Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fox News North: Special Report on Garry Breitkreuz. Genius or Just Another Gun Nut?

Janie Taber: "We are leaving our giant lizard story for this late breaking Fox News North exclusive.

"Garry Breitkreuz, Reform Party ... er Alliance Party .... What's that Biff? Oh Yeah, Conservative Party MP has uncovered a secret report from the RCMP revealing that the Mounties have a plan to confiscate all guns in the country.

Biff Buffoon: "Yes folks. Remember you heard it here first. "

"So Janie, what do you make of this? What are they going to do with all those guns?"

Janie Taber: I don't know Biff, but Dimitri Soudas has told Fox News that there is a "leftie" plot to melt the guns down to make beds for the homeless.

Biff Buffoon: "That's shocking Janie. That's going to take an awful lot of metal."

Janie Taber: "We will have Mr. Breitkreuz in the studio right after this important message from Hair Club for Men. Snicker. Nothing personal Garry. Snicker.

----- Break for butt scratching ---------

Janie Taber: "So Garry. You obviously have some concerns about this."

Garry Breitkreuz: "Yes Janie, I do. You might want to ask yourself:
Why are the police chiefs so strident in their quest to keep the registry in place? They won’t admit it, but it appears they don’t want Canadians to own guns. (audible gasp) To that end, they need a database that will help them locate and seize those firearms as soon as a licence or registration expires.

It’s about public control. The registry can’t reduce crime because the criminals don’t register their guns or buy licences. Responsible gun owners who have taken firearms safety, handling, and storage courses are the only ones adversely affected by it. But they are the good guys!"
Biff Buffoon: "I know. All of my friends own at least a dozen guns, and they are always responsible. They never leave loaded guns near an open flame, and when their children play with them, they make sure that they only point them at varmints or kids they don't like. It's never too early to learn."

Janie Taber: "Garry, you've had battles with the cops before haven't you?"

Garry Breitkreuz: "Yes Janie. In 1999, I led a large group of ... let's say, gun enthusiasts, on a march up Parliament Hill. I later found out that the RCMP officers had four .308 rifles and seventeen sub-machine guns on the Hill that day."

Janie Taber: "They did? Just because there was a large group of gun nuts running around the Parliament Buildings? Why that's against your civil rights."

Garry Breitkreuz: "My point exactly. My legislative assistant, Logan Day, took notes and when his pappy had the chance he limited the scope of the gun registry and tried to starve the beast. Why even his grand pappy was on our side. When he was with a Western separatist party, Neo-Nazi lawyer Doug Christie let him write a piece in his paper. (Breitkreuz wipes a tear from his eye) Such a wonderful family. Logan has kept the bullet that was removed from his pappy, the day he shot himself in the foot."

Biff Buffoon: "Canadian firearms dealer Bruce Montague, the man who was arrested for several firearms violations, including unregistered guns and unsafe storage practices, makes an excellent point."
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.
Garry Breitkreuz: "He's right Biff. If all Canadians would simply carry a loaded gun, we could avoid senseless slaughters."


Janie Taber: "Did you just shoot my cameraman?"

Garry Breitkreuz: "He was looking at me funny. I don't like that"

Janie Taber: "But that's the third time this week."

Biff Buffoon: "Well that's all for now folks. Stay tuned. We will talking to an 89 year woman who is carrying twins, and claims that the father is Jimmy Hoffa. Should the children be made to disappear? Take our poll."

Janie Taber: "Thank you for coming Garry. Always a pleasure. Now give me a hug."

"Whoa! Is that a gun in your pocket are you just happy to see me?"

Garry Breitkreuz: "It's a gun"

Will Stephen Harper Raise Taxes Again to Pay For His New Toys?

There is some speculation that Stephen Harper may raise taxes again to pay for his new fighter jets.

If he does this will be the third major tax hike since he came to power. We can no longer afford to keep this guy.

But if he is going to settle for only two tax hikes, the HST and the new payroll tax, what programs will he cut, seeing as how we are already in deficit?
Some of the discussions in the military community about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter centers around the question - where will the money come from for these aircraft? The estimated price tag (emphasis on estimated, no one really knows what the final cost would be) is reported to be $16 billion. That would be over a 30 to 40 year period.

Even still, some military and industry personnel have raised concerns privately that acquiring the JSF will require cuts elsewhere and other equipment programs scaled back. What might those be? Which service could lose some capability or future capability in exchange for Canada’s procurement of the JSF?

“If the government, which is already in a deficit, would like to argue its case for some pricey combat jets it has the responsibility to explain to Canadians what they lose in government services,” the Embassy editorial notes. “Or else it can raise taxes.”
I know one place where he'll probably find some cuts.

Rethinking Alberta. Harper Set to Destroy His Adopted home

A media campaign has been underway in the United States, targeting the Alberta Oil Sands.

Stephen Harper should have never let it get to this stage. Instead of taking oil tycoons to Denmark to have lunch with the Queen, and winning a Colossal Fossil Award for sabotaging Climate Change talks, Stephen Harper should have done something to give Canada an environmental policy.

Instead, he is trying to revive the carbon tax bogey man, with nothing, absolutely nothing, to replace it. Now many U.S. Corporations are boycotting oil from Alberta.

Another four major U.S. companies are joining the move to either avoid or completely boycott fuel produced from Alberta's oilsands. Walgreens, which has 7,500 drugstores across America, is switching fuel suppliers for its delivery trucks to those that don't make gas from oilsands crude. "We found that it was a relatively simple process of surveying our vendors, seeing which ones may have tar sands oil sourcing and simply avoiding those vendors," said Walgreen's spokesman Michael Polzin. "We are in that process right now."

The Gap, Timberland and Levi Strauss have all told their transportation contractors that they will either give preference to those who avoid the oilsands or have asked them what they're doing to eliminate those fuels. The move adds to growing international economic pressure on the oilsands industry and the Alberta government to reduce its environmental impact. "What this signals is the beginning in earnest of the financial war over the tar sands," said Todd Paglia of the environmental group Forest Ethics, which is organizing the campaign. As well, courier company Federal Express has promised it will consider the environmental and social impacts of the fuels it uses, although it didn't specifically mention the oilsands.

Harper may have been a transplanted Albertan, but I think it's time they rode him out of town.

The Tamil Refugee Situation is Reform Party Deja Vu

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

"The Reform Party is anti-everything. There's a really deep, deep-seated racism there. I still don't know what to make of Reform. I know that for the moment it's growing, but these are one-trick ponies. They're not standing on a whole lot of solid ground - it's all negative." - Brian Mulroney (1)

The recent Tamil Refugee situation was another test for this government. Had they shed their racist views or were they the same old Reform Party?

Are we again going to hear that gays and "ethnics" could be fired or "moved to the back of the shop," if the employer thought that would help business. Or that "a larger number of blacks and Asians are entering Canada; for the first generation, their birth rate is higher and you don't have to be an expert to understand what could happen. Canada as we know it could disappear." (2)

Or maybe that Canada is likely to "regret" taking in large numbers of third world immigrants because they prove "harder to integrate." "Policies which maintain the traditional [European] composition of immigrants, on the other hand, avoid the risk of having to face the longer run costs." (2)

Stephen Harper himself called multiculturalism "a weak nation policy" (3).

