Canada and its politics
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Canada and its politics
What Canadians think about politics and their (Non Westminster) Parliament
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Former PMO Lawyer Contradicts Harper On Duffy Scandal

Former PMO Lawyer Contradicts Harper On Duffy Scandal | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
CP

OTTAWA — Stephen Harper's top aide and election director Ray Novak boomeranged back into the centre of the Mike Duffy coverup scandal, as the testimony of a former PMO lawyer directly contradicted the Conservative election campaign.

For the past several days, Harper and his team have rejected evidence that suggested current chief of staff Novak was privy to his predecessor Nigel Wright's secret repayment of Sen. Duffy's contested expenses in 2013.
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Corporations owe Alberta $1.1B in unpaid taxes

Corporations owe Alberta $1.1B in unpaid taxes | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
One of only two provinces that do not contract with Canada Revenue Agency to collect corporate taxes, Alberta spent $34 million last year to collect $5.6 billion in corporate taxes.

While running its own administration meant Alberta got to keep about $230 million in interest and penalties it collected last year, it also means the province has to assume the risk if taxes assessed go unpaid and ultimately have to be written off.

Via Jody MacPherson, Jocelyn Stoller
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Jody MacPherson's curator insight, July 17, 2015 1:09 AM

"One of only two provinces that do not contract with Canada Revenue Agency to collect corporate taxes, Alberta spent $34 million last year to collect $5.6 billion in corporate taxes.

While running its own administration meant Alberta got to keep about $230 million in interest and penalties it collected last year, it also means the province has to assume the risk if taxes assessed go unpaid and ultimately have to be written off."

 

 

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In Stephen Harper's dystopian Canada, Big Brother is the PM

In Stephen Harper's dystopian Canada, Big Brother is the PM | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
Stephen Harper might not have studied the society in George Orwell’s classic, 1984. He prefers to read just about politics – or hockey – we're told.

So it may simply be a coincidence that since the Conservatives won their majority, Harper has been acting a lot like Big Brother.

Titles like “The Fair Elections Act” and the “Jobs, Growth and Long Term Prosperity Act” reek of “newspeak”, the manufactured language in Orwell’s dark and pessimistic novel.

Orwell laid out a dystopian world of endless and invasive propaganda, and rigid control of all personal behaviours by a central government which distracts its citizens from their dreary lives of subjugation with fabricated news of conflicts with two other far-away world powers.

Stephen Harper is relentlessly – he likes to say "incrementally" – trying to move Canadian society towards a pattern of 1984-like dreariness, in which nation states are reported to be in constant far-away conflict with one another, and the actions of ordinary citizens at home are shaped by a central authority, which strictly regulates the flow of information – who gets to learn about what.
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Why is Joe Oliver seeking economic advice from a scandal-plagued corporate honcho?

Why is Joe Oliver seeking economic advice from a scandal-plagued corporate honcho? | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
s Canada’s finance minister, Joe Oliver, seeking economic advice from a scandal-plagued corporate honcho?

Oliver, who is also MP for the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, can’t be a happy man these days: Canada has slipped into recession again, blowing a hole in his hopes of balancing the government’s budget for the first time since 2007.

But Oliver’s mishandling of the economy might not be a surprise given the quality of the some of the people he relies on for advice – such as Rebecca MacDonald, founder and executive chair of Just Energy Group Inc., a $3.9-billion Toronto-based energy marketing company. Oliver appointed MacDonald to his Economic Advisory Council last summer.

MacDonald was in the news last month after Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. made her the head of its corporate governance committee. MacDonald has been on CP Rail’s board for the past three years.

Yet MacDonald is also a highly controversial figure within the business world, overseeing a company that is regularly pilloried for its unethical behaviour. “I am baffled by both the Oliver appointment and the (CP Rail) governance position,” says Dr. Al Rosen, one of Canada’s leading forensic accountants who’s investigated Just Energy and MacDonald.

