Thursday, September 30, 2010

Has John Turner's Premonition Come True? Are we Now an American Colony?

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

During the 1988 election debates, the topic of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) arose, prompting a heated exchange between Liberal leader John Turner and Brian Mulroney.

Clearly shaken, Mulroney defended his patriotism and roots, but his body language and color suggested that he knew that what he was doing was wrong. And Turner fought back.
“We built a country east and west and north. We built it on an infrastructure that deliberately resisted the continental pressure of the United States. For 120 years we’ve done it. With one signature of a pen, you’ve reversed that, thrown us into the north-south influence of the United States and will reduce us, I am sure, to a colony of the United States, because when the economic levers go the political independence is sure to follow.” (1)

But it was too late. Too many powerful people had contributed to Mulroney's success on the promise of a free trade agreement, including the National Citizens Coalition and their corporate sponsors, who spent an estimated 19 million dollars (2). Mulroney was given a second term and the Americans were given a golden key to our future.
Turner appreciated that FTA was not about achieving “Free Trade” with the U.S. that had pretty much already been accomplished. Turner, appreciated that FTA was really about transferring the control of Canadian institutions and resources into the United States political-military-industrial complex. (3)
And since then successive governments have been powerless to stop it.

Stephen Harper and a Peaceful Revolution

NAFTA has been devastating for Canadians and our country's sovereignty. It has stagnated the middle class, created a veritable crater between rich and poor, and has drastically reduced our standard of living.

Then along came Stephen Harper to finish us off. He would lead a revolution to overturn the results of the War of 1812, black out key elements of our Constitution and make any notion of Confederation null and void.
"Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion… And whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be." - Stephen Harper (4)
The definition of sovereignty from Bouvier's Law dictionary:
The union and exercise of all human power possessed in a state; it is a combination of all power; it is the power to do everything in a state without accountability; to make laws, to execute and to apply them: to impose and collect taxes, and, levy, contributions; to make war or peace; to form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign nations, and the like. Abstractedly, sovereignty resides in the body of the nation and belongs to the people.
Canada has relinquished all of her sovereignty. Every last bit. We are an American colony in everything but name. And it took Stephen Harper less than five years to claim victory for the United States, in this bloodless revolution.

FBI Was Given Jurisdiction in Canada:

Battle: The American FBI has been given the right to enter Canada to arrest or interrogate Canadians. However, we didn't learn of any of this from our own government or media. We had to find it out from the FBI themselves.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day acknowledged Thursday that U.S. agents conduct investigations in Canada but said all are done according to
Canadian law.

Day was responding to a report regarding an internal FBI audit that shows U.S. agents are carrying out investigations without the approval of the Canadian government.It says the FBI has given agents in its Buffalo field office clearance to conduct "routine investigations" up to 50 miles into Canadian territory.When asked about the report during question period, Day said Canadian security forces work with Canada's allies, including the U.S, and have agreements in terms of information sharing."We have teams that are designated going back and forth across the border and sometimes it is farther than 50 miles or 50 kilometres," Day said. (5)

Casualties: Canadian civil liberties

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

Canadian Standards:

Our product standards were some of the toughest in the world. If a company wanted to sell here, they did it on our terms. Our safety came first.

Battle: 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 limit them. 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. Canadians protested prompting Harper to ask: “Is the sovereignty of Canada going to fall apart if we standardize the jelly bean?” What they adopted in it's place was something 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." (6)
Casualties: 28 Canadian dead from H1N1, dubbed the Nafta Flu, and 20 from Listeriosis, when meat processing plants were allowed to inspect themselves.

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

Our Nuclear Energy:

In 2007 the Harper government entered into a controversial nuclear partnership with the United States and then resources minister, Gary Lunn boasted: "It is great news for Canada to be part of this partnership, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) without public debate or a vote in the house of Commons."

Boasting that it was done "without public debate or a vote in the house of Commons" is worth repeating.
The partnership, first pitched early in 2006 by U.S. President George W. Bush, proposes expanding and promoting nuclear energy worldwide by developing a new and unproven breed of "fast reactors" that can burn nuclear waste ....

But the plan is highly controversial because it proposes re-using nuclear waste, a practice effectively banned in Canada and the United States since the 1970s for security reasons. Moreover, the original GNEP concept proposed that all used nuclear fuel be repatriated to the original uranium-exporting country for disposal. As the world's largest uranium exporter, Canada could be taking on a huge responsibility to deal with nuclear waste from around the world. (7)
Casualties: Our safety

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

Domestic Security:

In February of 2008, a secret agreement was signed with the United States in Texas, that allows them to send in their troops in the event of Canadian unrest, under the guise of National security.
Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal Neither the Canadian Government nor the Canadian Forces announced the new agreement, which was signed Feb. 14 in Texas. The U.S. military’s Northern Command, however, publicized the agreement with a statement outlining how its top officer, Gen. Gene Renuart, and Canadian Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, head of Canada Command, signed the plan, which allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.* (8)
And what was worse, was that the Canadian media painted it as a left/right issue, rather than what it really was. A direct attack on our sovereignty:
The new agreement has been greeted with suspicion by the left wing in Canada and the right wing in the U.S. The left-leaning Council of Canadians, which is campaigning against what it calls the increasing integration of the U.S. and Canadian militaries, is raising concerns about the deal.“It’s kind of a trend when it comes to issues of Canada-U.S. relations and contentious issues like military integration. We see that this government is reluctant to disclose information to Canadians that is readily available on American and Mexican websites,” said Stuart Trew, a researcher with the Council of Canadians. (8)
Casualties: All Canadian citizen's civil rights.

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

Civil Sovereignty:

Peter Van Loan engineered a deal with American Homeland Security that also gives their police forces jurisdiction in Canada. It was supposed to be only for the Olympics, but they have now made it permanent:
Canada and U.S. authorities are talking about extending cross-border security measures that were implemented for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and were to end with the closing of the Winter Games. The RCMP and the U.S. Coast Guard have jointly patrolled the waters off Vancouver since the beginning of the month, boarding nearly 200 vessels and interviewing about 500 people in their efforts to maintain security, RCMP Sergeant Duncan Pound of the border integrity program said in an interview. (9)
I wonder how many of the goons at the G-20 were actually American.

Casualties: Canadian civil liberties

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

Our Natural Resources:

When fellow MP Gerry Ritz launched his one man comedy tour during the Listeriosis outbreak, our then health minister, Tony Clement, was nowhere to be found. Turns out he was in the United States protecting the 'proportionality' clause in the NAFTA agreement. This clause is good for the U.S. but could be devastating to Canada. According to the Parkland Institute:

This obscure-sounding clause essentially states that, when it comes to energy, no Canadian government can take any action which would reduce the proportion of our total energy supply which we make available to the United States from the average proportion over the last 36 months.

In other words, if over the last 36 months we have exported just under 50 per cent of our available oil (including domestic production and imports) to the United States—and we have—then no government in Canada can do anything which would result in us making less than two thirds of our total oil supply available to the US....this clause seriously jeopardizes our own energy security in this country, and severely hampers our government’s ability to set our own energy policies. ...

