Is Canada a failed state?
Posted: 08 February 2014 05:11 PM   [ Ignore ]
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At the same time the Canadian PM is doing everything he can to shove things like the oil sands project on the rest of world we’re dealing with an acute democratic deficit here.

The latest and in many way ugliest episode in this sad farce is the “Fair” Elections Act the conservatives are going to be ramming through Parliament. They claim to have consulted with our Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand, but here’s what he has to say about the bill.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/election-reform-bill-an-affront-to-democracy-marc-mayrand-says-1.2527635

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio’s The House, Mayrand said “my reading of the act is that I can no longer speak about democracy in this country.”

“I’m not aware of any electoral bodies around the world who can not talk about democracy,” Mayrand told host Evan Solomon.

It will prevent Elections Canada from doing anything more than parroting the governments position on elections from the sounds of it.

Elections Canada would be forbidden from launching ad campaigns encouraging Canadians to vote. Surveys and research would be forbidden under the new bill, Mayrand said.

“Most of the research will no longer be published because these are communications to the public.”

The chief electoral officer and the commissioner of Canada elections would also no longer be allowed to publish their reports, Mayrand said.

“These reports will no longer be available. In fact, not only not available. I don’t think it will be done at all.”

The leader of the opposition is calling the conservatives serial cheaters and there’s more than enough evidence to back that up.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/tom-mulcair-wary-of-election-reforms-proposed-by-serial-cheaters-1.2524149

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says his party will move to send the government’s proposed election law reforms to committee before the first vote in the House of Commons, accusing the Conservatives of being “serial cheaters” with ulterior motives.

Election reforms on Wednesdays with Kady
Mulcair said if the bill is true to its name — the Fair Elections Act — then the government should accept the party’s offer to have experts look at the bill and testify in front of committee along with Canadians.

But, he said, if “this is mostly about making life easier for the Conservatives, who are serial cheaters in federal general elections,” then he expects the government to limit debate in the House and rush through the proposed law.

“I am quite concerned that this is the first offering of a government and a party, again, with a track record — proven — of constantly cheating in elections,” Mulcair said.

Some of the illegal election activity by the conservatives so far has included:

In-and-out campaign financing in 2006 when they got their first minority government.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_and_Out_scandal

In the last election when the conservatives “won” a majority there was extensive use of illegal robocalls to voters identified as non-supporters in a confidential party compiled list that affected over 100 ridings across the country that directed them to non-existent polling stations. It’s not known how many voters didn’t cast their ballots as a result.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocall_scandal

There has also been a suppression of the media, one of the first steps that Stephen Harper took as PM was to notify the press they would not have reasonable access to he or his ministers. Instead they were required to provide a list of questions that he would answer as he felt.

Another first step Harper took as PM was to bring a newly elected Liberal MP into his caucus and cabinet.

There have also been cases of conservative MPs trying to cut out opposition MPs in neighbouring ridings by appointing go-to people to prevent MPs from exercising their mandates.

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=6f618597-118a-4306-8bce-13d8c924cb24

An aggressive Conservative plan has bestowed a group of British Columbians with a representative from the governing party before they’ve voted one in.

Houston Mayor Sharon Smith has been appointed “government go-to person” for the NDP-held riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley by the federal Conservative caucus chair for B.C., Dick Harris.

The MP for Cariboo-Prince George justifies his action with some pretty blunt opinions about how government really works in this country.

He says that, realistically, it’s not possible for Nathan Cullen, the elected New Democrat representing Skeena, to access government services on behalf of his constituents in the manner that an MP of Conservative stripe would be able to.

Throwing in the waste bin the principles that make representative government in Canada function, Harris explained on a local radio show the other week: “To have access to the ministers, realistically, you have to be part of the government. You want to contact the Prime Minister’s Office or even the prime minister when you need to, it helps immensely to be part of the government.”

The PM has also repeatedly shut down Parliament to block actions that he felt threatened his power against the tradition if not the law of our system.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/proroguing-parliament-without-cause-canadians-want-it-banned/article13935119/

In December 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament to avoid a planned vote against his new minority government. It wasn’t a clear vote of non-confidence as some have claimed, but it was definitely a united challenge of the government by the three opposition parties. The opposition parties did not stay united, however, and the Conservatives’ minority government lasted another two-and-a-half years.

In December 2009, Prime Minister Harper prorogued Parliament again, claiming that he didn’t want to have the government in session during the Vancouver Winter Games in February, 2010. However, the prorogation also meant that a House of Commons committee’s hearings into the Afghan detainee scandal were delayed for a few months.

