Thursday, April 29, 2010

So We're Expecting John Baird to Make Sense Now?

As much as it annoys the hell out me every time I hear someone in the media talking about
Harper's Reformers being secretive after promising transparency, I must admit that their expecting John Baird to make sense, gave me a chuckle.

And then it annoyed the hell out of me.

They should realize by now that there never was an accountability act and there was never any intention of producing an accountability act. Sure there were a few words on paper, but they were mostly just four letter words. Lots of them. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah ....

My first clue, besides the Republican Pollster Frank Lutz's advice to Harper on how to get a majority: preach accountability, flap about lowering taxes and tap into national symbols like hockey; was the fact that little PP got instructions for this so called accountability act from Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner.

Yikes. What Bernard Madoff wasn't available?

The Conservatives are considering an American-style law that would pay a bounty to a whistleblower who sues a company that defrauds the federal government or wastes taxpayers' money. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, who is overseeing the Harper government's whistleblower reforms, is meeting with U.S. legislators in Washington over the next several days to see if the U.S. False Claims Act can be adapted to Canada as part of the much-touted Federal Accountablity Act.

In Washington, Mr. Poilievre is meeting with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who chairs the House Committee on the Judiciary, as well as officials from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, to explore whether employees in security agencies should be excluded from whistleblower laws. He will also be briefed on the Bush administration's Notification and Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act -- known as the No Fear Act -- which came into force in 2003 to make departments more accountable for violations of anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws.

A monetary reward for whistleblowers is one of the six reforms Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised during the electin campaign to beef up the Liberals' whistleblower bill.

So who's Jim Sensenbrenner?

On April 26, 2005, it was widely reported that Sensenbrenner has had lobbyists pay for his transportation, a violation of congressional rules. His total travel expenses are higher than any other congressman

Although the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Katrina and the inadequate government response to the disaster is expected to cause further economic misery for the poor residents of New Orleans and other affected areas, Congressman Sensenbrenner has refused to allow victims of the hurricane to enjoy any exception to the recent Bankruptcy Reform, a recent bill passed with widespread support of the banking industry that aims to make it more difficult for consumers to declare bankruptcy. "If someone in Katrina is down and out, and has no possibility of being able to repay 40 percent or more of their debts, then the new bankruptcy law doesn't apply," Sensenbrenner said.

Sensenbrenner held an important role in the Impeachment of Bill Clinton, acting as one of the House managers.

Sensenbrenner believes in criminal prosecution of broadcasters and cable operators who violate decency standards as opposed to the current Federal Communications Commission regulatory methods.

His revolving door lobby

He won "jerk of the week" honours for denying global warming

And remember NAFTAgate when Stephen Harper tried to derail Obama's campaign? It was Sensenbrenner's son Frank who was behind it.

Frank Sensenbrenner, the one-time Young Republican fundraiser now at the epicentre of a scandal over a leaked Canadian memo which wounded Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama, was always a poor fit at the Canadian embassy. The ambassador, Michael Wilson, didn't want him there.

The diplomatic corps on Pennsylvania Ave. didn't want him there and ultimately were so distrustful of the son of a right-wing Republican congressman, they muttered that they wanted his door left open so they could hear who he was talking to.

But officials in Stephen Harper's office wanted him there and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day particularly wanted him there, based on Sensenbrenner's long links, dating back to school days, with the former Reform party, the precursor of today's government in Ottawa
The Republicans aren't out of office, they're just now in Stephen Harper's office, teaching 'accountability' ... to John Baird and little PP. Crafting clever lobbying loopholes so convoluted we may never know where our money is. While Alykhan Velshi is telling Canadians who and who can't come to this country and talk.

Anyway, the net result of this relatively little-known loophole is this: Even if a minister "quietly designates" his parliamentary secretary as "the government's exclusive gatekeeper" for a particular grant or contribution program -- which, according to the Hill Times, was what Transport Minister John Baird did by "tasking" Brian Jean with "identifying potential projects ... and candidates ... to be considered for the Green Infrastructure Fund ... and forwarding them to the department for evaluation" -- there is currently no way to find out which companies, or consultant lobbyists, may have come knocking on that gatekeeper's office door.

Which, I have to say, doesn't seem quite as transparent a system as one would, perhaps, expect to see in what Pierre Poilievre is so fond of reminding us was supposed to be the "toughest anti-corruption law in Canadian history." What, for instance, is to stop a minister from designating his or her parliamentary secretary as the contact point for all lobbyists, which would allow any subsequent discussions to flourish unfettered by any obligation to report all registrable interactions? Pretty much nothing, as far as I can tell, although as the aforementioned staffer pointed out, it's their job to enforce the law as it stands.

Maybe Mark Foley could get Jason Kenney a date:

Jason Kenney is Like a Mirage. Get too Close and There's Nothing There.

If Jason Kenney was anymore transparent, he'd disappear (wishful thinking, I know).

In his usual muster and bluster he claimed not to have anything to do with George Galloway being barred from Canada. But if I actually believed anything Jason Kenney said I would have myself committed.

Besides, most of these decisions have very little to do with him. When cornered he sweats, cries and takes a runner, right back to his buddy Alykhan Velshi, another throwback from the Bush administration.

From the first e-mail that Mr. Kenney’s communications director, Alykhan Velshi, sent on March 16, 2009, at 2:09 p.m. to immigration bureaucrats – the subject line was “inadmissible” – only 102 minutes passed before an official in the National Security section of the CBSA had agreed that Mr. Galloway should be barred for being a member of a terrorist organization. ...

It was Mr. Kenney’s communications’ aide, Mr. Velshi, who set the wheels in motion a few days before, on March 16.

He sent an e-mail at 2:09 p.m. to the Immigration Department’s director-general of communications, Edison Stewart, saying he had a media call asking “why we’re letting in the following person even though he’s publicly called for money to go to a banned terrorist entity in Canada [Hamas] and that makes him inadmissible.”

Velshi cut his teeth at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a right-wing war-mongering group that propped up George Bush.

This is what SourceWatch has to say about the founding of FDD.

In early 2001, a tightly knit group of billionaire philanthropists conceived of a plan to win American sympathy for Israel's response to the Palestinian intifada. They believed that the Palestinian cause was finding too much support within crucial segments of the American public, particularly within the media and on college campuses, so they set up an organization, Emet: An Educational Initiative, Inc., to offer Israel the kind of PR that the Israeli government seemed unable to provide itself.

"The Palestinian cause was finding too much support."

Galloway wasn't barred from Canada because he provided humanitarian aide to Palestine, with the consent of the British government, I might add. He was barred because he was going to speak to Canadians about why we should be supporting the Palestinian cause.

When Canada was a democracy we would never have put up with this nonsense. I hope George Galloway sues him for every cent of our money Jason Kenney has.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rahim Jaffer and Helena Guergis May go Down Together But They Won't be Alone

I posted a rather lengthy piece on Rahim Jaffer and Helena Guergis, just to show how close he was to so many members of our current government. The relationship goes back a long way, and the dirty dealing just as long.

I also privately wondered how many more MPs besides his wife, will end up getting tangled up in this.

When you buy someone off for $ 40,000.00 and get away with it, I guess you believe you can get away with anything.

Jaffer's contact with government touched six departments

OTTAWA - Conservative government officials dealt with calls and emails from Rahim Jaffer as a priority and sometimes pushed federal bureaucrats to speed up their response to his queries.

Documents obtained by The Canadian Press show the former Tory MP sometimes used the parliamentary email address assigned to the office of his wife, Helena Guergis, the former minister of state for the status of women. The more than 50 pages show that Jaffer contacted at least six ministerial offices over the past year.

Jaffer emailed Industry staff from Guergis account

Jaffer sent an email to an Industry Ministry official from an account registered to MP Helena Guergis, who at the time was the minister for the status of women. The message inquired about Canada's plans for installing new space satellites and about national ownership rules in that sector.

