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The Liberal Scarf: "Limiting information" on oilsands probe demonstrates Harper government problems with both openness and the environment

This story out of The Star hits at two major problems of the Harper government – an inability to take environmental concerns seriously, and a desire to limit access to critical information by the media and citizens.

“Environment Canada’s enforcement branch asked a spokesman to “limit information” given to reporters about how long it took to launch a federal investigation into a serious Alberta oilsands leak last summer. The comments were included in more than 100 pages of emails obtained by the Star that were generated in response to questions from journalists last summer about the mysterious leak in (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: "Limiting information" on oilsands probe demonstrates Harper government problems with both openness and the environment

drive-by planet: NDP Gaza cop out: Mulcair refuses to denounce ‘murderous assault’ by Israel

A recent post on World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) draws attention to the failure of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) to “denounce the murderous assault being carried out by the Israeli government” in Gaza:

Over the past two weeks, Thomas Mulcair, the head of the NDP and the leader of the Official Opposition in parliament, and Paul Dewar, the NDP foreign affairs critic, have refused to oppose Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s full-throated support for the Israeli onslaught [in Gaza].

The article notes that Mulcair’s stance on the Gaza conflict has drawn kudos from at least one columnist on the (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper Tries To Foment A Crisis

Harper has taken a surprising number of losing cases to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Most, if not all, were obviously places where the government’s position is one that is in direct contradiction with the Constitution of Canada.  Even a relative neophyte in Constitutional law in Canada can spot that, whether it is Harper’s desire to “reform” the Senate or the government’s daft position on prostitution.  

Now we have the CPC caucus starting to trot out the “undemocratic” talking points. Dan Albas, the MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, says that while he respects the courts he also believes an increasing number (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Reference Cases Are Not The Problem

Over at iPolitics, James Matkin and Clive Cocking are busy moaning about how the Supreme Court “kills innovative legislation” in the form of “reference cases”.

The basic thesis of their argument is that we need to take away from the Supreme Court of Canada the ability to hear “reference cases”.  A reference case is fundamentally a hypothetical case – a “what if we wrote legislation like this” test.  For most Canadians, the most recent “Reference Case” was Harper’s “Senate Reform” gambit, which got smacked around for violating various aspects of the division of powers in the Constitution.

Matkin and Cocking (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Secret TPP talks in Ottawa: Harper has “something to hide”

“Most Canadians would be surprised to learn that Canada is hosting the latest round of TPP negotiations this week in Ottawa,” says University of Ottawa Prof Michael Geist

The post Secret TPP talks in Ottawa: Harper has “something to hide” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: How Harper Wastes Your Tax Dollars

Harper likes to style his government as a “firm, steady hand on the tiller”, especially on matters of the economy.

But the man is so blinded by his hatred for our country’s laws and the foundational principles of the Canadian Constitution and The Charter of Rights And Freedoms that he simply writes legislation that is based solely on his ideology.

The net result:  unjust laws that are in fact illegal under Canada’s Constitution, and millions of dollars spent trying to sustain those laws before the courts of the land. June 2014: Supreme Court upholds privacy rightsApril 2014: Feds (Read more…)

Left Over: Desperation and Distraction, but a Little Satisfaction?

Two things have me momentarily distracted these days, and both are all about the lack of traction that the Cons are getting from attacking both Junior and the NDP..vis a vis the ‘scandal’ that never was re their supposed illegal Parliamentary postal charge avoidance..what happened with that? Sadly (IMHO) the NDP are falling in the polls, yes, but I think that redemption may be at hand, at least in the form of continuing to be the Loyal Opposition after Junior’s team get elected..yes, I fear the writing is on the wall, I (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Harper’s Cold War Becomes Arctic Chill: Why Domestic Politicking Makes For Bad Foreign Relations

Outgoing Russian Ambassador Georgiy Mame, spoke before his departure, lamenting our government’s undiplomatic posturing with his country, including Stephen Harper’s suggestion that Putin was the next Hitler. He accused the Harper government of isolating itself from its allies over Ukraine and hinted broadly that the Conservatives are likely playing to a domestic audience of 1.2 million Ukrainian-Canadians.

“My whole history as a diplomat, during Cold War, after Cold War was: the higher the risk, the more active the discussion,” he said. “The only exception to this rule is the last seven months I spent in Ottawa.”

There (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: Wikipedia’s Entry On Momentum

Political momentum is nothing like the momentum of physics. In the world of Newton and Einstein appearances don’t cause forces, whereas in politics, appearances are forces.

