1. From Irwin Cotler, in the Huffington Post:

    In adopting the omnibus crime bill yesterday evening, the government in its comments continued to justify its Safe Streets and Communities Act as if the very title alone validated the legislation. If any questions were raised or critiques offered about the bill, the government repeated the mantra — as it has throughout this process — that it had a “mandate” for its enactment. Yet every government and every party has a mandate and obligation for safe streets and safe communities. The real question — the one that needed to be debated but never was — is the merits of the means chosen.

     

     Tories  Conservatives  Stephen Harper  Liberals  Irwin Cotler  politics (CDN) 

  2. Lawrence Martin, The Globe and Mail:

    The blending of sport and the military, with the government as the marching band, is part of the new nationalism the Conservatives are trying to instill. It is another example of how the state, under Stephen Harper’s governance, is becoming all-intrusive.

    Conservatism, as defined by Ronald Reagan, was about getting government off the backs of the people. Conservatism, as practised by team Harper, is more akin to an Orwellian opposite. State controls are now at a highpoint in our modern history. There is every indication they will extend further.

    The propaganda machine has become mammoth and unrelenting. The parliamentary newspaper The Hill Times recently found there are now no fewer than 1,500 communications staffers on the governing payroll. In the days of the King and St. Laurent governments, there were hardly any. In recent decades, the numbers shot up, but Mr. Harper is outdoing all others, a primary example being his institution and maintenance of a master control system wherein virtually every government communication is filtered through central command.

    In his minority governments, the rationale was that tight controls were necessary for survival. With a majority, it was thought that the controls that brought on parliamentary shutdowns and contempt of Parliament rulings would ease up. Those who thought that way didn’t know Stephen Harper.

     

     politics (CDN)  Conservatives  Tories  Stephen Harper 

  3. The government used time closure last week to ram its massive budget implementation bill through the legislative system, marking the second time in less than two weeks that the Conservatives have used the Parliamentary procedure to limit debate, but an expert says that’s not how Parliament is supposed to be used.

    After introducing Bill C-13, the Second Budget Implementation Bill, on Oct. 4, the government moved a motion on Oct. 6 to limit debate on the 658-page bill to three sitting days. The motion was passed 150 to 107, which means the bill could receive second reading and be sent to the House Finance Committee as early as Tuesday, Oct. 18.

    The week before, the government used time allocation to limit debate on its 152-page omnibus crime bill, C-10, the “Safe Streets and Communities Bill.” It gave the House 48 hours to debate it before voting to send it to the House Justice Committee.

    “We’re not using Parliament the way it should be used,” said University of Saskatchewan political scientist David Smith, author of The People’s House of Commons: Theories of Democracy in Contention. “Normally the way government is structured in Canada is that what debates do in the House of Commons are not only to reveal flaws, but also to have an educational function that is so the public becomes aware. … The limitation on debate seems to me that suggests there’s been enough and there’s no need for more. I don’t really think that’s true.”

     

     politics (CDN)  Conservatives  Tories 

  4. From The Energy Collective:

    In a move that has generated serious uproar in the Canadian government, the Conservative dominated Senate has defeated a climate change bill that was passed in the House of Commons by holding a snap vote while several Senators were away.

    The move is shocking on several fronts.  Firstly, the vote took place while 15 Liberal Senators were away from the capital.  The vote to defeat the Climate Change Accountability Act passed by a margin of 43-32.  Even more shocking is the fact that the unelected body of officials known as the Canadian Senate overturned a bill that was passed by the House of Commons — government officials elected by the Canadian people.

     

     Canada  politics (CDN)  Stephen Harper  energy  environment 

  5. From Amnesty International, Canada:

    Proposed new legislation aimed at tackling human smuggling falls far short of Canada’s international human rights and refugee protection obligations and will result in serious violations of the rights of refugees and migrants, said Amnesty International in response to the tabling in Parliament of Bill C-49, the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act, on October 21st [2010].

