1. Most Canadians care little about the rules of parliamentary procedure, Chris Charlton, the NDP Whip told the House on Friday. But the games played by the Conservative government have drawn media interest and members of the public are starting to pay attention.

    “In particular, they have focused on the rules that currently allow the government to cut off debate on subjects of its choosing and rules that allow the government to escape accountability by avoiding transparency and holding critical debates in closed-door meetings,” Ms. Charlton said.

    […]

    Marc Garneau, the Liberal Whip, said it is ironic opposition members are being forced to advocate for greater democracy.

    When the Conservatives were in opposition, the Montreal MP said, they cried foul every time debate on a bill was subjected to time allocation. But now that they have a majority, he said, they are setting new records and they “steamroll their legislative agenda through the House.”

    In the eight months that the Conservatives have been in a majority, they have called for time allocation 16 times on 20 bills, he said. That compares to the four years of a Liberal majority, between 2000 and 2004, when time allocation was called 10 calls on more than 150 bills.

     

     politics  Canada  Conservatives 

  2. From theNational Post:

    Despite calls to apologize to Canadians and Parliament for its involvement in a fake citizenship ceremony broadcast last fall, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office instead said it was sorry to Sun News.

    “We’re very apologetic and very sorry that this happened,” Kenney spokeswoman Candice Malcolm told Sun Media host Pat Bolland during a broadcast Thursday morning. “It shouldn’t have happened and it won’t happen again.”

    Kenney’s office was in damage control after a media report about department bureaucrats who posed as new immigrants for what was supposed to be a citizenship-reaffirmation ceremony broadcast on the network.

     

     Canada  Conservatives  Jason Kenney 

  3. From The Hill Times:

    If passed, many provisions included in Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, will be implemented by the provinces and territories. Further eligibility restrictions for conditional sentences, new mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offences under two years in length, and changes to how we respond to youth in conflict with the law are just some of things the current federal government will take credit for without having to foot much of the bill. 

    When asked about their penal downloading in recent weeks, Conservative MPs and ministers have stated that the provinces and territories are on their side and willing to pay their part. Such sweeping statements are arguably based on a calculation that, even in cases where provincial-territorial governments do not share a similar penchant for ignoring evidence on penal policy matters and would rather not divert scarce tax dollars in times of economic uncertainty towards imprisonment, they will remain silent for fear of being labelled ‘soft on crime’.  The ostrich, however, can only bury its head for so long before deciding it has had enough and decides to draw a line in the sand instead.

     

     Canada  politics  Conservatives  crime  bills  C-10 

  4. Justin Trudeau is accusing the Conservatives of “arrogance” over their intention to burn data collected from the long-gun registry.

    Stephen Harper’s Tories introduced legislation last week to scrap the registry, fulfilling a long-held election promise. But a new wrinkle was included in the bill, calling for the records to be destroyed.

    - With Harper cruising in poll, Rae surpasses Turmel on leadership - Globe and Mail

    If Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to abolish the long-gun registry, the data should be preserved and transferred to Quebec to allow the province to build its own system, Premier Jean Charest says.

    “The registry exists. It is there – and those who work with the police tell us that the registry is useful,” Mr. Charest said in the National Assembly. “It is only common sense that the data be preserved and that [Ottawa] work with us to transfer the data.”

    For the fifth time in as many years, the Quebec National Assembly on Thursday voted unanimously to condemn abolishing the long-gun registry and voice its opposition to Ottawa’s decision to destroy the database.

    - Despite Quebec’s demands, Ottawa vows to destroy gun-registry data - Globe and Mail

     

     Canada  long-gun registry  Justin Trudeau 

  5. Andrew Nikiforuk, OnEarth:

    Prime Minister Harper, the son of an Imperial Oil accountant, has described the megaproject as “an enterprise of epic proportions, akin to the building of the pyramids or China’s Great Wall. Only bigger.” Over the next 30 years Canada’s bitumen miners will excavate 1,850 square miles of forest, digging enough 250-foot-deep holes to swallow up the state of Delaware. The highly profitable industry has already created enough toxic sludge — six billion barrels — to cover New York’s Staten Island or Washington, D.C. in several feet of waste. Instead of restoring a land of low-lying boreal wetlands and peat bogs, the miners have a legal mandate to create something called “equivalent land capability.” This vague term translates into an engineered landscape made up of manicured, grassy hills and fake lakes containing tons of mining waste.

    The scale and pace of the endeavor have shocked Americans and Europeans alike. Canada has failed to conduct a basic risk and liability analysis of the oil sands from which the bitumen is extracted, and in 2008 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development roundly criticized Canada for not properly assessing the project’s cumulative impacts or saving its oil wealth in a dedicated pension fund. While oil sands executives have attempted to rebrand Canada as a “clean” or “responsible” energy superpower, a government-appointed panel examining the state of environmental monitoring of the bitumen industry — co-chaired by Hal Kvisle, former chief executive of TransCanada, no less — found in 2011 that the existing monitoring system was “not a credible program because much of it is run by industry.” At the same time, the U.S. Congressional Research Office, having bluntly described the harmful impact of bitumen mining on forests, wildlife, water quality, and greenhouse gas emissions, warned that oil sands development could strain bilateral relations between Canada and the United States.

