Bruyea, Veterans Affairs, and Canadian Democracy: Time to Go “Batsh!t Crazy”

by matttbastard

Tuesday’s  revelation that Sean Bruyea, a vocal critic of Veterans Affairs had his private medical records deliberately compromised by bureacrats in a brazen attempt to discredit his legitimate, extensive complaints about systemic deficiencies within the department has struck a nerve among Canadians across the nation. Rick Mercer’s tweet from yesterday morning succinctly sums up the outrage:

“Bat-shit crazy”? Canadians should be spitting mad — and appropriately chastened by the sobering realization that what happened to Bruyea could happen to any one of us. Add the steamrolling of civil liberties that occurred during the G20 summit in Toronto, and you have a Canadian government that, for all intents and purposes, is acting as if the citizenry represent a hostile entity, simply for the crime of expressing dissent.

In short, once again it seems all too apparent our elected representatives no longer believe that they should answer to the people.

In this specific instance, the naked disregard for personal privacy is unconscionable. The Privacy Commissioner should immediately investigate, and heads must roll, no matter how high up the food chain. But, in broader context, we see yet another example of the contemptuous culture of impunity among the political class that currently reigns supreme in Ottawa, perfectly encapsulated by the arbitrary way the PMO keeps the civil service under heel, and the disrespectful manner in which our Members of Parliament conduct themselves during Question Period.

Hard to defend the virtues of Canadian parliamentary democracy when our leaders act as if they are completely entitled to run roughshod over the people they deign to serve.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Shooting Themselves in the Foot

by matttbastard

Taxi!

Yesterday, the office of Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan released the following statement, explaining why the Harpercons were blocking the release of a Canada Firearms Centre (CAFC) performance report on the Long Gun Registry:

“Canadians don’t need another report to know that the long-gun registry is very efficient at harassing law-abiding farmers and outdoors enthusiasts, while wasting billions of taxpayer dollars.”

Less than 24 hours later, veteran Parliamentary reporter Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star has linked to the report, which reveals the dirty little secret of Canada’s oh-so controversial Long Gun Registry:

It works.

Notes Delacourt:

[The registry is] spending less, attracting more registrants and police are using the registry  more — almost 4,000 times last year. Yep, that’s an argument to kill it.

Golf claps to the spineless, craven Liberal & New Democrat MPs who allowed the Harpercons to bully them into pissing on the graves of the 14 Montreal Massacre victims (and props to the Bloc for actually doing the right thing for Canada — shocking, I know).

A rundown of the twenty turncoat cowards who felt that pandering to low-information voters trumped public safety:

  1. Mr. Malcolm Allen
    (Welland) NDP
  2. Mr. Scott Andrews
    (Avalon) Liberal
  3. Mr. Charlie Angus
    (Timmins—James Bay) NDP
  4. Ms. Niki Ashton
    (Churchill) NDP
  5. Mr. Larry Bagnell
    (Yukon) Liberal
  6. Mr. Dennis Bevington
    (Western Arctic) NDP
  7. Mr. Nathan Cullen
    (Skeena—Bulkley Valley) NDP
  8. Mr. Jean-Claude D’Amours
    (Madawaska—Restigouche) Liberal
  9. Mr. Wayne Easter
    (Malpeque) Liberal
  10. Mr. Claude Gravelle
    (Nickel Belt) NDP
  11. Mrs. Carol Hughes
    (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing) NDP
  12. Mr. Bruce Hyer
    (Thunder Bay—Superior North) NDP
  13. Mr. Jim Maloway
    (Elmwood—Transcona) NDP
  14. Mr. Keith Martin
    (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca) Liberal
  15. Mr. John Rafferty
    (Thunder Bay—Rainy River) NDP
  16. Mr. Anthony Rota
    (Nipissing—Timiskaming) Liberal
  17. Mr. Todd Russell
    (Labrador) Liberal
  18. Mr. Scott Simms
    (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor) Liberal
  19. Mr. Peter Stoffer
    (Sackville—Eastern Shore) NDP
  20. Mr. Glenn Thibeault
    (Sudbury) NDP

And a handy-dandy directory of the MPs who comprise Canada’s 40th Parliament, including contact info — so you can either thank your local MP for standing up against gun violence, or politely tell them how you feel about them flipping the bird to the women of Canada.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Long Gun Registry Going Down? Happy Anniversary From Canada’s 40th Parliament.

by matttbastard

Shorter 164 members of Parliament to the 14 victims of the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre (and, by extension, every woman in Canada):

Drop dead. Again.

Via Devin Johnston, Dennis Gruending connects the blood-red dots that weave together antipathy for the gun registry and willful indifference towards deadly misogyny:

It is ironic, to say the least, that this vote occurred just a few weeks prior to the 20th anniversary of the December 6th Montreal massacre, when Marc Lepine mowed down 14 young women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal with a semi-automatic weapon. Although this bill will not touch the ban on handguns, it will, if it becomes law, eliminate the requirement to register the type of people-hunting firearm that Lepine used in 1989. It was that gruesome killing which prompted the then-Liberal government of Jean Chretien to pass the Firearms Act in 1995, requiring gun owners to obtain permits and to register their guns.

[…]

My experience in four election campaigns was that you got nowhere with people opposed to the gun registry if you said that the Montreal massacre was a reason why firearms should be registered. That argument left them cold. There was rarely, if ever, any acknowledgement or sympathy expressed for Marc Lepine’s victims.

Fauxggrieved rural voters > women. Duh.

The more things change…

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Dear Conservative Party of Canada

Stop fucking lying:

“Our objective is to get a majority of senators in the Senate who support reform. That is our objective. Once reform is passed, everyone will be standing for elections,” [a Conservative Party aide] told reporters at a background briefing yesterday.

