Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education. But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper’s tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government. His stance has been a know-nothing conservatism, applied broadly and effectively. He has consistently limited the capacity of the public to understand what its government is doing, cloaking himself and his Conservative Party in an entitled secrecy, and the country in ignorance.
On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked in the House of Commons whether he intended to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Harper tried to deflect criticism from New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair by saying that "Unlike the NDP, we are not going to ideologically have a position regardless of circumstances. The leader of the NDP, in 1939, did not even want to support war against Hitler." Members of the NDP were quick to reply that the NDP did not oppose Hitler in 1939 because the NDP was formed in 1961. [more inside]
Is Danielle Smith Alberta's Sarah Palin or the Future of Canada? Ms. Smith is widely thought to be on the verge of unseating the Progressive Conservative regime that first took office only five months after she was born on April 1, 1971. [more inside]
Though mentioned intermittently, Mr. Harper's determination to muzzle critics will not be a “ballot box question” for most Canadians when they vote. Yet the implications for a Canada ruled by an unrestrained Harper majority government are obvious, and terrifying. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has now published an excellent commentary by Maria Gergin called “Silencing Dissent: The Conservative Record”. [via Gerald Caplan for the Globe and Mail] [more inside]
The rumours are increasing that there will be a merger between the two left-leaning political parties in Canada, the hapless Liberals under the wooden Michael Ignatieff, and the perennial almost-show New Democrats under the magnificently mustached Jack Layton. Denials all 'round, of course, but as separate parties they have not managed to take down Stephen Harper and his wiley Conservatives.
A new report from the Climate Action Network Canada- Réseau action climat Canada details a “troubling catalogue of actions” by the federal government to muzzle its own climate scientists and weaken the research capacity of Canada’s climate science community.
Canada's governing Conservative Party has expelled one of its Members of Parliament -- for blogging. Garth Turner, Conservative MP for Halton, author of "The Turner
Diaries Report" (link) was today suspended from the ruling party's caucus because of his blog. "There is [sic] attacks that were made on individuals, including the Prime Minister," explained Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer. "The theme of confidentiality was not being respected, in their opinion, and it restricted the ability for members to operate in a confidential way." At least one national pundit compares the exiling to 1984.
Newsfilter: Canada's New Cabinet. Featuring thrills (former Liberal David Emerson crosses the floor to serve as International Trade Minister, and affect the balance of power), spills (Michael Fortier, who is not an MP, will be appointed to the Senate to serve as Public Works and Government Services Minister on the condition that he resign to run for Parliament in the next general election, upsetting some) and chills (everybody's favourite whipping boy, Stockwell Day as Minister of Public Safety). (as a bonus - and for those ignoramuses that care not for the intricacies of Canadian politics - pay some mind to the newly redesigned globeandmail.com, especially the prominence of public commentary on every article - it's the embodiment of newsfilter!)
The layout of this site looks an awful lot like this one. Probably just a coincidence. [via matthewgood]