DATELINE: TAKING OUT MY PEN AND WRITING A LETTER: I recently posted a list of Prime Minister Harper’s Scandals. It’s hard to imagine that it could have grown at all in such a short time, but each day we hear more about his abuse of power, his unaccountability of our money, his complete disregard for laws. Just when you think it can’t get worse, that he has to have sunk to his lowest level, he surprises you. There is apparently nothing he will not stoop to in order to maintain his hold on the big seat.
Case in point... it recently has been revealed that he has been ‘rewriting’ history, changing or deleting what he doesn’t like or what doesn’t suit his purpose. In a way, I was glad to hear this, because I was sure I was losing my mind when I accused him of this three years ago. I had been researching information regarding the Vietnam war for a book I was writing. The Vietnam War, you say? Well, yes, because while we were not officially involved, there were tens of thousands of men, Canadian men, young men, who went down to the United States to enlist, because they thought they were doing the right thing. They were labelled as mercenaries up here (seriously, considering what the military here and in the US are paid, this is either laughable or pathetic... I’m not sure which) but they had the power of their convictions and the desire to help others, so they joined up. There were more Canadians who went down to help in Vietnam than there were Americans who came up here to avoid the draft. Chew on that fact for awhile.
These men, if they were hurt or killed in action, were disavowed by BOTH governments, and they still are to this day. There are no health benefits, no assistance plans. Neither the US government nor the Canadian government recognizes their sacrifices. Those Canadians who perished in Vietnam were denied any proper burial, because they were pariahs. Finally, though, there was some headway being made to help these men. I know. I read about them in the Canadian government archives on the internet, on the official Canadian Government website. There was information about the numbers of men who went to the US to enlist, and what happened to them. There was information about the money that was made by Canadian entities who, while not supporting the war and remaining completely neutral, lined their pockets with the blood of other men.
Today that page no longer exists on the government website. It’s not convenient. It might mean that perhaps a crack could have been closed, some help could have been arranged for those men and their families, that some recognition and assistance might be forthcoming, but god forbid that happen in Stephen Harper’s Canada. Today it is the story of our boys who fought in Vietnam; tomorrow will they erase the history of my uncle who fought in Dieppe? Where does he stop? How much of our history will be destroyed, how many lives complete disregarded and disrespected, in his efforts to pave the way to political supremacy? We are waiting, sure that the trickle-down dregs of the 1% will boost the rest of us. Beyond that, and his attempts (however illegal or immoral) to maintain power, nothing else matters. The world revolves around the Harper Government and his ability to keep a stranglehold on it. That is much easier to accomplish with a poor, underfed, undereducated and uninformed population. He is taking great strides to ensure that. To this end, I present the updated (at least as of this morning... God only knows what else has happened today, but if it involves this government, it can’t be good) litany of Harper’s scandals. When you have read it, perhaps you will join me in writing to the Governor General, requesting that he do what he is mandated to do -- dissolving this Parliament and calling a new election, before Harper is so out of control, there is no turning back. Each day we wait, more of our history, and our future, is being systematically and systemically destroyed.
Archives ‘cleansing’ – The Harper government is working through the Canadian Archives, destroying things that don’t quite agree with their position, effectively politically rewriting our history.
Consultation -- $2.4Billion spent on unspecified, undescribed, unaccounted for ‘consultation’.
Lost money -- $3.1Billion ‘lost’ dollars designated for National Security.
Illegal contributions – this time from those receiving patronage appointments (ie IE directors) who are legally forbidden from making political contributions, but who made $37,000 of them anyway.
Duffy-Dipping Affair – It was first revealed that Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy, Senators appointed by Harper, were filing false claims for expenses, stemming from being ‘unsure’ about the definition of ‘primary’ residence. Then it was revealed that Duffy had claimed $90,000 in expenses as both Senate costs, billed to the Canadian Taxpayer, AND Conservative Party campaigning costs, double dipping for twice the pay. Then it was revealed that the Prime Ministers Chief of Staff cut a cheque for the full amount, effectively paying back Duffy’s owings, thereby preventing another audit AND attempting to stop a criminal investigation into the matter. Then it was revealed that the deal regarding the payment of the money was fine-tuned by special counsel to the Prime Minister, constituting yet ANOTHER conflict of interest.