For example, if a natural disaster were to hit eastern Canada tomorrow, our government could not say that we will cut oil or gas exports to the US by 10 per cent in order to increase the oil and gas available for disaster relief in Canada. (10)

Military Sovereignty:

Battle: Rob Merrifield helped to draft a report for the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, entitled: From Correct to Inspired: A Blueprint for Canada U.S. Engagement that calls for annexation of Canada, with regard to the economy and our energy resources, but more importantly calls for military integration, called the "North American defense" strategy:

In a world of economic upheaval and continued insecurity, Canadians need to recognize the critical role of the United States and work with its leaders in an effective partnership that is focused not only on bilateral issues but also on global ones. To that end, US leaders need to be confident that Canada will be a reliable and effective partner in defence of its own interests ... The world’s problems, and the US role in addressing them, will prove easier to manage if the United States can count on the support of allies. As the US ambassadors confirmed, Canada can best advance its own agenda by being one of those allies. Revamping the military was a critical first step. (11)

Stephen Harper couldn't cancel the contracts for those fighter jets, even if he wanted to. The Americans won't allow it and they are calling the shots now. Gone is the notion of former prime minister Louis St. Laurent, who "believed that most Canadians wanted their country to contribute to world peace and better understanding among nations." We now have to go where the Americans tell us to go, and buy what the Americans tell us to buy.

Casualties: Canadian military sovereignty

Victory: Stephen Harper and the USA

What Do We Have left?

After surrendering everything that defines a sovereign nation, what do we have left? What now defines us? The fact that we are now an American colony is indisputable.

Harper's trade agreement when he took his 2 1/2 month vacation from democracy, has completely tied our hands at all levels of government: "In addition to ceaseless pageantry, Harper deliberately prorogued parliament a second time to enact a bill, more powerful than NAFTA to undercut our sovereignty, the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This far reaching bill will provide sub-national access to municipal services, and undermine the public sector even further, losing thousands of good, Canadian jobs to international outsourcing." (12)

We have lost control of almost all of our natural resources. The American Religious Right is dictating our morality. The American NRA is providing Harper with talking points on our gun control. American Grover Norquist is dictating our tax policies. Republican Jim Sensenbrenner helped to draft our so-called Accountability Act. An American Republican pollster drafted our environmental platform and turned Harper into a hockey puck.

So who in the hell are we now?

Columnist Andrew Marshall once said: "It’s a sad state of affairs when one loses their freedoms and rights, not through a valiant fight to keep them, but through secret agreements, quiet discussions, deceitful laws and worst of all, mass apathy on the part of the public. It’s time to speak up, speak loud, and take our countries back while we still have what remains of them, and most importantly, while we still have the freedom to speak." (13)



*Also read U.S. Northern Command, Canada Command establish new bilateral Civil Assistance Plan, February 14, 2008


1. Election of 1988, by Stephen Azzi, Historica-Dominica

The National Citizens' Coalition loves you - ha! ha! ha! 35 years of fighting for fat cats while posing as ordinary citizens, NUPGE

3. Talking trade with John Turner: Canada’s eldest former Prime Minister sits down with Journal Features editors Kerri MacDonald and Michael Woods to discuss the economy, the Liberal Party and the future of Canadian democracy, The Queens Journal, October 28, 2008

4. Stephen Harper speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition, 1994

5. U.S. investigations on Canadian soil done within the law, CBC News, October 5, 2006

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

7. Canada to join controversial nuclear partnership, Toronto Star, November 29, 2007

8. Canada, U.S. agree to use each other’s troops in civil emergencies: Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal, By Ottawa Citizen, February 22, 2008

9. Joint RCMP-Homeland Security “Shiprider” pilot project to be made permanent, by Stuart Trew, Council of Canadians, March 20, 2008

10. Over a Barrel: Exiting from NAFTA's proportionality clause, By Gordon Laxer, John Dillon, July 16, 2008

11. From Correct to Inspired: A Blueprint for Canada-US Engagement, Canada-US Project, January 19, 2009

12. Stiffed with the bill: A private banquet at civil society's expense, By Elizabeth Littlejohn, Rabble News, September 22, 2010

13. Future of North America: Vancouver 2010, Coronation of the North American “Community”, by Andrew G. Marshall, Global Research, March 15, 2008

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stephen Harper's Avowal of Failure Will Put Canada's Fate in the Hands of the Incompetent

During the election debates of 1984, Brian Mulroney attacked John Turner for not stopping several Trudeau patronage appointments to the senate. He called it "an avowal of failure".

It helped to win the election for him.

But once in office, Mulroney made the chamber his own 'reward miles' program, with Marjorie LeBreton handing out senate seats to those who puckered up the most, paying homage to her boss's derriere.

And these appointments became both a curse and a blessing for Jean Charest when he became party leader. They were broke and broken:
The reality was that there were just two MPs in Parliament and the party was $5 million in debt. ..... The only place the federal Tories had any real bench strength, a significant block of parliamentarians with staff, research money, phone lines, airline passes, and experience, was in the Senate. The roll call of senators so close to the former prime minister must be daunting to Charest: David Angus. Eric Berntson, John Buchanan, Guy Charbonneau, Michel Cogger. Trevor Eyton, Dunc Jessiman, Jim Kelleher, Marjory LeBreton, John Lvnch-Staunton, Michael Meighen, Pierre Claude Nolin, and Fernand Roberge. These are the individuals on whom Charest must depend, the same people who are, to a great extent, responsible for much of the mess the party is in today. Maybe there is just too much baggage for a Tory recovery in the foreseeable future. (1)
And of course they never did recover, leaving them vulnerable for a Reform-Alliance takeover.

Now we find ourselves decades later in a similar situation with senate baggage. Stephen Harper has made the most patronage senate appointments in the history of this country, and most were not qualified to run a lemonade stand, including a former hockey coach who can't even read or write.

And what's worse is that if he remains prime minister to the end of November, he may have control of the Senate.
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper will soon lay claim in the unelected Senate to what he does not have in the House of Commons: a majority.
But this won't be a 'Tory' senate control, as suggested by the media, but a control of what Harper himself refers to as a party "where evangelical Christians and business rule in an unholy alliance" after Red Tories are "jettisoned from the party". (2)

In other words, Republicans.

And what will it mean for Canada?

It means that even if we can get rid of this government before they completely destroy us, we will not be able to overturn their list of horrendous bills, and Parliament will be essentially controlled a gaggle of Reformer fundraisers and party faithfuls. Harper will continue to control us from a distance.

Add to that a Fox News North and we will officially be an American colony.

This is not good.


1. On the Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years, By Stevie Cameron, Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 1994, ISBN: 0-921912-73-0, Pg. 486-87

2. Harper, Bush Share Roots in Controversial Philosophy. The Tyee, Donald Gutstein, November 29, 2009

Is the Flaherty/Harper Bubble About to Burst?

In October of last year the Tyee published an article Why Canada's Housing Bubble Will Burst:
What do the mid-recession housing boom and the Harper Conservatives' rise in the polls have in common? Answer: the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's massive sub-prime mortgage scheme that is keeping up the appearance of an economic recovery. Reading the newspapers these days, you have to wonder whether Canada was on another planet when the global credit crisis hit. House prices have actually increased in some provinces and now there is a shortage of houses for sale in southern Ontario. Credit is flowing everywhere.