The information was requested "on behalf of some constituents who are friends of Helena and I," Jaffer wrote in the message. Jaffer hasn't been an MP since he lost his Edmonton-Strathcona seat in the October 2008 election.

In the email, he asks whether the federal government is interested in technology that allows satellites to track ocean vessels. If so, he says, it "would be positive for commercial development and MDA." MDA refers to MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, a B.C.-based aerospace firm that has built several government satellites. David Pierce, the Industry official in question, who knew Jaffer personally, replied the next day, saying he would call the former MP.

GuergisJafferWatch: It's a mini-document dump

Not that we're complaining, mind you. CBC News has obtained the 60-page package of Jaffer-related correspondence delivered to the Government Operations committee earlier today, and -- well, here it is! (I'll add my thoughts when I've had time to go through it in detail)
I'll bet there's not a lot of sleeping going on these days.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reformers, Snack Packers and the Price of Silence

"... the notion that some Reform members may have strong Anglo-Saxon nativist inclinations is supported by more than merely the background profiles of its leaders, members and supporters. It is supported also by the words of many of its ideological mentors who depict Canada as not only historically an Anglo-Saxon country but also part of a wider Anglo-Saxon culture that is in need of recognizing and re-establishing its heritage." (Of Passionate Intensity: Right-Wing Populism and the Reform Party of Canada. Author: Trevor Harrison Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995. ISBN: 0-8020-7204-6, Pg. 170)

From it's inception the Reform Party was seen as an all white, Christian fundamentalist party. (Or what the Toronto Sun referred to as "a ribald collection of dung-kicking rednecks.") Their anti-immigration and anti-multiculturalism platform certainly appealed to anyone supporting a white Canada.

And despite the outrageous behaviour of Preston Manning's MPs, neither he nor his lieutenant, Stephen Harper, did much to stop them. At their opening assembly one of the motions presented was to round up all the immigrants and send them back where they came from. I guess that kind of set the tone.

That's not to say that they didn't have the odd enlightened member, including the very popular Jan Brown, who was becoming increasingly upset with having to constantly apologize for the actions of her colleagues. For example, Reform MP Dave Chatters suggested that schools should be allowed to fire gay teachers, MP Art Hangar planned a trip to Singapore to investigate 'caning' as a form of youth punishment, and MP Myron Thompson wanted to throw ten-year-olds in jail.

But things came to a head when MP Rob Ringma suggested that business owners should be allowed to demand that gays and ethnics move to the back of the store, if it meant that they could lose business otherwise. Brown had had enough and spoke out publicly against the rampant racism of what she referred to as the 'God squad' and the fact that Preston Manning refused to put an end to it.

During the next caucus meeting, Ringma got a standing ovation and Brown was given a suspension, but instead simply quit and sat as an independent. The next election she ran for the PCs, but was defeated.

That election took place in 1997, and to replace Jan Brown, the Reform Party plucked a young man from the Fraser Institute, by the name of Jason Kenney. Meanwhile, Stephen Harper had resigned his seat to head up the right-wing National Citizens Coalition, and another Fraser alumni, Rob Anders stepped in to replace him.

However, Manning knew that if he really wanted to gain support in the rest of Canada he was going to have to at least give the appearance of representing all Canadians, so they brought in their first non-white candidate, a young man from Uganda, Rahim Jaffer.

The small talk was telling among the young Reformers milling about prior to Jaffer's arrival. People complained, with a neo-con bravado that matched everyone's cowboy comportment, about how squishy some of their contemporaries were on issues. There was also a heavy-duty spew of racist humour and invective, something you'd never hear from most real-life cowboys. With the tacit approval of the others, two young Reformers held court with depraved jokes about all-white neighbour­hoods, the Ku Klux Klan and the appropriate usages of pit bulls.

That is, of course, until Rahim Jaffer showed up. Then the conver­sation changed, from whites-only humour to election strategy in a split second. Everyone acted cordial and laid back, as though someone's mom had arrived in the middle of a stag party. "I want to be judged for what I do and say, not what I look like," Jaffer said while campaigning in 1997. "I'm a real Reformer, not a token."

"Look at the demographics here," said Manning's legislative assistant, Ezra Levant, at a "Team Rahim" campaign event. "Have you ever seen so many interesting-looking people voting Reform?" (Slumming it at the Rodeo: The Cultural Roots of Canada's Right-Wing Revolution, Gordon Laird, 1998, Douglas & McIntyre, ISBN: 1-55054 627-9, Pg. 103)
Bingo. They were no longer racist. However, maybe they should have been looking for more than just skin colour, but they had their priorities in order.

From then on, Jason Kenney, Rob Anders and Rahim Jaffer became known as the Snack Packers. (Globe and Mail, September 22, 1997) Something to do with their ages, I think. Ezra Levant rounded out the little group.

The First Sign of Trouble

In March of 2001, Jaffer agreed to a radio interview but then realized that he would be opening one of his coffee shops on the same day, so he convinced his aide to take his place. All was revealed when someone recognized the aide's voice.
Peter Warren, the show's host, says the hoax was eventually revealed, but not before both Johnston and Jaffer tried to cover it up. Warren says his producer asked Jaffer directly if they had talked to him on the air."She reached him at his cafe in Edmonton and said to him, 'Was that you on the interview with Peter Warren on the Corus Radio Network an hour ago?' and his answer was, 'Yes it was. I was happy to do the interview'. "Warren says they finally got an admission from Johnston and Jaffer when they asked them to put their version in writing.
But what didn't make the papers was how the whole thing came about. From Preston Manning.
"The story as told by Rahim in Ottawa, with the help of his friend Ezra [Levant], was that Matthew had acted entirely on his own."

Chuck Strahl, the House leader, first learned of all this from Jason Kenney at a strategy meeting at Stornoway. Chuck told Jason that Rahim's account had better be the whole truth, because the media would be looking for contradictions, and if they found any Rahim would be in even greater trouble. Jason [Kenney] then said "I wouldn't worry about that. $40,000.00 buys lot of silence."
(Think Big: My Adventures in Life and Politics, By: Preston Manning, pg 379-80)
Not Jason Kenney. Say it ain't so. The $ 40,000 was apparently the amount of 'severance' given to Matthew Johnston for keeping quiet. (Deb Grey also mentions this in her book )

Stephen Harper also looking for optics, added a few women to his roster in 2003, including Helena Guergis, a former administrative assistant in the Mike Harris government. Naturally he plunked her where she was visible, giving him the appearance of an enlightened male. (stop laughing, I said 'the appearance')

A Classic Love Story

So Helena and Rahim met in caucus, caused a fracas, but then ran out of luckus. Boy when they fell, they fell hard, didn't they? And Don Martin thought that Helena's only problem was that she was completely clueless.
...a second-term Tory over her head as a Cabinet member in the government's most sensitive portfolio. After double-checking with female parliamentarians and journalists to make sure this wasn't just a pale male pile-on, the verdict is clear: This 39-year-old Ontario MP should be removed before her amateur antics and strange behaviour trigger an international incident.
Of course, it was brilliant moving her to the Status of Women, where Harper can now claim that there is a reason why women have no status in his Canada. Two words: Helena Guergis.

And who'd have thought it would take a drunk driving, drug arrest to topple the Kingdom of Tokens? I mean Jaffer campaigned by suggesting that the NDP were soft on drugs. And Helena campaigned on ... I don't know .. I don't listen to her. I swear she'll suck the brain cells right out of you.

A Change Must Come in Afghanistan Now That Harper's Bored With It

Stephen Harper has had a pattern of running away and I think he would have liked to have given up on the War in Afghanistan long ago, if it weren't for having to keep up appearances.

