"We’re now in the home stretch of Canada’s federal election campaign — at seventy-eight days, the longest in modern Canadian history and the most important since 1988, when free trade with the United States was the defining issue. For the first time in Canadian history, it is a close three-way race between the ruling Conservatives, the centrist Liberals, and the social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP)." [more inside]
"The Conservative government is not afraid to defend Canadian values." Welcome to the home stretch of the Canadian election! [more inside]
Tony Turner worked at Environment Canada. After releasing his protest song Harperman in June, he was recently put on leave for impartiality. [more inside]
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.
“My name is Donald Sutherland. My wife’s name is Francine Racette. We are Canadians....” [The Globe and Mail]
“Did you know that? If you don’t live here all the time you can’t vote. Americans who live abroad can vote. They can vote because they’re citizens! Citizens! But I can’t. Because why? Because I’m not a citizen? Because what happens to Canada doesn’t matter to me? Ask any journalist that’s ever interviewed me what nationality I proudly proclaim to have. Ask them. They’ll tell you. I am a Canadian. But I’m an expatriate and the Harper government won’t let expatriates participate in Canadian elections.”[more inside]
"It’s absurd to be forced to make an argument in 2014 about why a country needs to invest in long term basic science" [more inside]
Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, has become notorious for the way his government treats science. The latest news concerns the shutting of 7 of 9 regional DFO libraries across the country. Despite claims that the collections have been digitized, alarming reports are emerging that a lot of the materials, some dating back to the 19th century, were simply junked.
In January, braving -40C weather, 18-year old David Kawapit and half a dozen other young Cree supporters set out wearing snowshoes and pulling sleds laden with supplies from the isolated community of Whapmagoostui in northern Quebec, to trudge the 1,500 kilometres from the edge of Hudson Bay to Ottawa in support of better conditions for aboriginal people. Yesterday, their numbers swelled to about 270 they arrived in Ottawa, where they were met with cheering and wild applause. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt agreed to speak with some of the young people who completed the trek, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper had more important matters to attend to.
Les érections de Stephen Harper. (SL video) (SFW). Speaking in French, Prime Minister Stephen Harper asks the hard questions about Canadian "érections". (Via MontrealMemes)
Canada's Harper government has introduced an ACTA compliance bill at the behest of the USTR, despite the treaty being dead elsewhere. [more inside]
Rohinton Mistry's convocation speech to Ryerson [video - g&m, must wait for short ad) this link is to the text, with no ads, but hearing his reading is nice.
"The wide-ranging Forum Poll for the National Post sought the opinions of a sample of Canadians of voting age... The voting intentions, if actual ballots, would translate into a minority government for the NDP." The Canadian public is on a distinct tilt to the left, says a new national public opinion poll. Criticism of the Conservatives' spring budget, Bill C-38, continues: it is "anti-labour" (repeals The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act; reforms Employment Insurance) and "guts the Fisheries Act"; a website protest against the bill is planned for June 4. [more inside]
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]
Catch 167: Harper government pulls rug out from under non-Canadian gay couples who married here in good faith
Ottawa does about face on same-sex marriage for non-Canadians. The Harper government has served notice that thousands of same-sex couples who flocked to Canada from abroad since 2004 to get married are not legally wed. The reversal of federal policy is revealed in a document filed in a Toronto test case launched recently by a lesbian couple seeking a divorce.... The government’s hard line has cast sudden doubt on the rights and legal status of couples who wed in Canada after a series of court decisions opened the floodgates to same-sex marriage. The mechanics of determining issues such as tax status, employment benefits and immigration have been thrown into legal limbo. [The lesbian couple's] divorce application will be considered next month by an Ontario Superior Court judge. They are asking the judge to either craft an exemption allowing them to divorce or to strike down any legislative provision that has the effect of preventing them from doing so. [more inside]
Canada is planning to withdraw from the Kyoto treaty. CBC, BBC, AFP. The Herald Sun claims that this is to allow shale sands oil extraction.
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]
Shit Harper Did Does exactly what it says on the can. Example: "Canadian PM Stephen Harper weakened regulations so that more pesticide residue could be left on your fruits and vegetables." "Harper decorated the government lobby in parliament with photos of just himself, instead of the traditional portraits of former Prime Ministers." And much more.
