When Stephen Harper gazes into the Abyss, the Fair Elections Act gazes back

If Harper finds these ever more frequent condemnations in the press difficult to bear, he has no one to blame but himself.  His Orwellian-titled Fair Elections Act encapsulates everything that has always been wrong with the Reform incarnation of the CPC.

From day dot Harper has longed for one-party rule.  He is not interested in a multi-party democracy, in give and take, in negotiation.  He enjoys ruling, not governance. Issuing edicts and orders, being the Decider is who he is. When democracy gets in his way he’s disruptive, adversarial, uncooperative, undiplomatic, uncommunicative, unavailable, inaccessible, scornful and dismissive.  And highly litigative. The man is always in court pushing the boundaries of our constitution.  But that should be no surprise since he plainly stated long ago his intention was to remake Canada. “You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it!” (Nobody even questioned that, until “The Fair Elections Act.”)

If anything, Harper has stalled any progress in our democracy. He is certainly testing its boundaries.  (In a perverse way, maybe that’s a good thing because we’re realizing how fragile it is, that we mustn’t take it for granted. Because obviously, any party with the bare minimum of votes can barge in and begin dismantling it as Harper is doing.)

When he had minority governments, Harper was forced to pretend to be moderate. By 2011, he’d had enough and made very clear he wouldn’t accept another minority government past 2011. Although majority governments were never in the cards for him, by 2011 the marathon of slander campaigns against the Liberal opposition combined with the multifarious election frauds perpetrated by the CPC in every election since 2006 had finally paid off.  Steve acquired his precious majority and ceased being Moderate PM.

In less than three years of his ill-gotten majority, Harper has worn out his welcome for so many reasons, from muzzling and firing scientists, to dismantling data sources, to the wholesale slaughter of environmental protections, to gutting veterans benefits, to spending millions on misleading advertising, to bringing in hundreds of thousands of foreign workers during periods of high unemployment, the fiscal incompetence, the dozens of patronage appointments, his appointing crooks like Arthur Porter, the CPC slander campaigns and on and on.  His crowning achievements? A full 20% of Canada’s federal debt has been generated by “economic genius” Stephen Harper, and his first deficit was created before the recession hit by overspending and lowering consumption and corporate tax rates.  (Trickle down Steve decided this would be a good move during the economic boom between 2006 and early 2008.) Indeed, he blew a $13B surplus he inherited long before the recession affected Canada.

Despite pouring $113M in kitten and sweatervest ads, reminiscent of SCTV’s Melonville Mayor, Harper is no longer as popular with moderate conservatives. And there aren’t enough village idiots in Ford Nation to overcome the majority of liberal and moderate conservative voters.  What do you do when you need another win and the ads no longer work and you have little to brag about and you’re a hard-faced guy who isn’t likeable? You dream up The Fair Elections Act,  an Orwellian-titled bill that will make election fraud possible without the pesky checks and balances that existed in past elections.

The press must keep the pressure on and awaken the sleeping complacent mass of voters who, when educated about this bill, reject it out of hand.

In an ironic twist, Harper crafts election laws to serve cheats and crooks

Five Ways Harper’s “Fair Elections Act” Is Unfair

  1. Requires more voter ID which will disenfranchise an estimated 500,000 Canadians
  2. Allows more bank loans to politicians.
  3. Allows parties to hide campaign spending (2 & 3 is a recipe for corruption)
  4. Ruling party chooses election workers (kind of like handpicking your family to sit on the jury at your own murder trial)
  5.  Forces Elections Canada to keep complaints and decisions secret

Democracy Watch lists ten reasons to reject the bill.

This bill has been crafted by a political party that has broken election laws in every single election held since 2006, when Stephen Harper came to power.

Canada’s highly respected former auditor general Sheila Fraser – who blew the lid on adscam – “slams bill as attack on democracy”

The Act has been rebuked globally and 18 legal experts on elections have penned an open letter condemning the bill.

