Ipolitics – Think aboriginal rage has cooled? Think again
Senior Idle No More sources have told iPolitics that bands are in turmoil over a debate about whether to sign this year’s contribution agreements with the federal government. The issue is an appendix of conditions attached to the documents. …..
The appendix allegedly requires the bands to support federal omnibus legislation and proposed resource developments as a condition of accessing their funding. Some bands have already signed the funding agreements out of necessity, noting that they did so under duress, and at least two others allegedly did not. “As of April 1, 2013,” one source said, “they will have no funds because they did not sign the agreement.”
APTN – Ottawa still blocking UN Indigenous peoples rapporteur from landing in Canada on official visit
The Harper government continues to prevent the UN special rapporteur on Indigenous peoples from visiting Canada.
James Anaya, the special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, says the federal government continues to ignore his year-old request to visit Canada to investigate the “human rights situation of Indigenous peoples,” according to a Feb. 20 letter he sent to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).
“I have communicated with the government of Canada to request its consent for me to conduct an official visit to the country to examine and report on the human rights situation of Indigenous peoples there,” writes Anaya, in the letter. “I initially made the request in February of 2012 and am still awaiting a response from the government.”
If one Con won’t answer, try another one…
Huffington Post – Prison Watchdog Calls On Public Safety Minister For Help
Canada’s prison watchdog is calling on Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to intervene after receiving an “insufficient” and “dismissive” response to his special report on the spike in numbers of aboriginals behind bars.
Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers sent a letter directly to Toews Monday asking him to step in and demand a better response to his report flagging an alarming 43 per cent jump in aboriginal inmates in federal custody in the last five years. He also cited “systemic discrimination” against First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in the justice system.
BULLYING AT HOME AND ABROAD
G&M – Palestinians will face ‘consequences’ if they pursue Israel at the ICC, says Baird (Reader comments on this one are interesting.)
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has told a powerful pro-Israel lobby that Palestinians will feel “consequences” from Canada if they pursue the Jewish state at the International Criminal Court.
Baird issued the warning just as the federal government considers whether to end hundreds of millions of dollars in Canadian humanitarian aid to the Palestinians when it expires at the end of this month.
PROPAGANDA AND CONTROL OF INFORMATION
Ottawa Citizen – Most Canadians see Economic Action Plan ads as Tory advertising or a waste of money
Four years after the Conservative government launched its first Economic Action Plan advertising, a new poll suggests that Canadians have become jaded to the continuing barrage of radio and TV commercials.
More than half of those surveyed this week reacted negatively to the ads, calling them either political advertising, a waste of taxpayers’ money, or “junk.”
How much info is too much info??
HuffPost BC Blog (Vincent Gogolek) – Harper Government Centralizing, Slashing Federal Web Info
In my last post, which looked at Tony Clement’s not-so-open “Open Government” initiatives, I mentioned that the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) had recently received leaked documents detailing a new federal government plan to make government websites a whole lot less informative.
Since being tipped off to the plan, FIPA has attempted to obtain details under the Access to Information Act. Unfortunately, we keep running into roadblocks thrown up by the Treasury Board, the domain of — you guessed it — open government minister Tony Clement. First, Clement’s department demanded thousands of dollars in fees to process the request. Now they’re insisting on hundreds of days of delays to allow for unspecified “consultations.”
Canada.com – Statistics Canada facing more funding cuts, estimates show
Statistics Canada’s funding will be slashed by nearly 12 per cent in the coming fiscal year – a move that, while not surprising, will further diminish its abilities to generate essential data, some experts say.“We’re talking about the type of information you need to run a government – be it a big government or small government – in the 21st century,” said Michael Veall, an economics professor at McMaster University and former president of the Canadian Economics Association. “I don’t think you can fly by the seat of your pants.”
Economic Action Plan for Lawyers continues…
Canada.com – Feds ordered to pay legal costs for Justice Department whistleblower
In a novel move cheered by whistleblower advocates, a judge in Ottawa on Friday ordered the federal government to cover the legal expenses of a Department of Justice lawyer who filed a lawsuit against his own department.
Edgar Schmidt, who was suspended without pay after filing his claim in December, asserts in court documents that the government has failed to live up to its obligations to ensure that new legislation complies with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Only in Harperland, can the oil sands be green…
Globe and Mail – No, Minister Oliver, the oil sands have not become ‘green’
Many Canadians must have wondered if George Orwell was alive and well this week as they read that the Alberta oil sands were being pitched to U.S. officials as “green” by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.
“Canada is the environmentally responsible choice for the U.S. to meet its energy needs in oil for years to come,” the minister told an audience in Chicago – a message he repeated over and over in his U.S. tour, part of a calculated mission to associate Alberta bitumen with ecological benefits. At a time when climate scientists are urgently telling us to significantly scale back the burning of fossil fuels, having a minister promote exactly the opposite really does feel like being told that two plus two equals five.
