Friday, 29 April 2011

No. 41: Harper Takes $12 Billion Surplus, Turns It Into $45 Billion Deficit

The most important fact leading up to the election date is this:

Stephen Harper's ridiculous claim that he and the conservatives are the only ones that can steward the Canadian economy safely, is absolutely false. 

In reality, he has added $57 million in new debt on the backs of Canadian taxpayers since his government has been in office.  This includes wasting $1 billion on frivolous G20 spending and handing out corporate tax cuts totalling $6 billion while in a recession.  When Paul Martin left office, he left Stephen Harper a surplus of $12 billion.  The projection this year is a deficit of $45.5 billion.

Worse, Harper's future plans include wasting $24 more billion on jets and $1 billion on jails.  In contrast, he only plans to spend $5 million on education.  For reducing the deficit, $11 billion in savings comes through yet unnamed cuts to services including $4 billion in reducing "inefficiencies", a suggestion that has been by discredited by leading economists.

From the author:

The truth is, Stephen Harper has not been a good steward of Canadian taxpayers' money, so for him to point the finger at everyone else shows he is either in a state of denial, delusion or just thinks he's way more awesome than he is.  Yes, some spending was necessary during the economic downturn, but that's certainly the WRONG time to be wasting wads of cash on fake lakes, gazebos, outrageous amounts of security and continuing to subsidize the tar sands, to name a few things.  Further, his solution to get out of the deficit he has created will have a huge impact on most Canadians who are not extremely wealthy.

If history is any indication (and it usually is), the next step after all massive spending by conservative governments is to then demand cuts to social services with the deficit they created as the excuse.  When Mike Harris was premier of Ontario, this was called "creating a crisis".  When Ronald Reagan was President of the U.S., it was called "starving the beast".  Harper has already pledged to cut $11 billion in unnamed services - if he is elected PM, it won't be long before the other shoe drops.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Harper's Treatment of First Nations, Inuit and Metis

Harper's record providing help to First Nations, Inuit and Metis is abysmal. One apology does not make up for destroying their land and livelihood. Setting up a tribunal to deal with their concerns means nothing if not a single case is tried in THREE years. All smoke and mirrors.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

No. 40: Harper campaigns in support of asbestos exports despite cancer risks and ban in Canada

Canada’s leading medical authorities have all pleaded that the export of asbestos is medically and morally indefensible and will lead to an epidemic of asbestos-related disease and death overseas.  Harper is the only national leader in the Western world to promote asbestos.

Ironically, asbestos is being removed from schools, the House of Commons and even 24 Sussex Dr., where the Prime Minister resides with his wife and two children.

Monday, 25 April 2011

No. 39: Harper's former speech writer declares youth bad for vote

I would like to see the research this man bases these comments on - except there isn't any:

"Is it a wise idea to encourage young people to vote who aren't well informed on politics and current events to begin with. For instance, there is a political radicalism among youth -especially the type of youth who would stay home on election day -that could lead to many fringe parties receiving votes. This is good for democracy, but not necessarily for political stability. While no one is expecting all young people to have PhD-level understanding of the Canadian political system, a decent amount of knowledge would be nice.

57 Conservative Candidates Currently Skipping Debates

Either this is a brazen contempt for voters or an attempt to hide an embarrassing ineptitude at public speaking – neither of which is the hallmark of a suitable candidate. One Conservative candidate, Jilian Saweczko said she could not attend due to "planned emergencies".  Kind of reminiscent of "unreported crimes"?

Candidates who have missed debates (57 CPC, 5 NDP, 4 Bloc, 1 Lib): 
(Click on names to link to articles)


- Jason Kenney (CPC) - Calgary South East
- Stephen Harper (CPC) - Calgary South West
- Peter Goldring (CPC) - Edmonton East
- Laurie Hawn (CPC) - Edmonton Centre
- LaVar Payne (CPC) - Medicine Hat