“Our government will continue to push for a more democratic, accountable and effective Senate,” Harper said in a statement that accompanied the list of appointees.

“If Senate vacancies are to be filled, however, they should be filled by the government that Canadians elected rather than by a coalition that no one voted for,” he said, referring to the Liberal-NDP coalition agreement that was signed before Harper sought prorogation of Parliament earlier this month to avoid a confidence vote.

Despite the overwhelming ignorance of a majority of Canadians, we do not ‘elect’ a government; we elect a Parliament by voting for local candidates who, if successful, become Members of Parliament, followed by the formation of a government–which may or may not represent the  party that had a majority of its MPs elected to Parliament.  If a group of MPs (say, a coalition of opposition MPs who represent a majority of seats in the House of Commons) can gain the confidence of the House, they have every right to form a government, regardless of election results.  You know this, and yet you continually lie (yes, lieEd Broadbent sure called it earlier this month) in the process of stating your case as to why you should remain in power.

By now it should be more than apparent that you could give a flying monkey fuck about anything (including the welfare of the nation) apart from clinging to power and furthering your radical right-wing agenda by any means necessary. But what’s truly sad is the fact that, during the course of their report, Tonda MacCharles and Bruce Campion-Smith apparently felt that correcting a blatant falsehood was unnecessary.  When the press colludes with the PMO to spread disinformation, even unwittingly, is there any wonder why the people of Canada are so ignorant of the democratic process?

Look, I know that Goebbels is said to have once famously (and  perceptively) quipped that if you “repeat a lie a thousand times it becomes truth”; but one would hope that our nation’s elite would have higher standards with regards to whom they are channeling their PR strategy through.

With vexation and disgust,

matttbastard

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

This Is What Harper Country Looks Like

by matttbastard

“D’oh Canada” indeed:

A new survey for the Dominion Institute taken in the aftermath of this month’s political crisis in which the word “prorogue” was dusted off political science textbooks suggests a woeful ignorance when it comes to our system of government.

For example, results of the Ipsos Reid survey show 75 per cent of Canadians asked believe the prime minister, or the Governor General, is head of state. Bzzzz – wrong.

It’s actually the Queen.

Only 24 per cent managed to answer correctly, according to the poll provided exclusively to The Canadian Press.

[…]

Given a choice how best to describe the system of government, 25 per cent decided on a “co-operative assembly” while 17 per cent opted for a “representative republic.”

Canada is neither.

Only 59 per cent correctly picked constitutional monarchy.

In a similar vein, 51 per cent wrongly agreed that Canadians elect the prime minister directly.

In fact, Canadians elect local members of Parliament and the leader of the party with the most members by tradition becomes prime minister at the request of the governor general.

Head. Desk.

Please, keep these results in mind the next time y’all wanna rag on our neighbours down south for collective national ignorance.

Srsly.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Return of the Midnight Appointments

by matttbastard

(Current) Prime Minister Stephen Harper is quickly going nuclear, apparently about to play his one possible trump card–18 vacant seats in the Senate just waiting to be filled:

“It’s outrageous,” said New Democrat MP and reform critic David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre), whose party advocates abolishing the Senate. “I can’t believe that the Prime Minister is just literally giving Canadians the finger.”

Christopherson was angry over both Harper’s change of position and his timing.

“This is about a blatant power move by someone who does not have the legitimacy of the Canadian people in terms of the votes he got, nor does he have the confidence of the House,” Christopherson said.

“I can’t believe that the Prime Minister is just literally giving Canadians the finger.”

Why are we still surprised by the depths in which Stephen Harper will sink in order to further his partisan Conservative agenda? Ever since the election, he has comfortably settled into the role of a Nixon-like figure, veering wildly between equally potent expressions of partisan aggression and grievance, his deliberately divisive calculations polarizing the nation and Parliament along increasingly unstable regional and ideological faultlines with apparent disregard to the long term consequences.

This latest maneuver is precisely why Liberals–especially Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff–must remain firm in their commitment to taking down this government.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

A Liberal Government Without a Coalition: Clear, Refreshing and Zero Calories!

by matttbastard

pogge nails it–behold, the birth of the uncoalition:

[CTV News Ottawa Bureau Chief Bob] Fife also said senior Liberals have told him that they may not need a coalition to form a new government.

“If they do defeat the Conservative government… Ignatieff will go to the Governor General and say ‘We think we can form the government but we don’t have to do it with a coalition,'” Fife said.

“In other words we don’t have to give the NDP any seats in a Liberal government.”

He said the NDP and Block (sic) would have to support the Liberals because they already have expressed their hatred towards the Conservative government.

Y’know, I get the impression that this mysterious gaggle of “senior Liberals” who go running to Fife every time a gnat cuts a fart during a caucus meeting have an ongoing bet on who can convince CTV’s 1337 stenographer to breathlessly relay the most outrageous load of horseshit, no matter how absurd. Yes, the NDP will dutifully prop up the Grits without having a say in shaping policy. And Stephen Harper truly has the best interests of the nation at heart.

Tell me another one, Bob.

Anyway, Iggy just reiterated his (tepid) support of the coalition, stating in his first news conference as Liberal interim leader that “the ball is in Mr. Harper’s court” and that the (un)coalition is fully prepared to form a “stable” government, should the Governor General make such a request. So even though pogge’s skepticism is likely warranted (based on both Liberal scuttlebutt and Iggy’s equivocation about whether he will actually invoke the coalition option), I’m not quite ready to write off the coalition as DOA just yet. What Iggy has made abundantly clear is this: over the next several weeks the overtures and maneuvers undertaken by Harper and his minions will determine the fate of this Parliament.

One wonders if the current Prime Minister, based on the hubris he’s displayed over the past several weeks, will be able to resist hanging himself with the rope he’s just been handed.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers