Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream Harper is not serious about senate reform

Stephen Harper is not serious about senate reform.

Despite his announcement last week that he plans to stop filling vacancies in the upper chamber until the senate is reformed, his track record on the issue is very poor.

Stephen Harper, cc: pmwebphotos (

Harper was first elected to parliament in 1993 as the Calgary West MP for the Reform Party, which was well known for its stance favouring a Triple-E (equal, elected, effective) senate. Since becoming Prime-Minister nearly 10 years ago, his only substantive action on senate reform has amounted to just two things: appointing senators elected in ad (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Senate’s failure to provide any second thought on C-51 may serve as the ultimate signal that it has nothing useful to offer Canadians.

For further reading…- PressProgress’ look at the Senate’s sad history is well worth a read. The CBC reports on the Auditor General’s findings about the widespread abuse of public money. And Ian Austen offers a U.S. perspective on what comes next for the Senate.- Meanwhile, Karl Nerenberg explains why abolition is well within reach if anybody is willing to take a leadership role in pursuing it without reopening other (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Queeg Harper and the Sinking Con Ship

He's still the Captain of the dilapidated Con ship, the rusty tub that should have been scrapped long ago. And like the crazed Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny, he's still going after his bloody majority, like Queeg went after the strawberries.But unfortunately for Stephen Harper that majority is proving as elusive as those strawberries.Because as yet another poll suggests, the Con ship is slowly sinking.Read more »

LeDaro: Mike Duffy Saga

Harper sure knows how to appoint Senators, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau, and the notorious Mike Duffy. Harper campaigned against an appointed Senate, against privilege and corruption, in 2006, only to embrace it full on when he became Prime Minister. He appointed Mike Duffy, a so-called journalist who abused his position to gain the Prime Minister’s favour and get a Senate appointment. Duffy would promote stories favourable to the Prime Minister, even saying no one could question his integrity.

Duffy relished in a 2008 tape of then-Liberal leader Stéphane Dion stumbling, which was shown repeatedly even though the network had assured (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper, The Duffy Trial, and the Lost Summer

It's sometimes hard to remember, and even harder to believe, that Stephen Harper came to power promising to clean up government.And a new era of accountability.But we all know how that turned out. That was then.This is now…

And now that we know that there is even more evidence that the PMO was involved in trying to whitewash a Senate audit of Mike Duffy.As Lawrence Martin points out, if integrity becomes a ballot issue, him and his Cons are finished. Read more »

Montreal Simon: The Duffy Trial: The PMO Cover-Up Begins to Unravel

We've waited a long time to find out what role Stephen Harper's PMO played in the Mike Duffy scandal. And now we're finally starting to find out.They arranged for an outside audit to try to keep Ol' Duff quiet.And then proceeded to whitewash it. Read more »

Alberta Politics: And now for the hard part … getting businesses and right-wing commentators to curb their hysteria

PHOTOS: Alberta NDP premier-elect Rachel Notley at the centre of media attention. Below: NDP premiers Dave Barrett of British Columbia and Bob Rae of Ontario, back in the day; columnist and NDP activist Gerald Caplan. And now, the hard part … If you thought overcoming the supposed Progressive Conservative juggernaut piloted by hastily departing premier […]

The post And now for the hard part … getting businesses and right-wing commentators to curb their hysteria appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Alberta Politics: Zombie Confidence Fairy finally rears its head as the 2015 Campaign of Fear gets up steam in Alberta

A group of five prominent Edmonton businessmen with ties to the Prentice Progressive Conservative Party tried to talk some sense into us crazy Albertans yesterday about voting NDP during a news conference in the Melcor Developments’ boardroom in downtown Edmonton. From left to right: John Cameron, Paul Verhesen, Doug Goss, Ashif Mawji and Tim Melton. […]

The post Zombie Confidence Fairy finally rears its head as the 2015 Campaign of Fear gets up steam in Alberta appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Montreal Simon: Why the Duffy Trial is Also the Trial of Stephen Harper

Sometimes I think that the Mike Duffy trial is like one of those Russian nesting dolls, with Duffy as the biggest doll hiding all those other scandals inside it.Which is unfortunate, because it might give people the impression that it's all about Ol' Duff and his dubious activities.When in fact it's turning into a trial of the Senate AND the trial of Stephen Harper.Who as Tom Mulcair pointed out yesterday, is at the very heart of the scandal. Read more »

Montreal Simon: The Duffy Trial Starts to Suck In Stephen Harper

Ever since the Mike Duffy scandal erupted one question has never been properly answered.

