Saturday, January 1, 2011

My New Years Top Ten List of Conservative Misdeeds

In the spirit of the New Year, when everyone is listing their favourite music, movies, worst dressed, etc., I thought I'd list my top ten Conservative misdeeds. The worst of the worst.

These aren't the obvious things, like 130 million for self promo television ads, 45 million for signs or 100 million for opinion polls, and then ignoring our opinions completely.

These took a lot more work. A lot more cunning. And a lot more deceit. And several of them you may not have even been aware of until now.

I'm listing them as David Letterman presents his top ten lists, beginning with the last.

10. The creation of an AstroTurf group called Canadians for Afghanistan, whose role was to change public opinion on the war. Turns out it was funded by military companies eager to continue their lucrative contracts, and run by party insiders.
A self-described grassroots youth organization that wants Canada to continue its mission in Afghanistan was organized with help from a lobbyist who, until recently, worked for a prominent Conservative MP. The group, Canadians for Afghanistan, introduced itself to the national media on Parliament Hill yesterday by calling on Canada to remain committed to ongoing military and humanitarian support.

The Canadians For Afghanistan website lists its main contact as Josh McJannett, a former Conservative staffer who worked for government whip Jay Hill until September. He had previously worked as an aide to Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer. After leaving the Hill, Mr. McJannett became a lobbyist with Summa Strategies, an Ottawa government-relations firm that counts some defence contractors, including U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing, among its clients.
9. The appointment of a big Pharma Vice-President to a government agency responsible for distributing funds to the industry.
Last October, the Harper government appointed Bernard Prigent to the governing council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the federal agency that distributes about a billion dollars annually for health research. That appointment was met with near-universal condemnation from medical ethicists, because Prigent is a vice-president of Pfizer Canada, a firm that stands to profit from the decisions made at CIHR.
8. The creation of an AstroTurf group promoting the continued subsidy of the coal industry, mostly American, by having the operation of Ridley Terminals, paid for by tax payers.
In the great scheme of Canada’s economy, Ridley Terminals Inc. is no big deal. With annual revenue of just under $25-million, the Crown corporation operates a bulk-commodity handling facility off Ridley Island in Prince Rupert, B.C., 1,000 kilometres north of Vancouver. FP Comment’s editorial team has never been to Ridley Terminals, and wouldn’t know a bulk handling facility from the Coney Island Cyclone Ride. What we do know, when we see it, is big time corporate subsidy seeking, backroom politics, scheming lobbyists and cabinet ministers throwing their weight around to satisfy the big time corporate interests.
The AstroTurfers were the Ridley Terminals Users Group and they were financed by the Houston based (with ties to G.W. Bush) Global Public Affairs.
The focus of opposition activity is the Ridley Terminals Users Group, a cabal of major B.C. and Alberta coal mine operators, including such giants as Husky Energy, Suncor Energy, Tech Coal and Coal Valley Resources, headquartered in Mr. [Rob] Merrifield’s riding. The listed federal lobbyist for Ridley Terminal Users Group is Philip Cartwright, of Global Public Affairs in Ottawa. With Global Public Affairs leading the campaign, a sudden un-spontaneous groundswell of opposition is sweeping local governments in and around Prince Rupert. The National Post called them Harper's Ridley terminators.
And to avoid the problem of pandering to an American organization, Harper broke the rules of his own accountability act, by removing Erin Wall, assistant to Brian Jean, Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities [John Baird] and sent her to work for Global Public Affairs.

Ms Wall was then registered as a lobbyist for the Houston based International Commodity Export Corporation, the largest beneficiary of government subsidies to the [Ridley] terminals. Her appointment took place on June 19, 2009; just before the firing of Dan Veniez (the operator of the terminals who went public), and on the same day that ICEC underwent a name change to give it the appearance of a Canadian company. And they get 25 million dollars annually, as a gift from Canadian taxpayers.

7. Breaking election laws by allowing a non-profit organization, then headed up by Kory Teneycke, to campaign for the Conservatives under the guise of promoting renewable energies. The Conservatives 2005-06 election platform on environmental issues, was called 'Made in Canada'. Coincidentally the same 'Made in Canada' solutions promoted by Canadian Renewable Energies, which was funded in part by the oil and gas industry. They were also given a two billion dollar grant by Jim Flaherty.

The brochure used to be available on-line, but it has conveniently disappeared (I have a printed copy that I'll scan and show later). However, it was filled with pictures of Harper Conservatives and headed 'Made in Canada'. A steal at two billion dollars.

