Action Opportunity– Council of Canadians –Canada China Investment Pact
To survive, the Gateway pipeline would have to push past the growing opposition of British Columbians in general, the opposition of the current Liberal provincial government and the NDP government likely to replace it next year, the unanimous opposition of environmentalists, considerable opposition from at least some of the aboriginal groups along the route and, if all this were not enough, the likelihood of prolonged court battles.
(Note: This article is about an important issue that gets lost in the forest of other Harper crimes – the privatization of research.)
And now, just a few months after the Death of Evidence rally, another event is playing out behind the scenes that is partly the way of the world and partly full-blown tragedy. If those same scientists held a rally today, they would have to call it by another name. Judging from what is happening in that penumbral zone where idealism and power politics collide, a good title might be the Death of Innocence.
Is there a common thread running between Rob Anders’ wild-eyed musings about how Tom Mulcair hastened Jack Layton’s death and last week’s abortion vote, in which a majority of Conservative MPs voted for a motion their leader had urged them to oppose? I’d argue yes – the trained seals on the backbench are biting back and we are likely to see more unsanctioned behaviour in future, as MPs relish their new-found freedom. So what the Sam Hill is going on with the party that brought you Canada’s first Orwellian government? (Conservative hack John Ivison calling the Harper government Orwellian!! Can we dare hope that the times they must be a changin’!)
AND HERE COMES YET ANOTHER COURT CHALLENGE
And on Friday, Mr. Toews’ office announced that all chaplains currently working in Canada’s prisons would be given the sack … except the Christian ones, who will now be in charge of providing “interfaith” ministry.
The explanation? “The government,” his office said in a statement to CBC News, “is not in the business of picking and choosing which religions will be given preferential status through government funding.”
“The minister strongly supports the freedom of religion for all Canadians, including prisoners,” the email states. “However, the government … is not in the business of picking and choosing which religions will be given preferential status through government funding. The minister has concluded … [Christian] chaplains employed by Corrections Canada must provide services to inmates of all faiths.”
Figures obtained by CBC News show that before the contract cancellations — which will take effect by the end of March 2013 — there were about 80 full-time chaplains across the country and all but one are Christian. There were about 100 part-timer chaplains, 20 of them non-Christian.
(This from the government that has set up an office to promote religious freedom throughout the world. It’s pretty obvious that this decision is guided by their fundamental belief that Canada is a white Christian nation or they would have kept the 20 part-time non Christian chaplains. If savings were really the issue they could recruit volunteer chaplains from all religions and cancel the program entirely. As it is, the savings will be negligible but the policy is just calling out for a Charter challenge which will cost millions.)
UPDATE ON COURT CASES IN PROGRESS
A group of Canadians challenging the election wins of seven Conservative MPs has scored a victory along the road to getting the main case heard in Federal Court. The court has ruled in favour of the challengers denying a motion by the Conservative Party to force them to put down hundreds of thousands of dollars as a security deposit.
The federal government has been billed more than $3 million for its unsuccessful attempts to keep a high-stakes battle over First Nations child welfare out of the courts.
The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations ….say the federal government is discriminating by not providing the same level of child welfare support to First Nations children as other children in Canada receive from provincial governments. Ottawa has challenged the advocates with legal technicalities at every step along the way, arguing that the case does not belong in the court system.
ONGOING ASSAULT ON PARLIAMENT
The governing Conservative MPs used their majority clout on a House of Commons committee Thursday to take the panel behind closed doors before voting down an opposition proposal to restrict the kind of omnibus legislation that sparked a 22-hour marathon of opposition voting last June in protest against the government’s massive bill implementing the federal budget.
The Conservative government cut operating spending five per cent in the first quarter of the fiscal year, following last spring’s austerity budget, but Ottawa is still largely refusing to explain the impacts of the cuts, says the parliamentary budget officer.
The continued stonewalling by the Harper government has Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page willing to give federal officials one more week to release information on budget cuts before he decides whether to take Ottawa to court for the information.
(The speaker of the House who is supposed to remain neutral according to parliamentary tradition. Not in Harperland.)
Opposition parties, and even some Tories, are urging the Speaker to stem the tide of partisan vitriol in the House of Commons before it becomes an all-party war of mutual rhetorical annihilation.
SUPRESSING ORGANIZATIONS THAT DO NOT AGREE WITH THE REGIME
Sponsored by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, Bill C-377 is set for a third and final reading in the House of Commons this fall. Opposed by the opposition parties, almost all Conservative MPs have supported the Private Member’s bill.
Promoted as a way to improve transparency (not their own, of course), the bill is designed to challenge unions’ involvement in political activities and divert their resources to busy work.
In the fall of 2011, conservative students at Queen’s University in Kingston launched a campaign to defund their campus’ Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). In anticipation of a mandatory 2012 student referendum to renew the Kingston PIRG’s $4 undergraduate levy, detractors started a Facebook page encouraging students to opt out of the levy.
XL FOODS BEEF RECALL
BEST ARTICLE ON TAINTED MEAT – ipolitics – Food inspectors union calls for inquiry into E.coli contamination and beef recall
Bob Kingston, president of the Agriculture Union, said the inquiry should also investigate the impact on food safety of relying on meat processing facilities to largely police themselves.
“We have had two serious situations now. Both of them seem to be around areas of inspection that have been turned over to industry.” “At Maple Leaf, they were given the responsibility to do their own sanitation monitoring and once they were given that responsibility those machines were never disassembled and cleaned again.”
The Conservative government, under fire for its response to a massive beef recall and E. coli scare, is planning to spend tens of millions of dollars less this year on food safety programs at the Agriculture Department and Canadian Food Inspection Agency than last year, indicate new numbers from Parliament’s budget watchdog.
As of Wednesday, XL Foods and its co-CEOs Brian and Lee Nilsson were refusing comment and having security chase off reporters. Contrary to what Mr. Ritz has said earlier, Mr. Da Pont told reporters that the company was slow to report problems to CFIA and didn’t properly separate contaminated products from those being shipped out.
The plant at the centre of the biggest beef recall in Canadian history wasn’t properly following some safety procedures, the head of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.
George Da Pont said Wednesday the CFIA had issued seven corrective action requests to the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta., and was monitoring them before the agency decided to shut the plant down.