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iPolitics – (Michael Harris) Canadians realize if veterans can get crushed, no one is safe
The final victims of Stephen Harper will turn out to be the members of his own government. The Conservatives are now the 3-D party: delusional, disconnected and doomed. If you want the quintessential Stephen Harper, look no further than last week’s National Day of Honour. Everyone knew it was the Governor General’s job to accept the last Canadian flag that flew in Afghanistan, but hey, why give up the money shot to a mere functionary? So the PM snagged the flag — and then handed it off to the hapless David Johnston, former Commander-in-Chief of Canada. Cute, Steve — but everybody gets it. The whole thing was for you, not the veterans.
Canada.com (Stephen Maher) – Election call centre script raises questions about honesty of Conservatives
(Great to see that Stephen Maher who broke the robocalls story back in 2012 is not letting up on his investigative reporting even if the Yves Coté, the Commissioner of Elections halted the investigation last month due to “lack of evidence”.)
The lawyer for the Conservative party twice gave Elections Canada incorrect information about telephone calls that directed voters to the wrong polling station in the last days of the 2011 federal election. In an email May 1, party lawyer Arthur Hamilton told Elections Canada that Conservative call centre workers were not advising voters that Elections Canada had changed the location of polling stations, and that the party had not advised voters to go to a polling station an hour and a half from their home. But a report released by Elections Canada last month includes a script that shows the party’s callers were telling voters that Elections Canada had changed the location of polling stations, and investigators found one voter who was directed to a polling station 740 kilometres away.
Toronto Star (Editorial) Peter MacKay should heed evidence, not eliminate it
A Canadian Press report last week revealed that in April, $1.2 million was removed from the department’s research budget – 20 per cent of the total. As a result, eight researchers have lost their jobs. The dual purpose of the cut, in the convoluted, vaguely ominous words of Justice Minister Peter MacKay: “To ensure that we bring value to hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars” and that “research is … undertaken to obtain information to support priorities of government.” But if the government wants to reduce the justice budget it ought to heed the evidence, not eliminate it. Since the Conservatives took power in 2006, justice spending has risen by more than 30 per cent, even as the crime rate has continued its steady, two-decade-long, largely demographics-driven decline.
The Star – Stephen Harper must withdraw accusations against chief justice: Editorial
Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to be edging back from his reckless and indefensible attack on the chief justice of Canada’s Supreme Court, Beverley McLachlin. As the Star’s Tonda McCharles reported this past week, he now says he simply didn’t need to speak to McLachlin about a court appointment, rather than rejecting such a conversation as “inappropriate” and “inadvisable.”
What Harper has not yet done – and what he must do without delay – is definitively clear the air of any suggestion that McLachlin acted wrongly by offering her input to the government on issues that might arise in a potential appointment.
As things stand now, the prime minister has called into question the integrity of the chief justice – and then left the allegations hanging in the air for more than two weeks. He has neither defended his suggestions that McLachlin attempted to involve him in improper discussions about court appointments, nor has he clearly withdrawn them.
CCPA – Harper’s Attack on Democracy, Itemized by Lawrence Martin
Lawrence Martin, columnist with the Globe and Mail, has written the best review, so far, of Stephen Harper’s one-man show The Attack On Democracy.
It’s a must-read on the record thus far, particularly by colleagues, friends and family members who might not much like Harper, but like the other options far less.
One can only imagine where he might it next with sufficient popular support.
Originally appearing on the pages of ipolitics,it appears below in full
Read it and vote. After all, we get the democracy we deserve.
iPolitics – Ottawa demands NAFTA body drop investigation into oilsands tailings
(Note that the CEC is a tri-national organization created in connection with NAFTA to address regional environmental concerns.)
Ottawa wants the Commission for Environmental Co-operation to drop its investigation into whether laws are being properly enforced when it comes to oilsands pollution. The CEC asked the federal government in December to respond to allegations that it has failed to enforce provisions in the Fisheries Act by allowing harmful substances to leak from tailings ponds into water sources downstream of mines in northeastern Alberta. But the federal government said in January that process should proceed “no further” because a legal case dealing with the same issue was already underway in provincial court. In April, the CEC said it disagreed with Ottawa’s stance and would press on with its analysis.
