Monday, March 28, 2011

Harper Prorouges Parliament Over Afghan Torture

Remember Harper's War...the one in Afghanistan that hasn't been discussed in this election campaign....yet. It was only a year ago he prorogued parliament to avoid being found in contempt of parliament over what the Government knew about the torture of captured prisoners in Afghanistan. And despite an all party committee created out of this confrontation, we have not heard boo out of them for the past year.

Afghanistan detainee torture timeline - Editor's Notes

Unfortunately, ministers and senior officials in the Harper government have continued to mislead the Canadian public - either through the suppression of information on the spurious grounds of “national security”, or through outright lies. When The Toronto Globe and Mail requested information regarding human rights abuses in Afghanistan (under a freedom of information request), the document released by the government was heavily censured. The blacked out sections referred to the high rate of extra-judicial executions, torture and illegal detentions of battlefield prisoners. Later, General Rick Hillier justified this censorship by declaring that any information on the treatment of detainees captured by Canadian troops would be suppressed because it was “an operational security issue”. The government wants to keep us in the dark in order to hide the war crimes that have been committed in the name of all Canadians in Afghanistan.

Denial and deceit: The Harper government and torture in Afghanistan

When allegations that battlefield detainees were facing torture in Afghan prisons first erupted,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismissed them as Taliban lies and terrorist propaganda.

But the Canadian government had been warned by one of its most senior diplomats in Kandahar a full year before, in May 2006, of "serious, imminent and alarming" evidence of prisoner abuse.

Colvin’s allegations emerged because he was called to testify before the Military Police Complaints Commission, a body—established after the Somalia Inquiry—which has been investigating detainee transfers at the request of Amnesty International and the BC Civil Liberties Association. The Harper government sought to block Colvin’s testimony before the MPCC, citing national security. The obstruction prompted the three Canadian opposition parties to call Colvin to testify before a Parliamentary committee.

Canada's international war crime: Harper government's deception cannot hold—do citizens of the 'New Canada' care? November 24, 2009

Stephen Harper Gambles on Prorogue Shutting Down Parliament Again

The same cannot be said of this second prorogue action.

Critics immediately lashed out at the government for what they claim are Harper’s actual rationales for such a move; to delay all Commons committees, including the ongoing investigation into allegations of detainee abuse in Afghanistan, and to pad the Canadian Senate with the appointment of 5 Conservative nominees, which effectively destroys the Liberal control of the body.

It also provides the ruling Conservatives more control as to when and if to call the next election, by making votes on the budget and the throne speech issues of confidence in Parliament.

Ralph Goodale, the Liberal House Leader said Harper’s decision was “beyond arrogant” and that his justifications for it are “a joke; it’s almost despotic.”

In an interview with the CBC from Phoenix, Arizona, Goodale said, “Three times in three years and twice within one year, the prime minister takes this extraordinary step to muzzle Parliament. This time it’s a cover-up of what the Conservatives knew, and when they knew it, about torture in Afghanistan. So their solution is not to answer the questions but, rather, to padlock Parliament and shut down democracy.”

From Vancouver, NDP House Leader Libby Davies told CBC news she was “appalled” by Harper’s decision, accusing him of “running from” the growing pressure by opposition parties into the Afghan detainee inquiry. “By proroguing Parliament, he is unilaterally making a decision to stop any kind of disclosure from happening,” said Davies.

The allegations by Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin regarding the treatment of prisoners by the Afghan government following their handover by Canadian armed forces, and his assertion that the Prime Minister and his government were aware of these practices, has clearly rattled Harper and his Conservative minority to the core.

The Canadian Afghan detainee issue concerns questions about actions of the executive branch of the Government of Canada during the War in Afghanistan in regards to Canada transferring Afghan detainees to the Afghan National Army (ANA) or the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS). This issue has at least two distinct subcategories:

The first issue concerns whether or not the executive branch of the Government of Canada knew about alleged abusive treatment of Afghan detainees by those Afghan forces. Particularly at issue are questions of when the government of Canada had this alleged knowledge. The question of "when" is important because it pertains to their responsibility to act on knowledge of mistreatment of detainees. That responsibility is outlined in the Third Geneva Convention, which Canada is a party to. Article 12 states that "the Detaining Power [(in this case Canada)] is responsible for the treatment given [to prisoners of war]".

The second issue arose in March 2010, when allegations surfaced that the government did more than turn a blind eye to abuse of Afghan detainees, but that Canada went even further in intentionally handing over prisoners to torturers.[1] The allegations were sparked by University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran, who claimed that full versions of government documents proved these claims. If the allegations are true, Canada could be considered guilty of a war crime, according to critics.[1]

Subsequently, the Canadian House of Commons has been the scene of a showdown, as opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have tried to force the government into releasing said documents in full, unredacted form. The controversy over the documents was fueled further when Parliament was prorogued at the end of 2009. The government maintained that they had a duty to protect Canadian troops and citizens as the documents contained sensitive information, while opposition MPs have argued they have the parliamentary privilege to see them. At the request of the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, the opposition parties and the government worked together to organize a system to determine what documents were sensitive or not, so that they could be released to MPs. The Canadian public, which generally holds the view that there was knowledge of detainee abuse by military or government officials, now awaits for a clearer picture of the issue as these documents are released.

Afghan Detainee Torture: The Issue That Grew, and Grew, and Grew

The prime Minister’s initial reaction to this demand, made late last year, was to shut down Parliament for two months, but now that Parliament is back in session, the issue is back on the table. The fallback position was to appoint retired judge Frank Iacobucci to review the documents and advise the government on their release. The opposition parties have, rightly, rejected this as a delaying device and a diversion from the real issue of Parliamentary supremacy. Instead, they have sought a Speaker’s ruling that Members’ privileges have been breached by the government’s refusal to comply with the resolution of the majority of the House. If the Speaker upholds the House, we could see a vote to hold the executive in contempt of Parliament – something unprecedented in parliamentary history. The government, on the other hand, could interpret this as a vote of non-confidence, and precipitate an election.

The constitutional issue has taken on a life of its own, but it is well to remember the original cause for this grand confrontation. We should ask ourselves why has the government gone to such extremes – even precipitating a constitutional crisis – to avoid investigation of the torture issue, if they do not have something they are desperately determined to cover up? If suspicions are really unfounded, why not call a public inquiry like the Arar or Air India inquiries?

One hint that something darker may be involved has emerged recently: evidence that the Special Forces unit, JTF2, and CSIS, were involved in interrogation of prisoners before their transfer to the Afghans. This raises the uncomfortable possibility that transfers might have been a kind of instant rendition to place them in the hands of those who were expected to use methods that Canadians could not employ, but might profit from.

