Thursday, August 27, 2015

Two control freak loonies!

Up next .....

Are you a veteran? Does Stephen Harper have a job for you!

Conservatives seeking veterans who would praise Harper in ads

Party worker asks to be connected with ex-solders who are willing to appear on camera and say Tory leader "is the best choice for Canada."
By Murray Brewster/The Canadian Press
Thursday, August 27, 2015

Conservative leader Stephen Harper makes a campaign stop in Montreal on Tuesday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

An email being circulated among former Canadian soldiers suggests federal Conservatives are looking for a few happy, satisfied veterans to appear in television ads backing Stephen Harper, The Canadian Press has learned.
The email appears to have been written by Kris Sims, who is on leave from her role as Director of Communications for Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole in order to work for the party during the campaign.
In it, she asks to be connected with ex-soldiers who are willing to appear on camera and prepared “to say in their own words why (Stephen) Harper is the best choice for Canada, based on their military experience and the threats we face in the world.”
The email, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press, goes on to say it is intended to counter Public Service Alliance of Canada ads that “say the NDP and Liberals are the best for Canadian Armed Forces Veterans.”
Conservative party officials were asked about the email and shown its contents. Spokesman Stephen Lecce would say only the party doesn’t comment on “campaign strategy.”
It’s another sign of how much heat the governing Conservatives are feeling over the treatment of ex-soldiers. Prior to calling the October 19 election, the Harper government embarked on a series of reforms to benefits and services for not only those who served, but their families.
Earlier this summer, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) launched an ad campaign entitled Vote to Stop the Cuts, but the President of the wing representing veterans employees denied they were trying to drum up support for opposition parties.
“Our campaign was not really designed to ask anyone to vote for any particular party,” said Carl Gannon. “It was designed to provide facts on what the staffing, budget cuts and office closures have done to (Veterans Affairs Canada) and it’s ability to provide services that veterans relied upon.”
Some disgruntled veterans are running an Anyone But Conservative campaign, but Gannon says it has nothing to do with the union.
“We felt we needed to fight the rhetoric being promulgated by the Conservative Party of Canada as we felt it was dangerous and didn’t even remotely reflect the actualities that vets were living,” said Gannon.
The appeal for happy volunteers comes just days after the Liberals unveiled a $300-million-per-year plan aimed at addressing all of the long-standing grievances of veterans over pensions and support.
It’s clear, however, that both Conservatives and the Liberals are furiously courting the vocal constituency, whose default vote would have been for Harper in bygone days.
Some of the government’s most strident critics were briefed on the Liberal plan at least a week before it was unveiled and were present in Belleville, Ontario, when it was unveiled.
They also got a peek at specific policy details not made public, either by Justin Trudeau — or on the party’s website. Debriefs of those conversations are circulating online in the advocate community and Liberal officials, speaking on background, say they are an accurate representation of the talks that were held.
On the issue of returning the wounded to a system of life-time pensions, advocates were told the disparity between the compensation peacekeepers received and the lesser awards given to Afghan combat veterans will be eliminated. The change will be “fully retroactive” to 2006 when the Conservative government enacted the new system.
Mike Blais, President of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, wrote in a Facebook post that another sore point related to the clawback of insurance payments under Veterans Affairs will be rectified.
The Harper government chose to stop defending itself in a class-action lawsuit by soldiers as it related to the disability awards system at National Defence. The payments of injured soldiers were treated as income and clawed back, but the Federal Court found that to be discriminatory.
Soldiers who’d lost income under the Defence Department plan were compensated going back to 1976 in a $887 million settlement, but under the Veterans Affairs system the redress only went back to 2012. Blais says the Liberals are promising to take that back to 2006, when benefits were overhauled.
It is not clear how much that would cost, but sources within the Veterans Affairs Department say it could be an expensive proposition that sets a precedent and many implications for other programs, such as the decades-old war veterans allowance.

So you're better off under a Harper government ..... eh?

Average Canadian family spending more on taxes than basic necessities, Fraser Institute says

Victor Ferreira
Thursday, August 27, 2015
A Canadian family earning $79,010 in 2014 would have spent 42.1 per cent of income on tax bills compared to 21 per cent of income on shelter, 11 per cent on food, and 5 per cent on clothing. (Darren Calabresse/National Post)

TORONTO — The average Canadian family continues to spend more on taxes than they do on food, shelter and clothing combined, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual study of taxation in Canada.

The think-tank’s Canadian Consumer Tax Index study released Thursday says a Canadian family earning $79,010 in 2014 would have spent 42.1 per cent of income on tax bills compared to 21 per cent of income on shelter, 11 per cent on food, and five per cent on clothing.

Although the 2014 numbers can still change as more data becomes available, the percentage of income used to pay taxes has continuously risen since 2008 when 40.9 per cent of income was spent.

Charles Lammam, co-author of the study, said the consistent tax increases mean Canadians continue to have less money to use in other avenues.

“As the tax bill grows, there is less money available for families to spend on things they want to spend on, to save for retirement or their kids education, or even to pay down their household debt,” Lammam said.

A key aspect of the Fraser Institute study is the comparison of current taxes to those in 1961. The study shows average families in 1961 earned an average of $5,000 and paid taxes worth $1,675. The average family’s tax bill rose by 1,886 per cent in that time, while food prices rose by 561 per cent and clothing by 819 per cent. The cost of shelter was the basic necessity that came closest to matching the increase seen in taxes, having risen by 1,366 per cent. Average annual income also increased at a slower rate than taxes, rising by 1,480 per cent.

