Today Canadians of every background, in every region and from every walk of life will come together with their family, friends and neighbours to celebrate our country’s 144th birthday.
OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada has launched the “We’re sorry!” campaign to apologize to the rest of the world for the Harper government’s action on asbestos.
OTTAWA – New Democrat Industry Critic Peter Julian called on the Conservative government to hold full, public and transparent consultations on the proposed takeover by the London Stock Exchange (LSE) of the TMX group, the owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).
“This deal as it stands now is not in the national interest,” said Julian. “If TMX shareholders approve this merger tomorrow, the federal government must step in and hold full public hearings. We need proper oversight of this deal so Canadians can have confidence that this will truly benefit Canada.”
Julian pointed out that the deal affects many provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, which have launched their own public hearings. They had heard warnings from stakeholders about diminished Canadian control over Canada’s largest stock exchange because the new board would have a minority of Canadian directors.
“Canada’s banking system weathered the global recession because of strong national regulations that kept it from falling prey to the risky practices of major US and UK banks,” said Julian. “Canada’s stock exchange needs to be seen as a strong national pillar of our financial system with systems in place to ensure continued Canadian control over the exchange.”
“While this particular deal is not in Canada’s best interests, New Democrats will always be willing to examine other proposals,” concluded Julian. “We must ensure that any proposal strikes a strategic balance between inviting foreign investment, protecting jobs and maintaining control over our economy.”
OTTAWA – New Democrats have taken their concerns about the sell-off of Canada’s nuclear crown corporation to a higher power—asking the Auditor General to perform a value-for-money audit before any deal is completed.
“One of Canada’s largest crown corporations is slated to be sold off in a single-bidder deal conducted in total secrecy,” said New Democrat Natural Resources Deputy Critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena–Bulkley Valley). “Canadians are rightly worried about getting their money’s worth, and that is why we’re asking the Auditor General to evaluate the proposed deal.”
The Conservative government has conducted a secretive process to sell the reactor division of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. Over the past two years, repeated delays and uncertainty about the process have harmed workers and businesses in Canada’s nuclear industry, and reduced those vying to buy the crown corporation to a single bidder.
“The government kept Canadians in the dark while they mishandled this process,” said Cullen. “There is no guarantee that the sale price will come anywhere close to what Canadians have spent on AECL even in the last few years. We are now facing the prospect that the corporation will be chopped into parts— devastating this high-tech industry, and evaporating the more than $20 billion Canadians have invested in AECL.”
New Democrats introduced a motion to eliminate measures in the 2010 omnibus budget bill that gave the Minister of Natural Resources powers to conduct sell-off proceedings without public scrutiny. That motion was defeated by the government, with support from the Liberals.
“This government refused any parliamentary oversight of the sale process,” said Cullen. “But Canadians deserve assurance that their interests are being served, and that is why we have written to the Auditor General requesting a value-for-money audit before the completion of any sell-off.”
Perhaps the most famous statement in Canadian history, in hindsight, turned out to be the biggest deception spoken in the House of Commons. This 1967 statement, “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation,” paved the way for then Justice Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill about a year later. The Omnibus Bill impacted Canadian Law in an unimaginable way, changing the entire fabric of Canadian culture.
As change was carried along by the charisma of this man, the dangerous waters he brought us into were overlooked.
A short 20 years later, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law as unconstitutional and sent it back to Parliament. “Cowardice in the House of Commons,” as Senator Ann Cools has called it, kept our MP’s cowering under the public glare of a “woman’s right to choose,” creating the horrific reality that the most dangerous place in our nation is now the mother’s womb.
Last week’s National Post article summarizes in part how that history unfolded:
The 1988 Morgentaler decision was the first big Charter case…. a five-judge majority of the Supreme Court, four men and one woman, decided that provisions of the Criminal Code regulating abortion, passed by Parliament almost 20 years earlier, were unconstitutional and of no effect. They expected that Parliament would fill the void they had created with new legislation, but Parliament failed to oblige. The result is that Canada has been left as the only Western country with no abortion laws of any sort. Both therapeutic and elective abortions are widely available, in the big cities at least. Many are paid for by provincial health plans.
Instead of returning to the status quo of 20 years prior, the Supreme Court ruling incredibly erased all protection for the unborn with the expectation that parliament would get on with doing its job. This never happened, and the unborn have been waiting vainly for over 23 years for protection. Over 100,000 babies continue to be killed every year in Canada, and, as I wrote only two weeks ago in my communiqué ‘Bloody Majority,’ this insanity must end!
Where is the outcry from Canadian churches? Their silence on the slaughter of the unborn is deafening. Can it be that they too are deaf to the silent cries of over 3.5 million Canadian babies?