Income Trusts

Remember them.

The October surprise after the election of the first Harper Minority government in 2006, andthe first big lie by the Harpercrite government. It closed down Income Trusts after having promised not to. By forcing them to change to corporations they initially harmed seniors who had invested in the Trusts for their dividend pay outs. So how come the Harpercrites can count on seniors for their vote?

And when Income Trusts dissolved, some into corporations, others bought out by hedge funds how did that help Canadian small businesses relying on them for their capital investment? Well it didn't help them.

Those Trusts that became corporations benefited from tax breaks, tax cuts and or course deferred taxes, which have contributed to the current Harper Deficit.

Ms. Lefebvre said that some companies have benefited from converting to corporate status because they can use other exemptions to offset entity taxes, which income trusts will soon have to pay.

“Although the rate might be roughly the same in theory, if you're a corporation, you have access to various ways to defer tax or shelter tax, none of which are available to an income trust.”

However, she added, smaller trusts are simply disappearing because they cannot continue to attract investors when they switch to corporate mode because they are no longer able to pay high-yield dividends.

“Many of those have been taken out of circulation by being bought out by private equity, or being bought out by pension funds,” she said, adding that the government wrongly assumed most funds would keep their status and begin paying entity tax.

“The biggest change for the Canadian economy is that small- and medium-sized companies will not have the access to capital that they would before.”

“[The income trust] was a creation of the Canadian economy,” she said. “It was particularly suited to an economy where small- and medium-sized companies had very difficult access to capital, where the capital market is small.”

The demise of the trusts began four years ago, on Halloweeen, 2006 when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty did a flip-flop on a Conservative campaign promise and announced that trusts would be taxed starting in 2011.

Investors were shocked and angry. Many dumped their trust holdings in the big market sell-off that followed the announcement. To this day, a few diehards continue to fight a rear-guard action in the hope that the government might have a last-minute change of heart. It won’t.

The disappearance of the trusts couldn’t have come at a worse time for income-oriented investors. With interest rates near historic lows, traditional safe haven securities like GICs and government bonds are offering pitifully low returns. As of the time of writing, five-year federal government bonds were yielding only 2.22 per cent. Five-year non-redeemable GICs from major institutions like Royal Bank were even lower, at 2.1 per cent (posted rate). That means anyone investing in these securities isn’t even keeping up with inflation, which was running at an annualized rate of 2.4 per centin October according to Statistics Canada.

The Conservatives propose new rules for income trusts

Following announcements by telecommunications giants Telus and Bell Canada Enterprises of their intentions to convert to income trusts, on October 31, 2006, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty proposed new rules that will effectively end the tax benefits of the income trust structure for most trusts. Brent Fullard of the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors points out that at the time of the announcement Telus and Bell Canada Enterprises did not pay any corporate taxes nor would they for several years. According to his analysis, had Bell Canada Enterprises converted to a trust it would have paid $2.6 to 3.17 billion in the next four years versus no taxes as a corporation.

Subsequent to the October 31 announcement by Flaherty, the TSX Capped Energy Trust Index lost 21.8% in market value and the TSX Capped Income Trust Index[22] lost 17.6% in market value by mid November 2006. In contrast, the TSX Capped REIT Index,[23] which is exempt from the 'Tax Fairness Plan', gained 3.2% in market value. According to the Canadian Association of Income Funds, this translates into a permanent loss in savings of $30 billion to Canadian income trust investors.[24]

In the month following the tax announcement, the unit price for all 250 income trusts and REITs on the TSX dropped by a median of almost 13% according to the iTrust Report published by and its iTrust Index. Studies by Leslie Hayman, publisher of the Report, indicated that the tax news at the end of 2006 was the second most significant volatility event in the market following only the suspension of advance tax rulings by the Minister of Finance, Ralph Goodale in 2005.

Income trusts, other than real estate income trusts, and mutual fund investment trusts, that are formed after that date will be taxed in the same way as corporations:

  • income flowed out to investors will be subject to a new 34% tax as of 2007 (which falls to 31.5% in 2011),[25] which approximates the average corporate income tax paid by corporations—this is equivalent to the current prohibition against deducting dividends paid to investors in determining corporate taxable income; and
  • income flowed out to investors will be eligible for the dividend tax credit to provide equivalent treatment to dividends paid by corporations.

Income trusts formed on or before that date will not be subject to the new rules until 2011 to allow a period of transition. Real estate income trusts will not be subject to the new rules on real estate income derived in Canada (the non-Canadian real estate operations of existing REITs will be subject to the same taxation as business trusts). The new rules were completely contrary to the Conservative Party's election promise to avoid taxing income trusts.

Flaherty proposes to reduce the federal corporate income tax rate from 19% to 18.5% in 2011. The 34% tax on distributions will be split between the federal and provincial governments—the federal government will consult with the provincial governments on an appropriate mechanism for allocating 13 percentage points of the new tax between the provincial governments.

Flaherty also proposed a $1000 increase to the amount on which the tax credit for those over 65 (the "age amount") is based, and new rules to allow senior couples to split pension income in order to reduce the income tax they pay. Although these proposals were said to be designed to mitigate the impact on seniors of the new income trust rules, there have been widespread calls for such changes in previous years.

Legislative amendments to implement these proposals must be passed by the Parliament of Canada and receive Royal Assent before they become law. The legislation to implement these proposals was included in the 2007 federal budget, which was presented to Parliament by Jim Flaherty on March 19, 2007.

Stephen Harper A Contemptible Liar

No attack ads need to be created to defeat Stephen Harper this election, he has done it too himself.

Stephen Harper and his government; the Harper Government (c)(tm)(r) were found in contempt of parliament. a fact he continues to dismiss.

Harper government held in contempt of Parliament

The fact is his is the first government ever to fall because of a charge of contempt of parliament, and he cannot dismiss that historical fact!

This is the first time a Canadian Government has fallen on Contempt of Parliament, and marks a first for a national government anywhere in the Commonwealth of fifty-four states.

Then he was exposed as a Liar on day one of the election when he claimed that creating a coalition government to replace a minority government that had lost the support of Parliament was 'illegitimate'. Conveniently forgetting that is exactly what he proposed to do in 2004.

Duceppe's message is clear: Harper is a liar

So when it comes to issues of trust and ethics, after five years the Harpercrites have caught up with the Liberals, who fell after 13 years in power because of these kind of ethical failures.

So folks if you don't like Steve and his politics or his political cronies, like Bruce Carson, then just get out those felt pens and add 'contemptible liar', to any Harper posters you see, after all its called truth in advertising for a reason.

