Harper Watch – February 25 to March 9, 2015


COMMENTARY 

ipolitics – Michael Harris: More red meat for the hang-‘em-high crowd

In the kick-ass rodeo of Canadian politics, Stephen Harper has created a new event: Trojan horseback riding.  C-51 is supposed to confer safety and security on Canadians. Hidden inside are the seeds of a police state.

Before that, Bills C-38 and C-45 were supposed to “streamline” governance. In the belly of these undemocratic monstrosities was legislation designed to gut environmental law, axe the federal spy watchdog and empower the cabinet to approve pipelines over the heads of regulatory boards.

Foreign Policy Journal (Book Review) – ‘Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover’ by Michael Harris

This work, Party of One, should be the political work of the year, and perhaps should stand as the best for this century. It is one of the most powerful books I have read and it should be read by everyone. Anyone entertaining the idea of argument with Harris’ solid base of research (through documents and personal interviews) will need to stifle all independent thought and critical analysis abilities. Such however are the very abilities of the Conservative caucus in face of their dear one and only leader, Stephen Harper….

Party of One is a necessary read for all interested in political affairs in Canada and its relationship with the world around it. It is powerfully written and gives much information and supporting detail to support the idea that Canada has already suffered a radical makeover under his regime.

iPolitics –  Harper’s terror talk could drive terrorist recruitment: ex-CSIS operative
This singling out of Muslims as a security threat stands in stark contrast to the measured position of the Obama administration. It is also exasperating to those within the Islamic community on the front lines of combating extremism — people like Mubin Shaikh.

Shaikh was the former CSIS and RCMP operative who foiled the Toronto 18 plot. He currently consults on security issues with U.S. Special Operations Command, Interpol and NATO, and is working on his PhD in psychology studying radicalization. In spite of his significant contributions to fighting domestic terrorism, he told The Tyee that the Harper government does not seek out his advice and that its Muslim-focused fear mongering is, in fact, undermining national security.

 Toronto Star – Tories’ cynical monument to victims of communism
(Also an excellent summary of Western atrocities)

Ottawa’s promised new memorial to victims of Communism threatens to be both an esthetic monstrosity and a tribute to moral obtuseness. Many have expressed alarm about its visual impact, from the mayor of Ottawa to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, without deterring the Harper government from financially and ideologically backing the project.

Toronto Star – Harper senators hold McCarthyesque hearings

Bullies maintain that their victims are being overly sensitive — making too much fuss about nothing, really. Similarly, a Conservative senator is berating Canadian Muslims for being “thin-skinned” in reacting to increasing hostility towards them.

Senator Lynn Beyak did so last week at a hearing of the Senate committee on national security, as my colleague Tim Harper wrote Monday, bemoaning this “slide into intolerance.”

Beyak and her Conservative colleagues — Daniel Lang (chair), Jean-Guy Dagenais, Carolyn Stewart Olsen and Vern White (all Stephen Harper appointees) — have packed the hearings with ideological soulmates and have been using their parliamentary platform to recycle the anti-Muslim rhetoric of extreme right-wingers in Europe and the United States.

Toronto Star (Tim Harper) – Stephen Lewis roars once more in takedown of Stephen Harper government
(This is from 2014, but worth repeating)

At the age of 77, Stephen Lewis describes himself as being “happily in his dotage,” a man free to bare his soul and dispense with diplomatic niceties.  He did just that in Charlottetown last Friday. The one-time lion of the left unleashed a withering roar over eight years of Stephen Harper government that deserves to be moved from the relatively tiny confines of the Confederation Centre of the Arts and into a larger forum.

Lewis focused on five fronts of perhaps irreversible decline in this country, five only, because time did not allow him to get into all the factors that “scar my soul.”  The former Ontario NDP leader, United Nations ambassador and lifelong human rights advocate took aim at the “pre-paleolithic Neanderthals” in office and their role in the decline of Parliament, the suppression of dissent, the plight of First Nations, their blinkered climate-change policy and our plummeting world status.

Chronicle Herald (Ralph Surette)  – Harper exploits weak opposition, media amnesia
Stephen Harper, a master propagandist of the first order, is doing it again. He’s blowing the dog whistle and he’s got them running, no matter what gets trampled. This time, the overblown tune is war, terror, security, with civil liberties, prudence and rational thought underfoot.

The issue here is not just Harper. It’s also the failure of the opposition to crystallize the argument against him over the long term, not just with regard to the terror legislation but with most of the agenda.  For the two-thirds of Canadians who want him out, unless something changes, it looks like the only real hope is that he’ll beat himself

Murray Dobbin’s Blog – Why is the West Spoiling for a Fight with Russia?

What are the consequences when elected governments make policy based on faith and imperial hubris instead of science and expertise? It’s a question that is forcing itself on the world as we watch the United States, Britain, NATO and the Harper government continue to up the ante in the confrontation with Russia over the Ukraine. There are real enough geo-political dangers in the world without actually creating them out of arrogance and ignorance but that is where we are right now and the consequences could be catastrophic.

 TERRIFYING! 

Edmonton Sun – Tories under fire for using terrorist propaganda to promote C-51
An Edmonton MLA is blasting the federal Conservatives for an “irresponsible” social media post about terrorist threats to West Edmonton Mall.

On Monday, the federal Conservative Party of Canada shared a screengrab on Facebook from a video by al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based terror group that attacked Kenya’s Westgate Mall in September 2013, killing 67 people and wounding more than 175 others. A portion of the video encourages attacks on several other malls, including West Edmonton Mall.