But what few Canadians realize is that the housing market has avoided collapse (prices are down 32 per cent in the U.S.) because the Harper Conservatives directed the CMHC to change the mortgage rules to effectively make the Canadian government the biggest sub-prime lender in the world. What's almost as alarming as this reckless policy is that no one in the financial media is talking about it, even though everyone knows the facts.
And while the Harper government basked in the glow of their cunningness, a storm was brewing. Canadians were given a false sense of security, spending lavishly, which helped the economy in the short term, but borrowing heavily to do so.

As a result Canadian households have one of the highest debt to income ratios in the world.

And the largest chunk of that debt is in housing. Many who couldn't afford to own a home, or would under normal circumstances fail to qualify for a mortgage, were now entering the market, while others bought houses well above their means. And houses became more expensive as a result of more competition in the market.
... let’s say you have the average Canadian family making the average income – about $70,000. You dwell in the average house, have average kids (1.2 of them), and pay average taxes. That means you have $54,000 left to live on for a year. Sadly, your house eats 48.9% of your pre-tax income, which equals $34,320 – which also means you have about $19,600 left. That’s $1,600 a month for food, clothes, car, vacations, school fees, insurance and your online connection to this pathetic site. Notice I did not include ‘savings and investments’ because, of course, there’s no money left.

And you think this is bad? Try living in a high-cost city like Toronto or Vancouver, where a house eats more than 50% and 65% of pre-tax family income respectively. This is what happens when real estate speculation meets dumbass public policy, driving the cost of shelter absurdly higher. It’s a massive hidden tax on the middle class, sucking off billions which should be finding its way into a better life or a nest egg for the future. Instead, real estate now means sacrifice and debt. And danger.
And of course the scandal is not just "dumbass public policy" but a media that failed to warn Canadians of this danger. Instead they allow the Harper government to thump their chests and sing hallelujah over their handling of the economy.

The Globe did run an in depth early on, when Flaherty allowed AIG to infiltrate our financial sector. The same AIG that helped to destroy the American economy.

And Chris Gallant from Forbes magazine also covered our rosy economic myth:
For all the recent bravado claiming that Canada's supposedly boring yet prudent financial regulations have steered it permanently clear of housing bubble territory, the simple truth is that key causes of the U.S. housing bubble have been sufficiently replicated in Canada.

CMHC: Fannie and Freddie's Canadian Cousin - For example, while it is technically true that Canada does not have its own publicly-traded GSEs such as Fannie Mae .. and Freddie Mac .. to artificially inflate its housing market, it has the next best thing. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada's national housing agency used to provide mortgage insurance, which is fully integrated by the federal government ....

(Uh) Oh, Canada! - Since 2007, when the first effects of the credit crunch began to be felt, the Canadian government postponed the housing bubble's burst by dramatically loosening lending standards, allowing CMHC to insure mortgages with 40-year amortizations and 0% down-payments for the first time in history. This of course flooded the market with new, high-risk borrowers, propping up already historically high prices with unsustainable, artificial demand.

From 2007 to early 2009, the total dollar value of CMHC's outstanding MBSs grew from $138 billion to $265 billion, an increase of 92%. During this same time, the total mortgage credit outstanding on the collective books of Canadian banks increased by only 1% to $447 billion. In other words, all the market demand that has been propping up Canadian house prices can be attributed to Canada's version of subprime loans that the free market was not willing to bear the risk of.
And we are now about to wear this fiasco as indeed the housing bubble appears ready to burst.
Even RBC now says there are “red flags” over the Vancouver market. “While the Vancouver market is clearly vulnerable to a price correction, this does not imply that a collapse is imminent because supply (both in the existing and new home sides of the market) is well contained at this point.” What does that mean? If listings rise, of course, it means there will be “a collapse.”

In the GTA: “The deteriorating trend in Toronto’s housing affordability continued.” And the bank cautions that a “wild downswing” in prices was kept at bay only because vendors retreated. Which begs the question of how long that will last. As I’ve told you before, I expect this correction to be followed by a multi-year melt, as interest rates normalize and then those oxygen-sucking, walker-wheeling Boomers start trading houses for income.
And with our high rate of both unemployment and underemployment, we could see a lot of houses come on the market.

And what is our exalted one doing about this? Nothing. Instead he and his Mike Harris sidekick Flaherty, are continuing with the facade of having a steady hand on the economy, while instilling fear of a coalition. Same old, same old.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Revisiting Harper's Bid For the UN Security Seat

When Louis St. Laurent was acting as secretary of state for external affairs, he held a dinner party in honour of Ernest Bevin, who was then Great Britain's foreign secretary. At the end of the meal, Bevin got up and made a speech, praising Canada for standing beside Britain in her hour of need. 'His compatriots, he said, would never forget the way their cousins across the Atlantic had come to their assistance during the darkest days of World War 11.'

St Laurent was not impressed by the implication that Canada had entered the war out of loyalty to the mother country, rather than for reasons of principle.
In his reply to Bevin he went out of his way to emphasize that Canada's declaration of war had been an independent decision made by the country's elected representatives, that it was prompted by the nation's determination to fight Nazism and had nothing whatever to do with helping Britain. (1)
That was an important stand, because Canada's foreign policy was based on what we felt was right at the time. And that same independence kept us out of Vietnam and Iraq, despite the fact that they were wars waged by our powerful neighbours. And St. Laurent wanted his guest to understand that, in no uncertain terms. 'St Laurent believed that most Canadians wanted their country to contribute to world peace and better understanding among nations. ' (1)

And I firmly believe that most Canadians still want "their country to contribute to world peace and better understanding among nations." Unfortunately our current government does not.

And for that reason more and more people are lending their voice, protesting a seat on the UN Security Council for a man so committed to war.
Harper wants this seat for a reason, and it has nothing to do with his phony reiteration of UN "values" -- none of which has he ever paid even lip service to. No, Stephen Harper wants the seat so that he can assist the U.S. in whatever imperial adventures and world domination plans it rolls out. Seeing Harper shaking hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was truly repugnant, given Harper's unmatched and singular support for whatever Israel does. (Remember his "measured response" comment regarding Israel's laying waste to Lebanon? A more grotesquely disingenuous gesture is hard to imagine.) If Harper gets his wish, it will give him more opportunities to back Israel and support whatever action against Iran that the U.S. and Israel want, including bombing its nuclear sites. (2)
When Jean Chretien decided not to go to Iraq, Stephen Harper was livid. Not because he had studied the situation and weighed his options. What he said was: "I don't know all the facts on Iraq, but I think we should work closely with the Americans." (3)

He would have been quite willing to send us to war without knowing the facts. 'Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition' and to hell with what Canadians want.

Is this really a person who should be on a "security" council?
Canada’s formerly expansive foreign policy has narrowed into three tunnels at the end of which lie Washington, Kabul and Tel Aviv. Those faced with a choice between Canada and Portugal might well consider what Canada’s platform is, and whether we are the same Canada that once worked so hard for peace in the world.

In terms of actually winning votes, the Harper government seems to have it backwards. Shortly before announcing our candidacy, the government cancelled its bilateral aid programs in eight African countries, along with Cambodia and Sri Lanka. It then sent its hapless CIDA Minister, Bev Oda, to Colombo to harangue the Sri Lankan government on human rights abuse. Salt may cure some wounds, but it tends not to win votes.