Contemtible Liar

Harper Conservatives Don’t Understand Meaning of “Contempt” by Kevin Parkinson – March 27, 2011 |

Even as Prime Minister Harper gave his somber faced farewell speech in the lobby of the House of Commons last Friday, he refused to acknowledge why his government was defeated. By thus refusing, Harper ironically piled on even more contempt for Canadians and their right to know how this government operates. He gave his typical, unimaginative speech attacking the Opposition parties for calling an election, for which the Conservatives have already spent $26 million of taxpayer money in pre-election spending.

If you look back at Harper’s 5 years in power, almost always he has tried to govern as if he had a majority. He has kept information secret not just from parliament but also from the media. Look at the Afghan prisoner debacle, the refusal to stick to his fixed election policy, the secret plan to build mega prisons with a failing crime rate. The list goes on.

Harper’s decision to prorogue parliament should give him the title as King of Contempt. To use a parliamentary statute to protect the Conservative party from defeat in the House has to be one of the most cowardly acts of his tenure. Another irony is, of course, that his popularity actually increased while the House was being prorogued and was empty. As the polls concluded at that time, parliament was irrelevant to Canadians. And that’s the way Harper likes it. He does not want to answer to Canadians.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Capitalism Needs Public Spending

As the United States and UK pull back on government spending they are cutting their noses to spite their face. Austerity measures caused by bank and corporate bail outs as a result of the financial crisis of 2008 are not going to create jobs, nor are they going to increase productivity.

They are counter productive. Modern capitalism requires government to spend on infrastructure in order to function as this analysis by Michael Hudson points out.

The logic of public investment is to upgrade economies and make them more competitive

Nations that today have the highest incomes recognize that rising productivity should enable costs and prices to fall – and that public investment is needed for this to occur. U.S. development strategy was based explicitly on public infrastructure investment and education. The aim was not to make a profit or use its natural monopoly position to extract economic rent like a private company would do. It was to subsidize the cost of living and doing business – to make the economy more efficient, lower-cost and ultimately more fulfilling to live and work in.

At issue is the idea that capital investment is inherently private in character. The national income and product accounts do not recognize government investment even in infrastructure, to say nothing of subsidies for the research and development that led to much space and aeronautics technology, information-processing and the internet, pharmaceuticals, DNA biology and other sectors that enabled private companies to make hundreds of billions of dollars.

Simon Patten, the first professor of economics at the nation’s first business school – the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania – explained that the return to public investment should not take the form of maximizing user fees. The aim was not to make a profit, but just the reverse: Unlike military levies (a pure burden to taxpayers), “in an industrial society the object of taxation is to increase industrial prosperity”[7] by lowering the cost of doing business, thus making the economy more competitive. Market transactions meanwhile would be regulated to keep prices in line with actual production costs so as to prevent financial operators from extracting “fictitious” watered costs – what the classical economists defined as unearned income (“economic rent”).

The U.S. Government increased prosperity by infrastructure investment in canals and railroads, a postal service and public education as a “fourth” factor of production alongside labor, land and capital. Taxes would be “burdenless,” Patten explained, if invested in public investment in internal improvements, headed by transportation infrastructure.

“The Erie Canal keeps down railroad rates, and takes from local producers in the East their rent of situation. Notice, for example, the fall in the price of [upstate New York] farms through western competition” making low-priced crops available from the West.[8] Likewise, public urban transport would minimize property prices (and hence economic rents) in the center of cities relative to their outlying periphery.

Under a regime of “burdenless taxation” the return on public investment would aim at lowering the economy’s overall price structure to “promote general prosperity.” This meant that governments should operate natural monopolies directly, or at least regulate them. “Parks, sewers and schools improve the health and intelligence of all classes of producers, and thus enable them to produce more cheaply, and to compete more successfully in other markets.” Patten concluded: “If the courts, post office, parks, gas and water works, street, river and harbor improvements, and other public works do not increase the prosperity of society they should not be conducted by the State. Like all private enterprises they should yield a surplus” for the overall economy, but not be treated as what today is called a profit center (loc. cit.).

Public infrastructure represents the largest capital expenditure in almost every country, yet little trace of its economic role appears in today’s national income and product accounts. Free market ideology treats public spending as deadweight, and counts infrastructure spending as part of the deficit, not as productive capital investment. The only returns recognized are user fees, not what is saved from private operators incurring interest charges, dividends, other financial fees, as well as high executive salaries.

As Patten showed, the relatively narrow scope of “free market” marginal productivity models applies only to private-sector industrial investment, not to public investment. (What would the “product” be?) The virtue of this line of analysis is to point out that the alternative is to promote a rentier “tollbooth” economy enabling private owners of infrastructure or other monopolies to charge more than the “marginal product” actually costs. Stock and bond markets increasingly aim at extracting economic rent rather than earning profits by investing in tangible capital formation to employ labor to increase output, not to speak of rising living standards.

In the United States, Alaska and Wyoming pay their residents a “citizens’ dividend” out of their resource rent receipts. Alaska’s Senators Stevens and Murkowski, as well as its Governor Sarah Palin, did not believe that it is proper for government to upgrade, educate and provide the population with social services. So Alaska has used its oil revenue to pay each resident a few thousand dollars – and to abolish property taxes. This policy leaves Alaska among the lowest-ranking states in terms of literacy, education, support for the arts and technology, while avoiding progressive taxation.

The state’s neoliberal anti-tax, anti-government ideology condemns its residents to send their children out to work rather than educating them and investing in their improvement.

It is a bankers’-eye view of the world, not that by which Britain, France, Germany and the United States built themselves up to global leadership positions. The focus is on financial returns, not on lowering the cost of living and production or upgrading the quality of work. It views government spending as a deadweight cost, not as productive investment.

Alberta Deficit Created By Auto Bail Out

Not only is the deficit in Alberta not about overspending on infrastructure, which had been put on a decade long hold as the result of the cuts and privatization of the Klein era, but because of royalty holidays to big oil and the corporate bail out of the Auto-Industry.

The final chapter in the stormy marriage and divorce of Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corp. will provide a $1.5-billion (U.S.) windfall to the deficit-ridden federal, Ontario and Alberta governments.

Daimler AG as the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars is now known, will pay the three governments $1.5-billion to settle a dispute over 11 years of Chrysler taxes that began in the mid-1990s and lasted until Daimler unloaded the No. 3 Detroit auto maker in 2007.

The bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors Corp., which total about $12.7-billion, were partly responsible for the record-setting deficits the two governments racked up to fight the recession. Those governments are still fighting to stem the red ink.

The federal deficit for the April-December, 2010, period was $27.4-billion (Canadian). Ontario is on track to post a deficit of $18.7-billion in the fiscal year that ends March 31. Alberta, meanwhile, tabled a budget last week that forecasts a deficit of $3.4-billion for 2011-12.

