Harper Watch, November 21 to December 2, 2013


iPolitics – What could we do with a Rob Ford in 24 Sussex?
What would have happened if an individual with the political (and recreational) habits of Rob Ford had been not mayor of Toronto, but prime minister of Canada? In other Westminster parliamentary systems, the answer would be simple: Caucus would vote him out, as the UK’s Tory caucus did to Margaret Thatcher in 1990 and Australia’s Liberal and ALP caucuses have done a combined total of six times.

However, unlike these and other Westminster parliamentary states, Canada bears the stamp of a Parliament with no mechanism for caucus to vote out the prime minister.

Toronto Star (Susan Delacourt) – If we abolish Senate, why not the Commons
It’s a website designed to give us a laugh, but askpaulcalandra.com is accidentally revealing the broken state of things on Parliament Hill as this scandal-filled year in politics draws to a close.

In case you haven’t seen it, the website is pretty simple comedy. You merely have to type in a question, click a button, and you receive a recording of Paul Calandra, the prime minister’s parliamentary secretary, talking about something totally off-topic.

Ottawa Citizen – Stephen Harper puts Conservatives in a bind
(The author is is a Conservative communications consultant who has worked for cabinet ministers Lawrence Cannon and Peter Kent and was a board member of a Quebec Conservative Riding Association.)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has long employed the cynical strategy of total denial when faced with controversy, disregarding the public’s right to the truth.

He knows the public will never follow the minutiae of events. As long as solidarity is maintained, Harper can ride out any storm by claiming it is just more partisan noise. Only we Conservatives have the power to break that solidarity, and take away Harper’s trump card. It’s time to demonstrate that Conservatives care about ethics and ultimately, checks on that corrupting influence of power.

Toronto Star (Tim Harper) – Stephen Harper’s self-styled bagman survives scandal
If you are looking for answers in an attempt to tamper with an audit, don’t look to the Senate. Conservative senators made sure of that. …. It seemed everyone was in the Senate committee room to hear some answers, except, of course, the two men who could have provided the definitive answers, Gerstein and his Deloitte managing partner buddy, Michael Runia.

iPolitics (Andrew Mitrovica) – What’s the going rate for an MP’s self-respect?
I had thought, foolishly, that few in the Conservative caucus could rival the frankly repellent Pierre Poilievre in contorting the truth as the party’s rabidly obedient question period attack mutt. I was wrong.

Calandra has slipped into Poilievre’s soiled spot as Parliament’s propagandist-in-chief with such apparent ease, enthusiasm and droning monotony that he has made his predecessor sound coarsely eloquent. I didn’t think that was even remotely possible.

National Post (Michael Den Tandt) – Michael Den Tandt: Trudeau’s hopes get an assist from his opponents
(Excellent commentary and lots of great reader comments to this article.)
Conservative tactics in the House of Commons – essentially to never apologize, never explain, rarely answer and always attack, while routinely misrepresenting opponents’ positions – have gone from bad to worse in the new session. The odious practice of routinely using omnibus legislation to ram unrelated measures through parliament, which drew so much fire in 2012, continues apace with Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s “cyber-bullying” bill.

CTV – Complaint filed against ex-PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin over Wright-Duffy deal
A University of Ottawa law professor has filed a complaint against the prime minister’s former lawyer, who allegedly helped broker a secret deal between Nigel Wright and Sen. Mike Duffy, CTV News has learned.  Amir Attaran filed a complaint against Benjamin Perrin, who used to work in the Prime Minister’s Office, and Duffy’s lawyer Janice Payne with the law societies of British Columbia and Ontario.

Attaran claims that both lawyers “violated the ethics of the profession” for their alleged roles in the secret deal that saw Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, give a $90,000 cheque to Duffy to cover the senator’s ineligible expenses.

