Posts Tagged ‘conservatives’

Bill C-38: A Mockery of Democracy

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Conservative ethos tends to embody efficiency, which can be highly effective in the business world. When it comes to handling democratic rule, being too efficient brings the people on par with dictatorship.

Why even waste precious time debating and voting on issues when it’s so much easier to just have one guy make the final decision? Way less red tape that way.

The Tories Omnibus bill is a fine example of this mentality. Slash environmental protections, supersede food safety, gut the fisheries act, bilk old age security, change dozens of laws, then wrap it all up under the pretense of pertaining to the budget. Fast track it through parliament and voila! A more corporatist Canada without all the fuss.

Over the next few days, something like 1000 amendments will be voted upon – the oppositions’ vain protest over the bill – while we get to watch as they all get shot down one-by-one by the majority government, our democracy violated with every silenced critique.

But don’t just take my word for it. Listen to none other than Stephen Harper himself, who in 1994 criticized the use of Omnibus bills saying:

I would argue that the subject matter of the bill is so diverse that a single vote on the content would put members in conflict with their own principles. How can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote in a block on such legislation and on such concerns?

The bill contains many distinct proposals and principles and asking members to provide simple answers to such complex questions is in contradiction to the conventions and practices of the House. Dividing the bill into several components would allow members to represent views of their constituents on each of the different components in the bill.

Eloquent words. If only Harper would listen to his younger self.


Bill 38: Bad for Canadians, Terrible for Canada

Monday, May 28th, 2012

The Tories’ Omnibus Budget Bill 38 has been called ‘sneaky’ and ‘undemocratic’ earning it the nickname ‘The Trojan horse bill’. But that is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more like a Trojan horse stuffed with even more Trojan horses.

A whopping 450 pages, this behemoth piece of legislation lumps about 60 bills into one giant bill, making a mockery of Canada’s parliamentary system. No discussion, no debate. Just a majority government trying to ram through sweeping reforms without considering the burden of our democratic process.

One section of the bill seeks to undo decades of environmental protection laws while silencing Canadians who try to defend Mother Earth. Changes include weakened protection for fish and species at risk, a less comprehensive environmental assessment law, broad decision making powers for Cabinet and Ministers, and less accountability and fewer opportunities for public participation. So now when they want to build pipelines through pristine land they’ll just do it.

Another section of Bill 38 takes aim at Canada’s social safety nets, like employment insurance and old age security. The plan is to make it harder for Canadian’s to get money from the government, forcing people to work below their skill level while moving the age of retirement from 65 to 67. Typical conservative policies here, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

The omnibus bill also attacks Canadian labor, enacting fundamental changes to the power balance between employers and employees — all to the detriment of workers. One line in the bill states ‘The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act is repealed,” offering no explanation why. These 10 words will wipe out a 1985 law compelling contractors bidding on federal contracts to pay “fair wages” and overtime,  all without any say from Canadians.

Worst of all, this bill threatens nothing less than our precious Canadian sovereignty, paving the way for American law enforcement to patrol Canadian soil. Great, a few more years under the Conservatives and our skies will be like they are south of the border -  filled with weaponized drones.

All in all, Omnibus Bill 38 is an awful piece of legislation loaded with unvetted laws and reforms. But, even as opposition comes from within the party itself, the Tories remain hell-bent on passing it.

The only option we have left is for public outcry to reach such deafening levels that the government has no choice but to capitulate. This means contacting MPs, filling out petitions, taking part in protests and even marching in the streets.

Otherwise the damage done to Canadian law by this bill could take decades to fix using proper democratic channels. And the devastation dealt to our environment and to Canada as a whole might never be undone.

More Tall Tales from Tories

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay has been in hot water as of late for falling short by about $10 Billion in his quotes for acquiring what many believe are unnecessary and ill-suited F-35 fighter planes.

And now, in what seems to be a consistent theme from the Harper government, MacKay has been caught in another lie, yet again. (more…)

Tories: Reverse Robin Hoods

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Take from the poor, give to the rich. Once again, the Conservative’s true agenda is shining through in the 2012 federal budget.

Science spending is getting slashed. The environment is taking a hit, and social services are being dropped. Pensions are being pilfered (unless your a Member of Parliament). Even our cherished CBC is taking a blow, despite promises to the contrary.

Do you know what’s not getting touched? (more…)

Canada to Ditch Troubled F-35s?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Canadian’s are facing austerity cuts across the board – wage freezes, slashed funding, and major reforms to pensions – yet the Conservatives seem hellbent on acquiring some fancy new planes for $9 billion. Or is it $10 billion now, or more?

Where are their priorities? With the pressing needs of Canadians, or with getting their kickbacks from the Defense Industry?

As CBC revealed yesterday, these jets don’t even meet the necessary requirements for jets in the Great White North. Way to drop the ball, Tories. (more…)

Omnibus Bill: Pumping Prison Profits

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Suppose you own a number of giant prisons and you’re looking to expand your annual earnings. How exactly could you do that?

Well, you could cut maximize efficiency and minimize overhead, like any good corporation would do. As well, considering how you’re housing a massive population of inmates with practically no rights, it would be best to put them to work for slave wages. (more…)

Canadian Gov Seeks to Make Masks Illegal

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

If C-11 and C-30 – the Internet censorship and privacy eroding bills – aren’t enough to convince you that Canada’s Conservatives are threatened by freedom, then perhaps bill C-309 will help change your mind.