When he was first elected in 2006, he had a buddy. And to show his buddy that he could play, he put Canadian soldiers in the worst places, where the fighting was the fiercest. George Bush said that he wasn't going to follow the Geneva Convention, and Harper said what Geneva Convention?

And with the mission supposedly winding down, and despite all of his bluster, things are worse in Afghanistan than they were when we first invaded.

What a waste of lives.

Looking closely, it’s a mission we should run from

THE DRASTIC developments in Afghanistan in recent days have certainly left the self-proclaimed "pro-mission" lobby spinning in all directions.What they propose now is to end the "combat" phase of the operation, but to continue providing as many as 1,000 troops to act as trainers for the Afghan security forces.

Their main selling point is that after sacrificing so much in both blood and gold, that it would be a national shame if Canada were to cut and run just as the NATO chefs are putting the icing on the victory cake.

CTV says All We Need is a Credible Partner. What we need is a credible government.

The NATO mission in Afghanistan will not be successful without a credible partner leading the Afghan government, says a former UN envoy to the country, who called the campaign "a waste of resources" if soldiers are unable to do their jobs.

I thought all that money was going to create a credible partner. Training the Afghan police and military. Harper threw billions of dollars into that 'mission'.

Unfortunately, he spent far too much money in training our media, so to learn of the protests against us from the people of Afghanistan, we have to read U.S. papers or the U.K. Guardian

KABUL -- Afghan protesters torched NATO supply vehicles in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, hours after allegations emerged that U.S. and Afghan troops had killed three civilians, including two brothers, in their home.

The demonstration occurred in Logar province after a nighttime joint patrol of U.S. Special Operations forces and Afghan soldiers fatally shot three people and arrested two others. NATO officials said the men were insurgents who had displayed "hostile intent." One of those captured was a low-level Taliban Commander who planned suicide bombings, they said.

"Hostile intent"? What the hell are we displaying?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Who Says That Canada Has a Rigid Anti-Tax Position?

The new Robin Hood, or Financial Transaction Tax has made the news lately, as a brilliant and fair way of raising necessary revenue to fight global warming, poverty and many other challenges facing the world's citizens.

It's very small. Just .005%, and does not apply to our banking transactions but other financial transactions at a higher level.

There are also other taxes that could be imposed on excessive profit, that would help to recover bail out monies or guard against future economic collapses.

Naturally as neo-conservatives, Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper are greatly opposed to any scheme that would bring in money. The true nature of neo-conservatism is to starve the beast. If they started feeding it, they'd lose their key to executive washroom in hell.

But what I found disturbing about at least one media account, was this:

The International Monetary Fund is recommending all G20 countries slap a tax on financial institutions — advice that puts the organization at odds with Canada, which has a rigid anti-tax position.

At odds with Canada? Since when? Neo-conservative principles are at odds with Canada, but a rigid anti-tax position has never identified us, ever. The Reform-Conservatives are rigid anti-tax, but only because they are also anti-social services of any kind.

Stephen Harper once made the claim that "no tax is a good tax". But he also claimed in his Reform Party and National Citizens Coalition days, that the Government of Canada should not be in the businesses of providing Medicare, Old Age Security or Employment Insurance.

And this 'rigid anti-tax' stand, that is theirs, not ours, will guarantee that.

They claim their position is because they don't feel that our banks who weathered the storm without bailouts, should be penalized. Besides being the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard, given that they are enjoying record profits, it's simply not true.

Jim Flaherty swooped down at the first rumblings of trouble and bought back all of the high-risk mortgages he had allowed to infiltrate our once sound mortgage industry. As a result, the Canadian taxpayer is now the largest holder of sub-prime mortgages in the world.

And it is very close to coming back to bit us. According the the Financial Post:

"This thing is a wave and it's just starting," says Eric Putnam, formerly with a subprime lender, now managing director of Debt Coach Canada, a company that provides financial and bankruptcy advice to consumers. Estimates vary on the total value of the subprime market in Canada.

No one knows for sure how big it really is because there is no central database tracking these mortgages. But according to Ivan Wahl, chief executive of Xceed, one of the biggest players in Canada until it recently converted to a bank, the subprime market in this country.

And to compensate for his gross error in judgement, he has now been forced to tighten mortgage requirements, to the point where it will be almost impossible for first time home buyers to enter the housing market, without securing second and even third mortgages; further adding to the profits of the financial sector.

But again he didn't act, because he saw a need. He acted because the banks were holding his feet to the fire.

Have you ever met someone less willing to do their job than Canada's Reluctant Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty? Today we awaken to the news that “Flaherty sets stricter mortgage rules ”. It should come as no surprise that this news comes about ten days after we learned that “Banks urge Ottawa to tighten mortgage rules” in which top bankers pushed government to clamp down on market to avoid any chance of U.S.-style collapse. The bankers probably had to go public with that story because they were getting nowhere on the issue dealing with our reluctant Finance Minister in private. Reluctant in the sense that Jim Flaherty seems to be unwilling to properly perform the role of Canada’s Minister of Finance.

Before entering politics, Flaherty was a personal injuries lawyer. So if you fall into your neighbour's hedge and scratch your elbow, Jim's your man. But if you're looking for someone to handle a country's finances, to the common good of the country's citizens, make sure that Jim Flaherty gets nowhere near the books, or the cash box.

This tax "is a good tax", because for the first time in a very long time, the corporate elite will be expected to pay their share. Or to borrow a few lines from Robin Hood, when Little John asked: I was just wonderin', are we good guys or bad guys? You know, I mean, uh? Our robbin' the rich to feed the poor.

Rob? Tsk tsk tsk. That's a naughty word. We never rob. We just sort of borrow a bit from those who can afford it.

So it's time to borrow a bit from those who can afford it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Garry Breitkreuz Still Battling With Police Over Right to Bear Arms

Following is my second posting for Religious Right Alert. I found reading some of these pro-gun sites to research this article, just as disturbing as the Christian extremist sites, and not terribly different. I'm now feeling very icky and need a shower.

My next blog posting will have to be something that won't keep me up at night. Maybe, I'll cover a flower show or something. A topic that won't be so emotionally draining.

Nah! I'll live to fight another day.

“A program can’t run without money and we’ll keep pressing the government until all the funding for this useless program is cut off completely.”

On September 22, 1998, a large group of what I will call "gun enthusiasts" marched on Parliament Hill. They billed it as Fed Up II, so I can only assume there must have been a Fed Up I.

During this, from what I understand, rather large rally; some of the people who were "fed up", noticed RCMP snipers on the roof of the Parliament Buildings. When reporters asked about the snipers, they were told by the RCMP boss that there were no snipers, only officers with binoculars.

This upset the people who were already "fed up" and with great will and determination, they set out to prove that the RCMP were lying. They filed an Access to Information Request to determine what weapons had been signed out that day, to RCMP officers on the Hill. I think they were big ones ... lots of letters and numbers. Very impressive.

Now I can't speak for everyone, but when there is a large group of angry gun owners marching on Parliament Hill, I for one do not want to see snipers on the roof. I want tanks. Lots of them.

They are gun owners and they are "fed up" .. for the second time!

And one of the organizers of this rally, and the person who set out to prove that the RCMP were lying, was Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz. (You can read his press release here) At the time he was a Reform MP; same party, new name. He has been the most vocal opponent of the Gun Registry, and the quote at the top belongs to him.

Of course I'm only kidding about the tanks, but this reveals a pattern of confrontation with law enforcement, and those who feel they should have the right to bear arms.

One of the speakers at that rally was Karen Selick, now the litigation director for the Canadian Constitution Foundation. They take on high profile cases that challenge our constitution, including the right to call gay people names; but that's a topic for another time.

What's interesting though is her speech at the rally. She quotes Allan Rock, the former Justice Minister and architect of Bill C-68: "I came to Ottawa with the firm belief that the only people in this country who should have guns are police officers and soldiers."

