is an untenable situation.
Yes, everyone has a choice. Some may choose to live in a seized mansion with a blocked account, trying to find a place for themselves in a seemingly attractive Western capital, a resort or some other comfortable place abroad. Anyone has the right to do that, and we will never infringe on it. But it is time to see that in the West these people have always been and will always remain second class strangers who can be treated any way, and their money, connections and the acquired titles of counts, peers or mayors will not help at all. They must understand that they are second class people there.
There is another option: to stay with your Motherland, to work for your compatriots, not only to open new businesses but also to change life around you in cities, towns and throughout your country. We have quite a few business people like this, real fighters in our business community, and we associate the future of our business with them. Everyone must know that the sources of their prosperity and their future can only be here, in their native country Russia.
If they do, we will create a very strong and self-sufficient economy that will not remain aloof in the world but will make use of all its competitive advantages. Russian capital, the money earned here, must be put to work for the country, for our national development. Today, we see huge potential in the development of infrastructure, the manufacturing sector, in domestic tourism and many other industries.
I would like those who have come up against the predatory mores of the West to hear what I have to say: running around with cap in hand, begging for your own money makes no sense, and most importantly, it accomplishes nothing, especially now that you realize who you are dealing with. Stop clinging to the past, resorting to the courts to get at least something back. Change your lives and your jobs, because you are strong people – I am addressing our business people now, many of whom I have known for years, who know what is what in life.
Launch new projects, earn money, work hard for Russia, invest in enterprises and jobs, and help schools and universities, science and healthcare, culture and sports. In this way, you will increase your wealth and will also win the respect and gratitude of the people for a generation ahead. The state and society will certainly support you.
Let us consider this as a message for your business: get moving in the right direction.