Harper Watch – August 28 to September 12, 2013


Winnpeg Free Press – Former Iran envoy Ken Taylor says Ottawa acting mischievous in diplomats strike
(Typical tacky reaction; the Cons can never let any dissenting opinion go unchallenged.)
…..Taylor’s remarks struck an immediate chord with the Harper government in Ottawa. Minutes after they were published by The Canadian Press, a spokesman for Treasury Board President Tony Clement reiterated the same talking points that Taylor was referring to.

“The Foreign Service is a well paid and highly sought after job. The last Foreign Service recruitment drive saw 9,000 individuals apply for 140 positions,” spokesman Matthew Conway said in an email.

Elizabeth May – Green Party reveals over $100 million federal spending supporting Enbridge tanker plans
The Federal Government is moving forward over the next two years with a $100 million plus, ‘Complementary Measures Project’ (now called ‘World Class’) to research and model the complex waterways in the Kitimat and Hecate Straights region. In essence this is a federal government subsidy to the Northern Gateway Project, as they are unable to satisfy basic safety, environmental and regulatory requirements.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN ROBOFRAUD CASE

Canada.com – Stephen Maher – Party lawyer’s presence in robocall witness interviews may pose problems, lawyers say
The fact that Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton sat in on interviews with key witnesses in the robocalls investigation poses potential problems for the case against Michael Sona, defence lawyers said Tuesday. In sections of court documents made public for the first time on Monday, it was revealed that Hamilton was present for a series of interviews Elections Canada investigators conducted with the witnesses in March and April.

Ottawa defence lawyer Michael Spratt said investigators have good reason to not want lawyers in interviews with witnesses.

“It’s highly unusual,” he said. “That’s almost never seen. Normally witnesses aren’t interviewed in the presence of their lawyer for the very reason that it potentially could contaminate the evidence.”

Lawyers often avoid having multiple clients in the same case to avoid potential conflicts around sharing knowledge between them, which they may be duty-bound to do.

LOTS OF CUTTING OPINION PIECES IN THIS ISSUE

iPolitics (Lawrence Martin)-  Robocalls: Will we ever know what really happened?
Michael Sona is the great exaggerator, a guy who loved tall tales and couldn’t resist the urge when telling people about the alleged use of robocalls to misdirect voters in the 2011 election.

This, at least, is what colleagues of Mr. Sona have told investigators probing the robocalls affair in Guelph and other constituencies across the country.

Strangely — according to this report — Conservative party lawyer Arthur Hamilton was in the room as investigators questioned Sona’s colleagues and prompted them on what to say.

Rabble.ca (Murray Dobbin) – The economy, labour and the 2015 election
One of the strongest motivating factors behind Unifor, and a wide variety of other initiatives now being undertaken, is the desire to rid the country of the Harper government in 2015. If that is indeed a key objective — and it must be — then one of the most important elements of this social unionism needs to be to focus as much attention on the economy as possible…

Take away Harper’s advantage on the economy and he has virtually nothing to use to get beyond his core support of 30 per cent. His agenda is one of dismantling, not building. He is unlikeable. The Senate scandal has hurt him badly. People do not trust him.

Vancouver Sun (Michael Den Tandt) Canada wise to stay on sidelines of U.S. folly
This is the beauty of belonging to the Canada war party in 2013: You can be a charter member without advocating that any Canadian go to war. It’s all about enthusiastically urging the Americans, and perhaps the French and the Turks, to do so because, by God, it’s the right thing to do. But here’s the thing: Jawing aside, in the case of Syria, Ottawa is taking precisely the correct action, which is to say none. This is what hard experience and wisdom, gained at a cost of more than $10 billion and 162 dead in Afghanistan, look like.

iPolitics (Tasha Kheiriddin) -Trudeau is winning the empathy race
The Leger findings follow on the heels of last week’s Harris-Decima poll which showed that Canadians consider Trudeau to be the leader who cares most about Canadians and shares their values. While the same poll found that Stephen Harper is considered the most experienced and competent leader on the economy, Trudeau maintains the highest approval rating, at 54 per cent, compared to 36 per cent for the prime minister. Conversely, 56 per cent give Harper an unfavourable rating, while 31 per cent hold an unfavourable opinion of Trudeau. And 33 per cent say Trudeau would make the best prime minister, compared with 29 per cent for Harper and 14 per cent for Thomas Mulcair.