"Sorry, Mr. Rock" Selick says, "but if ever there were a good start towards a police state, that has to be it. We are being asked to give up our means of defence in return for a promise of protection from the very people most likely to become our oppressors."

The police and military are their oppressors?

Things have changed, because it's now Breitkreuz's government that is giving the RCMP even bigger guns.

However, this challenging the police over the gun registry issue is not unusual. Opponents of the Registry will cite the costs or inconvenience, or bill it as an attack on rural populations who use guns to hunt and kill pesky varmints.

But the real issue for them is the belief that we should all be armed as self defense.
The major slaughters of innocents in history could have been prevented if the populace were armed. I’m convinced that thoughtful Canadians will learn from history. Otherwise we’re doomed to repeat it.

That quote can be found on the website of firearms dealer Bruce Montague, the man who was arrested for several firearms violations, including unregistered guns and unsafe storage practices.

He has become the new poster boy for these "freedom loving" folks who feel that an armed populace will reduce violence. At issue for me, even before dealing with the guns, is the fact that he has been using his daughter, since she was 12, to produce "pro-gun" videos, like this one. These are seen on a great many "pro-gun"websites and I find them disturbing on so many levels.

Montague has now become the champion for gun rights, and his lawyer is none other than the infamous Doug Christie. For those who don't know, Christie has represented some of the most notorious neo-Nazis in the country, including Ernst Zundel, Terry Long and James Keegstra. He was also a close personal friend of Stockwell Day's father. Bit I digress.

They obviously want to make a statement here, and much of their press around this has been bemoaning the rights of a law-abiding citizen. A law abiding citizen who just happens to have broken many laws.

But to prove my point, there is an interesting story from the Western Standard about our "victim":

Bruce Montague, a member of the Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners Association, has been challenging police to arrest him under the controversial Firearms Act for more than a year ...

He's been challenging them for more than a year, and when they finally grant him his wish, he cries foul. And one of the most notorious trial lawyers in the country, just happens to show up to take his case. Interesting.

Now given that another press release was issued from Breitkreuz this week, where he refers to the organization of police chiefs as a "cult", should we really be surprised? They have a reputation for challenging authority. The police are the oppressors. They don't need them. They can defend themselves.

Breitkreuz did apologize for calling on Liberal MPs to beat Michael Ignatieff "black and blue", because he's taking a firm stand on saving the gun registry. Noble.

We need to hold onto this registry because it helps to define who we are as Canadians. We don't want to be an 'armed populace'. We don't want to see 12-year-old girls holding guns and smiling sweetly. We have already conceded so much to this government. We can't let them have this. We just can't.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Godly Men" and Access Codes. What is David Sweet Up To?

Many of the threats from the Religious Right are visible and already on our radar. However, there are a great many more that don't get as much attention as they should, and one of those comes from a Harper backbencher, David Sweet, and his group the "Promise Keepers".

When Sweet first ran in the 2004 federal election, in the Ontario riding of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Westdale; he posted on his website the fact that he was the Canadian founder of the Promise Keepers. When the media and others did a little investigation and discovered what PK really was, they went public and Sweet lost the election.

Learning his lesson, by 2006, he had removed all mention of PK and his name was all but purged from their website. At issue then was an old quote where he had said something to the effect that there was a reason why Jesus only called men as his disciples, because apparently they are "natural influencers" while women are "natural followers". Whatever.

I had researched the group a bit then, but most of the information available was from their U.S. counterpart, and according to Sweet and his supporters, they were quite different. Fair enough. Besides for awhile it appeared that the movement was fizzling out. Membership was down and their budget was shrinking. What was so threatening about a bunch of cowboys, getting together for a bit of scratch and sniff?

However, I came across an article from last summer, and apparently they are back and stronger than ever. Their founder has re-emerged and they have expanded their ministry. And guess what their goal is now? According the the Los Angeles Times, they are Plotting the Exit Strategy, with the help of McCartney's new organization "The Road to Jerusalem."

For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it. Their endgame is to speed the promised arrival of a messiah. For some Christians this means laying the groundwork for Armageddon.

With that goal in mind, mega-church pastors recently met in Inglewood to polish strategies for using global communications and aircraft to transport missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission: to make every person on Earth aware of Jesus' message. Doing so, they believe, will bring about the end, perhaps within two decades.


I'm getting too old for this.

And they have already "re-created priestly robes of white linen, gem-studded breastplates, silver trumpets ...." What no balloons? This sounds more like a Jason Kenney bachelor party for one.

It would appear that the PK have now invited Messianic Jews to join their club because as McCartney claims: "The Bible says Jews will be brought to jealousy when they see Christians and Jewish believers together as one -- they'll want to be a part of that. That's going to signal Jesus' return." Even the 700 Club Promotes this movement.

With this new information, I thought I'd take another look into David Sweet and his fundamentalism again, and I have discovered a pattern with the PK, that is disturbing without the whole white robe, gold breastplate thing. (and Sweet is still involved, mentioned as a speaker at their events)

David Sweet and the Promise Keepers

In the 1998 Canadian Christianity magazine, they ran an article about Sweet: Calling Men to Walk Together.

PROMISE KEEPERS (PK) want to be catalysts in the renewal of men across the nation. David Sweet, the 41 year old president and first CEO of the movement in Canada, is adamant that we're living in a time when Holy Spirit-driven men's ministries are crucial.

Citing the decay in moral and political authority that's increasingly becoming evident, Sweet observed that in any age we err if we take a look at the fruit of the age and determine what our behavior should be.

"This is the first time . . . historically that we have decided that we'll march to a morality drum that is governed by the voice of the day rather than having any bearing on what we've lived by in history" ... we have developed a psychology in our culture that we can divorce politics and morality. That is impossible to do."

Sweet goes on to tell the story of how he was arrested at the age of 12 for stealing cars and spent four years behind bars. I can imagine at that age, that it would have been quite traumatic and I'm glad he gave up that career choice.

At the time, PK was on their 'Living a Legacy' tour, and Sweet was appearing with some pretty heavy hitters in the evangelical trade. David Ring has been on all of the main mega church shows including John Hagee's. The late Selwyn Hughes also on the circuit and had written, according to his bio, 50 books on Christianity. Lee A. Jenkins runs a corporate Bible industry, promoting a theory of personal wealth paving the way to salvation (I paraphrase).

Steve Masterson and Brian Warren are both involved with the Canadian PK group. Masterson is listed as the Director of Teaching, Training & Development. David Warren is an ex-CFL player turned pastor, who is also on the PK 'team'. You can hear him speak a bit here.

So far, so good. Nothing yet to make you want to hide under the bed. But let's take a closer look at these 'Godly' men and their ministry.

Chest Thumping and Cross Bearing

Journalist Matt Taibbi went undercover on a weekend retreat with John Hagee's Cornerstone Church, and wrote a very revealing piece: Jesus Made Me Puke. Now some people might think that he was being sacrilegious, but I understand why the need for levity. It's often a defense mechanism.

Anytime I investigate these groups, I eventually have the same reaction, especially if I watch the videos. There is something about them that can be overwhelming. Watch the video at the bottom of this posting, and I think you'll see what I mean. They kind of tap into a raw emotion, and I can understand how the vulnerable could become mesmerized. The fact that I have to put it at the bottom says a lot. I'm not prepared to watch it again, and it's not the worst I've viewed in the past few hours. There were many I would never share with anyone.

But what Mr. Taibbi describes is an indoctrination.

Here I have a confession to make. It's not something that's easy to explain, but here goes. After two days of nearly constant religious instruction, songs, worship and praise - two days that for me meant an unending regimen of forced and fake responses - a funny thing started to happen to my head. There is a transformational quality in these external demonstrations of faith and belief.

