No Dogs or Anglophones



Philippe Couillard Needs to Clean House...

There's an old saying that reminds us that a 'new broom sweeps clean, in other words new management starts by making radical changes.

There's a tradition in Quebec, that when the premiership changes, certain very senior civil servants, deputy ministers in particular, are shuffled about in order to place those more loyal to the incoming government in positions of power, while shuffling off those loyal to the previous government, to less  sensitive areas of responsibility.
It isn't cruel or disrespectful and makes infinite good sense. Nobody is humiliated, those who are shuffled off are treated well and given positions  which are respectful to their previous positions.

But it certainly doesn't go far enough, especially in light of the PQ's avalanche of patronage appointments, which has over the last eighteen months seen an obscene amount of PQ loyalists, party hacks and failed candidates placed in too many positions of power.

And so for Philippe Couillard there lies an interesting political opportunity, one where he very well may kill two birds with one stone.

For Couillard and the Liberals, the only dark cloud on the horizon is the ominous threat of damaging revelations in relation to alleged corruption in the Liberal party.
Those revelations, if materialized would certainly sap the energy of the government, as opposition parties whoop it up in mock indignation, aided and abetted by a voracious press eager to trumpet scandal.

And so it would be perspicacious of Couillard to get in front of this possible bad news by becoming the champion of some honest reform, an effort to clean up government in some discernible and meaningful way that the public could appreciate, a definitive sign that Couillard is not Charest and is in fact the leader of a reborn and re-branded Liberal party.

To this end Couillard can demonstrate his resolve by sucking it up, and publicly ending the awarding of partisan patronage jobs, a practice which I have referred to in the past by its British slang...."Jobs for the Boys"



Despite Pauline's noisy claim during the 2012 election campaign that a potential PQ government would be somehow cleaner and more honest than the Liberal predecessor, it was but an empty slogan, a campaign promise like any other, meant to be broken, a Quebec tradition.
Upon her election, Pauline Marois embarked on an obscene orgy of partisan patronage appointments, with the early appointment of ex-PQ leader André Boisclair  to the position of Quebec Delegate-General in New York, most notable.
What got the ire of the then opposition Liberals and the CAQ was that this political 'at will' position was coupled with a job in the civil service at the level comparable to a deputy-minister, complete with job security for life.
When the opposition raised a ruckus, this 'permanence' was withdrawn and Pauline, in an effort to take the heat off, set up a committee to study and recommend the conditions under which these patronage positions should be made.
That report, prepared by a committee lead by André Perrault submitted its recommendations a year later, in December 2013, a report which recommended that these appointments be  made transparently, with greater emphasis placed on competence. Read the report{fr}

But Marois brushed off the report, first saying that she was too busy to read it and then saying that its recommendations were non-binding and simply food for thought and nothing more.
She told reporters that she would probably not implement its findings.
The report noted that about half of the 600 most senior positions in government are the issue of patronage appointments.

And so Philippe Couillard can truly distinguish himself by implementing the report's recommendations, that is to seriously curb political influence in the nomination of senior government employees.

That being said, this new campaign should be accompanied by a serious purge of the most outrageous appointments made by the Marois government over the last eighteen months.
I think a very public humiliation of all those appointees would set the tone of the Couillard government and would have the PQ backed up on their heels immediately, forced to defend the indefensible.

Now those appointed to the civil service cannot be fired, such is job security in Quebec. They've got a job for life, like it or leave it.
But those political hacks appointed to senior deputy minister positions should be sent to a desk to twiddle their thumbs for the rest of their days, à la Louise Marchand the disgraced ex-boss of the OQLF, who was sent packing to a do-nothing job at the SAQ, the liquor monopoly.

All these newly-appointed civil-servants, political hacks and PQ cronies should be demoted moved into dead-end less sensitive positions.

Here is a list of some of the PQ appointment made in the first few months of the Marois government.

Click on the image to enlarge
If you  are adventuresome, you can go through all the patronage appointments made by the government HERE selected by month and year.

At any rate some of these political appointments are not 'for life' as in the Quebec civil service, some for a fixed term, some actually 'at will'

The following is a list of PQ proxies that should be fired immediately by Couillard, paid off whatever is owing and publicly denounced as partisan political hacks installed in their various positions to do the PQs bidding.
Good riddance..

Andre Boisclair
The poster boy of political entitlement.
Boisclair was named Delegate-General to New York, a political position that paid $172k a year, but a job whereby the holder keeps the job at the pleasure of the government (at will.)  In other words, he can be fired anytime.
That didn't suit Boisclair at all, just in case the PQ minority government was tossed from office and the new Premier, not a particular fan. How prescient was that?

And so he negotiated himself a lifetime position in the civil-service, an insurance policy in the event of a PQ defeat at the polls.
It's something that the opposition went ballistic over and when the devious plot to give Boisclair a job for life went viral, Pauline backed down and the PQ withdrew the offer of permanency.
But soon after Boisclair took the job in New York, he came under fire over some scurrilous allegations made by Jacques Duchesneau over Boisclair's cocaine use of the past, With the pressure mounting, he was forced to resign by Marois who promised him a compensatory position.
That job materialized in the form of the head of COMEX, an obscure agency that deals with native issues up north. Even after visiting the website, I cannot say for sure what the organization does, reminding me perhaps of the fictional Department of Administrative Affairs of the British political satire Yes! Minister.


The problem was that the previous president was paid a measly $82K, so the PQ topped up the position's salary by about $100,00...Yup. $100K
To put put the cherry on top, the agency is based in Quebec city but Boisclair was told he could work from his home in Montreal.
Tony Soprano himself would be proud of the epic no-show job!

Nobody deserves to get the chop as badly as Boisclair, no matter what the cost, he is an utter disgrace and insult to taxpayers.
At least if he's fired and collects his salary there will be no pretense that he's contributing to society.
OUT DAMN SPOT!


Sylvain Simard
The defeated PQ candidate was handed the presidency of the board of directors of the SAQ, Quebec's liquor monopoly, even though the current president had a year left on his mandate.
The job is mostly honorific, and doesn't pay six figures but the naked partisanship is galling.
The then Minister of Finance Nicolas Marceau,  brazened it out, telling journalists that he was the perfect candidate for the job.

Really?
Simard doesn't bring any business experience to the job, before politics he was a 'distinguished' Quebec nationalist writer and literature professor. He has been a PQ politician most of life until his retirement before the 2012 election.
In 1991, he argued that a sovereign Quebec would try to reduce the concentration of immigrant communities in Montreal neighbourhoods.

At any rate, the job calls for Simard to show up to just a handful of board meetings a years, where he can sleep through the proceedings to collect his $30K.
Truth be told, attendance is not even mandatory....
Appointing the 70 year old Simard to the SAQ job is as pure a patronage appointment as they come.