CBC Control – The Harper government announced that they will be taking over the appointing of staff to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, effectively taking control over the news and the way it is presented to the public, providing them with more political spin at public expense.
Temporary Foreign Workers Scandal with Royal Bank and other large corporations for the importing of foreign workers to replace Canadian workers.
Bail-In Provision snuck through to allow government access to personal savings accounts to settle government debts (2013)
Long Gun Registry – stopped then reinstated (April 2013) with increased registration fees for restricted weapons and the yearly renewing of licence for long guns
Robocalls (2012) – issuing fake, misleading calls to actively interfere with voting public
Canada Action Plan ad campaign Part 1 -- $26M taxpayer dollars over 3 months for programs already ended in order to promote conservative party
Canada Action Plan ad campaign Part 2 – while unemployment, particularly student unemployment, rises steadily, Harper continues his Canada Action Plan ads at high-cost events, for no purpose other than pre-campaigning.
ETS Scandal – An IT contract was unfairly awarded to CGI, a known association of Michael Fortier, the then PWGSC Minister in a clear conflict of interest. No fairness monitor was appointed to oversee the process, reported scores by evaluators did not coincide with what they had issued, the evaluation team was advised to destroy all records relating to the evaluation, the government refused to debrief companies that had lost the award, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal ruled against the government, and the government’s response was angry denial and to appoint a new federal crown prosecutor (a former Conservative candidate) to charge the unsuccessful companies involved in the bid process with big-rigging – a charge still unproven but the case continues four years after the fact.
CFIA (2012) – food inspection services cut, listeriosis outbreak, Minister Gerry Ritz’s tasteless jokes about deaths from outbreak.
Prorogation – Part 1 (to avoid contempt of parliament fallout)
Prorogation – Part 2 (to avoid NDP/Liberal coalition government)
Shoe Store Project (2007) – plans for a $2M gov’t controlled media center, run by the PMO to replace the National Press Gallery, run by the national press.
Julie Couillard Scandal (2007) – Maxime Bernier leaves sensitive NATO documents at ex-girlfriend’s house, a woman with known ties to the Hells Angels
In and Out (2007) – Circumnavigation of election finance rules in 2006 election. $230,000 in fines issued for violating spending laws
Plagiarizing – Part 1 (2007) plagiarizes Australia’s John Howard’s speech about Iraq
Plagiarizing – Part 2 (2008) from Ontario Mike Harris’speech
Repatriation scandal – issues orders that military personnel killed in combat would not receive repatriation attention or coverage and no flags would be at half-mast
Scrums – all media scrums forbidden. Press statements will be issued when the government feels they are necessary
Chuck Cadman scandal – bribe for the vote in parliament, then lied under oath about it and the tape evidence of the bribe
Senior Federal Scientists Gagged – not allowed to speak to media without government permission... still in effect in 2012
Long-form Census stopped, cutting access to valuable statistics
Suspended Federal civil servants’ right to strike
Limiting access of press to PM during election – misusing RCMP to restrict access at private events
Created a program to monitor and respond to online communications on internet bulletin boards, chatrooms and blog posts
Omnibus bill to pass non-financial bills with budget, making it impossible to reject pieces of the overall bill, thereby circumventing parliamentary process in the passing on individual bills.
Stopping debate on bills in legislature
Removed from UN Security Council seat for first time.
Afghan Detainees Scandal
Withheld financial information from parliament and parliamentary committees about costs of military planes
Neglected the bid process in awarding of a contract on fighter plane procurement.
Whistleblower scandal – Christiane Ouimet, integrity commissioner, turned down investigations into 227 whistleblower allegations. She was quietly dismissed with a $500,000 exit payment and gag order.
Rebranding Canadian Government as Harper Government on communications documents
Interference in the 2008 US Presidential election
$54,000 taxpayer money spent on 2-day oil lobby retreat in UK (2011)
Withdrawal from Kyoto
G8/G20 Fake Lake Scandal
Ordering striking unions back to work: Canada Post, Air Canada,
Broke his own new set election date law
Over 1700 patronage appointments
Pulls Canada out of UN anti-drought initiative
Contempt of Parliament – refused to turn over documents on Afghan detainee affair and later refused to submit to a parliamentary request regarding costing of his programs
Issued a 200-page handbook to committee heads advising them on how to disrupt their committees.
