Harper Watch – July 1 to 15, 2013


Ottawa Citizen (Mike De Sousa) – Watchdogs contradict Transport Canada safety oversight claims following Lac-Megantic disaster
Two federal government watchdogs are contradicting some of Transport Canada’s safety oversight claims in the wake of the Lac-Megantic train disaster.
While the auditor general denied it granted extensions on the department’s commitments to improve oversight of the transportation of dangerous products in response to a 2011 audit, the federal budget watchdog has published preliminary figures suggesting that Transport Canada has failed to spend millions of dollars announced last year to promote rail safety, as well as under-spending in budgets promoting safety in the other modes of transportation by air, water and roads.

(NOTE: Go to the article and see the actual numbers at the end.  Astounding!  The only thing this government overspends on is its BS PR.)

Vancouver Sun – Hundreds of millions in foreign aid go unspent, new figures show
Hundreds of millions of dollars set aside to help the world’s poor went unspent in the last fiscal year, new figures from the parliamentary budget office show, prompting fresh concerns about the future of Canadian foreign aid…..

Freezes have been imposed on future projects in Haiti and a number of countries, while projects face long delays for approval in the minister’s office, and development groups say CIDA has not asked for project proposals in more than two years.

The Conservative government announced last year it was cutting $377 million, or about 7.5 per cent, of Canada’s $5 billion aid budget as part of its efforts to slay the deficit.  But analysts say letting hundreds of millions of aid dollars lapse is indicative of incompetence on Fantino’s part — or an intentional effort to reduce aid spending in the hopes no one would notice.


Winnipeg Sun – ‘Royal’ rebranding cost taxpayers more than $1M
(Even the right wing commenters on this Sun Newspaper aren’t impressed.)
Documents obtained by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin through access-to-information requests show that the name-change for the army alone, from Land Force Command to Canadian Army, cost taxpayers $583,000.   Changing the Air Command to the Royal Canadian Air Force snatched roughly $470,000 from the public purse, while switching the Maritime Command to the Royal Canadian Navy cost about $7,000.  The total cost so far for all three adds up to $1.06 million.


Calgary Herald – Ministers’ offices helped plan Canadarm event that snubbed Garneau: documents
Documents show at least two ministers’ offices helped plan a Canadarm event that snubbed Canada’s first astronaut, Marc Garneau, now a Liberal MP.

The May 2 unveiling of a Canadarm display at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum featured dozens of VIPs as guests.  But curiously absent from the guest list was Garneau, who had operated the space arm on two space-shuttle flights and was later made president of Canada’s space agency.  Garneau was miffed at being excluded, blaming the lapse on the “highly partisan” Conservative government.

Global News – Ministerial staff asked to develop blacklists in lead-up to shuffle: source
In the lead-up to Monday’s cabinet shuffle, ministerial staffers were asked  to develop lists of troublesome bureaucrats and “enemy” stakeholders, Global News has learned.  The information was to be included in a transition binder traditionally prepared for incoming ministers.

Global News has obtained a July 4 email written by Erica Furtado, an executive assistant with issues management in the Prime Minister’s Office, with the subject line “Transition Binder Check List”.

Toronto Star – Let’s end the nasty fight on refugee health care
It is a serious matter when a Minister of the Crown is in deep conflict with the health professions of Canada. Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, has engaged in an ongoing and increasingly nasty fight with doctors since May of 2012, shortly after cuts to health care for refugee claimants and privately sponsored refugees under the Interim Federal Health Program were announced that April.

Kenney initiated the fray by publicly naming and accusing Dr. Mark Tyndall (chief of infectious diseases at the Ottawa Hospital), a critic of the cuts, of “political grandstanding and irresponsible rhetoric.”


CBC – Glover’s staff repaid some salary amid election questions
(Anyone want to bet that Nigel Wright reimbursed the two staffers who paid back part of their salary to keep the Shelley Glover campaign within Elections Canada spending limits.)
Two staffers from Conservative MP Shelly Glover’s office returned part of their campaign salaries after Elections Canada asked for changes that would have put the campaign over its spending limit, documents show.

