Posts Tagged harper

Cross-Border Talks and Cybersecurity Law Consultation Ended

You are not alone if you did not even know there was a public consultation on cross-border talks.
Link to Pirate Party of Canada Press release: Transparent Public Consultation Needed for Cross-Border Talks.

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PMO Scandal – Carson’s E-mail Says He Spoke With Harper and Things Were Not Going to Slow Down

The latest scandal besetting the Prime Minister Office (PMO) involved a former top advisor of Harper – Bruce Carson. Carson was lobbying on behalf of an Ottawa company. He allegedly lobbied with Indian Affairs Minister on behalf of H2O Pro to sell water filters to First Nation reserves.  APTN’s (Aboriginal People Television Network) Jorge Barrera and freelance reporter Kenneth Jackson were asking the PMO for comments and was shocked at the speed at which Harper called in the RCMP. It forced them to air the news one week ahead of the March 25 scheduled air date. The allegations claimed that Carson contacted Harper and Indian Affairs ministers to obtain contracts for H20 Pro. Carson’s Aug. 6, 2010 e-mail to H2O Pro’s Patrick Hill, obtained by APTN shows Carson saying:

“I spoke with the PM last [night] and with [Assembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn] Atleo—the movement of John Duncan to INAC does not slow anything down,” wrote Mr. Carson

Carson was referring to the ongoing cabinet reshuffling where MP Chuck Strahl of Indian Affairs was being replaced by John Duncan. In an interview with APTN later, Carson claimed he spoked with someone else.

Carson was also said to be involved with oil lobbyist – Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. But in light of the latest allegation, the oil and gas industry is distancing itself from Carson saying he is not on their payroll.

Carson was a key individual driving a controversial government and industry communications strategy to boost the image of Alberta’s oilsands sector. A recently released briefing note prepared by bureaucrats in the federal government highlighted his presence at a special meeting last year between senior officials from the federal and Alberta governments as well as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, an industry lobby group, Postmedia News reported last week. (Montreal Gazette)

Carson left the Prime Minister’s office in 2009. It is illegal for Senior staffers to lobby government officials on behalf of their clients for five years after leaving their office. Long before becoming Harper’s top advisor, Carson was disbarred for forging a client’s signature on a document transferring a cheque to him. A year after being disbarred, he was again charged with “theft and forgery”, which landed him in jail.

Recommend this post (progressivebloggers.ca)

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A New Innovation Center for Progress; Nuclear Debate

I’ve been following the nuclear debate online. I have not blogged anything about Japan’s nuclear plant crisis because there is not enough information coming out (as far as the plant’s condition is concern). Some people on both sides of the nuclear debate have wasted no time in using the crisis to express their nuclear sentiments. By “some” I mean a few people, not all of the pro or anti nuclear people. Some pro side were quick to say “nah it’s safe”. I think that is a little premature for an ongoing development. Some anti people were quick to say “see that’s why there should be no nuclear ever”.

For me, transparency should be mandatory in nuclear industry. So when Japan was covering up their minor nuclear mishaps not too long ago, I was really worried. Because that’s how things get out of hands. They should acknowledge the problem and take care of it head on, leaving no stone unturned. Covering up will just increase the problem exponentially. I am not saying the current crisis have anything to do with their previous non-transparency. Current unconfirmed report indicates tsunami might have swept their backup generator away.

When Harper fired Linda Keen of CNSC, I was equally concern and worried. Sure you can say there is 1 in a million chance that there will be a nuclear accident. But our nuclear industry are operated with very little tolerance for risk. And it should stay that way. Political distractions should play no role in nuclear safety. So Rick Mercer hits the bulls eye with his criticism of Gary Lunn and Harper’s handling of Chalk River’s NRU reactor.

Another troubling action by Harper is keeping the privatization of AECL in limbo for so long. So AECL is essentially prohibited from signing new contracts and making new commitments until they sell AECL off. And that have been going on for so long. There are countries who are interested in signing contract with AECL. But they won’t be able to, due to the freeze arising out of the prolonged government’s inaction. An enterprise that can’t conduct business for few days would lose a lot of money. AECL not being able to conduct business for months, possibly half a year to a year, will surely see its losses mounts. Next time Harper wants to proclaim that there are no incoming revenue at AECL, he should look down his feet and step off AECL’s fingers and let them move again. No wonder some industry insider is claiming that Harper is letting AECL or the nuclear industry “die by thousand cuts”. Harper’s officials claimed that AECL is a sink hole. That will just be a self fulfilling prophesy of increasing magnitude the longer he prevents AECL from conducting its business.

We need to establish an independent Scientific Research Agency. This agency will be independent and free from political interference. Part of AECL’s problem is the constant re-organization and selling off part by part to private organizations. New election, new party, new political appointee at the top, new re-organization. Medical isotope distribution sold off to private company Nordion under Mulroney. In my personal opinion, that took away a potentially lucrative income source for AECL. So it was instead relegated to just producing the isotopes with Nordion distributing them and profiting from them. AECL should at least have a decent share of the profit.

