National Post – John Ivison: Peter MacKay’s prostitution law a failure on all counts
Peter MacKay’s role as Attorney General of Canada requires him to be the guardian of the rule of law. He is mandated to protect the personal liberties of Canadians and advise Cabinet to ensure its actions are legal and constitutional.
By introducing a new law on prostitution that is all but certain to be struck down by the courts, he has failed on all counts.
National Post – Andrew Coyne: We once had to wait weeks for a new Harper abuse of power. Now we’re getting them two or three a day
Several themes run throughout these: a contempt for civil liberties, for due process, for established convention, for consultation, for openness, replaced throughout by a culture of secrecy, control, expedience and partisan advantage. Worse, there is virtually nothing anyone can do about it. All governments have displayed some of these traits. If this government has pushed things rather further, it is because it can: because we have so centralized power in the Prime Minister’s Office, with so few constraints or countervailing powers.
ipolitics – Michael Harris: Harper’s foe isn’t the Supreme Court — it’s the Constitution
What a remarkable joke Stephen Harper continues to play on Canada: The law-and-order party is once again making it clear that it’s about as law-abiding as Bonnie and Clyde making a bank withdrawal.
Our desperado PM has done it again. The issue this time is the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice to fill a vacancy from Quebec. Judge Robert Mainville is apparently Harper’s pick this time, after a previous appointment from Quebec — Marc Nadon — was struck down as unconstitutional.
ipolitics – Michael Harris: Harper sinks to new lows with cold war posturing
Let there be no mistake about it. Our Steve is thinking marketing. He’s thinking about the 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian heritage. His Ukrainian Gambit is about winning votes by posing as a staunch defender of Ukraine, election by the million-dollar photo-op, election by working the hot buttons — anything other than his record as PM which has made the PMO one of the least trusted offices in the land.
Ottawa Citizen – Key Conservative witness in robocalls trial said scheme was national in scope
GUELPH — The Crown’s star witness in the robocalls case wrote last year that the Conservative party was complicit in a national scheme in the 2011 election that it has blamed on local staffers.
Former Guelph Conservative campaign worker Andrew Prescott wrote the statement in July 2013 while he was upset over problems he was having getting accreditation from the party to attend the national convention in Calgary in November of that year.
Prescott never released the statement but did send it as a Facebook message to Michael Sona, who is on trial in Guelph for an Election Act violation in relation to a robocall that sent voters to the wrong polling station on May 2, 2011.
ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL
Globe and Mail – Canada’s lagging on climate change is putting the economy at risk
It’s no secret that the government of Stephen Harper has doubled down on oil production and exports as the winning combination for keeping the economy in the black for years to come. But something unexpected is happening on the Prime Minister’s way to the bank: Our once-willing trading partners are making noises about turning their backs on us, and the product we have to offer.
Take for instance recent reports out of the U.S., which suggest that Canada’s unwillingness to get serious about climate change present one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the Obama administration’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. This is more than mere supposition with the U.S. moving aggressively on climate change in Barack Obama’s second term. Strict regulations out of the U.S. EPA this week aimed at cutting carbon pollution from power plants serve only as the most recent case in point.
Globe and Mail – Federal plan for B.C. oil spill relies on using banned chemicals
The federal government’s backup plan in the event of a catastrophic oil spill in British Columbia’s waters relies on using chemical dispersants that are currently banned from marine use by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak says her province is not prepared to sign off on the federal oil-tanker safety plan rolled out last month as part of an effort to address concerns about marine environmental safety in advance of Ottawa’s Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline decision.
Huffington Post – Veterans Affairs Denies, Delays Until Benefits Claimants Die: Ex-Soldiers
OTTAWA – A loosely knit group of outraged ex-soldiers railed Wednesday against what it calls the insurance-company mentality of Veterans Affairs, demanding legislation spelling out the moral obligation Canada has towards its military veterans.
Retired major Mark Campbell, a decorated soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan, told a small, vocal rally on Parliament Hill that he has a hard time sleeping — but not because of his injuries or the associated mental trauma.
“This is not what has me punching and trying to kick in bed at night,” said Campbell, motioning to his missing limbs. “My trauma continues every single day (because of) my sense of betrayal at the hands of the Canadian government.”
Globe and Mail – Will the F-35 be another ‘Widow Maker’ for Canadian pilots?
Thirty-nine Canadian pilots lost their lives flying the CF-104 Starfighter, in planes that never saw combat. A staggering 110 of the 239 Starfighters purchased by Canada in the 1960s crashed before they were replaced by CF-18s.
These numbers remain relevant today given the similarities between the Starfighter and the F-35 that the Harper government is now poised to buy.
The Starfighter was built by Lockheed Corporation. The F-35 is built by the same company, which since 1995 has been named Lockheed Martin.
NO DEBATE ABOUT IT
Vancouver Observer – Conservatives defend suppression of debate
“I do not know why the current government does not buy an entire warehouse of duct tape and just tape every single mouth in this House,” added NDP MP Matthieu Ravignat, adding that it was “unbelievable” Canada was still debating what citizenship meant, at this stage in its history.
Huffington Post – Chris Alexander Calls Rocco Galati ‘Disgraced’ Ex-Khadr Family Lawyer
OTTAWA – Immigration Minister Chris Alexander went on the offensive Tuesday against Rocco Galati, the Toronto constitutional lawyer who plans to challenge the federal government’s controversial citizenship bill.
Under fire during question period in the House of Commons, Alexander denounced Galati — the same lawyer who successfully challenged the appointment of Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada — as the “disgraced ideological former lawyer of the Khadr family.”
A group of lawyers led by Galati is taking on Bill C-24 as unconstitutional, in particular those provisions that would let the government revoke citizenship from dual nationals — even if they are born in Canada.
CBC News – Ottawa insists on ‘absolute secrecy’ on Yukon environment law
A federal government bill that proposes changes to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act was tabled in the Senate last week, but few northerners who were consulted about the bill are in a position to talk about it.
Ottawa has insisted on secrecy throughout its northern consultation process.
“We were given an absolute secrecy,” says Ken McKinnon, acting chair of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board. “We had to sign off for each numbered amendment to the act personally and then return them and be crossed off the list.
ipolitics – Opposition demands answers on grain crisis warnings
New revelations by iPolitics that two federal ministers were warned about a looming grain backlog months before the situation turned into a crisis triggered sharp criticism from Opposition MPs, Monday.
“Mr. Speaker, new documents revealed under Access to Information show the Conservatives ignored the grain transport warnings. They knew before yet did not act,” NDP Agriculture Critic Malcolm Allen asked in Question Period Monday.
HARPER IS WATCHING YOU
The Star – Police need warrant to get Internet customers’ identities, Supreme Court rules
OTTAWA—The Supreme Court of Canada broke new legal ground for privacy rights in a ruling that says the constitution protects the anonymity Canadian Internet users expect when they go online.
The high court in a bombshell 8-0 decision ruled Friday police must obtain search warrants to obtain basic subscriber information such as a customer’s name, address and phone number from telecom companies when an officer suspects illegal activity.
The decision immediately put in doubt the fate of two Conservative government bills that expand warrantless access to such data.
Ottawa Citizen – Government orders federal departments to keep tabs on all demonstrations across country
“The Government Operations Centre is seeking your assistance in compiling a comprehensive listing of all known demonstrations which will occur either in your geographical area or that may touch on your mandate,” noted the email, leaked to the Citizen. “We will compile this information and make this information available to our partners unless of course, this information is not to be shared and not available on open sources. In the case of the latter, this information will only be used by the GOC for our Situational Awareness.”