Hill Times – Tory support collapsing as Liberals make gains with Ontario, ethnic, older voters
The Conservatives are bleeding support from older voters, Ontarians and ethnic Canadians who helped the party win a majority government in 2011, say pollsters, noting Liberals are the ones gaining.

According to Mr. Grénier’s aggregate of recent federal polls, the Liberal Party currently has 36 per cent support across the country, while the Tories and NDP sit at 30 and 23 per cent, respectively. Last week the site pegged support for the Liberals at 39.4 per cent in Ontario—five points ahead of the Conservatives and nearly 20 points ahead of the NDP.

Montreal Gazette (Marc Garneau) –  Harper’s annual photo-op belies string of broken Arctic promises
Since 2006, the Harper Conservatives have made and repeated dozens of promises about protecting Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. Each summer, the prime minister makes a symbolic excursion to the North to trumpet these commitments. While the scope of the Arctic promises the Harper government has made is large, its record of keeping them is not. Not only is this bad governance, but it also makes a mockery of Canada’s commitment to the Arctic.

Toronto Star (Carol Goar) – Harper unwittingly sparks seniors’ revolt
Pensioners across Canada will be sideswiped if Ottawa gives American telecommunications giant Verizon privileged access to the Canadian telecommunications market. Many have a large portion of their savings invested in Bell, Rogers and Telus. ….

Bernard Dussault, former chief actuary of the Canada Pension Plan, issued an analysis calling seniors the forgotten victims of the government’s scheme to intervene in the telecommunications market. “The three wireless incumbents represent a core investment for most Canadian pensions, savings plans, RRSPs, RRIFs and numerous nest eggs,” he wrote, pointing out their market value had dropped by about $15 billion since Aug. 9.

iPolitics (Michael Harris) – MacKay’s credibility gap: pot, meet kettle
(MUST READ article. It struck such a chord with MacKay that he wrote a rebuttal. You’ll love the reader rebuttals to MacKay.)
I began to suspect that Peter MacKay was not Reach for the Top material in 2011. That’s when he told former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that California and British Columbia “shared” a border. He apparently forgot that Oregon and Washington stand between beautiful BC and the Golden State.

That impression deepened last July when MacKay used Bastille Day to tell guests gathered at the French Embassy in Ottawa that during the War of 1812, “had the French not been there fighting side by side, we might be standing here next to each other in a new light.”

iPolitics (David Orchard) – Pot back to kettle: Now it’s David Orchard’s turn
(David Orchard responds to Peter MacKay.)
Justice Minister Peter MacKay recently wrote a letter to iPolitics in response to an August 25 column by Michael Harris. In his letter MacKay comments on the MacKay-Orchard deal that he and I signed May 31, 2003, giving him the leadership of the PC Party……
In response to both: At no time did I ever agree, in writing or any other  way, to allow for merger talks with the Canadian Alliance.

Toronto Star (Editorial) – Centre’s closure a symbol of Canada’s misguided science policy
For more than a decade, at the Centre of the Universe kids learned while looking out into the vastness of deep space that our modest blue planet is not, in fact, the centre of the universe. Now, due to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s industry-oriented redesign of our national science agency, the popular education facility has been senselessly closed. ….  That’s about 1 per cent of what the government spent on advertising the Economic Action Plan last year.

The centre cost $250,000 a year for NRC to operate and probably brought in customers for local businesses as well.   Great job Harper.

iPolitics (Scott Clark and Peter DeVries) – Mr. Harper’s phoney fiscal war
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, on the  other hand, seem to think the real issue for the global economy is still the need for G-20 countries to eliminate deficits and commit to significant reductions in debt burdens. In St. Petersburg they continued to urge other  G-20 countries to adopt Canada’s strategy of deficit reduction and debt control….

Mr. Harper, of course, never actually believed that the G-20 would listen to him, let alone adopt his recommendation to commit to lower debt burdens. Even though he announced another major policy commitment outside of Canada,  he was playing to his domestic audience to hype his credentials as a sound manager of the government’s finances.

Toronto Star (Susan Delacourt) – How will history remember Stephen Harper?
How will Harper’s time in office be marked in the history books?
Not that long ago, a former Progressive Conservative politician (he stressed
the “progressive” part) told me Harper will not be remembered for building
anything, but rather for what he’s dismantled while in power.

Or, as this veteran Conservative put it: “These guys only know how to tear
stuff down.”

 

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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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