Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another List of Conservative Misdeeds

Picking out ten Conservative misdeeds for my original list was hard, because there are so many to choose from. I tried to touch on all of the areas where the neoconservative movement has attempted to destroy our Just Society.

So I've decided to release them all, ten at a time, making them easier to digest, but will keep track of them at the bottom of the original page.

10. Mohammad Jahazi is a brilliant scientist who taught at McGill University and was employed with the National Research Council. But Jason Kenney's boss, Alykhan Velshi, who came right from the Bush administration to make sure that Kenney did as he was told, decided that Jahazi was a risk to Canada.

Why? He was born in Iran. Velshi claimed that he had worked on Iran's weapons program. So Velshi had him removed from the NRC and denied his immigration request. Jahazi fought back in the courts, and the judge hearing the case found that there was absolutely no evidence that the man ever worked on developing weapons. In fact all of the evidence that Velshi used, came from the Internet. Jahazi won his case but Velshi still won't allow him to come back to Canada.

We are quickly becoming a country where many citizens live in fear of that hard rap on the door.

9. Over the top security at the G-20, made Canada a laughing stock. The New York Times ran a column: Canada Agog at Security Price Tag for Summit.
The latest government estimate is $897 million for three days of summitry. That comes to about $12 million per hour, or a total near what the government spends per year in the war in Afghanistan. “The cost of these summits is completely out of whack and extravagant and exorbitant,” said Don Davies, a New Democratic Party member of Parliament. Mark Holland of the Liberal Party called the conference “the most expensive 72 hours in Canadian history.”
If the money had been spent to keep Canadians safe, we might have been able to live with the bill. But instead the police were instructed to leave the vandals alone, and instead went after journalists and citizens. $12 million per hour just to put fear into Canadians performing their civic duties. The message is clear. Dissent is not allowed.

8. Uses staff paid for by tax payers for partisan attacks. In December of 2009, the PMO sent out an email trashing an interview given by Michael Ignatieff, obviously hoping to recreate the success they had courtesy of Mike Duffy and CTV.
The Harper PMO is mocking Michael Ignatieff, comparing him to the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and his famous interview in which he couldn’t answer why he wanted to be President. In a particularly pointed and caustic Alerte-Info-Alert missive that is sent to Tory MPs and supporters, the PMO says the Liberal leader couldn’t give an answer in a recent end-of-year interview as to why he wants to be Prime Minister.

Says the PMO talking points: “This latest episode demonstrates what we have said all along: Michael Ignatieff is not in it for Canadians. He is in it for himself” ... The Ignatieff Liberals are livid. “Using the Office of the Prime Minister for this sort of partisan garbage has to be a new low,” says a senior Liberal official.
And Stephen Harper's not in it for himself? Can you say prorogation ... twice ... to save his job. That office is supposed to be used to conduct the nation's business, not distribute your own campaign literature.

7. Company guilty of environmental crimes was given a huge gift from the Harper government. AbitibiBowater Inc. came about with the merger of Bowater and Abitibi-Consolidated, in January of 2007. A merger that the unions tried to fight but lost.
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.
Within months of the merger, the company was 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.

The company eventually went bankrupt, but not before massive job losses and environmental damage. And it was only then that Harper stepped in. Jason Kenney's Canadian Taxpayer Federation blamed the Newfoundland premier for attempting to stop the corporation from doing more damage, and our prime minister kissed it all better, writing out a cheque to the corporate welfare bums in the amount of 130 million dollars. Poor things. Victims of those pesky woodland creatures and the Canadian public who doesn't want to see their forests destroyed.

6. After announcing with much fanfare, a sanctuary for Beluga Whales in the Arctic, it was learned that the Harper government had already agreed to allow drilling for oil in that sanctuary. The Belugas will love it.
"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.
5. After promising no cuts to Public Service, the Harper government has laid off 1200 workers at EI, with the promise of an additional layoff some time this month.
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 May.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.
He's got to pay for that 130 million dollar corporate welfare cheque somehow.

4. Rod Bruinooge is the Conservative MP who is working behind the scenes to make abortion a crime. When Henry Morgentaler, was about to receive the order of Canada, Bruinooge began a campaign to prevent it, citing a poll suggesting that "56% of Canadians Oppose Morgentaler Order of Canada."

Turns out the poll was conducted by his brother, a man who when running for Winnipeg council, gave his occupation as: "Tory party organizer". Did we pay for that bogus poll? Stupid question, I know. Of course we did.

3. Gordon Landon, the Conservative candidate for Markham-Unionville, was ejected from the party after relaying a message that had come from party central, about the stimulus funding. He was told that his riding would not get anything because it was a Liberal riding. He unwittingly went public with the information, ending his short-lived political career.

2. Conservative MP and cabinet minister, Peter Kent, tried to get involved in the student elections at York University, hoping to place a more pro-Israel candidate in the top spot. Naturally students cried foul.

Students at York University cried foul when federal Conservative MP Peter Kent and Ontario Conservative MPP, Peter Shurman got involved with their election, hoping to bring forward a "... conservative, pro-Israeli" candidate.

"The Conservative party has no authority at all for getting involved in student politics ... We're an incorporated, independent body," charged Krisna Saravanamuttu, who was elected president of the York Federation of Students in the controversial vote. "Prime Minister Stephen Harper's foot soldiers are deliberately interfering with student elections to help candidates more friendly to their policies." ... "I find it bizarre for a federal minister (Kent is Canada's minister of state for foreign affairs in the Americas) to try to interfere in a student election," said CFS chair Shelley Melanson. "

1. Attempting to destroy Canadian culture with huge cuts to the arts, implying that all artists are rich and think they're corporations who can feed from the public trough. He would later say that he had actually increased funds to the arts, but that was because he lumped the infrastructure for the Olympics in with other art funding.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sparked a culture war in the federal election campaign with a claim that "ordinary people" don't care about arts funding. Under fire for his government's $45 million in cuts to arts and culture funding, the Conservative leader yesterday said average Canadians have no sympathy for "rich" artists who gather at galas to whine about their grants.

"I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see a gala of a bunch of people at, you know, a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren't high enough, when they know those subsidies have actually gone up – I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people."
Ordinary people do like the arts, they just don't like him. Besides it's an important industry that provides jobs, tax revenue and tourist dollars. Ironically, Laureen Harper, had to cancel an appearance at an Arts gala, because of the comments made by Steve. Good timing.

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