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…)
Andrew Coyne has rightly pointed out the gall the Senate is showing in nixing Michael Chong’s watered-down Reform Act (even if there’s something to a few of the criticisms). But let’s not miss the most absurd suggestion of all as to who should be given increased power over a party’s leadership (emphasis added): “I just don’t think this kind of things should be left in the hands of caucus, when our process for electing leaders [is] in the hands of the grassroots,” [Con Senator David] Wells said. He suggested the bill be amended to require a minimum consent of 50 (Read more…)
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…)
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…)
Andrew Coyne wants to pretend we shouldn’t worry what legislation gets passed by the Harper Cons on the theory that there’s absolutely nothing stopping a future elected government from reversing course.
Which means it’s a good thing there’s no antiquated, undemocratic chamber of Parliament where regardless of the results of any federal election, a Conservative majority will continue to hold the power to unilaterally negate the decisions of elected representatives.
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…)
Rouge Park in autumn.
Canada’s Rouge National Urban Park Act began second reading in the Senate earlier this week after sailing through the House of Commons is just six months.
Tobias C. Enverga Jr., a Stephen Harper appointed Senator for Ontario, is acting as the bill’s sponsor in the Senate.
On Monday this week, Enverga Jr. spoke on the bill, urging all Senators to offer their support. “One hundred years from now I am confident that the decision to preserve this remarkable place as our country’s first national urban park will be viewed as one of the most (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Mariana Mazzucato comments on the role of the innovative state – and the unfortunate reality that we currently lack anything of the sort due to corporatist thinking: (T)hanks in part to the conventional wisdom about its dynamism and the state’s sluggishness, the private sector has been able to successfully lobby governments to weaken regulations and cut capital gains taxes. From 1976 to 1981 alone, after heavy lobbying from the National Venture Capital Association, the capital gains tax rate in the United States fell from 40 percent to 20 percent. And in the name (Read more…)
Romeo Dallaire, the retired Canadian general who led a UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda during the African country’s 1993 genocide, used his last Senate speech to criticize Harper’s foreign policy.
The post Romeo Dallaire’s last Senate speech criticized Harper’s foreign policy appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
The Senate has asked Harper-appointed Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu to apologize for violating the “Conflict of Interest Code for Senators” by banging staffer, giving her contracts.
The post Conservative Sen. Boisvenu told to apologize for banging staffer appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
The 31 charges the RCMP laid against suspended Sen. Mike Duffy, who was appointed to the Senate by Harper in 2008, include fraud and breach of trust.
The post RCMP’s 31 Criminal Charges Against Sen. Mike Duffy appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
by: Obert Madondo | May 16, 2014
The Harper Conservatives used their majority in the House of Commons to bulldoze their dictatorship-style “Fair Elections Act” earlier this week. The bill is now back in the Conservative-dominated Senate where it’s certain to pass.
Canadians and their democracy-loving allies aren’t giving up the fight. Through an online petition hosted on AVAAZ, they’re asking the Senate to protect Canadian democracy from Stephen Harper’s plan to steal the 2015 federal election through the Orwellian piece of legislation, also know as Bill C-23.
The petitioners insists that “there are still awful provisions in there that will disenfranchise (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Joshua Holland writes that for all the social and cultural factors contribution to U.S. sickness and death, inequality ranks at the top of the list: Here in the United States, our high level of income inequality corresponds with 883, 914 unnecessary deaths each year. More specifically, the report concluded that if we had an income distribution more like that of the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland — or eleven other wealthy countries — every year, about one in three deaths in the US could be avoided.
Put that into perspective. According to (Read more…)
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Charles Demers points out the impact Svend Robinson has had on Canadian politics – and suggests that he should be the model for fellow progressives: Not only did Svend embody something different from the usual electioneering pabulum [sic] — a genuine belief in the righteousness and effectiveness of indigenous, environmentalist, and social movement direct action, for starters — but, as Truelove’s wonderful and readable and extremely well-researched book shows, he also showed how gadflies could still exercise real power and affect people’s lives. The episode in which Svend leads the successful campaign (Read more…)
How do you save democracy from itself? You appoint a Senate.