Even the Globe and Mail, which has endorsed Harper in every election since 2006 insists this bill deserves to die:
Globe editorial: The Fair Elections Act: Kill this bill

Stephen Harper vowed to make this country unrecognizable and he’s well on his way to achieving just that.

Kijiji Kenney’s ignorance explained

Cabinet Minister Jason Kenney said none of us know exactly what is going on in the labour market of today…”  (“Tories defend use of Kijiji data in face of opposition ridicule” – Globe and Mail, March 26, 2014)

You might think this is a profoundly embarrassing admission from the guy responsible for planning Canada’s employment strategy. You might think it simply isn’t possible for a cabinet minister responsible for the labour market to be out of the loop on the labour market. But you’d be wrong.

You see, since 2006, Stephen Harper has been steadily eroding viable information sources. He ceased funding industry sector councils that researched and reported labour market trends. He has cancelled industry surveys conducted by Statistics Canada.  In 2010 he cancelled the mandatory long form census whose data helped governments and communities plan services.  Thanks to Harper, Canadians now face an enormous data gap.

Kenney ‘not knowing’ is the direct result of Harper’s campaign to end reliable information sources.

Simply put, previous governments were informed because they funded independent research. The Harper government is uninformed because it has gutted research.

The icing on the cake is Harper/Kenney clawing back millions from the provinces to fund their Job Grant corporate welfare handout plan, in which the ignorant government conspires with self-interested corporations to use tax dollars for whatever the hell they want. By the time this boondoggle in the making is over, we’ll no doubt find the funds were used to “train” foreign workers. Or to offset the fee employers now pay to bring them in.  The Job Grant will be just one more corporate subsidy, ripe for abuse.

After all, Jason Kenney himself said he would minimize red tape so as not to impede corporations using the funds as they see fit.

On a related note:

Canadian income data ‘is garbage’ without census, experts say

Average family income in Tory budget called ‘make believe’
20 per cent increase in fantasy middle-class family income makes complete fiction, say critics

Harper is hoping….

…this weenie January surplus, achieved by gutting programs, services and protections, will lull us to sleep and erase in our minds…

  • the deficit he created months before the recession,
  • the recession he denied was happening after it hit,
  • the senate scandals,
  • the $50M no paper trail gazebo and fake lake to help Tony get re-elected
  • the billion dollar G8 weekend,
  • the crushing of environmental regulations protecting our water bodies,
  • the firing of top scientists
  • the gutting of Environment Canada
  • the end of the mandatory long-form census whose data is instrumental in understanding population trends
  • CPC election fraud every election,
  • his appointing Arthur Porter (who faces a long prison sentence) to head our security agency,
  • the three crooked senators he appointed,
  • his appointment of Vic Toews who called Canadians “pedophile enablers” for not supporting his warrantless spy on Canadians bill (the one the Supreme Court crushed)
  • his attempt to undermine the Supreme Court of Canada’s independence
  • the illegal cheque his Chief of Staff wrote for Duffy,
  • his ballooning of the PM security budget,
  • his ballooning of the HoC,
  • his 1500 PMO staffers who troll threads and newspapers
  • his ill-treatment of veterans,
  • his needless airlifting of limos to India at a huge expense
  • his attempt to spy on all of us without a warrant,
  • his fascist rewriting of the elections act,
  • and all the sundry crimes and incompetence of his useless “death by a thousand cold cuts” cabinet.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg that should bring down Harper’s government.

Essence of Majority Steve. A little dab ‘ll do ya.

Since the 2011 election we’ve seen a marked difference between Majority Stephen Harper and Minority Stephen Harper. One of these Steves pretended to be a moderate. Its not the Steve we’re seeing now.

