A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

It Stinks On The Hill

Justin Trudeau's perceptive description of one of the Harper Regimes mouthpieces got me to thinking! Out here in rural Canada we are used to the occasional smell wafting up the hill from the nearest agricultural enterprise but it is no big deal, a fresh breeze will come along shortly and dissipate the odor. Over on the other hill, the one in Ottawa, its a different story, not only is there a overabundance of bovine and equine excrement but unlike out here in the country where it falls to the ground and fertilizes the flowers they deal with it differently. Up there they carefully package it in lies and deceit, wrap it up in secrecy and finish it off with a bow of utter contempt, it matters not, it still stinks when unwrapped!

With the above in mind here are a few of the more recent packages found laying around and starting to smell really bad.......

Codifying secrecy - Marc Garneau asked about the government’s attempts to move committee business in camera across the board. That means that while witness hearings would still be public, any other committee discussions would be made secret, including any motions that the opposition might make (only to be subsequently voted down). This was noted yesterday by Kady O’Malley, and echoed by Elizabeth Thompson on two of the committees they’ve been covering.

So that firm that the Conservatives hired to do the reprehensible political dirtbaggery in Irwin Cotler’s riding? Was hired by a number of Conservatives during the last election, including the would-be Speaker himself. Was this mentioned in his ruling? No, it was not.

Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a leading fisheries scientist whose discovery could help explain why salmon stocks have been crashing off Canada's West Coast............... documents show the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister's Office, stopped Kristi Miller from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years.
(This package just got unwrapped here.)

A federal court judge issued a declaration that Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz offended the rule of law by introducing legislation which did not comply with the Canadian Wheat Board Act. The existing act requires the minister to consult with the CWB directors and hold a plebiscite among CWB producers before making changes to the CWB monopoly. Ritz has declared that the general election last spring served as the only vote he needed since the vast majority of CWB ridings voted for Conservative MPs.

The Harper team made accountability a cornerstone of its pitch for government back in 2006, ................ But the ethics organization reports that the Harper government has failed to live up to its promises. “Five years after the Federal Accountability Act became law, dishonesty, conflicts of interest, excessive secrecy, unlimited donations all are still legal,”

Two years ago, during the H1N1 pandemic, it was reported that there was an unusually large cluster of infections at the St. Theresa Point First Nation community in northern Manitoba. Health Canada did an epidemiological study to investigate and determined at least some of the likely causes. But someone, in his infinite wisdom, decided the study should remain secret. It took an access to information request by the Winnipeg Free Press and a followup complaint to the information commissioner to obtain even a redacted copy of the report.

Signed Sept. 20 and effective immediately, the policy says the Mounties must consult and get approval from Public Safety for communications regarding non-operational matters “PRIOR (emphasis in original) to public use” for almost everything. On “major operational events,” all communications need to be shared with Public Safety Canada officials “for information only” prior to public use.
According to the document, the goal is to ensure advance notice of “communications activities,” “consistent” interdepartmental co-ordination, better “strategic” communications planning, and more “integrated Government of Canada messaging.”

There are an estimated 1,500 communications staffers working in ministers’ offices and departments, including 87 in the PMO and PCO. Soon after Mr. Harper won power, the Prime Minister’s staff started deciding which reporters could ask questions, skipping those they suspected weren’t in the government’s favour. Media access to the Prime Minister and his caucus, in general, has become minimal. (so there are lots of folks in the PMO to package all that 'stuff'!)

There are many more hidden packages laying around with strange odors coming from them but thats about all I can take in one post. We are all in deep shit and someone is really busy hiding the shovels.

(Sorry Ottawa, best get used to it, there is no fresh wind forecast for 3 or 4 years and even then we could have a wind from the wrong direction.)
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