Must watch video by very talented spoken word artist Shane Koyczan
Who says that Canadian musicians don’t write protest songs about politicians? Well, the Toronto Star did in an article published Sunday. The article is correct in saying that topically political songs are not common in contemporary Canadian music, yet one of Canada’s most beloved bands released just such a song on Monday.
There are many many more songs written about Harper. My personal favourite is Harperman
And you gotta love this one too – Little Stevie Harper
This FaceBook Group lists a bunch more
Now Harper, the man with the choir-boy good looks whose pro-Israeli policies might win him a seat in the Knesset, is about to push a truly eccentric piece of legislation through parliament in Ottawa. It’s called – and I urge readers to repeat the words lest they think it’s already April Fool’s Day – the “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act”. Yup, when I first read the phrase “Barbaric Cultural Practices Act”, I felt sure it was a joke, a line from the “Big Bang Theory” or a Channel 4 mockudrama about Nigel Farage’s first premiership.
People sometimes ask about my “grudge” with Stephen Harper. The fact is that I hold no grudge at all. My views simply reflect my first-hand experience in my former capacity as a premier of a province I love, in a country I love.
Having dealt with other former prime minsters, I was accustomed to disagreements and differing viewpoints. But I was also accustomed to working with leaders from all parties who demonstrated integrity, concern for the country and genuine intentions. Stephen Harper, by direct contrast, represents none of these things. Rather he is divisive and untrustworthy.
The election rhetoric based on fear-mongering against women who wear niqab only has traction if we all collude with its false conclusions.
It turns women’s safety and rights into a political game that distracts from the realities. More lastingly, it has stigmatized a specific population of Canadians.
Far from advancing equality and stopping violence against women, it appears to have unleashed hate. The women attacked since the government’s “Barbaric Cultures tip line” was introduced know this only too well.
When new Canadian leaders are elected, I try to keep an open mind and give them a chance before passing judgment. It seems to me that’s the Canadian way.
Stephen Harper was no exception: in 2006, I actually looked forward to seeing where he would lead our country.
But before long, I found myself getting concerned about the direction he and his team were taking us — concerned enough to start keeping a ‘blog-book’ of policies and actions that were making me uneasy.
I’m sad to report that my blog-book now has many entries.
Are you between the ages of 18 and 35 and might not vote in this election?
Give me five minutes and I will give you five reasons why this election is not some far-removed event with little impact on your life, but rather an outcome that will affect your finances, and our generation’s shared interests and values.
It is ironic just how few of us show up to the polls. Sure many of us do care, and yes, there has been increased attention paid to particular issues on social media, but on the whole, politics is not considered cool or a priority for young Canadians.
But explain to me this: how can paying over 40 percent of your income on rent or a mortgage be cool, when there are steps the government could take to make housing more affordable? It has taken the prime minister nine years to acknowledge the housing problem, and make the largely inconsequential campaign promise to collect data on Vancouver’s housing market.
Hundreds of Canadian university professors are condemning the campaign strategy of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party, which they allege has turned, in the last weeks of the election, to mongering fear and hate in order to win votes.
In an open letter, signed by over 600 academics from a wide array of disciplines and published this morning in the Ottawa Citizen, the scholars state that the Conservative campaign has “flagrantly crossed the line” with its messaging about “barbaric cultural practices” — a term the letter claims is specifically tailored to play on bigotry without sounding bigoted.
Giller prize-winning author Joseph Boyden said Stephen Harper’s comments on niqab issues are “race-baiting” and he compared Harper’s policies to Nazi Germany. Speaking to Evan Solomon on SiriusXM’s radio program Everything is Political, Boyden called the Tory efforts to ban the niqab “fear-mongering to the lowest common denominator.”
Boyden is a Canadian novelist living in New Orleans, best known for his books Three Day Road, Through Black Spruce, which won the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and The Orenda, which was named the winner of the 2014 edition of CBC Radio’s Canada Reads.
Boyden went even further when asked about the Conservatives’ promise to create a tip line to report “barbaric cultural practices.” “Are we in 1939 Germany?” Boyden asked “This is no longer even dog-whistle [politics], this is through a gramophone, that’s through a megaphone,” he said.
Since winning his majority, Stephen Harper’s government has signed or finalized 23 new trade or investment deals.
The right trade agreements can create opportunities for Canada. But the Harper government has seemed more interested in getting lots of deals than in making sure each is good for Canada’s economy.
Considering the financial transfers they tend to create, a more precise name for these deals might be: A Locked-In Agreement to Transfer Public Money to Large Companies, Lawyers and Arbitrators.
This will be the first generation of Canadians in our history to be worse off than their parents.