Protest has a long tradition in this country and supposedly we have the right of peaceful assembly, but under this government protesters risk life and limb if they oppose the government due to the use of undercover police as agent provacateurs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St1-WTc1kow

http://www.thestar.com/news/2007/08/21/police_accused_of_using_provocateurs_at_summit.html

Protesters are accusing police of using undercover agents to provoke violent confrontations at the North American leaders’ summit in Montebello, Que.

Such accusations have been made before after similar demonstrations but this time the alleged “agents provocateurs” have been caught on camera.

A video, posted on YouTube, shows three young men, their faces masked by bandannas, mingling Monday with protesters in front of a line of police in riot gear. At least one of the masked men is holding a rock in his hand.
The three are confronted by protest organizer Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. Coles makes it clear the masked men are not welcome among his group of protesters, whom he describes as mainly grandparents. He urges them to leave and find their own protest location.

The Canadian government also likely did the same thing on a much greater scale in Toronto and violated citizens rights to peacefully protest.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/16/police-violated-civil-rights-acted-illegally-says-scathing-report-on-g20-summit/

Police violated civil rights, detained people illegally, and used excessive force during the G20 summit two years ago, a new report concludes.

The report by Ontario’s independent police watchdog also blasts the temporary detention centre that Toronto police set up for its poor planning, design and operation that saw people detained illegally.


The Office of the Independent Police Review Director found police breached several constitutional rights during the tumultuous event, in which more than 1,100 people were arrested, most to be released without charge.

“Some police officers ignored basic rights citizens have under the Charter and overstepped their authority when they stopped and searched people arbitrarily and without legal justification,” the report states.

It was also revealed that early on the conservative government generated a 200 page memo to be used by its MPs to sabotage and prevent the normal functioning of Parliament which has resulted in the country being run out of the Prime Ministers Office.

Even some conservative MPs have quit the party in disgust, one claiming they’re being used as “trained seals” by the PMO.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conservative-mps-used-like-trained-seals-rathgeber-says-1.1314736

Alberta MP Brent Rathgeber said he has left the Conservative caucus in part because of the control Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office exercises over backbench MPs, which was preventing him from representing his constituents.

The former Tory MP, who announced he was quitting late Wednesday night to sit as an Independent, said staff in Harper’s office — who are “half my age” — pressure the caucus to obey their talking points and vote “like trained seals.”

“When you have a PMO that tightly scripts its backbenches like this one attempts to do, MPs don’t represent their constituents in Ottawa, they represent the government to their constituents,” he told reporters.

Rathgeber spoke bluntly about his former party and the influence the PMO has when he held a news conference in his Edmonton riding Thursday.

Another conservative MP is trying to pass a bill that will limit his own leaders power.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conservative-mp-michael-chong-makes-bid-to-fix-parliament-1.2448922

Conservative MP Michael Chong today tabled the proposed reform act, a private member’s bill intended to restore a system of checks and balances that would shift some power away from party leaders towards members of Parliament and their party caucuses.

“The reform act is an effort to strengthen Canada’s democratic institutions by restoring power and the role of elected members of Parliament in the House of Commons,” Chong told reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday morning.

Under this bill, Chong said, MPs would be able to better represent the people who voted for them.

There’s much more going on here, but I think you get the idea.

Given all this, can Canada which is supposed to be a constitutional monarchy run by an elected Parliament, be considered a failed state?

[ Edited: 08 February 2014 05:15 PM by Fuzzy Logic ]
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Posted: 08 February 2014 06:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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In short, I would say no, it’s not. Things will have to deteriorate much further before Canada can be called a failed state.

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Posted: 21 February 2014 03:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I have lived in Canada for 58 years and have seen both Liberal and Conservative federal governments come and go.  Harper’s has been one of the more successful ones on many fronts.  For example, as an economist, he has been instrumental in helping us avoid the kind of economic woes that many countries around the world have experienced in the last eight years.

Believe me.  Democracy is alive and well here.

The UN consistently places Canada in the top five of best countries in the world in which to live—in spite of our winters!!!

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Posted: 23 February 2014 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Overcomer - 21 February 2014 03:19 PM

I have lived in Canada for 58 years and have seen both Liberal and Conservative federal governments come and go.  Harper’s has been one of the more successful ones on many fronts.  For example, as an economist, he has been instrumental in helping us avoid the kind of economic woes that many countries around the world have experienced in the last eight years.

Believe me.  Democracy is alive and well here.

The UN consistently places Canada in the top five of best countries in the world in which to live—in spite of our winters!!!

Most of our economic future is based on a massive project that any sane person would see as obviously unsustainable, how is that good economics?