In 1990 the democratically elected House of Commons passed Bill C-43 which would have criminalized all abortions. That bill was defeated by the appointed Senate. To this day abortions remain legal solely because of the Senate’s actions. In 2013 the democratically elected House of Commons passed Bill C-377 which would have weakened labour unions. That bill was stopped by the appointed Senate. Today the democratically elected House of Commons is preparing to pass Bill C-23 The Fair Elections Act which seeks to undermine democracy. The appointed Senate is (Read more…)
Okay, now the Senate is talking about wanting to see some amendments to the Harper Government’s bill to undermine Canada’s democracy.
The interim report recommends:
— Removing a provision which would allow political parties to exempt from their election expenses any money spent to raise donations from anyone who has donated at least $20 over the previous five years. Experts have called this an unenforceable loophole that would allow rich, established parties with big donors’ lists to spend untold millions more during campaigns.
— Requiring automated call service providers to retain records of campaign robocalls for three years, (Read more…)
Shorter Linda Frum: As one of Stephen Harper’s hand-picked counterweights to the troublesome democratic rabble, I refuse to acknowledge any difference between “encouraging voter turnout” and “abetting electoral fraud”. The less people with a voice in how this country is run, the better.
Unelected Conservative Senators have a surprising amount of electoral expertise. It must come from all those years of not getting elected.
@JDanAiken @bruceanderson Elections Canada should not have a vested interest in recording a high voter turnout. That’s a conflict.
— Senator Linda Frum (@LindaFrum) April 9, 2014
Every day these posers are proving the irrelevance of a partisan Senate…. this is not the stuff of sober second thought. Its stuff you expect from a bunch of drunks in a kitchen-party at 24 Sussex.
The post The Senate is drunk on partisanship appeared first on The Right-Wing Observer.
I really have to disagree with Dr. Barnhart, who had the power to sign, or refuse to sign laws of Saskatchewan into effect while Lieutenant Governor, that he is a powerful person. Now his influence may be lessened, even to the point where Global TV won’t keep a promise to him, but he did get invited to to a prestigious lecture for the UofR too, didn’t he?
There’s a time to be modest, and a time to be real.
Fitting caricature given his ego
It was a comedy, for real. Mike Duffy, the ultimate Ottawa insider, a cartoonish character who has become the leading symbol of Senate corruption, claiming living expenses for a cottage in Prince Edward Island he hardly occupied. The ultimate oversized sense of entitlement. He is a schmoozer who likes access to power, and has a giant ego to boot. A highschool dropout who made it big.
The documentary showed how Mike Duffy had been (Read more…)
by: Obert Madondo
Speech by leader Justin Trudeau to the Liberal Party of Canada’s biennial convention convention, held in Montreal, Quebec, over the weekend:
My friends, my fellow Liberals; what a great Convention!
Thank you for your work. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your passion
I want to paint a picture for you.
There’s a young woman, let’s call her Nathalie. She works hard. Maybe in an office in old Montreal. Maybe at a retail outlet along Sainte-Catherine Street.
She makes 40k a year. It’s about what her spouse makes too.
She sits in traffic a lot. Often (Read more…)
The best idea I’ve seen yet about what to to do with our constitutional albatross, the Senate, short of abolishing it, appeared in a recent issue of The Tyee. The article suggests random selection of “ordinary citizens to sit as senators for a limited period of time (perhaps one or two years).” The authors suggest that “with proper support and access to expert opinion, ordinary citizens can
… endorses Trudeau’s Senate move… <sound of Trashy passing out on the floor> Some “first” here: First time the words “west” “endorses” “Trudeau” have even been seen in the same sentence First time The Canada West Foundation has endorsed anything connected to the Senate – except its abolition Upon seeing this headline, the first time […]
This is a clear about-face from being willing to welcome Mac Harb back into the Liberal fold. I really wonder which idea is actually Trudeau’s.
Trudeau kicks Liberal senators out of caucus o.canada.com/news/national/… via @canadadotcom #PN #SenCA #cdnpoli— Christina Spencer (@Spencerpress) January 29, 2014
This explains some things RT @OttawaCitizen How Justin Trudeau and his advisers devised their Senate plan ow.ly/t5LGU— Stephen Maher (@stphnmaher) January 30, 2014
True RT @ThomasHall17: @stphnmaher So far it's just separate caucuses for separate houses of Parliament. Lib ldr only sits in MPs' caucus.— (Read more…)