Canada.com – Harper government targets U.S. reporters to promote Keystone XL pipeline
The records revealed several attempts, over a two-week period in August 2011, to reach out to various journalists from major publications such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and an influential trade publication, E & E Daily, as part of a government program to “develop Canada’s network of reporters covering energy issues” and to “support energy objectives in the U.S., specifically as they relate to advocacy on the Keystone (XL) pipeline expansion.”
After a $123 lunch with one of the journalists, a media relations officer from Canada’s Washington embassy filed a report saying the meeting was designed to develop a “better relationship” with the journalist and had strengthened the network of reporters covering Keystone XL.
A series of internal records obtained by Postmedia News in recent months have also suggested that the Harper government deliberately tried to downplay scientific evidence about the industry’s environmental footprint on air, water and wildlife, while discouraging federal scientists from speaking publicly about their oilsands research revealing evidence that the industry is contaminating natural ecosystems.
TRANPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Toronto Star – Stephen Harper’s war on transparency: Editorial
Stonewalling, foot-dragging and contempt for Parliament pay. At least that’s what the federal government appears to have concluded in the wake of the 2011 election. Toppled two years ago after being found in contempt of Parliament for failing to disclose fiscal information, the Conservatives were nonetheless rewarded in the polls with a majority government — a victory that has served as positive reinforcement for their modus operandi of obfuscation.
CBC – Ex-Mountie claims she is being censored
A veteran RCMP officer who was scheduled to testify before a House of Commons committee investigating harassment within the force says she’s being censored and excluded after submitting her speaking notes. Krista Carle said Friday she was shocked when Conservative members of the House of Commons standing committee on the status of women cancelled her appearance yesterday on Parliament Hill, shortly after she submitted her speaking notes to the committee 36 hours before hand, as required.
“Fixing” the PBO – or rather, the fix is in for the PBO
Globe and Mail – Selection panel for budget officer’s job raises concerns about independence
The Conservatives have placed a senior government official on the panel that will find Canada’s next parliamentary budget officer, a move that breaks with past practice and raises concern about the independence of the process.
Neither the names of the new selection panel – nor its size – are being released, but The Globe and Mail has learned there are six members, including a representative from the Privy Council Office. The PCO provides public service support – such as policy research and advice – to cabinet and the Prime Minister’s Office.
Harper government idea of financial responsibility – Overspend by $108 million
Globe and Mail – Conservatives push $108-million London embassy plan
Parliament is being asked to approve $108-million for a new embassy building in central London that Foreign Affairs bought in November, a move that is raising questions over whether the Conservative government’s plan to save millions abroad is going to pan out. However, one year later, Ottawa has yet to announce an asking price for Macdonald House. It bought a large property on Trafalgar Square at 2-4 Cockspur St. in November from the British government for about $114-million adjacent to Canada House, and the government plans to centralize its operations in those two buildings. Any leftover space would be rented out.
Mr. Patel said the department bought the additional property in November even though it didn’t have enough money in its budget, which is why it is asking Parliament to approve an extra $108-million through supplemental estimates tabled last week.
Huff Post – Peter Penashue Quits: Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Resigns, To Run In By-Election
Conservative cabinet minister Peter Penashue has resigned his seat in the House of Commons and says he’ll run again in Labrador in an effort to clear the air over election funding irregularities.
Penashue says an “inexperienced volunteer” in his organization — his official agent — was responsible for accepting illegal campaign donations during the 2011 election. The campaign manager, Reginald Bowers, was subsequently appointed by the federal government to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, which regulates the oil sector.
CBC – Penashue records removed from election spending file
Letters shedding light on the election spending and deal-wrangling by a cabinet minister’s top campaign official have been removed from a public Elections Canada file. CBC News had reported on the letters in the course of an investigation into spending and fundraising by the campaign of Labrador MP and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue.
Ottawa Citizen – Elections commissioner Yves Côté recommends charges be laid in Guelph robocalls case
(Sorry folks, no one named yet. Will keep you posted)
Commissioner of Canada Elections Yves Côté has recommended laying charges over the election day robocalls sent to voters in Guelph in 2011. After more than 21 months of investigation by his office, Côté has referred a report to Director of Public Prosecutions Brian Saunders, who will decide whether to initiate prosecution in the politically-charged case.
Ottawa Citizen – Dean Del Mastro missed 26 ethics committee meetings
Hasn’t attended since election overspending allegations
Opposition MPs are calling on the prime minister to dump his parliamentary secretary, Dean Del Mastro, after he missed more than two dozen consecutive meetings of the House of Commons ethics committee.
Although he has been listed as a member of the Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee since shortly after the 2011 election, the Ontario MP hasn’t attended a single meeting in more than nine months.
RESISTANCE TO THE REGIME
Yahoo News- Public sector union launches all-out attack against the Harper government
The battle between Canada’s unions and the Harper government continues. As explained by Rabble.ca, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) — Canada’s largest public sector union — is rolling out a series of videos, each highlighting services that will be nixed as a result of government budget and job cuts.