FOSTERING FEAR AND DIVISION
The Conservative government’s anti-terrorism bill contains “ill-considered” measures that will deprive Canadians of liberties without increasing their safety, the Canadian Bar Association says.
The bar association objects to the planned transformation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service into an agency that could actively disrupt terror plots.
It argues the bill’s “vague and overly broad language” would capture legitimate activity, including environmental and aboriginal protests — and possibly put a chill on expressions of dissent.
The House Public Safety Committee, studying the federal government’s controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill C-51, will hold marathon meetings this week to hear from 36 witnesses over four days, but opposition MPs say the entire process is not only a sham, but a contempt of Parliament.
Opposition MPs say witness testimony has been rushed and MPs won’t have enough time to properly consider feedback before diving into clause-by-clause consideration. The amendments are due March 27 and the deadline for clause-by-clause consideration is March 31. Some key witnesses requested by opposition MPs on the committee have not been invited to testify at committee, while other important witnesses have declined invitations.
Are you now, or have you ever been, a terrorist? That, in one form or another, is the question being asked over and over by Conservative MPs of expert witnesses called before the Commons standing committee reviewing Bill C-51, the so-called anti-terrorism law.
I spoke before the committee last week. I pointed to the danger in the bill’s much-expanded definition of national security and in its false conflation of peaceful protest with terrorism. I was expecting to be called on to defend our arguments, to cite evidence on how the bill’s sweeping new powers could be used against peaceful advocates for action on climate change. No one on the government side seemed terribly interested in our argument — but they were very interested in us.
As the war drums beat ever louder across Canada, this seems to be the advice Stephen Harper’s Conservatives want Canadians to follow.
The question is, afraid of what and whom? Islamic terrorism? Right-wing and white supremacist ideologies? Lone wolves? Violent anti-petroleum extremists? Canada’s environmental movement?
The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CISIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police seem to be unsure and so now are clumping them all together for safety’s sake .
Toronto Star – CSIS highlights white supremacist threat ahead of radical Islam
“Lone wolf” attacks more often come from white supremacists and extreme right-wing ideologies than from Islamic radicalism, internal CSIS documents say.
Citing recent academic research, the unclassified documents note extreme right-wing and white supremacist ideology has been the “main ideological source” for 17 per cent of so-called lone wolf attacks worldwide.
G&M (Lawrence Martin) – Provocation, pandering and prejudice in our politics
Last week, at an event in Saskatoon, Prime Minister Stephen Harper turned his focus to guns. He talked about there being too many restrictions on gun ownership, making the point that people in rural areas need guns for self-defence.
He used his wife Laureen as an example. “My wife’s from a rural area and obviously gun ownership wasn’t just for the farm, but was for a certain level of security when you’re a ways away from immediate police assistance,” he said.
Toronto Star – OECD slashes forecast for Canadian economy, blaming oil price declines
The OECD has sharply cut its growth forecasts for Canada for this year and next, a continuing reminder of how sinking oil prices are pulling down the country’s economy.
The downgraded projections from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development come amid mounting job losses in Canada’s oilpatch. Talisman Energy, Nexen Energy and ConocoPhillips Canada have all separately announced plans to eliminate hundreds of workers in the coming weeks.
The OECD now estimates the Canadian economy will expand by 2.2 per cent in 2015. That’s 0.4 of a percentage point lower than previously thought.
Globe and Mail – Only 15 per cent will benefit from Tories’ ‘family tax cut’: budget watchdog
The Parliamentary Budget Officer says the Conservative government’s income-splitting tax cut will cost $2.2-billion this year and only benefit about 15 per cent of Canadian households.
A report released Tuesday takes a closer look at the “Family Tax Cut” announced in the fall by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that would allow couples with children under 18 to transfer income for tax purposes up to a maximum savings of $2,000.
The multimillion-dollar campaign to market Canadian oil in the U.S. was hard to miss.
The Maple Leaf was plastered on the walls of subway stops in Washington, D.C., and it popped up in all sorts of American publications with messages such as “America’s Best Energy Partner” and “Friends and Neighbors.”
