An Open Letter to Premier Brad Wall Regarding Connaught School

As you are aware, dear Reader, the regina mom is not impressed with the Regina Public Schools Board of Education and their decision to tear down a 100 year-old school without benefit of a second opinion.  So, the regina mom, being who she is, sent a letter to the Premier and copied it far and wide.*

.

Here’s the letter:

An Open Letter to Premier Brad Wall Regarding Connaught School March 16, 2013

Dear Premier Wall:

I understand that your government has received a request from the Regina Board of Education (RBE) to replace Connaught School. For a variety of reasons, I request that you deny it.

Before you is the opportunity to make a reckless decision or to invest in an integral piece of our history as a city and a province, as housed in that building. As a 25-year resident of the area I draw on my fundamental human right, as guaranteed by the United Nations, to insist you preserve the building. The real value of Connaught has not been properly assessed. The non-market aesthetic, cultural and other values of a refurbished school have not been properly accounted for. Furthermore, the environmental, social, and economic cost-benefit analysis of alternatives requested in public consultation meetings have not been addressed – in essence, the impacts of redevelopment on our community, our property values, our local businesses, our environment and other amenities such as the Connaught library have not been properly assessed nor communicated to local residents.

As well, the RBE’s renovation options as presented to the Ministry of Education appear to be over-costed and under-researched. Some RBE documents contain basic arithmetic errors in the thousands of dollars! A recommended investigation of the building’s structure was, to my knowledge, not completed, except for a basic visual assessment. In discussions with the Heritage community, I learned that the RBE made absolutely no effort to obtain the advice of experts in the assessment and repair of older buildings. Nor has an embodied energy study been conducted. Neither has the RBE requested comparable estimates, despite the Chair’s recent statement that the consultant’s report is a second opinion to her staff’s. In effect, the RBE has one estimate, provided by a company that specializes in new construction. Hard facts, then, do not underly the cost estimates.

RBE has done a less than impressive job of assessing redevelopment. The community consultation process was seriously flawed, conducted by a private firm that will likely bid on the new build. The recommendations in no way serve the school community, my Cathedral community, the residents of Regina or the people of Saskatchewan. The community input we gave through the consultation process has been disregarded and disparaged. This is in direct contravention of our community’s right to appropriate development strategies and equitable participation in decisions affecting heritage, as guaranteed under the ICOMOS Stockholm Charter, signed by Canada.

To demolish Connaught is to miss an exceptional opportunity to preserve our history. It is a cornerstone of the Cathedral Village and holds significant cultural and aesthetic value, a source of pride to past and current students, to residents and to all who pass by or enter its halls. That it be sent to the landfill is a disgrace and should be the absolute last resort of any administration!

I therefore support the demands, as articulated by the Save Our Connaught Committee which came into being on the March 3, 2013, that your government agree to the following:

  • An independent second opinion by experts in the field on the renovation versus new build option for Connaught School, based on thorough research, recommended studies and detailed unit costs. ‘Best guesses’ are a slap to the face of our joint cultural heritage.
  • A full and independent consideration of the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of redevelopment options which includes proper consideration of the relative value of a new building versus a refurbished historic school must inform the decision.
  • The Ministry of Education and the Province of Saskatchewan must apply a more fiscally responsible, community-sensitive approach to school renovation in our community.
  • The Province must understand, acknowledge and take seriously its role as Steward of a nationally recognized historic school, on behalf of citizens of Saskatchewan and Canada.

I trust you will do the right thing. Thank you for your time and immediate attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Bernadette L. Wagner

Regina SK

cc: Ms. Katherine Gagne, Chair, Regina Public Schools Board of Education

Honourable Kevin Doherty, Minister Responsible for Parks, Culture & Sport

Honourable Russ Marchuk, Minister Responsible for Education

Mr. Cam Broten, Leader of the Opposition

Mr. David Forbes, NDP critic for Education

Ms. Danielle Chartiere, NDP critic for Culture

Hon. John Nilson, MLA for Regina Lakeview

Save Our Connaught

Real Renewal

Regina Leader-Post

Prairie Dog Magazine

Metro News

CKTV

Global News

CBC-TV

CBC Radio

Radio Canada

Rawlco Radio

MBN Radio

Accidental Deliberations

Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff

.

