"A Citizen"s Eye View"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

C-38 has Awoken a Sleeping Giant

After his devastating attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was reported to have said:  "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

After years of appearing to be the "Teflon-Don" during which no transgression seemed to stick to him no matter how heinous, Stephen Harper seems to have finally found the limit to what Canadians will collectively accept from their politicians. Engaging in nasty smear campaigns didn't do it. Proroguing Parliament not once but twice to avoid accountability didn't do it. Complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees didn't do it. Thumbing his nose at our democratic process didn't do it. Stacking the Senate with partisan stooges after promising to reform the Red Chamber didn't do it. The atrocities of the G20 in Toronto didn't do it. Corrupt party insiders, illegal and unethical behaviour by his ministers nor the "In and Out" affair could do it, Contempt of Parliament didn't do it. The muzzling and firing of Government whistle-blowers and scientists didn't do it. Rampant election fraud which is currently seeing investigation into questionable CPC campaign activities in 200 of 308 ridings didn't do it. Lying to the country about the real cost of the F-35 didn't do it. But the craming through of the massively undemocratic and environmentally disasterous  425 page Omnibus Budget Bill, simply known as C-38, seems to have found the electorate's boiling point. He has attacked our country. Stephen Harper has realized his Pearl Harbour and he has awoken a Sleeping Giant  - the Canadian People.

Why it has taken Canadians so long to stir from their cozy hibernation is open to conjecture. Some might point to our stoic nature brought on by generations of living in a harsh Northern Climate. Or perhaps the "stiff upper lip" of our English colonial heritage. Others might make the claim that ever since the Mulroney years and subsequent Sponsorship scandal of the Chretien Government, Canadians have become jaded about our politicians and have come to accept unethical and hyper-partisan behaviour as business as usual on Parliament Hill.  More than likely however, our awakening has been a gradual process, brought on by a number of factors rather than a sudden jolt. 

Like Yamamoto, Harper is a skilled tactician. He uses stealth and duplicity much as the venerable Japanese Admiral might have in order to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting enemy before they knew what had hit them. But in Harper's case, the enemy is the Canada he hates so much that he has promised we won't know it by the time he's done changing it. He has mastered the arts of bafflegab and doublespeak, referring to the disastrous C-38 as the "Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act" for example. A primary tactic is for Harper and his minions to tell the same un-truth so often that it becomes an accepted truth (such as the Conservative myth that coalition governments are undemocratic). And it works every time. But first among his many dastardly ploys is the use of "wedge politics". Divide and conquer as it were. He has pitted east against west, French against English, young against old, men against women, urban against rural, created the illusion of an elitist artistic class and painted them as the enemy of the working class, painted a healthy and organized working class as the enemy of a prosperous  nation and painted anyone who disagrees with his policies as enemies of democracy  when in reality, Harper is the real enemy of Canada and our democratic heritage. 

But Mr. Harper has gotten cocky with the absolute power his majority government has given him and with the iron-fisted control he exerts over his perpetually "whipped" caucus. With the creation of the behemoth Omnibus budget bill, he has strayed from the wedge-politics that have proven so successful for him in the past. It is so vast and so far reaching as to literally piss-off almost every segment of Canadian society. The result is that otherwise disparate factions are unified in their enmity of the tyrannical Harper. Socialists, Students, immigrants, Aboriginals, Anglophones and Francophones, Seniors, Women's rights activists, the poor the disaffected, tree-hugging environmentalists and trade unionists are joining hands with Doctors, Lawyers, scientists, pilots, grass-roots conservatives,Veterans, Red Tories and former Conservative cabinet ministers in an unprecedented alliance  to speak out and to protest not only the most destructive and undemocratic piece of legislation ever forced upon an unsuspecting nation ("I never voted for this" one ex-conservative Canadian was heard to say) but the most destructive and undemocratic Government in our History.  

And while it took the "Sleeping Giant" almost four years to punish it's enemy after the Pearl Harbour disaster, we have slightly less than that before the next election,  at which time, Harper and his minions will pay for their attack on our country. He will feel the wrath of the Canadian people for we are filled with a terrible resolve.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Harper's Chopping Block

Harper's Chopping Block (An Unofficial List of Orgs & Agencies the Harper Gov't Has 

Gutted, "Defunded" and Otherwise Destroyed)

By Lynette Casserole Bondarchuk on Wednesday, March 11, 2011

Harper's Chopping Block

An unofficial list of organizations and government agencies that the Harper government has gutted, "defunded" and otherwise destroyed

by Judith Szabo and Pearl Eliadis (from X-Ray Magazine http://xraymagazine.ca/18/4/)

Organizations and watchdogs whose staff have been fired, forced out, publicly maligned, or who have resigned in protest:

• Canada Firearms Program (Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak, fired)

• Canadian Wheat Board (Adrian Measner, fired)

• Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (Linda Keen, fired)

• Foreign Affairs (Richard Colvin, silenced by prorogation)

• Military Police Complaints Commission (Peter Tinsley, forced out)

• Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces (Yves Coté, resigned)

• Parliamentary Budget Officer (Kevin Page, publicly maligned) 