On June 25, 2009, he designated Pier 21 as a National Museum of Immigration.
"No country in the world has benefited more than Canada from free and open immigration," Harper declared. "In every region and across all professions, new Canadians make major contributions to our culture, economy and way of life. It takes a special kind of person to uproot and move to a new country to ensure a better future for your family. Anybody who makes the decision to live, work and build a life in our country represents the very best of what it means to be Canadian." (4)
But then a year later, when his words were put to the test:

The harrowing voyage of the MV Sun Sea, in which 492 Tamil refugees endured months of squalor in dangerous waters to escape "mass murders, disappearances and extortion" following 25 years of brutal civil war in Sri Lanka, mirrors the experience of so many migrants who passed through Pier 21.

However, unlike Pier 21, there were no counsellors waiting to hear the Sri Lankan's stories; no team of volunteers eager to swiftly process and fairly evaluate the prospective new residents. Instead, the men, women and children aboard the MV Sun Sea arrived to allegations, leveled by the Harper government, of ties to terrorism and human trafficking; accused by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews of being a "test boat" for an apparent mass immigration conspiracy.

As for the Prime Minister, compare the above remarks made at Pier 21 just fourteen months ago, to this statement he gave following the arrival of the MV Sun Sea: "Canadians are pretty concerned when a whole boat of people comes - not through any normal application process, not through any normal arrival channel -- and just simply lands." (4)

This sounds like the National Citizens Coalition's "Boat People" campaign. Tap into a nation's fears and insecurities, so that we accept inhumane acts.
"This is how this man governs: let's find something to be frightened of," Ignatieff told an audience of several hundred people today (August 22) at the West Vancouver Community Centre. The federal Opposition leader cited the example of Tamil refugee claimants, who travelled in a rickety boat across the Pacific Ocean and arrived in B.C. earlier this month. Ignatieff claimed that federal Conservative politicians tried to make people "afraid of people you don't even know".

He added that officials with the Immigration and Refugee Board should have been left to do the proper screening without interference. "Politicians should shut up and let these people do their job," Ignatieff declared to loud applause. He pointed out that his own father was a refugee who fled Communism in Russia. "We must always be a haven in a heartless world," Ignatieff said. (5)
"We must always be a haven in a heartless world." I like that. It defines the kind of country Canada used to be.


1. The Secret Mulroney Tapes: Unguarded Confessions of a Prime Minister, By Peter C. Newman, Clandebye Ltd., 2005, ISBN: 10-0-679-31351-6, Pg.244

2. Reform apple basket rotting, by Bradley Hughes, Simon Fraser University's Student Newspaper, September 9, 1996

3. Harper speech to the Institute for Research on Public Policy, May 2003

4. Canadian immigration, Conservative xenophobia, By Alheli Picazo, Rabble, August 25, 2010

5. In West Vancouver, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says Stephen Harper promotes fear, By Charlie Smith, Straight.com, August 22, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Olivia Chow is Absolutely Right About Harper Making Gun Registry a Wedge Issue. But She is Also Dead Wrong.

I really like Olivia Chow and I agree that Stephen Harper is trying to make the gun registry a wedge issue. However, it will only be a wedge issue if the NDP now allow it to be.

If their 12 MP holdouts are from rural Canada, and their constituents oppose the registry, they need to do a better job of convincing them just how important it is.

It only takes a few minutes and a computer to do it, so maybe they could set up clinics and help them through. I know many people living in rural communities who just don't understand what it means. They think the government wants to take their guns.

We don't want to cause a rift, where none exists. We've seen with the prison farm issue that urban Canada can work very well with rural Canada. Now we just need our politicians to build bridges and stop fuelling Harper's insanity.

Stephen Harper May Get His Coalition Government, Only This Time He's Out of the Loop

The Reform-Alliance-Conservative parties tried twice to lead a coalition government.

In 2000, it was Stockwell Day courting Gilles Duceppe, until Duceppe put the brakes on.
"Day repeatedly journeyed to Quebec ... During August and September, Day stepped up these efforts, going even further to suggest the Alliance party welcome Quebec separatists and might even consider forming a national coalition government with the Bloc Quebecois .... But Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said he wanted nothing to do with Day whose values (re: gay rights, abortion, youth justice) Duceppe described as "inspired by the United States..." (1)
The New York Times also covered the story and quoted Conrad Black as saying that he was against it and that Stockwell Day should quit fooling around.
''The Canadian Alliance leader needs to stop playing footsie with Quebec separatist leaders right now,'' thundered the The National Post, which has more commonly been a cheerleader for Mr. Day. In an interview on Tuesday, Conrad Black, chairman of The National Post, said the strategy would not work.
In 2004, it was Stephen Harper's turn to court Duceppe and Jack Layton, though Layton eventually pulled the plug, leaving Harper without enough seats to make it work.

Then in 2008, learning from Harper and Day, the opposition parties got together to form a coalition to remove the Reform-Alliance-Conservative Party and all hell broke loose. Suddenly it was now undemocratic ... a coup ... treason! Wow. What a difference less than a decade makes.

But the Hill Times is suggesting that now might be right, given that we are the only Parliamentary system that has never used this valuable and democratic tool to make government work.
While parties in Australia and Britain are working together to make Parliament work after citizens there elected 'hung' Parliaments recently, Canada's minority government is stuck in a hyper-partisan adversarial environment, say some political scientists. And they think the country's antiquated first-past-the-post voting system is at least partly to blame. "The old, simple two-party polarity just doesn't exist in any country in the world, except the U.S.A.," says London School of Economics political scientist Patrick Dunleavy.

The number of parties vying for seats in many western Parliaments tends to be growing, says Prof. Dunleavy. New parties are gaining ground over traditional players. In the last 20 years, Canada has seen the emergence of the Green Party and regional movements such as the Bloc Québécois and Reform Party in the West. Australia's own Green Party is rising.

In dealing with the changing nature of politics, "The other countries in the Westminster model group have adapted to coalition politics," says Prof. Dunleavy. "But Canadians seem to have more of a difficulty than the British and the Australians."
With 2/3 of Canadians rejecting the Harper regime, this could be the best, and possibly the only solution, to ensure that all citizens have a voice.


1. "Bloc leader denounces Day's ideas", Edmonton Journal, August 14, 2000.

Jason Kenney in Hiding But Not Necessarily Because of Census

The Hill Times has published an article on Jason Kenney suggesting that he is hiding out because he's not happy with the decision about the census, that will hinder "his job".

A prominent political scientist with ties to Alberta has backed a leading pollster's observation that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has dropped from sight since Prime Minister Stephen Harper ruled the government would scrap the long form of the national census—which for the past 40 years has gathered crucial information for minority populations in Canada. University of Ottawa professor Michael Behiels told The Hill Times there is little doubt Mr. Kenney (Calgary Southeast, Alta.) is "fuming" over the decision, which, combined with the Conservative government's inflammatory statements about Tamil migrants on the MV Sun Sea, could undermine the four years of work Mr. Kenney has devoted to cultivating party contacts and support within the immigrant and visible minority community.

"He must be just fuming. He has spent every waking hour of the last four years working on that," Prof. Behiels said, arguing that, based on information from contacts in his former home province of Alberta, Mr. Kenney may have lost to Mr. Harper in a standoff over whether the party should abandon its outreach to visible minorities or risk losing support from core supporters in Alberta and other western provinces.

