Tag Archives: Stephen Harper

The Trudeau Government Has Betrayed Us

PM Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Reader Submission:

Whistler Question (Opinion) | October 3, 2016 

Stephen Harper must be chuckling in his beer. The Trudeau government has managed to approve two LNG pipelines and plants in record time: Woodfibre LNG in Squamish and Pacific Northwest (Lelu Island) on the north coast. Increased fracking in northern B.C. will supply this industry, and the gas, after energy-intensive liquefaction, will be shipped in LNG tankers down Howe Sound and out from Lelu Island to Asian markets.

Indications are strong that the Trudeau government will also approve the Kinder Morgan/TransCanada pipeline to Vancouver, to be filled with increased bitumen extraction from the oil sands. If approved, bitumen-carrying tanker traffic to Asia out of Vancouver harbour will increase by nearly seven times.

The Trudeau government has succeeded in accomplishing what Harper tried to do for 10 long years and failed. The light between the Conservatives and the Liberals has disappeared.

These decisions make the grandstanding of the Trudeau government at the climate gathering in Paris last fall a joke and a lie.

New research states (again) that the world must NOT build any new fossil-fuel infrastructure or increase extraction if we want to avoid run-away climate change. First World countries must help developing countries deal with this reality. Retraining for those who have relied on the fossil-fuel industry for jobs must take place. Renewables must be encouraged. Investment in fossil fuels must not increase, lest that money be wasted. (See Oil Change International’s 60-page report at priceofoil.org.)

We are on track to set a dangerous and alarming new precedent: 400 parts per million of green house gases in our atmosphere for 12 months in a row, according to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Ridiculously, the Trudeau government is still acting as if we have a choice regarding new fossil fuel development.

Scientific facts make no difference to the Trudeau government as it presses on to prop up a dying industry desperate to save itself from the inevitable. Canadian banks, which are on the hook for enormous sums of money they lent to the industry, are surely having their say. The Trudeau government is demonstrating who really runs the show, and it’s not us. We don’t stand a chance against the Eastern Establishment.

Maybe the Trudeau Government is betting the fossil fuel projects they approve won’t actually be built due to economic conditions and coming climate change. How dare they take that risk and make disingenuous and cowardly decisions that could prove disastrous, just to please the people who did not vote for them.

The actions of the Trudeau government are shameful, hypocritical, deceitful, and in the end, harmful to us all.

The Trudeau government has shown no courage, no leadership, no vision and no attempts to move on to a future reality.

The Liberals will pay for this cynical “follow-the-money” policy at the ballot box. The rest of us will pay for it with climate change.

The Trudeau government has betrayed us completely.

Jane Reid



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‘Good Riddance’: Canada’s Stephen Harper Bids Adieu To Politics, Hello To Consulting

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who just announced his resignation. (Photo: Heather/flickr/cc)

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who just announced his resignation. (Photo: Heather/flickr/cc)

Former prime minister made resignation announcement Friday

by Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams‎

As expected, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced his resignation from Parliament, saying that he’s now gearing up for “for the next chapter of my life.”

That chapter, as the Toronto Star reports, includes “launching a global consulting business.”

Harper posted the news Friday on his social media accounts, saying, “I leave elected office proud of what our team accomplished together.”

For the 57-year-old, the resignation marks the end of “nearly two often-tumultuous decades in public office,” Mississauga News reports.

Harper lost power in October in a “devastating election defeat” when his Conservative Party lost to the Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party.

Since then, the Star adds, he “has only appeared in the Commons for votes since he lost power last fall, and has never spoken in debate as the MP for Calgary Heritage.”

The country “shifted to the center-right under Harper,” the Associated Press writes, and, as Common Dreams has reported,

During his tenure as Prime Minister, which spanned from 2006-2015, Harper was known internationally for pushing through an aggressive conservative agenda which included: wholesale investment in fossil fuels, including Canadian tar sands; blocking international efforts to combat climate change; dismantling civil liberties through mass surveillance; unflinching support of Israel and attempts to outlaw pro-Palestinian boycott movements; supporting numerous wars overseas; and willfully ignoring the treaty rights of Canadian First Nations, among many other things.

As for his new career, the National Post reports that he “has already lined up an impressive and potentially lucrative post-politics career that includes a new consulting business with international clients, board directorships and joining a speakers’ bureau.”

Our direction

Following the election in October, Andrew Mitrovica wrote at Ricochet:

Like millions of Canadians, I’m glad he’s gone and taken his tawdry ideas—if you can even call them that—about who Canadians are and what Canada stands for with him into political oblivion. I’m not going to waste a nanosecond pondering his ignominious “place” in this nation’s history, his toxic “legacy” or what he’s going to do next. Justin Trudeau is like a nicely wrapped confection.