In fact, charges of consumer fraud, unscrupulous sales tactics, multi-million dollar fines, and allegations of fabricating credentials have plagued both MacDonald and Just Energy for years. This past winter, for example, Massachusetts forced a (US) $4-million settlement out of the company over its sales methods, specifically over making false representations to customer. “We allege this… supplier engaged in widespread and misleading conduct that lured consumers into costly contracts in the form of high electricity rates and termination fees,” said the state’s attorney general, Martha Coakley, when the settlement was announced.
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May: For Veterans, 'We Need To Do More Than Wrap Ourselves In The Flag'

May: For Veterans, 'We Need To Do More Than Wrap Ourselves In The Flag' | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
NANAIMO, B.C. — The federal Green party is calling for a better deal for injured veterans and RCMP officers.

Green Leader Elizabeth May wants increased funding for former soldiers in need and the reopening of recently closed Veterans Affairs offices.

May is pressing for an end to lump-sum — as opposed to ongoing — payments for injured veterans.

She also advocates funding to ensure any veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who wants a service dog will have access to one.

The party says service dogs reduce PTSD in a majority of cases, comparing favourably to pharmaceutical approaches.

The Greens say they will be a strong partner in pushing for the changes in what many expect will be a minority Parliament after the Oct. 19 election.

"Our veterans, our military — people who put their lives on the line — deserve our support," May told a news conference. "And we need to do more than wrap ourselves in the flag."
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Harper's Wright hand flops in court

Harper's Wright hand flops in court | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
Donald Bayne, lawyer for disgraced Senator Mike Duffy, wasted no time with the prosecution’s star witness, Nigel Wright, on Thursday.

Eschewing the rote introductory pleasantries lawyers use to anesthetize witnesses, Bayne commenced his surgical cross-examination with dispatch and a hacksaw. Within minutes Wright's calm self-assurance gave way to an expression of consternation. With few moments of light-hearted relief, his furrowed brow remained fixedly in place for the rest of the day.

It was remarkable to see how quickly and effectively Bayne got under Wright’s skin.

Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff now has one objective: survive.
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How Gov't Shares Revenues With Provinces Not Important Now: Harper

How Gov't Shares Revenues With Provinces Not Important Now: Harper | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
PENSE, Sask. — The question of how the federal government shares revenues between well-to-do and more needy provinces is not all that important in the election campaign, Stephen Harper said Thursday.

The Conservative leader brushed aside a question about the equalization formula that Ottawa uses to help have-not provinces pay for services that wealthier provinces can more easily cover.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has expressed frustration with the formula, saying it doesn't easily take into account the changes in resource prices, such as oil and hydro, making it years behind the times.
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Veterans declare war on Harper

Veterans declare war on Harper | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
Ronald Clarke still remembers seeing dead bodies stacked up like cordwood awaiting burial in a Vietnamese mass grave.

“I was deployed with a Canadian contingent. We were there to monitor the so-called ceasefire. While there, we lost one officer who was shot down and we had two officers taken prisoner and held for over a month,” said Clarke.

Today Clarke, who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving more than 35 years in the army, is fighting another battle – to throw Stephen Harper out of office come Oct. 19. Clarke is angered by cuts to vital services that have left some former service people struggling.

The Anyone But Conservative (ABC) Canadian Veterans Campaign 2015 will be targeting swing ridings as well as areas with military bases. The campaign will be launching an Indiegogo fundraiser to garner donations. Already, the group is drawing support on Facebook through a page that now has roughly 10,000 ‘likes.'

“What’s happening on the Facebook campaign is out of this world support,” said Clarke, who served as ABC’s former chair.
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Harper Denies He Told Wright He Was 'Good To Go' With Duffy Cheque

Harper Denies He Told Wright He Was 'Good To Go' With Duffy Cheque | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
onservative Leader Stephen Harper is denying he told his former chief of staff Nigel Wright he was “good to go” with a $90,000 payment to embattled senator Mike Duffy.

Harper, who was campaigning in Ottawa Sunday, was asked about Duffy’s fraud, breach of trust and bribery trial resuming this week.

