Tag Archives: Conservative Party of Canada


From the Chronicle Herald
From the Chronicle Herald

Well what a few days it’s been! A bit much to digest all at once – I’m still getting over Québec getting knocked out of first place in terms of public displays of corruption and general ineptness. That clearly belongs to Ontario now, though I’m confident will soon regain our status…

Call it Canadian Journalism’s Revenge.

After seven years of scandal simmering just out of reach, of dead-ends and non-answers, of finely-tuned PR and marketing shlock from government ad men, the dam’s finally burst.

A lot of people have been working very hard under increasingly difficult circumstances to hold this government accountable for its actions. Yet despite proroguing Parliament, the G20 fiasco, and numerous other contemptible acts perpetrated by the Tories, they’ve so far managed to expertly manipulate public opinion in their favour, allowing them to dodge most scrutiny relatively unscathed. As is their custom, the Tories throw various people under the bus without ever actually taking corrective action.

Adding insult to injury, the Harperites have treated both our media (and political process in general) with increasingly obvious and obscene disdain.

They’ve mocked and derided dissent, criticism and honest investigative journalism as politically-motivated extremism. Did you know the CBC was filled with Trotskyites? Neither did I until Pierre Poilièvre so-alleged when confronted with a CBC News investigation revealing the Tories are planning on spending $250 million to develop ‘plans’ for a new arctic icebreaker. Scandal here is that the immense sum won’t cover the cost of actually building anything, leading anyone with an ounce of common sense to wonder just what in the hell that money’s going to be used for.

There was once a time when mismanagement and misspending of this magnitude would be enough for a government to lose the confidence of the House and force an election. But we’ve grown accustomed to government inefficiency, excess and above all else, a total lack of operational transparency. It’s despicable. Quite frankly I’m incensed we, the Canadian people, have been asleep at the wheel for so long and let them carry on like this.

It’s one thing for a government to be unaccountable. It’s quite another thing when government is unaccountable and contemptuous of anyone who dares question their actions.

I feel a lot of Canadians have been waiting for the pent up weight of corruption and incompetence to come crashing down. It’s happened to many of the lesser prime ministers and their respective governments, and this had made me hope with utmost sincerity that the crash’s impact will be in proportion to the actual, accrued incompetence. I expect it to be big. I have no faith in the Harper administration, I think this a blot on our otherwise decent record, and I’m thoroughly unimpressed with his economic record. Selling the country by the pound does nothing to improve the economy, and the only people who haven’t been ‘too aversely affected’ by the Great Recession are the nation’s elites. In effect, Canada’s conservative movement isn’t that different than the cabal of elites that is the modern American Republican Party; a party by the rich, of the rich and for the rich, a party that governs simply by manipulating PR and chanting soundbites until anyone attempting legitimate discourse simply gives up.

So consider those currently crashing back to Earth.

Senators Wallin and Duffy, once party media darlings, they’ve both decided to take the expressway to public image rehabilitation by resigning from the party but not Senate itself.

Pamela Wallin is under investigation for over $300,000 worth of questionable travel expenses, while Mike Duffy charged the federal government $90,000 in housing expenses for his ‘secondary residence’, a house he lives in most of the year in an Ottawa suburb. Oh, he also claimed per diem expenses from the government while on vacation, and then added expensed the Senate for campaign work he did for the Tories during the last election. But as Andrew Coyne points out, Duffy’s hardly to blame – the Tories have cultivated a culture of excess and scandalously improper spending.

Then there’s Nigel Wright, a wealthy businessman and Harper’s former chief of staff. He resigned today for his involvement in the Duffy scandal – apparently he wrote him a $90,000 cheque to cover up his ‘mistake’. Government lapdog Pierre Poilièvre tried to pass him off as a wealthy benefactor who didn’t want this debt transferred onto the tax-payer,

On top of all this, CTV is now reporting damning evidence of financial impropriety on the part of Mike Duffy was removed from the disgraced Senator’s internal audit.

And if that weren’t all enough by itself, it looks like some drug dealers tried to sell a video of Rob Ford smoking crack to several trusted journalists, resulting in the story coming out anyways, and a crowd-sourcing initiative to get ahold of the video. The Toronto Star, whose investigative journalists broke the story, is now calling for Ford’s resignation.

Toronto is better than Ford, and her citizens deserve much, much better.

Ford of course is another one of those self-appointed apostles of the Harper agenda, a conservative bulldog already well-known for his troglodytic values, bully tactics and vile general comportment. His downfall won’t impact the scandal plagued federal Tories, but it does leave the Harperites without their primary roadside attraction in the 905 region.

In any event, as I said earlier, it was nice to have the pressure ease off of Québec for a little while.

Here we are, two years before the next federal election and the once mighty Tories are in full crisis mode.