- Julian Fantino (CPC) - Vaughan
- Peter Kent (CPC) - Thornhill
- Aijaz Naqvi (NDP) - Mississauga-Streetsville
- Terence Young (CPC) - Oakville
- Susan Truppe (CPC) - London-North Centre
- Diane Finley (CPC) - Haldimand—Norfolk
- Royal Galipeau (CPC) - Ottawa-Orléans
- Theresa Rodrigues (CPC) - Davenport
- Leanna Villella (CPC) - Welland
- Kevin Moore (CPC) - Toronto Centre
- Elie Salibi (CPC) - Ottawa South
- Pierre Lemieux (CPC) - Glengarry-Prescott-Russell
- Terry Anderson (CPC) - Hamilton Mountain
- Marty Burke (CPC) - Guelph
- James McLaren (NDP) - Ottawa South
- Ed Holder (CPC) - London West
- Patrick Brown (CPC) - Barrie
- Chris Alexander (CPC) - Ajax-Pickering
- Larry Miller (CPC) - Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
- Corneliu Chisu (CPC) - Pickering-Scarborough East
- Fred Slade (CPC) - Sudbury
- Damian Konstantinakos (CPC) - Ottawa Centre
- Phil McColeman (CPC) - Brant
- Jilian Saweczko (CPC) - York-South-Weston
- Dave Van Kesteren (CPC) - Chatham-Kent-Essex
- Dr. Marie Bountrogianni (LIB) - Hamilton-Mountain
- Terry Anderson (CPC) - Hamilton-Mountain
- Bev Shipley (CPC) - Lambton-Kent Essex
- Kassandra Bidarain (NDP) - Aurora-Newmarket


- Wally Daudrich (CPC) - Churchill
- Rod Bruinooge (CPC) - Winnipeg South
- Bev Pitura (CPC) - Winnipeg Centre

New Brunswick

- Rodney Weston (CPC) - Saint John
- Robert Goguen (CPC) - Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe

British Columbia

- Dona Cadman (CPC) - Surrey North
- John Koury (CPC) - Nanaimo-Cowichan
- John Duncan (CPC) - Vancouver Island North
- Jennifer Clarke (CPC) - Vancouver Centre
- Ronald Leung (CPC) - Burnaby-Douglas

Nova Scotia

- Gerald Keddy (CPC) - South Shore-St. Margaret's


- Randy Hoback (CPC) - Prince Albert

Northwest Territories

- Sandy Lee (CPC) - Western Arctic


- Daniel Petit (CPC) - Charlesbourg-Haute-Saint-Charles
- Sylvie Boucher (CPC) - Beauport-Limoilou
- Claude Pilote (Bloc) - Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean
- Roger Pomerleau (Bloc) - Drummond
- Richard Côté (Bloc) - Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier
- Nicolas Dufour (Bloc) - Repentigny
- Nancy Brassard-Fortin (CPC) - Hull-Aylmer (Missed 3 debates in 3 days!)
- Isabelle Maguire (NDP) - Richmond-Arthabaska
- Ruth Ellen Brosseau (NDP) - Berthier-Maskinonge

Monday, 18 April 2011

No. 38: Harper cuts aid to needy African nations, shifts money to countries that make more money

“It's very abrupt and sudden, and no proper reason was given,” says Emma Kaliya, chairwoman of an independent Malawian organization that had worked on women's-rights issues with Canadian aid. 

Instead of Malawi and the seven other African countries, where most people are so desperately poor that they earn less than $2 a day, a bigger share of Canada's foreign-aid money will flow to middle-income places such as Peru, Colombia, Ukraine and the Caribbean, where Canada's commercial interests are more attractive.

Harper has mandated Afghanistan to become the largest recipient of Canada's largesse. This led world-renowned development economist Jeffrey Sachs to complain, "…the money going to Afghanistan and Iraq is really not development aid but security spending."

No. 37: Harper lies about lobbyist reform, as former aide lobbies for Taser

In 2006, Harper claimed that "politics will no longer be a stepping stone to a lucrative career lobbying government.''

Soon after however, a Tory election strategist and former adviser to both the prime minister and public safety minister became a lobbyist for Taser International - the company who provided the weapons that killed Robert Dziekanski.  Boessenkool was a senior adviser to now Prime Minister Stephen Harper and played key strategic roles in the 2004 and 2006 Conservative election campaigns.  Boessenkool lists Day's department and the RCMP as potential points of contact in his filing with the Registrar of Lobbyists.