Reneged on promise to allow parliamentary committees to select their own chairs.
Dictated an order that staffers to cabinet ministers do not have to testify before committees
Ordered all government communications to be vetted by his office or the Privy Council Office
Impeded access to information systems, including the elimination of data base CAIRS, delaying responses to requests, imposing prohibitive fees on requests, putting pressure on bureaucrats to keep sensitive information hidden.
Redacted/blacked out excessive amounts of information.
Putting Conservative party logos on stimulus funding cheques that were paid out of the public purse.
Had party affiliates write on-line posts, using false names, to attack journalists.
In Charlottetown in 2007, he had the police remove reporters from a hotel lobby where a party caucus meeting was being held
Attempted to tar the reputation of diplomat Richard Colvin for contradicting their position on the afghan detainees situation.
Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor mislead the House regarding the afghan detainees situation, had to apologize and later resigned
Terminated Peter Tinsley, the Military Police Complaints Commissioner, when he started to investigate the afghan detainee situation.
He tried to withhold documents requested by Parliament regarding the afghan detainee situation
Before his leadership, personal attack ads were used, relatively sparingly, only during election season instead of every day regardless of election cycle.
Fossil of the Day awards (x3) were awards to John Baird, as minister of the environment, at the UN Cancun climate conference (Dec 2010) awarded by more than 400 leading organizations, to the countries that do the most to disrupt or undermine UN climate talks, citing that Baird and the Canadian government were ‘working against progressive legislation to address climate change” by “cancelling support for clean energy and for failing to have any plan to meet its very weak target for reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
In a variety of punitive ways, Harper moved against NGOs, independent agencies, watchdog groups, and tribunals who showed signs of differing with his intent. In some cases he fired their directors or stacked their boards with partisans. In others, he sued them or cut their funding. The targets of such tactics included the Rights and Democracy group, Elections Canada, Veterans’ Ombudsman Pat Stogran, Budget Officer Kevin Page and many more. His party’s smear tactics included labelling the Liberal party anti-Israel, calling Dalton McGuinty the small man of Confederation, trying to link Liberal MP Navdeep Bains to terrorism, and calling for reprisals against academics such as the University Ottawa’s Michael Behiels for questioning their policies.
Ministers, MPs, Staff
Bev Oda – misleading Parliament, mishandled CIDA requests for KAIROS group, overspending (has paid back $4,025.26 to taxpayers)
Maxime Bernier – 2 ethics investigations for conflict of interest
Peter Penashue – election overspending, ineligible donations
John Duncan – improperly lobbied a tax judge
Bruce Carson – violating lobbying regulations/influence peddling
Dimitri Soudas – Communications Director for PM questioned over kickback scandal involving Montreal Port Authority
Jim Flaherty – Finance Minister improperly interfered with CRTC regarding the issuing of a broadcast licence
Dean Del Mastro – Elections Canada investigation of overspending, etc.
Arthur Porter – Harper appointee as Canada spy agency watchdog wanted for $1.3B fraud
Lisa Raitt – left sensitive documents in public AND made the‘cancer is sexy’ comment
Jason Kenney – used MP stationery for party fundraising
Rahim Jaffer and Helene Guergis – aids writing letters to papers pretending to be citizens, influence peddling (him), letting her husband use her office, mortgage transgressions, and the Charlottetown Airport meltdown
Peter MacKay – using military transportation for personal use
Vic Towes – abusive language and ‘you’re either with us or against us with child pornography’ statement
Sebastien Togneri, Agop Evereklian, Giulio Maturi, Dale Saip and Kasra Nejatian all involved in ethics transgressions
Rona Ambrose – told a parliamentary committee that Canada had paid its debt under the Kyoto Protocol but it was later pointed out that it was still unpaid. She refused to add spotted owls, of which there were only 17, needed no special protection. As Minister responsible for the Status of Women, voted for a motion to revisit the Canadian Criminal Code regarding abortion.
John Baird – Used his cabinet post to interfere with the 2006 Ottawa city mayoral election and the light rail transit system in that city.
Mike Duffy – improperly collecting housing allowances
Patrick Brazeau – improperly collecting housing allowances and facing assault and sexual assault charges
Pamela Wallin – travel and other expenses being audited for irregularities
58 senate appointments, 100% from the conservative party