As each new prime minister takes the helm of this great nation we expect him or her to have the courage and conviction to bring Canada back on course. Every captain requires a skilled navigator and unlike North Korea and China, the only other countries like Canada with no protection for the unborn at any stage of their development, we have the privilege of being provided with the best foundation this world can offer. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms identifies this truth in its opening statement, “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law”
Today, the Christian Heritage Party of Canada is the only federal political vehicle left available to prolife Canadians. Those who commit to supporting and joining our team can be guaranteed our party will continue to operate to the best of our ability for the protection of all Canadians under the direction of our Supreme Navigator—so help us God.
I am finally home again, freed from what
could be called “House arrest.”
Originally, the Parliamentary calendar
looked favourable for a Wednesday adjournment for St. Jean Baptiste Day. Instead, we adjourned on Saturday night
around 8:30 pm, after a marathon session that began with a “hoist” motion from
Jack Layton on Thursday evening.
In the strange and magical world of Parliamentary tradition, the day
stretched on, as all the debates for the next 48 hours took place “officially”
on Thursday, June 23. We voted on
the Canada Post back-to-work legislation at around 60 o’clock on Thursday June
From the routine
start of my day Thursday until Saturday night, I did not leave the
building. I didn’t want to miss a
vote. And (if at all possible) I
wanted to inject a plea for compromise from both the Harper Conservatives and
the NDP Official Opposition.
Compromise was the best way to get mail moving and avoid the draconian
back to work legislation tabled by the government. Sadly, the Harper government
was completely inflexible. While
the Harper conservatives were the clear architects of this debacle, the NDP was
not entirely blameless. Some of their tactics (escalating rhetoric in the House
and refusal to share NDP amendments until the filibuster was all but over) were
Resisting jumping to hasty conclusions, I
have some observations to share, some prompted by questions to me on twitter
that defy short tweet-form answers.
Tweets are a great communication tool. Haiku-like, they require concise thinking. They are,
nonetheless, inadequate to explain complex political machinations.
Why does Parliament insist on sleep deprivation?
The whole filibuster manoeuvre is unusual
in Canadian political tradition.
In 1999, the Reform Party under Stockwell Day filibustered to delay
passage of the Nisga’a Treaty. That remains the longest filibuster. One tweet asked why Parliament cannot
take breaks. The normal House of
Commons day is full of breaks. It
is only when the House is in a filibuster mode that there are no breaks. As long as there are MPs to rise and
speak to an issue, the filibuster can go on….and on.
The great Frank Kapra film, “Mr. Smith goes
to Washington,” has our hero Jimmy Stewart in a US-style filibuster. In the US Congress, a lone Senator can filibuster as long as
he or she can stand and speak without a break. Canadian filibusters allow for MPs to operate in
shifts. So the larger parties
organized themselves to share the load round the clock. Being in the Opposition Lobby where all
of us – the NDP, Liberal, Bloc and the lone
Green MP – have a space for
meetings, coffee, meals brought in, etc, starting Wednesday night I heard
snippets of conversations about the rotating shift work of each party. I realized I would have to be there all
the time or the Green Party voice would be lost. So I packed Thursday AM for a long haul. Essential “freshening up” toiletries,
re-charger cords for blackberry, and a few changes of clothing, and I planned
to be awake for the next 48 hours and see how it would go from there. Based on the marathon rounds in UN
climate meetings, I knew I could function through a 48 hour sleepless work shift. How I would manage if the filibuster
went on for weeks was something I was prepared to figure out as events
How did the filibuster happen?
The Harper government tabled the Canada
Post back to work legislation (Bill C-6.
“C” is for “Commons”; 6 because it was the 6th bill in the 41st
Then the government brought in an oddly
worded motion for on Tuesday.
Peter Van Loan (Conservative House leader) moved that the bill would
have all three readings without adjournment and that the bill would not go to
the labour committee, but would have a hearing of the Committee of the Whole. The Committee of the Whole is the whole
of the House of Commons meeting as a committee. If that motion had been worded differently, it would not
have left an opening for Layton’s “hoist” motion (to delay taking up the bill
for 6 months). A hoist motion can
only be made at second reading and with the process established by the
Government motion, lacking time limits, Layton had the opportunity to move the
bill be set aside for the next 6 months.
Ask yourself: what are the chances that the
Harper government made a mistake with the way the motion was worded and what
are the chances it was a deliberate move to set a trap for the NDP? What followed was high theatre,
dramatic and increasingly partisan over-the-top rhetoric from both of the main
parties. I wish we had done better
by the workers. Less rhetoric and
more flexibility might have helped.
Some on twitter have asked if there was
less civility as the filibuster wore on.