So not only did Chrysler get tax breaks from the Liberal and Conservative Federal governments and then get bailed out but they avoided paying taxes for over a decade.

Corporations don't need tax breaks, they take them anyways whether you give them to them or not.

If a Canadian fails to pay their income tax over ten years they not only go to court they go to jail.

But not if they are a corporation.

Whose Canada

This election the issue is simple; whose Canada do you want?
Yours or Harper's.
He re-branded the government and now he wants to re-brand Canada as his.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jack Layton For PM

There is no question in Canadians minds who is the most trusted and respected party leader in Parliament and it's Jack Layton of the NDP. Therefore while Harper and Iggy were parcing the nuances of what is or is not a coalition, Jack announced he wants to be YOUR PM.

In this election, you can elect a Prime Minister you can count on. A Prime Minister who will help your family get ahead. Someone who will put aside the political games and work with others to get things done.

I’m running to be that Prime Minister.

Because I want to bring some Canadian leadership to Ottawa. The leadership I saw in my Dad. He was a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister. And he taught me the value of bringing people together. Of seeing the good in everyone. Of building a better country for our children and grandchildren.

My Dad and my Mom were committed to leaving this country better off for their kids. That’s a value I share. It’s a value that so many Canadians share.

And this election he could very well have a chance to win the position. He kicked off his campaign outlining what Canadians want and what he and the NDP can deliver, either as a majority or minority government. And he did it Obama style.

With the Liberals and their leader in terrible shape in the polls, Jack could come up the middle. He has made it a clear choice between himself and Harper's Conservatives.

He also made it clear he was Canadians best choice as a Canadian leader, Mr. Harper of course influenced by Republican strategists from the U.S., Mr. Ignatieff being a dual American Canadian citizen, and Elizabeth May of the Green Party having been born in the U.S.

Subtle but effective sideswipe that.


It was a motion whose time had come, perhaps not soon enough. The Harpercrites have been in contempt of Parliament since they first became a minority government in 2006, it just finally caught up with them. And they have not been scandal free since. Once in power they threw out the last vestiges of their Reform Party platform for the expediency of maintaining power at all costs.They had become the very Mulroney Conservatives that Reform had been formed against.

Canadian Government, Beset by Scandal, Collapses

C. E. S. Franks, an authority on Canadian parliamentary practice who is professor emeritus of political science at Queen’s University in Ontario, said it was the first time a Canadian government had been found in contempt of Parliament. Eight individuals have been found in contempt, he said.

Professor Franks said the Conservatives deserved credit for their economic record and for governing “reasonably competently,” but he was very critical of the government’s approach to politics.

“It’s treated Parliament like the enemy,” he said.

Walkom: Yes, contempt of Parliament does matter

But there is a bitterness to this prime minister that has infected his entire caucus. All politicians are partisan by definition. Harper’s partisanship is over the top. He not only disagrees with Canadians who are liberals and left-leaners. He seems to despise them.

All of this was manifest before he took over the merged Conservative Party. In those days, he disparaged what he called the moral failings of liberals, calling them nihilists bent on the destruction of western values.

In power, his rhetoric was often more restrained. But as former nuclear regulator Linda Keen found, those he believed tainted by Liberalism could expect no mercy. Keen was axed in 2007 because she insisted that Canadian nuclear plants have back-up power systems — systems we now know that Japan’s ill-fated Fukushima reactors famously lacked.

But her real sin was to have been appointed to by a previous Liberal government. That, Harper suggested, made her inherently untrustworthy.

Opposition MPs and others who had the temerity to disagree with the government were given equally short shrift. Canadians who questioned Ottawa’s handling of Afghan prisoners were treated as traitors. Richard Colvin, the veteran diplomat who testified to this mistreatment, was savagely and personally attacked.

At one point, when it looked like his government might be defeated, Harper simply shut down the Commons.

And while Harper flippantly dismisses the contempt charges against his governance and government, he continues to abuse his power by claiming as the outgoing PM that any form of Minority coalition government is 'illegitimate', in particular the one formed in 2008 after the fall election when he and his government refused to accept there was a recession and that they had to do something about it.

"Canadians need to understand clearly, without any ambiguity: unless Canadians elect a stable, national majority, Mr. Ignatieff will form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois," Harper said. "They tried it before. It is clear they will try it again. And, next time, if given the chance, they will do it in a way that no one will be able to stop."

"Imagine a coalition of arch-centralists and Quebec sovereignists trying to work together," Harper said. "The only thing they'll be able to agree on is to spend more money and to raise taxes to pay for it. We've all got too much at stake. Now is not the time for political instability."

Of course that was 2008 and he was in power. In 2004 then Liberal PM Paul Martin had a minority government and a coalition was formed by Harper, Duceppe and Layton against the Martin government. It was legitimate and legal then but not now says Harper.

Harper wanted 2004 coalition: Duceppe

Duceppe says Harper lying

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper is warning that the Liberals will form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc Quebecois if the May 2 federal election results in a minority government. But when he was Opposition leader, Harper didn't seem to mind the idea of governing with the support of the NDP and Bloc. Here's the text of a letter Harper and his fellow opposition leaders sent to the Governor General in 2004:

September 9, 2004

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,

C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.

Governor General

Rideau Hall

1 Sussex Drive

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1


As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government's program.

We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.


Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.

Leader of the Opposition

Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe, M.P.

Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

Jack Layton, M.P.

Leader of the New Democratic Party

Harper has always had contempt for Parliament, when he was a Reform MP and even more so as spokesman for the right wing business lobby NCC, but no more so than over the past five years in power when he acted like he had a majority not a minority.

Now he tries to run an election campaign to become King of Canada with a Conservative majority that does not reflect the values of the vast majority of Canadians.

Coalitions OK say Conservatives

For the bombing of Libya

Canadian general to take command of NATO mission in Libya

But not to be government.

To be sure, the Harper Conservatives are already circulating talking points to their candidates that refer disparagingly to the "coalition opposition." And you can expect to hear more about the evil coalition as the election campaign unfolds in the weeks ahead.

Why a Canadian?

First because we were the only country in NATO whose Parliamentary parties, left, right, centre and separatist voted unanimously to support the No Fly Zone.

Second because the Canadian General is also a NORAD commander, making this still an American mission.

Bouchard, a native of Chicoutimi, Que, had been deputy commander of NATO's joint forces command, based in Naples, Italy. The former Canadian air force commander has been a member of the Canadian Forces since 1974 and graduated as a helicopter pilot in 1976. He has worked at key posts within Norad operations and has served at U.S. military bases on several occasions. He was awarded the United States Legion of Merit in 2004

And well, because we are after all polite....even in war.