Majority Steve has…

  1. Signed free trade agreements with some of the worst dictators in the world.  Columbia, Morocco, Honduras, …  And he is continuing a flurry of signings without so much as a pause.  “All this negotiating goes on against the backdrop of a $33 million budget cut for the Department of International Trade.” (iPolitics)  Used to be the powers that be at least pretended to consider the consequences for Canadian sovereignty, Canadian resources, and the quality of life; but Harper is more corporate lobbyist than Prime Minister.
  2. Authorized the use of intelligence obtained through torture, which essentially gives countries that routinely torture the nod. (Canadian Maher Arar, tortured in Syria, must be thrilled).
  3. Drafted a bill (C30) designed to create a virtual police state in Canada. Vic Toews, a teen babysitter-impregnating, fraud convicted, family values conservative and then the Minister of Public Safety in charge of this bill, called Canadians who opposed it “pedophile supporters”.  Harper hasn’t uttered one word about Toews’ generalized slander.
  4. Revised the definition of terrorist threat to include citizens who oppose oil pipelines and people who protest any G8 event.  Harper labels such people “anti-capitalists”.
  5. Plans for a much expanded CSIS and $19 billion prisons Canada doesn’t need.
  6. Continuously ignores evidence from the Pentagon that the F-35 jets are a boondoggle in the making.  Misrepresented the cost of the F-35s to Parliament and the Canadian public.
  7. Has decided China is a role model for state capitalism. Human rights advocacy is so yesterday.
  8.  Reduced corporate tax rates AGAIN, while raising taxes & premiums for the middle class.
  9. Raised the eligibility age for OAS (and GIS received by the poorest seniors) to 67 from 65, despite evidence from the Parliamentary Budget Office that there is no crisis in any of the public pension plans.
  10. Torched and dumped centuries of priceless, irreplaceable environmental archives, because heaven forbid science get in the way of the oil and gas industry polluting Canada’s environment.
  11.  Permits Tory backbenchers to run wild at the mouth about everything from abortion to the death penalty.  When Justin Trudeau poked fun at Toews for calling Canadians pedophile enablers, he was chastized, but Larry Miller calling the opposition Nazis for supporting gun control got a big pass.

None of the above (which represent the tip of the dirty CONberg) were mentioned once during his 2011 robofraud-plagued campaign.

A brief history of Conservative election fraud is a long read

Federal judge confirms conservative election fraud in 2011 vote

The courts have confirmed that the robocalls were election fraud,and that these crimes were committed using the Conservative Party of Canada’s database, CIMS.

Fraudulent election calls traced to Edmonton firm with Tory links.

At least 14 election ridings blitzed with live calls from fake Liberals (conservatives impersonating liberals).

Conservatives’ ‘in-and-out’ scandal was a Canadian political scandal involving improper election spending on the part of the Conservative Party of Canada during the closely contested 2006 federal election. Parliamentary hearings into the issue led to a deadlocking of various committees, and then to the snap election in 2008. On March 6 2012, charges were dropped as part of a plea deal in which the Conservative Party of Canada and its fundraising arm pleaded guilty to exceeding election spending limits and submitting fraudulent election records, and agreed to repay $230,198.00 for its role in violating Canadian election spending laws.

Investigation of Conservative ‘in-and-out’ money-laundering scheme cost taxpayers $2.3-million

Disgraced Tory minister Peter Penashue launches by-election campaign after stepping down under a cloud over illegal campaign donations accepted in 2011. Harper supported his re-election bid.

Dean Del Mastro, Tory MP and a senior member of Harper’s cabinet is facing four charges in connection with allegations that he exceeded his campaign spending limit and filed a false accounting of the expenses incurred to win office in the 2008 federal election.

Elections watchdog says Ted Opitz exceeded campaign limit in 2008

Conservative Vic Toews plead guilty to election overspending in Manitoba in 1999. Despite his criminal conviction, Harper made him Minister of Public Safety and put him in charge of security.

The Conservative Party under Stephen Harper has never run a clean election campaign in any election. Stephen Harper is rewriting Canada’s Elections Act to prohibit the Chief Elections Officer from educating Canadians about voter rights.

A vote for Stephen Harper’s party is a vote against law, order, and democracy.

“Unrecognizable” means a complete makeover

“You won’t recognize Canada when I get
through with it.”
~Stephen Harper May 5, 2006

When Harper said Canada would cease to be recognizable when he got through with it, no one asked him how come, or how so, or what’s wrong with Canada.  No one asked him what he would change and why he would change it.

