Harper Watch – July 16 to 21, 2013

CTV is reporting that the RCMP has asked the Prime Minister’s Office for an e-mail showing key parts of the $90,000 deal between Senator Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Harper’s former chief of staff. Incredibly, the PMO is simply refusing the hand the email over to the police.1

Robert Fife, CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief, has reported that the RCMP is hoping the PMO will “voluntarily” provide the evidence.   Click here to sign Lead Now Action


Reversing the flow in Enbridge Line 9.  Great idea.  Moving tarsands dilbit in 35 year old pipe designed for light crude, not so much.   VIDEO – 4 minutes on the problem with Line 9.


CBC – EI whistleblower suspended without pay
A federal fraud investigator has been suspended without pay, after she leaked documents showing that investigators had to cut people off their employment insurance benefits in order to meet quotas.

Sylvie Therrien told CBC News that she and other investigators were given a target to recover nearly $500,000 in EI benefits every year. “It just was against my values, harassing claimants… trying to penalize them in order to save money for the government. We had quotas to meet every month,” Therrien said.

 CTV – PMO withholding email about Wright-Duffy deal from RCMP: sources
The Prime Minister’s Office has been withholding from the RCMP an email about the $90,000 cheque Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff wrote to Sen. Mike Duffy, CTV News has learned.

RCMP investigators have been trying to obtain the email ever since CTV News first revealed its existence two months ago.  The prime minister’s communications director, Andrew MacDougall, confirmed that the email exists.

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”.


G&M – Shuffle further frays Harper’s ties with backbench, says former Tory who quit party
Stephen Harper’s cabinet shuffle will only further strain ties with disgruntled backbenchers, former Conservative Brent Rathgeber says.

The Independent Alberta MP had held out hope that his high-profile departure from caucus last month might somehow influence the changes in the government’s front bench. In particular, he said a new House Leader would help mend ties between the cabinet and the rest of the Conservative MPs. Instead, House Leader Peter Van Loan kept his job – and that won’t lift the spirits of the Conservative caucus, Mr. Rathgeber said.

MORE here on Mr. Rathgeber’s blog:

Vancouver Observer – Peter Kent criticizes Harper’s ‘enemy’ list, drawing comparison to Nixon era
Former environment minister Peter Kent said Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s alleged request for an “enemy” list reminded him of former U.S. president Richard Nixon, who was revealed to have had an “enemies list” during the Watergate scandal…… He said while it made sense for new ministers to be briefed on certain names and organizations, the language surrounding it was “juvenile”.


Winnipeg Free Press – Eye-popping Tory riding war chests raise eyebrows
The refusal of Conservative riding associations to explain how they spend millions in taxpayer-subsidized cash raises suspicions they’re putting the money to questionable uses, Liberal deputy leader Ralph Goodale says.

Goodale said he can’t fathom how Tory riding associations have racked up eye-popping expenses, such as the nearly $70,000 in “travel and hospitality” reported by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s Whitby-Oshawa association last year.


iPolitics (Tasha Kheiriddin) – What Lisa Raitt should have said in Lac Megantic
(Damning commentary from a Conservative journalist.)
Watching newly-minted Transport Minister Lisa Raitt’s press conference in Lac Megantic was painful….. Whoever in the Tory brain trust thought up Wednesday’s strategy and lines should get a primer in disaster management, and fast. Tearful residents of the devastated town wanted action, not words, and they got nothing. With the provincial government already committing $60 million and cutting $1,000 cheques, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is letting Parti Quebecois Premier Pauline Marois play the good fairy, while Raitt comes across as the stingy aunt.

National Post (Andrew Coyne) – You will be shocked(!) to see who is on Stephen Harper’s full ‘enemy’ list
(Great tongue in check article by Andrew Coyne.  None of the usual “balance” in this piece, just the plain truth.)
Like many of you, I was shocked to hear that a member of the Prime Minister’s Office had sent an email asking staff in other ministers’ offices to compile lists of “enemy stakeholders.”

This did not sound like the discreet, professional Prime Minister’s Office with which I think we are all familiar. Just the risk of such an email coming to light made it impossible to believe any member of the current PMO was involved.

CTV  (Don Martin) – The PMO’s revolving door: Why Harper has a staffing problem
The Prime Minister has a staffing problem: Stephen Harper has trouble keeping them.

The soundtrack of the PMO is the combination of boxes being packed and the whirling noise of a revolving door as barely-started staff move on, voluntarily or otherwise.  The latest to be reassigned from the overheated PMO kitchen is one Chris Woodcock. Never heard of him? Me neither. He was head of issues management which, coupled with communications, represents PMO Control Freak Central.

iPolitics (Lawrence Martin) – Is Harperland our Nixonland?
I sometimes get questions about how Harperland stacks up to Nixonland. People cite the secrecy, the abuse of power, the bludgeoning of opponents, the attempts to subvert the democratic system and much more. These days their dirty work is capturing more public attention because of the glut of revelations. We’ve learned of the Senate expenses scandal wherein a secret pay-out came from the prime minister’s chief of staff to get a senator out of trouble. We’ve learned of dirty tricks such as Conservatives’ use of their paid party interns to disrupt a Justin Trudeau rally.

Toronto Star (Susan Delacourt) – Conservative enemies’ lists hardly normal political business
“Creepy” was one of the words used this week to describe the existence of those enemy lists inserted into the briefing binders of new ministers in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.

Here’s something potentially creepier, however. What if the government kept its list of friends and enemies on a huge, computer database, with names, addresses and personal information about millions of Canadians? And what if you had no right at all to see how you were listed?

G&M (Gerald Caplan) – The privileges of power: a look at Edward Burkhardt and Stephen Harper
Prime Minister Harper is the other powerhouse who showed last week that he knows he can get away with just about anything. First, he named Pierre Poilievre as his new Minister of State for Democratic Reform, an oxymoron by any standard. Globe columnist Lawrence Martin describes Poilievre as “one of [Harper’s] most belligerent, thuggish, MPs”. Next to the Prime Minister himself, with his obsession about “enemies”, no member of this government has demonstrated contempt for the spirit of democracy more than Mr. Poilievre. As Lawrence Martin wrote, this was one of Mr. Harper’s well-known “in-your-face moves.”

Second, Mr. Harper appointed to the sensitive post of Canadian ambassador to Jordan (with responsibility to Iraq) one Bruno Saccomani, who until that moment was his bodyguard, or, more formally, the RCMP man who headed his security team.

It is surely not too much to expect a Canadian ambassador to know something about the complex world of diplomacy and all that entails. And if you’re being assigned to be our country’s chief representative in two turbulent countries in a dangerously volatile region, shouldn’t you have a soupcon of background in the area? Or is that just me?


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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