* Email addresses should you care to follow suit:  citydesk@leaderpost.com, ckck@ctv.ca, globalnews.reg@globaltv.com, Jacob.Zehr@globalnews.ca, Jdedekker@leaderpost.com, direction@accesscomm.ca, mwood@rawlco.com, news@620ckrm.com, news@mbcradio.com, ponops@hotmail.com, regina@metronews.ca, saskboy@gmail.com, sasknews@cbc.ca, sheila.coles@cbc.ca, tjsask@radio-canada.ca, kdoherty@mla.legassembly.sk.ca, rmarchuk@mla.legassembly.sk.ca, cbroten.mla@sasktel.net, dforbesmla@sasktel.net, saskatoonriversdale@ndpcaucus.sk.ca, gagne@accesscomm.ca, saveourconnaught@gmail.com, realrenewal@gmail.com,<j.nilson.mla@sasktel.net>, greg@gregfingas.com, <carlabeck@sasktel.net>

Too much politics all at once

Really, the regina mom thinks she should take up juggling.  She’d be good at it, given her propensity to deal with many things at once.  Oh, sure, the kids have moved out and she’s not juggling their lives in with hers as much as she used to, but it seems that other things have moved into her life and she’s throwing them around, too.

Last week, this ridiculous idea of a Public-Private Partnership (P3) that the HarperCons have set up to help their friends make more money municipalities deal with infrastructure issues, in this case Regina’s wastewater issues came to the fore.  In an email conversation with City Councillor Wade Murray, the regina mom learned that Councillor Murray doesn’t much like public involvement in such issues.  From that conversation:

I am open to dialog and learning of the alternatives, for until the moment the question is called, I reserve my decision. It’s unfortunate that people only get involved just before the decision is to be made. We have been discussing this for 2 years, it was a topic through the election, but no one really seemed to care at that time, all of a sudden it’s time to get involved.

the regina mom really doesn’t remember a single Councillor making an issue of this during the campaign, do you, dear Reader?  And now, at tonight’s Council meeting, they approved going ahead with it. Unanimously.

At close of business on Friday the Regina Board of Education announced via its Agenda for the Tuesday, February 26 meeting that it’s considering the wrecking ball for Ecole Connaught Community School, the oldest school in Regina that’s still used as a school.  the regina mom‘s kids attended there, as did her 86 year-old mother-in-law! The irony is that at tonight’s City Council meeting, the Connaught Centennial Committee and the kids who put on a spectacular array of events to celebrate the school’s 100th anniversary last year, received a Municipal Heritage Award.

Real Renewal, the group that came together a few years ago when school closures were all the rage has come forward to speak out against this ridiculous plan.  The group has raised questions in 13 different areas and, being the helpful political activist she is, the regina mom started a petition on Avaaz which you are welcome to sign.  At last look, there were 661 signatories on the petition requesting

That the Regina Board of Education delay the decision to demolish or retrofit Ecole Connaught Community School until the recommended studies and thorough and proper community consultation can be carried out.

It’s a long shot but here’s hoping that one of the oldest buildings in the city stands for many years to come.

And then there’s the Saskatchewan NDP Leadership contest, heading into the homestretch.  We on the Ryan Meili/Erin Weir team are working hard to GOTV, contacting hundreds of voters who have not yet cast their ballots.  It’s going to be close and thus, interesting, come the March 9 convention in Saskatoon.  We’ll either have the same-old New Democratic Party or we’ll have a New Democratic Party that will change the conversation in Saskatchewan politics.

On top of the political work the regina mom does, there’s her volunteer work with the Sage Hill Writing Experience and the Cathedral Village Arts Festival.  Oh, and her writing career!

Let us send you Ryan’s book!

