Harper’s Biggest Lie

Given the slashing his New Government of Canada has given women across the country, via cuts to Status of Women Canada, the document below must surely qualify as proof that anything Stephen Harper says or does can never be trusted.

Here’s hoping those who think he’s turning green will see through the b.s.

Thanks to NUPGE for the image.

Further Update: SWC Sit-in

BC women seem to be making a bit of headway with Minister Oda.  Here’s the latest:

BC Coalition for Women's Equality  and Human Rights in Canada

For Immediate Release

Minister Oda Agrees to Meet with Women's Organizations in BC

(Vancouver, 19 January, 2007)  Representatives of the BC Coalition for
Women's Equality and Human Rights in Canada, an ad hoc coalition of women's
organizations, met with Minister Bev Oda by teleconference for one hour this
afternoon. This hastily scheduled meeting was convened as a result of a
demonstration and a brief occupation of the Status of Women Canada office in
Vancouver yesterday. 

Coalition representatives expressed disappointment with Minister Oda's
explanations and defense of the Harper Governments decisions to:

-slash $5m dollars from the SWC budget
-close 12 of 16 regional offices of SWC
-remove women's equality from the program mandate
-make research, advocacy and lobbying ineligible for funding
-cancel the Court Challenges Program
-refuse to move forward on proactive pay equity legislation
-cancel the Pan-Canadian child-care program
-fail to move forward on its CEDAW obligations.

In the face of Oda's defense of these decisions, the Coalition is determined
to redouble its efforts to have them reversed. 

Minister Oda agreed to meet with representatives of BC women's organizations
to discuss the Harper government cuts, the changes this government has
introduced and its failure to move forward on women's human rights. No date
has been fixed for this meeting. The Coalition asked that it take place as
soon as possible as the government cuts take effect on March 31. Given that
the House will be in session January 29, representatives advised Minister
Oda that they were available to meet evenings or weekends in order to ensure
that the meeting takes place as expeditiously as possible. 

Cecily Nicholson, of Vancouver Status of Women, noted that thousands of
women across the country have expressed their dismay about these decisions.

"And our concerns are shared." says Fatima Jaffer, spokesperson for the
Coalition. "Provincial and Territorial ministers also highlighted their
dissatisfaction with Minister Oda's leadership. They decided not to invite
the Minister to their meeting early February in Toronto to plot a national
strategy because they say she shows so little interest in women's issues."

- 30 -

For more information, please contact:  Shelagh Day, 604.872.0750, Shauna
Paull, 604.209.5776, Fatima Jaffer, 604.838.3599.

Vote CCFR in Regina

Vote for progress that considers people before profits.  Vote CCFR!


There is a better way…Vote CCFR on October 25th

In many ways, the Coalition for a Citizen-Friendly Regina has already succeeded – we’ve sparked a genuine debate about the choices we face, and about what sort of city we’d like to build. But the outcome of the municipal and school board elections on Wednesday, October 25 is incredibly important. Regina citizens can make a positive difference. Vote

Ten extremely qualified CCFR candidates are seeking your support, and a
number of the races are sure to be extremely close – 200, 100, even 20 votes
could tip the balance one way or the other. Your vote matters.

Even just two or three CCFR victories will ensure that voices of reason will
be able to make themselves heard in the next city council and public school board.

Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 25. For information on where to vote visit the City of Regina election web page.

Encourage others to vote

Call three close friends and ask them if they’re planning on voting. Tell
them how you’ll be voting, and why. Encourage them to vote. If they don’t
have transportation, offer to drive them to the poll.

Celebrate with us

After the polls close on Wednesday evening, come out to the Exchange (2431 8th Ave.)  to join with other CCFR members to relax and celebrate our many victories.


Harper’s Support Falters, Declines

Harper’s Horrible Hobgoblins

 

John’s essays are always such good reads…enjoy!

 

Harper’s Support Falters, Declines
by J. F. Conway

Conway is a University of Regina political sociologist.

 

 

Prime Minister Harper and his government are very busy aggressively pursuing their right-wing agenda, despite a tenuous hold on power. What with the “honeymoon effect” (aw’ shucks, give the guy a chance), a less than probing media, the wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan dominating the news, a leaderless Liberal party, and Layton and the NDP playing cute opportunist games, Harper has enjoyed a bit of a cake walk through what should have been a series of damaging political mine fields.

But that era seems to be at an end, as both a few media types and the public begin to wake up to the long-term implications of what Harper has been doing as our illustrious prime minister. Even the Liberals and the NDP have begun to awaken from their slumber. And a large part of this wake up call has been the fact that for the first time in memory rank-and-file Canadians are increasingly ashamed of Canada’s role in international affairs. Harper’s reckless foreign policy, a pathetic partisan echo of that of Bush and the US government, has deeply offended Canadians.

All the recent polls show a steep drop in support for Harper and the Tories. The biggest drop was recorded by the early August Decima poll. The Tories and the Liberals are in a dead heat (32 % Tories; 31 % Liberals; 16 % NDP – this with a leaderless Liberal party showing very little opposition and with Harper and his ministers dominating the news on a daily basis. Worse for the Tories, the Liberals are significantly ahead of the Tories in Ontario, Quebec and the large urban centres.

Most commentators suggest Harper’s fall from grace can be largely attributed to the opposition of a growing majority of Canadians to his pro-US/Israel stance on the war in Lebanon and his continuing commitment to the Afghan war. Some pro-Harper commentators argue this downward blip is temporary, and, as the conflict in Lebanon recedes from the headlines, Harper will make a comeback.

