HARPER REGIME – A DISGRACE ON THE WORLD STAGE
The government of Canada wants the world to believe that we are still a leader in the area of human rights. But in a UN review that wrapped up last week, Canada’s peers have challenged this and expressed numerous concerns about Canada’s human rights record….
Of course there is a long list of countries where the gravity of human rights violations is considerably worse than in Canada. But this process is about universality. All peoples’ rights are to be protected, in all countries. All governments should be praised when they live up to their commitments; and all governments held accountable when they do not.
ipolitics (Paul Adams) – When remembrance becomes forgetting
(A very moving article about ALL those who died during WWII – and Harper’s politicization of this horror for partisan purposes.)
The festival of blood we call the Second World War remains the most confounding moral mystery of our civilization. How in the heart of Europe did murderous ideologies emerge that would take the lives of so many people for no other reason that who they were? Last week, the Harper government announced the location of a National Holocaust Monument to be erected not far from Parliament Hill. But the announcement was as striking for what it ignored as what it included.
G&M – Ottawa accused of neglecting joint Canada-U.S. water commission
Two of Canada’s three seats on a key bilateral institution have been allowed to go vacant, raising questions about Ottawa’s commitment to the joint body that oversees waters shared with the United States….
The commission, which was established by the U.S. and Canadian governments more than a century ago to prevent and manage water-related disputes, is responsible for the Great Lakes and other shared bodies of water.
Independent (UK) -George Orwell’s Guide to Canadian Politics
A critical analysis of the Harper government’s behavioural patterns reveals two possibilities: it’s either an enormous coincidence or the Conservative Party of Canada is staging its own production of ‘1984’.
MORE ORWELLIAN NEWS
Ottawa Citizen – Stephen Harper’s Conservatives to lead review of Canadian history
Federal politicians have launched a “thorough and comprehensive review of significant aspects in Canadian history,” in Parliament that will be led by Conservative MPs, investigating courses taught in schools, with a focus on several armed conflicts of the past century. The study was launched by the House of Commons Canadian heritage committee that went behind closed doors last Monday to approve its review, despite apparent objections from the opposition MPs.
Hill Times – CBC wants meeting with feds on Harper Cabinet’s new powers over CBC’s collective bargaining
A Hill Times review of annual reports from nearly one-third of Canada’s federal Crown corporations and union contract terms for three of the biggest—the CBC, Canada Post and Via Rail—raises questions about the timing and intent of legislation that will give Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Cabinet unprecedented control over Crown corporation collective bargaining.
The CBC, which is fighting back against the measures, released a statement Wednesday night warning of possible “unintended consequences” and said it is requesting a meeting with the federal government to ensure Cabinet ministers have “accurate information” about its record on restraint, employee salary increases over the past several years, and its mandate under the Broadcasting Act.
rabble.ca – Former Tory strategist Allan Gregg rips Harper Cons’ ‘systematic attack’ on facts and reason
Long-time Tory pollster and strategist Allan Gregg ripped into the Harper Government on Saturday for what he termed its “systematic attack on evidence-based research.”
The rampage, he noted, began with the notorious abandonment of the mandatory long-form census. “Why would anyone forsake these valuable insights and the chance to make good public policy, rather than bad public policy, under the pretense that rights were being violated when no one ever voiced concern? Was this a crazy one-off move … or was there something larger going on?”
It was pretty quickly clear to Gregg — as it was to many of the rest of us — that there was indeed something larger going on.
Maclean’s – When science goes silent
With the muzzling of scientists, Harper’s obsession with controlling the message verges on the Orwellian
Sometimes, the efforts to silence scientists verge into the Orwellian. In one widely reported 2012 incident, Environment Canada researchers attending the International Polar Year conference in Montreal were shadowed by media handlers tasked with squelching any impromptu conversations with reporters about climate change or dying polar bears.
Another researcher, who is scheduled to lose his job this summer, but fears speaking out will hurt his severance, laments how the current government has “politicized” the role of public servants. “It’s almost as if that job we had as scientists to explain things to the Canadian public is gone.” The scientist says he and his colleagues always understood that certain lines couldn’t be crossed when they dealt with the media—stepping outside your area of expertise or criticizing government policy were both definite no-nos, for example. But soon after Harper won his first minority in 2006, it became clear that the minister’s office viewed every media interaction as a minefield—to be entered into only if absolutely unavoidable.
ATTACK ON UNIONS
Huff Post – Mr. Poilièvre, You Want a Union Registry But Not a Firearm Registry?
Everyone knows how little empathy the government, including yourself, has towards unions. In reality, Bill C-377 is your way of attacking a workers freedom of association. Under the guise of what you hypocritically called “transparency” in your statement yesterday, you will require unions to make public a vast amount of information that may be personal, violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and creating a cumbersome system within the Canadian Revenue Agency that will cost taxpayers a lot of money.