That blunt fact is the new reality of our country, where seven per cent of workers are officially jobless (and much more if hidden unemployment is included) and youth unemployment stands at over 13 per cent. And that reality is a direct result of the policies and actions of this Conservative government and the Mulroney government that came before it.
Canada has never had an election campaign like this. Not only its length is unprecedented and its cost record-breaking. For the first time in postwar history, one of the nation’s major political parties has dispensed with the inconvenient tradition of meeting voters.
The Conservatives see no need to talk to Canadians who don’t support them. Tory candidates seldom participate in town halls or election debates. Party leader Stephen Harper, who has served as prime minister for nine years, allows only supporters into his campaign events.
How do we hold a governing party accountable for its actions when its members and candidates are inaccessible? How do we compare our electoral choices when one party speaks only to its own backers?
The sad thing is that few voters seem to care. They are inured to Harper’s divide-and-conquer tactics.
(Mallick – as always, hilarious but to the point)
Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney really makes a person think, but not in a good way. He was caught tweeting praise of an Iraqi refugee boy’s “perfect unaccented English.” “I simply found it remarkable that a youngster who did not speak a word of English a year ago has learned so quickly that he sounds like he grew up in Canada,” Kenney said later, of 11-year-old “Xavier.”
I know, Jason, if only ethnic-type foreigners would just try harder.
“I have a gay lisp,” one affronted man tweeted. “Is that unaccented English?”
“Yeth,” a woman reassured him.
In hushed tones, speaking on conditions of anonymity, one hears a remarkably similar refrain from front-end federal government monitoring staff who were once—and theoretically still are—tasked with environmental regulatory enforcement: There’s no time anymore. So keep your head down and just go through the motions.
The back-end staff, office-bound folks who might, say, prepare the necessary paperwork related to a potential infraction, have been downsized to the point where it simply doesn’t make sense for front-liners to file the paperwork anymore. It’s a time of low morale and routine work; a loss of regulatory capacity that goes part and parcel with gutted protective legislation.
These are the Harper Years.
It’s unprecedented in modern times for a Canadian leader to turn citizen against citizen, and race against race with the ugliness we’ve seen emerge in the 2015 election. Stephen Harper set torch to a Pandora’s tinderbox of hatred, and the fire is spreading.
Last Tuesday, just days after the federal leaders’ French language debate inflamed passions about the niqab, two teenage boys set upon a pregnant Muslim woman on a Montreal street, grabbing her headscarf and knocking her to the ground. Now we learn that a man accosted a Canadian-born, niqab-wearing mother out with her young daughters at a Toronto mall, blocking her way and driving his elbow into her.
As if it weren’t horribly predictable that fanning niqab hysteria would lead to attacks on women. Authorities were well aware of the spike in violence against Muslim women during Quebec’s debate over the proposed Charter of Values last year.
When Harper rolled the dice with women’s safety, he knew they were loaded with snake-eyes.
(Is the West waking up?)
If there is one point that’s not debatable during an election campaign, it’s that candidates need to show up for debates.
It’s truly astounding that during the current federal campaign, some Conservative candidates have not been attending debates. Whose votes are these people hoping to snare, if not those of the folks in their constituency who attend these forums in the expectation that the candidate will be there? Only sheer arrogance, born of a certainty of epic proportions that Calgary ridings are theirs for the taking, could be the motivating factor for these seemingly apathetic candidates.
No one can blame voters for feeling insulted at these no-shows. It’s as though they’re simply not important enough for the candidates to waste their time with.
GAMBLING WITH REFUGEE LIVES
The Prime Minister’s Office directed Canadian immigration officials to stop processing one of the most vulnerable classes of Syrian refugees this spring and declared that all UN-referred refugees would require approval from the Prime Minister, a decision that halted a critical aspect of Canada’s response to a global crisis.
TORONTO — The office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper slowed the handling of refugee claims from Syrians by intervening in the review process, the government confirmed on Thursday.
The unusual move, which revived the handling of refugee claims as an issue in Canada’s current election campaign, was reported by The Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper. It was unclear why Mr. Harper’s office took the step against Syrians in particular. But Chris Alexander, the minister of citizenship and immigration, described it as a security audit.
HARPER’S DIM VIEW OF CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP
Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy wasted no time in blasting the Harper government just 18 days before the federal election for overstating its role in securing his recent release from an Egyptian jail.
“When a Canadian citizen is in prison and caught up in a case so complicated, related to terrorism, the most efficient and senior officials in the Canadian government should intervene from day one,” Fahmy told Canadaland’s Jesse Brown in an extensive interview on Sept. 28.
