Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper apparently isn’t satisfied with having destroyed a lot of wonderful and important things in Canada. Now he has signed on with Dentons, the world’s largest elite law firm, to spread his dark viewpoints around the globe.
Dentons proudly announced Monday that Harper – who does not have a legal degree – and his new consulting company will work from its Calgary office.
For Harper, the appointment is his reward from the corporate set for many years of stalwart service. He will now be able to stuff his pockets with greenbacks and 76-cent Canadian dollars.
The recently resigned Calgary MP will no doubt stick a Canadian flag on his suitcase as he peddles his anti-social ideology. Hopefully, this will be Harper’s final insult to our national pride.
Dentons is like an octopus. It has more than 7,200 lawyers in over 50 countries, and seems to be constantly expanding.
In easily translatable jargon, Dentons said Harper has teamed up with the firm to provide clients with “advice on market access, managing global geopolitical and economic risk, and maximize value in global markets” – i.e. postulating himself based on the credibility he gained during none years as PM.
The Donald Trump of the legal set
“Dentons is the Donald Trump of the legal vertical,” writes legal expert and columnist Mark A. Cohen. “The firm is brash, bigger-than-life, and something entirely different. It receives a disproportionate amount of press because it is always doing something that drops jaws.”
The firm surprised the legal/business world by forming a partnership with a huge Chinese firm closely tied to the Communist Party. They employ more than 6,000 lawyers that are working on hundreds of projects, both inside the country and internationally.
Dentons isn’t fussy about which companies it represents in litigation. It works for Wal-Mart Stores, Monsanto, Citigroup, Duke Energy, Bank of America, Barclay’s Bank, Wells Fargo, and others.
It’s no surprise that Harper will pick up fat pay cheques from Dentons. The firm likes buying former politicians. Former Liberal PM Jean Chretien and former Manitoba Premier Gary Doer are also on the Dentons payroll, as is former Harper Cabinet Minister James Moore. Last year, Dentons snapped up controversial former U.S. politicians Newt Gingrich.
Harper’s cold personality could damage his one-on-one work for Dentons. The former PM once famously said: “I can’t even get my friends to like me.”
Outrageous move by Harper
It is outrageous that a former Prime Minister is able to join a massive, influential international corporation such as Dentons when his seat in Parliament has barely cooled.
Dentons is deeply involved in all kinds of wheeling and dealing at the highest levels around the world. Part of its success is based on collecting inside information on corporations and governments.
There are few legal constraints for Harper in his new job. Canada’s Lobbying Act prevents Harper from being directly involved in lobbying the Canadian government for five years.
In addition, the Conflict of Interest Act says that “no former public office holder shall give advice to his or her client, business associate or employer using information that was obtained in his or her capacity as a public office holder and is not available to the public.”
Having been Prime Minister for more than nine years, Harper is aware of what is supposed to be confidential information concerning corporations in Canada and what are supposed to be secret arrangements among foreign governments.
Harper will claim he will not reveal privileged information, but there is no way of knowing whether he will break his word. Just imagine – if he was hosted by the King of Saudi Arabia and seeking approval for some energy-related project – would he not be tempted to spill the beans about what he knows about the fossil fuel industry worldwide?
Former PM a valuable asset
Harper will be a medium-sized fish at Dentons, but he can help the firm in countries where he has good relations with government leaders, and on some issues.
Given Harper’s record of spending little money on fighting climate change, he could work with government clients on how to avoid spending millions on carbon reductions and he probably could help corporate clients avoid carbon penalties.
Instead of marketing his skills through Dentons, it would have been more appropriate for Harper to get involved in academia. He would have been welcomed at the University of Calgary, where a group of professors and some students established the influential right-wing “Calgary school.”
And Harper doesn’t need the money. Currently 57, he is receiving $127,000 in annual pension payments. When he turns 60, the amount will increase to $134,000 per year. The Canadian Tax Federation says that Harper’s MP pension pay would add up to roughly $5.5 million up to age 90 (factoring in for inflationary increases to the payments).
Contact Nick Fillmore at email@example.com
. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Will Harper protect Canadian secrets at "the Donald Trump” of law firms?
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“There is always a storm. There is always rain. Some experience it. Some live through it. And others are made from it.” Author Shannon L. Alder
Recently NDP candidate and former Saskatchewan finance minister, Andrew Thomson, stated on Power and Politics, that cuts were inevitable, in order to balance the budget.
In Saskatchewan, he cut funding to education, though it still didn’t balance the books. He had to take money from the province’s contingency fund, including almost a half million dollars for advertising, that he had balanced the books, when in fact, he had not.
Hiding deficits for politicians is not uncommon. Jim Flaherty did it in Ontario and Joe Oliver is doing it now.
But in defence of Thomson, Flaherty and Oliver; we have become the enablers of their addiction to the high of being good economic managers. They had to hide their red eyes and red ink, so they didn’t have to come before us in shame, or ruin their chance for re-election.
The question we need to be asking ourselves, is why balanced budgets are so important. Does it really matter if the federal government runs a deficit?
Political consultant and commentator, Will McMartin, discussed this recently in the Tyee. He begins with the announcement that the Conservatives would present a balanced budget. However, he implies, so what?
A closer look at the country’s finances, however, raises a simple question: why all the fuss? The budget is a thin slice of the Canadian economic pie, and interest costs on our debt are shrinking to near-giveaway size. Ottawa is just one of three government levels, and taken as a whole our government spending is very much under control.
