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NEXT CANADIAN ELECTION October 15, 2012 May 2, 2011

the 40th Canadian Parliament has been dissolved now by the Governor General

Comment Form

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"A nation of sheep soon begets a government of wolves."
Edward R. Murrow

In 2007, Parliament passed a law fixing federal election dates every four years and scheduling the next election date as October 19, 2009, but the law does not (and constitutionally cannot) limit the powers of the Governor General to dissolve Parliament at any time, such as when opposition parties bring down the government on a vote of confidence. However, in this election there was no loss of a non-confidence vote, but the Prime Minister asked the Governor General to call an election nonetheless.

Source Wikipedia

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The 41st Canadian federal election is tentatively scheduled for October 15, 2012, under the Canada Elections Act, unless the 40th Canadian Parliament is dissolved earlier by the Governor General. Voters will choose members of the Canadian House of Commons for the 41st Canadian Parliament.

Source Wikipedia

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Letter: Politics rigged to support the party, not the people
Kelowna Capital News - Oct 6, 2015

To the editor:

It's a perennial complaint and on-going dilemma: Why is voter turnout so low and continues to fall? It's really not rocket science though you might think so by the matter in which all the politicians, bureaucrats, intelligencia and the usual know-it-alls continuously scratch their heads over the issue. The fact of the matter is the system is broken and it has been broken since Pierre Elliot Trudeau altered the Constitutionally described manner in which bills would be voted on in the house in order to give more power to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

As per the Canadian Constitution, when a bill is presented for a vote, all MPs are allowed to vote on the bill according to their conscious. If it is a governing party presented bill and is defeated, then a vote of confidence or non-confidence is held.

If the MPs of the governing party want to keep their job they vote 'confidence' in the governing party.

However, sometime during his eight-year reign, between 1976 and 1984, our darling Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, in a manner that is all too common in our present governing practises—behind closed doors in a secret meeting—made a slight adjustment and alteration to the manner in which bills would be voted on; that being the vote for the bill also became the vote of confidence or non-confidence.

Hence, if the MPs wanted to keep their job they had to vote for the bill regardless of how they felt about it.

So you see—no matter how good or bad the candidate is that is supposedly representing your riding, you are, in truth and reality, only voting for the party leader who tells them how they are going to vote (because if the don't do as they told they get the boot). All power and authority is in the realm of the PMO—look around and what do you see??

Now, really, when people, particularly the young, though they don't even know how things are really suppose to be conducted, understand and know that something is amiss and wrong, can you actually blame them for having no trust, faith or belief in the system? The Canadian Constitution, if adhered to, is really a marvellous document; however, in their craving for power and control those in positions of authority, claiming they know better twist things to suit their own individual needs and desires.

Just to let you know, I am probably one of the very few Canadians who has ever actually bothered to read any portion of our Constitution—have you? The section on taxation was my particular area of interest and yah, it is a pretty boring read.

John B. Collinson, Kelowna


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Why celebrate the constitution? Letters - Apr 20, 2012 - Story# 74125

To the editor:

The Prime Minister’s lack of enthusiasm for the 30th anniversary of repatriating the Constitution is quite understandable.

There is nothing to celebrate.

On April 17 1982 only two things happened:

1. The Canadian government became the administrator of the British North America Act (BNA), and by virtue of an Act of Parliament, re-named it The Constitution Act of Canada.

2. The government also adopted and included in the Act a section referred to as The Canadian Charter of Rights.

The people of Canada were never allowed a binding national referendum to decide if they wanted to accept the BNA as their Constitution as is, or if they wanted to write their own.

In other words, the government essentially hi-jacked the Constitution, and we still have Colonial style governments. To make matters worse, our politicians have since turned their backs on the Constitution while the Courts have become busy re-writing it.

In democratic societies the Constitution and the laws of the Land are written by the People and enforced by the Courts. Until such time we become a democratic society where the Constitution belongs to the People - all I can muster is a whoopee ding.

Andy Thomsen

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Okanagan-Shuswap electoral boundary examined
Vernon Morning Star - April 13, 2012

Canada’s federal electoral map is changing.

Every 10 years, after the census is conducted, the number of electoral districts and their boundaries are revised to reflect population shifts and growth.

That includes looking at B.C. and the Okanagan-Shuswap electoral district.

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for B.C. has been established and it has begun its review of the province’s federal electoral districts.

The three-person commission is headed by John E. Hall while the commissioners are Stewart Ladyman and Peter Meekison.

“I shall seek to ensure that designated new electoral boundaries and districts in this province will be fair to voters in terms of representational equality and regional representation and reflect historic patterns of representation,” said Hall.

B.C.’s population has increased from 3,907,738 in 2001 to 4,400,057 in 2011, and the commission is currently formulating a proposal for B.C.’’s 42 seats in the House of Commons to reflect population growth.

The B.C. commission will publish its proposal outlining the new electoral map in a few months, and public hearings will follow.

In order to involve the public as soon as possible in the process, the commission is inviting citizens to participate in creating the initial proposal by providing their comments by e-mail or mail by April 20.

To learn more about redistribution of federal electoral districts, visit

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News 1130 - News Alert by email
November 8, 2011

Canada's balanced budget delayed

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the federal budget deficit will not be eliminated until 2015-16, one year later than planned. He is also cutting half of the planned payroll tax increases for Unemployment Insurance premiums.