The Tyee – IMF Pegs Canada’s Fossil Fuel Subsidies at $34 Billion
While Canada slashes budgets for research, education and public broadcasting, there is one part of our economy that enjoys remarkable support from the Canadian taxpayer: the energy sector. The International Monetary Fund estimates that energy subsidies in Canada top an incredible $34 billion each year in direct support to producers and uncollected tax on externalized costs. These figures are found in the appendix of a major report released last year estimating global energy subsidies at almost $2 trillion. The report estimated that eliminating the subsidies would reduce global carbon emissions by 13 per cent. The stunning statistics specific to this country remain almost completely unreported in Canadian media. In comparison to other countries, Canada provides more subsidies to petroleum as a proportion of government revenue than any developed nation on Earth besides the United States and Luxembourg.
Chronicle Herald – Canada tangles up fisheries talks to score foreign-policy point
But then things start to go wrong. Just as a draft of these guidelines was about to go back to the FAO fisheries committee this coming June, something unexpected and quite shocking happened: one country out of almost 90 member nation states — Canada — torpedoed the whole process at the very last minute. Even more unbelievably, Canada blocked the guidelines, not on the grounds of some fisheries policy position, but because of a completely unrelated political issue. Here’s what happened: A paragraph was inserted into the draft that indicated the protection of the rights of small-scale fisher people includes those in “occupied territories” around the world.
Toronto Star – How the myth of a Canadian skill shortage was shattered(Renounced economist, auditor general, TD Bank, Conference Board of Canada say that the Harper government’s claim of skill shortages that they use to justify the Temporary Foreign Workers Program in BUNK.)
It took nine months of detective work by economists, journalists, social media sleuths and investigators at the Parliamentary Budget Office to solve the mystery of Canada’s missing job vacancies. Last week Auditor General Mike Ferguson made it official: The federal government was using unreliable statistics to support its claim that Canada had plenty of jobs but no workers with the skills to fill them. The first clue that something was wrong came last August. Speaking at a policy conference in Kingston, economist Don Drummond said he had combed Canada’s labour market statistics looking for indications of a serious shortage of skilled workers – which Prime Minister Stephen Harper had called “the biggest challenge our country faces” – and failed to find any credible evidence if a misalignment between the skills of Canadians and the needs of employers.
Toronto Star – Legal community demands Stephen Harper withdraw criticism of Beverley McLachlin
An outraged Canadian legal community is marshalling criticism of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, writing an open letter to him and seeking outside international help to reaffirm the independence of Canada’s top jurist. More than 650 lawyers and law teachers from across Canada released an open letter Tuesday calling on Harper to withdraw his criticism of Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. In apparent expectation that the government will not back down, a second letter from seven top Canadian legal academics asks the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva to investigate what they call the Conservative government’s “unfounded criticisms levelled at the Chief Justice.”
Toronto Star – Stephen Harper changes version of events around phone call by Beverley McLachlin
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has revised his version of events around what he and his office first characterized as an “inappropriate” and “inadvisable” phone call by the country’s top judge over a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Now Harper suggests he foresaw a court challenge and legal issue he previously said “surprised” him and his advisers because it had “never arisen” before. Earlier, Harper had characterized a call by Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin as inappropriate, just as any minister’s call to a judge would be on a case that was before the courts. “The fact of the matter is this,” Harper told the Commons Wednesday. “A matter came before me that I thought was likely to come before the court — the Supreme Court of Canada — based on information that I had. For that reason we completed our consultations with outside legal experts and later referred the matter to the Supreme Court.”
VETERANS KICKED AGAIN BY HARPER
National Post – Canadian Forces major sues government over money lost on home when forced to sell
A 24-year veteran of the Canadian military is taking the federal government to court Tuesday to recover thousands of dollars he lost on his home when he was posted to another base and got little compensation through a program that he says has caused financial hardship for dozens of members. “Clearly, there are a number of converging bureaucratic issues that are creating unfair hardship for some CF members simply because they are doing their duty,” Daigle wrote. Records released last year show that between 2007 and 2010, 146 applications involving tens of thousands of dollars each were rejected by the Treasury Board, despite having the support of National Defence.