“My intention when I go back to Canada — and I will be arriving before elections — will be speaking in several rallies without pledging allegiance to any specific party to constructively highlight what the Canadian Government could have done in a better way in order to protect me while I was in prison.”
The Harper government is attempting to revoke the citizenship of a convicted terrorist who was born and raised in Canada, Maclean’s has learned—a first under a controversial new law that has triggered intense debate during the election campaign.
Saad Gaya, 27, is believed to be the only Canadian-born citizen (terrorist or not) to ever face the prospect of being stripped of his citizenship. Until now, there was no legal mechanism to undo what has long been considered an irreversible birthright.
THE WAR ON WOMEN
The Conservative incumbent in the northern B.C. riding that includes the so-called Highway of Tears said “a lack of a job” is one of the reasons for missing and murdered aboriginal women.
Candidates running in Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies were asked at a debate Tuesday if an inquiry was needed into the disappearances and killings of 1,181 women between 1980 and 2012 in Canada.
OTTAWA—Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch is blasting the “abhorrent” practices of rape as a weapon of war and the forced marriage of young children in the developing world.
He criticized Conservatives for the party’s two-prong message: that the niqab is symbol of oppression and that women should not “let their husbands and brothers” govern how they should dress.
“How is that any different than letting Jason Kenney telling them what to wear?” Nenshi asked. “If Jason believes that, then Jason should attempt to ban it everywhere. Not for 30 seconds of somebody’s life during a citizenship ceremony.”
He chided Conservatives on the priority the party has given to the much-ballyhooed issue over other national concerns.
Days earlier, the mayor called out Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s stance on the niqab as “unbelievably dangerous.”
“If we want to have a conversation about the status of women in this country, let’s have that conversation,” Nenshi said. “Let’s talk about murdered and missing aboriginal women, let’s talk about the UN chastising Canada for its poor performance on women’s issues, and let’s talk about real social change.”
STEVE GETS IT WRONG AGAIN, AND AGAIN
Asked by a reporter on Saturday why he so strongly objected to the Liberal leader’s plan, Harper said there is “overwhelming and growing” evidence of “the bad long-term effects” of marijuana use. Noting that authorities have spent decades trying to discourage Canadians from using tobacco, he said “marijuana is infinitely worse, and is something we do not want to encourage.”
But according to Dr. David Hammond, while there are significant health risks associated with marijuana—especially when smoked by young people or pregnant women—there is “no comparison” between the dangers it poses and the harm caused by tobacco.
Canada’s public servants won’t buy Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s last-minute love letter to them because respect and the ability to do their jobs — not sick leave benefits and pensions — are what they are fighting for in this election.
Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, said Harper’s recent open letter to public servants, patting them on the back and offering assurances that sick leave reform will be fair and pensions untouched, totally missed the mark of what public servants their and unions are campaigning for.
He used the word racism in reference to the debate over the wearing of the niqab by Muslim women taking part in the oath of citizenship.
Williams said the issue is not worthy of becoming a national issue, but the Conservatives have latched onto it in order to secure votes.
“He doesn’t care if he isolates the issues of women or if he isolates the issue of minorities, and even crosses, possibly, that racism line,” Williams stated.
“It doesn’t matter to him. It’s all about getting elected at the end of the day.”
CRONIES AND CROOKS
OTTAWA—What do the head of the CBC, a former BlackBerry executive, and the president of The Asper Foundation have in common?
They can all find their names in a database compiled by left-leaning pressure group SumOfUs.org of political appointees who have donated to the Conservative Party.
According to SumOfUs.org campaign director Rosa Kouri, the organization found 356 political appointees who have donated more than $760,000 to the Conservatives’ coffers between 2004 and 2014.
Some Canadians had seemingly been pushed too far by yet another senator caught in a scandal and, more specifically, another one appointed by Stephen Harper.
“Man o man…couldn’t you have put some half decent people on the Senate payroll?” one email read.
Another message was just as blunt: “Holy Hannah, has there been anyone nominated by Harper to the Senate that hasn’t brought shame to Canada?? How is it indeed possible to have so many senators nominated by one prime minister go in the ditch?”
Conservative candidate Parm Gill is being investigated by the Commissioner of Elections Canada, The Huffington Post Canada has learned.
Gill, the incumbent candidate in the Ontario riding of Brampton North, is being scrutinized for accepting or charging money from unsuspecting donors without their consent.
OTTAWA – Conservative candidate Parm Gill sent letters of support to Canada’s broadcast regulator on behalf of two radio licence applicants in Brampton, Ont., while a parliamentary secretary – despite guidelines from the federal ethics commissioner forbidding such interventions.
Gill, who is seeking re-election, wrote the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in praise of competing applications for AM licences in May when he was parliamentary secretary to the international trade minister.