No. 36: Harper undoes agreement to improve lives of First Nations

The Kelowna Accord was designed to eradicate poverty in First Nations communities and make Canada a better place," Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations said.  "This budget suggests to me that we won't be able to move ahead on those commitments." Even conservative Alberta Premier Ralph Klein expressed his disappointment, saying the Kelowna deal went a long way toward addressing the needs of First Nations and Métis peoples.

No. 35: Harper either doesn't read what he signs, or doesn't know the difference between India and First Nations people

The mix-up prompted a sharp response from the president of the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, Rick Lobzun.  "This is 2004, Mr. Harper, not 1492 - the last time a man got lost looking for India," he wrote in a letter dated Wednesday.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

No. 34: Harper's subsidies to tar sands companies larger than entire Environment Canada budget

More of our money is going to subsidize oil companies’ destruction in the tar sands than there is in the combined 2008 budgets of Environment Canada ($1.12 billion) and Alberta Environment ($403 million).

No. 33: Unelected Conservative senators kill climate bill passed by elected officials

The Conservatives have used their clout in the Senate stacked by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to kill an NDP climate change bill that was passed by a majority of the House of Commons.


No. 32: Harper signs up for jets that don't come with engines - cost almost doubles

The multi-million dollar F-35 stealth fighter that the Conservatives want to purchase comes with all the accoutrements of a high-tech aircraft — everything, that is, except an engine.

Friday, 15 April 2011

No. 31: Harper claims Canada has no history of colonialism

Stephen Harper claimed at a G20 summit that "We also have no history of colonialism. So we have all of the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the things that threaten or bother them," he said.

No. 30: Conservatives try to steal the election - literally

Several students and a Liberal scrutineer present at the polling station allege Marty Burke’s director of communication, Michael Sona, attempted Wednesday to grab a ballot box in an effort to stop voting at the U of G polling station.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

No. 29: Harper to create government-run media centre: report

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been working on a secret project to build a $2-million government-controlled media centre, a newspaper reported Monday.

Monday, 11 April 2011

No. 28: Tories mislead gov't on millions spent for cities far from G8 summit

The draft reveals that a local “G8 summit liaison and implementation team” — Industry Minister Tony Clement, the mayor of Huntsville, and the general manager of Deerhurst Resort which hosted the summit — chose the 32 projects that received funding. It says there was no apparent regard for the needs of the summit or the conditions laid down by the government.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

No. 26: Conservatives spending billions on jails as crime rates falling

The government says it will spend $2 billion over five years to absorb more prisoners due to stiffer sentencing provisions in new legislation.

No. 25: Economic action plan signs made in U.S.

The signs promote the $8 million federal-provincial economic stimulus plan, which is supposed to provide work for small and medium sized B.C. businesses, said Conroy.  Instead the roads signs were made by Zumar Industries from Tacoma, Wash., which has received more than $1 million in work from the B.C. government in the last four years, she said.

No. 24: Conservative party redistributes tax payer money using prop cheques

Everyone likes a big cheque when it comes to handing over money. It makes a dandy prop for MPs to stand beside and take credit for.  The practice did not break the ethics code for MPs nor the Conflict of Interest Act, but was deemed "inappropriate."

No. 23: Harper buys short range planes built for aircraft carriers for the 2nd largest country in the world that owns no aircraft carriers

It's not clear that fighter jets should be at the top of Canada's procurement list. The CF-18s were acquired to intercept Soviet bombers during the Cold War; today, Russia is a member of the G8, the Arctic Council, and a soon-to-be member of the WTO. It's largest trading partner is the European Union, which is made up mostly of NATO states.  Canada's most desperate procurement need is for fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft that could be built in Canada by Bombardier.

No. 22: Canada loses seat on security council due to lacklustre record, Harper blames Ignatieff

Despite pouring money and countless hours into the election effort, Canada failed to win a seat at the security council for the first time in history.  Afterward, the Harper government placed the blame for the loss in a seemingly strange place: on Michael Ignatieff.

