Harper Watch – January 15 to 21, 2013


YOUR NEW COURT CASE THIS WEEK

G&M – Judge raps Justice officials for treatment of whistle-blower

Ottawa is crafting legislation that risks running afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms without informing Parliament, a federal lawyer charges. In a highly unusual case, Department of Justice lawyer Edgar Schmidt is challenging his own department in Federal Court and revealing details about the internal guidelines used by federal lawyers. The department accuses Mr. Schmidt of violating his duties as a lawyer and public servant and has suspended him without pay.

ONGOING COURT CASE

Tyee – Harper Gov’t Asks Court to Rule It Powerless on Key Chinese Miner Issue
Employers wishing to use temporary foreign workers could be spared the hassle of proving they are legitimately needed depending on a court ruling this week.

Last Wednesday lawyers representing two Canadian unions squared off in court against lawyers representing the Canadian government over who controls documents related to a mining company’s application for Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) permits.

HARPER GOVERNMENT DOESN’T TAKE ADVICE FROM ANYONE

Canada.com – Stephen Harper’s environment watchdog to resign after series of stinging reports
OTTAWA – The federal environment watchdog, Scott Vaughan, is resigning after nearly five years on the job and a series of stinging reports that have occasionally drawn criticism from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.

“He never expressed frustration to me, but he wouldn’t be mortal if he had not been frustrated and insulted,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May on learning the news. “I think that he was treated with disrespect.”

ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS

ipolitics (Michael Harris) – Harper PR 101: When in doubt, shoot the messenger
The Harper bully brigade is at it again and this time the stakes have been raised: a direct attack on the free press.

The prime minister’s office released a statement singling out Postmedia’s Stephen Maher for the high crime of pursuing a news story. This was done on behalf of the PM’s parliamentary secretary, Dean Del Mastro.

ipolitics (Colin Horgan) – Environment minister’s letter calls Postmedia reporter an ‘activist’
A letter from Environment Minister Peter Kent to editors at Postmedia in January called one of the news chain’s reporters an environmental activist.

On January 4, Kent wrote to Postmedia, saying he wanted to “clarify a few points” in a story the news chain ran on Christmas Eve. That story, by Postmedia reporter Mike De Souza, examined the government’s new fuel economy standards. De Souza reported that a government analysis had shown those regulations could put more cars on the road “and cost consumers and the economy up to $11.2 billion between 2017 and 2025.”

THE TOUGH ON CRIME GOVERNMENT DOESN’T PLAY BY THE RULES

Winnipeg Free Press – CIDA rapped for partisan letters from cabinet minister appearing on website
Two highly partisan letters by a Conservative cabinet minister posted on a government of Canada website are to be removed after the Prime Minister’s Office acknowledged they were inappropriate….Jonathan Rose, a political science professor at Queen’s University in Kingston who helps enforce an Ontario government policy on non-partisan advertising, wrote that the letter “seems to violate every single one of the Treasury Board principles” on government communications.

CBC – Ethics watchdog rules Flaherty’s letter to CRTC ‘improper’
(I would think it is very unusual for a public servant, even the AG to use this kind of language to a minister. The Public Service is fed up with him.)

In her order made public Friday, Dawson said Flaherty violated the Conflict of Interest Act — the law governing ethical conduct of cabinet members — as well as federal accountability guidelines for ministers.

“It is improper for you, as Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Greater Toronto Area, to have written a letter of support on behalf of a constituent to an administrative tribunal in relation to its decision making,” Dawson wrote in the order. “I therefore order you to refrain from writing any similar letters in the future without seeking approval from my Office.”

ELECTION FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE

Ottawa Citizen (Maher & McGregor) – RCMP helping investigate two separate allegations against Tory MP’s election campaign
RCMP officers have been brought in to help Elections Canada with two separate investigations into alleged financing violations in the 2008 campaign of Dean Del Mastro, parliamentary secretary to the prime minister….

Last week, Inspector Paul Collins began knocking on doors in the Toronto area, hoping to interview donors who had given money to either Del Mastro’s campaign or to the Conservative Party association in his riding.

