Posts Tagged ‘harper’

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.

Get Canada Out of Afghanistan

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Just a few moments ago during today’s question period, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his trademark condescending tone, danced around the question as to whether or not Canada’s military role in Afghanistan will be extended beyond 2014.

He pulled the old ‘best interest of the country’ line which, not unlike the catch-all ‘because we are at war’ rationale, really refers to the interests of his wealthiest supporters and is intended to silence any criticism. “What… don’t you care about protecting Canadians or Afghans?” (more…)

Less Prisons, More Prisoners

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

‘Cram them in there!’ said the Tories this week, opting to close three incarceration facilities used to house some of Canada’s most notorious criminals. This decision comes despite the Conservative’s latest controversial crime bill, likely to continue increasing inmate populations across the nation.

But caring about what happens to society ranks low on the Conservative agenda. (more…)

Harper, Obama Detached from Reality

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The war on drugs has failed. Drug prohibition does far more damage to society than illicit substances ever have. Every day, especially in South America, people are being slaughtered by vicious drug gangs who’ve grown powerful off the lucrative drug market.

Decriminalization is the only way out of this quagmire. Just ask Portugal, whose decade long experiment with ending drug prohibition has proven itself a resounding success. (more…)

Axe to Fall on Tories

Friday, April 6th, 2012

The Canadian government has been caught in a 25 billion dollar lie, and someone must be fired. But who will it be?

While many would like to see Stephen Harper take the blame, his natural greasiness will probably allow him to slip out from under the impending axe. Defense Minister Peter MacKay might not be so lucky, and who better than him to serve as the whipping boy.

No matter who takes the fall for this fiasco, their untimely departure will do little to restore the Conservative’s credibility with Canadians.

Passing expensive, unwanted and unnecessary crime bills, threatening the sanctity of our free Internet, enacting widespread electoral fraud and, now, straight-up deception with Parliament and the public alike.

If the Tories don’t get the boot after all this, we may as well just give them a license to bend us over at the waist.

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…)

Insightful Imagery of the Day

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

First up is a whimsical cartoon depicting what many of us have come to know: that underneath the overbearing exterior of power tripping authority figures resides a scared little child desperately trying to protect itself.

Second is a piece decrying the hypocrisy in American politics. This cartoon could be equally applicable to the Canadian Conservatives, except instead of a tank there’d be Harper flying an F-35 to a mega-prison while cutting social services.

That is all. Enjoy your weekend!

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…)