With #DenouncementDay coming up fast on July 1st, I wanted to offer up some reading material for you to peruse. I've broken it up into categories and it includes articles from 2006 (when he first became our Prime Minister) until now.
The quote 'There is no greater fraud than a promise not kept' comes from a Gaelic proverb that Harper quoted in one of his campaign pamphlets targeted at Atlantic Canada.
I think it's rather fitting that we hold our Prime Minister to these same wise words.
So, to that end, let's take a gander at what our Prime Minister and his Harper Government have been up to.
Why this is important: I get that Governments are supposed to have secrets - they can't tell us everything. But there is some information we deserve and need to know. This is exacerbated by the fact that our government, under Stephen Harper, is now one of the most secretive in our history.
"The internal briefing notes also reveal Canada “is an ambitious partner” willing to discuss “any issue at the negotiating table,” and that the Harper government is ready to use its majority to make what would undoubtedly be a controversial decision to negotiate and possibly sign onto the TPP."
The federal and Alberta governments struck up a secret, high-level committee in early 2010 to coordinate the promotion of the oilsands with Canada’s most powerful industry lobby group, a document obtained through an access to information request reveals.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's department has clamped a lid of secrecy on a draft report it prepared in 2007 on the costs and "policy implications" of Canada's aging population, Postmedia News has learned. But the very existence of the report — now confirmed by Postmedia News through an access to information request — raises questions about the Harper's government's transparency on the politically explosive issue of seniors' pensions.
The prime minister asked for the investigation in April, following allegations that Carson, 65, had lobbied ministerial staff at the Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs on behalf of his then fiancée, a 24-year-old former escort trying to sell water filters to native reserves.
Page told host Evan Solomon what bothered his office was that one set of books was available inside DND, while another "for communication purposes" was presented publicly, in which he said the government was "low-balling" the numbers.
There might be legitimate reasons for Harper trying to keep secret a meeting with a former prime minister he once deemed persona non grata. But there is no reason that meetings with sitting premiers are not revealed.
On October 18, 2011, MPA-Canada reports meeting with Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, Foreign Minister John Baird, and Industry Canada Senior Associate Deputy Minister Simon Kennedy, all on the same day. These meetings occured less than three weeks after the introduction of Bill C-11 and the decision to sign ACTA, and only eight days before SOPA was launched in the U.S.
Why this is important: You get to vote for your government, right? The people that, ostensibly, look out for your and your nation’s well-being. With patronage appointments, to the Senate and more, Harper gets to do an end-run around your say and install the people he wants, where he wants them. Some may be qualified, some may not be – who’s to know? Moreso, what do you get to do about it if they aren’t? As we have our belts tightened for us, we need to examine just who he’s installing where and how much we’re paying them (a seat on the Senate starts at $132,300/year with no term limit – yes, for life). Thus is especially relevant when it turns out that many of these people being given choice jobs lost their respective elections.
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper was labelled Canada's political "patronage king" and a "hypocrite" yesterday after tossing aside for the second time his promise not to name unelected Canadians to the Senate."
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper has returned Montrealer Larry Smith and Newfoundlander Fabian Manning to the Senate after they failed to get elected to the House of Commons."
"As reported by the Canadian Press Wednesday, Harper slipped through a rash of Conservative patronage appointments just after the pre-Christmas exodus from Parliament Hill. The recipients included failed candidates, ex-caucus members, members of Conservative riding executives and long-time party faithful."
"The federal Liberals are accusing the Tory government of unrivalled pork-barrel politics, noting Prime Minister Stephen Harper has rewarded 106 “Conservative cronies” with plum patronage postings since the May 2011 election — including the appointment of new senators Friday with strong Tory ties."
"Last Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed seven Conservatives to fill vacant seats in the Senate, clearly not worrying too much that all but one of them were not elected by their provinces"
Why is this important? C38 brought to light a whole host of issues in regards not only to the safety and security of our borders but also to the very food we feed ourselves and our children. In a lot of ways I feel that we are less safe as a nation thanks to cuts like the ones that Stephen Harper made:
Since his first days in office in 2006, Harper has steadily cut funding for food safety programs and inspectors, shifting ever greater responsibility to the food companies themselves. According to current Treasury Board of Canada forecasts, funding for food safety programs will have declined by almost 30% from $359 million in 2006-07 to $254 million in 2010-11 under Harper's watch.
Food safety is a sensitive issue for the Conservative government. The biggest food recall in Canadian history took place under its watch in 2008.