Ottawa Citizen – Elections Canada set to interview Tory campaign workers over voter suppression calls
(Note that the Conservative lawyer “helping” Elections Canada with this investigation is Arthur Hamilton who is also using every technicality in the book to delay the Council of Canadians Election Fraud case. )

Elections Canada investigators have arranged to interview Conservative campaign workers on Tuesday as part of their probe into apparently deceptive and fraudulent election calls in ridings across Canada, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

CBC – Ex-top army commander sounds the alarm on defence spending
(Seems to me it is quite rare for retired public servants especially military to criticize the government they worked for shortly after retiring.  Hopefully there are many others in the military who are not very happy with the regime.)

A retired top army commander who penned a controversial report on  transforming the military is breaking his silence 18 months after retiring from the ranks.

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio’s The House, retired Lt.-Gen.  Andrew Leslie said he’s been drawn out from the sidelines after seeing a  $475-million increase in spending by the Department of National Defence (DND) for professional services, including consultants and contractors, coupled with a 22 per cent cut in the army’s budget.

Huffington Post – CIDA rapped for partisan letters from cabinet minister appearing on website
Two highly partisan letters by a Conservative cabinet minister posted on a government of Canada website are to be removed after the Prime Minister’s Office acknowledged they were inappropriate….Jonathan Rose, a political science professor at Queen’s University in Kingston who helps enforce an Ontario government policy on non-partisan advertising, wrote that the letter “seems to violate every single one of the Treasury Board principles” on government communications.

 

IDLE NO MORE AND FIRST NATIONS ISSUES

Huffington Post – Paul Martin Says Ottawa Has ‘No Understanding’ Of Native Issues
Since his retirement from politics, Martin has continued his work with aboriginal communities and has invested his own money in organizations such as the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI) and the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship (CAPE) fund. He spoke with CBC News about the moral and economic imperative for Canada to heal its relationship with aboriginal peoples.

National Post – Kent Roach and David Schneiderman: Police are right to be cautious with Idle No More protesters
The growing impatience of Justice David Brown of the Ontario Superior Court at the lack of prompt law enforcement against Idle No More protests has received a fair amount of press attention. It may well be a popular position to take. What are demanded are simple solutions: The law must be enforced to the letter, no matter who breaks it. But things are not so simple in practice.

In our view, however, Justice Brown’s approach runs a serious risk of undermining the legitimate role of police and prosecutorial discretion in enforcing injunctions, and ignores clear warnings issued by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Star Pheonix – Dysfunctional Ottawapiskat band worst offender
The spotlight has been on the First Nations lately, and the government has leaked the Attawapiskat audit that reveals a band administration with long-term difficulties. But the tables were turned in the social media when #Ottawapiskat was created, comparing the operations of the federal government in Ottawa to those of a First Nation.

Toronto Star (Rick Salutin) Whose country is it, anyways
Here’s a striking moment during Idle No More: In the National Post, columnist George Jonas writes that the “ultimate solution” — a poor choice of phrase — for native peoples is to “end special status” by “fashioning an entry for native Canadians into the mainstream of society” because “people must join the century in which they live.” In this respect he says residential schools were based on the right “model” even though their effects were “abominable.”

Toronto Star (Thomas Walkom) – Aboriginal day of protest a qualified success
As this column went to press, things were pretty peaceful. And why not? But demonstrations usually have three aims. This one succeeded in all three. The first aim of any protest is to jive the mass media. Social media is fine as far it goes, but who has the time to sift through Twitter all day?

CTV – Mother of MP Peter Penashue says Muskrat Falls threatens her people and land
Criticism of the Muskrat Falls hydro megaproject is hitting close to home for Labrador MP Peter Penashue, the minister of intergovernmental affairs. His mother, respected Innu elder Elizabeth Penashue, said Friday she’s heartbroken that Newfoundland and Labrador approved the $7.7-billion plan to create another dam on the Churchill River with Ottawa’s backing.

 

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About TheAlektera

I am a Canadian who, like many is upset at the state of our country under the Harper Regime. I do not wish to see Canada change into Harperland under the Harper Government. This blog will help document the actions of the Harper government which are eroding Canada's democratic process.
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