How on earth did Duffy think he could get away with posing as a Senator from Prince Edward Island, when he had lived in Ottawa for decades?

And yesterday that question was finally answered.

It apparently wasn't Duffy's idea to pass himself off as the Senator from P.E.I., it was the fond wish, or the command, of his depraved patron Stephen Harper. Read more »

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Peter Ladner discusses why our tax and fiscal policies should be designed to reduce inequality – rather than exacerbating it as the Cons are determined to do: Right now, the richest 20% of Canadian families hold almost 70% of the country’s wealth. The bottom 20% are in a debt position. A CCPA study found that Canada’s wealthiest 86 people have the same net worth as the poorest 34%. Those of us with capital are adding these new breaks to existing tax breaks for capital gains, taxed at about half the rate of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Barrie McKenna takes a look at how the Cons are pushing serious liabilities onto future generations in order to hand out short-term tax baubles within a supposedly-balanced budget, while Jennifer Robson highlights the complete lack of policy merit behind those giveaways. And Ian McGugan writes that even as they’re trumpeted as attempts to improve saving none of the Cons’ plans have anything to do with actually improving retirement security, especially for the people who need it most: Our reliance on private savings to fund our retirements makes Canada an outlier among developed countries. (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Michael Harris on the Case Against Duffy and the Case Against Harper

If you've been following the trial of Mike Duffy, you know that the prosecution is having trouble making its case that he broke the rules, because it seems the Senate didn't have any.And that the judge is getting impatient. But as Michael Harris points out while the case against Duffy is in shambles. Three weeks into the trial, Judge Charles Vaillancourt spoke for a lot of Canadians when he stung the Crown with a comment about the administrative swampland of Senate expenses and the unfocussed case against Duffy. So far, the Crown’s evidence, (and there is a long (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: What you know in the PMO

Obviously, the revelation that Mike Duffy saw his job in the Senate as including a role as a publicly-funded lobbyist for the climate denial movement raises a whole new set of questions about the Cons’ misuse of public resources. And if, say Enbridge is being at all honest in its own public spin, Stephen Harper was well aware of what was going on: Duffy’s conversations with Enbridge officials [between January and June 2012] aren’t listed in the company’s lobbying registrations. However, in an email to CBC News, Enbridge’s vice-president of enterprise communications called those conversations “unsolicited.”

“Senator Duffy (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jordan Brennan discusses the utter failure of past trade agreements to live up to their promises, making it all the more unclear why we should be prepared to accept a new wave of even more inflexible restrictions against democratic decision-making. The trade and investment liberalization regime led to rapid and relentless restructuring of North American corporate ownership by opening the door to the two largest merger waves in Canadian history. On the world stage, these merger waves led to higher levels of Canadian corporate ownership abroad. Domestically, heightened amalgamation activity created larger Canadian-based (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- PressProgress documents how the Cons are driving Canada’s economy into the ditch. And Michael Babad reports that economists with a better grounding in reality than Stephen Harper are begging the provinces not to impose the austerity demanded by the Cons.

- Kara Santokie writes that if the Cons’ balanced-budget legislation has any effect at all, it will be to attack Canada’s social programs when they’re needed most. And Louis-Philippe Rochon sees the false balance bill as standing out even among the Cons’ bad ideas.

- Dylan Matthews questions whether workers present and (Read more…)

In This Corner: Stuff Happens, week 14: And they’re off! But why?

This week, Premier Jim Prentice called his uncalled-for election. The question remains, why?

