Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Next Ten Reasons to Throw the Bums Out

Another ten to add to the list.

10. Despite all the squeals to the contrary, abortion rates in Canada are on the decline, along with the rate of teen pregnancies.
Teen pregnancy rates in Canada dropped nearly 37 per cent over a decade, say researchers ... The study, released Wednesday in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, showed Canada's rates of teen pregnancies between 1996 to 2006 declined 36.9 per cent, compared with a 25 per cent decline in the U.S., a 4.75 per cent fall in England and a 19.1 per cent increase in Sweden.

The researchers compared the most recent trends in teen pregnancy or birth/abortion rates. "In 2006, the lowest teen birth/abortion rate per 1,000 women aged 15-19 was in Canada (27.9) followed by Sweden (31.4), England/Wales (60.3), and the U.S.A. (61.2)," the study's authors wrote. Sex education and easier access to birth control partially explain why far fewer teenage girls are getting pregnant, said Alexander McKay, research co-ordinator at The Sex Information and Education Council of Canada, which released the study.
"Sex education and easier access to birth control." And yet under pressure from the Religious Right, the testosterone driven REAL Women of Canada, and his own ideology, Stockwell Day slashed funding to the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada.
An Interim investigation has found that over the past half decade, the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health has had its federal government grants cut by more than 99 per cent. The federation, formerly the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada and still the Canadian member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, has charitable status, according to the Canada Revenue Agency. The CFSH says on its website that it “promote(s) sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and abroad.” It also admits being a “pro-choice organization.” Its member affiliates, which operate in all 10 provinces, provide sex information, contraception and abortion referrals; according to REAL Women of Canada, it is the leading abortion referral service in Canada.

I wonder what the next study will reveal.

9. In January of 2008, Stephen Harper's mouthpiece, Dimitri Soudas, and one of his patronage senate appointments, Leo Housakos, were involved in an ethics probe. The first but not the last.
A joint investigation by the Globe and Mail and Radio-Canada is alleging that a member of the Prime Minister's Office and a Conservative fundraiser directly interfered in a pair of political dossiers. The report, which aired on the CBC's French-language service on Tuesday night, alleges PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas intervened in favour of a Montreal real estate developer currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the federal government, and sat in on a meeting with representatives of an international military contractor looking to sell its wares.

The report says Soudas directly intervened on behalf of Rosdev Group, a Montreal real estate developer currently embroiled in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit with the Public Works Department over the management of two office buildings that house thousands of civil servants.The report also says Leo Housakos, a longtime Tory supporter and party organizer in Quebec, also intervened directly with the Public Works Department.
And the good news is that we are paying both of these men enormous salaries.

8. In 2007, a name found in a rash of patronage appointments, was linked to Tony Clement.
The federal cabinet has named a Toronto pharmaceutical distributor with close ties to Health Minister Tony Clement and a company division in India to a government agency that promotes trade and business contacts between Asia and
Canada. The appointment -- which a New Democratic MP says fails the "smell test" -- was included in a round of patronage appointments Prime Minister Stephen Harper has approved over the past three months.
But the scandal didn't end there. Enter Peter Mackay.
Prudential Consulting Inc. (PCI), an Ontario-based medical transcription company, is expanding its business in Nova Scotia. The company plans to create up to 70 new jobs over the next five years. The province, through Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), is supporting the company's expansion with a payroll rebate set at a maximum $590,400. It is an earned incentive tied to the company achieving hiring targets.
Prudential Consulting just happens to be the firm owned by Clement's (former?) business partner.

Mr. Clement was forced to divest his shares in Toronto drug distributor Prudential Chem Inc. last July after consumer lobbyists accused him of being in a conflict of interest ... Mr. [Vikram] Khurana, who also owns an e-commerce consulting firm called Prudential, was named a director of the Asia-Pacific Foundation last month, cabinet records show.

And that, boys and girls, is how the game is played.