The second question is, Does Canada deserve a seat in the Security Council? Bob Fowler, Canada’s longest-serving UN ambassador, says no: “The world doesn’t need more of the Canada it has been getting.” Narrow or non-existent policies on key issues, an ineffectual aid program based on the shifting sands of political opportunism, UN peacekeeping operations languishing at rock bottom, and cynical opportunism in the Middle East suggest that Canada may not have much to offer. More than half of the Security Council’s time is spent on African issues, a continent that the Harper government has deliberately pulled away from. And we seem not to be very interested in the UN anyway. (4)
"The world doesn’t need more of the Canada it has been getting.” Wow. This is our country guys and this is what he has done to it. How incredibly sad.

When Canada stayed out of Iraq, a group calling themselves 'Canadians for George Bush' began holding rallies. In Ontario speakers included Jim Flaherty and Stockwell Day. Out West, Jason Kenney led the charge.

At one of these rallies, a group of war protesters showed up, and the George Bush fans, Canadians all, began to chant "USA! USA!"

I guess we'd better get used to it.


1. The Making of a Peacemonger: The Memoirs of George Ignatieff, By Sonja Sinclair, University of Toronto Press, ISBN: 0-8020-2556-0, Pg. 108

2. Don't Give Canada a Security Council Seat: Despite the PM's high-minded rhetoric, we haven't earned the spot, By Murray Dobbin, The Tyee, September 27, 2010

3. Report Newsmagazine, March 25, 2002

4. Canada and the UN Security Council: Not Ready for Prime Time? The McLeod Group, September 2010

Mr. Coalition is Getting Desperate. Too Bad He's So Damned Stupid!

Stephen Harper is officially the Canadian politician who has tried to enter into the most coalitions, beginning in the 90's.

He courted the PC's, the NDP; and the Bloc so many times, people were wondering if he didn't have a thing for Gilles Duceppe.

And yet he is still flogging his scary coalition nonsense to defend his position on the census. What an idiot!

Maybe he needs to do a little math. The majority of Canadians want the census kept, and the majority of Canadians voted for the other parties. Yet this madman is trying to paint the notion of a coalition that represents the wishes of the majority, as something we should be frightened of?

I guess that's why he'll never know a 'majority', becasue he has no idea what Canadians want.

The politics of fear when the only thing we're afraid of is him.

Canada's Tory Tradition is Now Officially Dead

The Conservative Party that started with Sir John A. MacDonald officially dissolved in 2003, when the Reform-Alliance bought them out, replacing the Progressive Conservative platform with a Republican style conservatism.

Though a few of the old progressives or what were referred to as 'Red Tories', remained, Stephen Harper made it his mission to change that.
The state should take a more activist role in policing social norms and values, Harper told the assembled conservatives. To achieve this goal, social and economic conservatives must reunite as they have in the U.S., where evangelical Christians and business rule in an unholy alliance. Red Tories must be jettisoned from the party, he said, and alliances forged with ethnic and immigrant communities who currently vote Liberal but espouse traditional family values. This was the successful strategy counselled by the neocons under Ronald Reagan to pull conservative Democrats into the Republican tent. (1)
This was a new conservatism, quite foreign to Canadian politics. And that's because it was and is American.

Stephen Harper did not unite the right, because the PC Party was never really a right-wing party. They were fiscally conservative but socially responsible. And CANADIAN.

With Harper's recent hiring of Nigel Wright as his chief of staff, there is a clear message to former PCers. This is not your party, it is our party. Take it or leave it. You're not in Kansas anymore.

Although, I suppose in fact, we're certainly closer to Kansas than anywhere in this country. Because Wright, who was a former advisor to Neocon Mike Harris, feels the same way about Red Tories, or Progressive Conservatives. They must go.

In May of 2000, Nigel Wright, then working for Stockwell Day and the Alliance Party, told the Vancouver Sun: “Under Joe Clark, the Conservative party has ceased to exist as a right-of-centre alternative. As much as it pains me to say it, our aim now is to drive a stake through the heart of the Tory party.”

Ouch! I felt that stake.

Wright had also worked for Brian Mulroney, but was always considered to be from the far-right.
Pushing for the Alliance to take over the Progressive Conservatives. He attended a private meeting of blue-chip executives in 2001 where Stockwell Day discussed his plans to form “a coalition” with the Progressive Conservative party, with himself as the leader, (Toronto Star, March 7, 2001) and later attended a 14-hour weekend strategy session hosted by Mr. Day to look at the possibility of a coalition or outright takeover of the Tories. (National Post, March 19, 2001) (2)
Not a "coalition"? Say it ain't so.

But alas the following year Stephen Harper went after the PCs again. And abused his franking privileges to do it (sound familiar?):
The federal Tories are charging that interim Canadian Alliance leader John Reynolds abused his free-mail privileges to send out a political letter to woo Progressive Conservative members. The letter, signed by new Alliance Leader Stephen Harper, was mailed out to Tories across the country by Mr. Reynolds, who has led the party in Parliament since Stockwell Day stepped down in December to launch a leadership race. But Mr. Reynolds used his so-called "franking" privileges, the free-mail system for MPs, to send the letter.

Tory House Leader Peter MacKay charged that the letter was an abuse of the privilege that allows MPs to send mail related to their parliamentary functions for free. He said he and others on the Tory membership list in his Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough riding received "franked" letters. "This is purely political," Mr. MacKay said. "Not only is it inappropriate, it's against the franking privilege rules. Harper is a former member of Parliament. He should know that's not allowed."

Mr. MacKay said the letter was signed by Mr. Harper and sent out without even a cover letter from Mr. Reynolds before the new Alliance Leader was returned to Parliament in a by-election this week.But Mr. Reynolds insisted the letter, which suggested that Tory Leader Joe Clark had misled his members about Mr. Harper's offer of a parliamentary coalition, fell within the rules, and the Tories' accusation is wrong. (3)
Joe Clark wanted nothing to do with the Reformers. But Mackay would later prove that he could bought. And now a decade later we are being completely snuffed out.

Oh well. We had a good run. 150 years. Besides, what's wrong with the Republicans anyway? I mean besides George Bush, the Tea Parties, Sarah Palin, Fox News, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh? Sigh!


1. Harper, Bush Share Roots in Controversial Philosophy. The Tyee, Donald Gutstein, November 29, 2009

2. Just the Facts: Meet Nigel Wright, September 27, 2010

3. Alliance misused free mail, Tories say, By Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail, May 17, 2002

Did Jim Flaherty Give Rob Ford the Kiss of Death?

Rob Ford was leading into the polls and positioned to be the next mayor of Toronto. A bad move for Toronto, a vibrant city and tourist draw.

Ford would have fit in well with Mike Harris. But Ontario is still struggling to forget those horrible years and having our largest city in the grips of a neocon knucklehead is not the way to go.

This man has no ideas except to reduce taxes and increase the city's unemployed.

But it seems that since Jim Flaherty gave him a ringing endorsement, Torontonians woke up and said "what the hell?"

Jim Flaherty? One of the causes of our financial problems. Not bloody likely.

Now Ford is losing steam. Let's hope it continues.

His stances on things like immigration, make him no better than Donald Andrews. The only difference is that Andrews admits to being racist.