Nicolas Girard
From the CBC;
"Defeated in the recent provincial election, former Parti Québécois MNA Nicolas Girard has landed a plum post at the Agence Métropolitaine de Transport, the agency in charge of transit planning for the Montreal area.
The appointment was confirmed Wednesday at the PQ government's cabinet meeting in Quebec City.
"I have a lot of confidence in Nicolas Girard's abilities," Transport Minister Sylvain Gaudreault said....
...Girard lost his seat in the Montreal riding of Gouin to Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson Françoise David. She defeated him by 4,564 votes in the Sept. 4 election.
Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault denounced the appointment as cronyism.
"Mr. Girard, with all his skills, doesn't have any experience in management. So this is exactly what the Parti Québécois had been denouncing: partisanship over ability," Legault said.
The presidency of the AMT carries a salary of about $170,000 a year, well more than the basic MNA salary of $86,242 plus certain expenses.   Link

Nicolas Girard, a political science graduate, is a PQ lifer, hired right out of university. During his time at the Université de Montréal he was a tireless PQ organizer as well as, what else... a student union leader.

But criticism of Girard over his absence of business experience or knowledge of the train industry is perhaps unfair.
Mr. Girard was an avid train enthusiast as a child, and was even a conductor of his very own H/O train set, immersing himself in all aspects of building and running trains.
He was also an experienced real estate mogul having played countless hours on Monopoly Monopolie, buying and selling hotels and houses successfully!


Conseil du statut de la femme
When the president of Quebec's Conseil du statut de la femme (Council of Status of Women) Julie Miville-Dechêne came out somewhat against the Charter of Values, saying it needed further study before a firm position be adopted by the semi-autonomous agency, Pauline moved quickly to neutralize any potential political damage  that might ensue.
She stacked the odds by naming four new members to the body, all pro-charter.
"The head of the Quebec status-of-women organization accused the government of political interference after it appointed four pro-charter members to the body, the Conseil du statut de la femme.
Julie Miville-Dechene said the nominations came just one week before the organization was to meet to discuss the PQ's plan to forbid the wearing of religious symbols in the public service.
In a statement issued Thursday on government letterhead, Miville-Dechene called it her job to defend the group, which is supposed to be non-partisan and which "has, at its heart, the interests of all Quebecers, regardless of their origin."
She said that, until the latest nominations, half the council's members preferred the idea of conducting some research to evaluate the impact of the charter on women. She all but accused the government of implementing policy on the fly.  Link
The four nominations;
Lucie Martineau is president of the Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec. The day after the Charter was announced, she publicly came out in favour of the law, saying that government employees shouldn't be allowed to wear religious symbols. 

Julie Latour is a lawyer and ex-chairman of the Montreal bar association. In an interview back in 2011 she explained that she flatly rejects the concept of 'open secularism.

Leila Lesbet, is an ardent Muslim Arabfeminist, originally from Algeria. She has been a staunch defender of the Charter, making the rounds of the various TV news talk shows, to offer her point of view.

Ann Longchamps is deeply involved with the Association féminine d’éducation et d’action sociale, who publicly took a position in favour of the Charter on behalf of the organization.

The four women changed the balance of power on the ten-women board that runs the CSP. Two positions were vacant and two other women did not have their mandates renewed. Wonder why?

All these women need to be fired, not because they are against the Charter, but rather because they tacitly agreed to be political whores on behalf of the PQ.

BAPE
It took less than two months for the PQ to install two radical environmentalists to run  the BAPE (Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement,) the agency that holds public inquiries looking into the environmental impact of various energy projects in Quebec.

The PQ fired the president of the agency, deemed too 'Liberal' for the taste of the anti-exploration PQ, even though he had just had his mandate renewed. That firing will cost four and a half years of taxpayer-paid salary.

The PQ then named Pierre Baril as president and as if we hadn't spent enough money, added a new vice-president Louis-Gilles Francoeur.
Both nominations were made by the then PQ environment minister, the very radical Daniel Breton.
The two nominations of liked-minded environmentalists to the agency insures that no new project of impact could ever be judged on the merits.

Both gentlemen need to be shown the door.


As for patronage appointments, it seems that it's all a question of perspective, when in government, the appointments seem fair, while in opposition they are portrayed for what they really are.
In this regard I want to draw attention to the insufferably partisan Bernard Drainville of the PQ;

"Yesterday, the PQ Premier Pauline Marois announced the appointment of erstwhile Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau as chairman of the board of Hydro-Québec. Nothing wrong here, of course. Nakedly political and partisan appointments to Crown corporations are as much a staple in Quebec as anywhere else. It’s a way of thanking well-connected party supporters, currying favour with the powerful, and/or stealthily (or not so stealthily) advancing one’s own political agenda. Call it a winner’s perk, for both the political party and the individual involved. Drainville must approve; he hasn’t uttered a peep about Péladeau’s appointment.
This certainly wasn’t the case two years ago, when Drainville was righteously (and rightly) outraged at the patronage appointment of former Bell Canada CEO Michael Sabia, that other wealthy, well-connected businessman with known ties to the government in power. Here’s the transcript of a video snippet of Drainville’s reaction when Charest appointed Sabia as CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement, the provincially controlled public pension plan manager, in March 2009.

The reason we think [Sabia] is disqualified for the job of CEO [of La Caisse], is because of the process by which he was appointed. Michael Sabia was chosen by Jean Charest. There should have been a much more open process where other candidates were examined. In fact, the Caisse de dépot only considered one candidate, and it was Michael Sabia. [...] It was obviously a political decision. The Caisse shouldn’t be politicized, to become an instrument of the Premier of Quebec. It makes no sense.
Drainville’s 2009 musings about Sabia are even more fragrant in retrospect for a couple of other reasons. He scolded Charest for having appointed Sabia in part because Sabia still had business interests in Bell Canada. Drainville went so far as to say Sabia was in “conflict of interest” because Sabia could potentially benefit financially from Caisse decisions. Read the rest of the Story.

Couillard needs to implant a new system for public appointments and that goes all the way to include the 600 or so public tribunal administrators, who today are mostly appointed, not on competence, but connections.
 If you read French, here's an interesting article on the subject Link{fr}

Taking partisanship out of public nominations would be a big step in re-establishing credibility and Lord knows, the Liberals are going to have to work hard in that respect, especially in the face of the ongoing revelations coming out of the Charbonneau Commission and by the actions by UPAC.

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Posted on 18 April 2014 | 2:33 am

Elizabeth May



Passenger rail in Canada is in crisis

There has been a lot of attention of late to what moves on Canada’s rails. Train derailments, disasters such as Lac-Mégantic and near-disasters, such as the railcars loaded with toxic diluents that were suspended on a crumbling bridge over the Bow River during the June Calgary floods, have focused on the threat of unsafe rail […]

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Posted on 7 April 2014 | 8:22 pm

Justin Trudeau



On the Charter’s 32nd birthday, let’s celebrate our ‘revolution in law’

Today, April 17, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms celebrates its 32nd birthday. This great addition to Canada’s Constitution is worth celebrating given its transformative impact not only on our laws, but on our lives – not only on how we litigate, but on how we live.