As the regina mom‘s readers already know, she endorsed Dr. Ryan Meili in his bid for leadership of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party.  The idea-sharing, hard work and comaraderie among the folks on the campaign team has instilled in her a renewed sense of commitment to building a better world.  Our creative campaign team came up with this great idea, just in time for holiday gift-giving! the regina mom invites you to be part of this historic time by supporting Ryan’s campaign. Check out the 50/50/7 deal:

Ryan Meili Leadership Campaign

Dear friends:

50 years ago, the Saskatchewan NDP took the bold step of introducing universal healthcare.

50 years ago, the Saskatoon Community Clinic, where Ryan works, was established to provide that care and defend the single-payer, publicly-funded system.

Today, Ryan’s campaign is building on that legacy of big ideas and shared struggle.

And we need your help.

In honour of the 50th anniversary of Medicare, we’re asking 50 people to make a donation of $50 to help us build this movement. And as a gesture of our gratitude, we’ll send you something important in return — read on for details.

We have been very encouraged by the generous support you’ve shown since Ryan launched his bid for the Sask NDP leadership. Your support has given our campaign huge momentum going into the holiday season.

But you know that campaigns cost money, and the bills don’t stop just because the holiday season is approaching. So instead of just asking for another donation, we wanted to offer something meaningful back to you.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Medicare, for the next week we’ll send a signed copy of Ryan’s book, A Healthy Society: How a Focus on Health Can Revive Canadian Democracy, to everyone who donates $50 or more in response to this appeal.A Healthy Society book cover

If you’re able to give $100, $150 or $500, you’ll be helping us cover the cost of sending books to people around the province and beyond, while still ensuring that we have the resources we need to run a winning campaign.

To meet upcoming campaign expenses, we need to reach at least 50 donors in the next 7 days. We hope you’ll sign on so we can send you Ryan’s book.

A Healthy Society proposes a new approach to politics, one that can help us put progressive ideas front-and-centre in addressing our shared challenges.

As Former Premier Lorne Calvert has said, “For those who seek the renewal of politics and public health in Canada, Dr. Meili has a vision for both. This work makes an important contribution to progressive dialogue in Canada.”

Lots of people have contacted us to say they want to learn more about Ryan’s vision for a healthy society. His book is the perfect resource for inspiring us all to work together to make it possible.

Help us celebrate the past 50 years, and shape the next 50 years, of progressive innovations in this province.

Please take a moment to make a donation today, either online through our secure server or by calling (306) 361-5755, so we can send you a copy of Ryan’s book.
With hope and gratitude,

Nicole, Jason, Rachel, Gavin, Erica, Dave, and the rest of the Meili campaign team

p.s. Remember: we need to reach at least 50 donors in the next week – please take a moment right now to respond, and then please pass the message on to your networks.

Good Grief, Regina Public Library!

the regina mom is short on time to write background for this at the moment.

Dear Reader,

This is to advise you that, as a citizen of Regina, I call for the resignation of each member of the Regina Public Library’s Board of Directors. The power granted to them through our municipal system of governance and the grace of the citizens of Regina must be ended. The Board’s treatment of our library workers is abhorrent!

The people who use our library system, most especially our children, love their library workers. Our communities and community organizations love our library workers. Here, in Cathedral, the library staff were an important part of the success of the Cathedral Village Arts Festival. Throughout Regina, the library staff help us, our children and our communities continue to learn and grow. In a time of prosperity, we should be showering them with raises, not killing them with cuts and clawbacks!

The RPL Board must step down or get back to the bargaining table!

Sincerely,

Bernadette L. Wagner
thereginamom.com
thereginamom@sasktel.net
@thereginamom
306.550.7023

Canada creeps toward becoming a closed society

Nick Fillmore asks a question the regina mom has been grappling with for years: “Is Stephen Harper displaying fascist-like tendencies?” Ever since Naomi Wolf published “Ten Steps To Close Down an Open Society” at the Huffington Post in April, 2007, an essay has been brewing on trm‘s computer.  (Yes, trm admits to being a slow writer.)

