Archive for October, 2013

Wallin, Duffy, Brazeau Feeling The Sting Of A Demagogue

Are Senators Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau acting like spoiled children who have been caught doing something wrong and not liking that they are being punished? Are they just whining and throwing temper tantrums, or have they in truth been thrown under the bus by Prime Minister Harper and the Senate for political expediency? Are Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau feeling the sting of a demagogue that they help into power and convinced Canadians to vote for? I wonder if the three have learned anything  about due process, or if anyone of them have learned that real people get hurt when their rights are sidestepped for expediency and due process of law is taken from them, or do they only see their cases as wrong and the denial of due process to the 450 Sri Lankan refugees for example, as still okay?

Given the fact that the independent audit done at the Senate’s request by a firm that the Senate chose  said yes they wrongly put in for expenses they were not entitled to and that they should pay those monies back, but said also that they could not find any reason to believe or prove that any of the senators had intentionally violated the public trust, or willfully filed incorrect expense refunds, is the harsh penalty being voted on represent justice being served?  The independent audit report also said that the rules governing refundable expenses was full of grey areas, easily misinterpreted.

Great stock has been put in how the money was paid back especially in mike Duffy’s case and I guess I do not get it.  As long as it was not paid for by the tax payer what difference does it make who privately helped mike Duffy?  What I am really having a hard time with though is that each of these senators have proof that they sought the advice of senate higher-ups as to whether or not claiming the expenses was correct and they were all given the green light.  Prime Minister Harper stood up in the house of commons and said that he went over all of Pamela Wallin‘s expenses personally and found them all to be in order.

If we leave out what the independent audit had to say ands the fact that these senators seemed to have had the approval for their expenses before the filed for the reimbursements and say that too bad they should have known better and should be punished anyway then the question is if they have been found to not have intentionally done anything wrong than what is an appropriate penalty for what they have done.  Obviously repaying the money back is not the answer. Ruining their personal and professional reputations and disgracing them world-wide, does not seem to be enough.  The Prime Minister throwing them out the Conservative party of Canada caucus is not enough of a punishment, so I ask what is enough?

I thought as did the auditors that if they unintentionally filed their expenses wrong that they should have to pay it back the loop-hole closed in the rules, but never did I imagine that they would be punished in the manner that they are being punished without due process, because (a) The Senate of Canada is trying to save face and as it attempts to preserve the dignity of the senate by suspending without pay.  (b) The Prime Minister would throw them from caucus after claiming that at least one of the senators had filed correctly.

I think that the 3 senators were guilty of arrogance and should have repaid the monies in question right away once they found out that they had done something wrong innocently perhaps but wrong none the less.  I do not know how they figured that just because they believed that they were right meant that they did not have to repay the monies.  The fact that they were in fact bilking the tax payers out of money should have been enough for them to state they were sorry, it was a mistake on their part and they would be returning the ill-gotten gains immediately, as it was never their intention to do anything illegal.  Instead they maintained that they found a loophole that allowed them to rip off Canadians to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and that they intended to fight tooth and nail to keep their ill-gotten gains.  Now although this is not a very nice way for a senator to act and will did not endear them to voters and did cause their party embarrassment and political percentage points, the truth of the matter is that they had broken no Canadian laws and so again we must ask above and beyond them paying the money back were they deserving of any other punishment and is the punishment they got in the best interest of seeing justice served, or was this really a bad case of taking a hammer to swat a fly.

Lastly let us begin to consider due process and were the accused given it in this case.  As much as it pains me to say so being no fan of any of them, I do not think that they were.  In fact I think that they were singled out and offered up as sacrificial lambs by the senate and by Steven Harper to save their own political hides.  What are the odds that 3 conservative senators hand-picked by the Prime Minister found guilty of defrauding the Canadian people would all turn on him and publicly him and accuse him of using them and then abandoning them for no other reason but to look innocent of any wrong doing himself and deflect attention to them instead of him? I think that they because they have been betrayed by the leadership in the conservative side of the Senate and have been thrown under the bus by the Prime Minister as well there is the small matter of a thing called due process of law that they are being denied by his order.

