Harper Watch February 12 to 18, 2013


A VOICE OF REASON IN THE CONSERVATIVE WILDERNESS

York University, Prof. David Doorey – Senior Tory Senator Lambasts Conservatives for Politically Motivated Attacks on Unions
“Dispatching CRA to police how trade unions spend their money, in denominations of $5,000 or more, is to increase the role of CRA and of the state in ways that create a bigger, nosier and more expensive government. As a taxpayer and as a Conservative, I oppose that kind of increase in any government’s power or expenditures.” Conservative Senator Hugh Segal

MUST READ ARTICLE – FREE TRADE IS A POLICY FOR ECONOMIC DISASTER

ipolitics – Free trade: is more necessarily better?
For example, in 1996, the year before our free trade agreement with Israel, we had a trade deficit of just under $27 million. In 2011, our trade deficit with Israel had grown to over $580 million. Our trade with Chile went from a surplus of $73 million in 1996 to a deficit of $1 billion in 2011.

It goes on. The year free trade with Costa Rica began in 2003, our trade deficit was almost $226 million. In 2011, it was over $315 million. In the two years since we entered into free trade with Peru, our trade deficit went from under $2.5 billion dollars to almost $3.9 billion.

TWO CATHARTIC COMMENTARY PIECES

ipolitics (Michael Harris) – We’re living in a golden age of falsehood
Midway through his first majority government, Stephen Harper has become the Lance Armstrong of politics (minus the urine test). A string of impressive victories — but did he play fair? It’s a good question. His modus operandi doesn’t pass the Ronald Reagan credibility test: trust but verify. How can you verify someone who makes it up as he goes along, when the truth, as my colleague Lawrence Martin so aptly put it, is a moving target?

ipolitics (Lawrence Martin) – A town where truth is a moving target
Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin is having her expenses audited. Others senators are being audited as well and let’s not jump to any conclusions before the results are in. But what was strange is that the Conservatives, in the case of Wallin, tried to deny it was happening.

….Yet another denial, it appears, is failing to hold up and if anyone cared to go back in time they could find a truckload of other examples from this government of the same. Tory truthtellers are hard to find. In Ottawa a denial is becoming tantamount to a confirmation. The nation’s capital is becoming increasingly Kafkaesque.

OH SEE YOU CAN’T SAY… what you want says Harper

Ottawa Citizen – Feds new confidentiality rules on Arctic project called ‘chilling’
A bid by the federal government to impose sweeping confidentiality rules on an Arctic science project has run into serious resistance in the United States.

“I’m not signing it,” said Andreas Muenchow, of the University of Delaware, who has taken issue with the wording that Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans department has proposed for the Canada-U.S. project. It’s an affront to academic freedom and a “potential muzzle,” said Muenchow, who has been collaborating with DFO scientists on the project in the Eastern Arctic since 2003.

CBC News – Canadian federal research deal ‘potentially muzzles’ U.S. scientists
“I believe this is a disturbing political climate change,” Muenchow wrote. “I feel that it threatens my academic freedom and potentially muzzles my ability to publish data and interpretation and talk timely on science issues of potential public interest without government interference.”

Muenchow posted excerpts from the agreement that stated: “Any technology, data, or other information of any kind related to or arising from the project (collectively “information”) shall be deemed confidential and neither party may release any such Information to others in any way whatsoever without the prior written authorization of the other party.”

He pointed out that it was substantially different from a 2003 Canadian government agreement that said, “Subject to the ‘Access to Information and Privacy Acts’, project data and any other project-related information shall be freely available to all parties to this agreement and may be used, disseminated or published, by any party, and any time.”

INCOMPETENCE ABOUNDS IN HARPERLAND

National Post – Critics accuse health minister of ‘deliberate inaction’ on important issues
(Hilarious: “Steve Outhouse, Ms. Aglukkaq’s director of communications”. Can there be a more appropriate name of a Harper government director of communications?)

Yoni Freedhoff is unsparing in his assessment of Leona Aglukkaq’s four-year stint in the federal health portfolio, calling her one of Canada’s worst health ministers ever. The prominent Ottawa physician and obesity expert does not complain so much about what Ms. Aglukkaq has done, however, as what she has not done….

(But of course the CEO of a private health care clinic is all for it.)

“By taking almost a backseat role, the prime minister and minister are encouraging the provinces to sort this out among themselves and to compete,” said Shaun Francis, CEO of Toronto’s MedCan private health clinic and an advocate for more market-oriented innovation in health care. “We have 10 provinces, let them complete, see who does the best job.”