    The Bill severely restricts a number of essential rights of refugees and migrants if they arrive “irregularly” in Canada as part of a group that the government designates to be a “human smuggling event.” In effect, their rights are violated solely on the basis of how they have travelled to Canada and how many others have traveled with them. The restrictions include harsh powers of detention without timely review, denial of access to appeal processes, and serious limitations on freedom of movement and family unity.

    This discriminatory treatment, with respect to such a range of important rights, contravenes the well-established right to be free from discrimination, enshrined in several treaties binding on Canada, including the 1951 Refugee Convention and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The proposal not only violates rights, it ignores the reality that many refugees, who have a well-founded fear of persecution, turn to smugglers for assistance in reaching a country of safety such as Canada, because of desperation and a lack of other options.

    “Particularly outrageous is the proposal that all refugees arriving with a group that the government decides to designate as a human smuggling event would face mandatory detention for up to one year, with very little opportunity for review. This constitutes a serious violation of Canada’s international and constitutional obligation not to subject individuals to arbitrary detention. As well, using detention to penalize refugees for irregular entry into a country very clearly contravenes Canada’s obligations under Article 31 (2) of the Refugee Convention,” stated Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch.

     

     politics (CDN)  immigration  Conservatives  C-49  Jason Kenney 

  6. From Jonathan McLeod, Canadian Council for Democracy:

    First off, there’s no “queue jumping”.  There’s no actual line to get into Canada; there’s no velvet rope and there’s no up-and-coming Vin Diesel manning the door.  True, there is an immigration process.  It’s flawed (like so many government processes… like so much of life, really), but it’s there, and I’m not going to argue that certain groups of immigrants should be able to bypass the regulations that other immigrants must follow.

    But this shouldn’t need to be re-iterated: they’re not immigrants; they’re refugees.

    As a compassionate liberal society, we’ve decided that we will offer safe haven to people who arrive in Canada and seek refuge from oppressive regimes… and by oppressive, I think we should include regimes that might imprison or kill the prospective refugee for no good reason.  Sure, that doesn’t mean that we need to offer a home to Randy Quaid, but the Sun Sea was not bringing hundreds of troubled celebrities; it brought us people escaping civil war.  That is pretty much the definition of refugee status.

    Further, let’s look at the term the Conservatives are using, “human smuggling”.  The very phrase frames the debate in favour of the Conservative’s anti-refugee perspective.  ”Human smuggling” carries with it the connotation of illicit, inappropriate behaviour.  Sure, it’s not allowed by the country of departure, but considering the nature of these nations, their pronouncements need carry no weight in Canadian society.  In fact, human smuggling has been a force for good as much (if not more) than it has a force for evil – just ask Betty Mahmoody.

    Bill C-49 is a wretched bill.  It is a xenophobic* piece of Canadian privilege.  It ignores the very nature of our liberal democracy; it brushes aside the founding principles of our country, playing instead for the political windfall of an execrable wedge issue.

     

     politics (CDN)  immigration  Conservatives  C-49  Jason Kenney 

  7. From Jim Creskey - Embassy:

    In the course of undertaking his ministerial responsibilities for the protection of refugees, Kenney came across a vote-harvesting scheme that actually had nothing to do with refugees or their protection. Its subject was fear.

    Kenney—with some help from Prime Minister Harper and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews—used the arrival of two boatloads of Tamil asylum seekers in an attempt to prod public opinion toward the idea that “bogus” refugee claimants were overrunning Canada.

    Pretending to punish smugglers—who were largely phantoms out of reach of Canadian authority—he put forward Bill C-49, which resolutely set out policies that would punish the refugees themselves.

    C-49 was a profoundly flawed piece of work that proposed building special prisons for refugees who had the good luck to escape to Canada from foreign murder and mayhem but the bad luck to have been caught using the help of a smuggler. Further punishments included the withholding of family reunions as well as healthcare and other services.