In this new draconian legislation, activists caught demonstrating while sporting a mask could face up to 5 years in prison. So much for our Chartered Right to lawful assembly. (more…)

Canadian Gov: Give Police Sweeping Powers Or Else You Support Child Porn

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Last week they condoned torture. This week, Canada’s Conservatives are saying protecting privacy is tantamount to promoting child pornography.

What an absurd remark! It shows just how desperate the pro-censorship side has become if they need to rely on this kind of polarizing rhetoric.

Thankfully, Canadians will not likely stand for these ludicrous and inaccurate blanket statements. Opposition is already mounting and petitions are being signed. If you want to contact your MP, it’s really easy find out how.

To learn more about these ‘Lawful Access’ bills, Law professor Michael Geist does a nice breakdown on his blog. As well, another of Geist’s posts worth reading shows how the government’s own documents do not support mandatory disclosure of subscriber information without a court order.

Not that the Conservatives care to listen to reason. If they do end up getting away with these bullying tactics, just be prepared for the day when we can either extend the Harper government’s term indefinitely or get accused of supporting Nazi terrorists.

Canadian Conservatives Condone Torture

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Canada “does not condone torture,” said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, defending his orders to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to begin using information that may have been derived from the use of torture.

“Information obtained by torture is always discounted. But the problem is, can one safely ignore it when Canadian lives and property are at stake?” Toews said in question period.

So, in other words, while he does condone the use of torture, he just doesn’t want it labelled as such.

Opposition MP Jack Harris accused the government of “showing utter contempt” for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with a “sudden passive endorsement” of torture.

“Instead of moving forward,” Harris said in the House, “this government is moving Canada backwards. The public safety minister has directed CSIS to use information that is extracted through torture. As long as there is a market for information derived from torture, torture will exist. Why is this government getting Canada into the torture business?”

Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said he’s concerned such a ministerial directive was issued “without real discussion with Canadians about its implications.” “The law in Canada has been pretty clear that information based on torture, first of all, is not reliable and, second of all, is not permissible.”

Amnesty International was quick to condemn the move, stating that information obtained under torture “has no place in the justice system, full stop.”

Once again, the Conservative party has adopted another of American’s failed policies. Following our neighbors to the south, we’ve expanded the prison industrial complex, extended the horrendous war on drugs, and now we are complicit in torture. What’s next from Harper and his cronies?

Maybe we’ll start bombing foreign civilians with remote controlled planes while letting giant corporations decide who wins the next election. Either way, when the Conservatives are behind the wheel, the country keeps heading places most Canadians don’t want to go.

Conservatives Cramming Crime Bill Down Canadian Throats

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

(‘Looks good, but do we really need a sink _and_ a toilet? Get rid of one or the other – and presto – room for one more guest!’)

Canadians are renowned for resilience in the face of adversity, able to bear freezing winters for the brief but sensational summers. It is this willingness to take the good with the bad which leads Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party to believe Canadians will stomach their new Omnibus Crime bill.

Bill C-10 – the government’s new crime legislation – lumps together nine previously introduced bills which never passed, now repackaged into one all-encompassing document.

However, you can forget taking any time to discuss the matter – the Tories have decided to limit discussion to just two days! This means the opposition parties will have their work cut out for them, trying to call attention to all the bill’s glaring problems in such a short period of time.

First, there’s the plan to crack down on Marijuana cultivation, imposing new mandatory minimum sentences for minor offenses. Come on, Harper, in a nation that boasts the highest pot usage in the developed world, you’re alienating a good chunk of the population (not that most pot-smokers are likely to vote Conservative).

But forget the votes. Instead, consider how the whole drug prohibition strategy has proven itself to be a complete and utter failure. Why throw more money into that hole? Just look at the thousands who’ve been slain along the Mexican borders – they’d still be alive if drugs were legalized and the criminal gangs were no longer fueled by the billions they earn off the black market.

If the Conservatives really cared about protecting society, they’d take a rational, proven approach, like decriminalizing all drugs. Portugal did it, and it’s been a resounding success 10 years on. Screw the DEAs and drug gangs… let them find new jobs!

But sound policies are not what Harper stands for. Instead, the priority seems to be to appease trade partners – like the US, who’ve been steadfast in their funding of the failed war on drugs for decades.

And where will all these newly criminalized Canucks be housed? Why, in Canada’s new super-prisons, of course. Taking another page out of America’s playbook, privatized prisons can be huge money makers offering juicy kick-backs, provided the population is willing to tolerate having minor offenders locked up with hardened criminals.

Last but not least, this new crime bill will let police gather information from ISP’s without the need for a subpoena. Right, because we’re all sure to be safer when law enforcement has access into the private lives of every single Canadian.

Meanwhile, the world’s economies are teetering on the edge, and crime across the nation is at a 20 year low, but Harper and his party seem intent on dropping a few billion bills to see a larger percentage of Canadians get imprisoned.

Sadly, the financial costs of bill C-10 may very pale next to the long term societal damage to be incurred should Canada continue to follow in America’s footprints – a path the Conservatives seem hellbent on sending us down.