Wolf’s research for that article became the book, The End of America, which documents “how open societies become closed societies.” Her family’s friends, Holocaust survivors, urged her to explore a few texts and the result was what she called a “blueprint” that has been adapted by several societies when making a shift from an open to a closed society.  In the HuffPo piece she named ten significant pieces of the blueprint and showed how they were at work in the USA at that time.

To complement Nick Fillmore’s work, trm thought she’d finally share, in point form, what she discovered by placing Wolf’s blueprint on Canada.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

  • What’s more terrifying to a parent than ‘child pornographers’?  According to Vic Toews, the regina mom’s opposition to Bill C-30 — the Snoop and Spy bill — means that she stands with “the child pornographers”.  How does that make a mother feel?
  • Women should be used to it, perhaps.  Years ago, the Prime Minister suggested women’s groups are of the “left-wing fringe.”
  • More recently, as trm has noted, on the eve of the Joint Energy Board’s hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver had choice words to describe those in opposition to the proposed pipeline.  He painted “environmental and other radical groups” as those wanting to “block this opportunity to diversify our trade” regardless “the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth.” The groups have a “radical ideological agenda” and will “exploit any loophole they can find” to “kill good projects” with “funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.”

2. Create a gulag

3. Develop a thug caste

  • The Fifth Estate‘s documentary, Out of Control, about the suicide of Ashley Smith when she was improperly incarcerated in a penitentiary and allowed to die. [Warning: It is difficult to watch.]

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

  • Since 9/11 Canadians have witnessed an alarming increase in surveillance measures.  Are the new airport scanners and procedures are part of the scheme?

5. Harass citizens’ groups

  • Forest Ethics supports its former employee in his allegations that the PMO is trying to “to silence and intimidate non profit organizations like ForestEthics, and the thousands of citizens and civil groups who, like us, are concerned about the direction this country is taking and are speaking out.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

  • G20 protests were an exercise in arbitrary detention and release and suspension of civil rights, as pieced together by CBC’s The Fifth Estate.
  • Saskatoon’s “Starlight Tours” as highlighted in the NFB film Two Worlds Colliding, about the freezing death of Neil Stonechild at the hands of Saskatoon police officers.

7. Target key individuals

  • Franke James is a visual artist with a strong ecological leaning whose federal government funding for a show in Croatia was “suddenly cancelled by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa, with the words, ‘Who was the idiot who approved an art show by that woman, Franke James?‘”  She has asked and is currently awaiting a meeting with her MP, Joe Oliver, who announced he would meet with environmentalists if asked.

8. Control the press

  • Early on in the Conservatives’ mandate the PMO set in motion new ways of co-ordinating and disseminating of news and information by the government of Canada.

9. Dissent equals treason

  • Item #5 above identifies ForestEthics as a harassed citizens’ group. It’s former employee Andrew Frank maintains that he and other employees were told the PMO considered them to be enemies of the state.
  • Recently, Canadians were advised that they may be placed on counter-terrorism watch lists if they are involved in “the promotion of various causes such as animal rights, white supremacy, environmentalism and anti-capitalism” activities.

10. Suspend the rule of law

  • The conservative government has twice prorogued Parliament while critical debates and actions were underway that may have toppled the Minority government.

 

 

As you can clearly see, dear Reader, Canada is active in every area of the blueprint Wolf found.  And, up against Nick Fillmore’s piece, there is definitely overlap.  Canada is creeping towards closing down as a society, to becoming a fascist state.

Our democracy is very fragile.  Hold onto her tightly.

The Internet v. Vic Toews: Score one for The Tweeps [Amended]

[Correction: Thanks to an observant commenter who noted that Hitler was misquoted in an earlier version of this post the regina mom posts this version with proper attribution.]

That the HarperCons might in any way be surprised by the public response to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ introduction of the “Snoop and Spy” Bill C-30 made the regina mom laugh! . The public responses to the HarperCons over the past while have been strong:

to name a few.  And, when placed against a backdrop of Canada as a Collossal Fossil at international climate talks, job loss such as that created by the Caterpillar plant closure in London, Ontario and the general outrage as evidenced in the unparliamentary language Liberal MP Justin Trudeau hurled across the aisle at Environment Minister Peter Kent, to name a few — how can anyone really be surprised?