Stephen Harper became Leader of the Conservative Party in 2003, he faced two subsequent general elections before finally winning a minority government in 2006. Up until 2011 his Conservative Party only increased the number of seats it held in Parliament; since then however, the Conservative Party has only seen its numbers decline.

Thomas Mulcair became Leader of the NDP in 2012, under his guidance the New Democrats have faced numerous by-elections and instead of (Read more…)

Left Over: Our Home Is Native Land….

Tsilhqot’in First Nation granted B.C. title claim in Supreme Court ruling Top court’s decision today resolves legal questions following 2012 B.C. Court of Appeal ruling

CBC News Posted: Jun 26, 2014 9:59 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 26, 2014 11:21 AM ET

As I’ve always sung it, and now I can feel a bit more smug about it:

Oh Canada – Our home is native land

Thanks to the Supremes, once again, for their ruling, and for so not being the US Supreme Court, and not politicizing, but instead voting unanimously for the right decision…

Now (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper’s War On The Middle Class

Continues apace.

A shortage of skilled workers is the biggest challenge many Canadian businesses face today, Employment Minister Jason Kenney told a skills summit Wednesday, warning it could also jeopardize Canada’s economic development in the future. 

The problem would continue to grow as the population ages, Kenney told the one-day conference, which brought together stakeholders to discuss the labour market, employee training and those under-represented in the labour force. 

Currently 30 per cent of the skilled trade workers in Canada are baby boomers, Kenney said, adding that they will soon retire. 

“They are going to take with (Read more…)

Left Over: Chretien’s Lesson for the Harper at the Gate(way)

Northern Gateway decision holds no easy political options for Harper On the controversial B.C. pipeline, PM can say yes, no or not yet, but all answers come with a cost

By Max Paris, CBC News Posted: Jun 16, 2014 6:02 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 16, 2014 11:13 PM ET

All this bleating about Harper having such a tough decision is nonsense..and, to cap it off, he will have, in one action, guaranteed himself a chance for re-election by not approving it..just like Christy Clark did by denying support without meeting some tough conditions… Let’s get real (Read more…)

Left Over: Hey MacDougall, Try Google!


Commenters snipe from sidelines, but the kids in short pants are all right It’s time to name and shame anonymous commenters who insult people working to improve Canada

By Andrew MacDougall, for CBC News Posted: Jun 13, 2014 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 13, 2014 5:00 AM ET


MacDougall, finish eating that big ol’ hunka steamin’ Ontario crow before you whine about anything else…and BTW, although I may use a nom de plume when commenting (don’t tweet, that’s for twits) or blogging, any time you want to find out who I am, just go to one of (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: An All Out Assault

The last couple of weeks of legislative activity in Ottawa have been distressing to say the least.  To call it an all out assault on Canada and Canadians is an understatement.

The Harper Government has been ramming through a series of legislation that comprise the single most overt attack on all that is good and reasoned in Canada.

I’ve already discussed my thoughts regarding Bill C-36, the Conservative response to the Bedford ruling on prostitution.  Unfortunately, what the Harper Government is ramming through is a more overt piece of legislation that makes a mess out of far more than (Read more…)

Left Over: RoboCalls vs SnailMail…..No Traction without Distraction…

NDP mass mailings broke House rules, Speaker confirms House administrators to advise all-party Board of Internal Economy on possible remedies

By Kady O’Malley, CBC News Posted: Jun 03, 2014 9:39 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 03, 2014 9:39 AM ET

Another fascinating chapter in the Con strategy of distracting from the Robo-Call trial going on right now..nothing like tossing a little dirt in the path of the Opposition to distract the voters from what may be a fascinating little bit of questioning of Sona’s pals and colleagues. Who knows, I have yet to see a single Parliamentary mailout that isn’t (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper Describes Himself

One of the more ludicrous things the Harper Government has been pursuing is creating a “monument to the victims of communism”.  A more cold-war propaganda-esque move is almost unimaginable.  

But, in Harper’s speech at a fundraiser yesterday, he opened his mouth and promptly engaged in self-description. In language reminiscent of the height of the Cold War, Harper lambasted communism and oppressive or even murderous ideologies. 

“Evil comes in many forms and seems to reinvent itself time and again,” he said. 

“But whatever it calls itself — Nazism, Marxist-Leninism, today, terrorism — they all have one thing in (Read more…)

The Right-Wing Observer: Harper’s Conservatives already have enough evidence

Harper’s Conservatives don’t need you telling them how incompetent or wasteful they are. They don’t need to know those things and they certainly don’t need anyone telling their faithful – dare I say, blind – voters either.