Toronto Star (Tim Harper) -The Senate Tory who stood up to the PMO bullies
It speaks volumes about Conservative ethics in 2013 that ground was all but being cleared Thursday for a monument to a previously unknown party operative named Chris Montgomery. Montgomery is the guy who tried to stand up to the bullies in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office and their Senate operatives as they sought to put a lid on the Mike Duffy affair…..

According to his testimony to police investigators, he told Rogers and Woodcock that they should not be involved in the Senate audit and reports regarding Duffy and that he had never, in seven years working in the Senate, ever seen the PMO attend meetings and insist on the wording of a Senate report. He argued that senators make the final decision on how their reports are worded.

Halifax Chronicle – The real solution is to get rid of Harper. It’s time to say so.
He’s just jigged health-care transfers to give a billion dollars more to Alberta, which doesn’t need it, and to take from places like Nova Scotia in particular. Cuts to other things indicate his “solution” for us: drive as many people as possible to the tar sands. The real solution is to get rid of Harper. It’s time to say so.

Or the federal opposition parties. It’s fine to hone in on the wounded Harper. However, the time has come to start talking about how they’d repair the damage already done — the census, the trashed laws, foreign policy, economic policy overly torqued to resources, etc.


G&M (Gerald Caplan) – The Conservatives’ treatment of veterans is hypocritical
If the politics of contempt is the hallmark of Stephen Harper’s governing style – for Parliament, for accountability, for critics, for science, for journalists – nothing is more shameful than its contempt for Canada’s veterans. It’s not merely that vets have won the right to so much better. It’s also the flat-out hypocrisy, the unbridgeable chasm between the Harper government’s rapturous rhetoric and its actual policies.

HuffPost (Carolyn Bennett) – Written Proof Harper Doesn’t Care About Aboriginal Education
We now know the Conservatives’ refusal to fund First Nations students attending school on reserves at the same level as their provincial counterparts is coming straight from the top. An internal PMO memo released as part of the ITO suggested language to the Prime Minister to reprimand the Conservative Leader in the Senate for not having better control over Senators and the work of Senate Committees. The memo specifically uses a Senate report calling on the government to “invest heavily in Aboriginal education” as an example of a failure to ensure “Government messaging and direction are followed.”

iPolitics (Steve Sullivan) – Billions for prisons, nickels for victims
(The author was appointed as Victims of Crimes Ombudsman by Stephen Harper but fired because his viewsm, based on extensive experience did not jive with Conservative ideology and propaganda.)
Both ministers — in fact, the entire federal government — should be worried if prisons are becoming so violent that it is undermining rehabilitative efforts. Instead, they try to connect it back to victims’ rights. But there is nothing at all in Mr. Sapers’ report which should give anyone concerned about victims of crime any comfort. In fact, we should be more worried than ever about the innocent people who will be victimized when those prison doors open — and people living in those conditions move back into our neighbourhoods.

Calgary Herald – Former Canadian arms negotiator blasts Ottawa’s cluster bomb bill
Canada’s former chief negotiator of the Convention on Cluster Munitions says the Harper government is betraying the trust of other countries by inserting a controversial clause in the treaty’s ratification bill.

Earl Turcotte, who quit the federal public service in protest over the issue, levels the allegation in a written submission to the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, which is holding hearings on the bill.

Bill C-6 faces widespread international condemnation, including from the normally neutral International Committee of the Red Cross, because of a clause that would allow the Canadian Forces to be involved in the use of cluster bombs in joint operations with non-treaty signatories such as the United States.

CBC – New Snowden docs show U.S. spied during G20 in Toronto
Surveillance during 2010 summit ‘closely co-ordinated with Canadian partner’ CSEC
The briefing notes, stamped “Top Secret,” show the U.S. turned its Ottawa embassy into a security command post during a six-day spying operation by the National Security Agency while U.S. President Barack Obama and 25 other foreign heads of government were on Canadian soil in June of 2010.

The covert U.S. operation was no secret to Canadian authorities.  An NSA briefing note describes the American agency’s operational plans at the Toronto summit meeting and notes they were “closely co-ordinated with the Canadian partner.”


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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