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 8:05 pm

Ezra Levant



Justin Trudeau’s selfie life

Wednesday was the state funeral for Jim Flaherty, the former finance minister. Like all MPs, he was a partisan, but unlike many MPs, he had genuine friends across party lines. When he passed away, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair spoke with genuine tears about his friend. The funeral was a massive affair, packing the church with […]

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Posted on 20 April 2014 | 2:31 am

Scott's DiaTribes



The Senate’s proposed amendments to election bill are a facade.

The committee in the Senate designed to look at the (un)Fair Elections Act – Bill C-23 – tried to come across as dramatically wanting to amend this bill….it came up with 9 proposed amendments that were unanimously agreed to. That got initial press coverage as saying the Conservative-dominated Senate was being independent and defying the Conservative government. However, when one took a look at the minority report from the Independent/Liberal caucus that the Conservatives would not sign on to (such as continuing to allow vouching, allowing Elections Canada to encourage voter participation etc) and more importantly, when Pierre Poliviere came out and welcomed/praised the amendments, one immediately smelled a rat.

[...]

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Posted on 18 April 2014 | 3:47 am

Dawg's Blog



Good riddance

Even within the benighted ranks of the Conservative Party of Canada, Rob Anders stood out: a walking nullity, his every word spoken as though by rote, a person for whom “convictions” were a sign, not of moral strength, but of...

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Posted on 13 April 2014 | 3:10 pm

Barbara Kay



Barbara Kay: Children’s aid societies gone rogue

In a rare victory for common sense, a judge has pointedly rebuked a CAS for its appalling conduct

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 4:01 am

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff



Canada Coaching Countries to Waste Water

Canada, a decade ago, used to do more good than bad in the wider world. Now we’re an international wrecking crew, teaching countries how to waste their water supplies on international disasters like shale oil. article by me: Canada becoming launch-pad of a global tar sands and oil shale frenzy gu.com/p/3zep9/tw via @guardian #cdnpoli— Martin […]

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 6:11 pm

Erich the Green



When feeding wildlife is fowl

Did someone mention sauce?
What’s the difference between feeding a chipmunk and feeding a goose? In Barrie, one is illegal, the other is not.
Last year the City passed a bylaw wisely banning the feeding of wildlife, with the notable exception of well-maintained backyard bird feeders, because wildlife feeding causes many problems. It attracts animals that become habituated to humans, and can then be more aggressive. Their feces on our lawns and beaches can be a health risk. And the foods people commonly throw to them –bread, crackers, popcorn – is “junk food” not suited to their nutritional needs.
But in their wisdom, Council restricted the bylaw to mammals; feeding ducks and geese is still permitted, although discouraged in parks. Yet this is one of the more problematic feeding issues. It is one thing to attract squirrels or raccoons to your backyard – you (and your immediate neighbours) will suffer the direct consequences. But feeding waterfowl at Barrie’s waterfront ends up despoiling the area for all of us who share this wonderful natural feature.
As other cities like Mississauga and Oakville have shown, you can include waterfowl among animals prohibited to feed. Doing so is probably easier to enforce, too, because squirrel-feeding usually happens at home while duck-feeding is usually done in public parks and waterways. And even if the by-law isn’t aggressively enforced, visible signage can help reduce the harms.
And the harms will become more apparent. Canada goose populations are at an all-time peak, and continue to rise. These geese thrive under human development, which actually provides more convenient spaces for them to live & eat than nature does. Their increase is most noticeable at the waterfront upon which rest so many of Barrie’s hopes for economic growth and amenity improvement. Do we want to attract more geese, and their poop, to the same place we are drawing people? Will aggressive geese and ducks make visiting the waterfront more fun?
There are even some who feel it’s such a problem that the City should start aggressively reducing the goose population. In more rural areas, hunting them is permitted but I don’t think we want guns around our lakeshore. You can also destroy eggs or nests, or try to scare geese away periodically (usually with guns or aircraft – again, not great for our waterfront), or even have the birds relocated. But none of that works in the long term if we keep attracting them by feeding them junk food.
There may be options for bird relocation the City would not have to pay for, which would be a good way to get a handle on the problem, but when it comes to dealing with nature, prevention beats a cure. We should learn to watch wildlife behaving naturally, which for geese means eating plants and seeds, not running after us to eat a scattering of human food. It’s not like there will be a sudden shortage of these common birds; they are very capable of feeding themselves and don’t need our help.
So what do you think? Should Barrie expand its bylaw to disallow feeding geese and ducks? Should we look into ways to reduce excess birds, by increasing suitable natural spaces away from the parklands maintained for human use, and trying not to attract them to the places we use? Should we be more aggressive in removing geese to other locations? As spring finally lets us return to enjoying a cherished green lakeshore whose amenity value grows with our own population, this is a conversation worth having.

An accidentally-truncated version of this was published in the Barrie Examiner as "Should we keep feeding ducks and geese at the waterfront?"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

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Posted on 11 April 2014 | 2:55 pm

Five Feet of Fury



Transsexual punk icon Jayne County banned from Facebook for using the word ‘tranny’ or something

County writes:  “What a sad day this is for the poor LGBT Community. All over a few words that have been made even more powerful and evil by those that seek to erase them! If this is what you are going to do with your rights then you don’t deserve to even have them!” When […]

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Posted on 19 April 2014 | 7:04 pm

A Blog By James Curran



Zach Paikin. HERO.

You know what Zach? Good for you buddy.

Well done.

Maybe, finally, once and for all the LEADER of this party will get the message. This is not supposed to be business as usual with his leadership. It's supposed to be about open transparency. Perhaps the leader forgets his speech at the leadership convention.

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Posted on 17 March 2014 | 9:16 pm

Buckdog



The Foul Odour Of Corruption That Comes From The Office Of The Prime Minister Of Canada ..


The Canadian Progressive hits the nail on the head with this article.....

New documents released by the RCMP suggest that the Senate expenses scandal is closing in on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. For Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, the documents show that Harper, who came to office in 2006 promising to clean up Ottawa, is "guilty of corruption“.

The documents, filed in court on Wednesday, allege that Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, violated the Criminal Code when he cut a $90,172 cheque to cover up Sen. Mike Duffy’s fraudulent Senate expense claims. The documents allege that Wright committed several offences relating to fraud, bribery, and breach of trust.

Most importantly, the RCMP documents suggest that Harper and a whole busload of senior Conservatives knew a lot more than the PM has publicly admitted. CTV news reports that “PMO staff worked with Duffy to make his politically inconvenient expense problems go away.”