“Unrecognizable” means a complete makeover. So why didn’t anyone ask him what was wrong with Canada that it needed to be dismantled and reconstructed.

And if you recall, in 2006, Harper promised his party was reasonable, that he was a moderate. There was no “hidden agenda.”

I don’t recall Harper mentioning in any of his election campaigns plans to spy on Canadians, reform eligibility requirements for OAS, lay off  hundreds of top scientists and burn 20 years of public science research, gut data services, cancel the long form mandatory census, deny veterans pensions and disability benefits, gut the laws that protected Canada’s water bodies for 100 years, rewrite the elections act to make voting harder for disenfranchised groups and prevent the Elections Chief from speaking about voters rights. Harper mentioned none of these plans, all of which are extreme, not moderate changes.

You won’t recognize Canada when I get through with it.”   Is threatening language.

“But nobody seemed to notice and nobody seemed to care.” ~George Carlin

Recently, a CPC advocate asked, “How many Harper conservatives have been harged with fraud?”

  1. Vic Toews has a fraud conviction from Manitoba. Harper wasn’t concerned. He made Toews his Minister of Public Safety and top law maker. Toews was later turfed after a number of gaffes, including calling Canadians who opposed his warrantless spy plan “pedophile enablers.”)
  2. Peter Penashue, another Harper cabinet member, is alleged to have accepted 28 illegal campaign donations.   He resigned in disgrace. Even after the allegations came to light, Harper continued supporting him.
  3. Dean Del Mastro, another Harper cabinet appointment, is facing four charges of fraud and a possible five years in jail.
  4. Arthur Porter – put in charge of Canada’s spy agency by Stephen Harper – is in jail awaiting trial for fraud, conspiracy to commit government fraud, abuse of trust, secret commissions and laundering the proceeds of a crime. Harper received and ignored warnings about Porter. Porter and his wife Pamela Mattock were detained by Interpol agents in Panama on May 27, 2013, after an investigation by the Sureté du Québec, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).
  5. “On February 24, 2011, four senior Conservative Party members were charged in the In and Out Scandal under the Elections Canada Act with overspending over $1 million in the 2006 election including allegations that Conservative election expense documents submitted to Elections Canada were “false or misleading” and attempted to fraudulently gain almost $1 million in refunds from taxpayers. Senator Doug Finley, (the party’s campaign director in 2006 and 2008, and the husband of Human Resources Development Minister Diane Finley), Senator Irving Gerstein, Michael Donison (former national party director) and Susan Kehoe (who has served as an interim party executive director) all face 3 months in jail, $1000 in fines or both.”  The In-Out scandal cost taxpayers $2.3 million.
  6. The federal court ruled fraud [by Conservatives] had occurred in the 2011 election: “there was an orchestrated effort to suppress votes during the 2011 election campaign by a person with access to the [Conservative Party’s] CIMS database,” the ruling said.
  7. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, is being investigated for bribery, fraud and breach of trust along with Senator Mike Duffy, in an RCMP probe that has expanded to include the Prime Minister’s Office, RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton says in the court documents that there are reasonable grounds to believe Wright offered money or favour to Duffy contrary to the Criminal Code. Horton alleges Duffy agreed to accept the offer of money. Horton also alleges Wright and Duffy “have committed bribery, frauds on the government, and breach of trust.”
  8. Jim Love, appointed by Flaherty to head the Canadian Mint  engineered an offshore tax avoidance scheme. Love is a “close friend of Finance Minister Flaherty [and] has also served as tax adviser to the government.”
  9. Bruce Carson, once a senior adviser to Stephen Harper is awaiting trial on fraud and influence peddling. Carson made Harper’s career.

(Tip: Never ask a question you haven’t answered yourself first.)

Shorter MacKay: The AG says potato and I say potahto but it all adds up to F35reedom fries!

Peter MacKay continues to deny that he or his department did anything wrong, even as he agrees with the Auditor-General that more oversight is needed. This week he is chalking up the missing $10 billion (in his F-35 fighter jet cost estimate) to a disparity in accounting practices. MacKay wants Canadians visualizing slightly different, but equally legitimate accounting formulas.