Click photo below to see who that is ROFLOL!

Harper says .. Hey kids - Say "no" to "drugs"

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Government is like business, if you don't support them, they don't stick around long.

This graphic is free to use on your own website or where ever, so please take it and use it.

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Okanagan-Coquihalla riding

Dan Bouchard Green Party of Canada
David Finnis New Democratic Party
John Kidder Liberal Party of Canada
Dan Albas Conservative Party of Canada - Comment by DaleMalone 2011/04/16
I'm anxious to see what scandal Monday will bring from the conservative camp... They certainly don't disappoint... It's almost better than reading the "National Inquirer"...

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So What Did I Miss?

A summary of the worst offences by Stephen Harper's conservative government over the last few years.

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Harper government failed to spend $50 M G8 fund 'transparently': A-G report
By Mark Kennedy and Amy Minsky, Postmedia News - April 11, 2011

Auditor General Sheila Fraser is expected to comment publicly Monday about what she will do in the wake of a leaked report that has landed like a bombshell in the federal election campaign.

Photograph by: Ashley Fraser, Postmedia News

OTTAWA — The Harper government did not act "clearly" and "transparently" when it sought permission from Parliament to spend $50 million on a G8 fund that delivered projects last year in a Conservative riding, according to a draft report by the auditor general.

Furthermore, according to the document obtained Monday by Postmedia News, the Conservative government failed to adequately keep records to explain how the 32 projects were chosen for Parry Sound-Muskoka, the southern Ontario riding represented by Tony Clement, the industry minister.

The federal campaign was hit with a bombshell Monday morning in media reports that said Fraser concluded in a draft audit prepared in mid-January that the government had misinformed MPs and perhaps had even broken the law through the way it sought funds in late 2009.

Senior Conservatives responded by saying that initial audit was not valid because it was overtaken by another draft written the following month by the auditor general's office which wasn't as critical.

That second report — obtained by Postmedia News and dated Feb. 1 — does not flatly state that the Tories misinformed Parliament. But it is critical of the Conservative government — which first came to office in 2006, promising greater transparency — for failing to be adequately transparent in this instance.

The draft report recommends that the government review its practices "so that when Parliament approves funds, it is presented with clear and accurate information about how the funds will be used."

Fraser came under pressure Monday from all parties to release her final report — which was supposed to be introduced in the House April 5 but was postponed once Parliament was dissolved in late March.

But Fraser declared she will wait until after the May 2 election before she releases the audit in Parliament. And in direct response to the leak of the mid-January draft audit which ignited controversy on the campaign trail, she urged Canadians to wait for her final report to read its findings and conclusions.

Still, it is clear that the findings in the Feb. 1 audit — though perhaps less harsh in tone — represent a distinct criticism of the Tories.

Indeed, the controversy threatens to throw Conservative leader Stephen Harper off stride just as he enters this week's televised leaders debates.

In her report, Fraser draws attention to how the government decided in February of 2009 to spend $50 million in the Parry Sound-Muskoka region, which was scheduled to host the G8 summit in June 2010.

The government decided to establish a "G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund," with the money to be used to help the region prepare for the summit and also to "enhance local infrastructure, and showcase the natural beauty of the area for foreign dignitaries and media."

Opposition critics have always regarded the expenditures as a "slush fund" to improve the Conservatives' popularity and to help re-elect Clement. In the wake of the new leaks, they have renewed their attack, calling for a public inquiry and accusing the Conservatives of misleading Parliament.

In her Feb. 1 draft report, Fraser notes: "Parliament's approval is needed before funding can be provided and moneys spent. When Parliament is asked to approve such funding, it should be provided with clear information on the nature of the request."

However, when the government sought parliamentary approval in November of 2009 through the supplementary estimates, it folded the $50 million into a larger, $83-million category which was described as a Border Infrastructure Fund.

The supplementary estimates said the money was to be used for "investment in infrastructure to reduce border congestion" — with no mention made of how much of the money was actually going to Parry-Sound-Muskoka, which is nowhere near the border. Parliament approved the funding request in December 2009.

"In our view, the manner in which the G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund was presented did not make clear to Parliament the full nature of the request," Fraser concluded.

"This categorization did not clearly or transparently identify the nature of the approval being sought for G8 infrastructure project expenditures or explain that these expenditures would not have to meet the existing terms and conditions for the Border Infrastructure Fund."

The draft audit also contains a section on how the projects — which ranged from a gazebo, to public washrooms, to sidewalk upgrades many kilometres from the summit site — were selected.

It notes that a group consisting of three people — Clement, the mayor of Huntsville, Ont., and the general manager of the Deerhurst Resort that hosted the summit — was created as part of the project selection process. Its job was to liaise with a summit management office in the Foreign Affairs Department.

"We asked the summit management office to provide us with any documentation showing how it was involved in the review and/or selection of projects. We were informed that it had not been involved in the review or selection of projects, but it had briefed local communities on the G8 summit."

Of 242 project proposals submitted for the legacy fund, 33 were put forward by Clement to the infrastructure department "for consideration," according to the audit.

