All posts tagged Stephen Harper
Posted by thereginamom on September 10, 2015
the regina mom again steps away from poetry-writing and into political writing because she thinks it’s that damned important! And who knows? She might get a poem out of it, too, one day.
trm sees more and more rightwing, American-style politics crossing our border and the unFair Elections Act is certainly one of these instances. Brent Patterson at the Council of Canadians has more on that, particularly the bit about fraud at the polls being virtually non-existent. Yet, the HarperCons address it as though it’s a real problem. Lead Now has a petition addressing that.
Alison@Creekside riffs and expands upon the Andrew Coyne article, What problems are the Conservatives really trying to solve with bizarre Fair Elections Act?, from which trm cited yesterday. The problems Alison@Creekside thinks the Cons identified are these:
- Investigation into election fraud in 2011 Election 33 months ago being rushed along at dangerous breakneck speeds.
- Public trust in fair elections in Canada at all time high.
- Serially violate election law successfully but then lose court battles to election watchdog.
- Too many people vote – 61% in the last federal election – especially aboriginals, young people, old people, and poor people.
- Parties not spending enough time and money on elections.
trm loves the analysis and hopes you read Alison’s take on how the Act provides solutions to these so-called problems. Michael Harris lends credence to Alison’s arguments with a doozer of an article at iPolitics!
How odd that the very people who were called “serial cheaters” this week by Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair are now rewriting the mandate of the office that runs elections and vouches for their integrity. The people who were the problem are providing the solution, which in normal language is called being judge in your own cause. A dubious principle in law and politics.
If you haven’t listened to the interview with Marc Mayrand, Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer, on CBC Radio One’s, The House, you want to. Also take a look at DAMMIT JANET! for a list of links to excellent pieces by Stephen Maher and Chantal Hebert, for starters, as well as to a commentary by Don Martin. His point that ramming a bill on democratic reform through Parliament is not very democratic is well taken by trm. Also of interest at DJ are tweets which fairly summarize the issue.
Another angle on this Act has to do with its constitutionality which is to say it may violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in that it stand[s] between Canadian citizens and our right to vote. Have a look at that, too.
So take a moment today to Call a Con! Support Maude Barlow and the Council of Canadians’ Hold the phone action to stop Harper’s new Elections Act!
Posted by thereginamom on February 10, 2014
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!
Posted by thereginamom on February 15, 2012
A tiny community called out to world. And the world answered. Foreign aid arrived in Canada courtesy environmental organizations which, if you’ll remember, dear Reader, are “radical groups” with “radical agendas” trying to “derail” the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. Our radical agenda, backed by independent science, demands acknowledgement that the continued expansion of the tarsands is killing the environment, people, creatures. Our audacity to challenge the continued expansion to the tarsands, including the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. It’s likely the HarperCon governments’ condemnation of the earth-based movement was a way of side-railing or discrediting the documentary, Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands. The documentary is billed as
a two-hour visual tour de force, taking viewers inside the David and Goliath struggle playing out within one of the most compelling environmental issues of our time.
In an oil-scarce world, we know there are sacrifices to be made in the pursuit of energy. What no one expected was that a tiny Native community downriver from Canada’s oil sands would reach out to the world, and be heard.
Tipping Point follows the people of Fort Chipewyan as they take their case to the world. They live downstream from the tarsands. And they are dying. The world heard their plea. Science spoke. The world heard the science. And acted. The HarperCon government silenced its own scientists, defended climate change denial science, gutted environmental programs and greenbaited those who, like the regina mom, stand up to this abuse of power. And now the government proposes to silence citizens.
On Valentine’s Day, 2012, the HarperCon Government introduced An Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts aka the Spy Bill in the House of Commons. Their framing of Bill C-30 draws on G. W. Bush-era “with us or against us” politics, saying that Canadians have a choice to either “stand with us or with the child pornographers.”
NDP Opposition Critic, Charlie Angus, does not like it, says it is “an unprecedented bill that undermines the privacy rights of Canadians” and that it will turn a cell phone into an “electronic prisoners’ bracelet.” Watch this extended coverage of the NDP’s response to Bill C-30.
The citizen group Open Media doesn’t like it, either.
The government has just tabled an online spying plan that will allow authorities to access the private information of any Canadian at any time, without a warrant.If they are successful your personal information could be caught up in a digital dragnet and entered into a giant unsecure registry of private data.
By forcing digital service providers to install costly online surveillance infrastructure, this scheme will create red tape for online innovators and businesses. It takes Canada in the wrong direction—a dangerous move when families are already falling behind during unstable economic times.
