Harper Watch – February 5 to 11, 2013


Counterpunch – The Mysterious Appeal of Stephen Harper
When historians write the chapter on the current period of social democracy in Canada they might well conclude that the worst thing that happened to it was the 2011 election when the NDP got 103 seats it hadn’t really earned. It was such an unexpected event that the NDP could not cope with it. You could see it in the euphoria of election night – the same night that the dismantling of the country (whose best government features the party could take much credit for) would begin in earnest with a Harper majority.

Globe and Mail – Abuse of political power has become the Canadian norm. It can be fixed
For more than a decade, huge controversies have swirled around arbitrary decisions by the Prime Minister about the operations of Parliament, and by premiers about provincial legislatures. The decisions have almost always been aimed at unfairly helping the ruling party, advancing the Prime Minister or premier’s agenda in the face of strong opposition, or escaping accountability.


TheStar.com – Senator Patrick Brazeau crashes after years of boorish behaviour: Tim Harper
It’s not 20-20 hindsight to say we all saw the Patrick Brazeau crash coming. The question is why Stephen Harper made him a Senator in the first place.

Somehow, Brazeau seemed to think he could simply brazen his way through all this as charge was heaped upon charge, complication was piled upon complication and his enemies proliferated. He has invited Canadians to once again heap scorn upon a discredited institution but, in this case, Canadians have no one to blame but Harper. Brazeau could have remained a yappy, self-promoter on the fringe had he not been tapped by a prime minister whose office either didn’t do its homework or didn’t care.

CBC News – Mike Duffy dodges questions as residency uproar continues
The uproar over where Mike Duffy lives continued Wednesday, with the senator using a service exit at a Halifax hotel to avoid the media after another day of heat in the House of Commons.

Opposition MPs are questioning whether Duffy really lives in Cavendish, P.E.I., as he says he does. Earlier this week, P.E.I.’s health minister said Duffy had applied for a new health card — not a renewal — and CBC News obtained documents that show Duffy isn’t getting a much lower resident tax rate on his property in the province.


Huffington Post – Canada’s Climate Change Plan For Bureaucrats Easy To Ignore, Documents Suggest
Without a mandatory reporting mechanism in place, the framework and the importance of considering and planning for how climate change might affect the federal government’s ability to carry out its responsibilities in the future may be lost on some departments and agencies for whom this is not seen as a priority.”

rabble.ca – Environment Commissioner raises alarm; government remains passive and indifferent
As for the current government’s roll-backs of environmental oversight, review and regulation, tucked into the two Budget omnibus bills – the Commissioner says they are engendering confusion and near paralysis in the government.  Environment officials have reported to Vaughan that they do not know what to do, precisely, and, for now, are continuing to live by the old regulations.

The new, laxer, rules — just to cite one example that Vaughan used — remove exploratory oil wells from all oversight. This, Vaughan says bluntly, is dangerous. The well that blew in the Gulf of Mexico creating the United States’ greatest ever environmental disaster was, Vaughan points out, merely “exploratory”.


Huffpost – Economic Action Plan: Government Ad Spending On Economy Balloons
When Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the economy is his top priority, he has the advertising spending to support his claim.  An examination by The Canadian Press reveals ad budgets geared to promoting economic success have ballooned under the Conservatives since the 2008 global downturn.

WarrenKinsella.com – In Sunday’s Sun: Diamond Jubilee disgrace
The distribution of the medals was ultimately determined by the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. They won’t say much about what they did to tarnish what should have been a wonderful idea. But tarnish it they did.   For example: A short while ago, the prime minister made certain to give a Diamond Jubilee medal to Jenni Byrne, his party’s campaign manager. (She was in the news again this week, when a Conservative MP stated the buck stopped with Byrne for what he called “deceptive” robocalls recently made in Saskatchewan). What were Byrne’s “significant contributions and achievements,” apart from helping to elect her boss? Hard to say say. No one’s talking.

Embassy – Canada-US perimeter info merged with ‘action plan’ website
Laura Macdonald, political science professor at Carleton University whose book cites the old web address, said the move to bring the perimeter deal into the sphere of the budget brand reflected past efforts to obscure information from the public— such as with the Security and Prosperity Partnership, in some ways the perimeter plan’s predecessor.

