The Harper claims no wrongdoing

From the Globe & Mail

Party broke no rules, Harper says

From Saturday’s Globe and Mail

Ottawa — Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended his party yesterday against allegations that it failed to disclose who attended its 2005 convention, saying the Tories followed “all the rules” when collecting fees.

Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley asked the Conservative Party yesterday to hand over documents relating to the convention to ensure financial regulations were followed.

“All the laws have been obeyed and the Liberals will have to obey them as well,” Mr. Harper said yesterday. “That’s the tough part.”

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The Conservatives are facing allegations from the Liberals and the NDP that they failed to categorize convention fees as political contributions. Contributions to political parties must be reported to Elections Canada.

The Liberals argue that their interpretation of federal financing laws requires that convention fees be reported. The Tories say they need to be reported only if the party makes money off the convention.

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Nice try, PMSH.


The avante garde

At Times of Hate, Times of Joy you’ll find a quote by Roger Shattuck, from The Banquet Years, about the precursors to the Dada-ists and Surrealists:

Words of Wisdom about the avant-garde

Conventionally, a work if art is considered to be the product of a different self from the one displayed in habitual action and ordinary living. A few courageous members of the avant-garde set out to extend the artistic, creative self until it displaced all guises of habit, social behavior, virture and vice. When our entire life stems from our one deepest self, the resulting personality is usually so startling and abnormal as to appear a mask or a pose. It is the ultimate paradox of human character.

However, I can’t find a comments section at that blog, so please feel free to comment here.

Or not.

Dangerous goods

At I found the link to a Guide to Less Toxic Products, one section of which provides information on

Common Hazardous Ingredients in Personal Care Products

More than 5,000 ingredients are allowed for use in personal care products. Many are identified by government agencies as hazardous, but many others remain untested. Some ingredients with known health hazards are very common in personal care products, both conventional products and alternative ones.  We are providing information on some of these common ingredients. In preparing this guide, we screened products and chose those which had the least amount of these hazardous chemicals for our Best and Good sections.

DEA, TEA, MEA – Diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), and monoethanolamine (MEA) are hormone disruptors. They are also known to combine with nitrates to form cancer-causing nitrosamines. If a product contains nitrites (used as a preservative or present as a contaminant not listed on labels) a chemical reaction can occur either during manufacturing or after a product is made. There is no way to know which products contain nitrosamines because government does not require manufacturers to disclose this information on the label. 

The guide lists several more and is well worth a look.  The ingredients are common to shampoos, soaps, make-up, hair care products, etc. that many use daily.  I’m going back to have a look at the other sections.
Any chance the Harper will address this in his Ambrosian environmental policy?

Round-up: Cheatin’ Tories?

Well, lookie here! The pristine PMSH and his reconstituted Conservative Party appear to have had difficulty understanding the laws of the land regarding the rules for campaign financing.

Robert at My Blahg highlights the CTV story

The Conservative party may have illegally accepted millions in unreported donations last year because it didn’t understand political financing laws

while over at Accidental Deliberations is the Canadian Press story, Tories may have taken in close to $2 million in illegal contributions, along with a list of the sections of the Canada Elections Act the Cons may well have violated.

Meanwhile, in the comments section at My Blahg is a link to another interesting tidbit regarding an Alleged Conservative Blogsphere Scheme which Bound by Gravity also blogged this past January.

Vues d’ici links to the Globe & Mail story, Tories may have broken political financing laws.
What I’ve found most interesting are the comments sections at the blogs.

At Accidental Deliberations I followed a commenter to his blog, Blue Blogging Soapbox where he quotes the CP story and says he is not about to take the word of ‘’ Elections Canada spokewoman Valerie Hache,‘’ apparently because only the Chief Electoral Officer and Election Commisioner [sic] are capable of clarifying this.

A couple of interesting comments over at My Blahg. Here’s #16

Last election we now have them on:

1. using undeclared money (see this thread)
2. publishing pamphets and distributing without identifying the source (see g@m toronto ridings during election)
3. running an undeclared “third-party” fake news outlet
(see National P online, Montreal G, Van Sun, and Me)
4. undeclared pre-writ spending used during the writ (how do you think the CPC paid for all their polling and targeted marketing used *during* the election)

and #19

consider this…

The CPC paid well over million for its phone polls to identify winnable ridings and close polling stations. They continued both the calls and used the reports right up to election day… where does this expense show up in delcared spending???