Two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets took part in a mission over Libya on Tuesday morning, but returned to base without attacking their target because the risk of collateral damage was too great.

"Two CF-18s were tasked for a ground attack mission against a Libyan airfield," Lawson told a news conference in Ottawa.

"I can confirm for you that the air crew returned not having dropped their weaponry. Upon arrival on the scene of the target area the air crew became aware of a risk they deemed too high for collateral damage."

Lawson said the risk was not related to any threat to the CF-18s, but rather potential damage to civilians or important infrastructure such as hospitals, on the ground.

Lawson said the decision was in compliance with the rules of engagement that NATO forces have been given, and proves "the system works."

PMO PO Danny Williams

Slightly overwhelmed by all the election coverage yesterday was news that Danny Williams was not going to attend the crowning of the new leader of his provincial PC party, his replacement. Party brass all were shocked and dismayed.

Shocked that Williams won't attend tribute: premier

While some have suggested it was because of this;

Former aide to Danny Williams backs away from oil board

I think this had more to do with it

Tories, Quebec ink oil exploration deal

The Conservatives are getting rid of a long-standing irritant with the Quebec government just days before an expected election call, signing a deal that opens the door to oil exploration in the St. Lawrence and fuels hopes for economic development in poor parts of the province.

The agreement to be unveiled on Thursday in Gatineau, Que., will lead to exploration for billions of barrels of oil and natural gas in the Old Harry field in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which straddles Quebec’s boundary with Newfoundland.

A 1967 Supreme Court of Canada ruling upheld the federal government’s ownership of offshore resources.

A joint secretariat will be set up to oversee federal-provincial responsibilities regarding the management of the offshore resources and an independent tribunal will mediate potential conflicts, including an overseas boundary dispute between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. Millions of dollars in royalties are at stake.

The Old Harry site straddles a boundary defined in 1964 by Quebec and the four Atlantic provinces. The boundary places most of the Old Harry oil and gas reserves on Quebec’s side of the line. Newfoundland and Labrador is challenging the boundary, and the announcement gives the province an equal say over the makeup of the tribunal.

Another interesting point about this deal was that it was done in private, days before the election call, and it resulted in this....

Federal Tories buy the silence of the Quebec Liberals

And it was hard to believe Christian Paradis, who is Prime Minister Harper's Quebec political lieutenant as well as natural-resources minister, when he said Thursday's agreement on the Old Harry offshore oil and gas deposits had nothing to do with the federal election.

It was easier to believe Quebec's natural-resources minister, Nathalie Normandeau, who said that "never have the planets been so well aligned" for what looked like the hasty settlement of a 12-year-old difference between Ottawa and Quebec.

And the agreement on Old Harry is only one sign of an apparent political arrangement between the federal Conservatives and the Quebec Liberals.

The arrangement was apparently made between Harper and Premier Charest in a private meeting last week, when the prime minister came to the provincial capital to announce an airport expansion.

In the deal, the Quebec Liberals would refrain from criticizing the Conservatives, the party most likely to form the next government, possibly a majority government, until the federal election is over.In return, the Conservative government would sign agreements giving Quebec more money.

On Wednesday, Charest defended the Harper government against criticism from the sovereignist parties in Ottawa and Quebec City over the absence of a harmonization settlement in the federal budget.

And he said that in this federal campaign, h...e will not publish an open letter asking the parties to state their positions on issues of particular concern to his government, as he had in the past. Charest said "the idea of a letter is a bit passé," even though his intervention in the 2008 campaign to criticize the Conservatives for culture spending cuts had proven effective

Friday, March 25, 2011

1984 And Now Election 2011

Warren Kinsella who used to be a Liberal Party Insider, and of course therefore a HACK, now works for the right wing conservative mouthpiece; Quebecor/SUN media, so today he declares that the election campaign is over before it begins.

Nineteen Eighty-Four wasn’t just the title of a good book by George Orwell.

It’s also a useful reminder of what may be about to happen to the Liberals and NDP in the coming election campaign.

You remember: Sept. 4, 1984, and Brian Mulroney sweeps to a massive parliamentary majority. The once-great Liberal Party — the Natural Governing Party, no less — is reduced to a paltry 40 seats.

Conservatives, up to 43%. Liberals, down to 24%. NDP, unchanged at 16%.

And if you just look at voting preferences of those absolutely certain to trek to polling stations, according to Ipsos, the Cons go up to 45%, and the Grits slide to 23%.

To put it in context, that gap is perilously close (or identical) to the 22 points that separated Mulroney and John Turner in 1984’s Gritterdammerung. Result: Tories, 211 seats, NDP 30 seats, and Grits the aforementioned 40.

So, is Michael Ignatieff this generation’s John Turner?

Of course he is but the political differences of the times are also significant. And Kinsella's prognosis is also questionable.

First in 1984 there was a great debate, a big issue that the election was to be fought over; nothing less than Free Trade.

There is no big issue in this election.

Second there was the appointment of Liberal hacks to the Senate just before the election call, which gave Mulroney his chance to defeat Turner in the debates when he challenged him to simply not appoint the Liberal hacks to the senate. "You had a choice Mr. Turner'. It was the zinger in the Leaders debate.

The NDP, the CLC trade unions and the Left had made Free Trade the issue for the election and had for two years prior. The Liberals seeing an issue which carried votes, opportunistically decided to become Anti-Free Trade hoping to get votes from the Left as the only Natural Governing Party.

In the Leaders Debate the NDP Leader Ed Broadbent carried the day as statesman, while Mulroney and Turner went at it hammer and tong. It was Mulrony who got in the election zinger.

What Kinsella fails to aknowledge is that in 1984 the NDP got enough seats, in fact increased their seats to 30, that had there been a minority government it would behoove them to ask for their support.

And even more importantly in 1984 there was NO Bloc Quebecois. In fact the BQ would originate out of the Mulroney Conservative government, a fact the current Conservative Government would like you to forget, even as they carry on in Mulroney's footsteps when it comes to gaining support in Quebec.

The Conservatives and Liberals want to have two party politics, ala the Republicans and Democrats in the US ,Conservatives and Labour in the UK.

Unlike the 1984 election this election is not about three parties but four parties. Three in English Canada and an additional Quebec based Party. By having four parties, with Quebec solidaly BQ,

The Harper Conservatives have decided to focus on the rural township votes, as they have in Western Canada, that is where their base is.

The urban cities is where the fight goes three ways, if not four. The NDP is currently more popular in Quebec than the Liberals, a historic first.

This election is about Leadership, and that is the only thing it has in common with 1984, Turner was weak, Mulroney was brash and Broadbent was conciliatory.

