Harper Watch May 6 to 12, 2013


Toronto Star – Roll back corporate tax cuts to pay for transit Corporations have never had it so good in Canada
Canada has emerged relatively unscathed from the recent global economic slowdown, boasting growth since 2009, unlike our G20 counterparts. Still, Canada and Ontario have reduced taxes on big business to skeletal levels with little or no economic stimulus to show for it. These corporate tax reductions are precisely why we cannot afford to pay for transit and infrastructure. They need to be reversed — and the additional revenue should be tied to transit expansion.


iPolitics (Michael Harris) – Harper comms 101: When cornered, blame a bureaucrat
It is bred in the bones of this regime. Everyone knows that the Harper Conservatives have made a policy out of excluding sitting MPs from events to announce federal initiatives in their ridings. It’s dirtbag politics at its grimiest and the message is as unambiguous as a punch in the gut: “All goodies come from Steve, not your MP, or the government of Canada.”

Toronto Star (Editorial) -Ontario judge blasts Harper government’s ‘tough on crime’ agenda
We’ve known for some time that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s “tough on crime” agenda carries a stiff and wasteful price tag. Canadians are spending $5 billion more a year on the criminal justice system since the Tories were elected in 2006, even as the crime rate has plummeted. Those billions would be better invested in economic growth, productivity and jobs.

What’s less well-recognized is the corrosive effect the government’s punitively blind obsession with crime is having on the justice system itself. Changes to the Criminal Code have cast what one respected jurist calls a “dark shadow” on foundational principles of proportionality and restraint that hark back to Biblical law thousands of years ago. Today sentencing seems to be more about exacting vengeance than about deterrence, rehabilitation and making good.

CBC News – Emails shed light on politics of RCMP report release
Newly-released documents obtained under Access to Information legislation shed more light on the role played by the office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews in how the RCMP communicates with reporters and the public.

That letter, released to reporters soon after it was sent to Paulson, blasted the commissioner for the scope of the report, which Toews characterized as analysis that “confirmed issues that we have all known to exist within the Force.”

He ordered Paulson back to the drawing board and gave him three weeks to come up with an action plan. Toews’ correspondence also made it clear he was not happy that Commissioner Paulson had talked about the gender based audit to reporters before he’d had the chance to see it with his own eyes.

Toronto Star (Linda McQuaig) Harper stokes resentments in discreet class war
Canadians don’t like Harper’s anti-worker agenda — when they notice it. That’s why there’s been such a public outcry since the temporary foreign worker program was exposed as a mechanism by which the Harper government has flooded the country with hundreds of thousands of cheap foreign workers, thereby suppressing Canadian wages in the interests of helping corporations.

Apart from this clumsy fiasco, the Harperites have been adroit at keeping their anti-worker bias under the radar. Instead, they’ve directed their attacks against unions, portraying them as undemocratic organizations run by “union bosses” who ignore the interests of ordinary workers.


G&M – Harper cites civic pride in defending ‘economic action plan’ ads
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is justifying the more than $100 million his  government has spent on economic advertising by pointing to Canadians’  confidence in the economy. Taxpayer-funded government ads are supposed to inform citizens about programs and services, according to Treasury Board guidelines.

Guelph Mercury – Temporary foreign worker program could be distorting labour market needs: report
Canada’s temporary foreign worker program was under renewed scrutiny Tuesday, as a new report suggested the increasingly controversial system “could be distorting” the natural supply and demand of the country’s labour market.

The study from the University of Calgary’s school of public policy suggests Canada isn’t facing a wide-scale labour shortage, but rather is experiencing a “serious mismatch” between the skills of its residents and the demands of the labour market.

CBC – Temporary foreign workers hired in areas with EI claimants
The minister responsible for the temporary foreign worker program was told last year that employers were hiring temporary foreign workers in the same jobs and same locations as Canadians who were collecting employment insurance, CBC News has learned.

On May 29, 2012, the deputy minister for Human Resources and Skills Development Canada wrote a briefing note to the minister, Diane Finley, which cited four examples in which there was deemed to be a “disconnect” between the temporary foreign worker and employment insurance programs.

One example cited in the briefing note revealed that “in January 2012, Albertan employers received positive confirmation for 1,261 TFW (Temporary Foreign Worker) positions for food counter attendants. At the same time, nearly 350 people made a claim for EI who had cited significant experience in the same occupation and province.“


G&M – Scientists find new obstacles to freshwater research base
Scientists who study the effects of pollutants on fresh water say they are being barred from the Experimental Lakes Area and their work is in jeopardy despite Ontario’s promise to put up money to keep it operating.

The federal Conservative government stopped most scientists from entering the world-renowned freshwater research station in northwestern Ontario at the beginning of April, saying the ELA no longer fits with the mandate of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

CBC.ca- Canada drops out of race to tap methane hydrates
Canada is abandoning a 15-year program that was researching ways to tap a potentially revolutionary energy source, just as Japan is starting to use the results to exploit the new fossil-fuel frontier: methane hydrates…

Despite the success, Canadian federal funding from Natural Resources Canada for research into exploiting methane hydrates was cut as of March 31 — just a couple of weeks after the offshore production tests in Japan. The ministry told CBC News the decision was made in 2012.

Huff Post – National Household Survey That Replaced Long-Form Census Is Unreliable: Experts
Economists and statisticians are skeptical about the accuracy and usefulness of data that begin to trickle in this week from the inaugural 2011 National Household Survey. The Conservative government decided in 2010 that the survey would replace the mandatory long-form census, despite their acknowledgement that the decision was made without consultation, an ensuing outcry over the hasty move, and warnings it would jeopardize the quality of Canadian information.

Canadian Association of University Teachers – Transformation of NRC short-sighted, misguided and unbalanced
“Basic research that forms the core of all scientific advances and innovation is under siege,” warned Turk. “It is disingenuous of Minister Goodyear to suggest that universities will pick up the slack left by the abandonment of basic science at the NRC because his government has drastically cut back funding for fundamental academic research.”


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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