    It was a strategy that promised to sweep up more votes from ordinary Canadians who could be sold the idea that they needed to be protected from a flood of illegal arrivals. It was pure theatre, with the two ministers and even the prime minister turning up at the two rusting hulks, the Ocean Lady and the Sun Sea, to promote their bill, the extremely wordy Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act.

    It was also politicking in the same vein as Republican anti-immigrant propaganda in the US—to the detriment of genuine refugees who are in a way the canaries in the Immigration Department’s mineshaft.

    If the least powerful clients of the Citizenship and Immigration Department—asylum seekers—were being treated fairly then we would have a strong hint the portfolio was being well managed. Unfortunately they are not.

     

     politics (CDN)  C-49  Conservatives  immigration  Jason Kenney 

  8. John Baird says the long gun registry is a child of Toronto elites. I guess the Toronto elites are broader than I thought. They include Quebecers who sought the registry in the wake of the Montreal massacre and Chiefs of Police across Canada.
     

     Canada  politics (CDN)  Conservatives  John Baird 

  9. bgilliard:

dlbrows:

RCMP and the truth about safe injection sites - John Geddes for Macleans
Interesting article. It’d be a sad day if Insite was shut down.

It makes me sad that they even try :(

Related:
On-site heroin urged for chronic addicts - CBC (May 2010)
Vancouver’s supervised injection site providing a safe place for changing lives (interview w/ Russ Maynard, Insite’s program coordinator) (July 21, 2010)
Safe drug injection sites reduce HIV spread - CTV (2005)
Vancouver Coastal Health - Insite - Supervised Injection Site
Vancouver’s INSITE service and other Supervised injection sites: What has been learned from research? - Final report of the Expert Advisory Committee, Prepared for the Hon. Tony Clement, Minister of Health (March 31, 2008)
Injection site for Toronto under study - Toronto Star (Aug 2009)
A changing epidemic: Canada’s AIDS rate on the rise
BONUS links - Harper and crew ignoring expert advice, scientific consensus, and all available statistics (because their plan is better - by being neither backed up nor bogged down by the advice of experts, researchers or statistics). SHOCKING! (I know. Now that’s sarcasm):
Why Stephen Harper thinks he’s smarter than the experts - Macleans
Canadians ignored repeated warnings about Afghan security firm - Toronto Star
Clement’s census comments ‘false’: Rae
The numbers say it all: Canada is a climate-change miscreant
$2-billion mass flu immunization program a bust, figures reveal
Ottawa bars ministers’ staff from appearing before committees
24 women’s groups lose funding
Aid groups advised to ‘shut the fuck up’ on abortion
Ottawa accusé de régenter les publications scientifiques

    bgilliard:

    dlbrows:

    RCMP and the truth about safe injection sites - John Geddes for Macleans

    Interesting article. It’d be a sad day if Insite was shut down.

    It makes me sad that they even try :(

    Related:

    On-site heroin urged for chronic addicts - CBC (May 2010)

    Vancouver’s supervised injection site providing a safe place for changing lives (interview w/ Russ Maynard, Insite’s program coordinator) (July 21, 2010)

    Safe drug injection sites reduce HIV spread - CTV (2005)

    Vancouver Coastal Health - Insite - Supervised Injection Site

    Vancouver’s INSITE service and other Supervised injection sites: What has been learned from research? - Final report of the Expert Advisory Committee, Prepared for the Hon. Tony Clement, Minister of Health (March 31, 2008)

    Injection site for Toronto under study - Toronto Star (Aug 2009)

    A changing epidemic: Canada’s AIDS rate on the rise

    BONUS links - Harper and crew ignoring expert advice, scientific consensus, and all available statistics (because their plan is better - by being neither backed up nor bogged down by the advice of experts, researchers or statistics). SHOCKING! (I know. Now that’s sarcasm):

