Rabble.ca (Gerald Caplan) – Know your government
(Thanks to Gerry Caplan for giving Harper Watch honourable mention in his Rabble article!)
Even a prophet couldn’t know as much about Prime Minister Harper and his co-conspirators as we do today, thanks to various post-biblical technologies. I myself am the consumer of a veritable cornucopia of reliable information on this subject, and it’s only fair I share some of my best sources with concerned fellow citizens. After all, the more you know, the more alarmed you’ll invariably become, and the more likely you are to join the resistance.
Winnipeg Free Press – Harper loses fifth caucus member, this time over election spending
Prime Minister Stephen Harper lost his fifth caucus member of the year to scandal, after his former right-hand man in the House of Commons was charged Thursday with improper election spending.
The Commissioner of Canada Elections laid four charges against Ontario MP Dean Del Mastro under the Canada Elections Act. Shortly afterward, the prime minister’s office said he “was no longer a member of the Conservative caucus.”
Hill Times – MP Del Mastro faces four charges of allegedly exceeding 2008 campaign spending, out of Conservative caucus
Elections Commissioner Yves Cote announced the laying of charges against Mr. Del Mastro and his official campaign agent, Richard McCarthy, with willfully spending more than he was allowed under the Canada Elections Act in the 2008 election campaign, failing to report a contribution of more than $21,000, failing to report an election expense of $21,000 and reporting instead an expense of only $1,575, which Mr. Del Mastro and Mr. McCarthy knew or should have known was false and misleading.
(Penashue, Del Mastro down but what about for Ontario Provincial Police Chief Julian Fantino? His case looks a lot worse actually. See here.)
Huffington Post (Ralph Goodale) – Think Harper Doesn’t Raise Taxes? That’s What He Wants You to Think
With respect to debt reduction, Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio is also about where it was in 2006 (around 34 per cent). Mr. Harper has no progress to report. Indeed, his government is adding $169-billion in new Conservative debt — driving the accumulated total to an all-time record high at $627-billion. His earlier target for significantly reducing his debt-ratio has been postponed for eight years, until 2021.
On the issue of balanced budgets, the Harper record is laughable. He inherited a decade of surpluses from his Liberal predecessors and surfed on that momentum for a couple of years, while over-spending by three-times the rate of inflation and undermining safeguards in the budget-making process designed to protect against adverse events. By 2008, Mr. Harper had squandered Canada’s hard-earned fiscal security, creating a deficit again BEFORE the recession that arrived later that year.
CONTINUING EMBARRASSMENT ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE
Huffington Post (Bob Rae) – Harper’s Megaphone Policy Has Made Canada a Right-Wing Gas Bag
Imagine if we had diplomats who were allowed to explain to Canadians what is happening. And imagine if the Prime Minister actually picked up the phone and asked for their opinion and advice.
Imagine if our political intelligence on Iran allowed us to separate the rhetoric from the reality, to understand the differences in the complex theocracy – the impacts of the sanctions, the pressures to ease the economic pain.
G&M – Canada pushed to sign UN arms trade treaty after reports of U.S. support
Canada is facing renewed pressure to join a landmark United Nations treaty that regulates the lucrative arms trade after reports that the United States is signing on.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will sign the Arms Trade Treaty on Wednesday during the United Nations General Assembly.
“If properly done, an arms trade treaty can help limit the worldwide trade in illicit arms,” he said. “At the same time, it is important that such a treaty not affect lawful and responsible firearms owners nor discourage the transfer of firearms for recreational uses such as sport shooting and hunting.”
G&M – (Gerald Caplan) – On Syria, Canada’s politicians say the darnedest things
Mr. Baird has also added his own particular reality to that favored by his boss. He’s confident Canadians will be outraged when they see “25,000 children, men and women foaming at the mouth, their nerves jerking as their lungs dissolved?… where did 25,000 come from? Search as I might, I could find no evidence for this claim. It seems to have no basis in fact. Even overwrought U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who delivered himself of the absurd assertion that Mr. Assad’s chemicals had killed 1,429 Syrians, including at least 426 children – as if anyone could possibly acquire such precise data – has never thrown around that 25,000 figure.
BULLYING LABOUR, SCIENTISTS AND PUBLIC SERVANTS
Ottawa Citizen – Foreign service workers reach tentative agreement with federal government
(Harper government rapped by Labour Relations Board for not bargaining in good faith. Strike cost the Canadian economy $1 BILLION. Cost of the settlement, $.2.5 million over life of the contract. Now that’s good financial management.)
The two sides reached an agreement after highly secretive talks this week to resolve the often acrimonious six-month strike, which is estimated to have cost the Canadian economy, particularly the tourism industry and universities, close to $1 billion….
The compromise the two parties finally reached is worth about $2.5 million over the life of the contract, $1.7 million less than a proposal the union said would wipe out the wage gap….
The Public Service Labour Relations Board rapped the government for bargaining in bad faith in a ruling that will set a precedent for future complaints involving the duty to bargain in good faith. In addition, another ruling on the union’s use of the department’s email system to e-picket sets new boundaries for unions using electronic job action.
Postmedia – New York Times criticizes Harper government’s alleged muzzling of scientists
The New York Times editorial board is taking the Harper government to task for allegedly silencing publicly funded scientists, a strategy the Times says is designed to ensure oilsands production proceeds quietly.
The strongly worded Sunday editorial comes as the PR fight over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is heating up, with U.S. President Barack Obama yet to make a decision on whether to approve the project that would transport bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to the U.S. Gulf Coast……“This is more than an attack on academic freedom. It is an attempt to guarantee public ignorance.”
Huffington Post – Suzanne Legault, Canada’s Info Czar, Warns Against Federal Government’s New Obstructive Tactics
Canada’s information watchdog is rebuking federal officials for dubious new tactics to thwart the freedom-of-information law.
In a closed-door session with dozens of bureaucrats Thursday, Suzanne Legault cited a series of novel measures she says are damaging an already tottering system.
FREE TRADE AND FREE RIDE FOR CORPORATIONS
Financial Post (Diane Francis) – Canada-China trade deal is too one-sided
(This is an old article but worth reposting because neither the source nor the writer can be accused of being left wing.)
I am a free enterpriser, a free trader, a small “c” conservative and an experienced business person and believe this agreement represents a naïve, shocking lapse in judgment.
There is not a single gain for Canada here whatsoever: No market access, no reciprocity, zero rights for our investors there. China Inc. Gets everything.
Obviously, this deal would never have happened in Europe or the U.S. and Canadians must demand the same national protection. This deal must be overhauled or, better yet, shredded. The provincial governments must challenge this in the Supreme Court.
iPolitics (Michael Harris) – Harper’s sudden change of strategy needed to woo B.C. natives on pipeline
So now Stephen Harper needs the Indians. It seems everybody does these days — for all the wrong reasons.
According to sources who have seen Harper consultant Doug Eyford’s confidential report, Stephen Harper’s bureaucrats have not done him any favours in moving the Northern Gateway file forward. Eyford told the PM that genuine engagement with First Nations is the only path left. For a variety of reasons, selling the pipeline to First Nations leaders is now an unofficial panic situation.