I'm not convinced that his "work" was anything more than for political gain. When he was running the Canadian Taxpayer Federation, he lobbied hard against any money going to multiculturalism, and he jokingly refers to himself as 'minister of curry in a hurry'. Not exactly enlightened.

He has also run his department like the Gestapo, giving preference to providing cheap labour to his buddies.

Jason Kenney is a horrible little man who has been given far too much credit. If he's hiding, it may be because he's ashamed of himself, though I doubt it. He loves the power.

Canadian Soldiers Feel Betrayed by Stephen Harper

After hiding behind our troops to avoid having to answer questions on the abuse of Afghan detainees, Stephen Harper has found that our soldiers no longer have any political value, so he has completely turned his back on them.

And yet that didn't stop Bev Shipley from abusing our tax dollars to send out flyers suggesting that his party supports the troops.

And when exactly does that "support" kick in Bev?
The Conservatives have made support for the troops an integral part of their party brand, but when the first ever veterans' ombudsman recently blasted the government for denying veterans adequate benefits it exposed a sense of betrayal felt by soldiers and their families who thought they would be better off with Harper, said a Canadian Forces veteran and longtime advocate for disabled soldiers.

"There's a huge outcry and sense of betrayal by the soldiers because a huge part of the population that elected the Conservatives were veterans and soldiers hoping for a little bit more respect for the sacrifice that they endure," said Sean Bruyea, a retired Armed Forces intelligence officer and advocate for veterans. "When you include families, we're talking over one million Canadians that are involved in this sense of betrayal. [The Conservatives] can use the soldiers at their own convenience, but there's no doubt there's going to be a long term political price."
Farmers and soldiers. Harper's on a roll.

Stephen Harper Again Shows That Multi-Nationals Come Before the Canadian People

News this week is that Stephen Harper handed over 130 million dollars of taxpayer money to a multi-national corporation, AbitibiBowater Inc., that was guilty of environmental crime, and the exploitation of our natural resources.

Of course, that's not how our corporate media is selling it. Instead, they are allowing the premier of Newfoundland, Danny Williams, to shoulder all of the "blame", while Stephen Harper is made the hero for coming to the "rescue". What a strange world we live in.

And of course Jason Kenney's Canadian Taxpayer Federation is leading the charge.
Taxpayer watchdogs didn't exactly see it that way. “Danny Williams has managed to put taxpayers in Toronto, Weyburn, Vancouver, Kamloops, Halifax on the hook for his big ego,” said Kevin Gaudet of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Williams should have been congratulated for standing up to a company who reneged on it's agreement with the province, when they closed up shop in Grand Falls-Windsor, throwing 750 people out of work, yet still demanded water and forestry rights. They also refused to clean up the mess they left behind.

"Newfoundlanders and Labradorians expect them to honour their historic commitments to the province. If they cannot do that, then they have no right to assets that rightfully belong to the people of the province." He was right. But not according to Stephen Harper. To Harper, Williams was threatening a large corporation, despite the fact that they threw Canadians out of work.

It used to be that we fought against multi-nationals on behalf of our citizens. Now we are being asked to fight for multi-nationals, regardless of their impact on our citizens, our environment and the well being of our country.

AbitibiBowater Inc.

AbitibiBowater Inc. came about with the merger of Bowater and Abitibi-Consolidated, in January of 2007.
A union representing forestry workers said the move by Abitibi and Bowater should cause concern in government and community circles. "There are many issues underlying this announced merger which should raise alarm bells in Ottawa," said David Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. "Our forest-based industries and communities are already in crisis with the loss of some 10,000 jobs over the past few years. "Our history with mergers and acquisitions has been that so-called 'synergies' really mean more mill closures, job losses and devastation in our communities," he said. The union called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to convene a national summit on the future of the forestry industry.
Within months of the merger, the company was also at the center of controversy in Canada's Boreal Forest over the loss of old-growth and intact forests, and related impacts on threatened wildlife including woodland caribou.

Greenpeace launched an aggressive campaign, resulting in a number of major customers either reducing or cancelling their contracts, to reduce their exposure to environmental and reputational risk. A deal was finally reached in May of this year.

But Stephen Harper did not step in until the corporation was being denied access to resources, after the predicted layoffs and environmental damage was done. The company has since filed for bankruptcy protection.

The 130 Million Dollar Gift

So why did they get 130 million tax dollars?
Canada’s federal government made an important announcement this week. It was kept deliberately quiet: with a news release issued at 4:45 pm on a calm Tuesday in the middle of the late-summer news “dead zone.” But it should set alarm bells ringing for anyone concerned with the anti-democratic direction of global trade law. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government reached a $130 million out-of-court settlement with the bankruptcy trustees overseeing the restructuring of AbitibiBowater Inc., a failed forestry and paper giant. The settlement relates to a claim that Abitibi brought against Canada under NAFTA’s notorious Chapter 11 process.

Since NAFTA is an international treaty, it is the federal government who speaks for Canada - even when the claim is directed against a provincial government. Usually these Chapter 11 cases drag on for years. Amazingly, however, Canada’s federal officials settled the case out of court this week. They agreed to pay damages of $130 million, only 6 months after Abitibi formally filed its NAFTA complaint.

There was no “national treatment” aspect to the seizure of Abitibi’s rights (it was Abitibi’s socially irresponsible actions, not its nationality, that sparked the Newfoundland action). Indeed, Abitibi is functionally headquartered in Montreal, Canada, and is, for most intents and purposes, a Canadian company (its U.S. “identity” merely reflects a Delaware incorporation - no doubt for tax avoidance reasons). This makes it all the more bizarre that it could use the NAFTA process (rather than normal courts) to sue its own government. There should have been plenty of grounds to fight the case as a dramatic over-reaching of NAFTA’s rules.
Harper didn't even try to fight this, and would instead say that this was a one of, and that from here on in, provinces would pay for their own lawsuits, if they even try to put their citizens first.

There is a clear message here. You don't challenge Harper's multi-nationals. The battle lines have been drawn and we are on the losing side.

One more reason to get rid of this man before he completely destroys us.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Harper Government Plans to Train Beluga Whales to Drill for Oil

In a daring new pilot project, the Harper government is training Beluga Whales to drill for oil and natural gas.

Special Jack-up rigs will be towed by the Belugas and then ... wait a minute ... what? This can't be right.

But what else are we to assume? Stephen Harper, with much fanfare announced a Beluga sanctuary, after already promising the drilling rights for that same sanctuary.
The federal government has quietly left the door open to offshore oil drilling in a conservation area for beluga whales in Canada's Arctic waters that was unveiled with much fanfare by Prime Minister Stephen Harper this

On Thursday, the fourth day of his weeklong tour of the Arctic, the prime minister announced the government will establish the Tarium Niryutait Marine Protected Area, located at the mouth of the Mackenzie River in the Beaufort Sea. The Beaufort Sea region is home to one of the world's largest summer populations of belugas, which go there to feed, socialize and raise their calves.

"Today we are ensuring these Arctic treasures are preserved for generations to come," Harper told reporters in the remote town of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. However, regulatory documents released by the government in April show that officials plan to set aside one per cent of the conservation area for oil and gas activities, such as exploratory drilling.
Oh well. If the Belugas bother the oil rigs, they'll just call in Gail Shea. She'll know what to do.

