CUTS TO SCIENCE
While the prime minister was flipping flapjacks at the Calgary Stampede,…. the political earth was moving in Ottawa. Not an earthquake, just a solid tremor worthy of note.
There was the rally for the death of evidence on Parliament Hill…. The first thing they saw when they turned off Wellington into the grounds of parliament was an RCMP cruiser parked broadside to the main entrance surrounded by metal barriers.
(Note: The police cruiser parked broadside to the entrance is an important detail. Those of us who live in Ottawa and have gone to rallies on the Hill know that this is a first in our democracy.)
CUTS TO HEALTH BENEFITS FOR REFUGEES
The Harper government is nothing if not predictable in how it goes about dismantling a program or service. It starts by denigrating the program and the program’s beneficiaries, and telling Canadians that they’ve been played for fools by the beneficiaries. Once that message has been drilled home, and the government judges that the moment is right and Canadians’ attitudes changed, it proceeds to get rid of the offending program – no matter how impractical, immoral or ultimately costly the exercise might prove to be.
When the federal government announced cuts to refugee health care in April, it seemed like a done deal. …..Doctors were having none of it. Kenney’s announcement triggered an incredible flourish of dissent. A coalition of care provider groups – including the Canadian Medical Association, dentists and social workers – protested the cuts in an open letter, warning Kenney that the changes would hurt some of the most vulnerable people in the country. The consequences could be “catastrophic,” they warned. Protests erupted across the country.
Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is receiving flack in the political sphere Tuesday after a petition appeared on his constituency website that asks you to thank him for making changes to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP).
Thousand of Canadians and hundreds of Canadian doctors are speaking out against a recent change in Ottawa’s policy that limits health services for refugees. As people on the front lines of refugee health care, these doctors know that this is literally matter of life and death for thousands of people.
CUTS TO YOUNG OFFENDERS PROGRAMS
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has slashed funding for programs that help keep young offenders out of jail and able to make something of their lives. It’s a terrible decision and surely the government knows it. Why else would Justice Minister Rob Nicholson have announced it in such a sneaky way?
This $36-million cut was not highlighted in the recent federal budget. It was not discussed with the agencies that provide these important services to troubled youth. Provincial ministers, who are the federal government’s partners in keeping Canada safe, were not consulted. The cut was made public last week in an announcement masquerading as good news.
CUTS TO VETERANS PENSIONS
Some of Canada’s most severely injured veterans say they are still seeing their military pensions clawed back despite a court ruling that found the practice illegal and a decision by Ottawa not to appeal the ruling.
A Manitoba MP is calling for a review of Heritage Canada funding, following the release of a music video he says glorifies terrorism.
ATTACKS ON WORKERS, DEMOCRACY AND THE ENVIRONMENT.
Seldom a day goes by without hearing from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives about how well Canada is doing on the jobs front.
Whatever the criticism voiced by opposition Members of Parliament, Harper or one of his cabinet colleagues is likely to trot out statistics about how many net new jobs the Canadian economy has created since the recession ended in mid-2009. Lately, the total has reached 765,000.
Repealing the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act is but one part of an increasingly clear pattern of wage suppression that includes delaying retirement benefits to 67, clawing back employment insurance, ramping up the temporary foreign worker program and loosening the standards so that foreign workers can be paid 15 per cent less than their Canadian counterparts
No matter that this government is cutting $5-billion from government spending. No matter that programs are being cut or reduced throughout government. No matter that out of one side of their mouths Harper ministers proclaim the virtues of frugality, because from the other come announcements, followed by more announcements, of more spending.
I can’t and won’t explain or defend the $16 orange juice or the limo, but why people focus on that and not the fact that every single day Stephen Harper moves within Ottawa with a motorcade of two black sedans (front and rear) with three smoky-glassed, bullet proof SUVs in between – FIVE vehicles — is beyond me. ….. Where I think we need to give our collective head a shake (and here I am looking directly at the national news media reporters) is the forgery of the KAIROS approval documents.
In light of Minister Oda’s resignation this week many politicians, journalists, columnists and stakeholders have taken to the pen and commented on her record as a politician, a minister, and a connoisseur of orange juice……Under her watch, Canada’s contribution to foreign aid has declined in absolute and percentage terms, and has moved away from aid for the poorest of the poor, and towards those countries that offer more enticing political, economic or business advantages.
Despite Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s claim that Elections Canada won’t meet to discuss allegations about his 2008 election finances, investigators are following procedure by insisting on interviewing him only under a legal “caution.”
New laws offering the government more tools to “authorize” water pollution appear to be designed to remove obstacles for expansion of Canada’s oilpatch, says a Liberal MP from Montreal who spearheaded a parliamentary investigation into the environmental footprint of the oilsands.