7. Wasting police resources, Stephen Harper now has a new anti-embarrassment division:
SASKATOON — City police officers in Saskatoon saved Stephen Harper from public "embarrassment" by anti-prorogation protesters when the prime minister paid a visit last month, according to the RCMP's VIP Security unit. In a letter of thanks received by the Saskatoon Police Service on March 1, RCMP Sgt. Robert Pilon commended four city constables for keeping a group of sign-waving protesters out of a downtown hotel while Harper was inside.
"Sign waving protesters". Clearly they were terrorists. But as a letter writer to the Star Phoenix reminded us:
As I hope most Canadians know, the RCMP and municipal police services are mandated to uphold the laws of Canada, not protect politicians from legitimate public scrutiny and the repercussions that might follow. RCMP Sgt. Robert Pilon's commendation of the Saskatoon Police Service for protecting Prime Minister Harper from "embarrassment," speaks to a disturbing underlying motive by the RCMP's brass that falls clearly outside that force's mandate.
6. The closure of Human Rights Commission offices in major cities, where they are needed the most:
The Public Service Alliance of Canada condemns the Harper government's decision to close Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax. The union maintains that the closure of the three offices will make it substantially harder for individuals from marginalized groups to launch human rights complaints.The three offices slated for closure received 70 per cent of all signed complaints to the CHRC in 2008. The union, which represents CHRC employees, says this latest attack will have a particular impact on racialized people and recent immigrants. In many cases, the closures will make it much more difficult to challenge both systemic abuses and individual instances of discrimination.
5. When an ethics committee was looking into the secret advertising during the Olympics, that cost taxpayers at lease five million dollars, Pierre Poilievre, with his 200 page manual on how to make committees dysfunctional, behaved so badly that at times, they were forced to shut off his mike.
Obstruct, distract and ignore was the strategy adopted by the Conservative government today at a Commons ethics committee hearing on Access to information.Tory MPs attempted to block testimony and when that didn’t work they threw softball questions at the witness. Pierre Poilievre, known for his attack-dog nature, also took on the committee chair, Liberal Paul Szabo, after he called Mr. Poilievre out-of-order on several occasions.It was a tense meeting; at times it was awkward. The chair twice ordered Mr. Poilievre’s microphone be shut off.
4. Signing a deal with the United States, whereby Canadians must now get permission from the U.S. before flying to any third world country, including Mexico. From the Vancouver Sun:
The Harper government has quietly presented a bill in the House of Commons that would give U.S. officials final say over who may board aircraft in Canada if they are to fly over the U.S. en route to a third country. "Canadian sovereignty has gone right out the window," Liberal Transport critic Joe Volpe told the Montreal Gazette in a recent telephone interview. "You are going to be subject to American law." Bill C-42 amends Canada's Aeronautics Act to allow airlines to communicate passenger information to "a foreign state" for flights over that country without landing.... leaving Canada on a flight to Cuba or France, for example, while flying over the U.S. would have their name, birth date and gender subject to screening by U.S. Homeland Security, which involves running that information through various government databases to determine whether there is a terrorist threat. If you have the same name as someone on a no-fly list, you may be questioned, delayed or even barred from the flight. If your name does not match, Homeland Security tells the airline that you may have a boarding pass.
3. Cancels the Civil Servant survey:
The government solicits voluntary feedback from its workers every three years to improve programs and services. The survey gives a snapshot of workers' demographics, skills, career expectations and concerns. The union that represents civil servants accused the Tories of turning a deaf ear to the bureaucracy. "In eliminating this survey, I think government is quite clearly saying to their workforce that they're not interested," said Patty Ducharme, executive vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. "They're not interested in hearing their ideas, they're not interested in hearing what's actually going on in the workplace.
This reminds me of a comedian writing about Ontario's Mike Harris and his plans, announced with much fanfare, to have a civil servant appreciation week. It was later reduced to a day, then an hour. In the end it was a bowl of popcorn placed in the staffroom. Not long after he gave a bunch of them the axe.

2. Having Bitumen piped from the Tar Sands to the Gulf of Mexico for processing.
These pipelines are sending our raw, unprocessed bitumen from Canadian tarsands to spanking new oil refineries in the U.S. It is the equivalent of shipping millions of raw logs for others to cut the two-by-fours and create the wood furniture. Like forestry, the best jobs are in processing. We are left with the tarsands’ massive mess. The Americans get the good jobs.
More job losses.

1. Paid more attention to putting up signs than targeting communities hardest hit by the Wall Street war on citizens:
OTTAWA - Civil servants across Canada were ordered by the Harper government to document every single sign posted anywhere promoting the federal economic stimulus plan, The Canadian Press has learned. They've spent countless hours tracking every one of more than 8,500 signs posted since last summer, when the urgent, weekly exercise was ordered by the Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic support arm of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office. It continues to this day.

Eighteen departments and agencies are involved, including the country's over-stretched food inspection agency, fisheries and oceans officials, health, public safety and environment workers and Parks Canada employees. The signage database, at the request of PCO, includes the total number of projects that require an "Economic Action Plan" sign, the number of signs already installed, the number of signs remaining to be installed and the number of signs ordered. PCO also demanded to know the anticipated installation dates for uninstalled signs. The tracking exercise generated thousands of pages of documentation over a six-month period at a single Crown corporation, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation documents obtained under the access to information law.
Did someone say "signs"?


  1. While #4 is eerie, #6 is heinous, Emily. The closure of human rights offices? Human rights? Egad. That's criminal.
    So, Big Brother is going to be watching us, is he? What a Canadian, flying non-stop through US air space, can possibly do to harm the US of A, is quite beyond me. But I can handle that, as I have no record and neither has my husband. My last name is quite common, but his isn't. I don't which is better than the other, as far as being mistaken for someone else is concerned.