Jason Kenney Says That John Baird is Wrong Not to Allow Staffers to Talk

Boy is Jason Kenney ever mad. John Baird has refused to allow emails from staffers to be given to a Parliamentary Committee investigating the scandal at Public Works.

Government House Leader John Baird says the Public Works department will not give an opposition-dominated Commons committee the e-mails it had demanded of a former ministerial staffer who stopped the release of an access request. In a letter this week to Jacques Maziade, the clerk of the Commons committee on access to information, privacy and ethics, Mr. Baird said the government would not be acceding to the request.

“The fundamental constitutional principle of responsible government, which is integral to the supremacy of Parliament, provides that ministers are the ones accountable to Parliament, not members of their staff are responsible to Parliament,” Mr. Baird wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Globe. The committee asked in June for all emails sent between July of 2008 and Jan. 19, 2010 by Sébastien Togneri, a former aide to then-Public Works minister Christian Paradis, to officials who worked within the access-to-information branch of the department.

Jason had an absolute melt down when political staffers weren't allowed to speak, when he was in opposition. So given his views on staffers having to be held accountable, will he stand up to John Baird? Not likely.

Same old, same old!

Late Breaking News. Harper Refused to Take Questions in the Yukon

Wait a minute! Since when is that news?

Maybe what they really meant as late breaking news was that he lied to a room full of people ... more than once.

Lie List:

1. Canada’s quick recovery “due to the economic action plan”: Canada has not recovered and we still own 125 billion in sub-prime mortgages used to give the appearance of economic recovery. Otherwise known as the "not a bank bailout"

2. The impossibility of raising taxes: Stephen Harper is now presiding over the largest tax increase in Canadian history, due to his HST (aka Harper Sales Tax) and the 35% increase in payroll taxes.

3. The Liberal coalition wants to see a carbon tax to pay for the Kyoto Accord: There is no Liberal coalition, though most Canadians would like one. Here's hoping. Harper also knows that unfortunately, the carbon tax is off the table. Instead he won a Colossal Fossil award for sabotaging climate change talks.

4. And they want to see people working for 40 days, then being able to claim employment insurance: That was only a temporary measure to help the unemployed. Instead we are now in the middle of an unemployment crisis, with Harper laying off EI employees.

So clearly the news wasn't about lying.

Not even about hypocrisy:
“It’s kind of ironic that Harper’s standing in front of these carved native statues,” said one government worker, who was afraid to use her name. “Especially after the funding cuts that have gone on in the last year, to groups like the aboriginal healing foundation.”
I don't know. I'm sure there's a late breaking news story in there somewhere, but I'll be darned if I can find it.

How Harper's Fox News North Will Turn us Into a Nation of Idiots

There was an interesting column in the New York Times this week by Timothy Egan: Building a Nation of Know-Nothings. In it he discusses the absolute dumming down of American politics, and the selling of lies, that have become "facts", to that dummed down populace.

But it was not just the Religious Right that made American politics so toxic, but media outlets like Fox News. The same Fox News that Stephen Harper and his trusty sidekick Kory Teneycke are trying to flog to the Canadian people.

As Linda McQuaig reminds us:

My guess is it's pretty easy to arrange lunch with the Prime Minister. No doubt Stephen Harper often lunches with labour leaders and advocates for the homeless [she says tongue in cheek]. So it should be considered no big deal that, among those the PM has lunched with, is U.S. media billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who has probably done more than any single individual in recent years to push American politics sharply to the right.

It's interesting to imagine, however, why our Prime Minister would want to meet with Murdoch, whose Fox News TV channel has poisoned U.S. political debate and nurtured America's extremist right-wing Tea Party movement. If you subscribe to the notion that Harper has no particular political agenda, his lunch with Murdoch in March 2009 might seem harmless, perhaps a purely social affair.

But the evidence suggests they were discussing plans to transform the Canadian political landscape by creating a right-wing, Fox-style TV station in Canada. Present at the lunch was Fox News president Roger Ailes, known for bringing cutthroat Republican campaign tactics to the screen. (Ailes designed the infamous race-baiting Willie Horton commercials that brought George H.W. Bush to power.)
Also present at the lunch was Harper aide Kory Teneycke, who has since become the front man in the bid by Quebec media mogul Pierre Karl Peladeau to get a specialty TV licence for a Fox News-style network in Canada.

Then there's the fact that the lunch, during an official Harper visit to New York, was kept secret -- until being unearthed recently by Canadian Press reporter Bruce Cheadle.

So in fact, the Canadian taxpayer foot the bill for Teneycke's job interview.

And Egan of the New York Times describes what this will mean for Canadian politics, which have already become hyper-partisan and toxic under Stephen Harper.

And how the Republicans sell lies and half truths as "facts".
It’s not just that 46 percent of Republicans believe the lie that Obama is a Muslim, or that 27 percent in the party doubt that the president of the United States is a citizen. But fully half of them believe falsely that the big bailout of banks and insurance companies under TARP was enacted by Obama, and not by President Bush ... a president’s birthday or whether he was even in the White House on the day TARP was passed are apparently open questions. A growing segment of the party poised to take control of Congress has bought into denial of the basic truths of Barack Obama’s life. What’s more, this astonishing level of willful ignorance has come about largely by design, and has been aided by a press afraid to call out the primary architects of the lies.

In the much-discussed Pew poll reporting the spike in ignorance, those who believe Obama to be Muslim say they got their information from the media. But no reputable news agency — that is, fact-based, one that corrects its errors quickly — has spread such inaccuracies. So where is this “media?”

Two sources, and they are — no surprise here — the usual suspects. The first, of course, is Rush Limbaugh, who claims the largest radio audience in the land among the microphone demagogues, and his word is Biblical among Republicans. A few quick examples of the Limbaugh method: “Tomorrow is Obama’s birthday — not that we’ve seen any proof of that,” he said on Aug. 3. “They tell us Aug. 4 is the birthday; we haven’t seen any proof of that.” ... On the Muslim deception, Limbaugh has sprinkled lie dust all over the place. “Obama says he’s a Christian, but where’s the evidence?” The design is to make Obama un-American, (aka "Just Visiting")

Finally, there is Fox News, whose parent company has given $1 million to Republican causes this year but still masquerades as a legitimate source of news. Their chat and opinion programs spread innuendo daily. The founder of Politifact, another nonpartisan referee to the daily rumble, said two of the site’s five most popular items on its Truth-o-meter are corrections of Glenn Beck. Beck tosses off enough half-truths in a month to keep Politifact working overtime. Of late, he has gone after Michelle Obama, whose vacation in Spain was “just for her and approximately 40 of her friends.” Limbaugh had a similar line, saying the First Lady “is taking 40 of her best friends and leasing 60 rooms at a five-star hotel — paid for by you.” The White House said Michelle Obama and her daughter Sasha were accompanied by just a few friends — and they paid their own costs. But, wink, wink, the damage is done. He’s Muslim and foreign. She’s living the luxe life on your dime. They don’t even have to mention race. The code words do it for them.
And Teneycke is already playing around with the race nonsense, dissing Muslims at every opportunity. But he also threw out a little colour when his Sun Media lauded Stephen Harper for choosing a "white guy" as governor general. He put it out there to see how we'd respond. We did nothing, so expect more of the same.

There is another important point to consider here, with the realization that we are poised to become the next nation of know-nothings.