Minister Toews must have felt significant pressure to ensure passage of the bill when he framed opposition to it as standing with the child pornographers.  Oh, my yes, think of the children, a tactic recommended by another fascist:

The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. —Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation. –Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Hitler Writes from the Grave

Oops!  Was that a failure of impression managers in the Minister’s office?  Did someone really fail to see the tipping point approaching?

From where trm sits, on the once-cold Canadian Prairies, something’s surely tipped.  In the middle of February on the northern Great Plains the temperature hovers around 0 degrees Celsius and have for a while now.  It’s a very early spring and the recently-revised digital revolution arrived in Canada, thanks to the Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews.

Three digital phenomena, the Twitter user @vikileaks30 (mirrored here), the hashtags #TellVicEverything and #DontToewsMeBro and the “hacktivist” group, Anonymous, brought international attention to the Snoop and Spy bill.  @vikileaks30 sent tweets (140-character messages) excerpted from public documents about Vic Toews rather seedy divorce proceedings, his spending habits as an MP and Cabinet Minister and challenged the Minister to open his browser history for all the world to see.

The hashtagging (assigning a label to a message) by Twitter users received notice world-wide for a moment and remained one of the most discussed topics on Twitter in Canada for several hours.  In the Twitterverse (world of Twitter) that’s a long time.  The Minister has asked the Speaker to investigate the vikileaks account, based on very bad computer sleuthing by the Ottawa Citizen.

Follow that up with Anonymous demanding the withdraw of B-30 and the resignation of Minister Toews with the promise to release additional information about him if he doesn’t has led to an interesting point.  The Minister now hides between a real (imagined?) cloak as a victim of public attack, and apparently, the recipient of threats on his family and his life after admitting he did not read Bill C-30 before presenting it to Parliament.

Yes, trm might go into hiding, too, if she’d presumed such arrogance, made a huge fool of herself and yet again muddied the idea of democracy.  It seems, though, that the PMO is trying to clean up the mess.  Good luck with that!  Canadians found Twitter and, apparently, know how to use it.

Together, we make a difference

Thank you, dear Readers, for the rapid response to yesterday’s call. Aaron Wherry’s coverage of the excellent elocutions by NDP Member of Parliament, Charlie Angus, in the House of Commons regarding the Snoop and Spy Bill C-30, suggests we’ve made a difference. Here’s Charlie.

 

 

And after Charlie’s lambasting of the Minister here’s what went down according to Wherry,

 

The Public Safety Minister turned to his script, finishing with a concession of sorts. “We will send this legislation directly to committee,” he said, “for a full and wide-ranging examination of the best way to do what is right for our children.”

 

It didn’t end there.  The 3rd-party Liberals rose in the House, first Bob Rae and then Ralph Goodale and they rammed it home.

 

Standing next, Bob Rae pressed the advantage. “Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the people who come forward with amendments will not be called Adolf Hitler,” he scolded from the far end of the room, “will not be called terrorists and will not be called friends of pedophilia by the minister when they come forward with reasoned amendments.”

 

Then Ralph Goodale stood to make clear the extent of the retreat. “The Prime Minister implied a few moments ago that he will entertain amendments to Bill C-30,” he lectured. “Do we have his guarantee that amendments will in fact be welcomed in the parliamentary committee?”

 

The Minister assured the House that amendments to C-30 would be entertained. Unable to let it go and, quite possibly to ram it home for Quebeckers,

 

…the NDP’s Francoise Boivin stood across the aisle from Mr. Toews and pronounced shame on the minister and the legislation. 

 

trm must say, Thank you, Parliamentarians, friends and colleagues.  Together we make a difference!

An anti-woman rampage

As published in Regina’s Prairie Dog and Saskatoon’s Planet S.

AN ANTI-WOMAN RAMPAGE

Intentional or not, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered another bitchslap to Canadian women in the economic and fiscal update his finance minister, Jim Flaherty, delivered on Nov. 27.

