FIPA MAY PASS ON MONDAY, APRIL 22 – LIBERALS RUMOURED TO VOTE WITH CONS
(If you oppose this, NOW is the time to email your Con or Liberal MP!!)
The Canadian House of Commons debated a motion Thursday to stop the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPPA, or FIPA).
The NDP, whose MP Don Davies tabled the motion, opposes FIPA in its current form. They, and many others, say it is harmful to the environment and indigenous groups, and is anti-democratic. Davies’ motion is meant to inform the Chinese government that Canada will not ratify the agreement.
The House will vote on the motion Monday.
FIPA would allow Chinese companies to sue the BC government for implementing policies that reduce the profits of foreign investors. It is designed to promote foreign investment on Canadian soil, and protect its interests.
HARPER’S WORST NIGHTMARE HAS COME TO PASS
Because the Conservatives are super-classy, they released a statement congratulating Justin Trudeau on winning the Liberal leadership. Here it is (for real) in its entirety:
“We congratulate Justin Trudeau on becoming Liberal leader.
“Stephen Harper has an Economic Action Plan that has created 900,000 new jobs since the recession, the best job creation record in the G7. He’s lowered taxes, such as the GST, and increased support for families with measures like the Universal Child Care Benefit.
“Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but in a time of global economic uncertainty, he doesn’t have the judgment or experience to be Prime Minister.”
(The most significant things about this article are the comments – the highest rated ones overwhelmingly support Trudeau)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper sharply criticized new Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for trying “to rationalize or make excuses” for whoever was responsible for the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three and injured over 100 people.
Harper, who was commenting from London where he attended the funeral of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher this morning, took issue with Trudeau suggesting during a media interview that “the root causes” of the motivation for the bombing should be examined.
The right way to respond Harper said is to “condemn it categorically, and to the extent you can deal with the perpetrators you deal with them as harshly as possible. And that’s what this government would do if ever faced with such actions.”
Stephen Harper was representing Canada at the funeral of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in London this week. Was this the proper time and place to try to score partisan political points back home?
Many of our allies have hard and fast protocols about taking domestic fights abroad — U.S. Democrats will not criticize Republican Middle East policy, or vice versa, during a visit to Israel. Woe to the U.S. politician who ignores this unwritten rule.
But when Canadian leaders travel abroad, the rules depend on who’s talking. There is one rule for Stephen Harper and another rule for everyone else.
(In case you missed it, here is the Trudeau interview with Peter Mansbridge)
Attack ads launched against newly chosen Liberal leader Justin Trudeau by the Conservatives are widely seen as unfair by would-be voters, a new poll says. In an EKOS Research Associates survey, 70 per cent found the ads “unfair” while 74 per cent said the ads were “unhelpful.”
RESTLESSNESS IN THE CPC RANKS
For a year, a group of about 20 Conservative MPs has been holding quiet meetings on the Hill to discuss ways to advance democratic reform. This is a democracy movement, not an anti-abortion movement in disguise, as some have written.
The MPs who have stood in the House — including John Williamson, the former director of communications to Harper — are likely sacrificing their career prospects by speaking out, but the PMO has not put the muscle on them, likely because what they are seeking is entirely within their rights, and because they are otherwise loyal soldiers.
On Friday, new Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced that the Liberals would move a motion Monday to give MPs the right to speak without permission from party bosses.
It looked like the motion could have passed with the help of the pro-democracy Tory MPs, but the government quickly postponed the Liberals’ opposition day, pointing to the terrible events in Boston and saying MPs need to debate an anti-terrorism bill, a tissue-thin excuse for avoiding a humiliating defeat at the hands of the new Liberal leader.
The speaker is expected to rule this week on Warawa’s motion before the Liberals can bring the question to a vote.
The Conservatives are likely now hoping that Scheer will rule against them and for Warawa, which will quietly resolve the issue without giving Trudeau a win, and Parliament will take one very small step in the right direction.
“This shift from scheduling and co-ordinating to command and control has stripped members of the right to ask questions during Question Period and is now threatening to do the same during members’ statements,” he said. “It has also eroded the power to hold the government to account – the fundamental concept of responsible government.”
The fight over 60-second members’ statements may seem like a minor matter, but Canadian MPs are constrained by stricter party discipline than most Western democracies. In the seven years since his Conservatives won office, Mr. Harper has kept his MPs on a tight leash. Tory MPs are often assigned members’ statements to deliver – instead of speaking about their constituents’ concerns – and the party whip decides who gets to speak. The questions Conservative MPs ask of their own cabinet during Question Period are also written by the government.
TFW SCANDAL IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG OF EMPLOYMENT WOES FOR CANADIANS
Harper has even tried to hurry history along by enacting new rules that make it easier for Canadian employers to hire low-wage temporary foreign workers.
The alternative to this nothing-can-be-done orthodoxy is more complicated.
First, the temporary foreign workers program needs to be radically overhauled.
In a rational country, employers would be allowed to bring in temporary foreign workers only under the rarest of conditions. Using the program as a vehicle for doughnut shops that want cheap counter help is a grotesque misuse.
But the temporary foreign workers program is only part of the problem. Far more destructive is the trend to outsourcing. Foreign outsourcing removes jobs completely from Canada. Domestic outsourcing has the virtue of keeping the work at home. But it replaces good jobs with those that are precarious and part-time.
THE HARPER ROAD TO DESTRUCTION
(MUST READ! A comprehensive chronicle of Harper Government cuts to federal services, from the environment to freedom of information, to health and Canada’s involvement in the UN.)
(Michael Harris) – So far, the Harper government has managed to rid itself of a great many obstacles to its practice of decision-based evidence to support an agenda that is rarely declared. So many evidence-based riders — experts, knowledge-lovers, rationalists — have been shot off their horses.
ANOTHER SAGE APPOINTMENT? OR NOT.
Stephen Harper’s top bodyguard is poised to become Canada’s new ambassador to Jordan, an appointment that is raising eyebrows in diplomatic circles. After heading the RCMP protective detail that guards the prime minister and his family, Supt. Bruno Saccomani appears on his way to join the foreign service.