The suggestion was bizarre.  Several ambassadors who emerged from the vote made no mention of Ignatieff's remarks; one had never even heard of him.  Instead, the loss was perhaps due to Canada's recent move to freeze all aid to Africa.  Or maybe, it was because Canada has reduced its UN peacekeepers to a historic low to pour resources into Afghanistan. Or it could have been due to Canada's lacklustre performance at December's climate conference in Copenhagen, and its failure to meet its Kyoto protocal obligations.

No. 21: Harper cuts almost all funding for women's issues, ironically named chair of UN Women's Health Fund

Since Canada’s Conservative Government took power in 2006, significant budget cuts have been made to Canadian gender equality, political justice, social policy and research programs including the virtual elimination of a Canadian government department devoted to Women’s equality and women’s issues.

No. 20: Harper admits Conservative party attempted to bribe dying MP

Harper was Opposition leader when two party operatives offered Cadman, who had terminal cancer, a million-dollar life insurance policy.

No. 19: Harper limits amount of total questions from reporters to 5

B.C. Conservative staffer Tony Phillips says limiting the PM’s media questions to five a day is “stupidity.”  Phillips, communications director for Surrey North MP Dona Cadman last election and a staffer on her re-election campaign this time around, has openly questioned the scheme to limit Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s media entourage to just five questions a day.

No. 18: Harper tries to control which reporters ask questions

Soon after taking control of the Government of Canada, Harper tries to control the media. By demanding that he select who asks questions (and thus what questions are asked), the Press Gallery rejects him, and so Harper refuses to answer any questions at all. Then he lies to Canadians about the whole issue.


No. 17: Harper falsely claimed on FOX News that majority of Canadians supported going into Iraq

In an interview with the American TV network, Harper said he endorsed the war and said he was speaking "for the silent majority" of Canadians. Only in Quebec, with its "pacifist tradition," are most people opposed to the war, Harper said. 

No. 16: Harper claims Saddam has WMDs and writes Wall Street Journal to complain about Canada not being in war

Harper stood in the House of Commons in January 2003, to remind MPs that as early as the previous October, "I noted that there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein operates programs to produce weapons of mass destruction. Experience confirms this. British, Canadian and American intelligence leaves no doubt on the matter." Yet as soon as the Iraq adventure went sour, Harper put as much distance as he could between himself and his erstwhile allies, Bush, Tony Blair and Australia's John Howard.

Monday, 4 April 2011

No. 15: Conservative party ejects students for facebook pics

About 30 minutes after arriving and signing in, the two girls were asked by a man to follow him out of the rally, Aslam said. Though confused, they complied.  In a back room, Aslam said he ripped off their name tags, tore them up and ordered them out.  "We were confused. He said, 'We know you guys have ties to the Liberal party through Facebook'. He said ... 'You are no longer welcome here.'"

No. 14: Harper condemns coalition, ignoring fact he pushed for same in 2004

When Conservative leader Stephen Harper arranged a private meeting in a downtown Montreal hotel about two months after the 2004 election, he asked his counterparts from the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democratic Party to sign a letter.
Addressed to the governor general of the day, the letter reminded Adrienne Clarkson that she didn't need to dissolve Parliament and call an election if the newly minted minority government of former prime minister Paul Martin lost the confidence of the House of Commons. Harper, along with Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe and NDP leader Jack Layton, eventually signed the document, which noted there were alternatives to holding another general election.

No. 13: Harper's last minute decision to host G20 in downtown core costs Toronto

Harper made a last-minute decision to include the G20 in downtown Toronto (he gave the City all of 15 minutes’ notice before the public announcement) and then refused to consider options, even after Toronto itself expressed major concerns about costs, loss of revenue, security, and a multitude of other real problems for Torontonians.

No. 12: Harper recites exact speech given by Australian prime minister

A Conservative campaign worker has quit over damaging revelations that a major 2003 speech by Conservative leader Stephen Harper, then leader of the Opposition calling for support for the Iraq war, copied almost word-for-word a speech just two days earlier by Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Hours after the Conservative campaign had refused to deny or rebut the charge of plagiarism, or acknowledge who wrote the speech, a statement released by Owen Lippert, a former foreign policy advisor in Harper's OLO office at the time, admitted the speech was ripped off.