Sure, he took swipes at political parties and unions and promised to sell off public assets, too. And he also attacked women’s right to equal pay for work of equal value within the federal civil service.

Harper apparently hates anything to do with equal rights for women. As a result, women don’t vote for him. Maybe that’s why instead of wooing us, he takes extreme measures to further punish us.

Just look what he’s done in the past: he smacked down a national child care plan, killed off the Court Challenges program, attacked women’s reproductive freedom by supporting Bill C-484, axed jobs at Status of Women Canada (SWC) and eliminated the word “equality” from its mandate, silenced advocacy groups, shut down community-based women’s organizations and stripped money from women’s agencies and programs.

And the list goes on.

Now, he spins a pay-out of “over $4 billion in pay equity settlements” as an extraneous expense for government? Hello? That’s money stolen from women! Women who performed work equivalent to men in the federal civil service were paid less simply because they were women. It’s money they earned. The Canadian Human Rights Commission said so in 1984. That was 24 years ago! In 1999, after 15 years of legal wrangling, the Federal Court of Canada agreed women had been short-changed and ordered the government to cough up.

Some women have died waiting for their fair share. But Harper’s revenge would see those payments slow down. And their right to pay equity subjected to contract negotiations.

And their right to strike eliminated.

Gilles Duceppe was the first to stand up to Harper, accusing him of using the economic crisis as an excuse to attack women’s rights. “[The government] has decided to attack women’s rights by submitting their right to pay equity to negotiation,” he said. “Since when are rights negotiable?”

Since when, indeed! Some women I know want Gilles as PM. Others, including the Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights, say that “the prospect of a coalition government means that things are definitely looking up for women.”

No kidding! What would be worse for women than another day of Stephen Harper as PM? /Bernadette Wagner

Cross-posted at rabble.ca

It’s an anger-making day!

I’m angry today.

It’s -28 degrees Celsius here right now.  And with a 40+ km/h wind coming in from the north, it makes for a wind chill factor of about -45.  It’s the first day of real winter here on the prairies.

But that’s not what’s making me miserable.  I’ve lived in Saskatchewan all my life.  Cold, I can handle.

It’s abuse of power that has my blood boiling.  Earlier today, in a PS to his Journamalism post, pogge sent me to Paul Wells’  blog at Macleans.ca.  Paul strings together the true story of our Prime Minister’s disdain for Parliament, then summarizes his opinion:

In short, he’s been a bit of a twit, has our dear leader. It does us no good to have a Prime Minister who flies to Winnipeg and Peru singing Kumbaya if he can’t set foot in Parliament without bringing a blowtorch. He clearly cannot stand the place. That’s a problem because at some point, he’s going to need a functioning Parliament to get anything done.

Well, that’s a problem if he actually wants to do something. Turns out that’s a big “if.” It’s becoming more and more obvious that the impasse in the House of Commons is an expression of the Prime Minister’s own conflicted feelings about the place. He showed on the Afghanistan war that when he wants to he can lead a government that bends and concedes in pursuit of its goals. But that was about soldiers. He cares about soldiers. He has never convinced me he cares about the economy, or believes any government can do anything to affect its course. Build roads? Bail out car companies? Take advice from Jack Layton? He’d sooner cut off the opposition’s allowance, then hit the road to tell more fibs about Stéphane Dion.

From a springtime of committee chaos to a summer of ultimatums to a fall election, a December crisis, a tasty prorogue-y holiday feast, and the near certainty of another New Year psychodrama. I could swear there was a pattern in there.

There, in the comments section, I found a link from Robert, to this Toronto Star story.  Apparently, Mr. Harper does not need Parliament to get things done:

OTTAWA–The Conservative minority government is letting people take advantage of some tax measures in its fall economic statement, despite the fact the Tory fiscal plan hasn’t been passed by Parliament.

Ottawa issued a news release yesterday announcing that Canadians can take advantage of a proposal to reduce the minimum withdrawal from their registered retirement income funds by 25 per cent for 2008.

