It has not yet been a full week since the last Harper Watch but although it is mid-summer and we’ve had a long weekend since the last issue, Harper government misdeeds are piling up already.
To prevent any more delays in the National Energy Board-directed study of the feasibility of the $6-billion plan to ship oilsands-derived crude through northern British Columbia, the Conservatives said the review must be completed by no later than December 2013.
The government also formalized new rules that for the first time give the Harper cabinet the final word on whether the pipeline should go ahead, even if the arms-length NEB-led panel concludes the project is environmentally unsound.
(Note that this announcement was made on a Friday before a long weekend in the hope no doubt that people would not notice.)
More than 80 lawyers have signed an open letter to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney challenging his insistence he played no role in granting Conrad Black a permit to live in this country even before the U.K. citizen had finished his jail time in Florida.
Churches across Canada say they have a religious duty to speak out on the proposed Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline.
Next week, delegates at the United Church of Canada general council meeting in Ottawa are to debate a resolution that calls on the church to reject construction of the $6-billion Enbridge project that would take diluted bitumen from Alberta to the British Columbia coast.
(Now the churches are adding their voices of doctors, lawyers, scientists and public servants who are speaking out about the Harper government’s sell-out to the corporations, and attacks on science, social programs and democracy. This is something that has never been seen in Canada before. Is there hope of getting rid of Harper before 2015?)
Yet, the Prime Minister made a political decision to distract Canadians from his government’s neglect by blaming the victim. Harper purposely called attention to large aggregate funding numbers for the community, quoting money spent over many years and amalgamating money for programs like health, education and various other social programs most Canadians take for granted. His attempt to divert Canadians with this “sticker shock” created the impression that the community was well funded and the band must have squandered or misused money.
An Elections Canada investigator has begun contacting contributors to Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s 2008 election campaign to inquire about alleged reimbursements paid by a company owned by the MP’s cousin.
Investigator Ronald Lamothe this week telephoned several donors who had each given $1,000 to Del Mastro’s campaign or riding association during the election.
A disgraced Liberal staffer who was fired after splashing the lurid detailsof a Conservative cabinet minister’s messy divorce all over Twitter in response to the Harper government’s Internet snooping bill has been rehired by the party.
(The media has missed the real story. Vic Toews the great proponent of “family values” and opponent of child pornographers has had multiple affairs including one with his children’s 17 year old babysitter. Records of his divorce proceedings indicate he was behind in his child support payments.) Lesson for Mr. Toews: “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”. Adam Carroll obtained the information he tweeted from public records, he did not plant microphones or lurk in the bushes taking photos. He did nothing wrong – in fact he provided valuable information revealing Toews’ hypocrisy.)
Heritage Minister James Moore opened up a rift in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government this week, becoming the first and only cabinet minister to take a critical stance publicly on Enbridge’s plans for an oil and gas pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia.
It has become routine for provincial politicians to speak as if they had the power to block the construction of pipelines. They do not – at least not if Parliament chooses to exercise the powers given to it by the Constitution.
(Very impressive piece of propaganda. Professor Flanagan quotes the Constitution Act in an attempt to demoralize opponents of the pipeline into believing that there is nothing that can be done to stop it. Not so, there is the population of BC, First Nations people and a bunch of pesky environmentalist from across the country. Then Prof. Flanagan completely shows his callousness and ignorance with this statement “just as Premier Jean Charest has forbidden the production of shale gas in Quebec due to fear-mongering about the alleged dangers of fracking.” THE ALLEGED dangers of fracking!! I know Cons like Flanagan are not big on science, but how much scientific research does it take to figure out that injecting a cocktail of toxic chemicals into the ground to fracture rock and push out gas is probably not a good thing for the ground water that we depend on to survive.)
The Mounties are worried about those very same radical environmentalists that Natural Resources minister Joe Oliver says want to use foreign money to hijack hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline. The same ones that the man who is cornering the market on Fossil Awards, Environment Minister Peter Kent, said might be “laundering offshore foreign funds.” No really, David Suzuki is Meyer Lansky with an electron microscope.
And here I thought the RCMP was about enforcing the criminal code in federal matters, not the government’s energy policies.
Redford initiated a highly constructive national conversation about the need for an energy strategy that seeks to leverage Canada’s formidable energy capacity. When I reflect on this, however, the notion that any provincial premier would carry the can for an idea of national significance speaks volumes to the absenteeism of Stephen Harper and the leadership vacuum he has produced.