Video montage:

No. 11: Government hires unlicensed Utah company for G20 security, eventually charged

“Any of our security companies could have completed this contract for half of the cost paid out to Contemporary,” he said. “Why was double the amount was paid when it did not have to be? Heads should roll but we need to find out which heads?”

No. 10: Despite $930 Million in security, cops told to "stand down" and not stop vandals

Police officers were trained to stop the Black Bloc anarchists, were appropriately equipped and massively manned. Yet as downtown Toronto witnessed burning police cars and a small group of thugs on a rampage, a police source says the only thing that stopped the officers from doing that was an order telling them not to.  They say they could have rounded up all, or most of them, in no time.
An officer said that eventually there was "a clear order from the command centre saying 'Do not engage' "and, at that point, smelling weakness and no repercussions, the downtown was effectively turned over to the vandals while police, up to 19,000 strong, were ordered to stay out of it.

No. 9: "Conservative" Harper wastes over $1 Billion of Canadian taxpayer money on the G8 and G20 summits

The G-20 and G-8 financial summits leave taxpayers footing a whopping bill.  A report released says the two summits are expected to cost Canadians C$930 million (US$893 million) in security alone, including more than C$500 million for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Together with other hosting costs — including nearly C$2 million for a marketing and media pavilion in Toronto that includes a "fake lake" — the total tab will run well north of C$1 billion.

"There's a nagging sense police, public servants and politicians are wallowing in a bottomless trough they figure Canadians will constantly replenish," columnist James Travers wrote in the Toronto Star, the country's biggest newspaper.  Bruce Schneier, an internationally renowned security technologist and author of several books on the topic, calls the security bill for the three-day affair "ridiculous."

Friday, 1 April 2011

No. 8: Government lies about complaints in order to kill long-form census

Industry minister Tony Clement has repeatedly said that the threat of imprisonment for not filling out the mandatory long-form census played a large part in the government’s decision, even though a Canadian has never been jailed for refusing to fill out the form.

He then argued that Canadians believed the form was too invasive.  This was not borne out by Canada’s privacy watchdog who reported that it had received just three complaints about the census in the last decade.

No. 7: Despite stats showing otherwise, government claims crime rates actually rising due to "unreported crimes"

Harper government suppresses research that contradicts ideologically-driven policy, for example data that show crime rates to be fallingin order to justify spending on prisons.

No. 6: Tory handbook on obstructing and manipulating Commons committees leaked

Having come into office on campaign promises of greater transparency and accountability, Harper has silenced civil servants and diplomats and cynically published guidelines on how to disrupt hostile parliamentary committees.

No. 5: Conservatives charged with breaking election spending law

Four conservatives were charged with exceeding campaign spending limits in the 2006 election that put Harper into power. A minister used public office and material to pursue party-political goals of courting ethnic vote banks for the conservatives.

No. 4: Government withholds incriminating evidence of human rights violations - suspends parliament to avoid issue

When a foreign service officer blew the whistle on the Canadian military handing over detainees to Afghan security forces, in likely violation of international humanitarian law, the government tried to destroy him and refused to give documents to a parliamentary inquiry. The Speaker reminded the government parliament controlled cabinet, not the other way round.

After the last elections, when the opposition parties were close to agreement on a coalition majority government, rather than face the house in a vote of confidence, Harper talked the governor-general into shuttering parliament for a month until he shored up his own support.

No. 3: Public Integrity Commissioner fails to do job, rewarded with $500,000 to go away quietly

During her three years as public integrity commissioner, Ouimet investigated only seven of the more than 200 complaints her office received and never found any wrongdoing against whistleblowers.  That is, a public servant paid by the taxpayer was financially gagged by yet more taxpayer money to stop taxpayers finding out what was going on.

No. 2: Government found in contempt for refusing to disclose information about big spending

Following rulings by Speaker Peter Milliken, for the first time in Canadian history, the government and a minister have been found to be in contempt of parliament for withholding information and misleading the house.

No.1: Conservative Minister lies to parliament - and is supported by the government

A minister told parliament she did not know who had altered a document that cut funding to a foreign aid group. Later, she admitted to ordering the changes, but did not know who had carried out the order. Lying to parliament, a cardinal sin of Westminster-style democracy, has become a political tactic.