    Yet the Canadian government, which subsidizes the industry to the tune of $1.4 billion a year (the province of Alberta contributes another $1.1 billion), has been shameless in its defense of bitumen exports and pipelines. Diplomats have vigorously opposed both U.S. federal and state laws on carbon emissions and asked Big Oil to do likewise. The Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., objected to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 because restrictions on the use of high-carbon fuels by the U.S. military might jeopardize bitumen exports. Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs fought hard — though in the end unsuccessfully — against California’s low-carbon fuel standards. Canadian government officials have lobbied so forcefully for the Keystone XL pipeline that a congressional aide likened one Canadian diplomat to an “aggressive car salesman.”

    via

     

     Canada  tar sands  environment  Conservatives  Stephen Harper 

  6. OTTAWA — The Conservative government’s omnibus crime legislation, to be introduced this fall, may put too much focus on offenders, leaving victims in the dark, crime victims advocates say.

    The legislation, likely to be sweeping in scale and scope, will be bundled into omnibus bills that represent a larger group of about a dozen bills the government was unable to pass in the previous minority Parliament. The Tories have promised to pass the bundled legislation within 100 sitting days of the majority Parliament, which sat for just a few weeks in June.

    Advocates for victims of crime are concerned that the bill — expected to dramatically expand mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes, harshen sentencing for certain sexual offences against children and affect the privacy of young offenders — puts more weight on punishment than prevention, and won’t go far enough to help victims.

    The government has said that harsher sentencing will help victims of crime by ensuring offenders stay off the streets and behind bars.

    (Source: politicalcanuck, via politicsartandstuff)

     

     Canada  News  Victim Advocacy  Victims' Rights 

  7. From The Conference Board of Canada:

What does the Gini coefficient mean? 
The Gini coefficient (named after the Italian statistician Corrado  Gini) is the most commonly used measure of income inequality. It  calculates the extent to which the distribution of income among  individuals within a country deviates from a perfectly equal  distribution. A Gini coefficient of 0 represents perfect equality (that  is, every person in the society has the same amount of income); a Gini  coefficient of 100 represents perfect inequality (that is, one person  has all the income and the rest of the society has none).
How does Canada compare to its peers? 
Income inequality is higher in Canada than in 11 of the peer  countries. Although Canada’s wealth is distributed more equally than in  the U.S., Canada’s 12th place ranking suggests it is doing a mediocre  job of ensuring income equality. Canada gets a “C” grade on this  indicator.
Denmark and Sweden, which have the lowest levels of poverty among children and their working-age populations,  are also the clear leaders on the income inequality indicator. The  relationship between social spending and poverty rates has become more  obvious over time, so it is no surprise that these leading countries  boast strong traditions of wealth distribution. Their success in  maintaining low poverty rates is attributable to a universal welfare  policy that has been effectively combined with job creation strategies  that support gender equality and accessibility.

    From The Conference Board of Canada:

    What does the Gini coefficient mean?

    The Gini coefficient (named after the Italian statistician Corrado Gini) is the most commonly used measure of income inequality. It calculates the extent to which the distribution of income among individuals within a country deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. A Gini coefficient of 0 represents perfect equality (that is, every person in the society has the same amount of income); a Gini coefficient of 100 represents perfect inequality (that is, one person has all the income and the rest of the society has none).

    How does Canada compare to its peers?

    Income inequality is higher in Canada than in 11 of the peer countries. Although Canada’s wealth is distributed more equally than in the U.S., Canada’s 12th place ranking suggests it is doing a mediocre job of ensuring income equality. Canada gets a “C” grade on this indicator.

    Denmark and Sweden, which have the lowest levels of poverty among children and their working-age populations, are also the clear leaders on the income inequality indicator. The relationship between social spending and poverty rates has become more obvious over time, so it is no surprise that these leading countries boast strong traditions of wealth distribution. Their success in maintaining low poverty rates is attributable to a universal welfare policy that has been effectively combined with job creation strategies that support gender equality and accessibility.

     

     Canada  income inequality  poverty 

  8. From Postmedia News:

    The Conservative government has no business plan for its newest agency despite promising it will save taxpayers between $100 million and $200 million annually through streamlining the federal information technology strategy.

    And as of Monday, Public Works, which assumed responsibility for the new agency, couldn’t explain how those savings were calculated.

    […]

    The announcement by Treasury Board President Tony Clement and Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose last week brought back memories for some politicians and businesspeople who watched the Conservatives’ unsuccessful bid to implement a similar setup years ago.

