Harper Watch, October 18 to 24, 2013


THE SENATE DRAMA

Canada.com – Transcript of Sen. Mike Duffy’s speech in the Senate chamber on Tuesday
Honourable senators and my friends, especially my colleagues on the other side, today you are facing what I faced in February: Be a team player and go along with the PMO and Senate leadership or stand up and do your constitutional duty. I wish I’d had the courage to say No back in February when this monstrous political scheme was first ordered.

Today, you have an opportunity to stand strong and use your power to restrain the unaccountable power of the PMO. That’s what this Senate’s about — sober second thought, not taking dictation from kids in short pants down the hall.

Canada.com (Michael Den Tandt)  – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s carefully constructed house of cards comes crashing down
So, that’s it then: The Senate expense scandal is now a mortal threat to Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s career, and the future electoral prospects of his Conservative government.  And all it took, astonishingly, was two of the “accused,” Sen. Mike Duffy and Sen. Patrick Brazeau, standing up in the Red Chamber and telling, just for a few minutes apiece, their side of the story….

Monday for the first time, driven by Conservative senators’ move for suspensions without pay, a new narrative began to emerge, from Duffy’s camp. Though not conclusive, it connected the dots in a way that hasn’t happened before. It amounts to this: Duffy had sanction from the party’s highest levels, including then Leader of the Government in the Senate, Marjory LeBreton, and Nigel Wright himself, to submit his expense claims as he did.    Brazeau on Tuesday made similar assertions; everything he did, he said, was above board.

iPolitics (Lawrence Martin) – The Duffy affair: The record speaks volumes
On questions like this — questions about which side to believe — journalism teaches you to check the track record. That record, that pattern of behaviour, often speaks volumes. We might look for a moment at developments — aside from the Duffy affair but thematically not dissimilar — in just the last few weeks. What do they tell us about our governing party? We had, for example, ninety per cent of scientists in a recent survey reporting they had been denied freedom of speech by this government. Even worse was the revelation that close to one quarter of them had been told to exclude or alter scientific information in federal documents.

iPolitics – What the hell was Harper thinking?
After months of accusations, insinuations and mockery, one of the most despised politicians in the country stood up and struck back. As a lifelong political journalist, Duffy must know that when you strike at a king (or a prime minister), you must strike to kill. He has done his considerable best.

However gratifying Tuesday’s events must be to the majority of Canadians who voted for someone other than Harper, they raise one baffling question: How has Stephen Harper flourished for all these years, both as prime minister and before, when his political judgment is patently terrible?

MUZZLING AND BULLYING OF SCIENTISTS, FIRST NATIONS, VETERANS

CBC – Muzzling of federal scientists widespread, survey suggests
Hundreds of federal scientists said in a survey that they had been asked to exclude or alter technical information in government documents for non-scientific reasons, and thousands said they had been prevented from responding to the media or the public.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which commissioned the survey from Environics Research “to gauge the scale and impact of ‘muzzling’ and political interference among federal scientists,” released the results Monday at a news conference. PIPSC represents 60,000 public servants across the country, including 20,000 scientists, in federal departments and agencies, including scientists involved in food and consumer product safety and environmental monitoring.

Toronto Star – Muzzling of scientists subject of ‘unique’ probe by Canada’s information watchdog
(This article is from April 2013.  The results of this probe do not seem to have been release yet.)
Canada’s information watchdog is launching an investigation into the “muzzling” of government scientists, a wide-reaching probe that will cover six different federal departments.

The University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre and the non-partisan Democracy Watch had asked Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault to examine “systematic efforts by the government of Canada to obstruct the right of the media — and through them, the Canadian public — to timely access to government scientists.”

iPolitics – Nothing to see here … move along
The language seemed damning enough. After investigating complaints from Canadians, the Office of the Information Commissioner concluded in its latest report that there has been a “clear deterioration in the access to information system and that indicates that institutions are having difficulty meeting even their basic obligations under the Access to Information Act.”

And what are those basic obligations? Things like “adhering to the legislative deadlines for responding to requests or following proper procedures for taking time extensions.”

Ottawa Citizen – Op-Ed: Heavy-handed response to the Elsipogtog blockade in New Brunswick
(I wonder if it’s a coincidence that the major conflicts with First Nations (Oka, Ipperwash and now Elsipogtog occured under Conservative govern Brian Mulroney, Mike Harris (Ontario) , Stephen Harper and David Alward (New Brunswidk).

The Mi’kmaq people of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, including the Elsipogtog First Nation, have never signed a treaty relinquishing authority to the land on which the Route 134 blockade stands today, or that on which SWN Resources is conducting exploratory testing. They signed a Peace and Friendship Treaty in 1761, which was re-affirmed in 1982 with Canada’s Constitution Act and then again in a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision, but that agreement included no mention of the surrender of any lands.

What the mainstream media did not report about the RCMP raid:  Report from a white “settler” in solidarity with First Nations protest.

Ottawa Citizen – Veteran To Stephen Harper: Dump Fantino…And Don’t Come To Remembrance Day
As a Veteran of peacekeeping, peacemaking, and war I am disinviting you Mr. Prime Minister, and your caucus, from Remembrance Day ceremonies across Canada.  Your continued hostility towards Canada’s Veterans makes you an unwelcome guest.

Mr. Harper you have led a cruel and deliberate campaign of harm against disabled veterans.  Afghan War Veterans that fall under the New Veterans Charter are suing the government in an attempt to regain fair compensation and care.  But your office prefers to waste tax dollars conducting legal delay tactics instead of respecting court decisions.

GENERAL INCOMPETENCE

Rwandan genocide case a blight on record of Canada’s new Supreme Court justice
Justice Nadon’s elevation to the Supreme Court of Canada revives memories of his role once in a case related to the 1994 Rwanda genocide, when Hutu extremists systematically murdered some 800,000 Tutsi civilians. How was Canada involved?

iPolitics – Cable TV? Cell phone bills? Are we kidding?
After seeing my very superficial wish actually granted in this week’s throne speech, I felt a little guilty. I guess what I really meant was: “If I were prime minister, I’d get rid of these stupid bundles and just let people pick the channels they want … after I signed off on a Royal Commission on missing and murdered aboriginal women and accomplished about 300 other things more important than worrying about cable TV bundles.”

LAST LAUGH – THE GREAT FINANCIAL MANAGERS AT WORK

CBC – Conservative campaign database fiasco costs party millions
The Conservative Party of Canada has scrapped a multi-million dollar database paid for by money raised through supporter contributions. At least $7 million and perhaps as much as $9 million was used to pay for a  database the Conservative Party was developing to track its supporters and donors. The party is now reverting to its old system, the Conservative Information Management System or CIMS.

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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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