Only this scandal is not about accounting, it’s about accountability.

Critics suggest MacKay is either ignorant of procedural policy or chose to ignore it. But it’s becoming clear neither of these are true.

…the government kept two sets of books on the project, one for private purposes showing the cost as $25 billion, the other for public purposes putting it at $15 billion…

and, although

…it is possible that a minister could be so ill-briefed that he would never have heard of “life cycle costing,” though the concept has been around for decades; that he would not know it was the standard, not only at Treasury Board, but across NATO. And I suppose it is possible for a government to be so confused that it would both apply and not apply the concept at the same time, particularly if it was unclear that this was something that was required of it, rather than simply good practice.

…it is not possible to believe this, once you understand that in fact there is no difference of opinion: that the policy of accounting for all the lifetime costs of an asset, without exception, is not some crazy invention of the auditor general’s, or some musty Treasury Board guideline. It is the publicly stated policy of the Department of National Defence — the department of which, if memory serves, MacKay is the minister. The policy the minister sees fit to ridicule is, according to conventional constitutional doctrine, his policy. (Andrew Coyne, Ottawa Citizen, April 11).

Must read/must listen to media items.

Coyne: The F-35 scandal — when governments lie, how do we respond? (as cited above)


The Current on the F-35 Fighter Jets: Buried in the story of the cost of F-35 fighter jets is…the intricate web of development and business that has already been spun into the procurement of these planes….Today, we’re asking if the fighter jet procurement is simply too big to fail.

The interviews give the impression the F35 is to MacKay et al what a video game is to a teenager. Something shiny, bright, and new. ‘Awesome’ entertainment. Nothing of substance is offered, not even a half-baked rationale.  At a time when government departments and regulatory processes are being gutted because of an alleged lack of revenue, you’d think they’d try harder to sell this turkey.

MacKay is asking us to trust him on the F35 despite the Pentagon’s serious misgivings and MacKay’s failure to be accountable and transparent on the true cost – a cost he was fully aware of.  The timing couldn’t be worse, too, considering Harper is asking ordinary citizens to swallow an austerity budget that guts essential services, programs, and thousands of  jobs.  Harper is making massive cuts across the board to  government, including the military, Veterans Affairs, and the border service.  Harper is even cutting Canada’s air defense system, largely eliminating the air defence capability in the Canadian Forces.  Go figure.

Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper know $10 billion isn’t chump change, which is why they misrepresented the true cost to the public and Parliament. They knew most of us wouldn’t go along with an expenditure they can’t justify when they are cutting everything from food safety, to environmental oversight, to pensions.

More election violations surface

Tories may have broken 2011 election rules with US Republican campaigners in Ontario

Front Porch Strategies, a Republican-tied U.S. firm, was hired by 14 Conservative campaigns to go door-to-door during the 2011 election; an apparent violation of the Canada Election Act which bars foreign political involvement.

This speaks volumes about the alleged – by Harper et al – grassroots popularity of reform Conservatives. They have to import foreign wingnuts because there is an insufficient number here to campaign for them?

Although Front Porch has not been linked to any illegal phone calls or robocalls made in the last election, citizens in both Fantino and Dykstra’s ridings have reported irregularities in the campaigns. Those allegations include reported misleading calls in Dykstra’s riding (St. Catherines).

Under the Canada Elections Act section 331 (Non-interference by Foreigners), it is illegal for a non-resident to directly participate in election campaigns in Canada:

“No person who does not reside in Canada shall, during an election period, in any way induce electors to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate unless the person is (a) a Canadian citizen; or (b) a permanent resident.”

If the violation was intentional, the offence carries a summary conviction, according to the Act.


[Front Porch] and its staff have numerous ties to Republican election campaigns, as well as Evangelical Christian groups and anti-abortion campaigns in the U.S.

The firm boasts a number of GOP congressional election campaigns under its belt.

Read the whole shameful story.