Unquestionably, the answer if “yes.” Government members heckled just as they did before the
election. The NDP pledge to refuse
to heckle also broke down (albeit not as severely). NDP attacks got personal. I
happen to like Labour Minister Lisa Raitt. I know I am naïve about people. And I may be unduly influenced knowing she is from Cape
Breton, and that her dad and brother died from cancer from the coke ovens and
steel mill I worked to clean up for so long. No question, the legislation was egregious. As Labour Minister,
she is responsible for a dreadful precedent, but I felt really uncomfortable as
the attacks in the House turned on Lisa in a very personal way.
What was wrong with Bill C-6?
I don’t think the Opposition Parties would
have objected to back to work legislation that told Canada Post to end the lock-out
and then moved the dispute to binding arbitration. This bill was opposed because it was so one-sided in
supporting management over the workers.
The dispute was largely not precipitated by
the union. The mail was still
moving, despite revolving strikes by CUPW, when management locked out the
workers and brought mail delivery to a standstill. This created the crisis to allow the government to bring in
back to work legislation. As has
been noted by many in the media, it appeared that the government was working in
collusion with Canada Post management.
Once Canada Post locked out the workers, it was the government’s turn to
bring in a bill that would get the mail moving, but would fix wage increases at
less than Canada Post had already offered. Salaries were not the main sticking
point in any event. Health and
safety and pensions ranked higher. The Bill tied the hands of the arbitrator by
instructing the arbitrator to set terms and working conditions to be consistent
with other “comparable postal industries.” Of course, there is no operation comparable to Canada
Post. No other operation delivers
mail everywhere — to those places
where you can make money and those rural and remote locations where daily mail
delivery is a public service.
The legislation also instructed the
arbitrator to only rely on certain sections of the Canada Labour Code. Various flexible solutions that should
have been available to the arbitrator have been taken off the table. Also
unpalatable was the prescription of “final offer selection”—further tying the
Every labour lawyer and academic who has
spoken out about this bill has opposed it as bad legislation.
Public sector workers have every reason to
be fearful. The government’s
approach on Air Canada (not public
sector) and on Canada Post suggests an interventionist, pro-management,
anti-labour agenda. We need to
protect collective bargaining and labour rights in general. The empirical evidence is over-whelming
that the healthiest economies have strong unions. On the other hand, demonizing all employers and ignoring the
fact that many Canadian workers are non-unionized creates unnecessary conflict.
Beyond labour unrest, this experience does
not auger well for the next four years.
Some commentators hoped that the Prime Minister would moderate his
behaviour knowing he has four years with a majority in the House and the
Senate. Some pundits thought we might see a kinder, gentler Stephen Harper. Maybe we still will. But the last few weeks suggest the
government will rely on “might makes right.” Somehow we need to create an atmosphere that encourages
consensus over surrender.
Governing over bullying.
And a commitment to Canada over excessive partisanship. The summer could be a cooling off
period for hot tempers.
What else happened this week?
A huge low point was Canada alone blocking
consensus in Geneva for the listing of asbestos as “hazardous” under the
Rotterdam convention. Traditional allies were enraged by Canada’s action. Adding insult to serious injury, the
Prime minister chose to visit the asbestos region of Quebec to celebrate his
success in keeping asbestos unlabeled as we ship it to the developing world.
The main and supplementary estimates were
passed. The mega-trials bill (with
no improvements) cleared its final hurdles. (I voted for it as it is, over all, good legislation, but it
may well run into trouble due to the refusal of the Conservatives and NDP to
Parliament is now adjourned until September
Liberal Industry & Consumer Affairs critic Geoff Regan today urged Industry Minister Christian Paradis to clarify what criteria the government will use when it applies the “net benefit” test to the London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSE) proposal to purchasethe TMX.
Liberal Multiculturalism Critic the Hon. Jim Karygiannis made the following statement on Canadian Multiculturalism Day.
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From Bonnie Dawson, in Hay River.
Having just received a long distance call from the President of the HR SPCA who is currently out of town, I found comfort in learning that there is NO CRISIS situation with the shelter in Hay River.
I wish to apologize to all of those who have contacted me so far and do greatly appreciate that you were so quick to respond.
The information which I had been provided in the email request I received yesterday from the Hay River By Law Officer asking for my assistance,( as well as follow up telephone conversations), to utilize my own network of contacts was unfortunately as it turned out to be …. inaccurate….leading me to believe and to Post an Urgent Request for help…believing that the shelter was full to capacity and that no additional animals could be taken in.
I have learned in speaking with the President of the HR SPCA that at present there are actually three (3) dogs currently in foster care and two cats which need to be placed. …. a great relief to me.
Again I sincerely and publicly extend an apology for issuing an unnecessary ALERT and a deep and honest thank you to all of you who have responded so quickly.
Should anyone wish to inquire about the current three (3) dogs and two cats looking for loving forever homes, please contact Kerry at the HR SPCA.
Hay River SPCA at: 867-874-3667 : likely having to leave a message or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To view HRSPCA Page: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/NT03.html