The Americans appear to be about to give the Republicans control of Congress in the mid-term elections, proving they've learned nothing from past mistakes (Weapons of Mass Destruction anyone?)

The last sweep was in 1995 under Newt Gingrich. Would it surprise you to know that Gingrich claims to owe his success to the Reform Party? Stephen Harper's Reform Party under Preston Manning, when Harper was his lieutenant?
Canadians became exporters of neo-con innovation in the 1990s. 'I would say Margaret Thatcher and Mr. [Preston] Manning are the two non-Americans we learned most from'', said U.S. Republican House Speaker, Newt Gingrich in 1995.'I know him [Preston Manning] because I watched all of his commercials. We developed our platform from watching his campaign.' Like cowboy culture, Canadian neo-conservatism is a growth industry, spawning a whole generation of Will James outlaws in hot pursuit of political power." (1)
Before that Gingrich was thought to be from the fringe.
"Newt Gingrich was no Ronald Reagan. A career politician, he was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1978, at the age of thirty-five, and became the Republican Whip in 1989. Despite this measure of success, however, he was never part of the Republican inner circle, largely because of his extreme views ... (2)
So while many in the media correctly suggest that Stephen Harper's ideology is pure Republican, in many ways the "new" Republican ideology is also pure Reform Party. Stephen Harper's Reform Party. The Party he wrote policy for and morphed into the Conservative Party of Canada.

Are you looking forward to Fox News North as much as I am?


1. Slumming it at the Rodeo: The Cultural Roots of Canada's Right-Wing Revolution, Gordon Laird, 1998, Douglas & McIntyre, ISBN: 1-55054 627-9, Pref. xiv-xv1.

2. Hard Right Turn: The New Face of Neo-Conservatism in Canada, Brooke Jeffrey, Harper-Collins, 1999, ISBN: 0-00 255762-2, Pg. 32

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Conservative Bev Shipley Says to Hell With The Vets. He'll Stand Up For No One!

Just when you thought the Harper government couldn't sink any lower, MP Bev Shipley just sent out a ten per center suggesting that his government supports the troops.

Paid for by us no less.

What a slap in the face to Canadian veterans, who are in the process of fighting Shipley's leader for the respect they have already earned.


I think we should all send Shipley an invoice, suggesting that we be reimbursed for this nonsense, and demand that he apologize to the veterans and their families. I'd say he should be ashamed, but obviously the Reformers have no shame, and Mr. Shipley just proved it.

You can find his email here.

But fortunately, there are Canadians out there who really do care. Sean Wilson of London is drawing attention to the plight of veterans and their abuse at the hands of the Harper government.
Sean Wilson has heard enough words. Now the London veterans' rights advocate wants Londoners to stand up and be counted at a rally in support of Canadian troops and veterans Sunday. "For anyone who has that yellow-ribbon magnet that says ‘Support our troops,' on their car, this is your chance to prove you mean it," said Wilson, an organizer with the Remember November 11 Association.

"I talk to veterans and they're saying ‘We need Canada to stand up for us right now.'" The rally under the banner "Stand Up For Our Troops" is set for noon Sunday at Victoria Park.

Harper Will Continue to Dismantle Canada Until Voters Are Given Hope

Ralph Surette has another excellent column in the Chronicle Herald, but I do have one criticism. Until the media, even those well intentioned, stop suggesting that Michael Ignatieff is weak, or that we have no opposition, Harper will continue his reign of terror until there is nothing left.

Other than that, everything Mr. Surette says is true.

One thing the vast majority of us are distinctly not waiting for is for the Harper government to actually improve anything, especially not to advance the cause of a properly functioning democracy. On the contrary, the drift is ominous: towards a tyrannical control from the Prime Minister’s Office aimed at dismantling large parts of the Canadian state, punishing anyone who questions its aims, manipulating information, and turning the society into an alloy of right-wing religion and big money.

The truly ill-omened part is that Stephen Harper can do this while in a minority. That is, even if the Conservatives do shoot themselves in the head — and they came close by destroying the census long form as a useful public instrument — they’ll keep governing in zombie form if the opposition remains as fractured as it is. And even more ominously, it’s not just us.

South of the border, the undead detritus of the Bush/Cheney devastation still stalks the land and, amazingly, may well capture control of the Congress this fall, their main hope being to prevent the Bush tax cuts for the rich from coming to an end on schedule, which would have devastating consequences for national finances in the
long run.

It just seems that no matter what these guys do, and as horrible as most people know they are, they are almost untouchable. But I swear if Jack Layton goes after the Liberals next election, instead of working to dethrone the dictator, I will never, ever, ever, have anything to do with the NDP again.

In 2008, they actually attacked the carbon tax, instead of going after the person they knew had no intention of ever addressing climate change. They handed Harper the election.

How Important is Adolf Hitler's Bloodline? We Are Missing the Real Issues of Hatred

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

News this week is that DNA samples taken from Adolf Hitler's family prove that he was of both Jewish and African descent.

Does this really matter?

I guess in some ways it might destroy the hero worship of Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist groups, though I'm sure many will deny that the findings are true.

What is more important about this story, however, is the fact that Hitler is still given so much importance in world history. Because if we continue to believe that he alone engineered the Holocaust, or even instigated the Holocaust, there is a mistaken belief that now that he is gone, that evil has gone with him.

Political scientist and one time girlfriend of Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, covered the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann for the New Yorker, and surprised everyone, including herself, when she did not find an "exception to humanity". She wrote to her husband that Eichmann was "not even sinister". Instead she called him banal, "unimaginative, ordinary and unthinking".
Hannah Arendt's conclusions about Adolf Eichmann's banality crystallized into enduring controversy. Others may have hoped to see Bluebeard in the dock, she wrote, but for her, the horror lay in the fact that "there were so many like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic ... [but] terribly and terrifyingly normal." She was one of the first to refute the "monster theory" of less-than-human Nazis (however, if banal meant "common," there was much to argue with: among the defendants at Nuremberg were eight jurists and a university professor). (1)
Arendt was not the first to refer to the Nazis as banal or common. In fact the name Nazi was coined by journalist Konrad Heiden in the 1920's. He would often march with the "fascist brown shirts" to get his story and dubbed them 'Nazis', a Bavarian term meaning "country bumpkin" (2). He did not see evil then either, but a group of uneducated street thugs.

What eventually gave them legitimacy was the enormous amount of money and power that backed them up. The Nazis were free marketeers who supported top down commercialism. They were also in support of the monarchy and believed in the supremacy of the German race. Not just the white race as a whole, but the Germanic races, as defined by Houston Stewart Chamberlain.

And they would eventually tap into the pan-German sentiment, or nationalism, to gain support for their wars. But the man Adolf Hitler had very little to do with any of it. He was a narcissist who believed in his own greatness, and fed off the illusion.

An illusion originally created by the German Workers Party to draw in the occultist and monied Thule Society, who had been running seances to conjure up the Antichrist, to help Germany out of the dark post-war years. And the Antichrist of their vision was that described by Vladimir Solovyov, and found as the forward to some copies of the fraudulent Elders of Zion. Members of the party were drawn to Hitler when he showed up at one of their rallies, sporting the most unusual mustache. From Solovyov's image: "He is an absolute genius, and he may wear a small mustache." (3)

When Adolf Hitler joined the German Army, he wore a large mustache. But later, when the German troops were provided with respirator masks, in response to the use of mustard gas by the British, he was told to shave it, so that the mask could be worn properly. (4) Instead he trimmed it back, and that trimmed mustache became his trademark.