This warrantless online spying plan will invade your privacy and cost you money. If we care about privacy, the open Internet, our economy and our basic democratic rights, it’s time to tell Ottawa to stop this irresponsible plan NOW.
Dear Reader, the regina mom fears that Canada is heading down the road to becoming a closed society. Please watch Tipping Point and stand with us to stop the Canadian government. Email Charlie Angus and NDP Leader Nycole Turmel. Email the Prime Minister, and the minister responsible for this legislation, Vic Toews, too, if you like. Be creative. Do whatever you can think of to do. But please do something. Please help Canadians save their country.
Please consider this my message in a bottle.
Posted by thereginamom on February 15, 2012
Since the Northern Gateway pipeline hit the news, the regina mom has read more posts about science than ever before. And it’s not because science claims a place in her higher reading order. Rather, it’s because the HarperCon response to public outrage about the pipeline has forced her to know wtf she’s talking about. Or try to, anyway.
David Suzuki says that’s a good thing, that “science literacy is good for society.” So there. trm is doing it for the good of society! Suzuki also says,
In an open society, leaders who have nothing to hide and who base their decisions on the best available evidence should have no reason to muzzle scientists, or anyone else. Just as parents should help children find relevant facts and encourage exploration, governments have a responsibility to make sure we have access to good information.
Having answers to our children’s questions is not enough. If we want societies that provide the maximum benefit for the most people over the longest time, and if we want to find solutions to the challenges and problems we’ve created, we must teach our children and ourselves how to find and evaluate answers objectively. Making science education a priority is an important part of that.
Did the HarperCons have poor science education? Because it’s clear they’re not responding to science or the very real dangers this project would create, unless to twist it for political points. What interest, then, does it serve the HarperCon government in ignoring all this? That question was answered when trm read US environmentalist and Distinguished Scholar, Bill McKibbon’s dispatch:
The open question is why the industry persists in denial in the face of an endless body of fact showing climate change is the greatest danger we’ve ever faced.
Why doesn’t it fold the way the tobacco industry eventually did? Why doesn’t it invest its riches in things like solar panels and so profit handsomely from the next generation of energy? As it happens, the answer is more interesting than you might think.
Part of it’s simple enough: the giant energy companies are making so much money right now that they can’t stop gorging themselves. ExxonMobil, year after year, pulls in more money than any company in history. Chevron’s not far behind. Everyone in the business is swimming in money.
Still, they could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they’ve got a deeper problem, one that’s become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won’t be burned if we ever take global warming seriously.
And that’s it, isn’t it? The HarperCons are the party of big business, of the corporate sect that lined the Conservative Party coffers for the last election and they now have the ear of government. Why, the CEO of Enbridge accompanied the PM on the trip to China! That certainly doesn’t make the HarperCons look impartial to the pipeline now, does it? Enbridge’s big boss seems emboldened by the gesture, asserting that he has already offered enough to First Nations who would be impacted by his pipeline. “We think the financial package we’re offering is very, very strong, so we don’t have any intent (or) consideration on changing that,” is what he told the Reuters news agency.
No doubt he’s been crunching numbers. He couldn’t offer more; it’d cut into his bottom line. Make no mistake, that’s what this is all about, the bottom line. Back to McKibbon for a moment. He reminds trm that oil is a finite resource. Oil execs and their minions, aka our governments, are racing to beat the pending disaster inherent in continued GHG production, the distaster science is telling us we must avoid. But keeping oil reserves in the ground, he says, would impact the oil industry’s bottom line by $20 trillion. And that, in McKibbon’s words,
…would be a disaster, first and foremost for shareholders and executives of companies like ExxonMobil (and people in places like Venezuela). If you run an oil company, this sort of write-off is the disastrous future staring you in the face as soon as climate change is taken as seriously as it should be, and that’s far scarier than drought and flood. It’s why you’ll do anything — including fund an endless campaigns of lies — to avoid coming to terms with its reality.
NDP Member of Parliament Megan Leslie gets it. She is not afraid to look at the reality of the situation and look to a solution.
We must recognize our fossil fuel stock as a precious resource that we can use strategically to provide jobs today, but also ensure longer-term job security by using the short-term wealth they create to transition us towards new industries. We need to stop denying the writing on the wall, and develop prudent strategies to find ways to transfer the skills and knowledge that the workers in the oilsands have toward green energy industries.
