The Grits Go There

by matttbastard

Liberals call out Conservatives on Bernier-Couillard scandal, Uncle Steve goes on the defensive:

The Liberal Party called on members of the Harper government today to divulge any information in their possession on the Bernier-Couillard affair to the RCMP.

While the RCMP refused to comment on its investigation, Liberal candidate Bob Rae said that people with information on the matter should not wait for the Mounties to come to their doors.

“The RCMP is investigating this with the seriousness it deserves. In contrast, the Harper government has shown an appalling lack of judgment on this whole affair. It has no choice but to fully co-operate with the RCMP now,” Mr. Rae said in an early morning statement.

The Liberal Party was picking up on a report in The Globe and Mail that the RCMP are pursuing the politically charged investigation in the midst of the federal election campaign.

[…]

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said he knows nothing about the investigation, but he nonetheless added that members of his government are not the target of the probe. Trying to contain any political fallout, a bristling Mr. Harper returned at the end of a news conference to a question from a Globe reporter who asked whether it would be appropriate for the RCMP to interview Mr. Bernier during the election campaign.

[…]

“I want to make it absolutely clear, because I do not want this story distorted: There is no suggestion that the RCMP is investigating Minister Bernier. Period. Quite frankly, any question that tries to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate,” Mr. Harper said.

[…]

“Let’s be very clear: Mr. Bernier and nobody in this government is under investigation by the RCMP. The RCMP, we understand from stories, may be investigating some private individuals, but frankly I do not know if that’s true and I do not know the details,” he said.

As they say, developing.

Related: RCMP actively probes Couillard affair, patronage allegations surface: The Globe and Mail.

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PSA: Speak Out For Nuclear Disarmament

by matttbastard

From Steven Staples @ Ceasefire.ca:

November 22, 2007

Dear friend,

Canada’s voting record at the UN on crucial anti-nuclear weapons resolutions indicates an alarming shift away from Canada’s traditional role as a supporter of disarmament.

Yesterday, the Toronto Star published [an article] written by Anthony Salloum, program director of the Rideau Institute (Ceasefire.ca’s parent).

Anthony outlines what happened at the UN and why we should be concerned about the direction the government is heading.

If you have not done so already, please send your letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier, urging the government to support nuclear disarmament.

Best wishes,

signature_in_blue_-_first_name_only_-_clean.jpg stevenstapleswithcaption.jpg

speak_out_for_nuclear_disarmament_-_small_button.jpg

Dear Minister Bernier,

I write to express my concern that Canada recently abstained from voting on an important resolution at the United Nations calling on Nuclear Weapons States to lower the operating status of nuclear weapons. Fortunately, that resolution passed even without Canadian support.

I urge you to redouble Canada’s efforts towards nuclear disarmament, by supporting global initiatives that aim to lessen the risk of nuclear use, such as working to develop a treaty prohibiting these dangerous weapons.

With 27,000 nuclear weapons still remaining on the planet, Canada must not relent in working towards a safer, nuclear-free world.

I await your reply.

Your name here

h/t Alison @ Creekside.

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Martial Law Lite?

by matttbastard

Shorter Ali Eterez: “Military dictators do tend to make the trains run on time, don’t they?”*

*headdesk*

Cernig casually pushes a butterknife through the steaming, still-soft bullshit here (updating and correcting Libby’s initial post) and here, speculating that Musharraf’s motives are pretty simple (yet, thus far, entirely effective): cling to power at all costs.

That Musharaff has engineered this whole series of events to break the Bhutto/Shariff alliance which could have co-operatively managed serious resistance to his plans for martial law and continued rule, in a way that they cannot seperately, is not beyond the bounds of possibility. No-one said dictators have to be dumb. Look at the way Musharaff has gamed the U.S. for six years. Every time he hands over Al Qaeda or Taliban terrorists, they are the rogue ones who are a challenge to his own rule. Islamist terrorists who back Musharaff get safe haven and are even released after token arrests for Western consumption. Meanwhile his ISI is, according to NATO, India and Afghanistan, still the guiding hand behind the Taliban’s senior leadership.

Today, BBC News reports that Musharraf has indeed begun the predicted opposition putsch:

Pakistani opposition leaders and activists have been detained in the wake of President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to declare emergency rule.

The acting head of the party of exiled former PM Nawaz Sharif was arrested, senior lawyers have been detained and the country’s chief justice sacked.

PM Shaukat Aziz said that hundreds of people had been held, and the emergency would last “as long as is necessary”.

Scheduled elections could be delayed for up to a year, he added.

But no decision had been made over the date of any election, he added, insisting the government remained committed to the democratic process.