Thule member and playwright Dietrich Eckart, directed Hitler's character, and drew out his seductive power of speech. Thule member Rudolf Hess helped him to write Mein Kampf, and a former university professor of Hess's Karl Ernst Haushofer, is credited with the development of Hitler's expansionist strategies. "While Hess and Hitler were imprisoned after the Munich Putsch in 1923, Haushofer spent six hours visiting the two, bringing along a copy of Friedrich Ratzel's Political Geography and Clausewitz's On War." (5) The Thule Society would also be responsible for the Nazi flag, the Swastika, 'Sieg Heil', the Nazi salute and their anthem.

Hitler himself was not a member of the Thule Society because he did not have the pedigree.

And in 1930, when members of the Fascist Brown Shirts (Nazis) finally had a strong showing in Parliament or the Reichstag, they were not interested in working with the other parties, but instead made a mockery of the entire process.
In mass formation, with military tread, eyes front, the 107 new Fascist Deputies entered the Reichstag. When it last met they numbered twelve. Flushed with their great election victory they marched in coatless, each swelling out his Fascist "brown shirt," each flaunting the Fascist swastika on his left arm, each in khaki flare-pants, swank black leather boots—all proud that they had flagrantly, successfully broken the Prussian State ordinance forbidding "public appearance in political costume." Saluting the Reichstag and each other, the Browns roared: "Hail, Hitler! Wake up Germany! Down with the Young Plan." (6)
This prompted a response by the Communist Party and there "... were times when everyone seemed to be yelling .... "Is there anybody older than I in this house?" shrilled 82-year-old Deputy Karl Herold above the tumult."
At women's names the Brown Shirts crowed. "Kikeriki! Kikeriki! Kikeriki!" —German equivalent to Cockadoodle-doo! (Fascists both German and Italian, hold that women are respect worthy as hens, jeer worthy when by entering politics they try t0 be roosters.) On the first day of the Reichstag session absolutely nothing was done except to call and jeer the roll. (6)
And when Hitler came to power in 1933, any notion of democracy was gone, as Nazism and the German state became one.

Who Benefited?

Despite the illusion of Hitler as being the supreme power of Germany during those years, the truth is that the industrialists and the bourgeoisie, directed the actions of the Nazi Party, from the Holocaust to the World War. And a lot of people became filthy rich because of both.

It is already common knowledge that the Bush family made their fortune when Prescott Bush financed the Nazis, but there were many others in the Corporate world who gained, including IBM who wrote the program for annihilation.
IBM’s machines were used at all stages of the persecution of the Jews. They collected the necessary information to identify the Nazis’ victims, first to enforce the bar on Jews working in certain academic, professional and government jobs and later to carry out mass evictions from their homes and into the ghettoes. IBM technology was used to organise the railways, so that millions of Nazi’ victims could be transported to the concentration camps, where they were immediately led into the gas chambers .... IBM was involved in virtually every aspect of the Third Reich’s operations. (7)
After taking over the punch card technology from Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft, in 1922, IBM monopolized the industry, and "... when Hitler came to power, [Thomas] Watson had transformed the formerly ailing German company into IBM’s flag ship—producing more than three times above its quota."

Watson was not a fascist, but a ruthless profiteer. The strong German state under an authoritarian leader offered great potential for moneymaking, and that was what Watson identified with. In fact, as the chairman of IBM, one of the most prestigious companies in the USA, Watson was a well-respected businessman, a supporter of Roosevelt and special advisor to the president. Watson was elected chairman of the Foreign Department that also made him chairman of the American section of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

This, in essence, made Watson America’s official businessman to the rest of the world. He became installed as president of the entire ICC in 1937 and arranged the organisation’s next conference in Berlin. Right from the start, IBM developed business solutions for the Third Reich. (7)

But not only corporations benefited from their alliance with the Nazis. Many of the German middle class also prospered. According to Gotz Aly, when discussing the initiatives of Stuart E. Eizenstat, to recover damages from the Swiss and German governments on behalf of victims of persecution during World War II.
Eizenstat was, of course, entirely right to demand compensation for the stolen gold and confiscated bank accounts of those murdered in the Holocaust, as well as for the slave labor performed by survivors. Nonetheless, his highly public negotiations gave rise to a distorted picture of history. The fact that the names of large Swiss and German banks—together with those of world-famous companies like Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen, Allianz Insurance, Krupp, the Bertelsmann publishing group, and BMW—were constantly in the news gave the impression that prominent German capitalists, occasionally in alliance with major Swiss banks, were the main culprits behind the terrible crimes of Nazi Germany.

There is no question that many leading German industrialists and financiers were complicit in Hitler's regime. But it would be wrong to conclude that primary responsibility for the Holocaust or other Nazi crimes lay with the elite of the German bourgeoisie. Eizenstat's efforts, as well as those of the Jewish Claims Conference, indirectly, if unintentionally, encouraged such a conclusion. And indeed many Germans had a stake in seeing the public's attention focused on the captains of industry and finance, since it shifted the burden of blame for Nazi barbarism to a handful of individuals. (8)
There was also an epidemic of widespread satisfaction:
Precisely because so many Germans did in fact benefit from Nazi Germany's campaigns of plunder, only marginal resistance arose. Content as most Germans were, there was little chance for a domestic movement that would have halted Nazi crimes. This new perspective on the Nazi regime as a kind of racist-totalitarian welfare state allows us to understand the connection between the Nazi policies of racial genocide and the countless, seemingly benign family anecdotes about how a generation of German citizens "got through" World War II ... "We were well off during the war ... Food deliveries always went smoothly." (8)
And being constantly told that they were only doing better because the government was eradicating the country of Jews, who they believed had been the source of all their problems, why would they protest?

So You Don't Think it Could Happen Again, Huh?

When I compare Stephen Harper to Adolf Hitler, it is not because of the Holocaust, but because they are both "images" of a political leader. Hitler made few decisions, but was presented to the German people as a Messiah. They adored him. Or I should say they adored who they thought he was.

Had they known the real Adolf Hitler at the time, they might not have been so smitten. He was a bully, and while called a dog lover, actually beat his dogs mercilessly. He was not a vegetarian as suggested, but loved sausages and cavier. He was not a strong leader but was actually a coward. His best friend during his Vienna days said that when he was in their room, raising his voice over some political matter, the landlord would bang on the wall and Adolf would cower into a corner.

After the Beer Hall Putsch, he wanted to commit suicide, and the wife of a friend who was hiding him, had to talk him out of it. And he was also a sexual deviant. But so long as they could keep his ego fed, he would behave.

And I don't think I need to go into 'Mr. Photo-op", and the illusion of strong leader, who actually hides whenever his government is receiving bad press, allowing others to take the fall.

But more importantly, we have to look at who is now being blamed for all of our ills. Not the Jewish people, but the Muslims.

Look at the uproar over the so-called ‘Ground Zero Mosque‘.
Islamic investors want to build a community centre for Manhattan Muslims in a derelict coat factory two blocks from the site of the World Trade Centre. This community centre is intended to be a bit like a YMCA – containing an auditorium, a gym, a swimming pool, a basketball court, childcare services, art exhibitions, a bookstore, a culinary school and a food court serving halal dishes, as well as some prayer space. It is to be run by a famed moderate – Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf – a Kuwaiti cleric who has written about how to integrate Islam with the West.