Records released from Elections Canada show Patricia Rondeau and Lisa Rowson had been paid salaries “based on [the] regular MP staff pay rate” for work they did for the Manitoba MP during the 2011 election campaign. A government of Canada directory says Rondeau is currently Glover’s constituency assistant in Ottawa, and Rowson is currently her executive assistant.


Ottawa Citizen – Human rights groups sound alarm over Diab extradition evidence
Amnesty International and two of Canada’s leading civil liberties groups have intervened in the extradition case of former Ottawa university professor Hassan Diab, who is wanted by France for his alleged involvement in a 1980 terrorist bombing at a Paris synagogue.

Along with Amnesty, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association have filed interventions with the Ontario Court of Appeal, which is to hear Diab’s appeal against federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s decision to order the academic’s extradition. The hearing is set for November.

Background information on this shocking case.


Toronto Star (Thomas Walkom) – Mike Duffy Senate scandal inches closer to Stephen Harper
We already knew that Nigel Wright, Harper’s former chief of staff, gave Sen. Mike Duffy $90,172 to repay dubious housing expenses. Now, courtesy of court documents filed by the RCMP and released Thursday, we know this was more than an act of misguided charity.

We had been told initially that Wright demanded nothing from Duffy in return for the $90,172 cheque. We now know that this wasn’t exactly accurate. Wright, according to the Mounties, told Duffy that if he wanted the money he had to keep his mouth shut.

Torstar – Will Corporal Greg Horton take down Stephen Harper?
RCMP Corporal Greg Horton’s quest for the full story on Senator Mike Duffy may be the greatest threat Stephen Harper has ever faced.

On June 24, RCMP Corporal Greg Horton filed an affidavit in Ottawa. It is 28 pages of single-space text, his detailed reasons for requesting a “Production Order” that will give him the full story of Senator Mike Duffy’s public life since late 2008.

It is also the greatest threat that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government have faced, a threat they may not survive.

Toronto Star – Senate scandal: Harper accused of misleading Parliament
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being accused of misleading Parliament — and Canadians — when he said that Nigel Wright, his former chief of staff, acted alone in helping Sen. Mike Duffy pay back  dubious living expenses  .

“Those were his decisions. They were not communicated to me or to members of my office,” Harper told the House of Commons during question period June 5. The statement contradicts what lawyers representing Wright told police late last month, according to a document filed with the Ottawa courthouse by RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton, who is with the Sensitive and International Investigations unit probing allegations of inappropriate living and travel expenses claimed by Duffy, Sen. Mac Harb and Sen. Patrick Brazeau.

iPolitics (Michael Harris) – Stephen Harper is running out of fiction
Stephen Harper is betting the farm that he can save the puppet show that passes for government these days with new puppets.

It won’t work. Everyone knows who pulls the strings, no matter who is offering up the speaking points on television — and the puppet-master himself is not popular these days.

In fact, he is quite unpopular. According to a recent Ipsos-Reid poll, just 30 per cent of Canadians think the Conservatives should be re-elected — the other 70 per cent believe it’s time for a change. It must be dawning on even the most unctuous party lemmings that Harper is leading them towards a Mulroney-esque abyss.

Hill Times – Tory backbenchers missed important step to make PBO independent, says MP Rathgeber
The recently-defeated NDP private member’s bill to give the Parliamentary Budget Office true independence would have been an “important step” to make the office sustainable, says former government backbencher Brent Rathgeber, who recently left the Conservative caucus and who voted for the bill.

The bill was defeated at second reading on June 12, in a vote of 131 for and 148 against. The NDP, Liberals, and Bloc Québécois all voted unanimously in favour of the bill. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.) and former New Democrat Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior North, Ont.) also supported the measure.   Every member of the Conservative caucus in the House voted against it.


Environics – Federal Vote Intentions – Liberals Lead

Poll indicates ongoing Senate scandal may be damaging Conservative brand 


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.
This entry was posted in Harper Watch Newsletter and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Harper Watch – July 1 to 15, 2013

  1. Is that excess money going to be directed into repaying the >$3B that went missing?–Rolf Auer, 16 July 2013

  2. Munroe Scott says:

    I clicked on “like” then thought that I don’t like any of these government actions but I do like — no, admire — your perseverance in cataloguing them for us. May we all remember when the vote comes. .

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