A green jobs strategy would include extending the ecoENERGY home retrofit program, which the Conservatives have just cancelled, because it has created economic spinoffs of $10 for every $1 invested by the government while simultaneously reducing our carbon footprint. Jobs can be created through investing in green infrastructure projects, enhanced public transit and green research and development, all of which will spur economic development in every community in Canada.
But the HarperCons aren’t set on taking us there. So, what do we do? McKibbon:
Telling the truth about climate change would require pulling away the biggest punchbowl in history, right when the party is in full swing. That’s why the fight is so pitched. That’s why those of us battling for the future need to raise our game.
We’ve started, that’s for sure. But we need to pump it up a few notches if we want the attention of the HarperCons. Make no mistake about it, we can do it!
Posted by thereginamom on February 9, 2012
They expected 2,000 to attend and, according to police reports, 2,000 people demonstrated their opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and shut down the main street of the small northern city of Prince Rupert, BC. When 15% of the 13,000 who live in any city are marching on the street, it’s significant. Also significant is that CBC reported only 600. The lesson? Never trust the media to count your crowd.
CBC also reported that First Nations’ leaders are worried about their relationship with Ottawa as a result of their opposition to the pipeline.
Dallas Smith, the president of the Nanwakolas Council, said that even though he is not from the territory that will be directly affected by the pipeline, he’s been working in support of the concerns of his fellow First Nations.
“I think the opposition is based on the risk,” Smith said. “But there’s more at hand, there’s a relationship that needs to be built with the federal government right now and this is going to be really tricky to manoeuvre around, making sure that the whole relationship doesn’t get caught up in this issue.”
“We’re really concerned… about the ripple effect of this project and what it’s going to do to our already non-existent relationship with the federal government,” Smith said, later clarifying that the relationship is not really “non-existent” but is definitely “not as genuine” as the First Nations relationship with the B.C. government. [Video link here.]
How could anyone possibly have a “genuine” relationship with the HarperCon government, especially when said government hides Environment Canada documents about the impact of the tarsands on local communities, economies and environments until it suits them?
The latest document singles out the oilsands sector as the main obstacle in Canada’s efforts to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gases that warm the atmosphere and cause climate change.
“The oilsands are Canada’s fastest growing source of GHGs,” said the document.
It estimated that the industry’s annual greenhouse gas emissions would rise by nearly 900 per cent from 1990 to 2020. By the end of that period, the oilsands — with an estimated annual footprint of 90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gases in 2020 — would exceed the carbon footprint of all cars and SUVs on Canadian roads from 2008, according to the Environment Canada document.
There is no doubt in the regina mom‘s mind that this is why 60 scientists at Environment Canada were fired by the HarperCon government last month. Harperites don’t need pesky facts getting in the way of their agenda!
Sixty scientists with Environment Canada received notice that their jobs are “surplus” as of Jan. 11, confirming Minister Peter Kent’s announcement last August that 776 department positions would meet the chopping block due to the Conservative government’s belt-tightening.
Though the department is under “strict orders” not to reveal what work the surplus scientists are doing, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) – the union representing them – said the 60 employees include “senior engineers, environmental compliance officers, biologists, climatologists and others” responsible for reporting on pollution, monitoring water quality and climate research.
We can be certain that those currently running the government of Canada would rather not believe the facts when it comes to climate change. They’d much rather believe the pseudo-science of paid deniers over the real science of professional scientists. And they’ll cherry-pick data on an as-needed basis, thank you very much. Things like this graph, clearly showing the upward curve of global temperature changes over the past 130 years, just don’t work with their plan to expand the tarsands.
Pressure from those radical environmental groups with their radical agendas — you know the type — those using fact-based research now seem to have forced the hand of evangeliCons and their buddies in the big-ass oil industry. The HarperCons have announced, for the second time in as many years, that they are going to monitor the effects of the tarsands. At least, it appears that they will. As trm mentioned last week, Halifax MP Megan Leslie dismissed it as a PR stunt.
“The announcement was a public relations stunt,” says Leslie. “The Alberta Environmental Monitoring Panel said any monitoring that’s done has to be arm’s-length; it has to be separate from government and we heard the environment minister say today it’s still going to be government run.”
And so, as the HarperCon Prime Minister heads to China to visit with his old buddy David Emerson who’s there working our more ways to sell-out our country to the China Investment Corporation and Sinopec and who knows who else, the PM would certainly like to believe he’s quelled the voices of the so-called radicals. trm has kept quiet for a couple of days, yes, but she’s no where near finished with making noise about Canada’s dirty oil!
