Updated throughout the day when so moved...
Student Vote: A project by Elections Canada to improve understanding of and participation in our democracy. Aussi en francais.
Harper doesn't like students, Canadians: Note to Elections Canada, you might want to speak to your current boss about his lack of interest in participatory democracy, you know, that concept you are trying to promote?
Tweet of the day: @fitzmoCBC Duceppe says Harper should have invited Carson to a #CPC rally - then he would have been screened. #elxn11
AG Report on Toronto G8/G20: Today would have been the day Canada's Auditor General Sheila Fraser was due to release her department's report on the +1 billion dollar G8/G20 meeting last year in Toronto and area. Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe have called on the Harper government to release the report.
Many Canadians felt the government overstepped not just in spending but in restricting our fundamental liberties. It would not take much reminding to refresh the memories of Canadians of painful images captured then. Personally I think those stories are far more powerful than the discussion of wasteful fake lakes. Many Canadians felt we were a lesser country as a result of the police actions during those meetings.
The Auditor General reports to Parliament and since the house isn't sitting, the A.G. cannot release the report. However the Prime Minister's Office does have an advance copy of the report and nothing limit's Stephen Harper from releasing this report and indeed he would if it were in his political interest to do so. Does anyone want to bet a nickel that the report is unfavourable to the Harper government? Still, we can ask. Everyone should demand that the report be released by the PMO. Release the report. Release the report!
This report is germane to this election and matters. What kind of Canada do you want?
Why won't Harper release the report? Why won't he? Is he.... chicken?
CBC Question of the Day: Will the discrepancy in costs for the F-35 jets purchase affect how you vote?
Stephen Harper's plan to spend billions on fighter jets gets labelled a fantasy, again. I'll tell you what I'm fed up with in this campaign... I'm fed up with being lied to. The F35-A purchase is an excellent case in point. Here's an editorialized (but accurate) chronological portrayal of the past week depicting what Conservatives have said about the F-35A purchase program and what the U.S.'s own watch dog, and people running the program, have said:
- Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay, Grumpy Laurie Hawn, and a host of others: F-35A aircraft will cost $75 million each, not the 100 million plus those coalition bastards claim they'll cost. Trust us.
- Parliamentary Budget Officer of Canada: No, the Harper government is blowing smoke. The Joint Strike Fighter will cost far more than $75 million each; they will cost more than 100 million - close to $130 million each in fact.
- Grumpy Laurie Hawn and his bosses: No, they won't.
- U.S. Government Accounting Office: Yes, they will. As the watch dog over U.S. government spending we have much more information and the Harper government is blowing smoke.
- Delusional Laurie Hawn and his bosses Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper: No, they won't, we know better than the U.S. government watch dog who are intimately involved with every last dollar spent on the Joint Strike Fighter program unlike us here in tiny little Canada to the north.
- U.S. Vice Admiral actually in charge of the program: The F-35A will cost upwards of 120 million perhaps as much as 135 million each. By law I am not allowed to sell these aircraft or any military items to other countries at a price less than what the U.S. military pays. There is no way Canada could buy these aircraft for $75 million. End of story.
- Harper government: Na na nah na! (plug ears) We aren't listening to you! (farting noises)
Yup, Stephen Harper runs a government and party that has a clear handle on facts, truth, and numbers. For sure they should be given a majority! Not!
Ottawa's fighter-jet estimate "all hogwash," U.S. watchdog warns (April 5, 2011 - Campbell Clark, The Globe and Mail) The plan to buy F-35 Joint Strike Fighters will cost billions more than the $29-billion estimated by Canada's budget watchdog, a U.S. defence spending analyst says. "It's going to be significantly more. It's not going to be $1-billion more, it's going to be significantly more," said Winslow Wheeler, a defence-spending watchdog with the Washington-based Center for Defense Information. [...] "Ultimately," Mr. Wheeler predicted, "the cost of this airplane is going to be about $200-million per airplane."
Greenspon: F-35s: The wrong stuff for Canada (April 5, 2011 - Edward Greenspon, The Toronto Star) There are better ways for Canada to protect its northern regions and to make a meaningful contribution to the western alliance. [...] As for our responsibilities as part of an alliance, one has to get serious that sending a handful of "me-too" jets to a Libya or Kosovo is more a symbolic than substantive gesture.