With the BQ there will be no repeat of 1984, we will once again have a minority government. But will it be Conservative or Liberal? The NDP is then the best place to park your vote, since Layton shows he is PM material, even more that his opponents, and if Harper has any chance so does Layton, even if it is as Leader of the Opposition.

The Liberals under Ignatieff, as they were under Turner, are toast and on that Kinsella and I agree.

Michael Ignatieff was once hailed in Liberal circles as the second coming of Pierre Trudeau. Now his challenge is to shake off the perception he's an outsider interested only in adding another ornament to his well-adorned resume.

The Reason For Alberta's Deficit-Big Oil

Just like back in the nineties when Alberta gave big tax breaks to big oil, we went into a deficit. And Deja Vu if it didn't happen again.

Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) paints a picture of declining production and royalties from Alberta's natural gas industry for the rest of the decade, but sharply rising oilsands royalties.

Royalties from natural gas and the oilsands totalled more than $8.8 billion in 2009, but just over $4.6 billion in 2010 -a big cause of the provincial deficit.

"The government is running a province which assumes they will take in $6 billion to $8 billion a year, and this is not happening," CERI CEO Peter Howard said.

Premier Ed Stelmach has said the province aims to balance its budget by 2013. CERI's estimates suggest that will be a challenge if they are depending on royalties.

The institute estimates Alberta will be back to 2009 royalty levels by about 2016, when oilsands royalties will be more than $7.2 billion, with just $1.1 billion coming from natural gas.

Yep Big Oil gets Royalty breaks that resulted in the deficit and schools get cuts!

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach says school boards may have to "hold some of their labour costs low" in coming years as the province looks to rebuild its coffers, but critics blame the Tory government for looming teacher layoffs.

Why Canada is in Libya; F-35

Even Harper's original Political Military advisor Derek Burney questions Canada's role in bombing Libya. Burney is also a lobbyist for the Military Industrial complex in Canada so if he doesn't know why we are bombing Libya he is either being disingenuous or he no longer has the confidence of the PMO.

The man who once led Stephen Harper's transition team is questioning the government's military entanglement in Libya.

"We have jumped into Libya with our eyes wide open but does anyone know where it will lead or why Canada is so directly engaged?" Derek Burney, who headed the transition team when the Conservatives took power in 2006, writes in a new paper for the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute.

"The emotions and humanitarian instincts to do 'something' are understandable but so, too, are arguments advocating prudence."

Burney, one-time chief-of-staff to prime minister Brian Mulroney and former ambassador to the United States, even wonders whether the Harper government committed air power to Operation Odyssey Dawn to regain global ground after last year's embarrassing loss in the bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

"Is it because we were snubbed for a Security Council seat and want to re-establish our credentials for 'peacekeeping'?

"Is it because we regard ourselves as an architect of the (UN) Responsibility to Protect concept?" which obligates states or the international community to protect civilian populations.

Well the straight forward anwser is that it might have something to do with the Harper Government (c)(tm)(r) wanting to buy F-35's which are stealth combat planes, not really what Canada needs for Defense of its claims to Arctic sovereignty, or for its defense of North America. But certainly what would be needed to change our role from Peacekeeping, to 'peace-making' which is simply Orwellian Harper speak for war making.

Only a handful of fighter interceptors remain of the many U.S. and Canadian squadrons once available. NORAD’s founding raison d’être, standing by to fight a vast air defence battle, is also gone. Long gone. Those arguments for retaining NORAD are not strong, though, and it is even harder to argue that NORAD is functionally essential for Canada-U.S. defence co-operation. In other words, Canada does not need to be part of a binational aerospace defence command. Nor is a binational homeland defence command necessary.

As Canada uses its outdated CF-18's to bomb Libya it gives the Harpocrites justification to say that they need to upgrade to F-35's.

The other reason is that it is good for his masculine tough guy image. Just as he did in 2006 after first getting elected, he donned his Khaki's and went to Afghanistan for a photo op.

And with a pending federal election being a tough guy internationally helps his tough guy image at home. Of course that means he probably won't be wearing sweater vests this election campaign, unless they are Khaki.

Premier Clueless

Koch Industries registers to lobby Alberta gov't - - The Canadian Business Journal

Koch Industries registers to lobby AB govt :: The Hook

Billionaire Tea Party financiers register to lobby Alberta government

Alberta premier says he doesn't know Koch brothers or who they are lobbying |

Gee I guess Mr. Ed hasn't been reading the press lately, its so lonely at the top, surrounded by sycophants who read the news and interpret it for you. And who they are lobbying is your Government Mr. Ed.

Koch Industries Handles 25% of Canada Tar Sand Oil

OpEdNews - Article: Koch Industries, Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline...BP on the Prairie?
Nope never heard of them says Mr. Ed.

Gee did he cut them a Royalty cheque?

The Tyee – The Kochs: Oil Sands Billionaires Bankrolling US Right

Where is Wisconsin?

Billionaire Conservative Koch Brothers Behind Wisconsin Union Busting?

Class War in Wisconsin - Auburn Journal
The Koch brothers, who own Koch Industries Inc, and whose combined worth is estimated at $43 billion, have now been tied with Walker's election and his push to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers. The Kochs have long backed conservative causes and groups, including Americans for Prosperity which organized the Tea Party and which launched a ‘Stand with Scott Walker’ website recently.

ALBERTA FEDERATION OF LABOUR | Alberta unions condemn Wisconsin decision to strip collective bargain

Sounds like they would feel right at home in anti-union Alberta.

ALBERTA FEDERATION OF LABOUR | Unions ask Stelmach to confirm he's not considering U.S.-style attack

Unions defend middle class | Comment | London Free Press

The war in Wisconsin

What does all of this have to do with Canada?

In the past two weeks, major news outlets have published columns echoing the Tea Party attack on unions.

Don't expect guys like the Koch brothers to stay out of Canada's politics. They may already be funding the Wildrose Alliance and Tory leadership candidates in Alberta. (We can't know for sure, because both parties refuse to reveal their donors).

So, be prepared for the war on unions and the middle class to move north.

And of course Alberta is the home to the Anti-Climate Change lobby so the Koch Brothers will feel right at home

Kochs Profit from Canadian Eco-Nightmare

Koch Brothers Behind Environment Killing Measures

What has been less widely reported is that as soon as Walker entered office, he cut environmental regulations and appointed a Republican known for her disregard for environmental regulations to lead the Department of Natural Resources. Walker is opposed to clean energy job policies that might draw workers away from Koch-owned What has been less widely reported is that as soon as Walker entered office, he cut environmental regulations and appointed a Republican known for her disregard for environmental regulations to lead the Department of Natural Resources. Walker is opposed to clean energy job policies that might draw workers away from Koch-owned interests. What has been less widely reported is that as soon as Walker entered office, he cut environmental regulations and appointed a Republican known for her disregard for environmental regulations to lead the Department of Natural Resources. Walker is opposed to clean energy job policies that might draw workers away from Koch-owned interests. interests.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Job Creator Myth

The Harper Government (c)(tm)(r) has spent months promoting the Liberal tax cuts it inherited as being job creators. Well reality of course is a smack in the face with a wet dishrag sometimes, and in the case of tax cuts to corporations=job creation well, that smack you hear is a hard dose of wet reality.

