Harper Watch, March 14 to March 24, 2014


A new initiative has been launched! www.hchips.ca lists Harper’s crimes as he chips away at Democracy. It also gives you the opportunity to sign up to print your own HChips cards to distribute as far and wide as you can, to help inform Canadians about the many ways in which Harper is changing this country for the worse. Every month, new Chips will be added and tagged for easy reference.  Check it out and spread the word!


National Post – Andrew Coyne: Under Jim Flaherty, budgets ceased to mean much of anything
It is hard to assess Jim Flaherty’s record as Finance minister apart from that of the prime minister he served. Nothing gets done, in this government more than any other, without the prime minister’s approval.
What can be said is that during Flaherty’s term at Finance the distinction became even harder to draw: in a government that politicizes everything, Finance has led the way. Under Flaherty, not only did budgets cease to be budgets — now they are Economic Action Plans — but they ceased to mean much of anything.

Maclean’s – Scott Feschuk: You think Stephen Harper likes this whole power thing?
Everything the Prime Minister does, he does for you. Especially winning elections.The Conservative party has launched a new fundraising campaign as part of a strategy to win next year’s federal election. Let’s read between the lines of the online appeal from its executive director, Dimitri Soudas.

iPolitics – Michael Harris: Harper and the ‘Merchant of Venom’
Before Finkelstein, the word “liberal” was a descriptor with many positive connotations, including tolerance and even enlightenment. After him, “liberal” became the ultimate political pejorative. It was used to brand and dismiss progressives as left-wing loons with dubious values and a bad habit of raising taxes and spending the numbers off the credit card. Never mind that the truth was the exact opposite — Clinton/Bush-wise, that is. But perception, not reality, is what matters.

Liberal MP Wayne Easter’s website – Rant: THE VIEW FROM HERE…. Apparently they are short a soothsayer or two in the Prime Minister’s Office , for nobody seems to have warned Emperor Stevius Harperus about the week he was about to endure. As things turned out , it was one of those weeks that the man who would be the unfettered Emperor of us all , would just as soon forget , with one political disaster after another piling up , one upon the other. It began with the sudden and unexpected resignation of Finance Minister James Flaherty , and the interpretation of some pundits that this political rodent was deserting the good Conservative ship because he was tired of arguing with the Bossman.


CBC News – Veterans don’t have social contract, Ottawa says in lawsuit response
(Out of all the despicable things Harper has done, this, to me is one of the most heinous)
The federal government is arguing it does not have a social contract with veterans in response to a class-action suit brought by veterans upset with the compensation arrangement offered to wounded soldiers under the New Veterans Charter.

Cost of ‘Canada 150’ commemorations comes out of military operations budget
(Because Lord knows, our veterans have no use for more funding)
The cost of six years of military commemorations surrounding Canada’s 150th birthday is to come out of existing Canadian Forces operational budgets. Almost 300 pages of documents obtained by the Liberal party under the Access to Information Act detail something called “Operation Distinction” — a campaign mandated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that will include dozens of events through to the year 2020….. A January 2013 “Planning Directive” from Gen. Tom Lawson, the chief of defence staff, makes it clear the mission comes straight from the top, with input from the Privy Council Office (PCO) that serves the prime minister and cabinet, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the PM himself.

CBC News – 2 soldiers who served in Afghanistan found dead
(No words)
Just as the last Canadian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan returned home today, news emerged that two soldiers took their own lives.
Cpl. Alain Lacasse, 43, was found dead in his home Monday afternoon in Valcartier, Que.
Police said that because Lacasse’s death was a suicide, they are not giving out any details about what took place.
Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) also confirmed that another soldier in Ontario, Master Cpl. Tyson Washburn, was found dead over the weekend.
Washburn, who was from The 1st Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment in Pembroke, Ont. died on Saturday, March 15.
Officials are not releasing any details, but CBC News has learned that Washburn appears to have taken his own life.


The Star – Supreme Court of Canada rejects Marc Nadon
OTTAWA—As Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in the air en route to promote democracy in Ukraine, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a lesson of its own: this is what Canadian constitutional democracy looks like.
The Supreme Court of Canada issued a stinging rejection of Harper’s appointment of Justice Marc Nadon for a Quebec seat on the top bench, saying it was an unconstitutional change to the composition of the Supreme Court of Canada, and required the unanimous approval of Parliament and the provinces.

The Globe and Mail – The Harper government deserves the Supreme Court’s rebuke
The Harper government figured it would teach the Supreme Court justices a lesson by appointing Marc Nadon to their midst. Instead, the justices taught the Harper government a bunch of lessons.
Among the lessons: Don’t play politics with the judiciary. Don’t play fast and loose with the law. Pick the best-qualified, not the average. Understand the Constitution.

Huffington Post – Court Ruling Won’t Sway Health Canada On ‘Narcotic’ Marijuana
Health Canada isn’t backing down after a federal court ruled against the government’s efforts to ban medical marijuana users from growing their own pot.
In the wake of Friday’s court decision, the federal department which runs the medical pot program said it will “review the ruling and consider its options,” but indicated it wants to maintain its current approach.


iPolitics – Jim Flaherty’s legacy of failure
An intrusive, meddling prime minister made Mr. Flaherty’s job very difficult. With greater policy independence and responsibility, Mr. Flaherty’s legacy would have been much stronger — as would the record of the Harper government. So Mr. Flaherty’s policy legacy does not put him in the same league as Mr. Wilson and Mr. Martin.