Posted by thereginamom on February 6, 2012
One part of the brain can work something out while another part is doing something else, or so it seems. the regina mom stayed up all night. When that happens, it’s usually because she’s been engaged in a good read or a good write. This time it was neither. And it wasn’t a party, either. No, this time trm‘s eyes were glued to the screen catching up on episodes of The Young and The Restless and The Colbert Report, shows she watches only occasionally these days. It’s as though her brain needed a time out from the case of overload she’d contracted by consuming a wealth of information about the tarsands.
What’s weird, though, is that she ended her viewing with the Mercer Report and got right back into it.
From Mercer, then to Twitter and to another story about the long-overdue tarsands monitoring plan the governments of Canada and Alberta have cooked up. While reading this piece, though, trm thought of her dad. Born in Canada to parents of Germanic descent just before WWII, he grew up with the “what will the neighbours think” mantra. What trm realized is that her dad is not alone. Many Canadians care about what the neighbours think, particularly on the international stage. Combine that with Canadians’ concern for the environment and an insult or two about it and the response is huge, so huge that it appears to have forced the government’s hand.
Ottawa and Alberta are hoping a new monitoring plan will curb criticism that the province’s massive oilsands fields are a dirty source of energy, but environmentalists say it will take a lot more to clean up Canada’s reputation.
“It can help send a signal that the government is starting to pay attention to the issues, but it doesn’t actually fix the problems that are causing the black eye to our reputation,” said Gillian McEachern, a Climate and Energy expert at Environmental Defence.
By the time trm got to the end of the article, she was recalling NDP MP Megan Leslie’s comments that this latest exercise was nothing but a PR stunt, a way to pacify audiences and is subject to spin. trm agrees and suggests this tactic it’s not only for short term gain. Note the timeline.
The new plan … to be rolled out over three years, will mean the governments will be monitoring more frequently and for more contaminants.
In three years’ time, Canada will be on the verge of an election and the HarperCons will undoubtedly point to this project as a demonstration of their shared concern for the environment. Never mind that it’s not what the scientists they consulted recommended, that it doesn’t go far enough, that a filthy addiction pollutes Earth’s air, waters and communities or that it’s harming real people downstream and upwind and around the globe or that the continued expansion of the tarsands over the next three years could do irreparable harm, the HarperCon government has created its next “action plan.”
And we must continue to challenge that plan.
Posted by thereginamom on February 4, 2012
It’s been more than a week now since Minister Joe (McCarthy) Oilver’s divisive screed appeared in the Globe and Mail. His attempt to create an us’n’them scenario has been thoroughly denounced and discredited in the blogosphere, as the links provided in my previous posts indicate.
Commentators, even some in the mainstream corporate media, continue to provide more information worthy of yet another blogpost by trm.
Tabitha Southey takes a swipe at the HarperCon hyperbolic campaign with her own hyperbolic prose and imagines a love affair between Big Oil and the Environmental Movement. trm giggled.
Paul Wells, possibly using the research produced by Deep Climate and DeSmog Blog (Who knows? He credits no one.), also wades into the online discussion. He quotes an unnamed HarperCon supporter who assures him there’s no connection.
“I’m 100 per cent sure that there’s no coordination between Alykhan and Joe Oliver’s office,” one Conservative said. The connection is loose and cultural, not conspiratorial: “This government has narratives, and this”—the virtue of the oil sands, suspicion at the motives of its opponents—“is one of them.”
Max Paris at CBC notes that the no-go on the Keystone XL pipeline in the USA “added new urgency to the Northern Gateway Pipeline process.” He addresses Tom Flanagan’s suggestion that PMSH could use Section 92(10)(c) of the Constitution to ensure the pipeline goes ahead.
Here’s what Bruce Ryder — a constitutional law expert and prof at Osgoode Hall — thinks of Flanagan’s clause:
“It’s a valid legal power that Parliament possesses. To use it would raise an outcry and be intensely controversial from the point of view of constitutional convention or practices that have evolved to reflect contemporary understandings of federalism that treat the provinces and the federal government as equal.”
Bloggers and alt media haven’t stopped talking about the pipelines, either. DeSmog Blog has a detailed expose of the interconnections among Sun Media, the HarperCon government and the folks at Ethical (sic) Oil, including an analysis of the digital fingerprints, the creation of the echo chamber and the relationships of those in that chamber. A bonus in the post is the Rick Mercer spoof of “foreign influence” spin.