• RCMP Police Complaints Commission (Paul Kennedy, fired)

• Rights & Democracy  (Rémy Beauregard, died of heart attack)

• Statistics Canada (Munir Sheikh, resigned in protest)

• Veterans Ombudsman (Col. Pat Stogran, forced out)

• Victims of Crime, Ombudsman (Steve Sullivan, forced out)

Community organizations, NGOs and research bodies reported to have been cut or "defunded" [1]:

• Aboriginal Healing Foundation (addition)

• Action travail des femmes

• Afghan Association of Ontario, Canada Toronto

• Alberta Network of Immigrant Women

• Alternatives (Quebec)

• Association féminine d’éducation et d’action sociale (AFEAS)

• Bloor Information and Life Skills Centre[2]

• Brampton Neighbourhood Services (Ontario) [3]

• Canadian Arab Federation

• Canadian Child Care Federation

• Canadian Council for International Cooperation

• Canadian Council on Learning

• Canadian Council on Social Development

• Canadian Heritage Centre for Research and Information on Canada

• Canadian International Development Agency, Office of Democratic Governance[4]

• Canadian Labour Business Centre

• Canada Policy Research Networks

• Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women

• Canada School of Public Service

• Canadian Teachers' Federation International porgram

• Canadian Volunteerism Initiative

• Centre de documentation sur l’éducation des adultes et la condition feminine

• Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA.)

• Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples (Toronto

• Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada

• Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Specialink

• Climate Action Network

• Community Access Program, internet access for communities at libraries, post offices, community centers

• Community Action Resource Centre (CARC)

• Conseil d’intervention pour l’accès des femmes au travail  (CIAFT)

• Court Challenges Program (except language rights cases and legacy cases)

• Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

• Democracy Council[5]

• Department of Foreign Affairs, Democracy Unit[6]

• Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

• Environment: Youth International Internship Program

• Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Metropolitan Toronto (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010)

• Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy (FemJEPP) in Nova Scotia

• First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

• First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Program

• Forum of Federations

• Global Environmental Monitoring System

• HRD Adult Learning and Literacy programs

• HRD Youth Employment Programs

• Hamilton’s Settlement and Integration Services Organization  (Ontario) [7]

• Immigrant settlement programs

• Inter-Cultural Neighbourhood Social Services (Peel)[8]

• International Planned Parenthood Federation

• Kairos[9]

• Law Reform Commission of Canada

• Mada Al-Carmel Arab Centre

• Marie Stopes International, a maternal health agency (has received only  a promise of "conditional funding IF it avoids any and all connection with abortion).

• MATCH International

• National association of Women and the Law (NAWL)

• Native Women’s Association of Canada

• New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity

• Northwood Neighbourhood Services (Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

• Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)

• Ontario Association of Transitional Housing (OAITH)

• Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

• Pride Toronto

• Réseau des Tables régionales de groupes de femmes du Québec

• Riverdale Women’s Centre in Toronto

• Sierra Club of BC

• Sisters in Spirit

• Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

• South Asian Women’s Centre[10]

• Status of Women (mandate also changed to exclude "gender equality and political justice" and to ban all advocacy, policy research and lobbying)

• Tropicana Community Services

• Womanspace Resource Centre (Lethbridge, Alberta)

• Women’s Innovative Justice Initiative – Nova Scotia

• Workplace Equity/Employment Equity Program

• York-Weston Community Services Centre Toronto

Compiled by Judith Szabo and Pearl Eliadis for “Voices”, a coalition of organizations and individuals “united in defence of democracy, free speech and transparency in Canada”.


[1]  “Defunding”  is the term used by Jason Kenney. In many instances, it is about turning down grant applications rather than cutting off funding midstream, but for organizations who rely on renewed program funding to support their work, and have done so for many years, it amounts to the same thing.

[2] Citizenship and Immigration Canada Cut or significantly reduced their principal funding - approximately $471,000. Source: Globe and Mail.

[3] Cut in the last few years by federal government because of alleged mismanagement: Sourcehttp://www.canadianimmigrant.ca/learn/newsitems/article/7935

[4] The Office of Democratic Governance, which channelled much of Canada’s democracy funding, has been disbanded by CIDA.

[5] A forum for discussion and collaboration among Canadian democracy promotion agencies. It has reportedly disappeared despite stated earlier commitments and interest from both government and NGOs to see it continue and even expand.

[6] Folded into the Francophonie and Commonwealth division.

[7] Cut in the last few years by federal government because of alleged mismanagement: Sourcehttp://www.canadianimmigrant.ca/learn/newsitems/article/7935

[8] Cut in the last few years by federal government because of alleged mismanagement: Sourcehttp://www.canadianimmigrant.ca/learn/newsitems/article/7935

[9] Including Anglican Church of Canada, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Mennonite Central Committee, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Canadian Religious Conference, and the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund.

[10] The Centre has lost $571,000---all of its federal funding---which represents nearly 70 per cent of its overall budget. Source: Globe and Mail.

Voices-Voix Coalition: http://www.voices-voix.ca or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Voices-Voix/160152067366348?sk=wall
UnSeat Harper: http://www.unseatHarper.ca


Monday, June 4, 2012

Silence is Not an Option