Vancouver Observer – Oil sands bitumen exports undermine Canada’s economic future
(The Harper Government’s energy plans mean profits for foreign multinationals and higher prices for Canadian families and businesses.)
Canada is headed down the wrong economic path by exporting raw oil sands bitumen, former ICBC CEO Robyn Allan said in a stirring presentation a week ago at the West Coast Oil Pipeline Summit. Allan highlighted the economic danger posed by oil sands pipelines including Keystone XL, Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan that the federal government has been promoting in the name of jobs and growth. Below are excerpts from her presentation, “Oil Sands Development and the Economic Consequences”.
Ottawa Citizen – Procedural errors by elections officials rife during 2011 federal vote: report
The integrity of Canada’s electoral process is at “serious risk” due to rampant procedural errors made by polling officials, a report commissioned by Elections Canada says….
The report, by former British Columbia chief electoral officer Harry Neufeld, includes the results of a national audit of the documentation filled out for electors whose names were not on the list of registered voters or who failed to bring the required identification with them to their polling stations. In those cases — about 15 per cent of electors — polling officials were required to administer special procedures, such as the swearing of oaths or having someone vouch for the voter’s identity.
Ryan Leef, Tory MP, Slammed Over ‘Shocking’ Polar Bear Letter
(Note, Ryan Leef won over the Liberal by a narrow margin in a riding where there were election irregularities.)
A Tory MP has used the findings of U.S. climate skeptics to conclude the global polar bear population is flourishing. To support his claim, Leef sent the constituent — a high school science teacher — a 2008 report prepared by a marketing expert from the University of Pennsylvania, an economic forecaster from Australia and a Harvard astronomer, Postmedia reports. In a lengthy rebuttal by seven climate and polar bear experts in 2009, the study was described as bogus and misleading.
LYING, CHEATING, BULLYING
Western Star – Penashue’s comments about Coast Guard puzzle Liberal MP
A comment recently made by Labrador byelection Conservative candidate Peter Penashue has a western Newfoundland MP wondering who is telling the truth about the decision to have Canadian Coast Guard marine communications improved in Happy Valley-Goose Bay…..
Byrne contends if Penashue’s statement is correct, then the commissioner lied. If the commissioner is correct, Byrne believes that would show Penashue is not telling the truth.
iPolitics (Michael Harris) – The Wizard of Wrath: Harper and the death of civility
Here are some little things. When Hugo Chavez died, Stephen Harper acted like a crude bumpkin. His official reaction wasn’t quite “good riddance” — but it was close. You don’t have to wear Che Guevara T-shirts to extend sympathies to the family of the deceased. It comes with being a citizen of the world, a leader and a human being. I guess the reaction in Venezuela to Harper’s remarks makes the case. A diplomatic protest is not the usual response to “condolences.”
Huff Post – Marc Garneau ‘Ticked Off’ About Canadarm Event Snub
Liberal MP Marc Garneau, who was Canada’s first astronaut and led the Canadian Space Agency, is “ticked off” that he wasn’t invited to Thursday’s opening of a Canadarm exhibit and he blames Conservative partisanship for being left off the guest list…..”I’m ticked off that this is the kind of atmosphere that we’ve created here in Ottawa. I think it’s disgusting,” added Garneau. He said the government was saying the CSA was in charge of the guest list, but the agency told CBC News it did not do the guest list.
MORE EXAMPLES OF HARPER’S FISCAL WIZARDRY (JUST SO GOOD AT MAKING $$ DISAPPEAR)
CBC News – Shipbuilding contract holds $250M mystery
Cost of Arctic patrol ships’ design sparks warning of another procurement ‘fiasco’
A CBC News investigation has uncovered a $250-million mystery at the heart of Canada’s ambitious shipbuilding program. Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose and Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced March 7 in Halifax that Ottawa will pay Irving Shipbuilding $288 million just to design — not build — a fleet of new Arctic offshore patrol ships. Irving will then build the ships under a separate contract.
However, a survey of similar patrol ships bought by other countries shows they paid a fraction of that $288 million to actually build the ships — and paid less than a tenth as much for the design.
CBC News – Canada can’t account for $3.1B in anti-terror funding, AG finds
The federal government needs to do better at tracking and evaluating some of its program spending to ensure taxpayer dollars are being well-spent, Auditor General Michael Ferguson found in his spring report released today, and one of the most striking examples is that it can’t account for $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding.
The lack of information on spending and on results achieved for money spent is a common theme throughout Ferguson’s report, which includes 11 chapters in total.
In his audit of the Public Security and Anti-Terrorism (PSAT) Initiative, Ferguson suggested there should have been a government-wide review of spending by 35 departments and of the results for the program that was funded between 2001 and 2009.
He found that departments reported spending $9.8 billion of the $12.9 billion allocated for security and anti-terrorism measures under the program but he couldn’t determine where the other $3.1 billion went. The Treasury Board had no clear answers for him.