The more you shout out praising the Lord, singing along to those awful acoustic tunes, telling people how blessed you feel and so on, the more a sort of mechanical Christian skin starts to grow all over your real self. You may think you know the answer, but by my third day I began to notice how effortlessly my soft-spoken Matt-mannequin was going through his robotic motions of praise, and I was shocked. For a brief, fleeting moment I could see how under different circumstances it would be easy enough to bury your "sinful" self far under the skin of your outer Christian and to just travel through life this way.

And what makes it more compelling to the average sinner are the people delivering the message. They will tell you stories of their own wasted lives, and as you identify with their 'anguish', there's a familiarity that develops. He's trusted you with his secrets.

But in relation to the PK and their retreats and conferences, they take on a 'macho' element. Some of it was witnessed during that weekend when a former athlete was whipping up the crowd.

The grown macho man unashamedly breaking into boyish tears in public is one of the weirder features of the post-Promise Keeper Christian generation, and Fortenberry - himself a Promise Keeper, incidentally - had it down to a science. "You never came to my ballgames, Dad," he'd screech, his face wrinkling like a raisin with grief at the word "ballgames

So you can imagine a conference where all of the motivational speakers are athletes and military leaders. Tough, virile men; crying and hugging each other, and encouraging others to cry and hug and each other. To take charge of their households come hell or high water. They are the kings of their castles and they now must head home to subjugate their queens.

I used to think however, that all that unleashed testosterone might encourage some men to take by force what would not be conceded, but after studying this movement a bit, I think there is a different strategy. They "love" their wives into "submission".

Love Your Wife Sacrificially

I think it's time to Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. Ephesians

That term "love your wife sacrificially' is heard a lot at these meetings. Now I can't imagine ever being loved sacrificially. And of course it's always wives, never girlfriends, fiancees or significant others. There must be a husband. There must be a wife. And there must be a "sacrifice".

I've read several "testimonials" and articles on the PK site, describing how a man must define his relationship and win over his woman.

But first, according to one of their books that you can purchase for $ 24.95, you must "crack her access code". Sounds painful.

But only then will she "... grow in becoming who God designed her to be." And after cracking their "access code", it's pretty clear that God designed her to be; a baby making machine, subservient to her husband. She just had to be "loved" into submission.

Scared Straight

Another angle, or 'promise' is sexual purity. And that's where all these 'manly' men come in. When you peruse the 'sexual purity' part of the site, there is a bit on pornography, but most of it has to do with homosexuality. They have a cure. Unfortunately they don't have a clue.

They use a 'reduce an athlete or military leader' to a snivelling wreck and then show his tough side. Their little skits are always about an abusive father, believing that caused the 'poor' man to 'choose' this 'lifestyle'. Author, historian and political activist, Anton Chaitkin, wrote an expose on the "mind control" techniques used by the Promise Keepers.

He refers to them as a "cult" and after watching some of their videos, I agree. I think that's what Matt Taibbi was sensing when he stated that Jesus made him puke. You know that there is something happening, as you watch the robotic movements, flushed faces and glazed eyes. These people are no longer thinking for themselves.

And they believe they can use this power to convince their followers that they can now 'control' their wives and 'cure' homosexuals, or possibly be 'cured' themselves.

Chaitkin refers to them as a 'military ministry', and even 'religious terrorists'.

But what happens when this group of manly, muscular Christians, who feel they now have the power to subjugate women and cure homosexuals; start turning their attention toward "Plotting the End Times"?

Their messages are not terribly subtle. Play the video on the right of this page. It's pretty clear that they see a final struggle between Gentiles and Jews. And not just any Gentiles, but Gentiles moved to tears by the Bible.

They've already ordered their white linen robes and jewel studded breastplates.

So to borrow a phrase from Rick Mercer: If you find yourself in Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Westdale, and you see David Sweet. First cross the road, make sure your access code has not been broken, then run like hell.

We really need to get this government out, because sadly Sweet may not be the craziest member of Harper's caucus. Oye!

Monday, April 19, 2010

He Floats Like a Butterfly and Stings Like a Bee

"Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” Joseph Goebbels

I'm still amazed that after more than four years, the media will still begin a story on the Harper government's unprecedented secrecy and control, with the notion that he came to power on a promise of accountability and an open government.

I agree that he came to power on that promise. But anyone who believes that there was ever any intention of it ever being more than a promise, obviously doesn't understand Stephen Harper at all. And anyone in the media still believing that he was sincere, have clearly chosen the wrong profession.

Soon after winning his seat in Calgary West in 2006, and as party leader being given an opportunity in a "first past the post" system, to act as Prime Minister; Stephen Harper put up a "quiet" sign. Everyone from his elected caucus to public servants were told to "shush". This prompted the media, not only in Canada, but elsewhere; to sound the alarm.

In April of 2006, Time magazine published an article: Controlling the Message, discussing the enormous lengths that our government was going to, just to avoid talking to the press, whose very jobs are supposed to be the antithesis of "shush."

"Canadians should be worried when they see the government trying to exert such an unprecedented level of control."

Yes we should have been worried. And despite the fact that the situation has only worsened, meaning we now have more to worry about, we are still not screaming from the roof tops. Why is that?

Two words: Guy Giorno.

The master manipulator who led former Ontario Premier Mike Harris through seven years of the most incompetent, corrupt, authoritarian and damaging administrations the province had ever seen. I still have nightmares.

In 2000, Ryerson Press wrote a lengthy article about Harris's control of the media.

TV newsmakers need vivid images to illustrate their stories. Harris's Tories, easily the most communications-savvy provincial government this country has ever seen, are delighted to oblige — on their terms. They dodge negative coverage at every chance and will go to ridiculous lengths — giving preferential treatment to friendly reporters, shutting out critical ones and staging elaborate, unrelated events — to avoid it.

That was pure Giorno.

So when Stephen Harper decided to hire him in May of 2008, I knew that it wasn't to improve relations with the media, as indicated by the PMO; but to create ways to manipulate them. They became his keyboard.

This man who performs his duties in the shadows, would create an enigma. The illusion of a prime minister, who would not have to assume the role of a moderate leader, but simply be given the tools to play one for the camera. And as crazy as it sounds, it worked.

But he also endorsed something else far more important to the future success of a man who has made a religion out of avoiding us. The art of deception.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels

After the 2008 election, when the Reform-Conservatives were returned to power, rather than creating an economic update, that would include initiatives to steer us through the recession, they went on the attack. They waged war against women, unions and the opposition.

But it backfired.

The opposition parties formed a coalition government, fully prepared with a budget and a plan. Giorno didn't see this one coming, though members of Harper's caucus did. " Just call him Fall-Guy Giorno.

As aghast Conservative party insiders watch their government teeter on the brink of defeat, Guy Giorno, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff, is, fairly or unfairly, coming in for a share of the blame for the ideologically driven gambit that could cost the Conservatives government.

"This has Guy's fingerprints all over it," said one senior Conservative, in reference to the explosive measure to strip political parties of their public funding that was contained in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's economic statement Thursday.
And yet despite the fact that this coalition was only different from Stephen Harper's 2004 attempt, in that it didn't include the Bloc as part of the actual coalition, what happened?

They told a "lie big enough" and "kept repeating it", until eventually people came to believe it. Over and over they hammered a simple message with a few key words. "Traitors", "coup", "unconstitutional". And even though we sensed that somehow it wasn't right, it won the day. The coalition, with the help of a well tuned "keyboard", was forced to back down.

The same is happening with the Afghan detainee issue. They never go off message. "Our brave soldiers" .... "Our troops are above reproach" ... "there is no evidence" ..."the opposition" has accused "our" troops of "war crimes".

Even the prorogation, that apparently was engineered by Giorno to eliminate the opposition from any future plans, was handled with "big lies" repeated over and over and over and over again. "Routine" "Chretien did it four times" "focus on the economy". Bang, bang, bang.