Thirty-two projects were subsequently approved and funded, and one was withdrawn by a municipality.

The audit says that "due to the lack of supporting documentation," the auditors could not determine how the winning projects were selected.

Huntsville Mayor Claude Doughty denied reports Monday that he had any power over which infrastructure projects received the go-ahead during last summer's G8 Summit.

Still, the auditors say they are "concerned" by the lack of records.

"Supporting document is important, in our view, to show that the selection process was transparent and provided a mechanism for accountability."

The election campaign was dominated Monday by discussion of the issue, as opposition parties pounced on reports about the first audit, conducted in January, and demanded that the final report by publicly released.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff accused Harper of sitting on the report, and called for its immediate release.

"These are shocking revelations," Ignatieff said. "I don't know how Canadians can have confidence in a government that treats public money in this way."

Ignatieff said Harper had "no choice" but to have the report released immediately.

"He's got to explain to Canadians how he could have so scandalously abused public money and so scandalously misled Parliament, and so scandalously disobeyed the law."

NDP leader Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe concurred, and called for the release of the report by Fraser and the Speaker of the House of Commons — even though Parliament isn't sitting.

Even the Conservatives called on Fraser to publicly release the final version of her report because they said Canadians should base their views on the final report — and not just media coverage of the January draft report.

Conservative candidate John Baird said that some of the inflammatory parts in the draft report from January were not included in later versions of the report.

"The phrase, 'Parliament was misinformed' is not contained in the next draft of the report," he said, noting he saw a draft of the February report.

Nina Chiarelli, acting director of communications to the prime minister, said that "media speculation" on the contents of the January report "does not reflect the final version of the report.

"Not only is the material misleading, it includes information that the auditor general removed from more recent drafts of the report."

mkennedy "at"

aminsky "at"

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

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Green Party not allowed in televised debates
News 1130 Breaking News Email Alert

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will not be allowed to take part in the televised leaders' debate. A Federal Court judge has decided not to expedite the case before next week's debates

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Support Elizabeth May and the and sign the petition against bullying

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Should Elizabeth May be allowed to participate in the federal leadership debate?

Yes 758
No 552
Total votes: 1310

Source: poll

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EDITORIAL: Debate decision an injustice
Vernon Morning Star - April 01, 2011

Picture this: a Canadian citizen wants to have his/her say by voting. But the powers that be decide that since the individual hasn’t participated in the democratic process before, their vote will not be counted.

Seems unfair, doesn’t it?

Regardless of race, creed, colour or any personal opinion, everyone has the right to a fair and democratic process.

While the above scenario is obviously for demonstration only, it mirrors the bullying-type antics that are going on in the upcoming federal election.

Green Party candidate Elizabeth May has been denied a voice in the televised leaders’ debate May 2.

The national broadcasters have stated May isn’t eligible to participate because her party doesn’t have a seat in Parliament.

Seems like a very undemocratic decision.

As a news provider, we know that fairness is key to getting the whole story out. Election coverage is no different. If there are five candidates running in an election, every one of them deserves a voice. You can’t just cover three or four of them and ignore the rest.

There have been cases locally where upwards of 30 candidates have run in municipal elections. And we’ve ensured that every single one of them was given the chance to state their platform in the local newspaper. Sure it’s a lot of extra work and space tied up, but it would be irresponsible to do otherwise.

Thousands, if not millions, tune into the televised debate to get a sense of what each leadership candidate has to offer.

Kicking May to the sidelines would be a disservice to democracy.

---Vernon Morning Star

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Who gets your vote May 2? - by Castanet Staff - Story: 61040 - Mar 25, 2011

Canadians will be heading to the polls in early May after Stephen Harper's Conservative government fell in an historic vote of non-confidence Friday.

In a 156-145 vote, a majority of MP's believed the government was in contempt of Parliament.

It's the first time in Canadian history a government had been found in contempt of Parliament and only the fifth time a government has fallen in a vote of non-confidence.

The last government to fall in a vote of non-confidence was Paul Martin's Liberal government in 2005.

In a brief statement outside the House of Commons following the vote, Harper indicated he would meet with the Governor General Saturday and ask that Parliament be dissolved, triggering a spring election.

"There's nothing — nothing — in the budget that the opposition could not or should not have supported. Unfortunately Mr. Ignatieff and his coalition partners, the NDP and the Bloc, had already decided they wanted to force an election instead," says Harper.

"The fourth election in seven years. An election Canadians clearly don't want."

The opposition leaders were clearly already in full blown election mode.

"We've seen an historic moment in our democracy ... a prime minister condemned by the chamber for contempt. He's lost the confidence of the House of Commons," Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff told reporters.

"Over 36 days we'll present an appeal to Canadians who don't just want to restrain him but replace him."

Meantime, NDP leader Jack Layton portrayed his party as the only alternative to the Conservatives.

"New Democrats will be all across the country taking on the Conservatives, and we'll show that we're the only party capable of defeating the Conservatives coast to coast to coast ," says Layton.

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There were two polls on The one poll (bottom) had been closed and the other (top) had not been closed when we seen them.  These were the results when we looked.

Who will you vote for in the upcoming Federal Election?

Conservative 821
Green 117
Liberal 203
NDP 189
Will not vote 151
Total Votes 1481

This poll had not been closed yet when we seen these numbers so these numbers could have changed later on.