Canadian CEO's were surveyed by the Globe and Mail about how they will use the upcoming tax cuts they get from the Harpocrites and job creation was not a priority in fact doing the same old same old, that is by definition NOT adding productivity to their operations (something the Bank of Canada has complained about) but just pocketing the tax breaks.

While these CEO's in the same survey challenged the government to invest more in R&D, with their pending tax cut they put the same amount into R&D as they proposed to put into hiring, the very source of productivity. In other words 'please sir can I 'ave some more" say the real begging class; the government should invest in areas we are not willing too. Can you say corporate welfare. These are the so called job creators the Harpocrites are using to justify their Liberal tax cut.

What will you do differently as a result of the corporate tax cut?

No change: 31%

Re-invest in business: 26%
Don’t know: 11%

Other: 11%

Grow business: 10%

Research and development: 6%

Hire more people: 6%

Almost three in five executives said investing in education and training should have a high priority in the budget, while 52 per cent said investing in research and development is key. Transportation and infrastructure were a top priority for 42 per cent of those who responded, while attacking the deficit came in fourth place – a high priority for 39 per cent of executives.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Conservative Family Values

Another scandal, another escort, another influence peddling former member of Harpers inner circle. It all belies the political opportunism of Harper and his party's appeal to its social conservative right wing base.

First there was Bernier with his biker momma girlfriend, then there was former MP Rahim Jaffer peddling his influence and partying with escorts now there is Bruce Carson.

A Former PMO operative acting as an insider lobbyist and peddling water contracts for his former escort girlfriend. Worse yet his girlfriend is 22 while he is old enough to be her granddad.

Are these examples of Conservative Family Values? Or are they just the same old same old, men in power wrap themselves in money and young ladies regardless of their professed political ideology..

Well the Carson scandal will be one that hits close to home, more so than even la affair Jaffer, which cost his MP wife Helena Guergis; her Minister-ship, her MP status and even her party membership.

Again we have a highly placed Conservative operator, Carson, peddling his influence in the PMO just like Jaffer did, once out of office.

The evidence was out long before Carson, a veteran of Tory politics in Ottawa and at Queen’s Park, was alleged to have lobbied the Indian Affairs Minister on behalf of a firm trying to sell water filtration systems to aboriginal reserves without safe drinking water.

Lost amid the sordid details of Carson proposing marriage to and buying a $389,500 house last December with a 22-year-old one-time escort was Carson’s guilty plea and subsequent 18-month jail sentence after the lawyer stole some money from his clients around 1980.

Carson was disbarred for forging cheques and stealing $23,900 from a corporation and two individual clients he represented.

“He is the author of his own misfortune,” provincial court judge Jack Nadelle said when he sentenced the disgraced Ottawa lawyer to 18 months in jail in February 1983.

He also has a long career in Conservative politics dating back to former leaders Joe Clark and Jean Charest. Around Ottawa. Mr. Carson is known as “the Mechanic” because, as he told an Alberta magazine earlier this year, “I fix things.”

The members of Mr. Harper’s inner circle were well aware of his criminal background when he became part of the transition team after Mr. Harper took office in 2006. But they felt he had paid his dues. “His advice was valued, there is no doubt about that,” a Conservative official said.

A former adviser to the Prime Minister lobbied on behalf of a water filtration company that reportedly cut a deal to compensate his fiancée, a 22-year-old one-time Ottawa escort, with a portion of all sales.

The revelation by the Aboriginal People’s Television Network adds a dose of sex — in the form of the 124 lb., 5-foot-6 blonde — to a political scandal that has the Royal Canadian Mounted Police probing a former confidante to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The report said that longtime Tory operative Bruce Carson was an official witness to a deal with an Ottawa firm, H2O Global Group, to provide 20 per cent of all revenues from the sale of water filtration systems to aboriginal reserves across Ontario to Michele McPherson.

McPherson and Carson purchased a $389,500 home in December in Mountain, Ont., south of Ottawa, according to property records.

The sweetheart deal itself is not illegal, but it could help to explain why Carson appears to have so aggressively promoted the firm. He is accused of breaching the rules designed to ban political staffers from lobbying the federal government when they leave Parliament Hill.

The Star could not confirm reports that Christine McPherson is Michele McPherson’s mother.

A listing on an Industry Canada website for maXimus HRM, a human resources firm specializing in providing skilled workers to employers in Canada, the Philippines and Qatar lists both McPhersons as directors.

The phone number for Michele McPherson is the same as the one on an escort website for a woman who identifies herself as Leanna.

The woman who identifies herself as Leanna received positive reviews on an online discussion forum for johns called the Canadian Escort Recommendation Board.

“Besides being beautiful, she is very friendly and loves to kiss and cuddle,” one client wrote in December 2009, noting he had booked an appointment based on positive reviews. “Leanna has a very comfortable and private location. I definitely plan to repeat.”

Leanna often posted notices advertising herself as available for both in and out calls and offering a “girlfriend experience,” meaning clients could expect her to treat them as if they were a couple.

Canada's oil and gas industry is distancing itself from Bruce Carson, the former top adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper who was one of its strongest allies until this week, when he found himself at the centre of influence-peddling allegations.

Carson was a key individual driving a controversial government and industry communications strategy to boost the image of Alberta's oilsands sector. A recently released briefing note prepared by bureaucrats in the federal government highlighted his presence at a special meeting last year between senior officials from the federal and Alberta governments as well as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, an industry lobby group, Postmedia News reported last week.

Carson left Harper's office after being selected in 2008 as the executive director of the Canada School of Energy and Environment, a collaborative office bringing together three universities in Alberta to promote research on sustainable energy development and environmental management. The school received a $15 million grant from the Harper government in the 2007 budget and said its board of directors recruited Carson following an ``extensive international search.''

But when Carson appeared at a meeting of government and industry officials in March 2010, federal briefing notes from Natural Resources Canada described him first as a former senior adviser to Harper.

Carson had said he was actively doing outreach work for with the industry through a series of town-hall meetings across North America with oil and gas executives in recent months while promoting another industry lobby group, the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, of which he was a vice-chairman. This lobby group, made up of energy companies and large corporations, is a partner of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and is hoping to eventually influence government policies in its calls for a national energy strategy that supports the industry's sustainable growth.