I do think however that there could be a silver lining in this whole stupid affair and I would hope that maybe in the future when bills are put before the remaining senators, that they would seriously consider:

  • All of the implications of bills that would seek to deny anyone due process of the law and that they would think twice before voting it through without seriously considering is the law a just and fair law and is this how Canadians act.
  • That without due process of law we have become what we say we hate, a nation where the law means nothing and can be changed at the whim of the government, or ruler of the day.
  • That maybe it is not so good to rubber stamp laws a bill that would stop unionised activities, force people back to work, keep immigrants in jail all without due process of law.
  • That they should not be so easily persuaded to follow the party line and hopefully in the future vote their consciences and what they know to be right, just and Canadian instead.

I think that the Harper government has proven the old adage that states, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”  Everyone should be moving to reduce the power of a Prime Minister with a majority government and put into play a mechanism to remove a Prime Minister who is not acting within the Canadian Charter of Rights, or who is caught consistently misleading parliament and Canadians.  Harper right now has more power than any dictator and is behaving like one.  Question: Does democracy begin with the calling of an election and end after it? I ask this question, because that it what it looks like to me if a government gets in with a majority,  omnibus budget bill, time allocated debates used to cut short debates, non compliance with access to information regulations, putting sole power of deciding issues in the hands of individual ministers who are controlled by the Prime Minister.

Now that Steven Harper has opened Pandora’s Box and revealed to all political parties the full extent of the power that a majority government has at its disposal, how many governments and their leaders do you think  will be able to resist using the full extent of a majority government now that it has been done? Now that the line has been successfully crossed and laws have been changed to give the Prime Minister of Canada elected with a majority government the power of a dictator over a people subdued by democratic values and principle who are not predisposed to using violence to seek political reform, will any political party ever change the laws back, or create new laws to better represent true democratic practice in government?  The line between democracy and demagoguery has been crossed and I fear that  without people protesting in the streets, maybe even refusing to go to work and virtually bringing all activity, all economic gain in this country to a screeching halt,  every time there is a majority government elected no matter what level, no matter what political stripe demanding that they do what is best for Canadians. I am a Canadian who is tired of seeing much-needed changes delayed and denied Canadians because opposition parties are rejecting things that are good for Canadians, because they feel that is what an opposition party is supposed to do; I want to see the end of such clearly partisan voting and start seeing more bi-partisan voting that best reflects what is good for all Canadians.  If we the citizen, we the voter do not grab the bull by the horns I think that we will see politicians, leaders and parties step outside the spirit of a democracy and democratic principles more and more and we will once again be thrust into a democratic farce, such as we a living with now, or in the times of minority government get nothing done, because of partisan posturing?  I think that the choice is ours.  What is up Canada?


Harper Keeps Firing People He Hired For Telling The Truth About Things He Wishes Hidden

Harper Fires People's Heroes

Harper Fires People’s Heroes

It would seem that the people who get fired on Parliament Hill are the people actually doing their job in an honest and transparent way, putting Canadians first, while those who lie, cheat, deceive and divide Canadians get to govern. Maybe we should look to our civil servants, or make it mandatory that if you choose to run for public office that you must have 1st worked for the civil service that you hope one day to control and not just in the legal profession, business world, or perhaps have been some kind of celebrity, or hero. Maybe we need to get away from voting for politicians who have risen through the ranks and honed their dubious skills in the civic and provincial school of dirty tricks and are now being called up to the major leagues in recognition of their ability to play the game dirty. I think it is often thought that it is the latter who are the best to govern because they already have experience in governing and managing companies and the pressure of public life. I say that the experience they bring is that they are already corrupt.  If these politicians are already adept at how to play the game and avoid getting caught when they are wronging Canadians, is that really the kind of politician we want running the country?