Should the Conservative government tweak the budget to avoid a spring election?

Yes 1325
No 985
Total Votes 2310

This poll had already been closed when we seen these totals, so these numbers were the end result.

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The news said that this May 2, 2011 election will cost $292 million.

Election day set for May 2, 2011
CBC News Posted: Mar 26, 2011

Party leaders begin campaigns after writ drops

Canada's 41st federal election campaign began Saturday morning after Prime Minister Stephen Harper emerged from a meeting with the Governor General, who agreed to dissolve Parliament and send Canadians to the polls on May 2.

Referring to the "disappointing" events of a day earlier, when his government was defeated by a motion of non-confidence, Harper thanked Canadians "for the confidence and trust" they have given him for the last five years.

"It has been a privilege and an honour to serve as prime minister, especially prime minister of the best country in the world, as together we have faced the most difficult days of the global economic recession," he said.

He went on to say that the global economic recovery remains fragile and that armed conflicts, political chaos, humanitarian disasters and other threats are posing risks to that recovery, and now, so is an election.

The opposition parties are forcing an election that Canadians don't want and the economy doesn't need, said Harper, in his remarks outside the front doors of Rideau Hall.

The campaign now underway is blocking the Conservatives from implementing the economic plan presented in its budget on March 22, that was immediately rejected by all three opposition parties.

"To my fellow Canadians I say this: the opposition parties have made their choice. Now we Canadians get to make ours," he said, announcing that May 2 will be election day.

Voters will pick between "a stable, national government" that will keep taxes low and create jobs, and, "a reckless coalition," that will kill jobs, halt the economic recovery and put families back.

Ahead of Harper's appearance, Ignatieff released a statement insisting he won't try to form a coalition with any other party. But the Liberal leader defended coalitions as a "legitimate constitutional option" in Canada's parliamentary system.

Despite Ignatieff's statement, Harper was adamant his Liberal rival would try to form a coalition government with the NDP and Bloc Québécois. The only thing those parties would be able to agree on is spending more money and raising taxes, said Harper, who repeatedly pushed the economy and the coalition messages throughout his remarks and responses to questions from reporters.

Asked how he interpreted the vote of non-confidence that brought his government down Friday, Harper said Canadians don't care about the wording of motions and political manoeuvres, they care about their economic well-being and the standing of Canada in the world.

"That's what that vote was about and that's what this election is going to be about," said Harper.

The Conservative leader, who represents a Calgary riding, is kicking off his campaign Saturday afternoon in Quebec City.

Soon after the writ was dropped, Ignatieff spoke to reporters on Parliament Hill and later in the day will hold a rally in downtown Ottawa. He will later travel to Montreal, where Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe is spending Saturday. Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jack Layton kicked off his campaign with a rally at a hotel steps away from Parliament Hill and a few hours later was heading for Edmonton.

Campaign 'a moment of contrast': Ignatieff
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff stands with candidates as he launches his campaign in front of Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Saturday. Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press It's starting to become clear just what script each party will follow. The Conservatives are hitting hard on the election being unnecessary and irresponsible, and can build a campaign around the hold-steady style of budget they presented earlier this week. They are painting the opposition parties as a threat to the economy and arguing a coalition is inevitable if voters don't choose the Conservatives.

The opposition parties say the issue is one of ethics and respect for democracy, which they say are lacking in the Conservative Party.

Speaking on Saturday outside Parliament, Ignatieff called the coming campaign "a moment of contrast" between the Harper government, which he said has shown "contempt for the fundamentals of democracy," and the Liberal alternative.

"We will be offering Canadians a government of the people, a government devoted to the people," he said, flanked by a group of Liberal MPs.

The Liberals are expected to focus on recent scandals hitting the Conservatives, including charges of electoral fraud for two senators, allegations staff interfered with access to information requests and an accusation a former senior advisor to the prime minister tried to use his influence to promote his girlfriend's business.

Struggling families 'left behind': Layton
NDP Leader Jack Layton at his campaign launch in Ottawa on March 26, 2011. The NDP, meanwhile, say they're the real alternative to the Conservatives because in many ridings their candidates run second to the Tories who won seats.

NDP leader Jack Layton asked Canadians to help him defeat Harper's Conservatives and elect him prime minister instead on May 2.

In delivering his first speech of the campaign, Layton vowed to bring "Canadian leadership" to the job and to fix what he says is broken in Ottawa.

"I'm asking for a mandate to lead the next government," Layton said with a boisterous crowd surrounding him at a downtown Ottawa hotel.

Layton laid out the broad strokes of his campaign, saying the NDP will present concrete proposals to help the struggling families that Harper has "left behind." His party will introduce "affordable" measures to improve the country's pension system, put forward a plan to ensure families have access to child care and education, and will improve health care.

Layton said if a minority government is elected on May 2, he can be counted on to reach out to the other parties and work with them either on a case-by-case basis, or, in "more stable arrangements."

"I will work with the mandate you give me," Layton said.

The Bloc say they're the only party who can defend Quebec's interests.

The opposition Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois came together Friday afternoon in a historic vote to say they no longer have confidence in the Conservative government.