For those ridings selected for the polling service, the economic cost of detailed polling is around $80,000/riding and the information is used in that riding during the election…. but does the riding delcare the expense??? The calls per riding versus the assigned cost per riding is generally off by about 5 to 1… In some cases no cost is declared as the calling is pre-writ and the only the reports are used post-writ; but according to the canada elections act if you use something during the writ period – even if paid for pre-writ – you have to declare it as an expense.

and, of course, the PS to comment #24

P.S. Does this mean they also stole the last election?

Well, does it?

Update 11:40AM 29Jun06:

* Somena Media is having a good chuckle at the irony of it all and points to Dissonance And Disrespect and Canadian Cynic, who sums up D&D’s remarks.

* Liberal Catnip, once referred to by a right-winger as an Uber-lefty, ends her post with a series of questions that had me laughing: What shall we call this one? DonationGate? We’reJustSoConfusedGate? Don’tBlameUsWe’reToriesGate? Or how about ThereGoesOurMajorityGate?

* Greg at Sinister Thoughts comments on the tie-in with the upcoming Liberal convention.

* Eugene at Le Revue Gauche weighs in with a concise paragraph on the fiscally-challenged Harpercrites. (Heads up: longer than average load time, but worth the wait.)

Update 2:15 AM 30Jun06

* Rambling Socialist nails it — the party that came into power on accountability had no right to talk about accountability — with his pot/kettle post.

Update 11:15 AM 30Jun06

* Best and Better provides a short, annotated ConventionGate round-up.

Update 10:00 PM 30Jun06

* Blog Critics has an excellent essay suggesting that the Cons are proving they can be just as arrogant as any other party and have no conception of what the word accountable means.

Canada’s impossible mission

As Blevkog and Maple Leaf Politics have already reported, the Senlis Council, an international security and development policy think tank, reports that Canadian troops are suffering in Afghanistan in part because of Canada’s adherence to U.S. policies.

Canada in Kandahar: No Peace to Keep – A Case Study of the Military Coalitions in Southern Afghanistan

New Field Report

June 2006 Canadian troops and Afghan civilians are paying with their lives for Canada’s adherence to the US government’s failing military and counter-narcotics policies in Kandahar. The US-led counter-terrorist operations and militaristic poppy eradication strategies have triggered a new war with the Taliban and other insurgent groups, and are causing countless civilian deaths.

To a large extent, it can be said that Operation Enduring Freedom and the related militaristic counter-narcotics policies are significant contributors to the current state of war in Kandahar and the other southern provinces.

Canada and the international community continue to unquestioningly accept America’s fundamentally flawed policy approach in southern Afghanistan, thereby jeopardising the success of military operations in the region and the stabilisation, reconstruction and development mission objectives.

In the report, released on Wednesday, the authors say that

“Canadian troops have been handed an impossible mission which can only lead to significant casualties…

“Until Canada fundamentally re-evaluates its approach and creates its own new strategy for its presence in Kandahar, with a clear split from the failed US policies there, the Canadian mission in Afghanistan is blindly following a path that will lead to senseless military and civilian casualties.”

The Ottawa Citizen reports that Lt. Col. Ian Hope, commander of the Princess Patricia’s battle group in Kandahar, scoffed at the report.

It’s completely typical of the current administration, isn’t it, to ignore good advice?

Army’s War on Women

With this going on, is it any wonder men come home to sexually assault women and girls? That women have to endure harassment and assault from their colleagues has to be much too much.

Over 500 Reports of Sexual Assault among U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

June 27, 2006 2:05 PM

Tom Shine and Maddy Sauer Report:

Over 500 cases of sexual assault have been reported among U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since the summer of 2002, according to the executive director of the Miles Foundation, a nonprofit group that tracks sexual crimes in the military.

“The combat theater is illustrative of the hostility towards women in the U.S. Armed Forces,” according to Christine Hansen, the executive director of the foundation. Hansen is testifying this afternoon before the House Government Reform Committee.

Hansen notes that survivors of sexual assault in the combat theater point to many issues that contribute to the hostile environment there for women in the military, including “lack of privacy to perform daily routines; insufficient lighting in and around the tents; isolation; existence of a sexually charged atmosphere; presence of pornography; and availability of condoms for male troops.”

I suppose it’s a good thing the men have condoms; at least the women won’t come home with AIDS.

Small mercy, that.