“They are very highly trained and there is a very significant investment in them already. They are used in every facet of our jobs. They are used in land, air, marine and postal. They are one of our most versatile contraband detection tools,” he said. There are some 1,150 CBSA notices going out across the country.
The Harper government is using its massive budget bill to quietly scrap a key official overseeing Canada's spy agency.
The federal government’s decision to stop policing nutrition claims on food labels threatens Canadians’ health and leaves consumers with little recourse when food labels are wrong, the head of an agricultural union says.
Why this is important: We now live in a country where those who actively care about the well-being of our National environment are called 'Terrorists' and 'Extremists' by our own Government.
Are there people who cross the line? Sure. Does everyone deserve to be lumped into the same mold as the few that do? No freaking way. What people seem to forget is just how much Harper pushed the environmental message forward in 2008, his stance now is not only hypocritical, it's dangerous.
Environment Canada has “muzzled” its scientists, ordering them to refer all media queries to Ottawa where communications officers will help them respond with “approved lines.”
It is the second time in two weeks that Harper has chosen to do an end run around the Commons, his opponents say, after his announcement last week that there would be no chance for MPs to vote on his announced extension of Canada’s troop commitment in Afghanistan.
“It’s an issue because this government has not got a daily scandal as we had a year ago (under the Liberals),” Harper said Sunday.
The government's explanation for closing the NRTEE is that it has served its purpose. But recent statements from some ministers suggest that the Conservatives didn't like what they heard from the round table.
"Never in the past 50-year history of habitat protection have we seen such great cuts in staff in the face of upcoming massive industrial development that can and will harm habitat and our fisheries of the future,"
Changes to Canada's environmental protection laws in the federal budget implementation bill will offer new tools to "authorize" water pollution, while allowing the government to outsource services to protect the country's waterways, says Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield.
Why this is important: A man is only as good as his word and when he represents our nation, his word is our bond.
"I fail to see how any change of law, or how any additional norms or rules and regulations could make sure that political actors that deliberately choose not to follow the law, will from now on," said Christian Rouillard, an expert in governance and public management at the University of Ottawa.
The fixed election date law that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would defy if he goes to the polls this fall was touted as a path to political fairness, transparency and predictability. But it was never binding.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an election promise Friday to restrict the export of raw bitumen to countries with weaker environmental standards than Canada -- a pledge that took the Alberta government by surprise.
True, it is hard to reconcile the optics of a Conservative government led by a trained economist having been caught so utterly unprepared for this upheaval. It's a legitimate question how Harper could've firmly embraced those positions only six weeks ago and not had an inkling that he was being naive at best or deceptive at worst.
“You’re not allowed to just go off on your own” in deciding federal spending. “You have to follow procedures. It’s public money that’s being spent.”
Trans-Pacific Partnership & Canadian Sovereignty
Why this is important: Under the 'Investor State Provisions' of the TPP Harper fought to get signed onto -- which Canada, as an observer, has no right to challenge -- trans-national corporations would have the ability to sue Countries over laws that they don't like, take them to a new international tribunal and possibly have them repealed. Here's an interesting write-up on it from New Zealand, one from from the Council of Canadians and even an international push-back. Or you can read the actual, full leaked, draft Investment chapter of the TPP here. A write-up with an example of how the 'tribunal' would work is here.
Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other's borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal.
According to an article in Embassy Magazine, the Harper government is moving forward on several initiatives that could give U.S. FBI and DEA agents the ability to pursue suspects across the land border and into Canada. But, according to a RCMP officer, they're doing it in "baby steps."
Of those who said they were Conservative supporters, 67 per cent said they viewed foreign takeovers as bad.
We Were Warned… (Also, how Harper deals with ‘problem’ people)
It was clear that a political staffer, unelected and unaccountable, answering directly to the Prime Minister, had just tried to gag a Member of Parliament, threatened to throw him out of the party he’d been elected by the people to represent and ordered him to make a false statement.
"The minority government has restricted what he can do, but if he has a majority – let me just say I certainly would not want him to get a majority."
The Conservative government has turfed party luminary Hugh Segal from the helm of a high-profile Senate committee, sparking allegations from the Liberals that he was punished for speaking his mind on policy issues.
Linda Keen was fired in January 2008 after closing down a nuclear reactor for safety reasons. The government cited a shortage of isotopes essential to medical tests and procedures. It was a case of direct political interference of an arm’s length, independent regulator of a potentially hazardous industry.
I know I've only scratched the surface here - there's so many things I didn't get to (Harper Proroguing Parliament to save his skin) and a whole lot more.
If I missed anything, please add it into the comments section!