The motion says the House agrees with a committee report tabled earlier this week that found the government in contempt of Parliament, "which is unprecedented in Canadian parliamentary history, and consequently the House has lost confidence in the Government."

Earlier this week, the procedure and House affairs committee tabled a report that said the government is in contempt of parliament for refusing to supply enough information on the cost of the F-35 fighter jets, their justice system reforms and their projections for corporate profits and tax rates.

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Okanagan-Shuswap candidates on the campaign trail
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - March 25, 2011

The long wait is over for Canadians.

The minority Conservative government fell today after the opposition pushed through a non-confidence motion over allegations of contempt of Parliament.

It’s believed Prime Minister Stephen Harper will ask Gov.-Gen. David Johnston Saturday to dissolve Parliament, paving the way for an election May 2 or 9.

“We are ready,” said Colin Mayes, Okanagan-Shuswap Conservative MP, of launching a campaign.

“I have a good support group that’s already been active.”

Mayes, who lives in Salmon Arm, will try and win his third term as MP.

New on the ballot will be Nicki Inouye, a Vernonite who is representing the NDP.

“We have everything in gear. I’m just waiting for my brochures,” she said.

“I need to get my name out there and I’ve been present at a few community events already.”

This will also be the first election campaign for Coldstream resident Greig Crockett of the Green Party.

“We have people getting ready,” he said of his campaign.

“I’ve only been in the position for two weeks so there’s a bit of a panic. But we have momentum.”

A familiar name on the ballot will be Liberal candidate Janna Francis.

She also represented the party in the 2008 election.

“We have print material ready to go and a team of volunteers in place,” she said of the upcoming campaign.

In the 2008 election, the Conservatives received 51.72 per cent of the vote in Okanagan-Shuswap, while the NDP garnered 19.70 per cent, 17.30 per cent went to the Green Party and 10 per cent to the Liberals. There were also two other candidates on the ballot.

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A less proud country
The Ottawa Citizen - By Lawrence Scanlan, Citizen Special July 28, 2010

Apathetic Canadians have allowed their government to trample freedoms -- but opposition is mounting

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government have shown an instinct for control at the expense of democratic values, writes Lawrence Scanlan.

Photograph by: Chris Wattie, Reuters, Citizen Special

There's been a sea change, a darkening of the political climate in this country. The first instinct is to discount such troubling thoughts. So perhaps the view of someone born elsewhere, but long on our shores, is more to be trusted.

Ursula Franklin -- the celebrated physicist, pacifist, author and Companion of the Order of Canada -- recently spoke to CBC Radio's The Current. She had survived a Nazi death camp and come to Canada hoping for better. Now 88, Franklin is "profoundly worried about the absence and erosion of democracy in Canada."

Democracy, I heard her say on the radio, is a slow and messy process. When Franklin sees cabinet ministers holding press conferences to discuss legislation not yet debated in the House of Commons, she sees that process being skirted. And when she hears the prime minister saying he does not "trust" the Opposition, she sees contempt for democracy itself. "Who wants to live in a country," Franklin asked, "where those who don't think like you are deemed untrustworthy?"

A German reporter here to cover the G20 summit likened Toronto's walls to the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. I was just in Berlin and the checkpoint these days comprises a few sandbags and two "soldiers" in Second World War American uniforms posing for tourists' cameras. Walls fall in one place, rise up in another. But surely not here?

The annual gathering of the Writers' Union of Canada took place in Ottawa in June, with many former chairs on hand to offer memories of their time in office. Susan Crean remembered encountering a young, blue-eyed politico at a constitutional conference in Calgary in 1992. When the man learned that she had co-authored a certain book about American domination of Canadian and Quebec politicians, the man responded: "You should not have been allowed to write that book."

The man: Stephen Harper. Crean never forgot his words, but especially the word allowed. The room full of writers in Ottawa issued a gasp.

Crean later elaborated on the encounter. "Harper spoke to me first and asked if I had written 'that book.' I asked which one, and he mentioned Two Nations, which I wrote with Quebec activist/sociologist and well known independentiste Marcel Rioux. ... Harper was clearly still angry about having had to read it at university. In his view, I took it, the book was treasonous. I was so shaken by his words, and his open hostility, that I immediately left the dining room."

No PM should be held strictly accountable for every utterance before taking office. But this exchange suggests an instinct to control and suppress, and that is precisely -- 18 years on -- what the Harper government is being accused of.

An on-line petition, called Voices-Voix, is now circulating. Some 1,500 individuals have signed it (including Margaret Atwood), along with more than 150 organizations -- from Amnesty International to Democracy Watch to the Quakers. The petition begins: "Since 2006 the Government of Canada has systematically undermined democratic institutions and practices, and has eroded the protection of free speech, and other fundamental human rights. It has deliberately set out to silence the voices of organizations or individuals who raise concerns about government policies or disagree with government positions. ... Organizations that disagree with the Government's positions and/or engage in advocacy have had their mandates criticized and their funding threatened, reduced or discontinued."

Case in point is KAIROS, a social justice organization that lost its funding after decades of CIDA support. Immigration minister Jason Kenney stunned KAIROS last December by calling it anti-Semitic. More finger-pointing from a government that argues, for example, that anyone not backing Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan is unpatriotic. This is discourse for licence plates, not Parliament.