A new scientific institution should be independent and not have the restriction of a Crown Corporation. Which means they will not be restricted from seeking external funding. So private individual can donate for research towards cancer cure. Different funding streams could be setup so that people can target where they want their donations to go to. Such institutions could also coordinate various ongoing research and allows more efficient sharing and exchange of results from their studies. And provide better coordination and gathering of resources to jointly work toward similar research goal (whether it is looking for cures, clean energy sources or future technologies). Everything, especially funding and expenses, would be transparent as all government agencies should be. Independent researchers from different universities and institution under the umbrella of this agency will be preferable over the creation of a new big bureaucracy. A research laboratory with reactors, facilities and equipments will be maintained and available for scientist to use.

If we want to live in a progressive society, status quo or paralysis is not an option. Those two will only lead to stagnation and regression. We must foster continuous innovations for the betterment of our society.

Recommend this post (progressivebloggers.ca)

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Harper’s Response to Media Skirted Question on Privacy and Egypt; New Disturbing Video

Reporter Question: ….. Canadians will be asking how much of our sovereignty and our privacy rights will be given up to have more open borders and an integrated economy.  And while I have you on your feet, I want to ask you about Egypt, as well, whether you feel that Mr. Mubarak should be stepping down sooner, it would help the transition?

(Full transcript @ Macleans.ca)

Harper talks about need for security and says it is not about sovereignty. He also did not address the part about how much of our privacy rights we are giving up.

On Egypt he says “On the question of Egypt, let me just agree fully with what President Obama has said.” and repeated pretty much the same line as Obama on need for transition and questioned what type of transition it will be. And how it is up to Egyptian people.

I think it is important for Harper to be forthcoming about what privacy we are giving up. Canadians need to know that. He is representing Canada. This is not Mubarak’s Egypt where he get to decide by himself. He promised transparency during election so it is not too much to ask that he be transparent and honest with Canadians with regards to this issue.

With regards to Egypt, it is quite obvious what Egyptians wants and that is for Mubarak to step down right-away. On other occasions, Harper was quick to come out and condemned other leaders, groups or government. His silence on Egypt amidst the orchestrated violence against the pro-democracy protesters might be seen as being complicit.

Let us just cut through the claim that orderly transition and preventing a constitutional vacuum is of utmost importance. When there were revolutions against other dictators or when Communist regimes were overthrown, were there concerns about following the flawed constitution of the Communist or oppressive regimes during the transition period? There have been so many cases of a transitional government starting fresh and drafting a new constitution. Surely a united opposition’s transitional government working to achieve democratic reform can’t be worse than a proven oppressive regime. Surely these protesters are not just going to stand idly by and let Islamic Fundamentalist hijack their new-found democracy. They stand willing to die as Mubarak throw all sort of violence and intimidation at them.

How can a conscientious human allow daily occurrence of atrocities to continue or worse allow a slow transition to prolong people’s suffering? Can Harper watch this video and say yep transition need to be slow and orderly?

WARNING: Disturbing video of atrocities.

(h/t Ayman Mohyeldin of Al Jazeera)

And one of the many victim – Khaled Said

One of the tweet on Egypt’s revolution hashtag #Jan25 quoted Martin Luther King. And this quote is very relevant at this juncture in the history of Egypt and the Middle East where open-minded youth are leading the fight for democracy.

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

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Harper’s Reinvigorating Ill-Fated Party Funding Cut Might Be a Sign of Election Readiness

This news about Harper not backing down (in getting rid of financing for political parties) might be a sign that he is ready for an election. Harper’s last attempt to end state funding for political parties in 2008 had lead to the opposition uniting, and his government nearly fell. The opposition party, who were having difficulty raising funds in sharp contrast to the Conservative, saw that as a serious threat. Harper ended up backtracking to save his government. Pundits claimed he might have underestimated the opposition at that time. Harper’s government have just been re-elected for 6 weeks and almost became the shortest government in Canada’s history.

So Harper’s re-introduction of that proposal, and taking a hard stand, could indicate he does not mind having an election soon.

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Fighting Over The “Filipino Votes”

As a Filipino, I find it amusing that politicians would think that just because the candidate is a Filipino then we would automatically vote for them. This is in reference to Liberal and Conservative spat over what Ignatieff allegedly had said about Harper’s attempt to split the “Filipino votes” by appointing a Filipino. I am trying not to take sides between the two but Conservative was quick to jump on Ignatieff supposed comment to say he is insulting Filipino. I guess depends on which side you are in you can twist it to say one side or the other is insulting the Filipino. If anyone have link to Ignatieff’s exact quote, where he mentioned Julie would split the Filipino votes, let me know. Or is this just from the mass e-mail sent out by the Conservatives. So far I was not able to find an Ignatieff’s quote other than non-specific claim about Harper playing games. But it does not matter. Filipino are well integrated in Winnipeg and both Liberal and NDP have large Filipino followings also. No one party have monopoly on Filipino vote. There is no vote to split. Any politician who think that can be done is misguided.

All this asinine argument makes me glad I am not supporting either one of the three major party. Pirate Party Jeff Coleman (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) offers a good alternative with plans to make sure people in his constituency would have a say even after the election. Check out his youtube video from the last all candidate forum. Too bad he did not get his invitation on time from The Filipino Breakfast Club’s all candidate meeting at La Merage yesterday morning, due to some mail mix up.

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