This is not the way for Toronto to go.

More on Stephen Harper's War With Canadians Over Census

He fought us on the gun registry and continues to fight us over the census. He lost the first war and we have to make sure that he loses the second.

The simmering controversy over the long-form census is boiling over in Parliament again, as MPs prepare to vote on a motion that will put the Harper government on the defensive. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff on Monday highlighted his party's plans to put the spotlight on the issue in an effort to convince the Conservative government to rethink its plans.

"They want to stampede this through and we're saying 'Hold on here. You're in a minority government, you don't have the approval of Parliament, think again, and let's get this right.'" Ignatieff said Statistics Canada is a world-renowned institution and the Harper government is "engaged in a form of vandalism."

And Ralph Goodale insists that it's not too late, despite what the Harperites are suggesting:

Though Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government declared the 2011 census to be voluntary, and the forms have reportedly already gone to the printers, Goodale says that there are any number of ways to reinstate the mandatory census, as so many Canadian organizations are demanding.

“That’s a decision where the government could yet quite easily change its mind,” says Goodale, a former finance minister, who believes that the government is hiding behind the “it’s too late” argument as a way of avoiding debate on its controversial census decision of this summer. This week, the Liberals are pushing forward a vote in the Commons to reinstate the mandatory census, while
an organization representing francophones was in Federal Court on Monday morning, seeking a formal injunction on the decision to make the census voluntary

And even Mark Carney, the "de facto chief steward of the Canadian economy" has given his opinion:

And the youngest central banker among the world’s leading economies has joined the more than 350 groups opposing the federal Tories’ proposed scrapping of the mandatory long-form census. Detailed census data influences the Bank’s decision-making in steering the economy.

Will Carney be the subject of new attacks? Ivan Fellegi, Canada's former chief statistician says he might, after suggesting that Without StatsCan's integrity 'we might as well not exist'.

He has been with StatsCan for 51 years, and fears losing his position for speaking out against Harper's decision to scrap the long-form census.

When a government stops listening to citizens it's time for them to go. Stephen Harper and his cronies must go. It's that simple.

Bored on the Corner Gets it Right on the Gun Registry

I love this guy. His videos are always well researched and presented. And he gets it absolutely right when discussing Harper's nonsense over the gun registry. Another incident where he will not allow facts to get in the way of decisions that could hamper his chance at holding onto power.

Keep the "base" happy and for everyone else, he just makes stuff up.

But Stephen Harper may have made a big mistake when he decided to make the gun registry a "wedge issue". It could turn out to be a "wedgie".

According to David Climenhaga:

Obviously, the Conservatives concluded registration of rifles and shotguns was a wedge that could separate sufficient numbers of habitual NDP supporters in rural Northern Ontario and Liberal supporters in rural Atlantic Canada to give them the Parliamentary majority they crave. There is no doubt wedge issues work. They may be divisive and negative, polarizing the populace into bitter camps, but they have effectively driven politics in the United States since the era of Richard Nixon. The cynical Republican strategist Karl Rove used them to push the sophomoric loser George W. Bush right into the White House.

But while Harper's Conservatives clearly admire Rove and imitate his tactics, there are reasons to believe the divisive campaign they have crafted using the long-gun registry could drive just as deep a wedge between Conservatives and many of their natural supporters as the other way around.

Like supporters in the urban west, who vote out of habit. They abandoned the Tories when they didn't believe that Brian Mulroney was listening to them. They are quite capable of doing the same to the Reform-Conservatives, especially when they are listening to the NRA instead of them.

And EKOS pollster Frank Graves, also sees that this could spell trouble for a party hoping to fool people into thinking they are governing from the center.

Mr. Graves characterizes the spin as “egregiously flawed political arithmetic,” suggesting the Tories – rather than winning seats because of their position – would actually lose seats because of it. “Surely, we might at least consider the question of whether Conservative MPs in urban areas, who were elected by slim margins, might not be concerned their fealty to the destruction of the gun registry might not push them into the realm of failure next time?” It’s an emotional issue, he argues, not just for rural voters but also for others, such as women voters in Quebec where the province’s 11 Tory MPs all supported scrapping the registry.

It was a stupid move, and add that to all the other stupid moves, and I sure would not want to be trying to campaign on them.

The Conservative Law and Order Agenda is About Wrath, Vengeance and Punishing the Poor

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

In a "Back to the Bible Hour" radio address, Preston Manning spoke of the "infallible Scriptures" and the "spiritual bankruptcy" of modern society.

This was evidenced, he said, in the increase of "juvenile delinquency, adult crime, drug addiction, drunkenness, adultery, divorce, prostitution, homosexuality and general moral laxity". And the only remedy for a sinful nation was prayer. (1)

Manning was not speaking from an Apocalyptic vision, but simply from a notion of "common sense". Canadians had lost their way. A secular society was creating rampant crime.

And despite the fact that Canada's justice system, while not perfect, was based on fairness; leaning toward rehabilitation as a way of creating a safer society, Manning was convinced that "sin" was on the rise.

You can't rehabilitate "sinners", you can only "save" them.

And that was the basis for the Reform Movement's law and order agenda.

We saw this recently with Stockwell Day. Presented with the facts that crime rates are down, and in fact are now the lowest they've ever been in Canada, he simply ignored it. The "sinners" are out there. If we build the prisons God will lead him to them.

We can only have a moral and just society when all threats are removed and locked away. And when the keepers of the morality are running the country, there will be no more "sin". The devil will have been vanquished.

This is why you cannot base a country's laws on the Old Testament, because a justice system can never be about wrath and vengeance. It's been tried and it doesn't work. Modern society learned long ago that you need to get to the root causes of crime and repair society's ills first. Beginning with poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

Conservatives and Morality

The Republicans, the Religious Right and Fox News have created the same kind of narrow minded thinking. But Chris Hedges has found that this new 'Republicanism', wrapped up in morality, where everyone is responsible for their own actions, is having the opposite effect.

Using Ohio as an example, he suggests that 'moral laxity' comes from despair, not a desire to sin. And this despair more often came from the loss of good paying jobs and the inability of families to make a decent living.
Laborers in the steel mills and manufacturing plants once made an average of $51,000 annually. Those who have moved into the service sector now make $16,000 in the leisure and hospitality sector, $33,000 in health care, or $39,000 in construction. In 2004 [under George Bush], average employee compensation in the United States fell for the first time in 14 years.' Between 2000 and 2004, Ohio lost a quarter of a million jobs and Cleveland became the nation's poorest big city, and young people are fleeing the state in massive numbers to find work.

The bleakness of life in Ohio exposes the myth peddled by the Christian Right about the American heartland: that here alone are family values and piety cherished, nurtured and protected. The so-called red states, which vote Republican and have large evangelical populations, have higher rates of murder, illegitimacy and teenage births than the so-called blue states, which vote Democrat and have kept the evangelicals at bay. The lowest divorce rates tend to be found in blue states as well as in the Northeast and upper Midwest. The state with the lowest divorce rate is Massachusetts, a state singled out by televangelists because of its Liberal politicians and legalization of same-sex marriage. In 2003, 'Massachusetts had a divorce rate of 5.7 divorces per 1,000 married people, compared with 10.8 in Kentucky, 11.1 in Mississippi and 12.7 in Arkansas.'

