Tag Archives: harper government

Save the Planet: Stop Harper

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Avaaz.org has mobilized a noble effort to stop Harper.  I was kind of ignoring their pleas to make donations.

Until now.

I just made a financial pledge and I encourage you to do the same.  They are using contributions for media spots (mostly radio) in the ridings where they believe (and I do as well) that they can make a difference.

Please feel free to do the same.

Here’s where to find their pledge page:

Canadian Election: A Glimpse into Harper’s Future For Food in Canada

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The Food Industry in the US is a disaster and it’s already come our way under Harper’s watch.  Over the last two, the Harper Republicans Conservatives have handcuffed Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors in the interest of letting companies run their own show.

This has proven to be a deadly experiment.

However, it’s common-place in the US, where death from from e-coli and other diseases has become routine.

Here’s an interesting investigation into the food industry in the US and what it might mean to Canadians if we elect another Harper government:

From the first reports of a salmonella outbreak this spring, it took a full 89 days before jalapeño and serrano peppers correctly came under suspicion as the culprit. During that period, as more than 1,440 victims trickled in to hospitals, federal officials struggled to trace the source of the outbreak, erroneously singling out tomatoes for weeks before homing in on peppers. No sooner had that outbreak tapered off than the high-end Whole Foods Market was forced to launch a massive recall of E. coli-infested ground beef.

But the new model (of privatized inspections) has also created some alarming potential gaps. For one thing, there’s no certification system for these third-party inspectors. Critics worry that retailers hire these companies not only to ensure food quality but also as a defense mechanism to help protect their public image in case something goes wrong. "These audits are like icing on the cake of litigation," says Bill Marler, the attorney who represented more than 100 victims in the 1993 E. coli outbreak case linked to the Jack in the Box fast-food chain. "Every major manufacturer does them, and every manufacturer pays no attention to them."

The price tag is important. With new technology, companies can do all sorts of wild—if at times unsettling—things to keep food free of bacteria. For one thing, they can zap it with radiation. The government approved irradiated meat in 1997, and regulators last month gave the nod to leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach. But irradiation is still controversial. Advocacy groups say it ruins taste and destroys nutrients, and consumer fears about irradiation have limited its adoption. More broadly, companies with effective new products—be they oxidizing sprays, viral cocktails, or microbe detectors—often struggle to find buyers, because of either costs or public concerns.

Brrr.  In the upcoming Canadian Election, people who think this OK can go ahead and vote Conservative.  Folks that actually like food should think twice, though.  A Harper majority will spell massive privatization of not just the food industry, but all other industries.

Canada: Another Notch in the Fascist Belt

Plebs within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs have deemed diplomatic missions to Cuba to be pushing a "left-wing anti-globalization think tank" agenda, while it’s almost implied that Avi Lewis is some kind of Al Qaeda sympathizer because some of his reports are covered through Al Jazeera.

Here’s a link to the story that the Toronto Star printed related to this issue . I’ll copy/paste some of the details below, just in case the story disappears.

Getting back to the issue: These are the decisions of public servants and Harper cronies as they decide who gets funds and who doesn’t when it comes to support from the federal government. Messages are supposed to reflect ‘mainstream’ Canadian opinions and philosophy.

Our ‘new’ government is getting very, very stale. And it’s getting very, very insulting.

For some insane reason, these bureaucrats have taken on the opinion of less than one-third of the population of Canada and applied it to all of us. To make matters worse, they are now dictating foreign policy according to speculation about what they think these organizations are all about. They fail to make an effort to actually appreciate a strategy for any of these organizations and their motives.

This arbitrary process is fascist. Plain. Simple.

Now, to be fair and to acknowledge that some of the examples cited don’t deserve funding, I have a proposal: why don’t we stop the tax-free status of all religious organizations because some of them (I don’t have exact numbers, but facts no longer seems to matter in this world of arbitrary McCarthyism) present views that aren’t consistent with my ‘mainstream values’. Some of them represent Right-wing agendas that I think are damaging to the image of Canada. Some of them finance federal government parties that are committed to chaining women to the kitchen, keeping coal and dirty oil as our only source of energy and criminalizing the posession of Vitamin C or the right to choose.