The Writers' Union spoke out last fall when a B.C. author who had written a book critical of the Olympics was harassed by security officials, and when liberal American authors were detained at the Canadian border. Is there a pattern here?

The G20 summit, with its state police flavour, mass arrests and trampling of basic civil rights, made a kind of sense -- for ours is a government obsessed with order. But the summit was so excessive, so ... unCanadian. The quiet pride that once had Canadian travellers stitching our flag on their backpacks has vanished.

Ursula Franklin defines peace as the presence of justice and the absence of fear. Which is ascendant in our home and native land -- justice, or fear? Canada Day chest-beating and fireworks failed to counter other evidence that this country has morphed so radically that one has to wonder if Lester B. Pearson would, today, even recognize the place. The tar sands, our pathetic stance at the Copenhagen conference on climate change, the prison farms/super prisons debacle, ongoing asbestos mining, the shift from peacekeeper to major player in a dubious war, Afghan detainees: what's appalling, and indeed what has perhaps enabled all this, is our apathy. And there's a price to be paid for apathy.

A few months ago, Ned Franks, a retired political science professor and constitutional expert, spoke in the wake of the proroguing of Parliament (yet again). He gave compelling statistical evidence that the rapid turnover of MPs and senior ministry staff in recent years has left Parliament weak and dysfunctional. Parliament sits less now, and when things don't go the way the PM likes it, he just shuts it down. A power vacuum has been created, and the PMO is rapidly filling it.

"We should call him King Stephen the First of Canada," says Franks, "for that, in effect, is the way he is behaving."

I spent six years researching a book on philanthropy, and I became convinced tax dollars, wisely deployed, can help diminish the gap between rich and poor -- as is done in Scandinavian countries. Our government freely spends tax dollars on prisons, police and war machinery, while insisting "taxes" is a dirty word. After the G8 summit in Italy in July 2009, Harper opined, "I don't believe that any taxes are good taxes." Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson rightly called it "one of the most stunning, revealing and, frankly, ignorant statements ever made by a prime minister ... very, very scary socially and politically."

I interviewed many NGO staffers for my book, and I was struck by how carefully they feel they must tread.

Ursula Franklin likens democracy to a potluck supper in which everyone brings something, even if only a willingness to wash dishes. The Canadian government is offering a closed-door dinner, and only to those who share the ideology of the host.

Lawrence Scanlan is the author of A Year of Living Generously: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Philanthropy. It was published by Douglas & McIntyre in May.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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P.M. giving away Canadian sovereignty
Kelowna Capital News - July 29, 2010

To the editor:

Please tell me where is the news that should supersede anything and I mean anything in Canada right now?

Our Prime Minister, with a mere 37.65 per cent of the people who voted behind him, is fully intending to give away Canadian sovereignty in favour of a few trade deals and a few dollars.

He has finally come right out and said what a lot of us have been thinking he has wanted since he became prime minister.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper: “I know some people don’t like it. It is a loss of national sovereignty, but it is a simple reality.” (

This is our prime minister who refused to acknowledge in the election of 2008 that there was a financial problem in Canada, to one whom now, less than two years later, says we have to surrender our sovereignty to survive financially.

This is treason from a man who does not have the backing of the majority of Canadians, who has not asked Canadians for this mandate, who has not conferred with Parliament, who is simply taking the country where he wants the country to go—into the world government mode.

Did you (editors) even know this? If you did, why have you hidden it from Canadians—your readers or watchers or listeners—who rely on you for this kind of information?

I acknowledge that I do not read all your publications, and some of you may have mentioned this development, and if you have, great. But why is it still hidden news? Why have the rest of you not picked up on it and simply shouted or rather screamed this to Canadians?

Your prime minister is willing and wants to give away Canada and Canadian sovereignty.

Do you not care? I do.

Jeremy Arney
Saanichton, B.C.

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Wikipedia edits traced to Defence computers
The Vancouver Sun - By David Pugliese, Postmedia News July 28, 2010

This undated handout image, courtesy of the Joint Strike Fighter program site, shows the F-35 JSF.Photograph by: AFP, AFP
Defence Department computers in Ottawa have been used to vandalize information on a Wikipedia site critical of the Conservative government's decision to spend billions on a new stealth fighter. (click link above for photo)

Nine attempts have been made to alter the online encyclopedia's entry on the Joint Strike Fighter, including the removal of any information critical of the Harper government's plan to spend at least $16 billion on the new fighter aircraft.

Defence Department computers were also used to insert insults, aimed at Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, into the Wikipedia Joint Strike Fighter page. Ignatieff has questioned the proposed purchase.

Quotes from news articles outlining opposition to the arms sale by University of British Columbia professor Michael Byers, a former NDP candidate, were also removed.

Wikipedia traced the alterations to three computers owned by Defence Research and Development Canada's Ottawa offices. The online site has labelled the July 20-21 alterations as vandalism.

The attempts to change the web page, made during work hours, stopped when Wikipedia administrators locked down the entry on the Joint Strike Fighter or JSF. That allowed only recognized editors to work on the page. That particular Wikipedia site is popular, with more than 78,000 page views in the first three weeks of July.