Stephen Harper once referred to the Canadian Senate as a "dumping ground for liberal cronies". He has now appointed his 36th senator, more than double the number of appointments by his predecessor, Paul Martin. Of further interest is that while 5/17 of Martin's appointments were members of the opposition party all 36 of Stephen Harpers appointments were directly affiliated with the conservative party. His most recent appointments? A Priest and a former CFL Comissioner
Scientists working for the Canadian government aren't allowed to talk to journalists without permission from Ottawa. And the restriction isn't limited politically sensitive topics like climate change and the Alberta oil sands -- the co-author of a recent Nature article about flooding at the end of the last ice age was told to "wait for clearance from the minister's office" before talking to reporters about his work. The policy has only been in effect at Natural Resources in Canada since March, but Environment Canada has had the same rules since 2008. (Previously.)
Je ne comprends pas anglais, Former Canadian PM Jean Chrétien forgets his second language as he and former NDP leader Ed Broadbent use their elder statesmen status to discuss bringing down the six week old Conservative government in Canada after the promised economic stimulus turned into cutting travel expenses, cancelling pay equity and the right to strike for federal workers, and changing the party funding law in favour of the ruling Conservatives under PM Stephen Harper. The opposition still vow to topple the government even though the funding change appears to have been dropped. But the largest opposition party is effectively leaderless and they need the Bloc Quebecois support. Could the next Prime Minister of Canada be Gilles Duceppe?
Anti-Conservative site Vote For Environment, has had over a million hits in just 12 days. Previously.
Maybe America needs Barack more than Barack needs America... It's got to be tough being Barack Obama these days. Just managing to hang onto a slim lead in the polls against a truly horrifying Republican ticket - after eight years in which a Republican administration has all but destroyed the nation. Having to explain to people over and over again that no, he's really not a Muslim, and people still don't believe him. Sarah Palin. Maybe America isn't worth Barack's trouble. Maybe there's other fish in the sea, America. Maybe you ought to think about that a little and stop being this way. Canada has an election coming up too, and given what they've got to work with, more and more Canadians are starting to take a hard look south of the border.
Culture en péril - In these Canadian election times and in response to the recent Culture cuts from Conservatives - three of the best Quebec talents in music, theater and humor join forces and hit back hard (lol) with a highly satirical imagining of the replacement program (captioned).
Newfoundland's Progressive Conservative Premier registered his Anything But Conservative campaign today with Elections Canada. The same agency also deemed that the online vote swap on Facebook is in fact legal. They're hiring.
Everyone is all abuzz about the upcoming election! But even after introducing an act calling for fixed election dates because "this power allows the governing party to set the time of the election to its own advantage", Stephen Harper has decided to call it quits on the 39th Parliament because it's "dysfunctional" even though he's only three years into his mandate. After all, he can change his mind on fixed elections because he supported them in the first place.
PM Stephen Harper’s Canada Day greeting Harper adopts a hawkish, true-blue Tory tone for this year's Canada Day greeting, with an uncharacteristic (for a Canadian) shout-out to God: From championships in hockey to humanitarian and military leadership roles in Afghanistan and Haiti, we can say again this year, Canada is a citizen of the world and we make our contribution a positive one. And why shouldn`t we? From the natural wealth of the land that God created, to the talents, energy and imagination of people drawn from all the nations of the earth, we are a country that has been truly blessed.
Quebecois now a nation. Arguably, this all started with Liberal Party leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff opening the Pandora's Box of Quebec nationhood earlier this fall, pondering whether the French-speaking province of Quebec should be granted some sort of special status. Canadians old enough to remember Meech Lake and the Charlottetown Accord feared the worst. Before you knew it, the Bloc was arguing that Quebec ought to be viewed as a "nation without conditions". Prime Minister Steven Harper then presented a motion to Parliament recognizing the Quebecois as a nation. The controversy raged, both from the Conservatives and the Liberals. Yesterday, the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted for the motion. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Michael Chong has resigned. His statement. How will this change the country? How do nations operate within other nations? Who is a Quebecois anyways? How does this work? Could other groups in Canada be recognized as nations? And what about those separatists? Looks like they already want their own hockey team.
Canadian PM Stephen Harper eats babies. Or at least that's what many Toronto commuters read on their commutes Thursday, Friday, and Monday (they decided to leave the news up over the weekend). Another case for real news becoming more like The Onion?
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!)