It should be nothing more than a local zoning issue, and not a problem. Not a problem, that is, until a few prominent far-right demagogues noticed it and seized upon it. Sarah Palin tweeted about it to her hundreds of thousands of followers and then the usual cavalcade of Teabaggers, opportunist election hopefuls and Fox pundits dogpiled the issue.

Suddenly, the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ is no longer a local zoning issue; it’s a ‘desecration’ of ‘hallowed ground’, a slight to the heroes and victims of 9/11. The ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ label makes it sound to the public like the place is being built at the actual Ground Zero – which could maybe be construed as insensitivity. This is not the case: it is to be built hundreds of metres away in a damaged, vacant building on a dilapidated side street.
Fox News went nuts, and polls were everywhere, suggesting that Obama was a Muslim, like it was some kind of disease. He's not. He's a Christian, but should that matter? He did not blow up the World Trade Center, nor would he or the vast majority of Muslims ever condone such a thing. The issue was Western aggression, not religion.

I watched a bit of CNN (before I started screaming and shut it off), and one of their media people asked if, since Tim McVeigh was Catholic, would it be appropriate to build a Catholic church two blocks from the site of the Oklahoma bombing? He was besieged with emails accusing him of being anti-Catholic and anti-Christian.

And even those defending Obama, made it about the religious issue, and defending his Christianity. It should have been a non-issue, but it shows how low the Republicans have sunk.

One of my favourite columnists, Haroon Siddiqui, wrote a great piece: American anti-Muslim prejudice goes mainstream.
Gingrich equates the proposed Islamic centre there to a Nazi display next to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. or a Japanese warrior monument at Pearl Harbor. (The analogy would be fine if Osama bin Laden was the one building a mosque at the World Trade Center and not a Manhattan couple, devoted to interfaith work, proposing a Muslim Y.)

“Gingrich is too smart to be that stupid,” says John Esposito, professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., by way of illustrating how anti-Muslim bigotry has become so acceptable that “mainstream politicians, including two potential Republican presidential candidates (Gingrich and Sarah Palin), media commentators, hardline Christian Zionists and a large number of Americans feel that they can say anything about Islam and Muslims with impunity.
We wince at the things said about Jewish people back in the day, and yet barely bat an eye, when we hear the same things said about the Islamic World. They are all 'Taliban' or 'Al Qaeda', despite the fact that the majority are not. They are ordinary people who want the same things that we do for ourselves and our families.

We are no better than the Nazis, if we are not appalled by this. And remember the words of Hannah Arendt, when covering the trial of the Holocaust organizer, Adolf Eichmann. "... the horror lay in the fact that "there were so many like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic ... [but] terribly and terrifyingly normal."

Antisemitism is horrific, but so is this, and when left unchecked, can result in the unimaginable.


1. Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History, By Erna Paris, Alfred A. Knopf, 2000, ISBN: 0-676-97251-9, Pg. 318

2. Books: Master of the Masses, Time Magazine, February 7, 1944

3. Der Fhehrer, Hitler's Rise to Power, By: Konrad Heiden, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1944, Pg. 100

4. Total Power: A Footnote to History, By: Edmund A. Walsh, Doubleday & Company, 1949, Pg. 14-15

5. The Unknown Private - Personal Memories of Hitler, By: Alexander Moritz Frey

6. GERMANY: Br, Time Magazine, October 27, 1930

7. IBM and the Holocaust, By Edwin Black, Little Brown, 2001, ISBN 0-316-85769-6

8. Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, By Gotz Aly, Metropolitan Books, 2005, ISBN: 10-0-8050-7926-2, Pg. 1-2

Friday, August 27, 2010

600 People Lose Jobs at Unemployment Office

With 600 more employees at EI being given pink slips, on top of the 600 already let go, and the promise of more in January; who is going to process their claims?

So much for the promise of no layoffs in public service.
Hundreds of government workers who handle employment insurance claims are about to join the ranks of the unemployed, The Canadian Press has learned. In a bid to balance its budget, Service Canada is cutting 600 employees across the country on top of another 600 who were let go in

The union which represents the employees affected by the move was formally notified Friday afternoon and was warned more cuts may come in January. Many of those who will lose their jobs help people with everything from passport applications and pension problems to processing employment insurance claims.

"The people who are going to suffer are the people who receive these services," said Steve McCuaig, national executive vice-president of the Canada Employment and Immigration Union

Harper's Northern Annual Photo-Op Was Just More Hot Air

Since Stephen Harper refuses to do anything about global warming, we should at least keep him out of the Arctic. The glaciers are melting fast enough without more of his hot air.

Susan Riley had a great column in the Ottawa Citizen today, in which she exposes the Harper government's view of reality. From Dimitri Soudas's nonsense about a Russian threat, to Stephen Harper's nonsense about a Russian threat.

The Russians must think we're idiots. I can just imagine their political cartoons.

But she also sheds a little light on Harper's posturing in the Great White North.
The truth is that Harper's government, while giving northern sovereignty welcome profile, has promised much and invested little -- outside of annual photo ops like this week's military ballet on ice and Harper's unexpected northern jig.

Meanwhile, a 2005 promise of three new icebreakers has been downgraded to one big ship and six patrol vessels. There is still no sign of the promised northern deep-water port. And -- despite Harper's announcement of three new surveillance satellites to keep an eye on "the bad guys" -- investment in northern science, environmental protection and military presence has been slow in coming.

As Gen. Walt Natynczyk (whose candour is becoming refreshing) noted, the North is a more hostile and expensive environment for Canadian forces than even Afghanistan. Now, if he could free up $16 billion somewhere ...
I agree with Riley. This government is dealing in illusions.
Ideology, illusion, will probably trump reality, evidence, in both these cases. The next challenge for Harper is to convince Canadians, including deficit-shy Conservatives, that we really need those expensive fighter jets -- not exactly tailored to fight home-grown terrorism, which seems a more immediate threat than a replay of the Second World War.

Stephen Harper Endorses Coalition Government. And This Time Not His Own.

After the 2004 election results, Stephen Harper entered into a coalition with the NDP and Bloc to take power, not earn it, and become an unelected prime minister. And it might have happened if Jack Layton hadn't come to his senses and backed out.

And now that Britain, Australia and Japan have successful coalition governments, Stephen Harper has stated that it's time that Canada had the same, seeing as how 2/3 of Canadians simply don't trust him.

So while hiding in the North to avoid having to answer questions on the census, the gun registry, his new tax increases, his horrible treatment of veterans and the scrapping of Medicare, he made a speech suggesting that Canadians have two choices: A Harper majority or a coalition.

But Canadians have already made their choice, twice. We don't want a Harper majority, and in fact, few have the stomach for another Harper minority.

So the choice is clear, and he made it himself. Goodbye Stephen Harper.

Is Harper Using Leona Aglukkaq to Announce the End of Medicare?

Stephen Harper's MO, when it comes to announcing bad decisions, is to temporarily remove the muzzles from his ministers, letting them make the announcements, thereby allowing them to take the fall.

Only after the minister is completely backed into a corner, will he make a brief appearance and in six words or less, announce his position, usually quoting the intellectual Bart Simpson "I didn't do it".