Look, he’ll be just fine. Chances are Harper’s going to do what other ex-prime ministers have done when voters tell them emphatically to get lost… he will cash in big time. I suspect the make–believe economist will quickly join a high-powered law firm somewhere in Canada or maybe the United States and turn into a make-believe lawyer. He’ll also accept lots of invitations to sit on lots of corporate boards that will pay him lots of money to act as a glorified lobbyist.

Like Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien before him, he’ll happily trade in the “noble calling of public service” to become a highly paid gun-for-hire in a pinstriped suit doing lucrative mega business deals with influential politicians and CEOs he befriended along the way. Some elder statesman.

Good riddance, Harper. Don’t let the closet doors hit you on the way out of the PMO.

On Twitter, writer and Ricochet founding editor Derrick O’Keefe similarly summed up many progressives’ response to the new development:


Harper Resisting Inquiry Into Missing And Murdered Aboriginal Women

Conservative leader Stephen Harper speaks during a campaign stop at Global Systems Emissions Inc., in Whitby, Ont., on Oct. 6, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

Conservative leader Stephen Harper speaks during a campaign stop at Global Systems Emissions Inc., in Whitby, Ont., on Oct. 6, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

The Canadian Press

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper isn’t budging on his refusal to hold a federal inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, framing the issue Tuesday as a law-and-order problem and noting police have solved most of the crimes.

Advocates for an inquiry swiftly criticized Harper for taking an overly narrow view of violence against aboriginal women and girls that ignores complex underlying causes.

“We don’t expect anything different from Harper,” said Cheryl Maloney, president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association. “We’re hoping for a government that will work with us in addressing this.”

It’s time to move past “simplistic explanations,” such as attributing the phenomenon to domestic violence, said Craig Benjamin, campaigner for the human rights of indigenous peoples at Amnesty International Canada.

“We have to get to the point of understanding the violence is far more pervasive, that it has multiple causes and that it does in fact have deep roots in our society and the relationships between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.”

During a campaign stop in Whitby, Ont., Harper said it is “way past the time” for studying the subject because there have been some 40 examinations already.

Instead, a re-elected Conservative government would press ahead with efforts to prevent violence against aboriginal women and ensure appropriate penalties are in place for abusers.

“Our government position on this has been very clear. We have moved forward with a whole series of criminal justice reforms to deal with the problems of violence against people generally, violence against women in particular,” Harper said.

“Most of these murders, sad as they are, are in fact solved.”

In Saskatoon on Tuesday evening, about 100 protesters, including a number of aboriginal women, chanted and drummed behind a fence when Harper arrived at a pre-fab building products company.

Inside roughly the same number of partisan supporters greeted Harper enthusiastically as he continued to tout the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

A landmark report issued last year by the RCMP said close to 90 per cent of all female homicides are solved, and there is little difference in solve rates between aboriginal and non-aboriginal victims.

Overall, the RCMP review — drawing on data stretching back to 1980 — identified 1,181 police-recorded incidents of aboriginal female homicides and unresolved missing aboriginal females — 164 missing and 1,017 homicide victims.

Even so, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said Tuesday that Harper was “shamefully ignorant of the facts.”

There is an obligation to get to the bottom of the problem, he said, reiterating the New Democrat promise to initiate an inquiry within 100 days of forming a government.

Benjamin said the dozens of studies into violence against aboriginal women include a “vast body of unimplemented recommendations.”

“It would be one thing if the government were to say, there’s 40 studies and we’re going to sit down and make sure those recommendations are implemented.”

A federal commission of inquiry could yield “a consistent, coherent plan of action based on a genuine knowledge of what’s happening,” Benjamin added.

In September 2014, the Conservative government outlined initiatives to address violence against aboriginal women and girls including funding for shelters and family violence prevention activities, and support for police investigations and creation of a missing persons index.

The federal measures are inadequate and leave too many gaps, Benjamin said. For instance, the vast majority of First Nations communities lack women’s shelters.

Asked at an Oct. 1 all-candidates debate about the prospect of a federal inquiry, Montreal Conservative nominee Richard Sagala acknowledged “dark chapters” in the relationship with First Nations.

A recording of the event shows he went on to characterize the creation of Nunavut as a less than satisfying experience, with violence there comparable to South Africa.

The Liberals criticized Sagala, who posted a clarification Tuesday on his Facebook page.

Maloney, meanwhile, is focusing her efforts on encouraging aboriginals to cast election ballots. “I’m hoping to have more impact on voters than on Harper.”