“There was just basically very little public sharing of information of what was going on…it seems to me a kind of similar thing happening now,” said Ms. Macdonald…


Globe and Mail – Government to appeal ruling that Métis, other natives are ‘Indian’
The federal government will appeal a landmark federal court ruling that would vastly expand the ranks of people considered Indians under the Constitution.

After more than 13 years of legal wrangling, the court ruled last month that Métis and non-status Indians are indeed “Indians” under a section of the Constitution Act, and therefore fall under federal jurisdiction.


APTN – Attawapiskat diamond mine blockade ends
(Note: Attawapiskat receives only $2 million a year from De Beers diamond mine on its territory.)
The blockade of a winter road leading to a diamond mine near Attawapiskat ended Thursday evening after an agreement between mining giant De Beers, the chief of this northern Ontario First Nation and protesters.

Bruce Shisheesh, the spokesman for the blockade, said De Beers and Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence agreed to reopen the impact benefit agreement (IBA) between the community and the company. Reopening the IBA was a core demand of the protesters, which blocked the winter road leading to the Victor diamond mine on Monday.

CBC News – Liberal senators walk out on Aboriginal Affairs minister
Three Liberal senators, all of them aboriginal, walked out of a committee meeting Wednesday night, as Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan was testifying about the need for his government’s proposed First Nations Accountability Act.

The act would force all First Nations to post their annual financial statements online, along with the salaries of the chief and council members.


rabble.ca – Common Causes: Democracy is at stake in this struggle
Aid agencies that promote a vision of social justice and human rights have been singled out. Canadian Mennonite magazine was warned by Revenue Canada that its charitable status is at risk because its newsletter contained an article about Mennonite youth urging the government to spend less on war….

Meanwhile, funding for evangelical aid agencies has risen steadily. A dozen NGOs in Western Canada saw their budgets increase by 72 per cent in five years. Africa Community Technical Services openly states that its work is under the authority of scriptures seeking to “glorify Jesus Christ.” It received $665,000 from CIDA in 2010. CAUSE Canada says they hope their work will “attract people to Christ.” It received $483,000 that same year.

Fantino: Anti-Gay Group Funding Resulted From Sound  Policy
New Democrat MP Helene Laverdiere said Fantino’s office has become a “black hole” for aid proposals, with many simply disappearing, while those that do get funding don’t align with Canadian values.

“Those that are funded are increasingly out of step with Canadians,” she said.  “How did Christian Crossroads, an anti-gay organization, get sign-off from the minister to operate in a country which Canada has strongly criticized for persecution of its gay citizens?”


Huffington Post – The Ugly Truth About Bill C-377
While we are on the subject of transparency, it is interesting to point out that while the President of Merit Canada is representing an organization involved in the construction industry, his background is far from that industry all together. He has served as a Conservative Party staffer for several years, and worked in various positions as a Lobbyist on Parliament Hill. Could it be that it was in part because of this experience that Bill C-377 came to be — and not out of a desire to help middle-class working men and women of Canada?

CBC – Canada falling behind on poverty, inequality, says report
Canada isn’t living up to its potential or its reputation when it comes to societal issues like poverty, government and inequality, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

The group gave Canada a ‘B’, good for a 7th place ranking out of 17 developed countries, but it said the “middle-of-the-pack” ranking leaves room for improvement.

Huffington Post – Feds ‘Not Transparent,’ Says Information Commissioner
Canada’s Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, says the current federal government is “not the most transparent” and that response to requests for Access to Information is now at a record low.

“We are at a record low in terms of timeliness,” Legault told CBC Radio’s Sunday Edition. “The percentage of information being disclosed is also low.”

Star Phoenix – Tories now admit they sent Saskatchewan robocall
A forensic voice-analysis expert has matched a voice recording from a mysterious company that sent out a robocall “push poll” about Saskatchewan riding boundaries to the firm used to send out the infamous “Pierre Poutine” calls in the last election.

After initially denying any involvement, the Conservatives said Tuesday that they had failed to identify themselves as the source of the voice-broadcast to Saskatchewan residents last week.


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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