They already know. They have enough evidence.

Due in part to laws that Harper’s Conservatives passed as part of their ‘new era of transparency and accountibility’, they are required to survey Canadians about the impact of government advertising campaigns and make those results public. And now that they are getting unwelcome answers to their questions, they’ve stopped asking.

The unwelcome responses come on the (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Made In Canada Scam

The Harper Conservative party promised a Made in Canada plan to address climate change, in response to backing out of Kyoto. That plan never came, which was no surprise to people paying attention to their true agenda of high pollution at the expense of our health and climate.

“Stephen Harper was misleading the Canadian public when he said Canada has to wait for the Americans."… #climatechange— John Klein (@JohnKleinRegina) May 23, 2014

A spokesman for Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq declined to answer questions about the memo directly. “Our government is committed to protecting the environment while (Read more…)

Northern Reflections: They Eat Their Own

It couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people. Tim Harper reports that the battle for the Conservative nomination in Oakville North-Burlington has become toxic:

Amidst a flurry of charges and countercharges involving membership fraud, intimidation and character assassination, the party took the extraordinary step of delaying a planned nomination showdown set for Saturday in the newly created but now suddenly infamous riding of Oakville North-Burlington. The struggle for the party nod pits sitting MP Eve Adams, who wants to move over from her existing riding to this comfortable enclave, against Natalia Lishchyna, a chiropractor who thought the nomination would (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: The Harper Cons have announced they are naming the new Finance…

The Harper Cons have announced they are naming the new Finance Canada building after the worst finance minister in Canadian (and Ontario) history, “Deficit Jim” Flaherty. To reflect Flaherty’s disastrous political record and mean-spirited personality, it will:

Be small and useless Go billions of dollars over budget and have a huge mortgage Be funded by money embezzled from veterans’ services, Employment Insurance, healthcare, scientific research, job training programs, environmental conservation, etc. Be built by underpaid temporary foreign workers instead of Canadians Be constructed and operated under unsafe conditions Have a false front Feature a gazebo, a fake lake and (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: Insufficient Investigation for #RoboCon

A lawyer central to the Federal Court challenge of election fraud in 2011, has made a list of deficiencies in the Elections Canada Commish’s report.

#cdnpoli #MUSTread Dancing with Mr. Côté over the Fair Elections Act & PDF assessment of #robocalls case.… #muckreads— Judyth Mermelstein (@GadflyQuebec) May 10, 2014

What led the Commish Cote to ignore obvious evidence and conclusions. Hopefully it’s not a factor of being appointed by Stephen Harper, but any reason still leaves Canadians with an unsolved crime. The Commish failed to carry out his duty to protect Canadian elections from crime.

The Commissioner (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Honour and Dishonour on the National Day of Honour

On May 9, 2014, amidst the pomp and circumstance of marching bands, dignitaries and aircraft buzzing overhead, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the crowds gathered on Parliament Hill that the names of the 158 soldiers killed in Afghanistan would be engraved “on the hearts of all Canadians who cherish freedom, justice and human dignity. These are the things they died protecting. Canadians are safer and Canada is stronger because of their sacrifice.”*

Troops at Vimy Ridge

A noble statement but not as meaningful as the promise made by Prime Minister Robert Borden to Canadian troops preparing for the (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Canada PetroState vs. United States of America

Americans hear this on their news last night. “Feds Issue Tighter Regulations For Trains Hauling Highly-Flammable Crude”

Canadians are told this of their explosive oil in unsafe train cars. “B.C. municipality chaffs at railways’ requirement for secrecy about dangerous cargos traveling through town”

You have to wonder if the Harper Conservatives really don’t give a shit if they vapourize a few more Quebecers. Will your town be next? Tell Harper: Defend Online Privacy

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The Right-Wing Observer: Stephen Harper is offering us the Blue Pill

Stephen Harper has created a magical world around him, not unlike that of the rabbit hole described in Alice in Wonderland or the Matrix in the Wachowski brothers’ Sci-Fi masterpiece.

In Harper’s world, what you see is merely misdirection and subterfuge. What you hear are mostly baseless talking points that prove nothing. And what you touch, or rather, what touches you – in terms of your “customer experience” as a client of the Harper Government – is seldom as rosy as has been announced by his highness, the deranged King of Spades.

It’s a world where “openness” feels more like (Read more…)