BIG LIE IN THRONE SPEECH
Did you catch this BIG LIE in the throne speech: “Even before the recession hit, our Government was prepared. It maintained budget surpluses and paid down billions from the national debt. It lowered taxes for Canadians and job-creating businesses.”
Honest, its right in there, 3rd paragraph under item 1. Creating Jobs and Opportunities for Canadians. http://globalnews.ca/news/906578/full-text-throne-speech-2013/
FACT: The Conservatives started turning a $13 billion surplus into a deficit before the recession even started! They’ve never had a balanced budget. How can you claim to pay down the debt when you don’t have a balanced budget? If they paid anything it would have been from the $13 billion the Liberals left them.
I wonder if this is another Harper first in Canadian history; a lie in a throne speech about an easily verifiable fact.
COMMENTARY ON THE THRONE SPEECH
CBC (Greg Weston) – This throne speech won’t succeed in changing the channel
While the Harper government is spending over $1 billion on a grandiose new headquarters for a spy agency, it is promising to freeze the federal budget and turn the screws on the rest of the public service.
The budget freeze was one of the few newsworthy promises outlined in Wednesday’s throne speech, and alone will force the government to slash jobs and services. That is on top of the almost $20 billion of cuts already announced.
iPolitics (Tasha Kheiriddin) -Who will pay for Harper’s shopper-friendly agenda?
(Good article. Tasha explains how the Conservatives have painted themselves into a corner with their consumer friendly agenda and their promise to balance the budget.)
The throne speech is out, and the middle class is in. The Conservatives are courting that demographic with all they’ve got: balanced budget legislation, job grants and free trade deals designed to create employment, “greater tax relief for Canadian families” once the budget is balanced, and a ‘Consumers First’ agenda of reduced roaming fees, pick-and-pay cable, and price parity between identical U.S. and Canadian goods.
Toronto Star (Tim Harper) – Stephen Harper muscles into the crowded battle for middle-class votes
What the Conservatives seek to do Wednesday is to reach the disaffected, disengaged voter, the potential supporter who doesn’t have time to study trade deals, pipeline plans and aboriginal education but knows how much they pay for their cable package.
It is the ultimate move in treating voters as shoppers as outlined in colleague Susan Delacourt’s book, Shopping for Votes.
It is also necessary because much of what this government would like to announce just can’t be done right now, no matter how long it prorogued Parliament.
Ottawa Citizen (Michael Den Tandt) Stephen Harper’s new leaf looks much like his old leaf
These two scandals together have rocked the Tory brand like nothing since they first won power in 2006. They face a tougher opposition than ever before. They bear the burdens of any government on the downslope of a decade in power. So their strategy is to … ignore the problem?
But that is the approach, astonishingly, to every area in which the Conservatives have been hit hard this past year. Procurement, source of last winter’s F-35 imbroglio? The throne speech contained a half-baked promise to ensure purchases of military gear would lead to jobs, jobs, jobs. Climate change? Never mind Obama, Keystone XL and all that nonsense. There was zilch, beyond the usual vague pledges to work with the provinces on reducing emissions. Even the much-leaked and heralded consumer commitments were surprisingly unambitious. Promising to unbundle cable TV is not, in and of itself, a consumerist agenda; it is a sop, the equivalent of killing the penny.
FINALLY, THE MEDIA IS FIGHTING BACK FOR BEING SHUT OUT
G&M – Tories decry ‘new low’ for media after standoff over reporters’ access to Harper speech
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced cameras would be welcome inside Wednesday morning’s speech, but not reporters. In the past, both had. And the PMO has clashed recently with people trying to ask questions. One CTV cameraman was reportedly nearly banned from an overseas trip after shouting an impromptu question during one Harper event, while during the summer the RCMP whisked away a reporter who tried to seize a microphone during Mr. Harper’s Northern trip to ask a question.