In essence, when Harper said he knew nothing of the deal, he lied to Canadians. There was a high-profile cover-up and he was aware of it.
As Postmedia News reports:
And while Wright is quoted in the RCMP documents saying that the prime minister was not aware of his plan to cut a $90,000 cheque from his personal funds to assist Duffy – a point on which Harper is also adamant – other parts of the RCMP records suggest Harper had more knowledge of Duffy’s woes and the widening scandal than the prime minister has publicly spoken about. The documents also suggest Harper may have known at a key point in the affair that the party was willing to pick up the tab for Duffy’s housing expenses.
One email, which is part of the RCMP documents, suggests that Wright’s decision to cut the cheque wasn’t his alone. That he either consulted with or sought Harper’s signature before he acted.
“We are good to go from the PM,” Wright says in the email, dated February 22, 2012.
In another email, Wright seems to suggest that the Conservatives in the Senate weren’t doing enough to contain the scandal as efficiently as the PM expected.
“We cannot rely on the Senate leadership,” he writes in the February 15 email. “We have to do this in a way that does not lead to the Chinese water torture of new facts in the public domain that the PM does not want.”
The RCMP documents also speak of an “agreement” around the dirty deal.
“That agreement, to give and accept money in exchange for something to be done or omitted to be done, constitutes the bribery offence,” the documents say. “They used their offices for a dishonest purpose, other than the public good.”
The documents also reveal that the following senior Conservatives knew about the deal:
Sen. Marjory LeBreton, Government Leader in the Senate
Sen. David Tkachuk, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee
Sen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen, Member of the Senate Standing Committee
Andrew MacDougall, Director of Communications, Prime Minister’s Office
Benjamin Perrin, Legal Counsel to the Prime Minister
Ray Novak, Harper’s Deputy Chief of Staff
Carl Vallee, Press Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office
Arthur Hamilton, Legal Counsel, Conservative Party of Canada
Chris Woodcock, Director of Issues Management, Prime Minister’s Office
I’d no idea. That’s because the Conservatives didn’t wan’t us to know.
But most insulting is this: before the newest revelations, Harper’s official response has read like a page from a dictator’s operational manual. Denial. Finger-pointing. Smearing. Character assassination. The works.
Soon after the scandal broke out, the PM expressed confidence in Wright.  In May, Harper told us Wright had acted “in the public interest” when he cut the Duffy cheque. He even "fought to keep Nigel Wright".
“The prime minister had full confidence in Mr. Wright and Mr. Wright is staying on,” said Andrew McDougall , Harper’s director of communications then.

Then the scandal refused to go away, threatened to engulf the Conservatives, and the smear campaign began. Harper made both Wright and Duffy the fall guys. He blamed them. Then he publicly trashed them.
In the House of Commons in October, Harper depicted him as a crooked political operator who actively engaged in a deception that duped his boss along with all Canadians. 
 
Harper recently also painted Sen. Duffy as "a duplicitious crook". That’s soon after Duffy told us “the prime minister wasn’t interested in explanations or the truth.”
In a speech delivered to the Senate in October, Duffy alleged Harper told him to repay the fraudulently claimed expenses. He claimed that he met Harper and Wright.

This is how the Toronto Star’s Tim Harper characterizes the stubborn scandal and its inevitable impact on Harper:
It is an indictment of his leadership and an indelible stain on his office, its bully-boy tactics and its apparent view that it can bulldoze through any problem with a wink, a payoff and a carefully rehearsed narrative.
Canadians deserve the truth. Now!
Obert Madondo  is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive.
 Canadian Progressive

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Posted on 15 April 2014 | 2:34 pm

Mark Steyn



A Se'nnight of Steyn April 14-20

In case you missed it, here's the last seven days as seen by Mark

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Posted on 20 April 2014 | 2:00 pm

Huffington Post



7 Things Canadians Might Not Know About Canada

2014-04-19-MapleLeaf.jpg


If beer companies advertised countries, Dos Equis would rep Canada -- it is the most interesting country in the world. But many of those living here would never guess it. Hence the need for an internet list to all Canadians. You're welcome.


1. Your fixated relationship with status quo healthcare is kinda weird.

Canadians hold onto their current version of healthcare like it's the world's last Montreal bagel. They somehow don't notice the following: it's not really universal (it mainly covers physician and hospital services); it costs more than a downtown of Vancouver condos (almost $193 billion total in 2010 and often close to half of all provincial budgets); other countries revamp their systems to provide better outcomes without going through a national existential crisis; and comparing our system to the United States is like lauding a gender equality policy because it compares well to Saudi Arabia's. (The U.S. is the OECD country that spends the most on healthcare while leaving over 16 per cent of its massive population uncovered.)

Healthcare in Canada, compared to other OECD countries, gets a solid "meh." Improving it could include greater universality, increased standardization among the provinces, or a two-tier system à la Switzerland, but it certainly does not include the tired status quo.

2. Your Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a robust protection of individual rights. Kind of.

This is old fodder for #CdnPoli geeks and constitutional scholars, but a surprisingly large chunk of Canucks don't know the following: Section 1 of the Charter guarantees all the rights described in the Charter as long as they fit within a "free and democratic society." This usually means two things to two different groups of people.

One side sees it as a slap in the face to a legitimate bill of rights that guarantees your right to this or that no matter what. The more skeptical crew insists that the beauty of the Charter is that it recognizes that no right is absolute, that rights sometimes conflict, and that in some cases the common good should prevail. This latter perspective is built into Section 1 and its temperament has allowed Canada to talk about things like free speech, gun control and healthcare without the conversation being monopolized by "But the 1st/2nd/etc. Amendment...".

3. You're so much younger -- and so much older -- than you think.
2014-04-19-NunavutFlag.png


It's always weird when a backpacker returns from a Europe trip and proclaims "There's so much history over there," as if nothing happened in North America before the white folks showed up. Canada changed relatively recently -- 1999 saw the territory of Nunavut delineated from the Northwest Territories. But this change only brought Canada's old and new -- or First and Later -- into stark contrast. The name of this 'newest' territory means "Our Land" in Inuktitut, language of the Inuit people that have legitimately called the place their land centuries before Confederation.

4. Your provinces are more powerful than a polar bear on steroids.
2014-04-19-ProvincesFlags.jpg


Here's Cdn Poli Sci 101 -- the Fathers of Confederation got together. They began the great Canadian tradition of accommodating disagreements by convincing a motley crew of colonies to form one political arrangement. To ensure the longevity of this arrangement they gave all the oh-so-sexy policy areas (like taxation!) to the national government and all the can't-possibly-become-important policy areas (uh, education and healthcare) to those lowly provinces. Shake, bake, and fast forward a hundred years or so. Ta-da! The provinces oversee many of the areas most important to the daily lives of Canadians. Provincial Premiers can, within their provinces, hold almost as much sway as leaders of nation-states do in their countries.

5. You're even more multicultural than you think.

When paranoid American right-wing politicians fear The Immigrant, they need only look at Toronto. Half of Canada's biggest city is foreign born -- more than L.A. or New York -- and yet it usually manages lower crime and unemployment rates. It is a unique mark of the Canadian political scene that nowhere on the political spectrum -- even the far right -- will you find a serious anti-immigrant party. The provincial Parti Quebecois comes closest, but look what happened to them during the last Quebec election (i.e. even breaking up the country can be more popular in Canada than intolerance).