The question now is whether the Canadian public demands blood. Resignations simply won’t cut it, thorough investigations must happen and the Senators must lose their jobs and benefits. The prime minister must be held accountable.

In sum, I’d like to thank every Canadian journalist out there right now who has been pushing for transparency and accountability and who’ll in all likelihood take the events of the last few days as a sign to keep the pressure on.

Things need to change – what we have is untenable.

Destroying the Evidence

Let me be perfectly blunt, I believe that the Conservative Party of Canada is engaged in a project to dismantle our academic national identity.

It started with the 2011 Census, continued with the sudden desire to recast our image as a vibrant extension of the British Empire and then manifested itself in the development of the ‘Warrior Society’ branding initiative that came on the heels of the bicentennial ‘celebrations’ of the War of 1812. If the Tories can manage to do anything right, it’s market their vision of the country as if it were legitimately a consensus understanding of who we are. It is anything but.

We once praised our collective intellect – our great universities and public education system, the immense arm of the federal government dedicated to recording and promoting Canadian culture and social values. Today we call that ‘big government’ and pronounce the efforts of Prime Ministers St-Laurent, Pearson, Trudeau, Chretien and to a lesser extent Martin and even Mulroney to have been in vain. Today’s Conservative-Corporate national identity is composed of Royal Canadian Air Force fly-overs of Grey Cup games while Nickleback churns out over amplified power-pop to reinforce an overly simplistic concept of national pride. This is not what I signed up for. The efforts of our politicians over the better part of nation’s history, to build a Canadian society and shared Canadian liberal social values, has not been in vain. The Tories will tell you a federal plan for national identity is doomed to failure – we’re too diverse, too accidental, and better as a loose federation with no real sense of where we come from nor where we’re going. Inasmuch as we lose our identity we lose any hope of deciding where we go, where we’ll grow.

You can imagine my disgust when I discovered that as part of massive government cuts to just about everything that isn’t the military or their salaries, Library and Archives Canada is facing major budget cuts, despite the fact that it has been chronically underfunded for close to a decade. This is the federal agency tasked with preserving Canada’s social and cultural identity, and it’s being sold off piece by piece to private interests, many of whom aren’t even Canadian. We have billions available for unproven and under-equipped knock-off fighter jets but can’t seem to find ten or twenty million to support the institutional and societal memory of the entire nation. This nation’s government is corrupt to the core.

It’s no secret that the Tories have a particular vision of Canada they wish to promote. It’s militaristic, a loving member of the British Empire, pseudo-Aboriginal (though only to reinforce the notion of warrior traits being somehow absorbed via a non-existant proximity to nature, itself a heavily romanticized vision of our people as being a collection of rugged outdoorsmen), and increasingly Christian supremacist. In my opinion and experience, this reflects but a minority of the people who actually live here.

And yet so it goes, and far more significant and non-violent celebrations – such as the thirtieth anniversary of the Charter and Constitution – go completely unmentioned by ‘Canada’s Conservative Government.’ The single most important document of reference which has inspired the design of constitutions and bills of basic human rights the world over, more important than the American Constitution and Bill of Rights, and our ‘benevolent dictator’ of a Prime Minister decides to stick it to a dead man by denying the moment its due.

But the real damage isn’t created by the lack of celebration, it’s coming from simple budget cuts such as these that are quickly and methodically destroying evidence of Canada’s own culture, our own history and all the evidence of heritage. Folk art and manuscripts and clay pots and correspondence may not be as exciting as battle recreations and military parades, but when they point to the development of a unique society and culture, and establish a history and heritage quite unlike what we see in Europe or the Americas, we’d be wise to preserve and promote it.

Take a look in any illustrated Canadian history textbook and you’ll see what I mean. Chances are the document or object in the photograph will be part of a foreign museum’s collection or else be in private hands.

And all this at a time in which the country desperately needs to be pulled together. All the positive and universally accessible elements of our common culture – those that relate most to the simple matter of living in our country – cast aside as irrelevant. How shamelessly reckless.

The Tories view Canada as an accident, and thus what we’ve created and the study of who we are as a people, is apparently of no significance. If anything, the evidence that suggests Canada is deliberate and purposely complex impedes their efforts to rebrand Canada in their image and according to their minority viewpoint. As far as they’re concerned our culture and history are merely marketing tools to be employed sparingly for manipulative political purposes. And there’s a helluvalot of danger in having your identity dictated to you by a federal government which has been very busy destroying or selling off the evidence that your individual socio-political heritage is anathema to everything the Tories stand for.

I am a sovereign Canadian, and I don’t want this care-taker government to destroy the historical record of my sovereignty.

There’s a petition – check this link to Boing Boing for more details.

And always you, can write the dishonourable Minister Moore.

Remember, any Canadian can send a letter to any Parliamentarian without postage.