Perhaps. But other Harper initiatives are beginning to rankle growing numbers of Canadians. Some of them provide a peek at Harper’s extremely conservative social agenda, dangerous territory if the Tories hope to win next time. Others reveal Tory hypocrisy as patronage is pumped out and ideological friends are rewarded with government largesse.

The inevitable negative fallout from Harper’s cancellation of the national day care program and his substitution of $100 per month per child under 6 in direct payments to all parents has begun to hit the Tories. This decision was clearly an attack on the typical Canadian family, while revealing Harper’s cherished support for the declining traditional family with dad at work and a stay-at-home mom. The typical Canadian family has two earners (54 per cent of all families in 2001, projected to grow to 58 per cent by 2016), and desperately needs quality, affordable, publicly subsidized day care. Harper’s preferred stay-at-home mom family – the one Reformers used to rant was under attack by a feminist conspiracy – is rapidly disappearing (16 per cent of all families in 2001, projected to fall to 11.5 per cent by 2016). Yet this dying relic of families past is the favoured focus of Harper’s program. And as this realization hits Canadians, it spells trouble for Harper.

Justice Minister Vic Toews’s proposal to lower the age of criminal responsibility for children from 12 to 10 set off alarm bells among experts on children. This was another Reform party favourite in the 1990s. Toews wants to deter children from crime and has not ruled out incarceration. Old Reformers and Harper Tories are already on record supporting adult sentences for young offenders and would dearly love to scrap the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Heather Perkins-McVey, a lawyer for the Canadian Bar Association, expressed the fear and anger of many when she blurted, “does he want the death penalty for them too,” while accusing the Tories of “going back to the Dark Ages” and “work houses.” This attack on troubled, at-risk children will not help the Tories.

Harper’s refusal to attend the International AIDs conference in Toronto, and his government’s refusal (so far) to support the provision of clean injection sites for addicts (about one in three new cases of HIV/AIDS infections results from sharing needles), reminded Canadians of the old Reform party views on HIV/AIDS. Many Reformers were convinced it was God’s wrath visited on the abomination of homosexuality, thus representing a divine retribution. Others just want no truck or trade with the scum of the earth by pursuing any policy that might encourage addicts and homosexuals in their vile lifestyles. Harper is not saying such things (he wouldn’t dare), but his actions speak almost as clearly. Does Canada want a prime minister who is not only out of step with a world campaign against HIV/AIDS, but drags his feet on supporting rational public health interventions?

Harper’s gutting of federal environmental agencies, his withdrawal of Canada from the Kyoto Accord, and his cancellation of all federal funding for climate change research remind Canadians he is owned by the Alberta oil and gas industry. Clearly Harper is supporting the anti-climate change propaganda campaign pursued by the energy lobby. Does Canada want a prime minister who is in denial about climate change and the whole looming environmental catastrophe?

Harper’s decision to increase military spending by more than $15 billion with no parliamentary debate reminded Canadians of his pro-Bush, war-mongering tendencies. This decision played a part in his government’s decline in support, particularly when $8 billion of the spending appears to be dedicated to acquiring aggressive military hardware, like the 4 C-17 transport planes (very useful for invasions and occupations). This anger among Canadians deepened when the Tories, who made much of the patronage and corruption of the Liberals, invoked the national security exception clause allowing them to steer the patronage fallout to favoured political regions essential to winning a majority government, like the West, Atlantic Canada and Quebec. (The patronage fallout results from the policy that when a military contract is awarded, the recipient must spend a similar amount in Canada.)

Speaking of hypocrisy on patronage, the Harper government is red-faced about revelations that a $1.75 million contract awarded to a friendly consultant to make recommendations on how to save money in the Public Works department, increased to $24 million in 9 months with no explanation. There is also public embarrassment about a trip to Britain by two Public Works advisors to investigate “public-private partnerships” (the latest rage in far right privatization strategies). The advisors took their spouses, cancelled meetings, claimed to attend a lecture that never happened, plagiarized their report from British web sites, and fudged the figures to make public/private partnerships look bigger than they were. Ah, the Public Works department, it seems, always attracts those who wish to drink deeply from the public trough. It was ever thus, since the days of Sir John A. Macdonald.

The longer Harper is in office the clearer his agenda becomes. And it is not an agenda supported by a majority of Canadians. Once the Liberals have a new leader, and Jack Layton gets principled and stops suffering from the delusion that he can replace the Liberals by attacking them while giving Harper a pass on a lot of things, Harper will face greater scrutiny and confrontational opposition. If he has fallen this far in the polls with little or no opposition, his future is less than assured.

Deny, deny, deny

Not much to add to what’s already been expressed by other bloggers, except my two cents.  It’s no surprise that the National Cons have come out swinging, saying they knew nothing about the cheque-swapping scheme.  And, if you believe them, well, do I have a deal for you!

Wasn’t it just a week or so ago that the Harper said all the rules were followed? That’s what I thought.  And now they knew nothing about it?  How convenient!
And why is it that The Blogosphere had to break this story?  What’s with the MSM, anyway?

And say, doesn’t it make you feel good to know that we all subsidized the folks who attended the Con-Flab Convention last year?  And isn’t it good to know that the line, Liberal, Tory, same old story, still holds true?

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.