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Montreal Simon: Will Stephen Harper Really Take a Walk in the Snow?

When I first heard the rumours that Stephen Harper was about to go for a walk in the snow. Or whatever. And announce that he planned to step down in the New Year, I must admit I was stunned. It just didn't seem to make sense.His fear campaign is boosting his polls, the unemployment rate is down, he's planning to spend billions of dollars bribing voters.He's just launched this new Porky Action Plan campaign…

Aimed at brainwashing Canadians with OUR money.And of course, he was the abominable star of the recent G20 summit…

So why would he (Read more…)

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Montreal Simon: Omar Khadr’s Important Message to Canadians

It's been more than twelve years since he was horribly wounded in a firefight in Afghanistan. Then jailed and tortured in that hellhole called Guantanamo, even though he was a child soldier. Then betrayed by his own government. He is Canada's most famous prisoner, and yet for all that time he has also been its most invisible citizen. Never seen and never heard from. But now at last Omar Khadr has had a chance to address his fellow Canadians. And his words couldn't be more moving. Read more »

Montreal Simon: My Scary Halloween in Harperland

Well I'm glad Halloween is over, because it really is a challenge trying to scare people in Harperland.Where every day is Halloween and scarier than the day before. Especially if you're forced to run or hop around in a bunny suit that's at least two sizes too small. And people laugh at you instead of scream.But while I recover from last night's events, I thought I'd show you a few Halloween pictures and ask YOU to decide which one is scarier.Read more »

Montreal Simon: When the Cons Make the Poor Pay for Their Mistakes

It really couldn't be more disgusting or more Kafkaesque. Or more of a horror show.The Cons gut Statistic Canada. The battered agency screws up its job numbers.And now Jason Kenney is making the poor pay. Read more » - Alberta politics: Rob Anders to run in new Bow River riding?

TweetSources say that controversial Member of Parliament Rob Anders is preparing to run for the federal Conservative nomination in new rural Bow River riding south east of Calgary. The six-term MP has represented Calgary-West since 1997 but lost a heated Conservative nomination contest in the new Calgary-Signal Hill riding to former Progressive Conservative MLA Ron Liepert. It was previously been speculated that Mr. Anders could […]

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Confusing Freedom With Imposition

Canada’s “Association For Reformed Political Action” came to my attention this past week.  Just from the name, you can tell that this is one of the groups that is seeking to turn Canada into a theocracy much like the far right is currently doing in the United States.

I decided to spend a little time sniffing through their website, and found a fair bit of interest.

First is an explicit and clear sense of just how deeply these groups are connected with the Harper Government. … a speech to the ARPA groups from cabinet minister Jason Kenney

Do you (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Will Harper’s Red Scare Become the Pink Blush of Embarrassment?

“The development of mutually advantageous and constructive relations with Israel in the political, economic, humanitarian and other fields was and will remain the priority of Russia’s foreign policy.” — President Vladimir Putin

Journalist Jered Feldschreiber wrote recently of the friendly relationship between Russia and Israel, despite the fact that Putin was selling arms to nations that were hostile toward The Jewish state.

In fact, Israel has maintained neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and was absent for the March 27, UN vote, that called on members not to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Cautious of the new Ukranian government, that (Read more…) - Alberta politics: Parties gear up for federal election 2015 – Alberta nominations update

TweetAside from recent updates about Kent Hehr running in Calgary-Centre and Darshan Kang running in Calgary-Skyview, it has been a while since I have published an update to accompany the list of candidate nominations for the next federal election, expected to be held in 2015. So, without further ado, let me present you the latest update: The Lethbridge -> Medicine […]

Alberta Diary: Canada’s anti-union lobby is at the heart of the deceptive campaign for more Temporary Foreign Workers – why’s that, d’ya think?

Canadians need not apply? Actual Canadian store displays may not appear exactly as illustrated. But the intent of the AstroTurf TFW lobby is to bust unions and weaken the bargaining power of Canadian workers. Below: Employment Minister and former Canadian Taxpayers Federation operative Jason Kenney; former Canadian Federation of Independent Business president and current “Working Canadians” spokesperson Catherine Swift; and CTF board member and Canadian Labour Watch Association President John Mortimer.