This is what we have to do if we’re going to have a fair and decent government running our lives. If they believe that there are too many institutions on the ‘left’ getting funding from Canadian taxpayers, I believe there are too many institutions on the right that are getting funding as well. Such as the Fraser Institute. The C.D. Howe Institute. Various ‘pro-family’ organizations. The Department of Defense. And so on.

I’ve never thought to call all of this funding into question, but it’s time we did. If the nickels and dimes are going to disappear from the pockets of the hapless left, like they’re actually something to worry about, then we have to cry out for the termination of funding of all political funding for any political position.

Now, is that a realistic position to take on? No. Why? Because a realist will acknowledge that in a democratic and free society, people don’t get the plug pulled on their funding because of their spot on the political spectrum.

And now … here’s a re-print of the Star’s story:

Aug 09, 2008 04:30 AM Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA–The federal government has scrapped a travel assistance program to promote Canadian culture abroad, suggesting it catered to fringe groups, the well-off and left-wingers.

The decision yesterday to cancel the $4.7 million program offered by Department of Foreign Affairs effective March 31, 2009, drew sharp rebuke from critics, with one calling it yet another example of censorship by the government.

"For me it shows the Conservatives are choosing censorship once again," said New Democrat MP Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas).

"We saw it first with their attack on film and video production in Canada in Bill C-10 and now they are expanding this attempt to impose their ideological beliefs, their personal taste on Canadian through yet another cultural program in Canada," he said.

Bill C-10 would give the federal Heritage Department the power to deny funding for films and TV shows it considers offensive.

An internal government document obtained by the Toronto Star listed several arts promotion program (PromArt) recipients, complete with anonymous comments.

Topping the list was the Holy F. Music group getting $3,000 to give seven performances in Britain. The accompanying notation stated the "group is actually called `Holy F— Music.’"

Gwynne Dyer, who received $3,000 to give lectures in Canadian foreign policy and defence issues in Cuba in March 2007, was described as a "left-leaning columnist and author who has plenty of money to travel on his own."

In another case, the North-South Institute received $18,000 to help co-ordinate a Caribbean-Cuban conference in Havana in December 2006. The institute was described as a "left-wing anti-globalization think tank.

"Why are we paying for these people to attend anti-western conferences in Cuba?" the anonymous author asked.

Former CBC journalist Avi Lewis, now a reporter with Al Jazeera, was described a "general radical" who could easily afford to travel on his own dime.

A production company, Klein Lewis Productions, co-owned by him and his wife, Naomi Klein, an author and social activist, received a grant of $3,500 to promote the film The Take at films festivals in New Zealand and Australia.

"Klein has sold millions of books, and certainly does not need $3,500 from the government of Canada," the note stated.

Other past recipients include:

  • The Canadian Museum of Civilization: $50,000 to take an exhibition of Inuit Art to Brazil.
  • The Royal Winnipeg Ballet: $40,000 for a U.S. tour.
  • Former Supreme Court justice Michel Bastarache: $3,000 to give a lecture in Cuba on the Canadian Charter of Rights.

Kory Teneycke, director of communications for the Prime Minister’s Office, said Canadians have a right to expect their dollars to be spent wisely on groups and individuals who properly reflect their "mainstream" values.

"There is an understandable and reasonable expectation by Canadians that those who will represent Canada abroad are within the mainstream and those who are receiving government funding to represent Canada abroad actually require that money to do so," he told the Star .

The program was the victim of a cost-cutting review.

"People with narrow ideological agendas or people who are rich celebrities or really very fringe groups, we feel and believe that Canadians support not having taxpayers’ dollar go to send these folks abroad on junkets," Teneycke said.