The Globe and Mail – Flaherty’s legacy? Ideological, reckless and just plain lucky
Where does a prime minister end and a finance minister begin? There is little sunshine between these two positions in any administration, all the more so with the Stephen Harper administration. Nobody is confused about who is boss. So are we judging Mr. Flaherty’s legacy, or Mr. Harper’s?

Maclean’s – 10 charts that sum up the Flaherty years
Jim Flaherty was one of the longest serving federal finance ministers in Canadian history. He also oversaw the public purse during the most volatile economic period in memory.Here are 10 charts that capture the dramatic changes that have occurred since Flaherty was first appointed in 2006.

Press Progress – What’s with all this praise for Jim Flaherty’s record? 
If you listen to the way some pundits are describing Jim Flaherty’s long tenure as Finance Minister – how he used his “steady hand” to “steer Canada through some very challenging times” – you can be forgiven if you thought he paddled a canoe through a hurricane rather than drive a car into a ditch.

iPolitics – The robocalls cloud still hangs over Joe Oliver’s riding
Our new finance minister, Joe Oliver, still has a hurdle to clear. Oliver’s riding of Eglinton-Lawrence is among those being probed by Elections Canada in an investigation of automated robocalls and other alleged illicit activities in the 2011 election campaign. That investigation is scheduled to wind up shortly, with a report to follow soon after.


The Star –  Conservatives keep electoral reform documents secret
OTTAWA—The Conservative government is keeping secret documents prepared for Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre as he drafted the controversial electoral reform bill.
In an unusual move, the Privy Council Office has refused to release all but three pages of a 199-page transition binder prepared for Poilievre when he assumed his cabinet post in July 2013.

CBC News – Election bill sends ‘very poor message’ to budding democracies
Reynolds said democracy advisers face a challenge in trying to persuade new governments to set up independent, autonomous election authorities.
“When a democratic, established democracy in the west like Canada seems to be curtailing its own ability to do that, it sends a very poor message to new countries in the Arab world, in Africa, in Asia, who are attempting to move from authoritarianism to democracy,” he said.


The Star – Star investigation: Millions in taxpayer-funded consulting work kept secret
A Star investigation has found 90 per cent of the $2.4 billion paid out in the past decade comes with no description of the work done — and more than a dozen departments refuse to provide details when pressed.

National Post – Annual cost for Harper’s RCMP security detail has doubled to $19.6 million since he became PM in 2006
RCMP numbers, obtained by the Citizen under access to information legislation, show the annual operating budget of the Prime Minister Protection Detail (PMPD) has increased 122% between 2006 and 2014 — to almost $20 million annually.


CTV News: Shockingly low number of Syrian refugees in Canada despite government’s pledge
“I believe what they offered at the time was because of political pressure,” says Loly Rico, president of the Canadian Council for Refugees, to Kevin Newman Live. Rico is from El Salvador and was a refugee when she came to Canada in 1990. She now works to help people through the process. Part of that political pressure was because other countries were accepting refugees. “They should increase the number of refugees and have a special program.”


Huffington Post – Lawyer Rocco Galati Wonders Why He Had To Clean Up Harper’s ‘Mess’
“I just regret the fact the government can make a subversive mess of our Constitution and it’s got to be private citizens like me — at my own expense, this has cost me a lot of money, my own time, energy and money; I’m not getting any of that back — to clean up what?” said Galati.
“To clean up the mess of the subversive government that doesn’t want to respect the Constitution. Why should a private citizen have to do that, quite frankly?
“If I hadn’t brought the challenge, Justice Nadon would be deciding cases as we speak.”

The Star – Wynne criticizes Harper over lack of leadership on pensions
Repeating her warnings retirees will face a “pension income crisis” as company pensions dwindle or shrink, the premier singled out Stephen Harper for resisting an “obvious” solution by expanding the Canada Pension Plan.
“Not so long ago it seemed that even the recently retired (federal finance minister) Jim Flaherty agreed,” Wynne said in a speech prepared for the Liberal party’s annual Heritage Dinner.
“But Stephen Harper has an ideological aversion to the CPP, so there is no federal leadership in this area.”

CWB Alliance – Grain companies profiting from marketing chaos
The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance (CWBA) has released a one page summary exposing how the private grain trade and the Harper government are misleading the public on who is responsible for the chaos at Canada’s grain ports. “We followed the money” explained Kyle Korneychuk, spokesperson for the CWBA, a prairie wide farm group.  “Our calculations demonstrate the grain companies have taken over $1.6 billion in excess profits from wheat alone so far this crop year.”

Toronto Star – Health Canada charging huge markup on pot
(The Harper government is making a killing overcharging for medical marijuana.  Here comes another law suit.)
The federal government charges patients 15 times more for certified medical marijuana than it pays to buy the weed in bulk from its official supplier, newly released documents show. Critics say it’s unconscionable to charge that high a markup to some of the country’s sickest citizens, who have little income and are often cut off from their medical marijuana supply when they can’t pay their government dope bills…. Victoria-based Vancouver Island Compassion Society is planning a constitutional challenge to the federal medical cannabis program, set to be heard in the British Columbia Supreme Court May 9-18.


The Star – Echoes of Walkerton in Environment Canada cuts
Albert Einstein’s well-known definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is unsettlingly relevant to a new round of federal government cuts. The latest slashing of Environment Canada, which by 2016 will have half the budget it had in 2007, calls to mind a series of deep cuts to environmental protections in Ontario in the late 1990s. Some of the players are even the same, so they cannot reasonably claim to be ignorant of the tragic consequences.


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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