RESISTANCE TO THE HARPER REGIME
rabble.ca – Uniting in common causes for peace and prosperity, not war and austerity
The sweeping changes that Harper’s government are steamrolling ahead with present a serious threat to people and the planet. A coordinated response to bring this destructive agenda to a halt is necessary.
And we need to bring our social movements and allies who care more for human need than greed together like never before to do so. This is why the Canadian Peace Alliance launched a campaign for Peace and Prosperity not War and Austerity. And that is why the CPA is supporting Common Causes, the Peoples’ Social Forum, and Idle No More, which have the potential to unite our social movements and the people of Canada to take on and defeat the agenda embodied by the Harper government.
Let us just take stock of where we are. There are three opposition parties represented in Parliament, not counting the Bloc: the NDP, the Liberals, and the Greens. Whatever else they disagree on, all three profess to believe the Harper government should be removed at the next election.
OBSESSION WITH OIL
(MUST READ) ipolitics (Frances Russell) – Canada’s two new solitudes: one wealthy, one wanting
The oil and gas sector’s effective tax rate is just seven per cent. Subsidies to the oil industry by both levels of government totalled $2.8 billion in 2008. Alberta received $2.1 billion, or 73 per cent, of those subsidies. Half of that subsidy money came from Ottawa.
Oil companies take as much as 65 per cent of total tar sands revenue; Ottawa captures a maximum of 10.6 per cent.
OTTAWA – The federal government should create a national clean energy plan to stabilize the playing field and foster growth for emerging clean technology companies, says a new report to be released Tuesday by the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based research organization.
The federal government has given warning letters to several oil, gas and pipeline companies across the country instead of trying to prosecute them for alleged transgressions that include polluting air and water, inadequate emergency planning and sloppy record-keeping.
FIRST NATIONS IDLE NO MORE
Calgary Herald – First Nations just want Ottawa to honour the law
Further, I ask all Canadians to seek accountability from the government as to the billions of dollars spent toward:
* Suppression of treaty and human rights of First Nations; * Money sent to Third World countries and billions of debt forgiven so Canada can act as a proponent of human rights and to correct injustices upon distinct societies;
* The annual cost for immigrants when millions of Canadians are jobless/homeless.
G&M – Bob Rae pledges to take up cause as Chief Spence ends hunger strike
More than a week of negotiations led by interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae and native leader Alvin Fiddler have convinced Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence that she can walk away with dignity from the hunger strike she began in December.
Ms. Spence’s spokesman, Danny Metatawabin, announced in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon that the chief and Manitoba elder Raymond Robinson would resume eating solid food because a declaration to be signed on Thursday will commit first-nations leaders and representatives of the opposition to carry on her fight.
CBC – Full text of declaration that will end Attawapiskat chief’s six-week Protest
This Declaration includes ,but is not limited to, ensuring commitments made by the Prime Minister of Canada on January 11th, 2013 are followed through and implemented as quickly as possible as led by First Nation on a high-level priority with open transparency and trust.
ipolitics (Michael Harris) – Forget the polls — Theresa Spence changed things
On the legal front, during Chief Spence’s fast — perhaps inspired by it — two bands, the Mikisew Cree and the Frog Lake First Nation, began legal action against the federal government over Bills C-38 and C-45. They believe the changes brought in by the omnibus legislation violate their right to be consulted before native lands are affected by development.
If successful, they may force the government to respect not only aboriginal rights but also the right of Parliament to hold meaningful debate on proposed legislation.
Canada.com (Michael Den Tandt) – Six-week hunger strike leaves Idle No More back at square one
(Don’t let the title depress you, this article is not all bad news.)
It is a testament to Bob Rae’s fundamental decency that he chose to take up the cudgel of diplomacy, so to speak, to help bring about a more-or-less graceful end to Chief Theresa Spence’s six-week broth fast. No amount of sermonizing and back-patting, however, can obscure that Spence and her more radical supporters in the Assembly of First Nations have in the past 13 days, after initially doing the aboriginal cause a great deal of good, done it a great deal of harm.
Toronto Star (Tim Harper) – Theresa Spence’s unfulfilling end to 44-day fast
She isn’t Mother Theresa, but neither is she a figure who deserved to be maligned and mocked the way she was….
But what exactly has the Attawapiskat chief accomplished after 44 days without solid food?…. Her fast was at times a distraction to the work being done by the Assembly of First Nations, but she deserves credit for hastening the first meeting on Jan. 11 between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.
She was accused of hijacking the Idle No More protest movement, but she did keep the issue in the news and Canadian consciousness at a time when Canadian sympathies with Round Dances, flash mobs and blockades were about to be sorely tested.
HARPER GOVERNMENT NOT SO GOOD ON THE ECONOMY
Huffington Post – Kevin Page Cuts Report Finds Tories Doing Opposite Of What Was Promised
The Conservative government’s spending restraint is focusing on front-line services while back-office spending continues to rise, says a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office.
Overall, the independent budget office found that Ottawa’s spending was down $800 million, or 0.6 per cent, through the first six months of the current fiscal year, which ends March 31.
Direct program spending fell four per cent, mostly because almost 11,000 civil service jobs were eliminated in the first half of the year.
National Post – Conservative government approves billions in spending without knowing consequences: Auditor-General
In his fall 2012 report released Tuesday, Auditor-General Michael Ferguson concluded the Department of Finance Canada often does not take into account the impact of tens of billions of dollars of spending and tax measures on the government’s long-term fiscal sustainability.
HARPER GOVERNMENT’S IDEA OF SUPPORT FOR OUR TROOPS
Huffington Post – AG Report: Injured Ex-Soldiers Often Unfairly Denied Benefits
At Veterans Affairs, about 20 per cent of veterans identified as at risk for not successfully returning to civilian life had no case supervision.
Almost five years after the Canadian Forces ombudsman railed against National Defence for shoddy record-keeping, Ferguson’s audit levelled a similar complaint, saying the department does not have a consolidated database on injured members and key information was often missing in existing files.
Canada.com (Jean Crowder, NDP) – Hasty federal legislation being challenged by Canadians, courts
A lawyer from the Justice Department is taking his own government to court for failing to respect its obligations when it reviews bills to be introduced in Parliament….
One young mother on Prince Edward Island was unceremoniously cut-off from EI payments because she would not take a job in another community – even though she doesn’t own a car and there is no public transportation between the two communities.
Montreal Gazette -House of Commons and Senate speakers join parliamentary budget officer’s legal battle
Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page believes it’s within the PBO’s mandate to review the impacts of cuts contained in the federal budget, while the Conservative government argues the PBO’s job is to review federal expenditures — not dollars it has decided not to spend.
The speakers of the House of Commons and Senate — who were invited to participate in the proceedings — have now stepped in to protect what they believe is the jurisdiction of Parliament, and not the courts, to determine the PBO’s mandate.
HARPER GOVERNMENT LIKES SHADY CHARACTERS
Huffpost – Doug Black, Troubled University Chair, Appointed To Senate
Through several Freedom of Information and Privacy Act requests last year, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation found that Black had expensed $28,030.88 to the university from the time he was appointed the school’s Chair of the Board of Governors on February 2011 to August 2012.
Among the expenses claimed by Black were $5,399.86 in liquor and executive class flights, $1,261.19 for a two-night stay at the Four Seasons in Houston, and $1,261.71 for a two-night stay at Toronto’s Ritz Carleton, the CTF uncovered.