The Tories are desperate to deep-six the detainees file (April 5, 2011 - Lawrence Martin, The Globe and Mail) The issue, we recall, turns on whether Canadian officials knowingly handed over prisoners for torture by Afghan authorities, a potential violation of the Geneva Conventions. Mr. Harper's government steadfastly refused to provide documents on the matter, but were ordered to do so a year ago by Speaker Peter Milliken. A special committee was then appointed to make sure any released materials wouldn't compromise national security. Bryon Wilfert, a Liberal member of the committee, said Monday that a swath of documents are to be made public by mid-campaign. But he suspects Team Harper might pull a fast one, such as a court appeal to delay a process that has already been long delayed. In fact, the Conservatives have just done this very thing in a bid to thwart another avenue of disclosure.
Strong leaders don't hide from young voters (April 5, 2011 - Matt Gurney, National Post) During a stop last Sunday in London, a 19-year-old political science student at the nearby University of Western Ontario, Awish Aslam, joined a Conservative rally where the Prime Minister was to speak. She registered online (as did a friend who accompanied her) and upon arrival, signed in and went inside. After 30 minutes or so inside the event, both women were approached by a man who asked them to follow him. He took their name tags, tore them up and escorted them out of the event.
Case of the Curious Conservative Campaign (April 5, 2011 - Bill Tieleman, TheTyee.ca) Inexplicably, they are going out of their way to alienate voters who have any environmental concerns about oil tankers off the British Columbia coast or climate change. And the Tories are using deplorable scare tactics about Tamil refugees in their television ads, despite Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's endless moves to court immigrant voters -- appearing in Vancouver-Kingsway riding last week to watch a Pakistan cricket match on TV, for example. [...] Vote for risk of coastal oil spills!
Liberals, NDP and Greens committed to banning oil tankers on B.C.'s north coast (April 5, 2011 - Dogwood Initiative) [...] only one major Canadian political party that will not ban tankers: the Conservatives. We're working hard to make sure voters know there are only two types of politicians in B.C.: those who are willing to risk a catastrophic oil spill and those who aren't.
NDP proposes help for family caregivers (April 5, 2011, CBC News) The series of initiatives would offer forgivable loans so family members can build secondary residences in their homes to care for senior family members. The NDP leader said a similar program has been done in Manitoba and under the federal plan, family caregivers could apply for forgivable loans to cover half the renovation costs associated with the secondary residence.
Former aide's criminal past dogs Harper on campaign trail (April 5, 2011 - National Post) When Mr. Harper was first asked Monday about the new revelations regarding Mr. Carson, he said he had only just learned of it and that the Privy Council Office, which does security checks, would have to "look at its systems to make sure these things get caught."
(Except that Carson disclosed his past to Harper's then Chief of Staff, Ian Brodie - not to some faceless RCMP screener. Who believes that Brodie did not brief his boss on this? Anyone? Anyone? Right, didn't think so.)
Sun burns CBC in bid to hype tabloid TV (April 4, 2011 - The Globe and Mail) Since the writ was dropped 10 days ago, the Sun chain of newspapers has run more than half a dozen articles accusing the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation of political bias, effectively running parallel commercial and ideological campaigns.
HST causes contortions for Conservative candidates in BC (April 5, 2011 - David Beers, TheTyee.ca) The Harmonized Sales Tax that caused a citizen's revolt and drove thrice-elected Premier Gordon Campbell to step down emanated from Stephen Harper's Conservative government. But a pair of Conservative candidates running in B.C. this election have danced around defending the tax.
Most Canadians want Elizabeth May at leaders' debate, poll shows (April 4, 2011 - The Globe and Mail) Nearly half - 48 per cent - of those surveyed over the past weekend by Nanos Research for The Globe and Mail said they support Ms. May's inclusion in the pair of televised faceoffs among party leaders scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday of next week. Another 13 per cent said they "somewhat support" allowing her to take part.
Federal Court judge denies Elizabeth May her bid to join leaders' debates (April 5, 2011 - The Canadian Press) Green party Leader Elizabeth May has lost in her a last-ditch effort to get in to the televised leaders' debates. Federal Court judge Marc Nadon has decided not to expedite the case before the first debate on Tuesday. The party says it will look at all options before deciding whether to pursue the case any further.