I do not want to go too far back so let us just start with Auditor General Sheila Fraser. Sheila Fraser’s only crime was telling the Canadian people the truth, the facts about how the government was doing on behalf of all Canadians and whether or not we were getting the full bang for our tax buck, at a time when the government was being non transparent, misusing funds and not living up to its obligations to Canadians, such as the elderly, the First Nations, the homeless, the veterans and the list goes on and on. That she was doing her job that for which she was hired did not matter the prime minister fired her, for exposing his party’s irregularities in spending and for failing to put needed resources where they were needed and thereby alienating and not providing for whole segments of the Canadian population. Since the Auditor General serves at the prime ministers choice, the prime minister may remove the Auditor General as they see fit. Quite simply put Sheila Fraser was removed from her job by Prime Minister Harper, because she was honest and believed that the Canadian people deserved to know the truth about how they were being governed for the good or for the bad of it and she cared more bringing the truth forward more than keeping her job. It was at this point that I began to realise that our non-elected civil servants were behaving and conducting themselves and treating Canadians with respect, honor and openness and holding elected official to account as they were hired to do and getting fired for it by the unscrupulous politicians running the country. Government said in a nut shell that they did not agree with Sheila Fraser’s facts and figures and did not extend her term of employment. It did and still comes out every day that Sheila Fraser’s audit reports were spot on, her warnings were accurate and the government knew it then and chose to ignore her and instead fire her for speaking out.

Then we have the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO). Another supposedly arm’s length position who can be fired by the Prime Minister without reason which means if you say anything or do anything that I do not like I can and will fire you. What happened to Kevin Page and what happened to the terms of employment of future PBO’s says it all. Kevin Page the 1st PBO had a 5 year mandate and so he was able to do his job for at least 5 years without the worry of getting fired because Prime Minister Harper did not like his advice or his reports. Take note fellow Canadians that whether or not you agree with PBO Kevin Page’s methods or whether or not you feel he overstepped his mandate, or what you think his motives might have been for bringing his findings out to the public attention, you must admit that everything he said was indeed true. Kevin Page’s analysis and his facts and figures concerning the true cost of the Afghan mission, the state of the federal deficit, or on the F-35 jet procurement project were all true and the government was proven to be lying through their teeth. Kevin Page’s cost projections turned out to be right, whereas the government’s numbers turned out to be wrong. He has more than proven the value of the office to taxpayers, in other words so why was he fired, keeping in mind the Conservatives created the PBO, as part of their 2006 Federal Accountability Act? The Prime Minister has made sure that this does not happen again though the next PBO can be fired at any time by the Prime Minister without reason having to be given and so eliminating the chance of any truth getting to the people of Canada in this fashion that the Prime Minister deems he would like kept hidden from the people of Canada. Another example of a civil servant willing to lose their jobs in order to expose corruption in the government and bring the truth to Canadians whether it be good or bad about the way we are being lied to by the very people who we have promised to work for us and be transparent in their governance of this country.

I see another firing on the horizon after the statements and the rather damaging report given Thursday by Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada. Here we go again Steven Harper loyalists must be saying, another non-elected public servant who just cannot keep their mouth shut when they catch us in a lie, falsifying records, perverting the law and undermining democracy and ruining the country. I guess they are wondering just how many of these watchdogs they are going to have to fire before they learn that it is not wise, or career advancing to bite the prime minister’s hand that is feeding you. Suzanne Legault spoke to:

• The underfunding and under staffing of her department and how this I hampering her departments ability to service the department efficiently.

• The out of date equipment and methods of the department and how this is causing her department to do its job efficiently.

• The deliberate withholding without just cause of requested and the unjustified delaying tactics used to frustrate and make documents requested moot.

• The need for the Information Minister of Canada to have the power to seek information of the ministers as well.

• The fact that complaints about not being able to gain access to information is on the rise in the last few years and that the legitimacy and integrity of Canada’s democracy is being eroded by the present government.