    Why Stephen Harper thinks he’s smarter than the experts - Macleans

    Canadians ignored repeated warnings about Afghan security firm - Toronto Star

    Clement’s census comments ‘false’: Rae

    The numbers say it all: Canada is a climate-change miscreant

    $2-billion mass flu immunization program a bust, figures reveal

    Ottawa bars ministers’ staff from appearing before committees

    24 women’s groups lose funding

    Aid groups advised to ‘shut the fuck up’ on abortion

    Ottawa accusé de régenter les publications scientifiques

     

     Canada  politics  politics (CDN)  Stephen Harper  Conservatives  Tories 

  10. From The Hill Times:

    In an information-free zone there won’t be nearly so many awkward questions about why a deep-in-deficit administration would pump $9.5-billion into prisons while a decade-long trend line tracks tumbling crime rates.

    […]

    What Day is saying is what a lot of Conservatives firmly believe. They know that statistics are a bunch of damned lies just as certainly as they know that honest folks are no longer safe in their homes.

    One of the reasons they are so sure is that Stephen Harper told them so. Reinforcing his party’s law-and-order plank a few years ago, the Prime Minister encouraged True Blue loyalists to trust their gut, not evidence or experts.

    That’s a strange pitch from any leader guiding a country in an information age. It’s simply bizarre coming from one schooled as an economist, arguably the craft that relies most heavily on facts and figures.

     

     Stockwell Day  politics (CDN)  Conservatives 

  11. wtftory:

    From CBC News:

    Speaking to reporters on Wednesday in Ottawa, Rae lashed out at Industry Minister Tony Clement for his suggestion in interviews last month that Statistics Canada recommended the move to scrap the mandatory long-form census when emails between the agency and his office show the opposite.

    Rae said the chain of emails between Clement’s office and the agency on the decision show Clement was trying to “pass the blame” to Statistics Canada.

    “He wasn’t telling the truth,” Rae said.

    The documents also show Statistics Canada warned the Conservative government as early as March that the response rate for a proposed voluntary long-form census would be less than 50 per cent.

    The Toronto Star has more:

    Industry Minister Tony Clement was well aware that Statistics Canada had little use for a voluntary census when he was telling Canadians that StatsCan was onside with his decision to scrap the mandatory, long-form survey, internal government documents show.

    In an email to the minister’s advisers in March, a StatsCan official says a self-administered voluntary survey “provides a response rate of 50 per cent.” The email goes on to say that, with follow-up and interviewer support, the response rate can be increased to 65-70 per cent, “which is still not an acceptable outcome for a census.”

    Yet Clement publicly gave the impression that the respected federal data collecting agency supported the Conservatives’ move to scrap the mandatory nature of the 40-page, long-form survey that has traditionally gone out to one-in-five households at census time.

    […]

    [StatsCan head Munir] Sheikh intended to tell StatsCan’s worried employees that the data produced by the voluntary National Household Survey proposed by the Conservatives would not be as valuable to traditional users of census information as past surveys, the emails indicate.

    In a flurry of memos in mid-July, Clement’s office and the PCO tried to convince Munir to cast his remarks in a more positive light. Instead of saying users will not find the data from the new voluntary survey useful, the government wanted him to say StatsCan “is confident” it will meet “the needs of a broad range of users.”

    But Sheikh, a 38-year public servant, never delivered the address to his employees. He resigned a few days later. At a subsequent appearance at a Commons committee, he said he stepped down because Clement’s suggestion that StatsCan was onside with the voluntary census was compromising the integrity of the globally-respected agency.

    Related: Science in retreat - Canada has been scientifically healthy. Not so its government

    Voluntary version of U.S. census proved unreliable, costly

     

     Canada  census  Tony Clement  science  Stephen Harper  politics  politics (CDN) 

  12. From the CBC:

    A labour relations board adjudicator has called the 2006 dismissal of a special public works adviser a “sham” and “camouflage” and accuses the Harper government of obstruction in the man’s attempt to clear his name.

     

     Canada  politics  politics (CDN)  Stephen Harper  Conservatives