The election — a year ahead of the lawful election date — has no validity. The PCs have a majority that any government in Canada, or the world, would kill for (and in some countries, that’s exactly how they do it). His “transformative” budget is unpopular, an ugly hodge-podge of tax hikes and service cuts. It does not, in any way, address the basic problem of the Alberta economy. The only possible outcome of this election is a win for the PCs, of course. But with the (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Why Wasn’t Nigel Wright Charged in the Duffy Affair?

Ever since the trial of Mike Duffy began, I keep getting asked the same haunting question: If Duffy is being charged with accepting a bribe, why wasn't Nigel Wright charged with bribing him by cutting him that $90,000 cheque?And I have to explain that the RCMP has yet to explain that decision. But it seems that they didn't believe that Wright obtained any "personal benefit" from that blatant bribe to try to keep Ol' Duff from opening his big mouth.And then I have to explain that yes it's true, and no I'm not insane, and since I'm not (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Most Horrible and Disastrous Week

Well he's off to the Summit of the Americas in Panama, along with his travelling photo-op.But despite the cheery forced smile, and the fact that nobody in Latin America wants to see him, Stephen Harper must be so glad to be leaving Canada.Because he couldn't have had a more horrible and disastrous week.Read more »

Accidental Deliberations: On trial and error

It may be true – as argued by Lawrence Martin – that Mike Duffy’s expense fraud trial will serve as the most prominent point of discussion about the Harper Cons’ stay in power. But we should be careful not to rely on it too much as a counterweight to the Cons’ self-promotion – nor to allow broader concerns about the Cons to be drowned out by the minutiae of Duffy’s actions.

The need for caution arises out of the nature of the trial. It shouldn’t have come as any surprise that the main points to be aired and decided involve (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: What’s the Senate all about Hair?

There is something of a contest going on. The Hair might draw the line at taking off his stuffed shirt and streaking the tourists gaping at Ottawa’s Confusion Square but no holds are barred in distracting Canadians from the Duffy Trial.

The Duffy Trial is the big show in Ottawa now and it’s getting the news media all a twitter. It is where the chubby one-time spokesman for the Hair Senator Mike Duffy is on trial for accepting a bribe.

But just a minute: maybe the Hair can explain to us why the person accepting the bribe is charged and (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Michael Harris: Why Stephen Harper Should be Testifying at the Duffy Trial

In my last post I wrote about how the Mike Duffy trial is already turning into a real nightmare for Stephen Harper.Duffy's lawyer is trying to bind the two men together, and show how close they once were.Which can only damage Great Leader, and further taint his reputation.But as Michael Harris writes, if there was any justice Stephen Harper would also be in court, and testifying under oath. Read more »

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and Mike Duffy: The Love Story

I always knew that Stephen Harper would never be able to escape the large shadow of Mike Duffy. I knew that he broke the rules to make him his favourite fundraiser. His inflated cash machine who could milk gazillions of dollars out of his sucker base. But who knew it was such a torrid love story?

Read more »

Montreal Simon: The Duffy Diary and the Panic in the PMO

Lordy. The Duffy trial is just beginning, and I don't think I've ever seen the fanatics in the PMO looking so frightened, or their Great Leader in a such a state of obvious panic.And it's not just because so many of them are going to have to testify under oath, or the thousands of their secret e-mails that Duffy's lawyer is brandishing like a weapon.Or the fact that the trial is already reminding Canadians that Stephen Harper bent the rules to make Duffy a Senator…

So he could be his porky fundraiser.What's also terrifying them is Duffy's Diary. Read more »

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Ezra Levant Out 72 Large

…for costs brought about by losing the defamation case brought against him by Khurrum Awan:

Meanwhile, some interesting bits of info emerged from the Duffy trial.  One is this daily itinerary forFebruary 8, 2010:

A meeting for pizza with Ez and the PM’s wife.  Also this: Repeated appearances in the Duffy Diaries to helping Vivian Krause (@FairQuestions), who researched enviro charities such as Tides.— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) April 8, 2015

Vian Krause originally did some pretty shoddy research purporting to show that Canadian enviro groups were taking foreign money to aid Alaskan salmon fisherman at (Read more…)