The government is supposed to be the safe keeper and caretaker of documents and the country’s written record, not the jailor of them. That those deemed assessable under the law should be given up to the public and not withheld from the public to suit the best interest of the government of the day and to keep the ordinary Canadians ignorant to the true goings on of the government whether legal or illegal, corrupt or not corrupt.

I agree with Suzanne Legault,  Sheila Fraser and Kevin Page, but I doubt if this will save Suzanne Legault from the ” Ottawa Muzzler”, because as I stated before he does not appreciate, “People’s Heroes”.

First Nations Woman Asks of Steven Harper, How Long Must We Keep Doing This?

October 9, 2013 1 comment

Native Women's Assoiciation of Canada honouring the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

Native Women’s Association of Canada honouring the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

Watching the eighth annual gathering in Ottawa, known as the Sisters in Spirit vigil I was deeply touched by first the question and then the statement of a young  First Nations woman. The young woman asked the question directed at the always absent Prime Minister of Canada, Steven Harper,  “How many more years do we have to keep coming and protesting on the hill to get action and justice for the over 600 missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada? The young woman directed her statement also to the always absent Prime Minister of Canada Steven Harper when she stated, “We will keep right on coming back until we get justice for them!”  This the 8th such annual Sisters in Spirit vigil held here, was just 1 of 216 vigils held across the country and abroad.  I can see what these mothers, sisters and grandmothers want of Steven Harper who is a father with a daughter, so why can’t he?

Asking For Justice Again in 2012

Asking For Justice Again in 2012

I was on Capital Hill February 14 2012 for the last annual gathering of First Nation’s Women, Men and children who were standing in the cold praying, pleading and demanding and end to the practice of passing the buck and out right ignoring of the fact that over 600 aboriginal women have disappeared off the face` of the earth, or have been murdered across Canada and not one police force be it local, provincial or RCMP think that this is odd enough to use statistical analysis  to help get to the bottom of this and seem quite satisfied to leave these all as cold case files and unsolved mysteries.  Now this may seem all right to the police, the government and even some Canadians, but it is obvious that it is not okay with the mothers, fathers family and friends of these missing or murdered ladies, because they keep trying and showing up every year and say they will keep on doing it. Why is it that not one person in the government of Canada in the last 8 years at least seems to be able to muster the political will to do anything about it in terms of mounting an investigation directed at solving the mystery behind this tragedy?  We can all acknowledge that it is not Steven Harper’s fault alone that this travesty exists, but it is his fault that he allows this travesty of justice to continue when he could do something about it while he holds a strong, majority Conservative government.  I applaud the opposition parties for making their heart-felt tear jerking speeches, but I would say that in all cases when they had the chance to do something for these women and their families they all ignored the issues, or there would be no need for this protest today.  These deaths and disappearances have been happening since the 60’s there is not one provincial, territorial, civic, or federal party that does not bear the shame of talking but doing nothing for these people.  It is interesting to see the emotional leader of the NDP Tom Mulcair saying things like,

  • “The number of women in the Ottawa area is the same number of native women in Canada”. “If you heard that 600 women were murdered or missing in Ottawa do you think we’d have to have demonstrations to get an inquiry?”
  • That the rally was about reminding Canadians that missing aboriginal women is an injustice all Canadians need to address

but what does this mean in real terms for the families of the missing and murdered women?

bloodtribe_jpeg_size_xxlarge_letterboxWe can all gather at these type of events, pretend to be honorary members of a First Nation Tribe, pretend to give a damn for the day and then go on with business as usual until the next year until once again we don our tear streaked, shameful masks and pretend to care, but that is not what I think these mothers and family members want.  What I think they want is action, an investigation and answers, so that they can stop coming and protesting and finally find closure in this heart breaking struggle.  I think that they would like to lay their love ones to rest knowing  in their hearts and minds that after they have done all that they can for their missing and murdered loved ones and that they finally have succeeded to have the injustices of their children’s loss of life dealt with respectfully, with dignity and with a sense of rightness that they deserve and can no longer fight for  themselves.  In other words talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. Oh it is nice to have a prominent member of a party, especially the leader of a political party stand up and publicly say that they understand you and are with you, but that alone is just  political photo opt seeking, if the fight for them and for you dies the minute they leave the podium and I think that is what is happening, or why are these protest still needing to go on, with all of the seemingly political will that is out there?