6. You're less partisan than you think.

There will always those who think that the mere whiff of their party near Parliament will magically yield super policies that erase income inequality or gets the Leafs into the play offs. Canadians in general, however, don't guarantee their political allegiance to anyone. The research on this is contested, but it does suggest that a main theme in Canadian partisanship is its flexibility. Voters change their minds depending on the context. Just because Party A managed to align those suburban voters with these coastal ones by selling a particular conservative message does not stop Party B from doing the same next time around by putting a new spin on a progressive message. Canadians, it seems, do not suffer from absolutism.

7. Peacekeeping may be a dish half-baked.

Canadians love to contrast the peacekeeping focus of Canada's military missions with an American imperialistic approach. There is a healthy stream of International Relations research, however, that understands the emergence of Canadian peacekeeping in the '90s as nothing more than a marketing ploy to sell the massive budget cuts of the Chretien government to the Department of National Defense (i.e. our soldiers are keeping peace, ergo we don't need to buy expensive weapons systems). The silver lining here is perhaps that the large-scale acceptance of the peacekeeping narrative by Canadians points to something in their political culture that prefers steady accommodation versus guns-a-blazin' solutions.

All that to say that beavers, mounties and ostensibly indefatigable politeness does not cut it -- if they ever did -- when it comes to the Canadian political soul. It's a big, exciting and complex country. Stay interesting, my friends.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:


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Posted on 20 April 2014 | 3:22 am

Fight the Power



The System





The following tweets were originally posted by "Socrates" on Twitter via "his" account (https://twitter.com/The__Socrates), variously, on December 14, 2012; December 16, 2012; December 17, 2012; December 19, 2012; December 20, 2012; December 22, 2012; December 25, 2012; December 26, 2012; December 27, 2012; December 29, 2012; December 31, 2012; and January 2, 2013.


Academics are the intellectual dogs of capitalism; ever ready to sell themselves out for a biscuit.

The academic class claims to be objective even while stuffing their pockets with wads of capitalist cash.

Academics are sick traitors who are more than glad to contract their intellect out to intelligence agencies.

Academics are all either directly or indirectly in the pay of intelligence agencies.

Academics are counterrevolutionaries who will sell out any people's movement for promotion biscuits.

Academics are notoriously known for their close relations to intelligence agencies.

Academics have no qualms about using their intelligence to support the sick initiatives of imperialist intelligence agencies.

Academics are untrustworthy individuals; in fact thousands of professors openly conduct social research for intelligence agencies.

Academics are reactionaries who use reformism as a way to cover up their complicity.

Academics are spineless traitors who have no issue at all with conducting all kinds of research for the military.

The academic class has no qualms about military research, after all they are servants of the capitalist state.

Academics are untrustworthy individuals; in fact thousands of professors are in the direct pay of intelligence agencies.

The academic class is more than happy to conduct military research that supports their capitalist pay lords.

Academia is an intelligence agency in itself, working to empower the corporate agenda.

Academics are not interested in a people's revolution, they work for the intelligence agencies that attempt to squash such an event.

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Posted on 20 April 2014 | 12:54 am

Andrew Coyne



Andrew Coyne: Nigel Wright was cleared but many questions remain over Mike Duffy affair

Just because no charges have been laid — against Wright: Mr. Duffy was given no such assurance — does not mean nothing happened here, or that it wasn’t wrong

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 10:49 pm

Blazing Cat Fur



Fear in Nigeria as Islamists abduct schoolchildren

Boko Haram, led by Abubakar Shekau, has frequently targeted schools

WHEN the schoolgirls first saw the heavily armed gunmen appear outside their dormitory in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, they assumed they were soldiers.

Disguised in military uniforms, the insurgents told the boarding school’s headmistress that Islamic militants from the dreaded Boko Haram were about to attack and they needed to leave immediately.

Terrified, 129 female pupils, aged 15 to 18, climbed into pick-up trucks. By the time the girls realised they had been tricked it was too late — they were already being driven towards caves that hide a Boko Haram base deep inside a forest.

Under the leadership of Abubaker Shekau, the group, whose name means “western education is a sin” in the local Hausa dialect, has spread fear across the region, forcing dozens of schools to close.

“We were crying,” said Godiya Isaiah, 18, who jumped from one of the trucks before fleeing into the bush. Others escaped by clinging to low hanging branches.

Most of the girls were not so lucky. About 85 were still being held yesterday.

Click on post title to read more...

Dozens of schools in northeast Nigeria have been forced to close

Asabe Kwabula, the headmistress, appealed last night to the kidnappers “to have mercy on the students”.

“I am pleading with the government to secure the release of the children, to save the lives of these innocents,” she said. “I am with the parents, praying continuously for the teenagers’ safe return.”

Rehab, 17, one of the teenagers who escaped, described her ordeal after she and her friend Comfort, 15, leapt from a truck in the forest. “Many girls were crying and screaming, but we summoned up some courage and grabbed some of the branches and clung on to them while the truck moved on with the other girls,” she said.

“We jumped down and began to run into the darkness. Comfort and I went in the same direction, but four other girls took the path leading back to a village. We didn’t know where we were going but we kept on running.

“When we were tired we sat down under a tree and slept ... Very late in the evening some people saw us and we asked to be taken to the soldiers. They asked who we were and we told them we were students at Chibok school.”

The girls are lucky to be alive. Boko Haram has bombed churches and mosques, slaughtered hundreds of schoolchildren and their teachers and assassinated religious leaders in its quest to carve out an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.

At least 75 people died in a car bomb blast in Abuja last week

The mass abduction on Monday nonetheless shocked a nation that was reeling from a bombing hours earlier at a crowded bus station in Abuja, the capital, during the morning rush hour. The car bomb killed at least 75 people and wounded more than 120.

Experts believe that the twin attacks signal the growing strength of Boko Haram, which is believed to have killed 1,500 people since the start of the year, making it the deadliest period since the group’s insurrection began in 2009.

The attacks underscore the military’s failure to contain the uprising. The people of Chibok are furious with the army for its feeble response to the abduction of the girls and its subsequent failure to send in troops to secure the town.

Intelligence sources in the state of Borno, where the kidnapping took place, believe the militants have taken the girls deep into the Sambisa forest.

The forest, which covers about 200 square miles near the border with Cameroon, is believed to conceal the militants’ heavily fortified bases. It is almost impenetrable.

Boko Haram fighters equipped with heavy machineguns, rocket-propelled grenades and homemade bombs frequently ambush Nigerian soldiers who try to flush the militants from their forest sanctuary.

At least 30 Nigerian soldiers were killed this month on a forest patrol.

Government officials fear the militants will either murder the girls or use them as sex slaves, cooks and porters. Others may be sold into slavery or prostitution in neighbouring countries.

A surveillance aircraft has been circling the remote area since Monday but its pilots cannot fly low enough because they face being shot down by the terrorists’ hidden anti- aircraft guns.

“It’s incredibly traumatic for everyone,” said Ndume Mohammed Ali, a senator from the region.