Think about what full access to the collective consciousness and history of Canada and all its peoples could teach us. Consider what fully funded government agencies could do with such knowledge and how it could be used to find academic solutions to our contemporary societal problems. One day we will awake and recognize that which truly bonds us together, and try to undo the damage caused by this most cavalier and corrupt federal government.

Ignorant Antagonisms and Petty Aggression: Stephen Harper’s Naive Condemnation of Kim Jong-il

The Dear Leader had died; rejoice. The man who best typifies the modern-day super-villain is no more. Another in a long line of recently departed ruthless dictators. What a year it’s been!

I am happy this man is no longer breathing, he was a cancerous growth preventing the integration of a small, impoverished nation. He was a kleptocrat. We must shed ourselves of such people if our species is to have any hope for continued evolution.

But to his people, to the North Koreans, he was a living God-King. A contemporary Pharaoh. He, like is father before him, exercised absolute control over a small and nearly completely closed society. Existing in total isolation, the North Koreans are prisoners of their own peversely manipulated minds. They should not be condemned to suffer for the crimes of those who ruled them mercilessly.

This is why I am shocked with Canada Chairman & CEO Stephen Harper and his ‘tough-guy’ comments regarding Kim Jong-il’s death. They are the comments of a foolish individual pretending to understand the significance of this seminal event.

Generalissimo Kim’s death may lead to a new period of détente between the Korean halves, especially considering Kim Jong-un’s youth and European education (he may be legitimately interested in pursuing a reformist agenda, but not if we continue to demonize his father and grandfather). Yet Harper, demonstrating his near total lack of comprehension of the plight of the North Korean people, decided the best approach would be to remind the North Koreans it is their responsibility to choose a new and better alternative to the despotic regime they toil under.

It is not a choice, Mr. Harper.

And, what’s more, the North Koreans cannot hear you. Their media is thoroughly controlled by their government, and we are very, very low on the list of concerns and priorities of the DPRK. So if they aren’t paying any attention to us, why rattle some sabres?

It is the perennial Canadian inferiority complex, manifested by individuals hell-bent on restoring the apparently missing machismo of Canada. Perhaps its because we’ve never started a war for fun and profit, perhaps because our nation was not born of blood and savagery between men on battlefields at home and abroad. Either way, we, unlike many other prominent world leaders, decided not even to suggest that this was a situation worth monitoring, or, that it provides an opportunity for renewed diplomatic efforts. No, quite the contrary, Harper used typical corporate newspeak to describe the ‘moving forward process’ that’s ‘in the hands of the North Korean people’, as a PR hack might in the same fashion after a senior executive is charged for insider trading.

What Harper fails to realize is that the People of North Korea have no choices. Yes, they are slaves. So why condemn them to some awful fate as a result of the decisions made by the kleptocratic oligarchy created by the cartoon character above and his equally unstable father?

And why didn’t a well-respected nation such as our own extend our condolences to the clearly bereaved North Korean People? Whether we agree with their bereavement or not is immaterial, a good chunk of their population can be assumed to be legitimately upset by his passing. And if we want change in the Korean Peninsula, why not open a new door to dialogue with the inexperienced Kim Jong-un?

We know who Kim Jong-il was, the people of the DPRK do not.

For me, this is not that different from Rick Perry’s now infamous Kim John II gaffe.

We should demand a higher awareness from our elected officials, and at least a modicum of decency, diplomacy and above all else sympathy for a mislead people.

An Ironic Coup: Rejecting the Omnibus Crime Bill is your Civic Responsibility

This article was originally published by the Forget the Box news collective a few days ago.

If there’s one thing I love, its getting caught off-guard and surprised, especially when it comes to Canadian politics, which I generally find infuriating, pedantic and riddled with pseudo-scandals. The events of the past couple weeks, instigated by the Québec justice minister and subsequently supported by the Premiers of Ontario and British Columbia with regards to the Tory ‘omnibus crime bill’ have restored my faith and hope in Canada, if for no other reason than it presents real leverage against Stephen Harper and once again places Québec in the driver’s seat with regards to social policy.

Suffice to say, I’m not a fan of provincialism in general, and I feel that part of the source cause of societal imbalances within Canada has to do with the fact that key elements of our social-state are devolved to provincial administration. Thus, there are inequities within Canadian provinces concerning the quality of healthcare and education. That said the provinces are not independent in any real sense, unless they choose to act in solidarity with one another; at that point, the provinces can wield a veto power even an autocrat like Stephen Harper cannot deny. This particular federalism, which allowed for our Charter and Constitution inasmuch as it prevented its final ratification, is as Canadian as beavers (or polar bears if Senator Nicole “has-too-much-time-on-her-hands” Eaton has her way). And whether you like it or not, Québec’s liberal government has just handed the ‘minority-majority’ Harper Government its first major setback. The provinces will not foot the bill of new prison construction nor prosecutions under an amended criminal code. Without the support of the provincial governments, the Tory Crime Bill may amount to little more than a lot of noise. We should be so fortunate.