"It doesn't have to be true, it just has to be plausible." Tom Flanagan
Well this week Girono has had to come out of hiding, sort of, to explain the government's increasing control of information, after a report by information commissioner, Suzanne Legault, who "fears Canadians' right to know is on the verge of being 'totally obliterated'."

When the mystery man had to speak, which was mostly just answering prepared questions from what Don Martin referred to as the "Hallelujah Chorus", he kept repeating the same thing, that his government is "committed to freedom of public information".

And when the laughter died down, he really let loose with a zinger that would have the infamous Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbel rolling (with laughter and pride) in his grave. "Information is the oxygen of democracy."

It's unfortunate that he didn't finish that quote as presented by Nobel-Prize winning Amartya Sen:

"Information is the oxygen of democracy. If people do not know what is happening in their society, if the actions of those who rule them are hidden, then they cannot take a meaningful part in the affairs of that society. But information is not just a necessity for people – it is an essential part of good government. Bad government needs secrecy to survive. It allows inefficiency, wastefulness and corruption to thrive .... Information allows people to scrutinise the actions of a government and is the basis for proper, informed debate of those actions."

Clearly too many words for the lie to be believable.

So please join Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper, because Canadians need oxygen and Guy Giorno needs a real job.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What is Rod Bruinooge's Private Members Bill Really About?

I am now contributing the Religious Right Alert site. This was my first posting. Sites like this are very important to the future of our country. Not enough people are taking the threat of this radicalism seriously. They have an agenda, and not an agenda that most Canadians would support. Yet we allow them freedom to hate, simply because we don't want to be seen as attacking their religious beliefs. Despite the fact that they are attacking ours.


"Any country that accepts abortion, is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants." Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

I find that quote used often on pro-life websites to equate abortion with violence. However, it doesn't ring true for most of these sites, that all too often support war and even the death penalty. Clear evidence of a nation using violence to get what it wants.

In fact, if I were to march in one of their "pro-life" demonstrations, carrying a sign with a picture of an Afghan child who was the victim of war, I would probably be called a "Taliban dupe". Or if my sign had the photo of a Palestinian child, who was an innocent victim of war, I would probably be accused of anti-Semitism and not loving Israel enough.

I might even be whacked with one of their signs suggesting that abortion is the "new Holocaust", complete with the most horrendous images.

Because there are several quotes also attributed to Mother Teresa, that I never see on a "pro-life" site, including this one:

"Please choose the way of peace. In the short term there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread. But that never can, nor never will justify the suffering, pain and loss of life your weapons will cause."
For Mother Teresa, her anti-abortion beliefs were part of her overall message of love and peace, and while I would not find her arguments against abortion valid; I would respect her opinion.

However, this post is not about war, Mother Teresa, or even moral arguments. It's about Rod Bruinooge, the chair of the House pro-life caucus, and his new private members bill aimed at making it a crime to threaten or intimidate a woman into having an abortion.

He claims that his bill was inspired by the brutal murder of Roxanne Fernando, the Winnipeg woman whose life was taken because she refused to terminate her pregnancy.

However, at issue here is not that she refused to have an abortion, but the fact that she was brutally murdered. The motive is secondary. Had she been killed because she refused to give her boyfriend a loan, would we really need to draft a new law making it illegal to "coerce" or "intimidate" someone into giving you money?

We already have such a law. It's called extortion. And we already have laws making it illegal to coerce or intimate someone into doing anything. A threat of violence, is a threat of violence, regardless of what motivates it.

So what is this really about?

It's simple. It's about the need to equate abortion with violence. To plant that seed in our minds. 'Holocaust', 'murder', 'brutality' and even 'eugenics', all become part of their argument. And of course, it's made worse because the suggestion is that it's violence against children. Child victims of war are simply "collateral damage", but abortion is presented as a mother's war against her own child. This is why most pro-lifers will always go right to late term abortions, and never use the term 'fetus'.

I do question though, that if this is not about 'abortion' as Bruinooge suggests, but a woman's choice being taken away; then should it not also include intimidation to not terminate a pregnancy? What about the coercion of a parent who threatens to throw their daughter out if she has an abortion, using economic intimidation? Or a boyfriend or husband using emotional blackmail as intimidation, which is often not about the child at all, but control?

Has Rod Bruinooge or anyone else considered that?

I suppose it doesn't matter, because while the bill will probably be defeated, their cause has already scored a victory. Once again, they have brought "violence" into the abortion debate.

And of course, in the process Stephen Harper also scores a victory.

He took a lot of heat when Hilary Clinton was clear that any initiative to improve the maternal health of women in developing countries, must include access to safe abortion.

He can now posture that he disapproves of this bill, earning himself headlines like Harper won't support Tory MP's abortion bill, thereby appearing to agree with Clinton. And if this angers the fundamentalist groups, will he really lose their vote?

The fact that the Conservative Party is the only one willing to present bills of this nature at all, validates their loyalty, and provides meat for their fundraising letters.

If Stephen Harper really disapproved of his MP's motion, it would never have been presented at all. But he needs that bill to continue the facade of a moderate centrist, and the pro-life caucus needs that bill to plant the seed of violence to define abortion, and the Religious Right needs that bill to generate funds that fuel their "holy" mission.

Just another day in paradise.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bad News For Harper on Detainee Issue

More bad news on the detainee issue, and this time our troops may be involved.

This just keeps getting uglier.

Of course again, Mackay is sticking to his old lines and Harper is ordering more magic markers.

Give it up guys.

Chilling Afghan claims

Did Canadian troops use Afghanistan’s notorious security services as “subcontractors for abuse and torture?” That’s what the Commons committee on Afghanistan heard this week from Ahmadshah Malgarai, an Afghan-Canadian who worked as an interpreter in Kandahar.

It is the most damaging allegation yet in the Afghan detainee saga, and it challenges Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s repeated assurances that “the Canadian Forces ... have always acted responsibly.”

And: Ottawa accused of withholding military letters on detainees

The military watchdog probing Canada’s record on Afghan detainees says Ottawa has been withholding documents that go to the heart of its inquiry.

The Military Police Complaints Commission says the federal government’s refusal to release key letters written by Canadian Forces commanders raises troubling concerns about Ottawa’s approach to divulging information in this matter.

This is not going to go away no matter how much Harper hopes it will.

Red Alerts and Failing Grades. What Are They Hiding?

Canada's information watchdog has given Stephen Harper's office a 'D' and issued a "Red Alert" to foreign affairs, for their failure to provide access to information.

Only a "D"?

The sneakiest, most secretive government in the history of this country, is showing no signs of changing their ways.

I just hope this is a wake up to Canadians that we must change this government.
Federal delays in answering queries from the public are getting worse and threaten to scuttle the right to know, says Canada's information watchdog. Interim information commissioner Suzanne Legault urged government agencies to take "immediate steps" to curb the persistent foot-dragging she detailed Tuesday in a special report to Parliament.
And from the Globe and Mail: Access to information risks being ‘obliterated’: report
Four years after the Harper government came to office pledging sweeping improvements to Canada’s access laws, a new report warns that the right of Canadians to obtain federal documents is at risk of being “totally obliterated.”
And CBC: Federal information requests delayed: watchdog
"There's a constant decline year over year," she [Legault] said. "Length of extensions is getting longer. The length of consultations is getting longer. Legault urged departments and agencies to take "immediate steps" to curb the problem.
And: Canadians' access to information at a crisis point

A raft of confrontations is pitting the federal government, the military and Ontario’s provincial police against opposition parties, the media, interest groups and inquiries over when politicians and bureaucrats can withhold information from the public.

Both sides realize that control over information is the only control that matters. Those with power seek to preserve that power by managing the flow of information; others wrestle to bring it into the public square.