Ottawa Citizen – The Gargoyle – Kenney tweets misleading photos of Muslim women in chains
(This is despicable! The images are used completely falsely and out of context. Watch the video of the little girl supposedly being married off. She’s actually just given a wrong answer in a competition and the guy is comforting her.)

Defence Minister Jason Kenney used the occasion of International Women’s Day to rally support for the war against ISIS by tweeting photographs of Muslim girls and women covered in black and being led off in chains.

“On #IWD2015, thank-you to the @CanadianForces for joining the fight against #ISIL’s campaign to enslave women & girls,” he tweeted along with the pictures on Sunday.

One image shows a group of girls, dressed in burqas and chained at the wrists, being with taken away in pairs. Another shows four women with faces covered, also chained together.

(Meanwhile, Kenney’s brother seems to be into terrorizing young people in his care…..)

Ottawa Sun – Families allege abuse at Jason Kenney’s brother’s treatment centre
Three families have launched a lawsuit alleging their teenage kids were bullied and mistreated at an unlicensed youth treatment centre run by Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s brother.

NeurVana Innovative Recovery and Wellness in Kelowna, B.C., run by David Kenney and his wife Susan, purports to help kids with drug addiction, depression and psychological issues. It bills itself online as being “officially recognized by the province of British Columbia.”

Not so, says the provincial government, which closed the centre in December for operating without a license. Government officials informed parents their kids would have to go home.
(Warning, reader discretion is advised. The remainder of this article is extremely disturbing.)

Vancouver Observer – Harper government doubles down on weapons manufacturing contracts
(Why do Cons love war so much? Follow the money)

Despite a reputation for cool-headed diplomacy during perennial conflicts, the Harper government is doubling down on its weapons-manufacturing capabilities— and quickly expanding its comparatively tiny defence sector into what the tight Cabinet around the prime minister sees as a key driver of Canada’s economic future.

BC News – Canadian Embassy went too far to protect mining company interests in Mexico, critics say

Said MiningWatch’s Moore, “These findings confirm our fears that the Canadian government’s policy to harness its whole diplomatic corps to serve private interests abroad, something it calls ‘economic diplomacy’ in its Global Markets Action Plan, will contribute to further harm.”

“The lobbying should stop and Canada should focus on corporate accountability and re-orienting policy in the extractive industry to respect communities and the environment.”

VETERANS

Huffington Post – Roméo Dallaire Calls For Better Support For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Retired Lieutenant General and former Senator Roméo Dallaire says Veterans Affairs Canada isn’t coming close to meeting the needs of veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

Dallaire, who has been outspoken about his own struggles with PTSD, is in Vancouver as the keynote speaker of a Canadian Mental Health Association conference that will focus on hearing from people who work on the front lines in jobs where post traumatic stress disorder is too common.

Huffington Post – Veterans Will Need To Verify Lost Limbs Every 3 Years, Instead Of Annually

A wounded soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan will have to verify his condition and the kind of support needed, including his wheelchair, to Veterans Affairs every three years, rather than annually under a policy change.

The revision was quietly unveiled in the House of Commons on Friday by Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary to the veterans minister.

FIRST NATIONS

National Post – Stephen Maher: Harper and aboriginals not in same room, let alone on same page

On Friday afternoon, Stephen Harper went to Rideau Hall to present the Public Service of Canada’s Outstanding Achievement Award to Ian Burney, assistant deputy minister of trade.

The prime minister did not have time, or judge it appropriate, to attend another event taking place in Ottawa: the national roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women, which took place in a downtown hotel.

The Guardian – Canadian government pushing First Nations to give up land rights for oil and gas profits

The Harper government is trying to win support for its pipelines and resource agenda by pushing First Nations to sideline their aboriginal rights in exchange for business opportunities, documents reveal.

The news that Canada’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is working to this end by collaborating with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is sparking strong criticism from grassroots Indigenous people.

SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT

Vancouver Observer – Feds to reopen herring fishery despite objections by First Nations and scientists

Five B.C. First Nations, along with federal scientists, still believe herring stocks on the west coast of Vancouver Island, around Haida Gwaii and on the central coast are in a seriously fragile state. That’s why the Aboriginal communities filed an injunction to stop the federal minister, who re-opened the resource to commercial fishing in January.

Controversially, the court heard that Minister Gail Shea, a Conservative MLA from PEI, made the decision against the views of her own federal scientists. Last year, Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientists told her:

“For the three [herring fishing] areas showing signs of recovery, it is recommended that they remain closed in 2014,” a DFO memo concluded.

The minister was not immediately available for comment late Friday.

CBC News – Cod fishery extended into spawning season … again

Inshore fish harvesters on the south coast of Newfoundland are accusing the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) of using the guise of science to allow large company-owned trawlers to catch cod during a time that is traditionally closed for cod spawning.

The cod fishery in area 3Ps was set to close for spawning on March 1. But it was decided, the same as last year, the fishery would remain open until the end of March to help gather more information.

An organized group of fish harvesters on the south coast has opposed the idea since it’s inception, suggesting it is specifically geared to allow large fish companies to harvest the fish they still have left in the water.

ECONOMY

Huffington Post – Harper Government Sitting On Cash Earmarked For Economic Development: NDP

Three NDP MPs accused the Harper government on Tuesday of not spending tens of millions of dollars that are earmarked for economic development in outlying regions.

The government is withholding the funds to lower the federal deficit, they told a news conference.

 

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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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One Response to Harper Watch – February 25 to March 9, 2015

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