The Canada Revenue Agency has advised financial institutions that it can administer the proposed change before the law is passed, the release says. It also says if the proposal does not get passed by Parliament, the agency would not apply penalties to anyone who follows the proposal.

It’s a blatant abuse of the rule of law.  Apparently, Steve the Sweater Guy is above that.  I mean, we know that, don’t we?  Certainly, we witnessed it quite clearly when he broke his own fixed date elections law.

This action seems to fit well with what James Laxer has identified as Harper’s “paranoid style” of political maneuvering. Though the corporate media and the CBC praise Harper’s political acumen, Laxer cuts through the spin to the real deal:

By paranoid style, I mean, that Harper belongs to the resentful right, whose adherents understand the world in simplistic, binary terms, and depict those who disagree with them as the agents of endless conspiracies against the forces of righteousness. (A telling example of the paranoid style is the way Conservatives have taken to labeling the Liberal-NDP coalition as “un-Canadian”. This ludicrous term is lifted from “un-American”, an unsavory epithet that was much employed by McCarthyites during the 1950s who believed they had a corner on what it was to be American. Until the Harperites appeared, no politicians in Canada were so certain of their monopoly of virtue as to label their foes “un-Canadian.) [Go read the full post.]

Stephen Harper is absolutely paranoid that he may lose his reign on power and he will do anything to hold onto it.  He knows that since he has not produced a majority government for his right wing alliance after three elections his leadership will be under review.  It’s likely he would be replaced.  And there are already rumours about who might do that.

He is paranoid and my guess is he will hold desperately onto every power Parliament affords him right now and use it to undermine his opposition.  He will continue with more questionable acts, such as rule by Order-in-Council and edict, over the next few weeks. It’s a trick Grant Devine used in Saskatchewan and other rightwingers have used elsewhere and one I’ve been expecting.

Here’s hoping the coalition has the courage to see these treacherous acts for what they are and bring down this would-be dictator come budget day.

Addendum:  The Jurist over at Accidental Deliberations has also added to this.

But it seems clear that Harper would rather govern illegitimately by fiat rather than not at all. And every step the Cons take to evade the need for Parliament to pass Canada’s laws moves us further from anything that could possibly be described as democracy.

Bonus for making it this far:  Bruce.

Is something actually sticking to the Teflon PM?

It’s starting to look like maybe our Teflon PM has fallen on tough times.  It seems that the business suits’ love affair with Prime Minister Stephen Harper is beginning to wane.  Maybe he should’ve kept the sweater vests.  From the Report on Business:

C-suite survey

Executives pan PM’s plan as lacking punch

From Friday’s Globe and Mail

Prime Minister Stephen Harper may have won the skirmish that gives him time to come up with a budget providing economic stimulus, but he’ll be under intense pressure to get it right because close to half of business executives think his moves to date were deficient.

Even in Saskatchewan, where Team Teflon took 13 of 14 seats last election, the love just isn’t what it once was.  From the Regina Leader-Post:

Harper the barrier to ending this mess

And, as if that isn’t bad enough for the poor Hair Harper, that dastardly social democrat, Red Ed, dared to tell it like it is!  From The Globe and Mail:

A CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE: A PRIME MINISTER’S BETRAYAL

Fanning the fires of national disunity

Founding president of Rights and Democracy and former leader of the federal New Democratic Party

Since first being elected to the House of Commons in 1968, at a time of great national unity, I have never witnessed a Canadian prime minister consciously decide to disunite the nation. Until now.

Now, for the first time in our history, we have a prime minister prepared to set a fire that we may not be able to put out, for the paltry purpose of saving himself from a confidence vote on Monday. In almost every sentence, paragraph and page coming from Mr. Harper, his ministers and Conservative MPs, we’re getting distortions intended to delegitimize a democratically formed coalition, proposed in accordance with normal parliamentary practices, between the Liberals and the NDP.