Welcome to Harper's world. Shhhhhhhhh ...

Helena Guergis: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

And we thought her airport melt down and cocaine in her car, would have been enough for Harper to finally dump her.

But a much more serious scandal, is raising some very serious questions. Helena Guergis's husband, Rahim Jaffer; a long time friend of Jason Kenney and Stockwell Day, has been up to some funny business.

So much for a party pretending to take the moral high ground.

I knew what this little group was about when they first bought the silence of an aide for $ 40,000.00.

Guergis is now sitting as an independent, but that doesn't excuse our government. How did she get away with this and was she acting alone?
Helena Guergis touted a green technology company to Simcoe County officials while her husband Rahim Jaffer and businessman Nazim Gillani were involved in a plan to take the firm public in a $1 billion deal.

Cabinet ministers and MPs are forbidden from using their position to influence a person or organization to benefit their interest or that of relatives or friends, according to the federal Conflict of Interest Act.


NDP MP Libby Davies sent a letter to Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson on Friday formally asking her to investigate Guergis's conduct, saying media reports about Guergis's endorsement of Wright Tech Systems Inc. may have violated the Conflict of Interest Act "and perhaps other applicable statutes."

Shortly after Davies's letter was released, Liberal MP Mark Holland filed a formal request with the lobbying commissioner to back up a complaint filed by his colleague Marlene Jennings earlier this week, based on "additional information that would seem to be relevant" that has since "come to light" about Jaffer's company, Green Power Generation Corp.

Oh, oh! I'll bet there are more than a few Conservatives sweating bullets right now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Beware of Old Reformers With Ten Foot 'Polls'

So Harper's old mentor, Preston Manning, is at it again.

His 'How to Fool Canadians Into Thinking That Reformers are Not Nuts' Institute, has released another poll; and the media is salivating.

His first on the death penalty apparently 'proved' that the majority of Canadians have suddenly turned evil.

Then he claimed that a poll he conducted showed that we had moved to the centre, where he would like you to believe (ha, ha, ah, ha, ha, ha), our fascist dictator (ha, ha, ah, ha, ha, ha), Stephen Harper (ha, ha, ah, ha, ha, ha), is now governing from. (ha, ha, ah, ha, ha, ha)

Nice try.

I came across a book on Cambridge University's website called 'The Radical Right'. You had to buy the book, but they provided the index, which revealed numerous links to Stephen Harper, Preston Manning, the Reform Party, the Alliance Party and the Conservative Party of Canada; which really are all one and the same.

So if they know at Cambridge University that our government is from the radical right, why aren't Canadians getting it?

Of course these little bogus polls that get a lot of media attention, can often plant a seed. Then when a legitimate pollster calls, we remember the results of Manning's polls, with their convoluted questions, and think .... gee .. most Canadians are now thinking like that old Reformer guy, maybe I should too.

So be aware, that his corporate sponsored 'institute' has just released the results of yet another Manning special. This time on abortion. And you guessed it.

75 per cent of respondents feel abortion is “morally wrong".

Of course my latest poll showed that the majority of Canadians believe that Preston Manning and the rest of his Reformers are completely nuts.

And yet the media refuse to publish those results.

Go figure.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Machine Guns and Out Houses. Welcome to the New Canada

News from the "New Canada" just keeps getting weirder.

Apparently a Harper dictatorship means no questions from reporters, sub-machine guns on Parliament Hill and no bathroom breaks for women unless they can pee behind a tree.

I know all of this means something, but I've given up trying to figure out what Harper is doing.

I mean seriously. If you walked into someones office or their home and saw that every inch of wall space was covered with snapshots of themselves, what would you do?

a. Avert your eyes.

b. Call the doctor.

c. Run for your life.

d. All of the above

Reporters forced to hold it in during PM's visit
Mounties order female reporters out of the loo during Harper announcement

Washroom access at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Wednesday announcement at an Ontario highway maintenance yard was so restricted, female reporters were at one point ordered out of the john while trying to relieve themselves. Later, a larger group of women were held back from the bathrooms until Harper had cleared the immediate vicinity.

And I wouldn't mess with the RCMP. They will no longer just rough you up, but they will now be packing sub-machine guns. You'd better start wearing Depends because seeing an RCMP with one of those guarding the loo, will make you pee in your pants.

The RCMP will give its Parliament Hill detachment officers some extra firepower, after deciding to bring previously purchased submachine guns back into service.

RCMP Sgt. Greg Cox confirmed to that the Mounties intend to bring their Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns back into service as "secondary weapons," ending weapons training for officers. He said the RCMP must also decide on how to store the weapons securely, while also ensuring that they are accessible to officers.
And if you think those stories are strange, we also learned that Stephen Harper personally approved of allowing a terrorist to visit the Rock.

I told you the "New Canada" was weird.

Harper approved planned stopover for Libya's Gadhafi

OTTAWA — A new document shows Prime Minister Stephen Harper personally approved Moammar Gadhafi's planned stopover in Newfoundland last fall. The green light came even as the Harper government was rebuking the Libyan leader for supporting a convicted terrorist.

Gadhafi eventually cancelled his planned Canadian stop in St. John's, Newfoundland, after the Prime Minister's Office said he would be scolded for throwing a party for a man jailed in the Lockerbie bombing. But internal emails obtained by The Canadian Press reveal it was Harper himself who gave Gadhafi's visit the go-ahead.

Gotta' love a dictatorship. I know I'm pretty pumped.

When Canada was a democracy I used to love this song. We didn't know how lucky we were.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Red Tape and Jelly Beans. Just How Safe Are We?

One of Canada's first experiments into neoconservatism, was the Mike Harris government (1995-2002) in Ontario. And it was an experiment that failed and failed badly, on many levels.

But one of the most devastating failures resulted in the deaths of 11 people in a place called Walkerton.

And the cause of their deaths can be attributed in a large part to something called the "Red Tape Commission."

Look Out For Neocons Running With Scissors

When Jim Flaherty, a former Mike Harris cabinet minister, brought down his latest budget; he mentioned that his government was looking to cut down on some of the bureaucracy by establishing a "Red Tape Commission." This was presented as a cost cutting measure, but in fact it has little to do with saving money and even less to do with public interest.

It's just a nice sounding term for deregulation.

And for a government that has already deregulated this country to the point where many Canadians are now just "future victims", we need to start paying attention.

Like Stephen Harper and his free marketeers, Mike Harris and his inner circle believed that the private sector knew more than the bureaucrats and " ... anything that interfered with the private sector - environmental regulations enforced by busy-body inspectors, for example - is nonsense and needs to be dismantled. You don't need public input or so-called "expert" advice to figure that out." (1)

As a result, environmental programs and agencies were attacked with a vengeance and the Ministry of the Environment lost 42% of its budget.
Front-line staff, charged with monitoring, testing, inspection, enforcement, and research, are decimated: 900 of 2,400 front-line staff are laid off. Regional offices are closed. Environmental agencies set up over the years to respond to complex environmental problems are dismantled in days. What remains of the Ministry is in total disarray. Similar cuts hit other ministries, including Natural Resources and Agriculture. A number of industries formerly regulated by the government are told they can now regulate their own environmental performance. (1)
And despite repeated warnings that the cutbacks were compromising the safety of Ontario's drinking water, the priority was business and for Harris it was business as usual.

Until tragedy struck, when a deadly E. coli bacteria found it's way into Walkerton's water, killing eleven people and leaving hundreds more seriously ill.

And in a case of "Deja Vu all over again", the Harper government is also moving toward doing away with environmental assessments.
OTTAWA - Environmental groups and opposition politicians say the federal Conservatives are trying to gut environmental assessment laws by sneaking in new rules in budget legislation."This is a big step backward about 20 years," John Bennett of the Sierra Club said Wednesday.
A big step backward indeed. Right back to the dark days of Mike Harris, that included not only Jim Flaherty, but John Baird, Tony Clement and Peter Van Loan.