Asking For justice again in 2012

Asking For justice again in 2012

As I said earlier in 2012 I was in Ottawa down for the ice sculpture exhibition and decided to take a few pictures of parliament hill and walked into what I think was the 7th Sisters in Spirit vigil.  I was of course aware of the fact  that aboriginal girls going missing off the reserves in Quebec, near Montreal, because of the posters and billboards, but I had no idea how many unsolved cases where aboriginal girls were missing  and murdered there were, for how long this had been going on, (since the 1960’s)  and that this problem was right across Canada.  I learned this in 5 minutes standing there looking at the posters, listening to the opening prayer.  I have never personally done anything to harm or injure an aboriginal person in word or deed, but that day standing there with those people I felt guilty and ashamed for not knowing enough and in my ignorance having done nothing to help bring their fight out into the open.  If you do not know then you can not help and not knowing enough about something like this is not an accident; it is not finding it important enough to follow-up on; it is believing whether consciously or subconsciously that the problem is not yours and so not really a priority; something best left to them to deal with.

The relatives of the missing and murdered aboriginal girls and women want to know how long must they do this vigil, before they get action?

The relatives of the missing and murdered aboriginal girls and women want to know how long must they do this vigil, before they get action?

I think what we are missing in all of this is that these people are tired of remembering the problem that has existed for too long and want answers and solutions to stop what is still happening when it comes to the many abuses that end up in death and the mysterious disappearing of aboriginal girls.  It is not enough for the RCMP to repeat year after year that they do not keep the type of statistics that would put an accurate count to how many of these unsolved, unresolved cases there really are in Canada. “The exact number remains a mystery. The RCMP says it does not collect data on the ethnicity of missing women.”  Why not this has been an issue since the 1960’s and it is not going to go away so why is it that the RCMP refuses to collect the appropriate data I wonder? Is it afraid that once that type of information is on paper that the public will notice some disturbing trends that if revealed in actual statistical proof could put them in a not so good light?

Asking For Justice   Again In 2012

Asking For Justice
Again In 2012

As I watched I understood for the first time how frustrating it must be; how demoralising it must be to get to a point where you know that your protest will get you absolutely nowhere in terms of a solution to your problem, no matter what is agreed upon; no matter what promises are made, because the only person that can make the call to make things right will never come to the table, because they see the spilled blood of your ancestors, the spilled blood of your children and the disappearance of your children, as not their problem.  To come year after year and be seen as only a reminder that someone should be doing something and knowing by past example that nothing will and not having the choice to do anything else, must cause one’s blood to boil.  I begin to understand the statement now that it is hard for first Nations people to get the rest of Canadians to see them as human beings.  I believe that if 600 other Canadians went either missing, or were being murdered since 1960, the RCMP would have had the statistics and their would have been a full-blown official investigative inquires into the matter.  There seems to be a conscious feeling of so what it isn’t my problem and it isn’t my fault when it comes to the many injustices and hardships that the people of the First Nations face everyday, because of the dishonorable, way we have not held up our obligations concerning treaty rights and land claims.

Ambassador Golberg nAn article in the Canadian Press reads, “Canada’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Elissa Golberg, said, “Canada is proud of its human-rights record, and our peaceful and diverse society,” Golberg told the one-hour session. While no society is entirely free of discrimination, she noted, Canada has “a strong legal and policy framework for the promotion and protection of human rights, and an independent court system.” Canada rejected a series of resolutions calling on Canada to undertake sweeping national reviews of violence against aboriginal women. Goldberg said Canada takes the issue seriously and that provincial and local governments are better suited to getting results on those issues.”  In Toronto, Teresa Piruzza, the Ontario minister responsible for women’s issues, expressed disappointment, saying it is “really a national issue.”  It is this type of denial and refusal to admit our mistakes that does not allow us as a nation to fix the problem and move forward.   Rejecting the truth when you hear it does not make you clean it only serves to prove your ignorance, in my opinion.