Documents obtained by The Canadian Press offer a peek into the careful strategic considerations and internal discussions behind the $1.6-million (U.S.) ad campaign launched in 2013. That blitz was followed up by a $24-million, two-year international program that wraps up this month.
A sparkling-clean nation where everyone willingly paid their taxes is the Canada that Harry Leslie Smith remembers choosing as a place to raise his family and live his life decades ago.
Now, at 92, Smith has become a sensation in the United Kingdom for his opinion pieces and memoir Harry’s Last Stand, in which he draws parallels between his brutal childhood in the U.K. and where the western world is headed today as government austerity grips many of its countries.
”He is really, to me, the worst prime minister that ever existed,” Smith said over the phone from Manchester, pausing for a drink of water. ”Since Harper has come into power, everything has gone downhill. He has one consideration, and that is to let the rich get richer and the poor fend for themselves.”
VETERANS AND THE VULNERABLE
Migneault wanted VAC to recognize the struggle of spouses who care for veterans with injuries such as PTSD. Since then, she’s used the publicity from her infamous encounter to meet with more than 150 politicians – including Romeo Dallaire, Justin Trudeau and eventually, Fantino himself – to advocate for more family support.
Migneault does not think cash is the solution. She wants a program that trains family-turned-caregivers to live with PTSD. “I can have all the money in the world,” she told CBC in reaction to the caregiver benefit. “But if I don’t have a quality of life, this money doesn’t serve anything.”
Ottawa Citizen – After 35 years, federal government takes jobs from developmentally disabled workers
(The government has since assured the workers will remain employed. Let’s see if they actually mean it.)
“I loved working there,” she says. “It was a nice job and we got paid for it. I liked everything about the job. All the people I work with I like very much — they are all my friends.”
Whincup’s workplace is — or was — a wastepaper sorting and disposal plant at Tunney’s Pasture where she and dozens of other developmentally disabled people have been gainfully employed disposing of copious quantities of secret and confidential federal government paper — as much as 40 per cent of it — since 1980.
As of month’s end, their workplace and sense of community and friendship will be just another empty federal government building. The group of 50 workers has been told to vacate the premises.
Canada.com – Details, details: Defence minister Jason Kenney’s blunt style betrays him
Defence Minister Jason Kenney’s credibility has come under fire after some recent public miscues, just as the Conservative government is proposing to expand Canada’s war against the Islamic State.
Kenney has been a visible presence on television and radio news shows, on Twitter and in Parliament since taking over the all-important defence file six weeks ago. He has been forceful on the threat posed by ISIL, proclaiming the government’s support for the military and hammering the opposition for its views on the conflict.
Yet Kenney, one of the few ministers in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet allowed to speak freely, has also found himself clarifying or backtracking on some of his blunt assertions.
Ottawa Citizen – New records detail how climate-change views scuttled artist’s grant
A British Columbia artist and environmental activist accuses government of misusing its censorship powers to hide a politically driven effort to silence her because of her views on climate change and the oilsands.
Franke James found herself on the federal government’s radar in the spring of 2011 after Canadian diplomats agreed to offer a $5,000 grant in support of a European art tour featuring James’s artwork. The grant was revoked a few days later by a senior director of the Foreign Affairs Department’s climate change division, who felt the funding would “run counter to Canada’s interests.”
The show for which she wanted the grant was to be “all about inspiring people to reduce their carbon footprint,” James said in an interview.
Pivot – Harper government moves to block supervised injection services for drug users in Canada
Today, the House of Commons passed Bill C-2, the Respect for Communities Act. Pretty title, but like so much Conservative legislation, the meaning of the title, like the bill, is cruelly ironic.
What the Respect for Communities Act does is effectively ban supervised injection facilities like Insite. The bill will make it much harder for Insite to stay open, and it effectively prevents a similar centre from opening in any other Canadian city.
(Some background to above article. The passing of the Bill, as you might notice, was not reported in the MSM)
While the intent of the Bill may be to stimulate a legitimate community consultation process, the list of information requirements contained in the current text (27 in total) places an emphasis on the opinions of non-local governments and stakeholders, as opposed to those of the community. As such, it is CPHA’s opinion that, if enacted, the Bill will subvert the interests of the community, in contradiction to its stated title.