6. After Dr. John O'Connor, a family physician who was a visiting doctor to the small northern Alberta community of Fort Chipewyan, reported high levels of a rare cancer in those living downstream from the Tar Sands, the Harper government set out to destroy him.
... the family physician never anticipated that speaking out about his concerns would land him in a career-threatening struggle against the federal government with his medical licence on the line."Looking back, it's been a nightmare for me," O'Connor said in an interview. "It's just something I never expected in a million years. I just wanted to be the family doctor that I was when I went up there."
In April of 2009, Dr. O'Connor and Andrew Nikiforuk, author of Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent; were asked to speak at a special parliamentary committee on 'the impact of world's largest energy project on water: 130 square kilometres of waste water, acid rain, fish deformities, rare cancers and city-scale withdrawals of freshwater.'Expecting to be treated as the experts that they were , they were instead ambushed by, for lack of a better term, a gang of thugs, all from the Conservative goon squad. As Nikiforuk recounts:
But both O'Connor and I made a terrible mistake. We assumed that all committee members would be interested in rigorous dialogue regardless of political affiliation. But that's not what Ottawa delivered. Instead, several Tory MPs subjected us to abusive Republican tactics geared to dismiss, discredit and dishonour.
And yet they claimed they didn't know about deformed fish in the Tar Sands rivers.

5. Another AstroTurf group was created to sell Canadians on the notion that Climate Change was a hoax. Calling themselves Friends of Science, they ran ads on radio stations aping Harper's environmental policies.
David McGuinty was baffled when he first heard provocative advertising about global warming in the midst of the 2006 federal election.The radio spots criticized a consumer energy conservation program along with the climate change policies of the government of the day and appeared to come from nowhere.
But Charles Montgomery, from the Globe and Mail, uncovered the truth:
Friends of Science has taken undisclosed sums from Alberta oil and gas interests. The money was funneled through the Calgary Foundation, to the University of Calgary and on to the FOS though something called the “Science Education Fund.” All this appears to be orchestrated by Stephen Harper’s long-time political confidante and fishing buddy, U. Calgary Prof Dr. Barry Cooper. It seems the FOS has taken a page right out of the US climate change attack group’s playbook: funnel money through foundations and third party groups to “wipe the oil” off the dollars they receive.
4. The Listeriosis outbreak that was the direct result of Stephen Harper allowing meat processing firms to inspect themselves. Twenty Canadians died and hundreds more fell ill from tainted meat that came from Maple Leaf Foods.

According to Council of Canadians:
"At the heart of [the system] 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."
And despite promising to put meat inspectors back on the job, nothing has been done.

3. The hiring of Nigel Wright as Harper's new Chief of Staff, secured the contract for the F-35s.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's designated new chief of staff was until last week a director of a major U.S. aircraft manufacturer that is partnered with defence industry giant Lockheed Martin in a bid to sell a fleet of precision attack and reconnaissance warplanes to the U.S. Air Force. Opposition MPs are raising red flags over the link between Nigel Wright, expected to take over as Prime Minister Harper's (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) chief of staff in January, and the U.S. defence bid because of the controversial $17-billion sole-source contract Prime Minister Harper's Cabinet is awarding to Lockheed Martin to supply Canada with 65 stealth fighter jets.
And Canada recently won a golden lemon award for the purchase of these planes from an American foreign policy magazine.
The Golden Lemon Award goes to the Conservative government of Canada for shelling out $8.5 billion to buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters. According to Defense Minister Peter MacKay, “This multi-role stealth fighter will help the Canadian forces defend the sovereignty of Canadian airspace.” Exactly whom that airspace is being defended from is not clear.The contract also includes a $6.6 billion maintenance agreement, which is a good thing because the F-35 has a number of “problems.” For instance, its engine shoots out sparks, and no one can figure out why. It is generally thought a bad idea for an engine to do that.
They are junk that no one wants, so why not pawn them off on the Canadian taxpayer?

2. The "In and Out" election financing scheme that took place in 2006. The Conservative Party HQ deposited large sums of money into the bank accounts of candidates who would not be spending their maximum. They then used that money to buy national ads, meaning that they were able to spend over a million dollars more than the opposition, in direct violation of the Elections Act.

But to top it off, those candidates were able to claim those expenses as their own, receiving large cheques in the mail on behalf of us again. In one case a Quebec hopeful had only raised $ 1500.00 but got a nice bonus of over $ 12,000.00.