“It’s made worse by the fact that we don’t know what condition the girls are in.”

One of Boko Haram’s bloodiest attacks occurred in February when militants stormed a school in Yobe state in the middle of the night.

The militants bolted shut the doors to a dormitory where 59 boys between the ages of 11 and 18 slept. They then set fire to the building, burning the schoolboys alive. Those who tried to escape had their throats slit with machetes or were shot dead.

“Boko Haram poses an extremely serious threat to the integrity of the Nigerian state,” said John Campbell, a former US ambassador to Nigeria. “There are definite fears that the group could expand its operations.”

The army has failed to extend its writ beyond the main towns in the northeast, allowing the militants to rampage through the countryside, slaughtering Christians and beheading lorry drivers with chainsaws.

“The region is one of the poorest on earth. It’s an extremely fertile ground for extremists to recruit,” said Ali, the senator.

“As the military steps up operations, so the insurgents step up the intensity of their attacks. It’s becoming a vicious cycle that only gets worse and worse.”

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Posted on 20 April 2014 | 11:00 am

Driving The Porcelain Bus



No One To Blame For Rob Ford But The Media And Ignorance

This article in the Toronto Star points to the voters as those solely to blame for Rob Ford being elected.

I disagree. The voters are partially to blame, but there were other major factors.


1) The Media
The Media is very much to blame for the election of Rob Ford. During the election campaign they, pretty much as a whole, focused much more on the celebrity of Rob Ford than on the policies of the candidates. This influenced the many voters who are more easily swayed by name recognition and celebrity than policies.

Also, the Media is largely to blame for discouraging people from voting, by convincing many that it is pointless to vote as it will change nothing. Remember, the vast majority of media is or is owned by large corporations. So, it is in their best interests for the most part to support Conservative ideology. It is known that the most avid voters are conservative supporters. So, by convincing those who disagree with and are disappointed by government policies and trends that it is a waste of time to vote, they are removing votes against the parties/people that support the conservative/corporate agenda/ideologies.


2) Ignorance
A large part of Conservative ideology is the celebration of ignorance over knowledge and reason. Just look at the popularity of the Tea Party in the USA, especially a couple of years ago, during the time of the last Toronto municipal election. Those people in Toronto who embraced this celebration of ignorance over knowledge and reason at the time of the election were/are at the core of Ford Nation. The popularity and sensationalizing of this ideology convinced many more to jump on the bandwagon of celebrating ignorance.

And now, with all that, there is the issue of trying to reason with those who have chosen to abandon reason.

It is easier to fool someone that to convince them that they have been fooled.

We have our work cut out for us. And it is made especially hard for individuals to fight against the Media for the attention of people, especially for those people who currently won't be reasoned with.

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Posted on 24 November 2013 | 7:58 pm

BigCityLib Strikes Back



Anti-Wind Forces Vandalizing Property?

The OPP seems to think so.

And its worth noting this statement from Ontario Wind Resistance:

[Editors note: Before everyone jumps to the conclusion that it MUST have been an anti- wind protestor who did this, take a moment to remember other 'incidents' that may or may not have happened: fire in Haldimand, gun in Grey, threatening letters about stakes and farm machinery - all of these looked terrible in the media, pointed the finger squarely at us, and yet nobody was charged...? Really? It could very well be the PRO-wind who did this to make our resistance look bad in the media. Pardon my skepticism, but I'm tired of SLAPP suits and crap like this that are facades that the media falls for every time, to distract from the real destruction happening in our communities by the wind companies.]

So there you have it.  It would nice to get a straight up renunciation of violence from The Resistance, rather than a conspiracy theory. We shall see if they are willing to offer one.

PS.  I wrote about the incident in Gray here.

Update: Tom Adams, a generally speaking honorable man, comes through:


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Posted on 19 April 2014 | 10:25 pm

Just Right



Suzuki calls for "a war on cars"

there is no war on cars — but there should be:
... We can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting back on car use, choosing fuel-efficient vehicles, joining a car pool or sharing program and reducing speed. ...
Hands up, how many think that Suzuki would actually do any of that himself?

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Posted on 19 April 2014 | 11:55 pm

Peace, order and good government, eh?



Saturday night blues blogging

This is Otis Rush performing at Montreux in 1986 with Gambler's Blues....

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Posted on 20 April 2014 | 1:23 am

Green Party of Canada



Easter Message from Elizabeth May

On behalf of the GPC, staff and volunteers, I want to wish you and yours a Happy Easter. For those who are not religious, Easter is a great long weekend marking the beginning of a long-awaited spring.

For practicing Christians, Easter marks Christ's resurrection - the foundational event of Christianity and the source of deep faith and trust. To all who observe Easter as the most sacred day in the Christian calendar, Let us raise our voices in a shared "Hallelujah! He is Risen, indeed!" 

- Elizabeth May, O.C., MP
Member of Parliament, Saanich­­–Gulf Islands,
Leader, Green Party of Canada

 

Contact: 

Nicholas Gall
Communications Officer
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

 

#Easter Message from @ElizabethMay

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Posted on 20 April 2014 | 9:00 am

eaves.ca



Canada’s Opaque Transparency – An Open Data Failure

Yesterday, at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) Canada Minister of Natural Resource, Joe Oliver, announced with great fanfare a new initiative to compel mining companies to disclose payments of over $100,000′s to foreign and domestic governments. On the surface this looks like a win for transparency, particularly for a sector that is of […]

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Posted on 4 March 2014 | 1:22 pm

Bold Colours



Ann Coulter Back Any Candidate You Want as Long as It's One of These Three Katie Pavlich Mention of Mass Stabbing Curiously Missing From Obama's Pennsylvania Speech
James Taranto An Obama nominee warned about politicizing the census.

As did half of us.

Washington Examiner Poll: Most Americans believe Obama lies on important issues
Washington Examiner Things you just can't make up: Far-left, "pro-union," anti-conservative...

Media Matters for America is resisting SEIU's effort to unionize its staff

CNBC.com Yet another one?

Major Democratic donor indicted over campaign contributions

Mark Steyn

The slow death of free speech

How the Left, here and abroad, is trying to shut down debate — from Islam and Israel to global warming and gay marriage

Margaret Wente “Righteous moral certainty and demands for censorship used to be vices of the right. Now they are most often vices of the left.” Intolerance is now a vice of the left
    Guy Benson Wendy Davis Getting Crushed in Texas
Thomas Sowell "War on women"™ bullcrappery: Statistical Frauds New York Times Failure leads to this in Obama's America. Sebelius Said to Weigh Run for Kansas Senate Seat
Detroit Free Press Obama said al Qaeda was dead, and Detroit was alive (1). DC in talks to bail out bankrupt Detroit CNN Obama said al Qaeda was dead, and Detroit was alive (2).