Wright, who has been called as a witness for the prosecution, is scheduled to take the stand Wednesday. The former chief of staff had tried to negotiate the repayment of Duffy’s inappropropriate housing and living expense claims with the senator and his lawyer. Court documents suggest Wright initially tried to get the Conservative party to repay Duffy’s expenses. But when the claims proved too expensive, Wright dug into his own pockets to write Duffy a cheque to repay the Senate for his claims.

In an email on Feb. 22, 2013, Wright writes to Benjamin Perrin, the prime minister’s lawyer, that he now has the “go-ahead” to keep Duffy “whole on the situation.” But Wright doesn’t say who gave him the final go-ahead.
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Birds are dying at an oil sands site in Canada

Birds are dying at an oil sands site in Canada | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
(Reuters) - Alberta's energy regulator said on Saturday it is investigating reports that about 30 blue herons have died at a Syncrude Canada oil sands mine site in the northern part of the Canadian province.

The Alberta Energy Regulator said it sent investigators to the Syncrude Canada Mildred Lake site, which is about 40 km (25 miles) north of Fort McMurray.

In 2010, Syncrude was fined C$3 million ($2.29 million) for negligence in the 2008 deaths of 1,600 ducks in a toxic waste pond, a case that fueled international concern about the environmental impact of developing Canada's oil sands.
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Mulcair: I'll Only Show Up To TV Debate If Harper Does Too

Mulcair: I'll Only Show Up To TV Debate If Harper Does Too | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
The NDP announced Friday Thomas Mulcair will not participate in a broadcast consortium debate without Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The party issued a statement saying the party will continue to consider leaders’ debate proposals — but under a new set of conditions.
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Confrontation escalates as LNG battles First Nations for land access

Confrontation escalates as LNG battles First Nations for land access | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
A month after the B.C. government conditionally approved a liquefied natural gas project led by Royal Dutch Shell in Kitimat, the Unist’ot’en Camp has reported escalating confrontations as RCMP and the LNG industry seek access to its unceded territory.

In recent days supporters of the Unist’ot’en Camp have uploaded three videos showing clashes with RCMP and pipeline officials.

The latest recording, posted on July 26, shows TransCanada employees for the Shell project arriving in the area by helicopter. They were soon grounded by supporters who stood in the path of the rotor blades:
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Garneau: Tories' Economic Record Ruined

OTTAWA — Liberal MP Marc Garneau says the Conservative record as good managers of the economy is in tatters in the run-up to the federal election.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that the economy shrank in May, marking five consecutive months of decline in the gross domestic product.

If the trend holds true in June, Canada would earn the label of being in a technical recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
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8 Things We Learned Monday At The Duffy Trial

8 Things We Learned Monday At The Duffy Trial | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, was in the witness box for the fourth day Monday. Under intense cross-examination from Mike Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, Wright revealed several interesting and significant details.

Duffy, the former broadcaster and Conservative senator from Prince Edward Island, has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges, including multiple counts of fraud and breach of trust, and one count of bribery. Most of the charges are related to claims for secondary housing expenses related to his home in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata. But some of the charges relate to travel and contracts that are unrelated to Wright’s testimony.

Here are eight things we learned on Monday:
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Under fire over Duffy, Harper clings to Conservative campaign message

Under fire over Duffy, Harper clings to Conservative campaign message | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
OTTAWA — Questioned relentlessly at every campaign stop about the fallout from the Mike Duffy trial, Stephen Harper is refusing to be knocked off his double-barreled core campaign message: economy and security.

The Conservative leader is stressing the latter at a stop in Fredericton, N.B., where he is promising to add 6,000 people to bolster the reserve ranks of the Canadian Forces reserves.

Harper says the measure will cost $163 million over three years and $63.4 million going forward once the overall target of 30,000 personnel is reached.

His main opponents, meanwhile, want heads to roll over the Duffy affair. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wants staffers in the Prime Minister's Office fired; NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says it's Harper who should be turfed.

But the prime minister says the two people to blame are Duffy and Nigel Wright, Harper's former chief of staff, the star witness at Duffy's trial and the man who personally paid the embattled senator's questioned expenses.

