Leaving aside whether Stephen Harper’s previously-undisclosed media monitoring is actually right in substance, Brian Jean isn’t entirely wrong as to why he and other Con MPs are facing it: Conservative MP Brian Jean, who is on the list, said he’s not sure why he was flagged, but also said he isn’t troubled by it.
“They must be interested in what their colleagues are doing, right? I mean the government must be. It seems to make sense from a party position that you would be interested in what your members are saying,” he said.
The only problem is that so (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Arthur Haberman argues that our universal public health care system helps contribute to a more democratic society: There is something that political philosophers — those like Tocqueville and Mill in the 19th century — have come to call living democratically. By this it is meant that voting is but a small part of what being in a democracy is about. It also includes volunteering in small ways to make our communities better, participating in decisions about what happens to your town or your neighbourhood, judging your fellow citizens by the quality of their (Read more…)
I haven’t commented yet on the story surrounding Tom Mulcair’s request for basic investigation into back-channel information between the Trudeau government and the Supreme Court of Canada – which seems best classified as a minor but reasonable request which has been blown out of proportion.
But I’ll take a moment to point out the jaw-dropping response from the Libs, who are apparently demanding government secrecy far beyond that ever publicly defended by even the Harper Cons: This motion calls for the federal government to release archived documents related to the constitutional negotiations which led to the patriation of the Constitution (Read more…)
By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: The Federal Court of Canada has dismissed a request by former Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, to clarify the office’s mandate. In his application, Page had also sought ”judgment affirming he has the jurisdiction to seek the information” relating to the $5.2 billion in fiscal savings outlined in [...]
The post Federal Court dismisses former PBO Kevin Page’s application appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Council of Canadians denounces Harper decision to kill the Health Council of Canada By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: Canada`s leading progressive citizen’s advocacy group says it`s appalled by Harper’s decision to kill the Health Council of Canada. In a press release issued earlier this week, the Council of Canadians said it’s “sadly not shocked” by [...]
The post Appalled by Harper’s decision to kill the Health Council of Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Public servants celebrating the enrolment of 5 million citizens in the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan (1959, Archives of Ontario)
Notes for talk at Public Policy Forum Dinner, April 11, 2013
I am delighted to be here with family, friends and colleagues this evening – an evening that can only be understood as a celebration of Canada’s public service. Such celebrations are pretty rare these days though the public service is an institution that deserves celebrating, and may need it now more than ever.
My hunch is that I can speak for all the former clerks here this evening that for
. . . → Read More: Alex’s Blog: Celebrating Public Service
One of the most obvious sources of cynicism in politics – which the NDP should be seeking to combat at every turn – is the presence of issues where opposition promises turn into government inaction or even abuse. And the Cons have sadly offered a case in point when it comes to accountability and transparency.
That means it’s particularly important for the NDP to establish a strong message on accountable government which fits into the party’s grassroots values. And luckily, there’s just such a resolution up for discussion: 5-28-13 Resolution on Open Government Submitted by Terrebonne-BlainvilleWHEREAS new information technologies
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: #mtlqc13 Priority Resolution – Governance
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Edward Greenspon discusses the importance of a public service whose focus extends beyond the narrow interests of the government of the day: The hundreds of thousands of Canadians who work for governments, particularly those employed – in the evolving argot of recent decades – as knowledge workers or symbolic analysts or members of the creative class, are, in a sense, servants. They owe a duty of loyalty to carry out the programs and policies of the elected government of the day. But they also have a broader public duty to the pursuit . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive A former TransCanada Corporation employee who blew the whistle on the rising pipeline incidents and rule-breaking by Big Oil has been chosen as the recipient of the 2013 Golden Whistle Blower Award. Evan Vokes, a former professional materials engineer at TransCanada Pipelines (TCPL), received the award in Ottawa on Monday. [...]
The post TransCanada Pipelines Whistleblower Receives National Award appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Bea Vongdouangchanh reports on Kevin Page’s concerns that the Cons are set to effectively destroy the PBO. And the Star’s editorial board slams Stephen Harper’s war against transparency and accountability in general: Stonewalling, foot-dragging and contempt for Parliament pay. At least that’s what the federal government appears to have concluded in the wake of the 2011 election. Toppled two years ago after being found in contempt of Parliament for failing to disclose fiscal information, the Conservatives were nonetheless rewarded in the polls with a majority government — a victory that has served as . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
By Greenpeace Canada (Press Release) | Feb. 19, 2013: TORONTO – Hundreds of thousands of victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan are still denied fair compensation from a governmental regulatory system that allows the nuclear industry to evade its responsibilities and forces the public to pay for its disasters. Canada lives under the READ MORE
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Jim Stanford points out that any “bitumen bubble” will only get worse if the Cons and their provincial cousins get their way in shifting the Canadian economy even further toward immediate tar sands extraction: (I)f the problem exists because we’re pumping out raw bitumen faster than markets can absorb it, will it really help to pump it out even faster? Few analysts believe the Keystone pipeline to the United States would solve the problem, even if it does get built; at best, it would displace downward price pressure from Oklahoma southward to
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 14, 2013: Showing their burgeoning disdain for accountability, transparency, financial oversight and the independence of federal watchdogs, the Harper Conservatives earlier this week nuked a progressive NDP motion on the role of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO). The motion, tabled by the Official Opposition’s Finance critic, Peggy Nash, sought to extend the mandate READ MORE
I don’t know. Do you? No.