Where in all of the emblems around the Centennial Flame are those of the First Nations?

Where in all of the emblems around the Centennial Flame are those of the First Nations?

This picture to me demonstrates what is wrong with our way of thinking when it comes to how we think about the rights of our First Nations People.  It makes the claim that it represents all of the provinces and territories that were in confederation as of 1967, but nowhere on there are the First Nations People of Canada represented. They are not and cannot be considered to be, because they were never asked.   I believe we have always looked at the First Nations People as something that we inherited with the land during our colonization of it, like the air, water, soil and the animals found on it, flying above it and swimming in it.  I do not think that our founding fathers considered the people living here as human beings deserving or entitled to own the  land, but were just another species of mentally superior animal roaming the land along with the others. I am saying that we as a people did not then, and do not  now consider First Nations people  capable of taking care of their own affairs and have always and continue to talk to them and treat them as though they were some mentally handicap wards of ours that we feel obligated to take care of, speak for and make decisions for, despite their protestations and the proof that they can do all that for themselves. If we did consider these people as our equals with the same rights as we have than how do we justify not only our past behaviour, but the behaviour of our present towards them?   On what premise could we come to this land find them living here and just move in and take it for our own? If all of this was a mistake of our forefathers and we acknowledge this as we did and we claim to have changed, than how can we continue to treat First Nations as if they do not have rights; denying them what is in the treaties, denying them access to the courts to fight for themselves, denying them their lands and their right to exist as nations to nation with us, sharing one body of land as we agreed to do?  Why for instance do we look harder for our missing pets and show more care about how and why they died  than we do about the 600 missing and murdered  aboriginal girls?

box2_1100100014610_eng nSaying it isn’t so and thumbing our noses at the United Nations when they say that we are guilty of ill treating the aboriginal people of this country instead of doing something about it makes us little more than hypocrites every time we interfere in a sovereign country’s business using the justification that they are mistreating and violating their populations rights.  We are in fact no better than those we drop bombs on, throw blockades  around, and enforce embargos on  reducing their economies to shambles causing senseless suffering of the people we say we are there to help. When we look at the struggle of our First Nations people to get even the most basic needs that most Canadians take for granted, who are we as a nation and with what justification do we invade and occupy the lands of others? Are those leaders, those countries not justified in calling us hypocrites? I got to ask all Canadians what is up Canada?  This picture depicts another part of the problem.  It makes the claim that giving the First Nations their right to govern themselves as independent nations can only be done if they first promise to abide by all of the laws we have set in place and that they had no consultation and no participation in the making of.  It is kind of like saying that as a country we will grant them everything that they are entitled to by treaty and by land claims, but first they must promise in advance not to avail themselves of their rights, because the availing themselves of their rights will inconvenience us. It is as if we are saying as a nation that we will grant them their freedom, because we know that slavery is wrong, but before we as a nation will be willing to do that, they the people of the First Nations must agree in writing to continue to allow us to make all of their decisions for them and they must adhere to the relationship that we have develop over the years.  Is it not time that we stop stealing from these people who graciously offered to share their lands with us? Isn’t it time we stopped humiliating and subjugating these people who so graciously offered to share their lands with us? Isn’t time we started to see these people as our equals and give them what was agreed upon, but we never delivered on by treaty. Finally is it not time that we show by actions and not just in words that these are not a conquered people but a nation of people who entered into negotiations and signed treaties with another nation making our relationship nation to nation not conquered to victorious, by honoring our treaty obligations unconditionally?  If not I would ask how can you expect the people of the First Nations to sit down and negotiate a deal with a people who have proved themselves to be not honourable and unable to live up to the bargains they have already agreed to?  So in closing I as once again,”What is up Canada?

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