Couples in former manufacturing states such as Ohio have to have two jobs to survive. The economic catastrophe has been accompanied by the erosion in federal and state assistance programs, the cutting of funds to elementary and secondary education, the reduction in assistance to women through the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program, along with reductions in programs such as Head Start and federal programs to assist low-income families, elderly people, and people with disabilities who once turned to the government for rental assistance.' Federal abandonment of the destitute came at a time when these communities most needed support. As the years passed and the future began to look as bleak as the present, this despair morphed into rage ... Domestic violence, alcoholism and drug abuse ran like plagues... (2)
Unemployment, underemployment, poverty and cuts to social programs created "sin", not Liberals or the secular. And the answer is not to lock them away.

But the Reform movement that pushes for stricter laws and more incarcerations, have been led to believe that any problems they might have, or that they see in society, are caused by lack of prayer. And they target the poor and unfortunate.

And that is who will suffer under these new Draconian crime bills. According to Dean Beeby, in his piece: Aboriginals, poor hit hardest by Tory sentencing law:
The preliminary statistics from Justice Canada lend support to critics who warn that Bill C-25, the so-called Truth in Sentencing Act, unfairly targets the poor, the illiterate and Canada's aboriginal community. (3)
And in true Conservative fashion:
The internal study was cited in a secret memorandum to cabinet about Bill C-25, but was not made public as the House of Commons and Senate debated
the proposed legislation. (3)
They were presented with the facts that contradicted their stance, so had to make sure that lawmakers never saw them. The Gun Registry all over again.

I'm not a socialists or a communist, but I think real "common sense" is targeting the causes of crime from an earthly perspective. And that requires believing that all humans have value, and creating a society that puts the needs of it's citizens above ideology.

But Stephen Harper, and indeed everyone involved in this movement on both sides of the border, pander only to the wealthy and self-righteous. In all of his photo-ops, when have you ever seen our prime minister engaging with the poor? His events are staged and by invitation only.

If he doesn't have to look despair in the face, then it doesn't exist.

In his book Waiting for the Wave, Tom Flanagan states that Preston Manning was not an ideologue. However, he does say that Stephen Harper was driven by ideology. But it's not an ideology based on religion, but based on the needs of the wealthy.

This means removing all barriers that prevent the rich from becoming richer and locking away anyone who might want to share in their wealth, not just those who might want to take it. He refuses to accept that if citizens are provided with good paying jobs, adequate health care, education and opportunity, we would all live in a safer society.

He once said of the proposal for enhanced social programs:
“These proposals included cries for billions of new money for social assistance in the name of “child poverty” and for more business subsidies in the name of “cultural identity”. In both cases I was sought out as a rare public figure to oppose such projects.” (4)
A rare public figure to oppose money going to child poverty. And yet he has no problem answering "cries for billions of new money for social assistance in the name of “corporate welfare”. Billions and billions of dollars, while asking the rest of us to tighten our belts and promising a new "austerity" budget. There is something fundamentally wrong with that.

We don't need more prisons or tougher laws. We don't need fighter jets. We don't need corporate tax cuts. What we need is a new government. And when we get it, we have to fight like hell to have these crime bills removed.


1. Waiting for the Wave: The Reform Party and Preston Manning, By Tom Flanagan, Stoddart Publishing, 1995, ISBN: 0-7737-2862-7, Pg. 6

2. American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, By Chris Hedges, Free Press, 2006, ISBN: 10-0-7432-8443-7, Pg. 42-44

3. Aboriginals, poor hit hardest by Tory sentencing law: internal report, By Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press, September 25, 2010

4. The Bulldog, National Citizens Coalition, February 1997

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Would Like the Parliamentary Budget Officer to Cost Out Stephen Harper's Photo-Ops

When Stephen Harper visited Canada’s arctic and was transported to the HMCS Toronto by helicopter for those ridiculous shots of him in an orange jumpsuit with a Star Wars helmet, the Nunavut’s Newspaper called it “The most expensive photo op you’ll ever see.”

He's had many of those. Including this one:
The whole thing was a beautifully staged act of geopolitical theatre. On the waters of Allen Bay, near the High Arctic community of Resolute Bay, beneath brilliant skies, Stephen Harper watched from a Zodiac on Wednesday as Leading Seaman Deidre Dorian dived into the crystal-cold Arctic Ocean. She talked to him by comm link from the ocean floor about seven metres below.
What would something like that cost? These photo-ops go beyond baby kissing and ribbon cutting. They are carefully staged and professionally choreographed. But what is their purpose?

From a Letter to the Editor in the Globe:
This week’s Stephen Harper High Arctic rendezvous and the meticulously staged photo-op with our military is further evidence that the Conservatives appear to be more interested in fluffing up Mr. Harper’s image than they are in dealing with the real issues facing Canadians.
I think that nails it.

His entire tenure has been one long stream of photo-ops. No questions. Few statements, except for partisan nonsense. Just photo-ops.

And his appearance after Hurricane Igor in Newfoundland, raises many questions. While he was pictured walking around the area, he failed to address what should have been addressed.

As Galloping Beaver wonders, after Harper claiming that he'd never seen anything like it.
I'm certainly not going to dispute it. However, first we have Harper telling us where the flood waters were, even though he wasn't there and secondly, he fails to acknowledge what actually happened. A politician chose to take the spotlight and act as a spokesman for somebody else. He doesn't know where the flood waters were; someone else told him. And since Harper was being so authoritative in his assessment and analysis why didn't some reporter simply nail him right then? Question: Isn't it a bit odd for mid-latitude Newfoundland to take a direct hit from a tropical Atlantic Category 1 hurricane? Since you're providing details would you explain how that meteorological event evolved?
Igor did not visit Canada to provide another photo-op for our prime minister. Shouldn't he question that maybe this is not a natural event?

This is what happens when your entire governance is 'focused' on 'camera friendly' events. You ignore the events that need your attention.

Like Global Warming.

I think it's time all those photo-ops were costed out. It's not up to taxpayers to fuel this man's narcissism. Taxpayer funded psychiatric help on the other hand. Now that's something I'd get behind.

Stephen Harper and a Few Gun Facts

I know that facts are anathema to our current government, but with their posturing over scrapping the gun registry, even after the vote, Alex Roberts provides some very compelling 'facts' and statistics on gun crime in Canada.

NUMBER of times Harper-led governments have attempted to abolish the long-gun registry: 3.

Number of times Stephen Harper (as a member of the Reform Party) voted to keep the gun registry: 2.

Number of independent, peer-reviewed research studies cited by the Conservative Party to support their decision to try to scrap the long-gun registry: 0.

Number of months a positive RCMP report on the gun registry was held back from MPs after it was required by law to be tabled in Parliament: 3.

Cost of obtaining a licence for possession and acquisition of a gun: $60.

Cost of registering or transferring the registration of a long gun: $0.

Percentage of known homicide deaths in 2008 that involved long guns, or sawed-off rifles or shotguns: 24.

Percentage of spousal homicides that involved the use of long guns and shotguns: 72.

Average number of times the long gun registry is "accessed" per day: 11,000.
Number of police queries of the gun registry in 2008: 3.44 million.

Number of long gun licences revoked from 2006-2009 because of a deemed risk, a court order or a complaint: 6,093.