Judging from what they read and hear in the news, Canadians can be forgiven for concluding a large number of organizations representing a broad range of opinions are lobbying (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: What Happens When a Tyrant Holds the Purse Strings and a Harridan Carries the Purse

During the Haiti earthquake relief mission, columnist Carol Goar wrote of a disturbing practice by the Harper government, when it came to charitable organizations.

We had already seen funding slashed to KAIROS, a Religious organization that advocated for the poor and disenfranchised, because they spoke out against Israeli aggression in Palestine.

But they were not the only group in Stephen Harper’s crosshairs, brought to light during the Haiti crisis. Said Goar: A shadow hangs over Canada’s exemplary earthquake relief mission in Haiti. Several of the charities working heroically to deliver food, clean water, health care and shelter to (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: ‘Targeted exemptions’ for TFWs – Tory fund-raising tool, a backyard maquiladora in every neighbourhood, or both?

Typical Canadian fast-food help, as seen by Canadian fast-food employers, sort of. Below: Employment Minister Jason Kenney in Stampede-Week-appropriate garb and the CFIB’s Richard Truscott.

ST. ALBERT, Alberta

Unemployment has climbed to 7.1 per cent in Canada and yet a key segment of the Harper Government’s donor base is screeching for more Temporary Foreign Workers. What to do?

From the perspective of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, this is a serious problem. Too many Canadians remain unpersuaded by the hysterical campaign cranked up by the country’s retail business sector to turn the TFW spigot back to full, and to do (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Whatever the ‘Canadian Taxpayers Federation’ is, it’s certainly not a ‘tax watchdog’ – let’s stop calling it one!

“Canadian Taxpayers Federation” Alberta Communications Director Derek Fildebrandt dressed up for a typical CTF stunt, which the media falls for every time. Below: Mr. Fildebrandt back in the days he was part of the Reagan-Goldwater Society at Carleton University; CTF board members Karen Selick, Adam Daifallah and John Mortimer. (Thumbnail photos grabbed from CTF’s website.)

While the Canadian Taxpayers Federation claims to be a “tax watchdog” that opposes waste and advocates transparency in government, evidence suggests its principal purposes are to provide partisan support for the Harper Government, fulfill the corporate agenda and undermine the rights of working people.

(Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Harper’s cancellation of refugee health care “cruel and unusual” treatment: Federal Court

Harper’s cancellation of refugee health care was “cruel and unusual” treatment that “shocks the conscience and outrages Canadian standards of decency.”

The post Harper’s cancellation of refugee health care “cruel and unusual” treatment: Federal Court appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Gar Alperovitz suggests in the wake of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century that it’s long past time to reconsider who controls capital – and make a concerted effort to democratize that control: The name of the game — Piketty’s book fairly screams it — is capital: who gets to own it, benefit from it and derive political power from it. Accordingly, it may be of some interest to note that in significant part because of the pain and failure of our current reality, many of those local laboratories of democracy (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Jason Kenney and Our Temporary Foreign Air Farce

OMG. I didn't think it was possible for Jason Kenney and the other oil pimps in the Harper regime to embarrass this country more than they already have. I didn't it was possible to be more humiliated in the eyes of the world, and still keep breathing.But sadly I was wrong. Because remember how I told you last night why Kenney's plan to crackdown on temporary foreign workers in the fast food industry was nothing but a sham or a scam?Well how about this scam? Now they're hiring foreigners to replace our Royal Canadian Air Force pilots. Read more »

Montreal Simon: Jason Kenney and the Latest Foreign Worker’s Scam

Uh oh. It looks as if the Cons have been forced to retreat to their wartime bunker.For not only are they trying to dodge the flak over their decision to approve the Northern gateway pipeline.They are now coming under fire because of their efforts to fix the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.And what must be driving them absolutely crazy with fear, is that the heaviest fire is coming from Western Canada. Read more »

Alberta Diary: Progressive Conservative leadership candidates take aim at federal bogeyman, demand Alberta’s own immigration policy

Alberta’s three Progressive Conservative leadership candidates contemplate Ottawa mucking about with the beloved Temporary Foreign Worker Program. From left to right: Ric McIver, Jim Prentice and Thomas Lukaszuk. Actual would-be Alberta premiers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: the real Messrs. McIver, Prentice and Lukaszuk.

Never mind Alberta’s Lake of Fire! Is that an Alberta Firewall I hear being erected?