Going into the 2008 election the conservative government promised no major deficit spending, a few months later they introduced the biggest deficit in Canadian history, the Harper government isn’t able to forecast even a few months ahead of time.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2009/05/27/deficit_a_record_50b_as_economy_weakens.html

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s revelation that the federal budget deficit is beyond $50 billion has deepened opposition impatience over the Harper government’s handling of the economy.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s startling revelation that the federal budget deficit has skyrocketed beyond $50 billion has deepened opposition impatience over the Harper government’s handling of the economy and the country’s crumbling finances.

“This is a shocking number,” said Liberal MP John McCallum. “It is higher than I think anybody had predicted. This is by far the highest deficit ever in Canadian history – under their watch.”

Billions of dollars went out in stimulus spending, most of it with poor accountability and most to conservative ridings even at a time when they were in a minority, once again, how is that being economical responsible?

http://www.canadiangovernmentexecutive.ca/category/item/372-stimulus-spending-and-online-oversight-how-the-us-trumps-canada.html

The serious subject matter here: Canada’s stimulus spending, transparency and accountability, and the embarrassing canyon that separates the innovative effort on the part of the Obama administration to ensure disclosure and oversight, versus the comedy show that has been playing itself out in this country. If not for a global pandemic, organized crime controlling Montreal, and the Olympic torch relay, people might actually be paying attention.

Stephen Harper has failed in his pledge to bring greater transparency and accountability to government as he promised in 2006, he’s acted in an autocratic fashion to concentrate power in the PMO to an extent never seen before in this nation. His officers in the PMO act aggressively to circumvent any institutional oversight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Senate_expenses_scandal

In what sense is he or his government a success, except in a limited zero sum game sense?

[ Edited: 23 February 2014 04:15 PM by Fuzzy Logic ]
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Posted: 23 February 2014 11:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Overcomer - 21 February 2014 03:19 PM

For example, as an economist, he has been instrumental in helping us avoid the kind of economic woes that many countries around the world have experienced in the last eight years.

I thought that had to do with Canada’s way more conservative banking practices?
You know, that they basically avoided many stupid mistakes greedier banking nations were making, thus avoiding the POP of the bubble.

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Posted: 24 February 2014 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 23 February 2014 11:09 PM

I thought that had to do with Canada’s way more conservative banking practices?
You know, that they basically avoided many stupid mistakes greedier banking nations were making, thus avoiding the POP of the bubble.

Yup.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/ban-on-bank-mergers-helped-canada-withstand-crash-imf-says/article4600686/

Then Liberal finance minister Paul Martin rejected two huge mergers in the late 1990s – RBC with BMO, and CIBC with TD - and nothing has changed since despite the ascension of the Conservatives.

Mr. Martin killed the proposed mergers on grounds that there would be too much power in the hands of too few banks, reduced competition, and troubles for the government when problems arose.

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Posted: 10 March 2014 05:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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It really does seem as if the conservatives Fair Elections act is ironically titled.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/03/07/andrew-coyne-the-tories-were-right-to-be-nervous-marc-mayrand-shredded-their-fair-elections-act-almost-line-by-line/

But then, the speed and secrecy are understandable, in a way, since the closer one reads the bill, the worse it looks. It is not that the bill is all bad: some provisions, such as the limits on bequests to political parties or the stiffer penalties for election fraud, are quite welcome. But good or bad, what is true of every part of the bill is that it furthers the interests of the parties in general, and of the Conservative party in particular.

Marc Mayrand also discusses how the conservative governments lack of cooperation on the robocalls scandal has delayed any justice.

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Posted: 27 March 2014 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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It does appear that the conservative government here is trying to pass an elections reform bill that will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/amend-election-reform-bill-or-kill-it-harry-neufeld-says-1.2588450

Harry Neufeld, the author of the report often cited by government officials to support its proposed changes to Canadian election laws, says the government has to amend its election reform bill or kill it.

The elections expert also fears half a million people could be disenfranchised based on changes included in the Conservative government’s Bill C-23, he told reporters following his appearance before the procedure and House affairs committee Thursday.

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Posted: 03 April 2014 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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What the former Auditor General, Sheila Fraser has to say about the so-called Fair Elections Act the conservative government wants to force on us here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/04/03/sheila-fraser-fair-elections-act_n_5081865.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics

“Elections are the base of our democracy and if we do not have truly a fair electoral process and one that can be managed well by a truly independent body, it really is an attack on our democracy and we should all be concerned about that,” Fraser said in an interview.

“When you look at the people who may not be able to vote, when you look at the limitations that are being put on the chief electoral officer, when you see the difficulties, just the operational difficulties that are going to be created in all this, I think it’s going to be very difficult to have a fair, a truly fair, election.”

The Harper government has so far been impervious to the near-universal condemnation of the bill by federal and provincial elections watchdogs, academics and electoral experts at home and abroad.

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