The federal budget represents just 15% of our overall economy.
The Blame Game
There has been a lot of debate recently, over what political party is responsible for our perceived debt/deficit “mess”. Since only Conservatives and Liberals have ever formed government, it narrows the debate down to those two.
The biggest targets are Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau. However, John Diefenbaker, also ran consecutive deficits, but that is not how their legacies should be judged.
Diefenbaker was a visionary, who fought for a united Canada. He gave us the Canadian Bill of Rights and stood up to the Americans, who wanted us to join their missile defence program. He may have made mistakes, but his deficits were created in part, by a new universal hospitalization program, and an enhanced Old Age Security.
Lester Pearson also left a deficit, but what defines him, are the many contributions he made. He expanded Diefenbaker’s hospitalization plan, to give us universal health care and introduced student loans and the Canada Pension Plan. He also created the Order of Canada, and moved toward abolishing capital punishment.
There’s no denying what Pierre Trudeau did to move our country forward, as he also expanded social programs, and created a more just society, with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Even Brian Mulroney, whose tenure was mired in corruption, left his mark on making Canada a better country. He created eight new national parks, finalized the U.S.-Canada acid rain treaty, and brought in the Environmental Protection Act.
He is also credited with giving us NAFTA, not necessarily a good thing, but it did help Canada in the short term.
All of these men were big idea guys, who had the courage to make things happen.
Diefenbaker’s idea: a united Canada with a focus on human rights.
Pearson’s: nation building and making Canada a diplomatic player on the international stage.
Trudeau’s: nation building with a focus on rights and freedoms, and an inclusive society.
Mulroney’s:, a desire to bring Canada into the 21st century, with a focus on business and international trade.
Who cares if they left deficits when those deficits represented only 15% of our GDP? Look at what we got in return?
I know that a lot of people are critical of NAFTA. I’m one of them. Not only did it hurt our manufacturing sector, but it has forced subsequent governments to adopt programs of deregulation, to meet the terms. Unfortunately, more deregulation may be required, since we are now the country most sued, for not meeting our nefarious commitments.
Election 2015: a Psychedelic Trip to Bizzaro-land
When Thomas Mulcair was the environment minister in Quebec, and wanted to privatize water, shipping it in bulk, he said that “the environmental laws protecting water are considered barriers to trade.” (The Press, Charles Cote and Mario Clouthier, June 16, 2004 ). Mulcair helped to draft NAFTA.
Everything has become a “barrier to trade”, that will exacerbate with even more international trade deals.
But what about the barriers to helping Canadian society? We were told that these deals would lead to economic prosperity. Where is it? I guess we should have read the fine print, that said only economic prosperity for the top 1%.
During the 2008 economic crisis, the Canadian government bailed out our banks with over 100 billion of our money. They bailed out companies, and sprinkled largesse over Conservative ridings. They built libraries and indoor soccer fields for private religious schools and set up an advertising campaign called the Canada Economic Action Plan that would have rivalled Joseph Goebbels propaganda ministry. (Yes I said it).
We found money for that, by adding to our deficit and debt. Adding it to the 15% stake in our country’s GDP. So why can’t we do the same for the Canadian people?
We need a National Housing Strategy, a National Food Program, and we need to expand our healthcare to include dental and prescription drugs. We need a subsidized tuition program, help for our seniors and our veterans, and an environmental plan that works.
Those things are not drains on our economy, but a viable way to grow our economy, that will create good, full time jobs, while reducing poverty and homelessness. We will see the value for the dollars we spend.
That suggests that it’s Mr. Trudeau whose position is in sync with the majority’s mood. The Liberal Leader has refused to rule out running a deficit, arguing he’ll have to see the extent of the “mess” the Conservatives have left in the public finances.
It is the NDP, traditionally to the left of the Liberals, who have launched the most blistering attacks on Mr. Trudeau for opening the door to running a deficit. Under Mr. Mulcair, the New Democrats have sought to allay concerns about their economic policies by insisting they will balance the books, despite the slowdown in the economy.
What an odd turn of events.
I’m glad that Trudeau is bringing the Liberal Party back to its roots, that put Canadians first. Now the NDP have to find their way back to the days of Tommy Douglas.
Many people have called me a socialist, but like Will McMartin, the author of the first piece I linked, I’m a conservative. Although actually a liberal/conservative. Common sense solutions to social problems. Grow the economy and the budget will balance itself.
Or maybe I’m just a Diefenbaker, with a dollop of Pearson and a splash of Pierre Trudeau.
Not such a bad thing to be.
. . . → Read More: Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Our Addiction to Balanced Budgets May Need an Intervention
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Michael Cooper turned up door knocking on your blogger’s doorstep in St. Albert last summer. A photo was required! Below: Independent St. Albert Member of Parliament Brent Rathgeber, former Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day and journalist Paul Wells.
ST. ALBERT, Alberta
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By: Tim Harper National Affairs, Published on Sun Nov 23 2014
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Ezra Levant is a squalid nuisance, barely worth contemplating.
Sun Media is the problem.
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Yes, according to Robert Fife:
Brian Mulroney called Liberals to say Sun Media will apologize tomorrow for offensive rant by @ezralevant vs @JustinTrudeau. #cdnpoli— Robert Fife (@RobertFife) September 28, 2014
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As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
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