In April of 2008, at about the same time as the Friends of Science scandal broke, the RCMP raided the Conservative Party headquarters, as part of the investigation.
During the campaign, the Conservative party conducted a series of financial transactions in which it wire-transferred money to Tory candidates, who then returned cash to the party in the form of advertising purchases. One campaign official interviewed by Elections Canada staff referred to these transactions as “in-and-outs.”Many of the ads in question were for the national party and the only reference to the local candidates who paid for them were small tag lines at the end.
1. And my number one favourite Conservative misdeed, that has certainly flown under the radar, was the secret bailing out of our banks. This was necessary after allowing sub-prime mortgages to infiltrate our once sound banking industry.

And not only did Flaherty give them 150 billion dollars of our money, but they also tapped the U.S. government for 111 billion dollars more. And yet everywhere they go, Flaherty and Harper sing their praises.

And you would think that after such a generous gift, our banks would ease up on service charges. Nope. Instead they gave their execs bonuses of 8 billion in 2009 and 10 billion in 2010. Rewarded for the fine job they are doing.

In the November 2009 "Markets At A Glance" investment newsletter by Eric Sprott and David Franklin, they revealed:
"Acknowledging the leverage levels above, you may wonder how the Canadian banks escaped the 2008 meltdown unscathed. The answer is that they received significant assistance from the Canadian government. First, they received $65 billion in liquidity injections from the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP), whereby Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) purchased insured mortgages from Canadian banks to provide additional liquidity on the asset side of their balance sheets. Next, the Bank of Canada provided them with an additional $45 billion in temporary liquidity facilities. Finally, a Canadian Bank (that shall remain nameless) also received assistance from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) through the purchase of $4 billion in mortgages prior to the IMPP program, for a total government expenditure of $114 billion. For reference, the entire tangible common equity of the Canadian Banks in 2008 was $68 billion. Can you put two and two together? The Canadian government injected a sum through mortgage purchases worth more than the entire tangible common equity of the Canadian banking system!
The incident was reported on randomly in Canada when it hit 150 billion, but is now alleged to be in the neighborhood of about 186 billion dollars of our money (I haven't been able to confirm the additional 36). And another 111 billion dollars of American money.

So there you have it folks. My top ten. But let's not forget all the people Harper has fired, simply because they dared to cross him. Afghan Detainee abuse and the attacks on Richard Colvin. Two self-serving prorogations. Abolishing the mandatory long-form census. Selling us off to the Americans with an aggressive trade deal. Cardboard cheques ....

Maybe I'll need to make another list.


More Lists:

1. My Next Top Ten List of Conservative Misdeeds

2. Another List of Conservative Misdeeds

3. Today's Top Ten Conservative Misdeeds

4. Ten More Conservative Misdeeds for TGIF

5. My Next Ten Reasons to Throw the Bums Out


  1. Now, will someone please explain to me why this government is still in power, and how the Harpie neocons have convinced other parties to go along with it all? What is happening to the Canada we used to know and love? The Canada we still love but don't recognize any more?

  2. You forgot the income trust tax that destroyed seniors who owned them and will result in less tax revenue to Ottawa.

  3. What’s the problem with Harper you ask?

    Top five reasons why Prime Minister Stephen Harper can't be trusted

  4. The two main problems I have with Harper are:

    1. He killed democracy in Canada.

    2. He blew a $ 34 BILLION surplus and racked up a $ 64 BILLION deficit.

  5. A lot of firsts with this Harper Government:
    - First Canadian government to lose a vote to be elected to the UN Security Council
    - First Govt to run attack ads against oppostion parties outside of election campaign periods
    - First Govt to run a deficit over 50 Billion
    - First Govt to inherit a surplus in over 40 years (say goodbye to that...)
    - First Govt down a majority sponsored bill from the House, with an unelected majority in the Senate

    • Untenderded fighter attack jets.
    • $56 Billion deficit.
    • Afghan extension without parliamentary debate.
    • Afghan detainee documents.
    • Kickbacks on the parliamentary restoration.
    • Destruction of Rights and Democracy committee.
    • Loss of a seat on the Security Council.
    • Loss of Camp Mirage at a staggering cost.
    • Defunding of women's groups.
    • Failure to accept Kyoto Accord.
    • Cancelling of Kelowna Accord.
    • Fossil Award at Copenhagen.
    • This is just the big picture. The details of all of these issues carry with them a diminution of our democratic principles and institutions. How long will our parliamentarian allow this raping of our heritage continue?
    • What will you say when your children asked what you did to stop this?