Article re Legris

Visit the Globe and Mail quickly to read the full article acknowledging Canada’s new superstar poet disappears behind their pay-wall.  Here’s the teaser:

A poet’s winning season

Sylvia Legris’s break-out book won the Griffin, and her life may never be the same

From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail

SASKATOON — At the beginning of this month, Sylvia Legris’s quiet poet’s life was dramatically altered when she won the coveted 2006 Griffin Poetry Prize. Three times is apparently a charm, since it was her third book of poetry, Nerve Squall (Coach House Books, 2005), that garnered top honours.

Recently Legris and I shared a discreet upstairs booth at Grandma Lee’s Bakery in downtown Saskatoon. It’s her favourite haunt, she says, because it’s low-key and serves great Rice Krispy squares, but she’s a bit on edge. Since the Griffin gala on June 1, Legris has hit the poetry jackpot, been inundated with attention and been run over by a scathing critic.

It’s inequality, love

Wimbledon is underway this week.  And the women who will still win less than the men who win.

From The Guardian

Monday June 26, 2006
The Guardian

For Venus Williams, who is defending her women’s title again this year, it’s a travesty. She has been vociferous in her attacks on the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club over the issue: on the eve of the championship she is still smarting over the announcement made earlier this year that the winner of the men’s competition will get £655,000, while the winner of the women’s will net less – £625,000.

It was, she tells the Guardian, a disappointment. “For us it’s not about getting paid because all the players love what we do, and that’s playing tennis. For us it’s about equality, it’s about treating a human as a human, no matter what the sex is, and it’s about women all over the world. It’s a bigger picture than tennis . . . it’s about a premier women’s sport setting an example all around the world.” In the coming contest, she says, she and her fellow women players will “do our best to show we’re equal on all fronts”.

So, a woman’s victory is worth  £30,000 less than a man’s and that’s because

“We believe that what we do at the moment is actually fair to the men as well as to the women,” says club chairman Tim Phillips. He says that because men play five sets to the women’s three, the top men rarely play doubles and so earn less overall than women.

“It just doesn’t seem right to us that the lady players could play in three events and could take away significantly more than the men’s champion who battles away through these best-of-five matches.”

Oh, these old boys are just too, too much!

“It’s bullshit,” says Martina Navratilova, the nine-times Wimbledon champion who hasn’t grown mellow with the years. “How can anyone not feel strongly about this? Whenever there is inequality it doesn’t matter whether it is a penny or £100,000. It is about the principle – and the principle is wrong.

“We are willing to play five sets, but they won’t let us. Maybe the men should play three. After all, who wants to sit through a five-hour sporting event, unless it’s a Test match? It is quality, not quantity. Women’s rallies actually last longer so the ball is in play for longer . . . so maybe we should be paid more.

Thanks to brebis noire @ B&R for the lead.

Are R.E.A.L. women for real?

They’re ba-ack! And with a vengeance, it seems. They call themselves R.E.A.L. women but their goals are pretty unreal and quite frightening, as they always have been. Their ongoing attack on Status of Women Canada (SWC) sounds pretty much like their battlecry from the Mulroney years. And they’re specifically targetting the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC), the Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund (LEAF) and the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL).

NAC, NAWL and LEAF were part of the coalition of women and women’s organizations which worked to defeat Canada’s misogynist abortion law in the 80s. That they are pro-choice and continue their work, across the country, for the equality provisions afforded to women in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms must be why they’re under attack. Well, that, and the anti-choicers must believe they have a sympathetic ear in the Harper.
Here’s an update on the (un)R.E.A.L. Women’s current campaign:

REAL Women of Canada has obtained an additional Access to Information
request on feminist groups for 2004 - 2005 through Status of Women Canada. 

In their latest newsletter (May - June 2006), they've posted budgets to
organizations such as LEAF, NAWL, & NAC on their website as part of their
Letter Writing Campaign to MPs. 

Links to the specific articles in their online Newsletter:

Ongoing Discrimination of Status of Women:

Professional Feminists Face Changing Times:

For visitor's who don't wish to visit the REAL Women website, the text of
the letter to MPs from REAL Women is also available online at DAWN Ontario
et en français

In the 80s a Planned Parenthood worker suggested feminists call themselves FAKE women: Feminists, Ass-Kicking for Equality. It still has a certain ring to it…

Updated to add this link where a long-time R.E.A.L. women’s activist, Gwen Landolt, trashes the Supreme Court as a political toy.
Thanks to Barbara at DAWN Ontario for the lead.