And, it seems, we won’t be permitted to determine if the BC Liberal government is lying to us about their future vision of rolling in billions in fresh new LNG tax money because the supporting reports won’t be released. So much for accountability and open government.
We also won’t be able to determine if these independent reports were actually independent, or if their spreadsheets included rainbow juice and unicorn tears to come up with this credibility-challenged $1 trillion LNG industry.
If the BC Liberals want to be credible and not continue to be painted as the BC Lieberals, they should release these reports. If they don’t, people will merely conclude they’re making this all up. And that’s what I’m concluding until the government dials down their contempt for transparency and the public, and releases the data behind these wild plans. Maybe the budget next . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Is Christy Clark Lying to Us About the LNG Tax Windfall?
Here, on the difference between genuine accountability and the rather more barbaric version on offer from the Cons and the Sask Party.
While there are too many examples of the latter to list, I’ll point out a few of the most recent ones – including the federal Cons’ false denials and subsequent finger-pointing over their push-poll robocalls, Con MP Brent Rathgeber’s declaration that he doesn’t want the public having access to PBO research which doesn’t serve a requesting MP’s purposes, and the Sask Party’s concerted attack on Saskatchewan’s provincial auditor
In 2010, the provincial government appointed Captain Mark Turner to look at the “province’s offshore oil spill prevention and response capabilities.”
He produced the 273 page report and the provincial government dutifully released it along with a lovely news release.
Then-natural resources minister Shawn Skinner committed that the provincial government would “study the report, and consult with the responsible stakeholders to ensure all recommendations are considered.”
. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: An Unwavering Commitment to Inaction, Indecision, and Extra Pork #nlpoli
Since the beginning of time, the public built facilities in partnerships with private industry. Typically, government determined needs according to its priorities, hired consultants for design and tendering, awarded work to the lowest bidder and financed with its usual sources, typically the lowest cost borrowing available. As long as all phases were completed with competence, the project succeeded without surprises.
However, sharp operators with no expertise beyond influence peddling, were left out of the process. So they invented the term public-private partnership, the infamous P3, and claimed for it special efficiency. Partnerships BC was created to sell the concept to
. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: P3 primer for British Columbia
by Mining Watch Canada | Jan. 30, 2013 Ottawa – Washington, D.C. – Oxford – Following years of denial, Barrick Gold is implementing a remedy program for victims of rape by employees of its Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG). In order to receive a remedy package, women must enter into READ MORE
The Cowichan News Leader regularly runs an editorial segment – Seeing Both Sides:
The case for
The provincial government has spent the past decade cutting back on the funding it had previously made available for community groups.
Because of that, the funding provided by the CVRD through its grants budget can often be the difference between these groups living or dying.
Every dollar invested helps volunteers and provides dividends for our community.
The case against
There are a lot of great projects out there that make our community a better place to live. Unfortunately, there is not enough
. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Time To Rein In CVRD Director’s Spending On Grants In Aid!
It has been a month of amateurish politics starting with the government posting the auditor-general’s job. Then this week the government backed down several steps to keep from ejecting the well-respected A-G John Doyle from his chair with an attempt at saving face by changing the legislation surrounding his appointment. As if they meant to do that anyway.
But there’s something fishing about how the premier backed down this week. Take a look:
In a move described by critics as a massive flip-flop and policy making on the fly, Clark on Wednesday proposed legislative changes to the Auditor General’s Act
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Who’s Running BC?
Sixth Estate and impolitical have both followed up on the Cons’ attempts to attack Canada’s opposition parties for having the nerve to ask questions of their government by noting that in contrast to the Cons’ spin, the UK offers answers to MPs’ questions at a hundredth of the cost. But I’ll note that there’s plenty more worth comparing between the two systems of questions and answers.
Let’s compare the answers to written questions provided by the respective governments of Canada and the UK for October 31, 2012.
The Harper Cons answered two questions in the following terms: Question No. 827–
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Question and answer
While British Columbia’s government hides BC Rail documents from the Auditor General, consider this current news story. It demonstrates one more example of why full disclosure and transparency is needed for all public and quasi-public financials transactions:
York University sues former executive for “vast” fraud, Toronto Star, Dec. 23/12
“A former top York University executive received about $250,000 worth of home improvements including a Jacuzzi hot tub in a widespread phoney invoice racket that he masterminded on campus, the school alleges.
“In a major lawsuit with supporting documents, York says former assistant vice-president of campus services and business operations
. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: The reason Liberals hide BC Rail files