ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
(The article by Tim Harper below is the must read for this week. It explains how the Conservatives manage to win elections and stay up in the polls in spite of election fraud, contempt of parliament, turning a budget surplus into a deficit, refusing to provide Members of Parliament and the Parliamentary Budget officer with information to hold the government to account, muzzling public service experts and scientists, removing the head of the RCMP Complaints Commission, removing the head of the Nuclear Safety Commission, disregarding its own fixed-date election laws and much much more.)
“It plants a characterization in the minds of voters…. It works on those whose lives consist of early mornings, packing school lunches, long work days, sprints to the after-care program at the school, then an evening on the soccer pitch or at dance class.
They absorb their politics in snippets, by osmosis and repeated talking points, television ads played over and over until a perception sticks.
It works because it gives the party so-called “free media,’’ by engaging journalists who write about a non-issue because it fills a void, it creates debate because it has been injected into the national dialogue by the governing party.”
THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS CATCHING ON TO HARPER
– IF ONLY THIS HAD HAPPENED BEFORE THE LAST ELECTION!
As Stephen Harper continues his relentless assault on our democratic institutions and traditions, growing numbers of Canadians are wondering if the prime minister can be stopped — and if so, how?
Given the Conservative majority in Parliament, it may seem impossible to prevent Harper from running roughshod over our democracy.
Remember the federal election of 2008, when the Conservatives championed a carbon tax? They promised a tax on everything that would kill jobs. And they won, beating Stéphane Dion’s Liberals. This might seem like revisionist history, but it’s perfectly consistent with the “facts” you can find on the Conservative website these days.
A Conservative claim that New Democrats have a carbon-tax policy has been roundly denounced as hypocritical at best and untrue at worst – but don’t expect the campaign to end anytime soon.
It’s called framing the issue, in political parlance, and the continuing barrage by the Harper Conservatives to tag the NDP with a carbon-tax policy it does not endorse, is a case study.
The Conservative Party’s attack machine, with its television ads, canned speeches and pre-written scripts, has always been constructed on exaggeration tinged with mendacity. To this, since Parliament resumed, can now be added flagrant hypocrisy, since the machine and its mouthpieces, Conservative MPs, are attacking with customary vehemence the very policy on which they once campaigned.
CNOOC PURCHASE OF NEXEN
(There may be hope that this deal will not be approved. Will Harper listen to his own MPs and CSIS?)
It is hard to know how else to put it. I don’t want to get anyone freaked out or overly alarmed, but are we paying any attention?
Attention should be paid to the fact that the Prime Minister has signed a deal with President Hu of China that promises investor protection. The text of said deal is not yet before the House of Commons, but everything I read about it (including from business analysts at Heenan Blaikie and Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt) anticipates the deal will include investor-state provisions similar to those in Chapter 11 of NAFTA.
As the Harper government reviews a proposed takeover of a Calgary-based energy company by a state-owned Chinese oil giant, Canada’s spy agency is warning such acquisitions can pose a threat to national security.
CNOOC Ltd.’s groundbreaking $15.1-billion deal for Calgary’s Nexen has revealed a continuing fault line in the Conservative caucus, pitting the more ideologically driven members who distrust the undemocratic regime in Beijing against their colleagues who want to expand trade and investment ties with the fast-growing Asian powerhouse.
(G&M Reader Comment: Why is it good to have the communist Chinese government
invest in one of Canada’s most strategic resources, but not the Canadian
government? Doesn’t it just make plain sense to keep the jobs, the taxes and
spending that are generated from those jobs, and the control of
environmental standards within Canada? Not to mention ensuring and
protecting Canadian domestic energy needs.)
OTHER CONSERVATIVE LIES, DIRTY TRICKS AND INCOMPETENCE
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver dropped a bombshell recently: Canada doesn’t need the “national energy strategy” being promoted by Alberta Premier Alison Redford, because it already has one! Who knew? Oliver didn’t elaborate; it is not the Harper Cabinet’s habit to share anything that important.
In a letter to the Victoria Times-Colonist this past week, Kent provided an excellent example of why one should be careful about what one reads. He made several false claims about Canada’s Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL). As one of five co-founders of PEARL, I will be pleased to correct the Minister’s misconceptions and set the record straight. The federal government promised some new support for climate and atmospheric research in the June 2011 budget, but still hasn’t delivered those funds to researchers. The funds were held up at Treasury Board and were only dislodged in early 2012 after an outcry from the research community
Government records show Canadian CF-18 pilots shut down one of their aircraft’s two engines in midflight more than 200 times since 1988 because of safety concerns.
The revelation highlights a key aspect of the debate over whether the single-engine F-35 stealth jet is not only the right aircraft for Canada, but also the safest — or whether the air force would be better off with another dual-engine jet.
The Liberals are asking the Conservative government to keep its upcoming MP pension reform legislation out of any omnibus budget package.
Deputy Liberal Leader Ralph Goodale says the party supports pension reform for MPs and senators, and that they want to be able to show clear support for changes that could see MPs contribute more to their pensions and collect them later.