Harper should read this. But he won't. He'll attack Roberts instead, or anyone else who tries to cloud the issue with facts. Sigh.

Accountability, Transparency and Words That Work

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

Canada's Access to Information Act was passed into law by Pierre Trudeau in 1983.
Conceived in the late 1970s, drafted and passed into law in the early 1980s, the Act was quite radical in its impact. It created an enforceable right of access for Canadians, subject to limited and specific exceptions, and provided for an appeal process for refusal of access independent of government, first, to an Information Commissioner and then to the Federal Court. Despite ongoing criticism of the legislation, there is no doubt that it has served to slowly but nevertheless effectively strip away much of the natural resort to secrecy which has been one of the less useful legacies to the country of British parliamentary government. In short, the Act established new standards for the release of information which required often reluctant Ministers and bureaucrats to embrace the tenets of open, more transparent government. One cannot pick up a thoughtful editorial, public affairs magazine or throne speech and not find these concepts now heralded as one of the essential bases of the "new", more relevant politics. (1)
The act wasn't perfect but it was a start and has been a useful tool, especially to journalists. It has also been a thorn to many politicians of all political stripes, as they have tried to stall information they'd rather not have made public. But it rarely worked.

Eventually the truth came out, and the fact that they tried to withhold that truth, only made the potential scandal worse.

Then along came Stephen Harper, and he would do more to circumvent the access to information act than anyone before him. But he wrapped it up in language designed to placate a distrustful public. And that language was courtesy of Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

Because while we sought transparency, they instead gave us 'accountability'.
I constantly hear the need for "transparency" coming from members of the financial services industry as well as Members of Congress. But if you asked the American people, accountability is a much higher priority. The fact is, a majority of Americans can’t even explain what transparency actually means. But everyone understands and demands accountability from all sectors of the economy ... and the government. (2)
Those are the words of Frank Luntz and he used the notion of 'accountability' as part of his book: Words That Work. And when I say the notion of accountability, I mean exactly that.

It's interesting that the entire 'Accountability Act', came not from anyone in the legal, civic or justice community, but from a Republican pollster whose job it is to get people elected and keep them in power. And not by being a better or more ethical government, but simply by using words that work. 'Accountability', not 'transparency'.

And it worked for a while. That was until it was determined that this government was the most secretive in this country's history.

Robert Marleau, the information commissioner when Harper assumed power, resigned:
... a few months after issuing a set of failing-grade report cards that blamed those "at the very top" for systematically denying Canadians information about what the government is doing in their name. (2)
And our new information officer, Suzanne Legault, has given the Harper government a failing grade. And while they continue to take Luntz's advice and use the word 'accountability' as much as possible, nothing has changed.

So when David McKie asks recently, the G-20 and G-8 expenses debate, is it really about transparency, we are not the ones to ask. We're not familiar with the term. We've been Republicanized.
What we have recorded to date is about a quarter of a billion dollars. In other words, a fraction of the total bill, which we're told is comprised mostly of security costs born by the RCMP and CSIS. Because of security concerns with those organizations, a detailed breakdown of the remaining costs may never come. If it does, the information, as it was this summer when foreign affairs first released its costs, will be heavily censored. This is not transparency.
You had us until you mentioned the 'T' word David.

Might I suggest you head down to the bookstore or library and pick up a copy of Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear, By Frank Luntz. He's co-wrote everything from our Accountability Act to our Environmental Platform. A must read if you want to translate the language of Stephen Harper.

It'll come in handy when we start the debate on health care in this country, up to now a taboo subject for this government. I can hardly wait.


1. THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT: A CRITICAL REVIEW, Minister of Public Works and Government Services 1994, Cat. No. IP34-6/1994E, ISBN 0-662-22683-0

2. This holiday, pity the poor watchdog, By James Travers, Toronto Star, December 24, 2009

Soldiers Don't Need to Embarrass the Government of Canada. They do That on Their Own

With the continuing story of the abuse and neglect facing Canadian veterans at the hands of the Harper government, we learn that they are not even allowed to speak for themselves.
While politicians wrangle over support for disabled veterans, future beneficiaries are banned from the debate. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are forbidden to comment on the programs designed to assist them when they are injured. Flying in the face of sensible policy development and common sense, disability benefits are arranged without input from future stakeholders.
Please email your MP, write letters to the editor, scream it from the rooftops, if necessary. This is not acceptable.

I've said before that supporting the troops, also means standing up for our veterans, especially given that they are not allowed, and sometimes physically unable, to stand up for themselves.

Stephen Harper, Deceit, and the Exploitation of Religion

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

I was combing through Tom Flanagan's book Waiting for the Wave, which was written in 1995 when the Reform Party was first entering the political arena; and came across an interesting passage.
[Preston] Manning does have an increasing tendency to surround himself with evangelical Christians, not for policy reasons but because a common approach to religion encourages rapport and loyalty. Strikingly, all five officers in the first Reform caucus (nominated personally by Manning) were Evangelical Christians. Yet non-evangelicals such as Cliff Fryers, Gordon Shaw, Stephen Harper, and Rick Anderson have also played key roles as organizers and advisers. (1)
"Non-evangelicals such as ... Stephen Harper"?

It has been suggested by many, including Lloyd MacKey who wrote a book on the topic: The Pilgrimage of Stephen Harper, that Harper's route to salvation was a cerebral journal. However, he had to actually call the Conservative leader's pastor to verify that he was a member. I know several Evangelicals and they do not hide their beliefs, but allow them to direct their lives.

Douglas Todd once wrote in the Vancouver Sun:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is damned if he does talk about his evangelical beliefs and damned if he doesn't. If he continues to avoid answering questions about his religious convictions, political observers say he appears secretive, like he's hiding something. But, at the same time, most Canadians do not share the moral convictions of his evangelical denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. (2)
However, I don't think that Stephen Harper shares "the moral convictions of his evangelical denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church." I think the whole thing was a scam and part of creating his public persona. He would never gain the financial support of the Religious Right if he was not seen as "one of them".

He would have assuredly lost to Stockwell Day, who wears his Evangelism on his sleeve.

In fact during the leadership race, Stephen Harper went public with Stockwell Day's exploitation of religion:
Stockwell Day yesterday continued to seek support from evangelical Christians with a barely publicized campaign stop at Canada's largest Bible college, even as one of his opponents warned the Canadian Alliance leadership race risks being "perverted" by a single-interest group. Mr. Day held a campaign rally at Briercrest Bible College in Caronport, Sask., an event that attracted hundreds and was not included in the public itinerary posted on the candidate's Web site. He campaigned earlier in the day at the evangelical Victory Church in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Mr. Day lashed out at rivals Stephen Harper and Grant Hill for accusing him of aiming his campaign primarily at devout Christians and opponents of abortion ... Last week, organizers for Mr. Harper went public with concerns that Mr. Day is appealing to a narrow base of religious groups -- including orthodox Jews, Pentecostals and anti-abortion Catholics -- in a bid to regain the leadership post he was forced to relinquish late last year. (3)
But then after winning the leadership, Stephen Harper realized just how beneficial hooking your wagon to the Religious Right could be.
The only route, he [Harper] argued, was to focus not on the tired wish list of economic conservatives or “neo-cons,” as they’d become known, but on what he called “theo-cons”—those social conservatives who care passionately about hot-button issues that turn on family, crime, and defence. Even foreign policy had become a theo-con issue, he pointed out, driven by moral and religious convictions. “The truth of the matter is that the real agenda and the defining issues have shifted from economic issues to social values,” he said, “so conservatives must do the same.” (4)
Preston Manning was often accused of bringing religious fanaticism to politics. However, I never really thought of Manning as a fanatic, certainly not in the same vein as Stockwell Day or Jason Kenney. His political views were based on both "the will of the people and the voice of God". (5)

But because he was evangelical, his thought process was based a large part on his personal beliefs. However, Stephen Harper has never really held any personal faith, and I don't think that he was ever himself an evangelical.