Yes, committed as any autocrat who initially attained power via bloodless coup and is now desperately holding on to it by suspending the constitution, sacking the judiciary and detaining key opposition figures.

A final note, once again courtesy everyone’s favourite Newshog:

Rediff [Saturday] quoted a former head of Indian intelligence as saying that the Bush administration must have given Musharaff its approval before he went ahead with his plan for martial law.

Democracy’s march continues unabated.

Related: BBC News correspondent M. Ilyas Khan: Emergency rule is a direct challenge to the judiciary.

Update: While Bush admin officials engage in the usual Kabukihandwringing“, (“highly regrettable,” as per Condi, while her spokesman sez the US is “deeply disturbed” by Musharraf’s extra-democratic maneuver) CanWest News reports that, lo and behold, the Stephen Harper Party has once again shown its independent spirit and commitment to democracy and the rule of law by–er, essentially mimicking the tepid US response to recent events in Pakistan:

“We are deeply concerned about this development and urge the government of Pakistan to cancel the state of emergency and the new provisional constitutional order immediately,” said [Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime] Bernier’s statement, which did not name Musharraf personally.”These measures undermine democratic development, judicial independence and the possibility of free and fair elections to which the people of Pakistan are entitled.”

And I am deeply concerned that our present government makes Tony Blair seem almost maverick-like by comparison.

Update 2: Dave @ The Galloping Beaver:

The Bush administration, cheering for the return of Benazir Bhutto, demonstrating its elementary-school understanding of foreign affairs, was possessed of the belief that Benazir would be the silver bullet which caused a democratization of Pakistan. It probably never crossed their minds that Bhutto and Musharraf cannot stand each other.

So, either way, we have another fiasco erupting from the mis-estimation of Condoleeza Rice and the lack of depth in the Bush administration.

In any case, Musharraf is going to need more than the imposition of martial law to regain control of Pakistan. And if he converts himself to a pure military dictator Pakistan will probably spin right out of control.

Bingo.

*h/t muslimgirlpower in CIF comments for stealing my unwritten one liner, which I have unabashedly stolen back, albeit with due credit /grin

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PSA: Urge Canada to Vote YES for Nuclear Disarmament at the UN

by matttbastard

From Ceasefire.ca:

Urge Canada to Vote YES for Nuclear Disarmament at the UN

There is an important meeting taking place right now at the United Nations to discuss nuclear disarmament, with voting on key resolutions scheduled to happen this week.
I am worried that Stephen Harper may be planning to reverse Canada’s longstanding support for nuclear disarmament.

The world is watching how Canada will vote. speak_out_for_nuclear_disarmament_-_small_button.jpg

Our sources tell us that the government remains undecided on whether they will vote “YES” in favour of these critical resolutions. I urge you to send your letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier, calling on him to vote “YES”, and continue Canada’s tradition as a champion of nuclear disarmament.

Best wishes,

signature_in_blue_-_first_name_only_-_clean.jpg stevenstapleswithcaption.jpg

Related: Tilman Ruff – Let’s ban all nuclear weapons — now; ICAN report: Securing Our Survival (SOS) The case for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

Elsewhere: The Bulletin Online: A rebirth of the anti-nuclear weapons movement?

During the 1980s, a strong anti-nuclear war movement made the notion of a world without nuclear weapons seem possible. Today, the drumbeat for a nuclear-weapon-free world is growing loud again, with protests in Britain about the Labour Party’s decision to renew its nuclear capability, hunger strikes at the University of California in opposition to U.S. plans for a reliable replacement warhead, and prominent policy leaders such as Henry Kissinger and George Shultz calling for the nuclear states to rethink their reliance on nuclear weapons. Kate Hudson, the chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and head of Social and Policy Studies at London South Bank University, Aaron Voldman, an undergraduate at Brandeis University and director of the Student Peace Alliance, Jessica Wilbanks, a co-coordinator of Faithful Security: National Religious Partnership on Nuclear Weapons Danger, and Lawrence S. Wittner, a history professor at the State University of New York/Albany and coeditor of the forthcoming book Peace Action: Past, Present, and Future, debate whether we are witnessing the start of a new anti-nuclear/peace movement.

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“Thank you for your work…and little cakes for you.”

by matttbastard

Hard to draw any other conclusion: Harper has handed the vital Afghanistan portfolio to bumbling incompetents and set them loose on the public – without first having them do their homework. Apparently, as Impolitical bluntly puts it, “the Harper government thinks we’re idiots [emph. added].” Forget lemons into lemonade; Bernier and Oda are trying to turn horse dung into snack cakes (yum yum!)

And Coderre is supposed to be the one engaging in superficial political theatre?!

Update: Steve V. has more on Conservative theatrics and hypocrisy.

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