The three Progressive Conservative Party leadership candidates met in in the northwestern oilpatch supply centre of Grande Prairie Saturday night for an all-candidates’ forum at which they displayed a fierce Alberta independantiste spirit that would have warmed the heart (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Bryce Covert rightly challenges the claim that poverty bears any relationship to an unwillingness to work – along with other attempts to blame the poor for their condition: In fact, the majority of able-bodied, adult, non-elderly poor people worked in 2012, according to a data analysis by economist Jared Bernstein. There were about 21 million non-disabled, poor adults that year, and about half of them, or 11 million, worked. Another 3 million didn’t work because they were in school. If those in school are taken out of the picture, 57 percent (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Too Little, Too Late

So, Jason Kenney has applied some bandages to the hemorrhaging Temporary Foreign Workers program.  

The changes prevent employers in places with high unemployment rates from applying for temporary foreign workers in the lowest wage and skill groups in the accommodation, food service and retail sectors. 

A cap is also being placed on the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers an employer can hire at each worksite: 30 per cent of a worksite’s employees starting immediately, dropping to 10 per cent by July 2016. 

Companies will also be required to re-apply each year to hire low-wage temporary foreign (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Three reasons why Ottawa’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program ‘reforms’ likely mean little

There’s always been a worldwide pool of skilled and unskilled employees like these fellows for jobs in North America – immigration. Below: Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

Canadians are within their rights to be highly skeptical of the long list of changes to the Harper Government’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program announced yesterday by Employment Minister Jason Kenney.

Indeed, we would be nuts to be anything but skeptical about this effort by the government to “change the channel” on what really is a national scandal.

First, there has simply never been any reason for a temporary worker (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Beware of Those Bearing Pledges. They Might Just Have to Honour Them

Men should pledge themselves to nothing; for reflection makes a liar of their resolution.  Sophocles

Pledges are nothing new for politicians.  Some are broad in scope, like FDR’s pledge to a New Deal for Americans, or President Obama’s pledge to not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year.

In 1994, Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, while mostly a treatise on “family values” laced with anti-government claptrap, helped the GOP win the primaries.  It was a pledge.

What a lot of Canadians are no doubt unaware of, is that Stephen Harper’s Reform Party helped to draft the Contract. (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Tim Hudak Wants to be Like Mitch Daniels. No Wonder. He’s Another Mike Harris

Indiana- Louise Cohoon was at home when her 80-year-old mother called in a panic from Terre Haute: The $97 monthly Medicaid payment she relied on to supplement her $600-a-month income had been cut without warning by a private company that had taken over the state’s welfare system. (1)

Hold that thought.

The Globe and Mail has recently revealed that after losing the last election, Tim Hudak visited members of the American far-right to help prepare his current platform.

We already knew that his mathematically challenged Million Jobs plan, was created with the help of Republican Benjamin Zycher, king of offensive (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: I Have A Simpler Solution

The headline reads, Restaurant owners seek meeting with PM over foreign worker freeze

The group representing Canada’s restaurant owners is calling for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the freeze on temporary foreign workers in the restaurant industry.

“The recent moratorium on temporary foreign workers in the food service industry has turned the labour shortage into a crisis,” Restaurants Canada CEO Garth Whyte said during a news conference in Charlottetown today.

The solution proposed by Restaurants Canada is threefold:

- Lift the moratorium on the food service industry immediately.

- Strengthen the rules of the program (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Jason Kenney’s Never-Ending Fast Food Nightmare

Oh goody. Pass the ketchup and call an ambulance. It looks like Jason Kenney's Little Shop of Con Horrors and Foreign Workers just got even MORE entertaining.Because now not only is the fast food industry going after Kenney for cutting off its juicy supply of cheap foreign labour. Now they're so steamed, or broiled, by his plan to fix the problem, by forcing them to pay those slaves more than they do Canadians.They're going after Boss Harper !!! Read more »

Montreal Simon: Jason Kenney and the Foreign Workers Turd Blossom

Oh dear. I'm afraid I have some shocking Con fashion news to report today. It seems that Jason Kenney has been forced to replace his fine feathery foreign workers pimp hat, with a very ugly, but suitably Con blue, dunce cap.Because not only has he blown another hole in his fraudulent claim that the only reason he flooded the country with foreign workers was because there is a serious labour shortage in Canada.The federal government approved thousands of requests to bring in temporary foreign workers at minimum wage in recent years, a practice that undermines claims from (Read more…)