What I find particularly interesting with this development is just how quickly an ‘unholy alliance’ was formed between Québec, B.C. and Ontario. Three provinces that hold the bulk of the population, the major cities, the key industries not to mention the overwhelming bulk of ‘multicultural Canada’, modern and internationalist in outlook and disposition. Inasmuch as Québec proclaimed its conciliatory federalism via the Orange Crush, so too have these key provinces demonstrated that they would rather not sell their souls and turn their backs on progressivism, nor on Canada.

Is it me or does it seem some important decisions in this nation have been made ‘for the common good’ from some of our great pillars of individualism? By hook or by crook we will find the bonds that unite us, and if it requires an autocrat to unite Canadians in opposition, so be it. Eventually my hope is that Canadians recognize culture should not be confused with nationalism, that society requires socialism, and that a pan-nationalist social-democratic state is stronger because precise legal concepts are used to define the values, rights and responsibilities of the citizen. Our system is deficient, and I’ve often ridiculed it because it seems designed to be inefficient. The funny thing is that people like Stephen Harper, inasmuch as the Bloc Québecois and Reform Party, came to prominence because of the perception of too much federal power. And today, it comes full-circle, and Canadians can stand proud knowing that when it comes to efforts to undermine our progressivism and the rule of demonstrable, factual evidence, no autocrat can resist the combined power of the provincial governments. What is brilliant is that it unites three embattled and only moderately popular premiers on a key social policy issue – there isn’t much Harper nor the CPC can do at this point aside from engaging in election styled propaganda and smear campaigns. It would be futile.

Today I feel slightly re-energized. The doomsday scenario of an unbridled and potentially mentally unstable Prime Minister running amok tearing out the guts of our society in an attempt to redress a mass inferiority complex seems mitigated by the collaborative strength that I feel best describes Canada. It’s an affirmation of some core beliefs in a time of malaise, uncertainty and instability. And so now the people must rally behind the progressive provincial governments and secure the change we desire. There are five provinces with Liberal or NDP governments and two with ‘Red Tory’ Progressive Conservative leaders – something tells me they may be able to define a better social agenda through consensus than a ‘majority’ government elected by a scant 24% of the eligible voters.

It’s time the power was shifted back to the people – the current situation is no longer tenable. If this means the people rally behind their provincial governments to cooperate with one another to create a more perfect state, then let it be. It is entirely appropriate for Québec to lead this effort against the Harper dictatorship, and this is only further demonstrated by the immediate support of Ontario and BC. In a land ripe in paradox, contrasts and societal and political absurdities, it was very refreshing indeed to see the eccentricities of our system providing the people with direct and effective means to redirect our nation back onto the road towards peace, prosperity and progressivism.

A Montréal MP makes a lot of sense…

Montréal MP Justin Trudeau

On the October 24th episode of CTV’s Question Period, Montréal MP Justin Trudeau slammed Tory “Know-Nothing” Rick Dykstra on the issue of forthcoming Tory-proposed anti-illegal immigration and human smuggling legislation. Trudeau’s attack is handily crafted – there are no “cue-jumpers” among refugees, and this element of Canadian refugee policy is now under attack by the same mentality that would have Arizonan’s build a security fence in response to ‘headless bodies in the desert‘. Dykstra, ever the Tory, attempts a feeble and half-hearted parry with his stubborn refusal to admit Trudeau may have a clue. How much of this Tory policy is a response to a bunch of Tamils blocking the Gardiner Expressway, and holding rotating protests for several months last year around American consulates in major Canadian cities?

Either way, this Dykstra fellow is out to lunch on the realities of international conflicts, not to mention our own demographics and history – just the kind of people you want running your country eh?

If there was ever a reason for Québec to have a completely independent immigration policy, I would argue it ought to include a clause stating the Provincial Government would never refuse refugees with a legitimate claim. And if they are being smuggled into the country, then we’ll ensure we go after the smugglers, and not the people who very easily could have perished along the perilous journey to Canada. The idea that these poor people would be trying to jump in front of legitimate immigrants demonstrates the heights of callousness the Conservative Party of Canada is willing to go to to entertain their redneck, regressive and ultimately racist voter base. Dykstra, to his credit, is masterful at speaking to his befuddled electors.

I’m glad Mr. Trudeau made his point emphatically and didn’t really bother to entertain the polite politics and faux amity of these types of discussion programs. Hopefully, he’ll continue to do so. I had my concerns that the young Papineau MP was little more than a pretty face, but with this particular position, and the strength of his defense, well, I can only hope he’ll push this issue as far as it can go. Whether the Canadian people will choose to give a damn is an entirely different matter…