HP Politics – Crossroads Christian Communications, Anti-Gay Religious Group, Gets Funding From Government To Work In Africa
(Too bad Bev Oda wasn’t there to insert the proverbial “NOT”)
The federal government has denounced virulent homophobia in that East African country and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has condemned plans for an anti-gay bill that could potentially include the death penalty for homosexuals.

At the same time the government is providing $544,813 in funding for Crossroads Christian Communications — an Ontario-based evangelical group that produces television programming — to help dig wells, build latrines and promote hygiene awareness in Uganda through 2014.

Until Tuesday, the organization’s website carried a list of “sexual sins” deemed to be “perversion”: “Turning from the true and/or proper purpose of sexual intercourse; misusing or abusing it, such as in pedophilia, homosexuality and lesbianism, sadism, masochism, transvestism, and bestiality.”

AND ANOTHER ONE’S GONE…

John Duncan Quits, James Moore Takes Over As Aboriginal Affairs Minister (TWITTER)
Cabinet members were recently asked to review their correspondence following revelations by The Canadian Press that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty had improperly promoted a business in his riding in its licence application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The federal ethics commissioner reiterated that such interventions by public office holders are forbidden.  Duncan said in a statement that a subsequent search by his office turned up his own improper advocacy.

“In June of 2011 I wrote a character reference letter to the Tax Court of Canada on behalf of an individual to whom my constituency staff was providing case work assistance on a Canada Revenue Agency matter,” Duncan said in the statement.

HP Politics – John Duncan’s Resignation Met With First Nations Leaders’ Cynicism
The surprise resignation of Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan is being met with raised eyebrows among some First Nations leaders, who call it a diversion as aboriginal issues gain momentum on the national stage.

Isadore Day, Chief of the Serpent River First Nation in Ontario, said Duncan’s decision came at a convenient time for the Conservative government, which is under mounting pressure from aboriginal groups to address treaty rights and other issues.

WASTING OUR TAXES

HP Politics – Economic Action Plan Ads: Canadians Growing Weary Of New Campaign, Survey Says
Canadians may be growing weary of — even hostile to — all those Economic Action Plan ads the Harper government has been pumping out for the last four years.

Eight polls the Finance Department commissioned between 2009 and 2012 suggest the TV, radio, print and Internet ads are starting to fizzle — and annoying some people.

The NDP’s finance critic says the “feel-good” ads are clearly intended to boost the government’s popularity rather than inform Canadians.  “They don’t reflect people’s daily experience,” MP Peggy Nash said in an interview.

“And at a time when the government says it wants to be fiscally prudent, it’s wasting huge sums of money on these ads for projects that have already been long finished. What is the point?”

CBC – Tories ask ethics watchdog to look into Pat Martin defence fund
(Looks like the Harper government even wants to stop their opponents from defending themselves!)
Freshly by-elected Durham Conservative MP Erin O’Toole may have set a new record for the shortest time between arriving in the House of Commons, and filing an ethics complaint against one of his new colleagues.  According to a release posted on the party-run MulcairsNDP.ca website, the rookie backbencher is calling on Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson to “investigate a possible conflict of interest” related to the Pat Martin Defence Fund, which was set up last year in response to the robocalls-related defamation suit launched against him by RackNine Inc.

In the interim, however, it seems worth pointing out that she gave Martin the go-ahead to launch the extraparliamentary fundraising campaign last year, on the condition that he “derive no income for the trust, including the disbursement of assets, for the purpose of financing a nomination contest, leadership race or electoral campaign.”

LIBERAL LEADERSHIP:

Nick Fillmore – Liberal leadership candidate Murray wants to gang up on the Conservatives
If you want to see the Harper Conservatives defeated in 2015 – or at least reduced to a minority government – it’s time you started paying attention to what Joyce Murray is saying. Murray is a Liberal leadership candidate from B.C., and the only candidate promising one-time co-operation with both the NDP and Greens to defeat Conservative candidates in a number of key ridings in the next election.

You can help choose the next Liberal Leader.  If you are not a member of another political party, go to www.Liberal.ca and sign up as a supporter BEFORE March 3rd.   You will be sent an invitation to register to vote to select a new leader.

ACTION OPPORTUNITIES

Elizabeth May – Stop Fracking Petition
Over 200,000 wells have been hydraulically fractured in Western Canada alone, and every well requires approximately 11 million litres of water, enough to fill 4.5 Olympic swimming pools, which is mixed and contaminated with up to 220,000 litres of toxic fracking fluid.

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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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