On Wednesday, some TV stations refused to send in cameras without reporters. Most other media, including newspapers, were never offered the chance to come in at all – and therefore never given any opportunity to cover the speech live, much less boycott it.
iPolitics (Michael Harris) – Rickford defends the indefensible, ends up awash in applesauce
Greg Rickford, the PM’s choice for Minister of State for Science and Technology, wrote a letter to iPolitics last week. It was in response to a column I published on this site on October 6 — Harper’s Greatest Hits: the Science of Fundraising. It was not a fan letter.
The Tyee – Canada drops to 20th spot in world press freedom index
Canadian press freedom has fallen from 10th in the world to 20th, according to a new report from Reporters Without Borders. As a result, Jamaica now has the highest press freedom in the Americas.
“Canada, on the other hand, fell 10 positions to 20th, losing its status as the western hemisphere’s leader to Jamaica (13th). This was due to obstruction of journalists during the so-called ‘Maple Spring’ movement and to continuing threats to the confidentiality of journalists’ sources and internet users’ personal data, in particular, from the C-30 bill on cyber-crime.”
Fort McMurray Today – Nearly 300 contractors replaced with temporary foreign workers
After witnessing several foreign workers operate equipment unsafely or wander into restricted areas without protective gear, Fougere says his concerns about the qualifications of the temporary foreign workers fell on deaf ears.
“Just to get through the door, we need certificates and licences up the ying yang like Red Seal certification. It let’s them know that as Canadians, we’re all qualified to the standards,” he says. “These guys coming in, how the hell can they get in without our qualifications? Or how do we know how good their qualifications from other countries are?”
iPolitics – What’s wrong with income-splitting? Nothing — if you’re wealthy
Tellingly, the Conservative approach to income-splitting would provide no benefit at all to single-parent families — despite the fact that more than a quarter (28 per cent) of all children live in families headed by a single parent. Nor would there be any benefit at all to families where both partners work and have incomes below $43,561, and are thus both taxed at the same 15 per cent rate.
Huff Post – Governor General David Johnston Flying To China To Promote Investment
(Since when does the role of Governor General include lobbying for the government?)
Gov. Gen. David Johnston will serve as the sharp end of a political stick that the Harper government is pointing at China this coming week, amid renewed concern that Chinese investment in Canada is drying up.
Within hours of delivering Wednesday’s throne speech in Ottawa, Johnston will be on a plane bound for the People’s Republic for his first official visit as Governor General. He’s been there about a dozen times already in a long academic career that predated his arrival at Rideau Hall.
Toronto Star – Harper’s war on science continues with a vengeance
Harper’s true agenda, pretty much all along, has been to dismantle the government’s great traditions of natural science and environmental stewardship, which until recently made Canada a world leader in both fields. This is a government waging a quiet legislative and administrative war on science — especially those fields of science dedicated to gathering and analyzing data on the health of Canada’s natural environment — and it has undone a century of good work with alarming efficiency since the passage of its sweeping omnibus budget bill in June 2012. Whatever is in this week’s throne speech, that budget remains the government’s most forceful statement of intent and clearest articulation of its overarching agenda.
Global News – Federal budget watchdog office loses key member – to former watchdog Kevin Page
Sahir Khan, an assistant PBO who worked at the office since its inception in 2008, joined Page this week as a senior fellow at the university. He leaves amid criticism that the Conservative government worked to dilute the office after Page by appointing someone with no experience in developing or analyzing budgets.
Ottawa Citizen – Veterans Call For Resignation of Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino For Comparing Soldiers To Firefighters and Police In The Trenches
Veterans across the country are calling for the immediate removal of Julian Fantino as Minister of Veterans Affairs and the immediate withdrawal of Government’s frivolous appeal of the New Veterans Charter lawsuit so the courts can determine veterans right’s free of partisan party politics.
In a recent interview on CKNW’s Bill Good Show, Minister Fantino said: “…not every veteran is at the same level of service to country…” he also said “…I spent 40 years in law enforcement, I too have served. I’ve been in the trenches and heard the guns go off. I guess I can also put myself and other colleagues, firefighters and other police officers who put themselves in harms way every day in the same category…”