Can You Count the Jelly Beans in the Jar Not Laced with PCBs?

In 2007, Stephen Harper met with then U.S. President George Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Montibello, Quebec; to discuss the product standards of the three nations, and how to remove them. That wasn't officially how the meeting was sold to the public, but it was the end result of intense bargaining.

Well not really intense bargaining so much as Bush saying these are our regulations and you two must match them, end of. And since Bush had reduced government regulations to the point where they could fit on the head of pin, this meant that Canada was forced to pretty much dismantle our own safety standards, to meet those of the U.S. President.

So too did Mexico, and many believe that this was the cause of H1N1, now dubbed the "NAFTA Flu."

But while these connivers were inside scheming, a large group of protesters had gathered outside, well aware that Canadian sovereignty was on the line. So to silence the crowd, Harper appeared with his cohorts to put them at ease. Looking a little tipsy (Watch at about 45 seconds and 1:25 of this video .... I'm just saying), he asked the humble masses: “Is the sovereignty of Canada going to fall apart if we standardize the jelly bean?”

'Jelly Bean' must have been some kind of cute word association (wink, wink), for something they called "risk management."

"At the heart of both systems is a reliance on industry reporting and monitoring, rather than independent government testing, and an emphasis on cleaning up the mess (to the environment or human lives) caused by bad products after the fact. They call this “risk management,” an about-face from the “precautionary principle” of better safe than sorry." (2)

On April 1, 2008; the Harper government began putting their new "risk management' plan into place, beginning with meat-processing companies who were no longer required to alert Canada's food safety agency about listeria-tainted meat.

This resulted in the death of 22 Canadians, but Maple Leaf foods kept up their end of the bargain, by launching a series of "Maple Leaf, we care" ads.

See how this works?

And ironically, it is now the U.S., under a different president, who is demanding that Canada cleans up it's act.

But look on the bright side. It gave agricultural minister, Gerry Ritz, a fall back career in stand-up comedy, if the whole politics thing doesn't work out for him.

So please join Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper, and help us get rid of this destructive force. Because jelly beans should only rot your teeth; not take your life.


1. Contamination:The Poisonous Legacy of Ontario's Environmental Cutbacks, By Ulli Diemer, Radical Digressions.

2. The Jelly Bean Summit, Council of Canadians, Autumn 2007

Monday, April 5, 2010

Is President Karzai Ready to Call it Quits

With NATO planning a major spring offensive, the largest since the war began eight years ago; it would appear that president Karzai has had enough.

During a visit to Southern Afghanistan he threatened to join the Taliban, if NATO goes ahead with their plans.

When President Obama visited the country recently he warned the Afghan President to clean up the corruption, and I don't think he took to kindly to the remarks.

Karzai was a former member of the Taliban government from 1995-98, before Unicol hired him as an insider to try to clinch an oil pipeline deal.

The Afghan president toured one community where dozens of residents died in an explosion several weeks ago. Local residents said they lived in constant fear and sharply criticized him for not doing enough to stop the violence.

Later, community leaders told Karzai they were worried about NATO's planned spring offensive, when troops are expected to launch the largest operation in the eight-year-old war against the Taliban. But Karzai told the local leaders there wouldn't be an offensive.

I think we should get out of there. What are we fighting for now? Bin Laden's dead and the drug trade is stronger than it ever was.

It's time to stop this nonsense and bring our soldiers home. Harper's lost interest anyway, since Bush is out of the picture.

Enough is enough.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Why We Need a Progressive Coalition NOW!

The Conservatives have tabled legislation to add 30 more seats to the House of Commons, under the guise of democratic reform.

Steven Fletcher has actually been working on this for awhile, and how much do you want to bet that they already have their candidates in place?

According to CTV last September:

Changing the electoral map in such a way may also play in the Conservatives' favour. That's because the party stands a good chance of picking up additional seats in suburban Alberta and B.C., and potentially Ontario as well.

"Some are saying this is the route not only to getting rid of minority governments, but it could be a route to a Tory majority," Clark said. "This might create a new dynasty.

Just what Canada needs. A fascist dynasty. Harper will no longer have to pretend that he gives a damn.

John Ryan has been pushing for a Progressive Coalition, and I think the time has never been more crucial for all progressive leaders to put down their partisanship and work toward getting rid of this destructive government, while we still have any rights as citizens.

As Ryan states:

"Canada's last two elections are proof positive that we have a flawed electoral system. Does it make any sense that it's impossible to get a government that reflects the views of the majority of our population? How is it that a little more than a third of the electorate can determine who forms Canada's government?"
And though Stephen Harper included the Bloc in his coalition; the NDP, Liberals and Green wouldn't have to, especially given the hypocrisy of the Harperites. They wouldn't even have to give up their party platforms or identity.

I think we need to really start pushing for this.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Closure of Human Rights Offices Should Send up a Red Flag

Before Harper's Reformers came to power in 2006, the many extreme right-wing groups that played a role in his success, had one common complaint.

OK. Maybe more than one, if you include gay rights, women's rights, reproductive rights , etc., etc., etc.

But the most common complaint that actually encompassed these other things, were human rights.

They felt that our human rights commissions hampered their ability to launch visceral attacks on Muslims, women and gays, in particular; but they had a list.

I didn't think they had a hope in hell of implementing any part of their agenda, and certainly no chance of breaking down the infrastructure that protects Canadian citizens. All Canadian citizens, not just white male Christians.

I have to be honest, I'm having a bit of trouble talking about current events in this country these days. After studying the Reform Movement for several years, I always assumed that this country would never buy into this stuff.

But those clever Reformers, ripped off the green paper, tied themselves up in a big blue bow and sold their party as "new and improved". And now the destruction of Canada begins.

Harper government closes Human Rights Commission offices

The Public Service Alliance of Canada condemns the Harper government's decision to close Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax. The union maintains that the closure of the three offices will make it substantially harder for individuals from marginalized groups to launch human rights complaints.

The three offices slated for closure received 70 per cent of all signed complaints to the CHRC in 2008. The union, which represents CHRC employees, says this latest attack will have a particular impact on racialized people and recent immigrants. In many cases, the closures will make it much more difficult to challenge both systemic abuses and individual instances of discrimination.

And yet we will soon be forbidden by law from the using the words 'Israel' and 'Apartheid' in the same sentence, despite the fact that we are speaking of a country and it's foreign policy, not a people. I will just start calling it 'Icecream' and 'Apple Pie', because there is no way I'm going along with this nonsense.

I have finally started putting my book together though. I have about a chapter and a half completed, and still have a long way to go. I have also been putting up individual pages that will eventually tie in, or give a bit more information. Like this one.

I just feel that the history of this movement needs to be told, because I think they are going to be around for awhile now, and as ugly as it is, it's part of our heritage, I guess.

I'm just afraid of what my final chapter might be.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Harper and Haiti: I really Want to Swear Out Loud

I have never wanted to fill a blog posting with expletives so much as I do now.

While the media was treating Herr Harper like the Messiah, because of his so-called handling of the Haiti crisis, we are gradually learning that that sick SOB did nothing but bring in the military to protect corporate interests.

The ships he sent arrived empty and the bloody photo-ops were a bust because he had no more wall space for his "I really love myself" shrine.

And not one single penny has gone to Haiti relief. Not one.

But then a campaign contributor did get a multi-million dollar, un-tendered contract to rebuild the Haiti Parliament building.

What the hell for? Harper will just prorogue it.

That weasily, scum bag, piece of trash, sanctimonious, self-righteous, women and children hating, narcissistic, corporate boot licking, gun loving, voyeuristic torture supporting, career destroying, evil, mean, vengeful, bastard of a dictator!

Ah, that felt good. But I'm still MAD!