    There was no shortage of criticism hurled at the minority Conservatives when they started moving on the idea in 2008 — small- and medium-sized businesses were anxious about being squeezed out of the industry as IT contracts became larger and fell from their reach; demands from opposition MPs to see a business plan for the venture were unsuccessful and led to questions concerning the financial savings the government claimed the project would yield.

    When Clement and Ambrose announced the launch of Shared Services Canada last week it seemed little had changed, save for the balance of power in the House of Commons — still no business plan and no indication of how the savings were calculated.

     

     Canada  politics  Conservatives 

  9. saveplanetearth:

Vancouver Sun~ Canadian government silences  Fisheries & Oceans scientist Kristi Miller over salmon study

Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a leading fisheries scientist whose discovery could help explain why salmon stocks have been crashing off Canada’s West Coast, according to documents obtained by Postmedia News.The documents show the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister’s Office, stopped Kristi Miller from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years. (…)

    saveplanetearth:

    Vancouver Sun~ Canadian government silences  Fisheries & Oceans scientist Kristi Miller over salmon study

    Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a leading fisheries scientist whose discovery could help explain why salmon stocks have been crashing off Canada’s West Coast, according to documents obtained by Postmedia News.

    The documents show the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister’s Office, stopped Kristi Miller from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years. (…)

     

     science  Canada  politics  salmon 

  10.  

     Canada  politics  energy  oil  oil sands  Conservatives  Tories  Joe Oliver 

  11. From The Globe and Mail:

    The census story is a train wreck in slow motion; the latest car to pile on the flaming ruins is the recent report that Statistics Canada has resigned itself to accepting incomplete responses to the National Household Survey (NHS).

    Many readers may have thought that the census issue was settled last summer; it wasn’t. We haven’t even begun to deal with the consequences of the decision to replace the mandatory long-form census with the voluntary NHS. As Economy Lab contributor Kevin Milligan and his UBC colleague David Green note in Canadian Public Policy, one of the most striking features of the census is its ‘hidden ubiquity’. The census is an invisible — and yet essential — element of virtually all the data that inform policy debates.

    Previously:

    Voluntary version of U.S. census proved unreliable, costly - Montreal Gazette

    Clement accused of misrepresenting census impact - Globe & Mail

    Flawed Arguments for Consensus Change - Globe & Mail

    Former StatsCan head slams census decision by Tories - Winnipeg Free Press

    Cons’ census - Toronto Star

    Someone is Watching You - The Telegram

    The Canadian Census Debate: A Background - Law is Cool

     

     Canada  census  Conservatives  Tories  Stephen Harper 

  12.  

     Canada  Tories  Conservatives  Stephen Harper  John Baird  Israel  Palestine  UN  United Nations 

  13.  

     Canada  oil  environment 

  14. wtftory:

    From The Globe and Mail:

    Senior Conservative officials broke federal rules to shower $50-million on the riding of the minister now overseeing Ottawa’s austerity plan, according to the final audit of a G8 program that fuelled opposition charges of pork-barrel politics.

    In her last report, Auditor-General Sheila Fraser said the funding for the G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund was approved by Parliament under the guise of a border initiative. The money was then distributed to projects in the riding of Treasury Board President Tony Clement without any input from civil servants, in a clear breach of federal policies dealing with transparency and accountability.

     

     Canada  Conservatives  John Baird  Tony Clement  politics  G8 

  15. …at a press conference in New York, the Global Commission on Drug Policy issued a starkly convincing, plainspoken report on the War on Drugs. Its most basic message: By any reasonably broad metric, that war has been an abysmal failure. According to estimates by the UN — by no means a liberal organization when it comes to drug policy — worldwide consumption of opiates rose 34.5% from 1998 to 2008, cocaine by 27%, and cannabis by 8.5%. In achieving that abject failure, tens of thousands of people have been killed — not just cruel gang kingpins and their wretched foot soldiers, but the innocent men, women and children trying to eke out an honest existence in the crossfire. Untold billions of scarce policing and security dollars have been spent. The current approach is simply untenable.

    […]

    Canada’s experience with drug violence is incomparable to, say, Mexico’s. But the story of Quebec’s Hells Angels and their gangland rivals is part of the larger picture. “We … need to recognize that it is the illicit nature of the market that creates much of the market-related violence,” the Global Commission report argues. “[L]egal and regulated commodity markets, while not without problems, do not provide the same opportunities for organized crime to make vast profits.”


    Among the War on Drugs’ unintended consequences, as the report says, are both a “huge criminal black market … financed by the risk-escalated profits of supplying … demand for illicit drugs” and “extensive policy displacement, the result of using scarce resources to fund a vast law-enforcement effort intended to address this criminal market.”

     

     drugs  drug war  drug policy  Canada