Unsettling video shows large resurgent al Qaeda meeting in Yemen

Human Events IRS documents show Lois Lerner wanted to sic the Justice Department on targeted conservative groups Breitbart .com GEORGE WILL: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S CONSTANT CLAIMS OF RACISM ARE BECOMING A JOKE
 

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 5:40 pm

Let Freedom Rain



New York Times tars and feathers Harper and the Conservatives

Canada's reputation under Harper is like Mad magazine; you can no longer take us seriously. The Conservatives are hilarious for their lack of self-awareness. The New York Times nails it.



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Posted on 1 April 2014 | 4:58 pm

Accidental Deliberations



Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman explains how one's political values figure to affect one's view of evidence as to the success or failure of a policy:
(T)he liberal and conservative movements are not at all symmetric in their goals. Conservatives want smaller government as an end in itself; liberals don’t seek bigger government per se — they want government to achieve certain things, which is quite different. You’ll never see liberals boasting about raising the share of government spending in GDP the way conservatives talk proudly about bringing that share down. Because liberals want government to accomplish something, they want to know whether government programs are actually working; because conservatives don’t want the government doing anything except defense and law enforcement, they aren’t really interested in evidence about success or failure. True, they may seize on alleged evidence of failure to reinforce their case, but it’s about political strategy, not genuine interest in the facts.

One side consequence of this great divide, by the way, is the way conservatives project their own style onto their opponents — insisting that climate researchers are just trying to rationalize government intervention, that liberals like trains because they destroy individualism.
...
(A)nother factor is the lack of a comprehensive liberal media environment comparable to the closed conservative universe. If you lean right, you can swaddle yourself 24/7 in Fox News and talk radio, never hearing anything that disturbs your preconceptions. (If you were getting your “news” from Fox, you were told that the hugely encouraging Rand survey was nothing but bad news for Obamacare.) If you lean left, you might watch MSNBC, but the allegedly liberal network at least tries to make a distinction between news and opinion — and if you watch in the morning, what you get is right-wing conspiracy theorizing more or less indistinguishable from Fox.

Yet another factor may be the different incentives of opinion leaders, which in turn go back to the huge difference in resources. Strange to say, there are more conservative than liberal billionaires, and it shows in think-tank funding. As a result, I like to say that there are three kinds of economists: Liberal professional economists, conservative professional economists, and professional conservative economists. The other box isn’t entirely empty, but there just isn’t enough money on the left to close the hack gap.
- Linda McQuaig discusses the Cons' combination of elitist operations and populist messaging. Don Lenihan considers populism to be merely a particularly cynical form of elitism - which often serves to divert needed accountability by replacing the public's role in keeping an eye on its leaders with the promise of a savior to take on the job. And Jim Coyle questions how children of privilege like Rob Ford and Justin Trudeau can keep a straight face while claiming to stand up for the little guy - while comparing the respective plausibility of their pitches.

- Of course, elitism in the ranks of our political leaders is all the worse when it's accepted by other institutions which should protect the public interest. On that front, Michael Harris wonders whether the RCMP is doing the bidding of the PMO rather than pursuing justice in electing not to pursue charges against Nigel Wright, while suggesting that we're at least owed an explanation for the choice.

- Meanwhile, Erik Loomis asks why we treat employer wage theft as an administrative matter to be met with a slap on the wrist, rather than an abuse just as deserving of criminal intervention as an employee's stealing from the till. And the Star-Phoenix editorial board duly slams the Cons' "victims' rights" legislation which once again uses a misleading title to introduce regressive changes to the criminal justice system.

- Kim Nursall reports on TD's study examining the long-term costs of climate change - which include both tens of billions in losses to Canadian GDP, and human costs going far beyond what can be easily quantified. And Leilani Farha and Michele Biss look at the numbers we're missing in discussing homelessness in Canada, while pointing out that we already know plenty which should push us to act.

- Finally, Rob Nagai suggests that the NDP should change its attitude to take a more positive view of fund-raising. But I'd note some distinction between the view of the party apparatus (which has done plenty to work on the issue) and the grassroots (which probably does better fit Nagai's description of preferring issue advocacy to fund-raising) - and suggest that if the NDP is going to find a find-raising advantage, the longer-term goal should be to better build fund-raising into its member-driven activities.

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Posted on 19 April 2014 | 4:31 pm

What Do I Know Grit



Zach Paikin. HERO.

You know what Zach? Good for you buddy.

Well done.

Maybe, finally, once and for all the LEADER of this party will get the message. This is not supposed to be business as usual with his leadership. It's supposed to be about open transparency. Perhaps the leader forgets his speech at the leadership convention.

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Posted on 17 March 2014 | 9:16 pm

Small Dead Animals



Things You'll Never See On The CBC

Brian Lilley argues "faith and history too often go underappreciated in modern society"....

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Posted on 20 April 2014 | 12:01 pm

Le blog politique de Claude Dupras



Un « nerd » pour la réforme électorale canadienne

Il a 34 ans. Il est né en Alberta de parents français. Il a étudié les relations internationales à l’Université de Calgary. Puis, il devint sondeur, consultant politique, assistant de leaders politiques et, en 2004, candidat dans le comté Nepean-Carleton d’Ontario, où, à l’âge de 25 ans il est élu député canadien du Parti Conservateur (PC) en délogeant un ministre libéral de son siège par 4000 voix. Depuis, il a été réélu en 2006, 2008 et 2011 avec des majorités de plus en plus importantes frisant les 19,000 voix de majorité. Le sondage politique annuel du journal The Hill times l’a reconnu un des députés les plus travaillants dans sa circonscription. La politique est sa vie.

Son nom est Pierre Poilievre. Parfaitement bilingue, il est devenu, le 15 juillet 2013, ministre d’état à la Réforme Démocratique du gouvernement Harper. Il est de droite et a des allures d’une personne solitaire, passionnée et obnubilée par une approche politique et intellectuelle genre parti-républicain-américain. En somme, il a des airs de « nerd ». Je ne le connais pas et je n’émets que mon impression après l’avoir écouté et vu débattre à la Chambre des Communes, lu le Hansard, durant les dernières années. Depuis sa venue au parlement, Skippy, comme le surnomme ses collègues, agit en partisan aveugle. Il bondit, attaque et ridiculise les adversaires sur tout et rien. Comme ministre, il se montre petit, mesquin et se fout des questions de l’opposition avec des réponses hors-sujet et trop souvent absurdes. Sûr de lui-même, il est peu porté à écouter les opinions des autres. Malgré tout, on a l’impression qu’un jour il ira loin, peut-être même jusqu’à la tête de son parti et premier ministre du Canada. Mais pour se faire, il devra agir plus démocratiquement, arrondir les coins et comprendre que la politique est l’art du compromis.

Il y a deux mois, Poilievre proposa une réforme importante, le feuilleton C-23 sur l’intégrité électorale. Le projet de loi a été durement contesté depuis et le ministre a systématiquement refusé toute critique et toute modification à son texte.

L’opposition n’est pas venue seulement des partis politiques d’opposition que le ministre a cherché à ridiculiser, mais aussi de mandarins du gouvernement, tels Marc Mayrand, directeur général des élections du Canada et de Sheila Fraser, ex-vérificatrice générale du gouvernement canadien.