Harper — ignoring evidence that indicates a number of PMO staffers were aware of the arrangement — says Duffy and Wright were the two principal players and are the ones being held accountable.
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malek's comment, August 17, 2015 7:01 PM
Corruption is a necessary evil, read'm & weep http://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2014/11/24/is-corporate-corruption-a-necessary-evil/
pdeppisch's comment, August 17, 2015 7:21 PM
Yup - lie in the fast lane - cheating and corruption gave those that did an evolutionary advantage. It is part of the human genome. :)
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Your lie-detector guide to the latest PMO spin

Your lie-detector guide to the latest PMO spin | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
Previous story

If lying were an Olympic sport, Canada's PMO would be the Jamaican bobsled team. They’re really bad, but it's great TV.

The PMO's culture of casual lying made possible by tightly controlled media access is withering under the relentless onslaught of Donald Bayne's cross-examination. As a former criminal prosecutor who watched the last three days of Nigel Wright's testimony at the Duffy trial in person, I find hard to envision a way out now for the government. Nigel Wright's best moments in the witness stand are far behind him, and by my estimation he's not even half-way through.
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Feds Delaying Gun-Marking Rules Intended To Help Police

Feds Delaying Gun-Marking Rules Intended To Help Police | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
OTTAWA — The federal government is delaying implementation of regulations intended to help police trace crime guns — the seventh time it has put off the measures.

Just days before the federal election call, the government quietly published a notice deferring the firearm marking regulations until June 1, 2017.

The measures would require specific, identifiable markings be stamped on firearms. They had been slated to take effect Dec. 1 of this year.
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Duffy Trial Focuses On Harper's Current Chief Of Staff, Ray Novak

Duffy Trial Focuses On Harper's Current Chief Of Staff, Ray Novak | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
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OTTAWA — Ray Novak, Stephen Harper's current chief of staff and a key member of the Conservative campaign team, has been dragged into Mike Duffy's criminal trial.

Nigel Wright, the prime minister's former right-hand man, is back for a second day of cross-examination by Duffy's lawyer, Donald Bayne.

Novak replaced Wright as chief of staff after it became public that Wright had given Duffy $90,000 of his own money to pay back disallowed housing and travel expenses.

As he walked to the courthouse, Wright was under siege from reporters wanting to know if Novak was aware of the $90,000 payment, but he did not respond.
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Call a truce in the war on drugs

Call a truce in the war on drugs | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
Crack down on drug labs, put heroin users at unnecessary risk and maintain strict prohibition of cannabis. These are the core values of the Conservatives’ recently announced drug policies set to be enacted if they are re-elected. This tough-on-drugs message is as outdated as it is uninformed by the scientific evidence.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is adamant that cannabis should remain an illegal drug because he believes it to be very dangerous. The science says otherwise, and we know that there are very limited dangers associated with cannabis. As a society we are well versed in taxing, regulating and educating the public about all manner of substances found to be far more dangerous than cannabis.

It is time to acknowledge the scientific evidence and enact cannabis policies appropriate to its risks. Even the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police wants to see cannabis decriminalized, but Mr. Harper has ignored their proposal. We cut smoking rates through public education, not prohibition.

Mr. Harper also claims that the regulation of cannabis in Colorado, and decriminalization of drugs in Portugal, has had disastrous results. This is simply not the case. While there was an unsurprising increase in the number of individuals of all ages using cannabis after legalization in Colorado, the use of other drugs continued to decline, tax revenue streamed in and crime rates fell.
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Nigel Wright's Testimony Is Insulting to Canadians

Nigel Wright's Testimony Is Insulting to Canadians | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
"I had an obligation to fulfill my end of the arrangement with him (Duffy). I couldn't think of another way of doing it."

Is anyone else profoundly insulted and deeply offended by this self-effacing statement from Nigel Wright as to why he forked over $90,000 of his own money, in secret, to pay Mike Duffy's debts?

Oh, wait a minute! On Thursday in court, Wright quoted the bible as justification for his charity: "My view is it was I was helping out, I was doing a good deed and sort of Matthew 6, right?"