Carson's work praised

Heidecker praised Carson's work with the Canada School of Energy and Environment over the last three years.

"He has been able to cause a lot of very, very good conversations in the whole area of energy and environment," he said.

Heidecker, who also chairs the U of A's board of governors, denied that Carson's longtime conservative political connections played a role in his 2008 appointment to the school, which received millions of dollars in federal funding.

"Mr. Carson has phenomenal contacts within the private sector, within the public sector — and it was that ability to know people and access people... [that] we hired him," says Heidecker.

Administered by the universities of Calgary, Alberta and Lethbridge, the Canada School of Energy and Environment has yet to decide if Carson will get paid during his leave of absence, or who will head the institution during any RCMP investigation.

The University of Calgary declined to comment, noting in an e-mail to CBC News that Carson is "not a U of C employee."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Harper Government (c)(tm)(r)

Welcome to the Orwellian World of the Conservative Government. The Canadian Government becomes the Harper Government (c) (tm)(r) a decision made in 2009 but only revealed this month. As they quietly implemented it across various departments in their continuous use of taxpayer programs and funding for their permanent election campaign.

The “Harper Government” moniker rose to prominence in 2009, when its use was noted in light of a controversy over Conservative MPs posing with giant, mock government cheques bearing the party logo and MPs’ signatures. The mock cheques were consigned to the dust bin, and the “Harper Government” handle went into partial hibernation.

Since December, the “Harper Government” has returned with a vengeance, sprouting like mushrooms across departmental communications.

Scores of recent news releases — from the Canada Revenue Agency to Fisheries and Oceans, Finance, International Trade, Health Canada and Industry Canada — are all headlined by “Harper Government” actions.

Even the Treasury Board Secretariat is using the term.

In this video clip former Minister for the Treasury Board, Stockwell Day deny's, denys, denys--it's the standard Government policy to deny until one is caught.


A 7 million dollar program is cut because the Minister doesn't like it spending less than a million on advocacy. Even though her department mandarins recommend funding Kairos, she cuts the entire program. Claiming it did not meet CIDA objectives, pardon me, it was CIDA that recommended they continue funding Kairos as they had for forty years. Whose objectives did Kairos offend why the Harper Government (c) (tm) (r) of course.

And then she says it was her idea....falling on her sword for the PMO.

While at the same time she cut their funding Jason Kenney delivers a speech in Jerusalem, denouncing Kairos as anti-Semitic. Because they support the call for Israel to end its occupation of Palestine, funny that it is a UN Resolution.

And it was all her idea, yeah sure, this is the same Minister who cut funding to Women's Groups the Conservatives opposed.

Instead of funding advocacy groups, Oda said taxpayers' dollars should go toward programs that " help women in their daily lives, to help them in their communities."

She is the PMO hatchet cutting funding to groups that the PMO considers liberal or left wing which they term; 'advocacy', That they do it is to be expected, that they cover it up with the claim that the groups don't meet their funding objectives is a weasel way out. That the Minister claims it was her idea, is also a denial that this is Harper Government (c) (tm) (r) policy.

Ms. Oda said Friday she personally rejected the Kairos application because it did not fit with CIDA’s objectives. While the application for funding contained some positive elements, there were also some aspects that were of concern.

“For example, over $880,000 was to be used for advocacy, training, media strategies and campaign activities here in Canada,” Ms. Oda told the committee. “I believe this is not the best way to spend public funds intended to help those living in poverty in developing countries.”

Around the same time, Kenney made a speech in Jerusalem, calling Kairos anti-Semitic and hailing the government’s funding cut to the group as evidence of the Conservative battle against anti-Semitism.

KAIROS’ officials also testified on Friday, saying they have asked for an apology from Kenney for calling the group anti-Semitic. Oda, for her part, said Kenney didn’t talk to her about his speech or the funding decision and she learned of his remarks through the media.

In another letter to be published here tomorrow, a writer “commends” the government for cutting funding to KAIROS because it allegedly gets money “funneled” to it by Status of Women Canada which “promotes feminist ideologies, pro-abortion agendas and ‘reproductive rights’.”

Another salvo from the anti-abortion community won’t detract from the seriousness of what Oda has done. It does, however, recall the Tory government’s insistence on tying Harper’s noteworthy policy on overseas aid to women and children to prohibition of birth control.

Modern birth control methods will serve to greatly reduce sexually transmitted diseases racing through parts of the underdeveloped world. Soaring birth rates in those areas threaten to destabilize the world’s ability to feed, house and care for billions living in poverty. This does not seem to matter to Harper.

If KAIROS’s sin in his eyes, and Oda’s, is having worked to educate the Third World to life-saving help, it does not deserve to be cut off by Ottawa.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been accused of systematically undermining women in this country by stripping their advocacy groups of tens of millions of dollars and targeting those critical of his government’s anti-abortion stance on the world stage.

In the past two weeks, the federal government has ended funding to 14 women’s groups, including a non-governmental agency that was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for more than 30 years.

Which, in a way, applies to Kairos, a gaggle of mainstream Canadian Churches, and Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois politicians, outraged over the Tory decision to zap the group’s $7 million annual gift from Canadian taxpayers.

They are outraged that the Tories have also looked in a mirror and have seen Kairos for what it is - a radical, pro- Palestinian movement with a decidedly far- left political agenda.

Like any group, of course, they are entitled to believe whatever they want. But they aren’t entitled to do it with public money and the government has every right to say so. During the 1970s, 80s and 90s, successive federal governments routinely dispatched multi-million dollar cheques to prop up radical left-wing advocacy groups purporting to represent the interests of Canadian women.

United Church moderator Mardi Tindal, for example, wrote to International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda last week saying she was “dismayed” by the government’s decision, adding that Kairos “has also had its good name attacked - again with no credible explanation.”

Oh, there is an explanation. Kairos was outraged in late 2009 when Immigration Minister Jason Kenney accused it of playing a leadership role in a movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel for its supposed human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Kairos flatly denies this - and its denials are echoed by its many apologists. The facts, alas, belie their claims of innocence. Just as the United Church general council meeting where Tindal was elected moderator in 2009 also criticized Israel - but not its’ apparently peace-loving neighbors - and encouraged its congregations to “study, discern and pray” and undertake anti-Israeli initiatives, “which may include economic boycotts” (against Israel), Kairos has consistently been critical of Israel while conveniently turning a blind eye to the murderous actions of its neighboring enemies.

Kairos, to cite just one example of its anti-Israeli penchant, openly promotes a campaign against Canadian companies “doing business in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories (that are contributing directly or indirectly to violence, occupation or other human rights abuses in the region) ..