And last, but certainly not the least, is Andrew Nikiforuk’s piece in the Tyee. In What the Keystone Rejection Really Reveals, he educates trm on the jobs! jobs! jobs! blather we regularly hear from the proponents of both KXL and NGP:
(For the record, the oil industry is not a jobs machine. It is the world’s most capital-intensive industry and earns more than 10 per cent of the world’s GDP. But it only employs less than one tenth of one per cent of the world’s workers. In Canada it accounts for but 1.8 per cent of the workforce.)
And, he leaves trm with a smile on her face.
TransCanada says it will apply again in 2013 with a different pipeline route. For oil-sand developers, Keystone XL still remains Plan A to get bitumen to foreign markets. It’s not as cheap as moving bitumen to the Canada’s West Coast but it comes with fewer risks.
Most senior executives in the oil patch quietly admit that Enbridge Gateway project (Plan B) will never be built. The local opposition against this desperate pro-China folly is much stronger and just as committed as that against Keystone XL.
In fact, the path closed long ago due to ineptness and hubris as well as a ruthless disregard for the power of salmon, whales and First Nations.
It’s deader than Keystone.
And trm‘s still smiling about that!
Posted by thereginamom on January 20, 2012
I’m not much of a video lover, myself, but I know most of our culture is and so I’ve been amassing a few links that may be of interest to those who’d rather learn about the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline via video rather than text. Here are just a few. (Note, this page could take a while to load.)
Risking it All – Oil on our Coast
Tar sands to tankers – The fight against Enbridge
Cetaceans of the Great Bear Rainforest
Tipping Barrels: A journey into the Great Bear Rainforest
Posted by thereginamom on January 20, 2012
The HarperCons have gone much too far now! Apparently, the Sisters In Spirit Campaign, organized by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has been too successful in raising the awareness about murdered and missing Aboriginal women in Canada. Or something. They’ve done a lot, that’s for sure, including heightening awareness throughout the country, establishing a database of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and co-ordinating vigils in more than 80 communities across the country. APTN reports that
Status of Women officials had asked the organization [NWAC] not to use any government money for projects under the name Sisters in Spirit or for work on their vaunted missing and murdered Aboriginal women database.
NDP MP and Critic on the Status of Women, Irene Mathyssen, says that
[D]espite the Conservative government’s praise of Sisters in Spirit (SIS), the recent $10 million announcement to address the issue of violence against Aboriginal women left SIS out. The main voice calling for action on how missing women cases are reported and investigated has been excluded. Many fear this means the end of Sisters in Spirit since the government made it very clear that SIS will not receive any more funding for this project.
Sisters in Spirit, a project under the umbrella of the Native Women’s Association of Canada since 2005, led the way in research regarding missing and murdered aboriginal women. Their April 2010 report, “What Their Stories Tell Us”, identified knowledge gaps that hindered the creation of effective policies and programming to address the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Problems such as different jurisdictions not communicating as happened with the victims of Robert Pickton, delays in starting missing persons investigations if the woman was Aboriginal or in the sex trade, lack of resources for family members to deal with the aftermath of murder, and not enough investments in anti-violence programs and front-line community workers, were all identified by SIS.
Since SIS didn’t receive any of the $10 million, the research they did may be lost as they cannot get funding from any other government department. The minister needs to make it known how this data will be protected and maintained. Sisters in Spirit is the voice for the most vulnerable in Canadian society. Shutting them down after they demonstrated how we are failing Aboriginal women is another example of Conservative bully tactics, and the common conservative practice of trying to cover up embarrassing truths.
She has prepared a petition she will present to the House of Commons. All we have to do is to get the signatories. Here’s the text.
Petition to the House of Commons –“Sisters in Spirit”
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, draw the attention of the Government of Canada to the
THAT for the past five years, the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) Sisters In Spirit initiative has worked to identify root causes, trends and circumstances of violence that have led to disappearance and death of Aboriginal women and girls;
THAT in March 2010, NWAC released the report “What Their Stories Tell Us” which provided evidence that 582 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered in Canada; and
THAT the fact that so many mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and grandmothers have been lost to violence in this country makes this the most pervasive human rights crisis facing Canada today.
THEREFORE, your petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to renew funding for the Sisters In Spirit initiative Phase II “Evidence to Action” and to invest in an “Action Plan for Aboriginal women”, which NWAC has developed, to stop the devastating number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.
It’s a paper petition, so it’s a bit more work that we digital activists are used to. But, it’s a must. It’s a must for more than partisan reasons. It’s a must for the betterment of our country and, most importantly, it’s a must for demonstrating our support of and to Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Download it now!
Take it to work, take it everywhere you go and get folks to sign it. Then send it to Irene, free of charge.
Posted by thereginamom on November 14, 2010