Mayrand, nommé par les conservateurs, a critiqué le projet de loi en exprimant ses nombreuses préoccupations dont, entre autres, les restrictions proposées pour l’identification des électeurs par un répondant. Il estime que 120 000 électeurs actifs ne pourront voter à la prochaine élection si la mesure est votée. Il regrette que ni lui et ni le commissaire aux élections Yves Côté n’aient été consultés pour la préparation du projet de loi et souligne qu’au Royaume-Uni, en Australie, en Inde et aux USA une telle preuve de résidence n’est pas exigée.

En réponse, Poilievre rejette du revers de la main l’argumentation réfléchie de Mayrand et l’attaque personnellement en prétextant qu’elle est « pleine d’allégations et ahurissante ». Il ajoute « qu’en réalité Mayrand ne cherche qu’à accroître son pouvoir de haut-fonctionnaire, d’augmenter ses budgets et de rendre moins de comptes au Parlement ». Accusations totalement gratuites et injustes.

Fraser a qualifié le C-23 d’ « une attaque contre notre démocratie » et s’il n’est pas amendé, elle craint que la prochaine élection soit en péril. Elle explique que « notre système est basé sur la justice et l’équité et chaque canadien doit pouvoir voter. Au lieu de faciliter cette approche, le feuilleton c-23 rend cette acte plus difficile ». Elle affirme connaître l’intégrité et l’impartialité de Mayrand et déplore l’attaque contre cet officier du parlement car elle craint que de tels gestes créent l’impression dans le public que les sept hauts-fonctionnaires indépendants du Gouvernement sont biaisés. « Ce qui est loin d’être le cas », assure-t-elle.

Le comité sénatorial à majorité conservateurs s’est penché sur la question et vient unanimement de rendre son premier rapport. Il est très critique et contient des recommandations précises, telles, ne pas empêcher le directeur général des élections de parler aux électeurs, l’obligation de fournir des attestations de noms et d’adresses aux personnes qui le demandent, de ne pas permettre aux partis politiques de dépenser sans limites pour solliciter des fonds d’anciens donateurs (cela favoriserait le PC)... Cependant, il ne s’est pas prononcé sur la question la plus disputée qu’est celle de l’identification d’un électeur par un répondant.

Les conservateurs font tout pour changer la normalité. Ils s’en prennent aux bases même du système tel que défini comme immuable dans le passé, telles, la précision du recensement, l’obligation du gouvernement de répondre au parlement et, aujourd’hui, les élections justes, le droit et le devoir de chaque canadien de voter, l’encouragement aux électeurs à voter, la confiance dans l’intégrité de ceux qui dirigent les élections… Dans le passé, Élections Canada a fait des campagnes de stimulations dans les milieux où le niveau de votation était bas, par exemple, chez les étudiants. Les conservateurs s’y opposent car ils savent que la majorité des étudiants ne sont pas conservateurs. Ils accusent donc Élections Canada de faire de la politique et d’être en « conflits d’intérêts » parce que cet organisme gère les élections et stimule les électeurs à voter puisque c’est son mandat.

Depuis qu’ils sont au pouvoir, les Conservateurs sont comme les républicains américains qui, dans les quartiers noirs et hispaniques, normalement favorables aux démocrates, font tout pour réduire appréciablement le nombre d’électeurs, via le recensement, la diminution du nombre de bureaux de votation... Nous avons été témoins à la dernière élection présidentielle américaine des longues et interminables filées d’électeurs qui attendaient des heures pour voter. Ils étaient blancs, noirs, hispaniques et tous pauvres. Au Canada, nous ne faisons pas cela. Ce n’est pas normal. Tout le monde doit voter et aucune embûche ne doit motiver un électeur à ne pas voter. Les conservateurs, au contraire, par le Bill C-23 cherchent à restreindre le vote étudiant, celui des autochtones et celui de ceux qui doivent utiliser un répondant pour se faire identifier comme électeur, etc. C’est inacceptable.

Le leader de l’opposition Thomas Mulcair, heureux du rapport sénatorial, a décidé de talonné Poilievre et le suit pas à pas au parlement. Ses questions sont pertinentes et, peu à peu, les Canadiens comprennent mieux l’importance de ce débat. La crédibilité du gouvernement est miné jour après jour. Quant au chef libéral, Justin Trudeau, il promet d’annuler le projet de loi s’il est adopté, dès sa prise du pouvoir.

Face à la pression négative montante venant de divers milieux, depuis deux mois, Harper a réagi et a demandé à son ministre de se dire prêt à discuter de changements. C’est un début mais la bataille est loin d’être gagnée même si l’intraitable Poilievre annonce que dorénavant « il a l’esprit ouvert ». Peut-on y croire ? Je ne crois pas, car un tel dossier est complexe, sensible, important et apolitique. Il requiert de l’expérience, de la rigueur et une capacité d’écoute pour être mené à bonne fin. Ce que ce ministre n’a pas démontré avoir à ce jour.

Nous, Canadiens, devons rester sur nos gardes, car la stratégie conservatrice est de faire adopter la loi C-23 le plus vite possible. Des changements de cette importance prennent normalement beaucoup de temps, d’analyses et d’évaluations par tous ceux qui sont engagés et touchés par une telle législation. Ils ne peuvent être brusqués car la démocratie fonctionne bien s’il y a consultation, respect des différentes opinions et consensus. C’est la responsabilité de notre gouvernement fédéral d’agir ainsi.

Claude Dupras

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Posted on 19 April 2014 | 11:28 pm

Mind of Dan



Dancing Booby

At Seymour Norte island in the Galapagos Islands


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Posted on 10 February 2014 | 9:09 pm

Warren Kinsella



In Sunday’s Sun: when democracy is just a word

A year ago this month, Justin Trudeau was a candidate for the Liberal Party leadership.  He gave a big speech to delegates at what was called the “Liberal leadership showcase.” Among other things, Trudeau said this:  “The only person Mr. Harper wants his caucus to serve is their leader.  Well, that’s not good enough. We [...]

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Posted on 19 April 2014 | 9:31 pm

Parti Vert Du Canada



Easter Message from Elizabeth May

On behalf of the GPC, staff and volunteers, I want to wish you and yours a Happy Easter. For those who are not religious, Easter is a great long weekend marking the beginning of a long-awaited spring.

For practicing Christians, Easter marks Christ's resurrection - the foundational event of Christianity and the source of deep faith and trust. To all who observe Easter as the most sacred day in the Christian calendar, Let us raise our voices in a shared "Hallelujah! He is Risen, indeed!" 

- Elizabeth May, O.C., MP
Member of Parliament, Saanich­­–Gulf Islands,
Leader, Green Party of Canada

 

Contact: 

Nicholas Gall
Communications Officer
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

 

#Easter Message from @ElizabethMay

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Posted on 20 April 2014 | 9:00 am