The Conservative government's decision in mid-July to spend an estimated $16 billion on the Joint Strike Fighter has sparked controversy, with opposition parties questioning whether the purchase is needed at a time when the country's deficit has ballooned to $50 billion.

A spokesman for Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) said the attempts to alter the Wikipedia page were not part of a concerted effort to stifle debate on the proposed JSF purchase but inappropriate use of government computers by, as yet, an unidentified individual or individuals.

"It sounds to me like someone was freelancing," said Martin Champoux, DRDC's manager of public affairs. "This is not behaviour we commonly condone."

He noted the government authorizes some personal use by employees on work computers but that it has to be limited and reasonable. In addition, federal employees are required by the public service code of ethics to be non-partisan.

Champoux said information technology specialists are attempting to track down those users associated with the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses used to access the Wikipedia site.

He noted that while the IP addresses of the computers are registered to DRDC Ottawa, the addresses also include other Defence Department computers.

Champoux said reminders will be sent to employees about government regulations regarding personal computer use.

The proposed purchase of the JSF, the most expensive military equipment procurement in Canadian history, is supported by Canadian air force officers. But Ignatieff, concerned that no competition was held to select the fighter plane, has vowed to review the deal if his party forms the next government.

The NDP and Bloc Quebecois have also spoken out about the planned purchase.

Canada won't be required to sign a contract committing it to purchasing the stealth fighters until 2013, according to aerospace industry representatives. That has opened the door for any future government to back away from the proposed deal if needed.

Byers, who recently wrote a Toronto Star commentary criticizing the JSF purchase, said the Harper government is particularly sensitive about any opposition towards the JSF purchase, a situation reflected by the attempts to alter the Wikipedia page.

"It indicates to me they are concerned about the fact the announcement has been contested," he said. "I think that sensitivity reflects the realization on their part that they stand on weak ground, particularly on the lack of a competitive process."

Earlier this week, Conservative senator Pamela Wallin sent letters to the National Post and the Toronto Star, complaining that in his commentary, Byers was not identified as a member of the board of the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute.

Wallin, chairwoman of the senate's defence committee, described the institute as a left-wing peace and social policy think-tank that criticizes military spending and seems to favour peacekeeping.

But Byers called Wallin's stance hypocritical, noting that in her letters to newspapers she did not reveal that she is an honorary Canadian air force colonel, as well as being on the board of directors of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, a pro-military organization closely aligned with DND.

The Harper government wants to purchase 65 JSF.

But opposition members of Parliament point out that the military just months ago received the last of the modernized CF-18 fighters which can keep flying until at least 2017 or 2020. They question why the Harper government is rushing now to spend billions on new fighters.

Blue Divider Line encourages Canadian government to create open data portal - By Stephen Hui - July 27, 2010

Looking for government data in Canada and having trouble finding it?

While Americans have and the British have, Canadians don’t yet have an official portal offering easy access to data generated by their federal government.

A group of open-data advocates isn’t waiting for Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to jump on the bandwagon.

They’ve created, in hopes of showing the powers that be how it “could and should” be done.

Launched in April by David Eaves and other volunteers, the Web site offers links to and information about hundreds of data packages published on-line by various federal departments and provincial governments.

The site invites the public to add more open data and information to its catalogue.

What qualifies as open data? According to, it’s data that is “freely available to everyone, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control”.

Eaves, a public-policy consultant who sits on the executive of Vision Vancouver, helped draft the motion that resulted in the City of Vancouver endorsing a year ago the principles of open data, open standards, and open-source software.

In September, Vancouver launched its open-data catalogue, making data about community centres, drinking fountains, and more available on the Web.


This is not an official Government of Canada website. Rather, it’s a collaborative effort by a group of citizens who want our governments to open their data — in useful, structured formats — so we’re showing them how it could be done.

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Canada to spend $9B on F-35 fighter jets
CBC News - Friday, July 16, 2010

Ignatieff wants House committee to examine 'secretive, unaccountable decision'

Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the new fighter jets are 'the best that we can provide our men and women in uniform.' (CBC)The Canadian government said Friday it plans to spend $9 billion to purchase a new generation of fighter jets, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay told a news conference in Ottawa that the jets would be purchased from Lockheed Martin, with the first one expected for delivery by 2016

The contract, one of the biggest military equipment purchases in Canadian history, is worth $9 billion, but the full cost could rise to as much $18 billion once the government signs a maintenance contract.

'When you think purely about response times, there is nothing else that can get across the country as fast as a fighter jet.'
—Mercedes Stephenson, military analyst MacKay said the government would make further announcements on additional costs at a later date.

The new jets would replace an aging fleet of CF-18s that recently underwent a $2.6-billion upgrade.

"This aircraft is the best that we can provide our men and women in uniform, and this government is committed to giving them the very best," MacKay said at a news conference.

Sole-source contract questioned
But the government is fending off criticism that it is making one of the biggest military purchases in Canadian history without a single competing bid.

The Liberals say the massive purchase of 65 jets should have been subjected to competitive bids.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is calling on the House of Commons defence committee to reconvene as soon as possible to examine what he calls the Tory government's "secretive, unaccountable decision to proceed with this contract."

The Liberals want the committee to question other potential bidders and procurement experts to determine whether a sole-sourced contract gives maximum value to the government and taxpayers.