So when his health minister Leona Aglukkaq refused to attend a key doctors’ conference, because she was busy having her picture taken with the "Big H", he allowed Diane Finley, wife of corporate lobbyist Doug Finley, to send a clear message. Stephen Harper has successfully scrapped the Canada Health Act, a career long goal, by simply never mentioning it again.

Andre Picard asks:
Does Canada still have a federal health minister? And, more important, does it have a government with the slightest interest in maintaining the national health-insurance program called medicare?

For all practical purposes, the answer to both of those questions is a resounding “No.” Leona Aglukkaq, who holds the title of Minister of Health, was glaringly absent this week from the Canadian Medical Association gathering in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Stephen Harper knows that if he makes the announcement that the policy he wrote for his party in 1987, does not include free health care and never will, he would be out on his butt quicker than you could say "Stephen Who"?

So instead he just avoids the topic and demands that his entire caucus avoids the topic.
Ms. Aglukkaq is an intelligent, thoughtful politician; she has a superb grasp of the health file, which she demonstrated as the health minister for Nunavut. But she is an abysmal federal health minister for the simple reason that she is a victim of political glossectomy performed by the hatchet men in the Prime Minister’s office.

... But the PMO’s decision to keep the minister away from the CMA general council is powerfully symbolic. It should send a shiver down the spine of everyone who cares about the future of health care.
Picard recalls Harper's famous line when he was with the National Citizens Coalition, the organization formed with the intent of dismantling our health care system: “It’s past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act.”

It would appear that they have done just that. And as usual, they are using religion to sell it to their base, while working to the benefit of private health providers who have been trying for decades to get their hands on our health care.

This was a key plank in this party's platform as far back as Ernest Manning, who detested Tommy Douglas and his "schemes", stating that "Giving to the individual societal benefits such as free medical care ... breeds idleness... causing a break down in his relationship with God ... where the state imposed a monopoly on a service ... the sinful philosophy of state collectivism scored a victory." (1)

And Preston followed in his father's footsteps:
It is worth remembering that Ernest Manning fought a fierce battle against the introduction of all national social programs, including medicare. In 1965, with Ottawa preparing to act on medicare, he declared: "To those who want to see a free society preserved in Canada, the proposed ... program is a direct challenge to individual liberty and responsibility." As an alternative to a state-run plan, he proposed that governments subsidize private insurance policies. Individuals, he noted, would be responsible for buying those policies — just as they are in the United States today.

The Reform Party's 1991 privatization policy [written by Preston's lieutenant Stephen Harper] shows equally clear marks of Preston Manning's deep devotion to trimming government and ending centralization. It states that all crown corporations should be placed where they can work best, and "We believe that there is overwhelming evidence that this would be the private sector in the vast majority of cases." The policy Blue Book calls for total privatization of Petro Canada [already done by Brian Mulroney] and Canada Post [being done by Stephen Harper], adding that "there should be no restrictions on private competition in the delivery of mail."

Preston Manning's political goals are very clear. He wants a society of widely dispersed power centres with most institutions and functions in private hands, safe from any collectivist conspiracy. He wants each individual to be free to find the Mannings' Christian God. Ideally, he would like each person to provide for the major part of his or her basic needs, including key social services and medicare. (2)
When Obama was trying to get his health care bill passed, a group founded by one of Harper's MPs, John Weston, pulled a dirty stunt to discredit our health care system. And when Harper was asked in the U.S. about our system, he said he knew very little about it. Right. As president of the NCC, he would have known that act from cover to cover.

Back in the day when Canada was a democracy (was it really 4 1/2 years ago? How time flies), the prime minister would have explained why he is ignoring this issue that is so important to all Canadians. And back when Canada was a democracy and had a media, they would have demanded answers. Instead the pm is in the North, engaged in another high priced photo-op.

Fascism is so much better than democracy, don't you think?


1. Preston Manning and the Reform Party, By Murray Dobbin, Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing, 1992, ISBN: 0-88780-161-7, Pg. 9

2. Storming Babylon: Preston Manning and the Rise of the Reform Party, By Sydney Sharpe & Don Braid, Key Porter, 1992, ISBN: 1550134124, Pg. 79

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Liberals to Present Legislation Demanding the Return of the Long Form Census

This is very good news.
Liberal MP John McCallum announced at a news conference on Thursday that his party will introduce legislation to bring back the mandatory long-form census questionnaire when the House of Commons resumes sitting in the fall.

Mr. McCallum said the decision by the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to scrap the mandatory long-form census over privacy issues is a thinly veiled attack on the ability of all levels of government to deliver progressive social programs.

“A voluntary survey will skew the picture of what Canada really looks like as lower income minority Canadians will be less likely to fill it out,” he said. The bill to be introduced by the Liberals will clarify that that 20 per cent of the Canadian population will receive a mandatory long-form questionnaire during the census period - the same percentage of Canadians that received it in previous years. Mr. McCallum said the bill will also remove the controversial threat of jail time for not completing the census.
McCallum believes, as most do, that Stephen Harper is trying to dumb down politics, and it's a shame, because we have so many intelligent people out there who could do wonderful things for this country. And we can start with John McCallum.

From Wikipedia:

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens' College, Cambridge University, a diplôme d'études supérieures from Université de Paris and a Doctorate in economics from McGill University. He was a professor of economics at the University of Manitoba from 1976 until 1978, Simon Fraser University from 1978 until 1982, the Université du Québec à Montréal from 1982 until 1987, and McGill University from 1987 until 1994. He is an honorary member of the Royal Military College of Canada, student #S139. He was also Dean of the Faculty of Arts at McGill University. He then became Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist of the Royal Bank of Canada.

He is the author of 1980 book, Unequal Beginnings: Agriculture and Economic Development in Quebec and Ontario until 1870. He is also the co-author (with Clarence Barber) of Unemployment and Inflation: The Canadian Experience and Controlling Inflation: Learning from Experience in Canada, Europe and Japan. He also co-wrote Parting as friends: the economic consequences for Quebec in 1991 and Global Disequilibrium in the World Economy in 1992.

... As McGill University’s Dean of Arts, McCallum secured a $10 million contribution from Charles Bronfman for the establishment of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada

.... McCallum was the Royal Bank of Canada’s chief economist for six years. While consistently achieving the highest media coverage of bank chief economists, he also engaged in social issues, notably a 1997 Royal Bank conference designed to align the business community with the recommendations of the 1996 Report on the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The tenth anniversary of his paper at that conference, "The Cost of Doing Nothing," was recently highlighted in Aboriginal Times Magazine

.... McCallum successfully nominated Nelson Mandela as the second honorary citizen in Canadian history. McCallum was quite vocal in Canada's debate on Same-Sex marriage. He told the Edmonton Sun in August 2003, "If people want to do something and it doesn’t hurt other people, doesn’t reduce other people’s rights, we should let them do it. Why not?"

I'm so tired of this constant assault on higher education, like it's a disease. Mr. McCallum is well educated, intelligent and enlightened, and he shouldn't have to apologize for that.

And as he says, Stephen Harper's approach is "a triumph of ignorance over knowledge, a triumph of ideology over science." Harper has never worked a single day as an economist so his degree means nothing, and his science minister, Gary Goodyear, doesn't believe in evolution. How can he be a science minister?

We deserve better.