SOME GOOD NEWS…
More than a quarter of Canadians think Stephen Harper is the worst prime minister since 1968, according to a new poll from Angus Reid.
The findings come hot on the heels of a poll from Abacus Data which found 50 per cent of Canadians disapprove of Harper. The findings also agree with an informal poll on the best prime minister ever conducted by HuffPost Canada earlier this year in which readers ranked Harper dead last.
WITH SONG AND DANCE!
A Halifax rapper frustrated by what he sees as a lack of honesty from the federal government has called out the man at the top: Stephen Harper.
In “What Up Steve?,” 27-year-old Kyle McKenna and his hip-hop group, The Caravan, touch on everything from the contempt of Parliament ruling that sank Harper’s minority government in 2011 to the controversial Beyond The Border pact.
In a new YouTube video, rapper and educator Baba Brinkman (real name Dirk Murray Brinkman, Jr.) tells viewers it is “childishly easy to support her ideas,” most importantly, her pledge for a one-time coalition with the NDP and Green Party to win the next election.
“Politicians have got to know we want cooperation. Stephen Harper has got to go, together we can make him,” Brinkman raps in his chorus.
THOSE PESKY UN RAPPORTEURS!
OTTAWA – The United Nations right-to-food envoy says the Harper government’s controversial decisions to scrap the long-form census and negotiate a free trade deal with Europe will make it more difficult to fight poverty in Canada.
Those are among the many cutting observations made by Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the right to food, who will release his report Monday in Geneva at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council.
IS THAT MONEY TALKING AGAIN?
OTTAWA – Arthur Porter was a donor to the federal Conservatives during his time at Canada’s spy watchdog, public records show.
But his contributions appear to have run afoul of guidelines that all members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee must abide by.
Elections Canada records show Porter gave the Tories the maximum donation allowed by law over a period spanning the weeks leading up to his appointment to SIRC through to his rise as chair.
The former head of SIRC now faces allegations of fraud in one of the country’s most expensive infrastructure projects.
Natural Resources Canada has an advertising budget of $9 million in 2012-13 and a new round of television ads, touting the “Responsible Resource Development” theme, are currently airing. Greenpeace climate researcher Keith Stewart says the Conservatives still haven’t brought in greenhouse gas regulations for the oilsands sector that were promised in 2008, opting instead for a pure communications strategy.
WE NEED TO CLONE ELIZABETH MAY
“Although he appears allergic to accountability, with the stroke of a pen Prime Minister Harper could demonstrate to Canadians that he actually takes the Arthur Porter debacle seriously and remove him from the Privy Council,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands. “The fact that the Prime Minister has allowed Porter to retain his Privy Councillor status and maintain his access to Canada’s secrets shows a shocking disregard for the seriousness of this situation.”
JUST CAN’T SEEM TO DO ANYTHING RIGHT
OTTAWA — The Conservative government has eroded the “integrity and credibility” of federal budgets through a system of secrecy that keeps parliamentarians and Canadians in the dark about how their money is spent, say two senior former officials in the finance department.
In a biting critique of the government to be published in Inside Policy magazine, former bureaucrats Scott Clark and Peter DeVries outline a troubling pattern of actions taken by the governing Conservatives since they took office several years ago.
He (former TD bank chief economist Don Drummond) said there is a lack of realism if the federal government intends to reverse a process of devolution that took years to negotiate in one budget.
“You don’t do anything in the constitutional area by surprise,” he said.
The Harper government has already upset provinces like Quebec with its reforms to the Employment Insurance system. It doesn’t require a wild imagination to foresee how this will go down with provinces that have set up training delivery networks based on federal funding — like a hole in a lifeboat.
Reading lesson plan uses Conservatives as example in guide
A literacy lesson plan from a group partly funded by the Government of Canada uses a partisan example to teach people how to conjugate the verb “to vote.”
The lesson plan, written by Saskatchewan charity Read Saskatoon, is meant to teach people with low literacy skills about different verb tenses.
One of the examples uses the federal Conservatives in a question where students are meant to conjugate “to vote” and “to elect,” the CBC’s Hannah Thibedeau reported.
“The majority of voters [blank] conservative and as a result they [blank] a Harper government,” the example says.
On March 31, funding will officially run out for the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), after nearly 50 years of providing groundbreaking research and global solutions for environmental problems. In yet another short-sighted Conservative decision, shutting down a world class — and unique — facility will adversely affect the capacity to protect and manage water resources, not just in Canada but around the world.
The ELA is a brilliant investment. It costs roughly $2 million each year — a small fraction of the millions of dollars the program leverages in research funding from around the world. Contrast that with the over $64 million this government approved (and then exceeded) for perverse advertising to promote its spending cuts and so-called economic agenda.
Let’s be clear — this closure is not about money. The “savings” are relatively minor, a mere 8.3 per cent of what the Conservatives spent to celebrate the War of 1812. Rather, this is another part of a government-wide campaign to silence scientists who are conducting ‘pesky’ environmental research.
In the last 12 months, according to the Professional Institute of the Public Service, this government has discontinued or slashed the following programs with an environmental focus:
Environmental Assessment; Environment Canada’s (EC) Environmental Emergency Response; EC’s Environmental Protection Operations; EC’s Compliance Promotion; the Urban Wastewater Program; the Action Plan on Clean Water; the Sustainable Water Management Division; the Environmental Effects Monitoring Program; the Contaminated Sites Action Plan; the Chemicals Management Plan;……
“I’ll be out of here soon and two weeks later no one will remember my name,’’ he says. “That kind of stuff isn’t important to me. The question is do institutions matter?’’
When Canadians fought in wars, they fought for institutions and they fought for freedom, “but they certainly didn’t fight for the partisan politics you and I are talking about now.’’
Without the work of an independent budget officer, the government has neutered Parliamentarians, Page says, because their currency is information.
“If you give Parliamentarians nothing, then where is their value? What are they doing? They are completely undermined.
ANOTHER EMBARRASSMENT ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
A wordy note from the vice-minister for North America, Claudia Salerno, said Caracas was protesting “in a blunt and categorical way, the statements issued the 5 of March 2013 by the prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, as they constitute insensitive and impertinent sentiments at a time when the Venezuelan people are grieving and crying over the irreparable physical loss of the Commander President Hugo Chavez Frias.”
Harper said in his short statement on Tuesday that he hopes the death of Chavez brings a more promising future for the Venezuelan people.