Harper Watch – February 19 to 23, 2013


The Tyee – Fracking: Feds Throw Wrench in High Profile Lawsuit
In a stunning move the Harper government has thrown another hurdle before a high profile Alberta lawsuit that seeks to put the regulation of hydraulic fracturing on public trial.

Last week the Department of Justice appointed Honourable Barbara L. Veldhuis, a Court of Queen’s Bench judge presiding over the landmark case, to the Court of Appeal of Alberta. The promotion effectively removes Veldhuis from the multi-million dollar lawsuit.

Moreover, Veldhuis was about to rule on whether or not Alberta’s energy regulator could be sued by a landowner for failing to uphold provincial rules, protect groundwater and respect the constitutional rights of Canadians.


ipolitics – Why an office of religious freedom? God only knows
Of all the Conservatives’ initiatives to date, the most bewildering is itsnewly created Office for the Promotion of Religious Freedom. The Tories are deploying five million dollars of taxpayers’ money — ostensibly to promote not a particular religion, but the freedom to practice religion in general. Not in Canada, …

Winnipeg Free Press – International community watching Canada’s PBO battle with interest, says Page
Some international observers have expressed shock at the difficulties Canada’s parliamentary budget office has had prying information from the government, says the departing Kevin Page.

Independent budget officials from 22 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development are holding their two-day annual meeting for the first time in Canada, where they are sharing best practices and experiences in a fast-growing field.

Toronto Star – Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page is a national hero
How, for instance, will the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ensure compliance with federal regulations on food safety while crash dieting on $19 million in cuts to its Food Safety program? How will the $160 million cut from Aboriginal Affairs address the concerns of communities now responding to the Idle No More movement? How will Health Canada triage the enormous cuts to its own programs? The government waves these worries away with the easy phrase “operational efficiencies.”

G&M – Let Canadians pay into Canada Pension Plan faster, CIBC boss urges (Good advise from corporate Canada. This was in the Liberal Platform in the 2011 election. Of course Flaherty didn’t go for it.)
The head of one of Canada’s largest banks is proposing a dramatic overhaul of the country’s pension regime, arguing that average Canadians need more certainty and simplicity from their savings than existing investment tools provide.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce chief executive officer Gerry McCaughey said Canada should reform the Canada Pension Plan to allow people to make voluntary contributions that are beyond what they already pay through their salaries.

Canada.com – ‘Muzzling’ of federal scientists called a threat to democracy
Federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault has been asked to investigate the way the Harper government has been “muzzling” federal scientists.

The request, accompanied by a report on the government’s “systematic efforts” to obstruct access to researchers, was made jointly on Wednesday by the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria and Democracy Watch, a national non-profit group.

CBC – Government hones oilsands message with focus groups
(The Harper Government: Using your tax dollars for development – of more effective propaganda.)
Focus-group testing on what the Harper government calls its Responsible Resource Development campaign found the advertising to be light on facts but uplifting and patriotic, according to a government-commissioned study.

The fruits of that taxpayer-funded labour will again be on display this spring as a second wave of ads — designed to persuade Canadians of “the importance and impact of Canada’s energy sector” — hits the air.

Vancouver Observer – Hupacasath First Nation files affidavits in case against China-Canada FIPA: The SinoFile
If Canadian legislators do sign a pending 31-year trade agreement with China, it likely won’t happen anytime soon – not if First Nations and other Canadians across the country have anything to say about it.

A BC First Nation has formally launched its campaign to prevent Ottawa legislators from signing a trade agreement with Beijing that would enable Chinese business interests to sue Canada for legislation deemed prejudicial to its business interests.

Federal government closing oil-spill response centre
The federal government is closing B.C.’s command centre for emergency oil spills at a time when the province is facing two possible pipeline projects and a potential spike in tanker traffic in West Coast waterways.

Ottawa has said it will shut down B.C.’s regional office for emergency oil-spill responders, located in Vancouver, and centralize operations in Quebec in the wake of the cost-cutting March 29 federal budget.

The move could affect about 42 jobs in the B.C.-Yukon region.

The closing comes as pipeline operator Kinder Morgan says it hopes to increase capacity on its Edmonton-to-Burnaby Trans Mountain line, potentially increasing the number of oil tankers in Vancouver’s harbour from roughly 70 a year to 360.



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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