The Conservatives have tried to link the coalition with a demonized Bloc Québécois and Quebec. Mr. Harper wants to buy time in order to stir up support from a majority in English Canada. He is turning a serious constitutional and legal issue, on which he knows he cannot win a confidence vote, into a political battle of national unity, calculating that the numbers are on his side.

Instead of following constitutional precedent and allowing a democratic confidence vote to take place when it should, we have a power-hungry man who will be recorded as the first prime minister in Canada’s history to deliberately create a political crisis and set the fire of national disunity.

And, of course, the socialists had to open their mouths, too!  From Global Research:

Harper’s Coup; Power grab in Ottawa

by Mike Whitney

Global Research, December 5, 2008

“We are in the worst crisis since 1929 and we have no government. How can this be good?” Stephen Jarislowsky, chairman of Montreal money manager Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended Canada’s parliament to avoid a challenge from opposition parties that were planning to oust him from power. The 3-party coalition–the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois—decided to remove Harper because of his strong opposition to a stimulus package that was designed to minimize the effects of the financial crisis. They also opposed his “proposed elimination of subsidies for political parties, a three-year ban on the right of civil servants to strike, and limits on the ability of women to sue for pay equity.”  Governor General Michaelle Jean helped Harper to hang on by using her constitutional authority to close the legislature for seven weeks. Now the country is in a furor.

Harper is a far right conservative ideologue who served as president of the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), a conservative think-tank and advocacy group. The organization opposes national healthcare but supports privitization and tax cuts. It has 40,000 members but the names are kept confidential. It’s motto is “more freedom with less government.”

The Prime Minister has been a staunch supporter of George Bush and the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of his critics accuse him of being a neoconservative allied to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Bilderburger Group. He is alleged to be a proponent of plans for a North American Union, which is an elitist scheme to end US sovereignty by merging the three countries– Canada, the US, and Mexico–into one superstate. The plan coincides with Harper’s unwavering support for free trade.

Harper’s connection to extremist organizations may sound far fetched, until one one sees a video of him giving a speech that was also given by Australian PM John Howard prior to the war in Iraq. The speeches are identical–word for word–indicating that they must have been written by a third party somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon or a nearby think tank. The video dispels any illusion that Karzai, Abbas, and Siniora are the only sock-puppets working for Washington.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10491

Harper is also a trusted ally of Israel and has defended Israel’s 31 day invasion of Lebanon in 2006 that killed over 1,300 Lebanese civilians who were fleeing the south to escape Israeli bombing. According to Wikipedia: “the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish organizations presented Stephen Harper with its inaugural International Leadership Award for his support for Israel…the award was given to express the group’s appreciation for Canada’s “courageous stands” to boycott the Durban 2 Anti-Racism Conference.

On June, Harper was also awarded the Presidential Gold Medallion for Humanitarianism by B’nai B’rith International. He is the first Canadian to be awarded this medal.”

Harper is also a committed militarist who has circumvented Parliament and announced a plan that will greatly expand Canada’s armed forces. According to Linda McQuaig of the Toronto Star:

“Harper has already laid out an agenda that would fundamentally change this country – in ways most Canadians would oppose. While this agenda is not “secret,” my guess is few Canadians know about it… Sometime in the dark of night last June 20, the Harper government posted a plan on the Department of National Defence’s website – called Canada First Defence Strategy – to spend an eye-popping $490 billion over the next 20 years on the military.

It’s hard to imagine an agenda with more profound consequences for Canadians, beginning with a dramatic reordering of national priorities. Public health care? Child poverty? Fighting global warming?

While the election campaign focused on economic issues, the military and its combat role in Afghanistan have actually been the centrepieces of the Harper administration. Harper has tried to reshape the way Canadians think about Canada, weaning us off our fondness for peacekeeping (and medicare, for that matter), and getting us excited about being a war-making nation, able to swagger on the world stage in the footsteps of the Americans.” (Linda McQuaig, “Stephen Harper: Bulking up Pentagon North”, the Toronto Star)

Poor, poor, Steve!  No one loves him.

Oh, but I am sure his mother must.  Mom’s are kinda like that.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,661 other followers