What's next? A request for a papal indulgence?
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Revealed: Canadian government spent millions on secret tar sands advocacy

Revealed: Canadian government spent millions on secret tar sands advocacy | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
Canada’s Conservative government spent several million dollars on a tar sands advocacy fund as its push to export the oil faltered, documents reveal.

In its 2013 budget, the government invested $30 million over two years on public relations advertising and domestic and international “outreach activities” to promote Alberta’s tar sands.

The outreach activities, which cost $4.5 million and were never publicly disclosed, included efforts to “advance energy literacy amongst BC First Nations communities.”

The Harper government has been trying to ship tar sands to the British Columbia coast via two pipelines, Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan, which scores of First Nations communities have pledged to block because of environmental and economic concerns.

With Canada’s federal election in full swing, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been on the defensive over his backing of the tar sands, which have derailed the country’s emissions reduction targets and, since the crash of oil prices, destabilized its economy.
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'My Prime Minister Embarrasses Me' Tote Bags Sell Out

'My Prime Minister Embarrasses Me' Tote Bags Sell Out | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's politics have inspired two Toronto-based artists to sell out ... of tote bags.

Pascal Paquette and writer-curator Ellyn Walker designed a bilingual "My Prime Minister Embarrasses Me" tote bag to raise attention to a list of grievances they have with Harper's leadership. They say Harper has embarrassed Canada with his handling of multiple issues, ranging from missing and murdered indigenous women to Bill C-51.

“Instead of a simple usual Facebook post, we decided to do something more artistic about it,” said Paquette, in an interview with Metro. “If [Harper] changed and became a better leader, that would be a double bonus.”
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Cry me a tailings pond, Canada

Cry me a tailings pond, Canada | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
The United States has its Clean Power Plan. Canada has the tar sands.

That sums up the difference between the two countries when it comes to dealing with climate change.

The Clean Power Plan that U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled on Monday puts the Americans on track to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 32 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

“If you compare that to Canada, at the federal level there’s been essentially an absence of a climate plan,” according to Anthony Swift, the director of the Canada Project for the U.S.-based National Resources Defence Council.

Obama's announcement Monday highlighted the clashing approaches toward climate change between the U.S. and Canada.

Instead of concentrating on reducing emissions, the Canadian government has spent more time lobbying the U.S. to allow the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport heavy crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast.

Swift says that many of Canada’s sectors have seen declines in emissions and that without the tar sands the country would be on track to meet its Copenhagen commitments. “But what’s happening is the expanded tar sands sector is swamping all other progress being made elsewhere in the country.”
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With NDP In Lead, Why Are The Tories Still Targeting Trudeau?

With NDP In Lead, Why Are The Tories Still Targeting Trudeau? | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
OTTAWA — For more than two months now, the NDP has been topping public opinion surveys. So why are the Conservatives spending their money attacking third-place Liberal leader Justin Trudeau?

The answer lies in the numbers.

Despite the NDP’s current glow in public opinion surveys, the Tories still firmly believe Trudeau’s Liberals are their main opponents, and they want to drive them down to numbers comparable to former leader Michael Ignatieff’s disastrous election-night showing.

Ignatieff plunged the Grits to their lowest support levels ever, 18.9 per cent and 34 seats, on May 2, 2011.

Several Conservatives sources, speaking to The Huffington Post Canada on condition of anonymity, suggested that the Tories want to drive Trudeau’s numbers down in the teens before they stop the on-air bombardment.
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Canada's Economy Shrinks For 5th Straight Month

Canada's Economy Shrinks For 5th Straight Month | Canada and its politics | Scoop.it
Canada's economic contraction accelerated in May, shrinking 0.2 per cent on the month, Statistics Canada said Friday.

That marks the fifth straight month that the economy has shrunk, with every month since the start of the year registering a negative number. The rate of decline in May was twice that in April, when the economy shrank 0.1 per cent.

The numbers make it almost inevitable that Canada fell into recession in the first half of the year. The economy would have to show a massive bounce-back in the data for June in order to avoid two consecutive quarters of contraction, the technical definition of a recession.
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