Liberal MP Denis Coderre (Bourassa) said Canadians don’t want the government unilaterally deciding what is culturally acceptable,

"I am totally disgusted," said Coderre, adding the whole thing "smacks of McCarthyism," referring to former U.S. senator Joe McCarthy’s relentless obsession to root out so-called Communists in the U.S. in the 1940s and 1950s.

I smell an election – Part II

In this article , I suggested that an election will most likely be held before November 4.

I had no idea the Prime Minister would come out swinging the way he has been, poking jabs at Dion and treating him like a school-yard nerd, playing the bully role oh so well.

Coming out of a major caucus meeting, Prime Minister challenged Dion to pull the plug and Dion is nowhere to be seen all of a sudden. Dion’s lack of experience is clearly showing every single time these two mix it up. It’s like he’s cowering under the swingset waiting for his mommy to pick him up.

And the Harper government is coming out strong in a number of ways. A broad range of announcements are keeping them front and centre and they’re doing a great job of being sunny-bright and rosy when the economy is tanking because of their inability to acknowledge that our economy is not all about black goo in northern Alberta.

For example, Flaherty announced a $6 billion spending package, focusing on the infrastructure situation in the Province of Ontario. How can he do this when the Federal government is running a deficit? Is this a vision of more to come as the Conservatives spend desparately in a bid to maintain control over the Hill?

This issue exemplifies a massive contradiction in philosophy. When Flaherty was dumping all over the Province of Ontario (mainly because it’s a Liberal stronghold), he was calling for huge tax cuts to make Ontario more competitive. If McGuinty’s people complied, this Province would be running a deficit as well.

Also, the spending on infrastructure is not wise. ‘Infrastructure’ spending is a throw-back to the 50s, where politicians think tossing some short-term cash at the unemployed will solve all problems.

What we need is a commitment to invest in and build new industries. We don’t need more roads. Those should be bought and paid for by developers and the big box retailers. We need solar power and investment in Lower Churchill to save us from nuclear. We need to take action against the rising dollar and we need to find different markets so that we’re not at the mercy of the US dollar.

With election talk in the air, we’re starting to really see the way the Conservatives work. They talk tough. They shove and they shout. They use our money to buy their way out of the recession that they’re in the process of creating. They blame everyone but themselves for Canada’s economic situation.

What Canada needs to start doing is what the school-yard nerd does when subjected to this kind of taunting: get smart and embarass the hell out of them.

With any luck, someone will have the stones to fight back before the fall and call an election.

“Harper is Canada’s Nixon”

A number of writers and publishers have made the connection between Canada’s Stephen Harper and impeached US-President Richard Nixon. Too bad the original article from The Guardian is from the UK.

Here’s a sample:

The Canadian Nixon, From the Guardian, UK

Canadians have never had a prime minister who has literally made his career attacking and undermining the legitimacy of Canadian institutions.

Until now.

Summary of major issues:

  • War on media
  • War on peace (turning Canada’s peacekeepers into NATO grunts)
  • War on the courts
  • Attacks on Elections Canada
  • Unwillingness to uphold the Constitional Rights of Canadian Citizens, regardless of where they might be

Favourite quotes:

Never has a prime minister publicly attacked a non-partisan election official in such a manner, essentially for partisan gain. The same goes for most of his party, which this week accused Elections Canada of a partisan witch-hunt, being in bed with the Liberals and the media and any other number of tin-foil-hat conspiracies. Of course, unsurprisingly, Harper and the Conservatives have blocked every other effort to examine the scheme in Parliament.

But then again, no one should be surprised. If it’s not the media, or the courts, or the Senate, or Elections Canada, it’s the Wheat Board, the federal government’s own spending power, the bureaucracy, the gun registry … .

Canadians should rightly wonder why their head of government has such a problem with so many Canadian institutions.

Comment on “The Canadian Nixon”

Let’s hope the name sticks.

Harper Lies to Canada Like Bush Lies to America.