The F-35 Lightning II fighter jets set for purchase by the federal government are made by Lockheed Martin. The Liberals, however, say the purchase should have been subjected to competitive bids. (Defence Department/Canadian Press)
"I think Canadians are amazed that the largest procurement deal in the history of the country is a single-sourced — so, it's not a competitive — deal," Ignatieff told reporters.

"We don't know whether we're getting value for money. And they're releasing it on a Friday … in the middle of July, when they think no Canadian is watching and when Parliament is not sitting."

A previous Liberal government signed a memorandum of understanding with Lockheed Martin to develop the Joint Strike Fighter but that did not commit Canada to buy the aircraft.

"I am questioning the hypocrisy which seems to soar higher than this aircraft in now criticizing purchasing the very plane that the previous government signalled very early on that they were going to do," MacKay said.

Jets 'absolutely necessary': analyst
Military analyst Mercedes Stephenson told CBC News that the purchase is "absolutely necessary."

She added: "We have to have fighter jets. Canada is a massive country, and when you think purely about response times, there is nothing else that can get across the country as fast as a fighter jet.

"Also, when you are dealing with the Arctic, there is very little that has the kind of survivability of a fighter jet in the air under those kinds of harsh conditions."

She added that the purchase is also important for Canada to meet obligations to its international allies.

"Everybody else is updating their fighter jets, and there simply hasn't been a technology developed that can replace it at this point," Stephenson said.

But the NDP argues even if Canada needs fighter jets, it's not clear it needs these particular ones.

"The issue for the Canadian defence department is, is the F-35 what we want?" said NDP MP Malcolm Allen.

Allen said the jet was built to suit the needs of U.S. forces.

"We are basically buying these for Canadian duties," he said. "New Democrats are fully supportive of the men and women in the armed forces ... but we have to decide what it is they are going to do, and we have not done that."

Allen said that a proper analysis of Canada's defence needs has not been done in 15 years

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Stephen Harpers Assault on Democracy
The Council of Canadians Acting for Social Justice

Stephen Harper’s Assault on Democracy Author and columnist Murray Dobbin details the harm Prime Minister Stephen Harper is doing to the political and social fabric of Canada in a new, hard-hitting essay commissioned by the Council of Canadians titled Harper’s Hitlist: Power, Process and the Assault on Democracy.

As Dobbin explains in the opening paragraphs of the essay, “This study is intended to examine the most serious violations of democracy committed by the prime minister and his government. Some are clearly more serious than others. But taken as a whole they add up to a dangerous undermining of our democratic traditions, institutions and precedents – and politics. These violations are not accidental, they are not incidental, and they are not oversights or simply the sign of an impatient government or ‘decisive’ leadership. They are a fundamental part of Harper’s iron-fisted determination to remake Canada, whether Canadians like it or not.”

Harper’s Hitlist: Power, Process and the Assault on Democracy
Download report here 1 MB or in sections below:

•Part 1 - Stephen Harper’s Assault on Democracy
•Part 2 - Two Prorogations in Less Than a Year
•Part 3 - Thwarting Democracy
•Part 4 - Controlling Critics
•Part 5 - Manipulating and Muzzling the Media
•Part 6 - A Personal Agenda
•Part 7 - Failing to Protect Canadian Citizens
•Part 8 - Harper Attacks Rights
•Part 9 - Political Advocacy Under Fire
•Part 10 - Conclusion

POLL: Environics, on behalf of the Council of Canadians, polled people about their feelings about proportional representation in February. Here are the results:

•61% of Canadians support moving to a system of proportional representation in Parliament

•36% said they were more supportive of proportional representation as a result of Prime Minister Harper’s recent prorogations

(These results represent the findings of a telephone survey conducted among a
national random sample of 1,001 adults comprising 501 males and 500 females 18
years of age and older, living in Canada. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.10%, 19 times out of 20.)

MEDIA: New hard-hitting report details Prime Minister’s ‘assault on Democracy’, April 15, 2010

About the Author
Murray Dobbin has been a freelance journalist, broadcaster and author for thirty-five years. He is also a leading activist and analyst in the movement against corporate globalization. He has written extensively on various trade agreements and their impact on democracy and on neo-liberalism’s attack on social programs. He is a past executive board member of the Council of Canadians and author or Word Warriors, and online activism tool hosted on the Council’s website at

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One day a florist goes to a barber for a haircut. After the cut he asked about his bill, and the barber replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The florist was pleased, and left the shop. When the barber goes to open his shop the next morning, there is a 'thank you' card, and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The cop is happy and leaves the shop. The next morning when the barber goes to open up there is a 'thank you' card, and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Later that day, a college professor comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The professor is very happy and leaves the shop. The next morning when the barber opens his shop, there is a 'thank you' card, & a dozen different books, such as 'How to Improve Your Business' & 'Becoming More Successful.

Then, a Politician comes in for a haircut, and when he goes to pay his bill the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The MP is very happy and leaves the shop. The next morning when the barber goes to open up, there are a dozen Members of Parliament lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that, my friends, illustrates the Fundamental difference between the Citizens of our country and the Members of our Government.

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Never doubt the ability of a small group of concerned citizens to change the world.  In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.

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