In 1995 Tom Flanagan, his close advisor, knew that. Harper was 35 at the time, and yet when he was on the the Drew Marshall program in 2005, he told the host that he had "found Jesus" when he was in his 20's.

In his 20's he was dating Cynthia Williams. In fact they were engaged. But when Harper's Biographer, William Johnson asked her about her former fiance's religious beliefs, she became embarrassed and simply said that they never went to church or anything. (6)

The pastor at the Christian Missionary Alliance told Marci MacDonald that he rarely attends, and he has never met Harper's wife. They were married in a civil ceremony.

Harper's VP when he was with the National Citizens Coalition, also confirmed that his colleague never mentioned his faith. He only called himself a "born again Christian" when it became politically expedient. Leo Strauss would be impressed. Me, not so much.

By pretending to be Evangelical, he misses the basics of Evangelism. Deceit is not a virtue. And by tapping into the worst of fundamentalism, he has painted them all with a fanatical brush, furthering the divide.

I think he always believed he could shed the fanatics once in power, but now he finds that they may be all he has left. Centrists have abandoned him and Progressive Conservatives have realized that this is not a party of fiscal conservatives.

I've asked original Reform supporters if they find the excesses of the G-20 and G-8, or the abuse of tax dollars with the bogus Canada Action Plan, principled. I can't imagine any of them condoning this kind of corruption.

But I'd like to also remind his religious supporters, of something they probably already know in their gut. Stephen Harper is not, nor has he ever been, an Evangelical.

Like almost everything else he claimed to be, this was just another part of Strauss's Big Lie.

It's time for him to make an exit.


1. Waiting for the Wave: The Reform Party and Preston manning, By Tom Flanagan, Stoddart Publishing, 1995, ISBN: 0-7737-2862-7, Pg. 9

2. Why Stephen Harper keeps his evangelical faith very private, By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, September 10, 2008

3. Day slips into Bible college for Rally, By S. Alberts, National Post, February 13, 2002

4. Stephen Harper and the Theo-cons: The rising clout of Canada’s religious right, By Marci McDonald, The Walrus, October 2006, Pg. 2

5. Flanagan, 1995, Pg. 3

6. Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada, by William Johnson, McClelland & Stewart, 2005, ISBN 0-7710 4350-3

This Stimulus Spending Scandal Should be Impeachable

I watched an account of the murder of Kathy Augustine, former Republican politician from Nevada, who was apparently murdered by her husband.

However, what I found interesting about the story was the fact that she had been impeached as state controller for violating the privileges of her office. Apparently Augustine used her staff and office photo-copier in her bid for re-election.

So how is this blatant tax-payer funded re-election campaign, called the Canada Action Plan, not an impeachable offense?

OK. I realize that Canada does not have impeachment laws, but maybe we should.

We could call the new law the Harper Law, in honour of the man who broke all the rules of common decency in the interest of self-promotion. Or maybe the Giorno Law, since he was the man who authorized it. An exact replay of his days with the corrupt Ontario Premier Mike Harris.

Or maybe even the Reform Party Law because back in the day when they were trying to promote principle, they wanted to legislate a recall law, where politicians could be impeached or recalled for abusing their office.

Boy has that party gone down the tubes since Harper took it over. Although I think they dug their grave when they teamed up with Harris himself back in the day.

I never liked Reform because of their narrow minded views, but I thought their hearts were in the right place when it came to some "values", especially anti-corruption. Now we get the corruption and the narrow minded views. Haven't we been blessed?

Hundreds of millions of dollars gone. Tax dollars in the middle of a recession. A recession that we were supposed to have weathered, only to find that when the winds stopped blowing, our house and safety nets had blown away with them.

It's a complete mess and we don't even have the Auditor General's report yet.

50 million dollars for signs and who knows how much for other re-election paraphernalia like bunting, pamphlets and plaques (?)
The contract - which requires recipient groups to submit photos of their Economic Action Plan signs - says eligible expenses for signage include maximum costs of $2,250 for a small sign and $4,250 for a large sign. Another $2,500 can be charged for a "permanent plaque." The club can expense rental fees on chairs, flagpoles, a public-address system and a stage, and can charge Ottawa for light refreshments and snacks (no booze), printing and mailing of invitations, and media kits.
All of this while the municipalities were forced to borrow money for the actual project, and many have still not been reimbursed.

And while they continue to blow their own (taxpayer funded) horn, some of the so-called infrastructure spending was nothing but a family and friends orgy.
World leaders look at what Canada’s doing and they “want to be Canadian,” Mr. Flaherty insisted. Really? It’s hard to imagine there’s much Canada envy over the millions Ottawa has thrown at local pet projects over the past two years, including Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest ($700,000), an indoor skateboard park and climbing wall in Winnipeg ($3.2-million), a motorized orchestra pit at a concert hall in Rimouski, Que. ($153,000), or repairing a busted hockey rink in Iqaluit ($2.5-million).

No one begrudges Canadians’ right to knock back some Schnapps or play a little hockey. But to throw billions into a hodge-podge of boondoggles and call it world-beating economic policy is a bit of a stretch.
Or how about the $15-million for something called Prince Arthur’s Landing at Marina Park to "install a water main, fill in a small piece of Lake Superior with dirt and put a sewer in so private developers can cash in with a water park, hotel, and condos."

Sounds like Tony Clement's 50 million dollar boost to help an American owned hotel.

Or thousands for a circus school. Tony Clement is expected to be the first grad.

And millions of dollars for private religious schools. And when I say millions, I mean MILLIONS!!!! Libraries, indoor soccer fields.
The debate over a government grant to build an indoor soccer field at Collingwood's Pretty River Academy (PRA) has turned ugly. Dueling on-line petitions, protests and countless letters to the editor have laid bare the issue
of public money funding a private school and the apparent inability of Collingwood council to get its own recreation infrastructure projects approved.
(Pretty River Debate Turns Ugly: Collingwood)
Nothing open to the public. You have to be "saved" first, but even then be willing to open your wallets.

Like Redeemer College, with strong links to both David Sweet and Harper's former deputy chief of staff Darrel Reid. They got three million dollars of "public" money despite the fact that are a "private" Bible school. Or how about the four million that went to build a library in another private religious school? How is this helping the rest of us?

As Barrie McKenna states:
Mr. Flaherty insists the government’s orgy of infrastructure spending “will leave a legacy for future generations.” Unfortunately, the legacy may be a swelling deficit that crowds out spending on the kind of infrastructure the country really needs.
Now how about that recall law?