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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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Do Not Be Muzzled.

Do not be muzzled Oct 19th, get out and have your say on who you wish to represent you in parliament, bearing in mind that many of the promises are just that and may either be a long time coming or reduced or eliminated once in power. Particularly should the winning party get a majority!

I believe that the best indication of future behaviour is past behaviour hence my listing of the Conservatives attacks upon our democracy over the past 10 years. Another indication is more subtle and that is how open and accountable (remember that phrase) those vieing for power have been. In that regard here are a few recent indications of how the Conservatives deal with requests for information fundamental to our evaluating their performance.

The Canadian Press filed the access to information request (regarding the Duffy affair) to the Privy Council Office (PCO), the secretariat of the federal cabinet, which is headed by Harper, in August, 2013. But the PCO withheld almost all of the records requested.
“The PCO identified 28 pages of responsive records, but withheld 27 of those pages, releasing just two emails in which its staff discussed similar access-to-information requests,” The Canadian Press reported Tuesday (September 15, 2015) . “PCO claimed every single word on every single one of those 27 pages might jeopardize solicitor-client privilege, or reveal personal information, or third-party information, or details on secret deliberations.”
The Canadian Press lodged a complaint with the information commissioner’s office. The Commissioner investigated and concluded that the PCO was unjustified in withholding the records. The Commissioner recommended that Harper fully comply with The Canadian Press‘ request and the PCO, “on behalf of the Prime Minister, declined to implement the recommendation.

A potentially explosive parliamentary investigation into the Harper government's so-called "muzzling" of government scientists shows no signs of being released before the federal election on Oct.19, despite Canada's Information Commissioner digging into it for more than two and a half years.
“Voters need to know what the result of that investigation has been,” said law professor Calvin Sandborn, with the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre. “I think the public needs to know the extent of the muzzling… Our submission is that it runs very deep in government."
In February 2013, the university law group, together with Democracy Watch, filed a formal complaint to Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault, alleging federally employed scientists, with expertise from fisheries to fracking, are under a gag order from sharing their taxpayer-paid expertise and scientific findings with the press or public. Two months later, in April 2013, Legault agreed to investigate the Harper government information restrictions as possible violations of Access to Information laws. She pledged to look into complaints at seven different government insitutions:
National Observer has been writing the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada for months, asking: 'Will this report come out before the election? Why has it taken more than two and a half years? Is the office understaffed? Is the report itself being muzzled by the Conservative government?'

And then there is our recent hero, Harperman’s composer, Tony Turner, was told to stay at home from his job at Environment Canada in July after his employers told him they were investigating whether he had breached the public service’s code of ethics. Now, in his first interview since he was sidelined by Environment Canada eight weeks ago, Turner has said he will end his seclusion and take his protest song on the campaign trail ahead of the country’s general election on 19 October.

Turner officially quit his job on Thursday evening, after his employers said the song breached protocol calling on public servants to remain impartial. Turner and his union vigorously dispute the finding. The songwriting public servant had been scheduled to retire in November.

Can we believe anything that those who would hide, suppress information in this way, say? Can we trust, and vote for, those who attempt to intimidate citizens who criticize their actions past and present? I think not!

Finally we have the much touted TPP 'agreement which we are told is 'good for Canada' but whose detailed script we will not see till after the election.....
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper promised long-term funding to help the auto industry adjust to the newly-signed Pacific Rim trade deal and said automakers would have been worse off if Canada had not signed the 12-nation pact. ......... If re-elected, the Conservatives would provide $1 billion over 10 years beginning in 2018, when a current Automotive Innovation Fund expires, to help the auto industry deal with the reduction of protective tariffs under the TPP.”

If its such a good deal how is it that Harper has promised millions to help the auto industry and dairy farmers deal with the fall out from it, before the ink on it is barely dry never mind available for public scrutiny .... and how many other areas of our economy will need “helping”, what other things that effect our sovereignty have been agreed to?

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Lorne said...

All of the signs are there, Rural, of the need for a change in government. But will sufficient numbers of Canadians recognize them and vote accordingly?

Rural said...

St this point we can only hope that we have a good turn out of folks who have looked beyond all the spin and hype and have realized exactly where the Harperites have been taking us Lorne!

Unknown said...

Unless Harper does some last minute fraud or major deceit, Canadians will throw him out in Oct. When you have an ex Conservative Premier Danny Williams in interviews (CBC,Ctv)saying that Harper can't be trusted, that he has no integrity and that he is a lousy PM you know it's game over, because this time Canadians are listening.Even if many Canadians don't follow politics it is Harpers mean, vindictive,isolated, arrogant personality that they see and they are not impressed.

Rural said...

I imagine that he and his lizard from Oz are right now planning the next fraud or deceit, but I think the majority of Canadians are on to his game now Pamela. It all now depends upon how many show up at the polls.