By Jim Bronskill and Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press, Oct 6/15  


Harper Rally Draws Supporters, Protesters

More than 1,000 Conservative supporters showed up in Saskatoon Tuesday evening to hear Stephen Harper speak.

More than 1,000 Conservative supporters showed up in Saskatoon Tuesday evening to hear Stephen Harper speak.

CTV Saskatoon

Protesters and a rare slip-up from Stephen Harper didn’t dampen the crowd’s excitement at a Conservative campaign rally Tuesday evening in Saskatoon.

Harper, who was introduced by Conservative candidates Randy Donauer and Kevin Waugh, was speaking at Nu-Fab Building Products, in the city’s airport area, in front of more than 1,000 supporters.

He touted the new Trans-Pacific Partnership and said it would benefit Saskatchewan’s wheat, canola, uranium, potash and farm industries. He stressed his party’s economic plan. He promised to lower taxes, and he briefly touched on a few of his recurring campaign points, such as the fight against ISIS, cracking down on crime and the Universal Child Care Benefit.

Each promise was met with loud cheers from the pumped up crowd — except one. Harper slipped up when he accidentally called for “more taxes.” He quickly corrected himself and was just as quickly forgiven by the crowd.

“I won’t make that mistake too often,” he said, as the crowd laughed.

The atmosphere in the room never dwindled, and at several points, the crowd chanted, “Canada! Canada!”

A crowd protests Conservative leader Stephen Harper's speech in Saskatoon Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015.

A crowd protests Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s speech in Saskatoon Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015.

The mood was in complete contrast to the atmosphere outside the rally. A crowd of protesters turned up with ‘Stop Harper’ signs in an attempt to drown out the Conservative leader’s message.

“Stephen Harper’s got to go,” many yelled from outside the building.

The Conservative leader’s speech lasted less than an hour and concluded with Harper shaking hands with several supporters.

He will continue his tour through Saskatoon on Wednesday.


Ontario First Nation Chiefs Launch Who Is She‬ Campaign For Inquiry Into Missing Women


By Terri Coles | Daily Brew 

The Who Is She fundraising campaign, launched Wednesday in Toronto by Ontario’s First Nations, will raise money for a judicial inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The federal government has repeatedly declined to hold a public inquiry into the matter. Now Ontario’s chiefs will attempt to fund their own inquiry through the Who Is She campaign.

“It’s going to be designed by us as First Nations, for First Nations,” deputy grand chief Glen Hare of Anishinabek Nation told Yahoo Canada News. “It’s going to be our work for our women and our girls.”

The fundraising campaign’s launch follows the Ontario chiefs’ decision in June 2014 to organize their own inquiry into the tragedy. The fundraising aspect of Who Is She will raise money towards an aboriginal-run inquiry, but there is not yet a set financial goal or timeline, Hare said.

“We don’t want to put a dollar figure on it,” Hare said. “It’s something we’re starting as First Nations because nobody else is doing it.”

Hare acknowledges that an inquiry is an expensive undertaking, but said the Ontario chiefs believe Who Is She is a good starting point and a necessary step.

“There’s so much finger pointing, who’s responsible and who’s doing what. Enough of that,” Hare said. “It’s time to do something.”

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne gave the keynote speech at Wednesday’s campaign announcement along with Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer. Ontario First Nations have the support of the provincial government, Ontario police, and other aboriginal groups in this campaign, Hare said.

“I think any efforts we have to move towards an inquiry, to move towards addressing this crisis and resolving this situation are really, really important,” Dawn Memee Harvard, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, told Yahoo Canada News. “We can’t afford to have any more families in crisis, any more of our sisters go missing, while the federal government sits back and does nothing.”

According to an RCMP report released in June, 1,181 women and girls identified as indigenous were murdered between 1980 and 2012 with another 174 missing.

An updated study released by the RCMP in June found that there are 1,181 female aboriginal homicide victims known to Canadian police between 1980 and 2014, and 174 missing women.

Several national and international organizations, including Amnesty International and the United Nations, have also called for an inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has said that his government will not call an official inquiry. Multiple past studies into missing and murdered aboriginal women, along with crime prevention measures and other program, are sufficient, Harper has said.

An NDP government would call an official inquiry within the first 100 days of its term, Leader Tom Mulcair has promised. And Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he would also call an inquiry if he becomes prime minister.

The Who Is She website will include photos of missing aboriginal women, along with messages from their family members. The Ontario First Nations hope that relatives of missing and murdered aboriginal women will be at future Who Is She events and be involved with the campaign, Hare said.

“We want them to work with us and to speak out,” he said. “And for everybody to hear what’s going on here.”

Hare said he would also welcome the participation of other First Nations across North America or their own efforts towards a similar goal.