  6. Repost from a CRUSHER:

    I am not pleased with PM Harper's performance either. I have been working on a list of 25 things that worry me ... I hope to have it complete in time to make placemats for friends that work at Parliament. Here is longer than the one above. ...I need three more good reasons to get 25 .. any suggestions?

    Peter MacKay insisted that he was" not a merger candidate" at the 2003 Progressive Conservative Leadership Convention . Well he did merge the PC party with the Reform Party and now the CONS are an alliance of former Mike Harris Conservatives, wishy-washy Progressive Conservatives like Peter Mackay and the Reform Party of Canada.

    Although running on a platform of not appointing senators, PM Harper has appointed 34 senators

    Veterans' Ombudsman Pat Stogran, who was critical of this government's treatment of veterans was let go.

    that sparked the proroguing of parliament


    In January 2008, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission head Linda Keen, who was fired after shutting down the Chalk River nuclear reactor. She was not being incompetent , she was not listened to!

    BillC9 which passed into law in early July 2010 allows for the public sale of the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

    8) OIL ISSUE #1:
    the tarsands and its impact on the Chipewayans of Northern Alberta:

    9) OIL ISSUE #2:
    Tell me who are the real "have" and "have not" provinces? Of the one billion dollars committed to "green projects" in the March 2010 federal budget about 420 million will go to carbon capture and sequestration. Transfer payments anyone?
    The tarsands has crippled the rest of Canada's Economy:

    The provision in bill C9 that makes the National EnergyBoard the overseer of oil projects in Canada
    Dick Cheyney in the USA with the creation of the Mineral Mines and Management Services and look what happened in the Gulf of Mexico

    At the Pittsburg G8-G20 in 2009, countries were asked to phase out oil subsidies. The Honourable Jim Prentice (outgoing MP and Minister of the Environment) is on record as urging the PM to do so. Canada is not phasing out oil subsidies and our oil subsidies are almost double of what was originally reported.

    12) RELATED OIL ISSUE - TRAINING OF ABORIGINAL 600 OIL WORKERS: Why not train them for the Green Energy sector instead? This one is very worrisome on so many levels.


    having worked in a facility for young offenders and having used growing seedlings in remedial math class, the life skills and positive feelings generated by doing "bread work" (Gandhi) were immeasurable.

    12) THE G-8 / G20 PRICE TAG:
    over a billion dollars when Pittsburg's cost was just over 100 million dollars for security
    Watch Naomi Klien
    and Clayton Ruby:

    Not funding complete maternal health programs in countries that allow legal abortions even though the majority of Canadians disagreed.
    220,000 children will lose their mothers this year because of abortion related deaths. More statistics can be found here:

    13) NOT BEING SCIENTIFIC #1: Longform Census
    The longform census becoming a survey against the advice of many including the head of StatsCan who resigned
    With a project 25 million new environmental refugees on the planet in the next three years, it would be good to have complete data so we can help New Canadians.

    14) NOT BEING SCIENTIFIC #2: Weather
    Sustained cuts to Environment Canada weather-service programs have compromised the government's ability to assess climate change and left it with a "profoundly disturbing" quality of information in its data network, says an internal government report.
    Read about Schedule 2 and mines polluting our water:

    Climate change ..too long to list but their strategies to avoid passing Bill C311, calling climate change a side-show in the lead up to the G8-G20, no environment Ministers meeting at the G8-G20, the world converging on Canada to put climate change on the table at the G8- G20 and cutting funding for climate research top the list.

    16) UNTIED NATIONS #1:
    Not signing the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Water Sanitation

    17) UNITED NATIONS #2:
    being one of only three countries that did nto sign the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    18) UNITED NATIONS #3:
    losing Canada's temporary seat on UN Security Council. First time ever in an almost 60 year history.



  8. 19) Cutting funding to KAIROS ..

    can of worms being reopened after a one BILLION dollars was already spent (PM Harper voted for the registery while it was being built... he is making a mockery of the short-term memory of many people). How much is one life worth? Four million dollars per annum to keep it running and one million dollars for one murder investigation?
    Plus MP Hoeppner lied. She did have contact with National Rifle Association:

    - has the planet heading for global climate collapse, no scientists on the panel, glaring errors in the documents and we are bragging to the world we are going to prosper from climate change!/photo.php?fbid=437597417030&set=a.195792192030.138484.665812030

    22) BILL C300
    Bill C-300, An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas Corporations in Developing Countries, to assure that Canadian extractive companies follow human rights and environmental best practices when they operate overseas.
    It was defeated:

  9. List of Groups and/or Petitions against Stephen Harper

    (too long to post here :)