Showing posts tagged Conservative Party

Harper undoing Canada


Stephen Harper’s Conservatives dislike Canada. They reject much of what the rest of the world values and praises about us — our respect for cultural, linguistic and racial diversity; our sense of social responsibility towards one another; our support for collective as well as individual rights; our history of common institutions and programs specifically designed to buffer citizens, regions and provinces from the vagaries of uncontrolled market forces; our honoured international role as a moderate middle power and the originator of international peacekeeping.

For proof of the low esteem in which our current government regards Canadians and their country, look no further than Thursday’s federal budget, the first where the Conservatives could fly their true colours thanks to the “strong, stable, majority Conservative government” frequently bragged about by the prime minister.

Resources are to be exploited as fast as possible. Concern for the environment and the rights of aboriginal and other citizens are a distant second. Food safety is to be left to the food manufacturers, drug safety to the pharmaceutical industry, transportation safety to the transport industry. In the new, “liberated” marketplace, self-regulation is the mantra. When it comes to matters of human health and safety, individuals and families will be largely on their own.

(via mclobsters-deactivated20120919)

With friends like Harper, Bibi can do no wrong


Inside meetings of la Francophonie and the G8, Mr. Harper has personally inserted himself – or instructed Canadian diplomats to insert themselves – to block resolutions even mildly critical of Israel, including references to the settlements. Mr. Harper has thus isolated Canada from its traditional allies such as the United States, Britain and France.

After last fall’s UN General Assembly meeting, Israel announced new settlements. Barack Obama’s administration criticized the move. So did the European Union. The German Chancellor personally phoned Mr. Netanyahu and asked him to desist. Canada said nothing.

At that UN meeting, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird wrote his own speech, an over-the-top effort laced with fiery rhetoric supporting Israel and damning its foes. Mr. Baird, on becoming the minister, had informed his department that he didn’t want to hear from experts there because he and the government had already fixed their positions on Israel and the Middle East.


Should Israel attack Iran’s nuclear installations – an attack Mr. Netanyahu will be discussing next week in Washington – he can assume complete support from Mr. Harper. The Canadian Prime Minister has already portrayed Iran in the worst possible light, using language that parallels the most hard-line rhetoric within Israel. He even suggested Iran might use nuclear weapons should they be constructed, as if the Iranians were completely suicidal.

Yup, that’s where we’re at now. Canada wasn’t always like this (among other things, we have a free-trade agreement with both Israel and Palestine) but at this point the government has this bizarrely obsequious attitude towards Israel wherein our national Middle East policy is whatever the Israeli government says it should be. 

I’m not sure whom the target audience is here. On first glance you’d imagine it’s Jewish voters, but I really don’t think the marginal benefit of totally letting Israel call the shots (as a change from the previous strongly pro-Israel policy) could be that great, as the subdemographic of Jewish voters who are impressed by that sort of thing is not only relatively small but also probably already votes Conservative. And polling shows that the regions with the most Jewish voters are sliding back towards the Liberals, anyway. 

Going to assert that the target audience is more likely evangelical Protestants within the party who want to see as pro-Israel an outlook as possible, because they are working off the American narrative that somehow the State of Israel is innately pro-white evangelical Protestant and therefore deserves support (or something). At any rate, it’s seriously unimpressive.

Nailed it.

Conservatives Threaten to Make "Committee Business" Secret

The Harper Conservatives are making a bid to have parliamentary committee business conducted in secret.  

Widely considered as a test run for all committees, the Official Languages Committee is currently debating a motion to conduct its future committee business in camera.  The motion was originally introduced by Costas Menegakis (Richmond Hill, Ont., CPC).  The Government Operations and Estimates Committee has also given notice of a similar motion, sponsored by Mike Wallace (Burlington, Ont., CPC).

Because there is no strict definition of “committee business,” committees generally interpret the term as they see fit.  Historically, usual practice has excluded the hearing of witnesses and the clause-by- clause study of bills, but there are no procedural guarantees safeguarding against this.

In the past, in camera (meaning in private from the Latin for in chamber) committee meetings were held in private to deal with certain administrative matters. These include hearing a background briefing, considering a draft report, planning for future business, and dealing with sensitive topics, such as national security, among other things.