Related

‘It’s not free’: Canadian health care insurance almost doubles in cost during last decade as average family pays $12K

Tom Kott: Kill the tax credit, reduce taxes

Tax Freedom Day comes a day later this year as Canadians’ tax burden rises

The Fraser Institute determined taxes rose 149.2 per cent after inflation in that time period, as average families in 1961 would have only paid $13,353 in present day dollars.

The comparison marks a significant shift in how family income was divided, the study shows, as the average family only used 33.5 per cent of income on taxes and was able to spend 56.5 per cent of it on the basic necessities. Ten per cent was devoted to other spending.

Lammam said it’s important for Canadians to know the 2014 tax rate would be even higher — 44.2 per cent — when government overspending in 2014 is taken into consideration.

“They were spending more than the total revenue brought in and the difference has been borrowed. Essentially this difference between taxes and spending is a deferred tax.”

Even without considering the upcoming federal election, Lammam said Canadians should use the information to determine whether they’re getting value for the amount being paid.

“Independent of what’s happening politically, I think it’s important for Canadians to be armed with the information that we provided. Armed with that knowledge, Canadian families can then decipher whether they’re getting good, great, or not so great value for what they’re paying.”

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Trading one piece of .... for another piece of ....!

Rob Wells has left a new comment on your post "Hey, you forgot the horse he rode into town on!":

The ticket is for allegedly "performing or engaging in any stunt or activity that is likely to distract, startle or interfere with users of the highway under section 115 of the the Highway Safety Act. This is a totally bogus allegation because the matter of car signs has been researched by former Edmonton Police lawyer Kim Armstrong who is now the Deputy Attorney General of Alberta, and Deputy Minister of Justice. The RCMP officer was just using this section to bully and intimidate me into removing my sign. I refused and he issued the ticket, so he'll have to fight me in court. My sign is protected under the freedom of expression of the Charter of Rights. When people are afraid to express themselves freely, we have a police state. 


Dear Mr. Wells:

Thank you for contacting CyberSmokeBlog.

Sounds like you've done your homework and have a very strong case.

If Earl "The Pearl" Cowan is to be believed all Harper dissenters are pieces of .... who should vote for another piece of .... !

Please keep CSB's readers apprised of your court challenge.

Best of luck,
Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk

Earl Cowan: "Why you lying pieces of .... vote for another lying piece of ....!"

Conservative heckler identified

A hashtag labelling Conservative #AngryCon appeared online, a supporter for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper ripped into reporters after asking questions about the Mike Duffy trial.

Ben Spurr Staff Reporter
Wednesday, August 19, 2015


During a campaign stop in Etobicoke on Tuesday, a supporter for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper ripped into reporters after asking questions about the Mike Duffy trial.

A man who shouted profanities at reporters outside a campaign event for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on Tuesday has refused to come forward to identify himself, but that hasn’t stopped users of social media from having some fun at his expense.

Jokes about the snowy-haired Conservative supporter who called journalists “lying pieces of s---!” started popping up online hours after footage of the encounter in the riding of Etobicoke-Centre was broadcast. A hashtag labelling him #AngryCon soon appeared, as did fake campaign posters urging people to “Vote for Harper You Lying Pieces of S---.”

When reporters asked for his name on Tuesday, the man told them to “go stuff” themselves. But six sources who spoke to the Star recognized him as Earl Cowan. Reached by phone, a man who said he was Cowan neither confirmed nor denied that he was the person who shouted at the journalists. “Why would I confirm anything?” he asked, over the course of an eight-minute interview. “I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.”

Cowan said he wouldn’t make a statement unless the Star agreed to publish it “in its entirety” and without comment. The Star did not agree to those terms.

In a second interview that lasted almost 12 minutes, a reporter asked Cowan if he would like to set the record straight. “I have no record to set straight,” he said. “Whatever you’re talking about has nothing to do with me.”

“If I wrote anything for the Star,” he added, “the issue would be: is or is not the Toronto media a piece of s---. Excuse me, a lying piece of s---. I’m forgetting my own lines here . . . That’s the issue. That’s the only issue.”
Several sources identified a Conservative supporter who berated journalists Tuesday at a campaign function as Earl Cowan. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

With files from David Rider and David Bateman.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

God and Stephen Harper made me do it!

Up next .....

Hey, you forgot the horse he rode into town on!

'F_ ck Harper' sign leads to $543 fine for Edmonton man

Michelle Butterfield
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
An Alberta man has been slapped with a $543 fine after placing a bold political message targetting Tory Leader Stephen Harper in the back window of his car.

Rob Wells placed a hot pink sign reading "F*CK HARPER" in his hatchback recently, and was pulled over by RCMP Sunday, while driving near the city of Leduc.

Wells said he refused the officer's request to remove the sign.

"When I refused to let him trample on my Charter rights, he gave me a ticket," Wells wrote in a Facebook post. "I'll be pleading NOT GUILTY and raising a Charter right defense. I'll also be filing a complaint against the officer for political harassment."

Wells claims he vetted the sign with lawyers, who told him displaying the message is not illegal.
“I put a lot of thought in before I put a sign like that on my car," Wells told CTV News, adding that he has driven to British Columbia and back with the sign in place.

“Harper supporters are very offensive to me, so being offensive is not illegal in this country."

Wells, who lives in Edmonton, said he plans to fight the ticket, which was issued for distraction. It's the same charge used against a man who screamed vulgarities at a CBC Calgary reporter in May, reports VICE Canada.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

They're not f...ers, rather, misguided little pecker heads more powerful than the Teamsters even without the baseball bats!

Good Day Readers:

Law Societies have no business disciplining their own. Like Great Britain and several jurisdictions in the United States this function should be given to an independent third party it's such a blatant conflict of interest! But it just gets better!

 Back in June of this year veteran Winnipeg Free Press reporter Kevin Rollarson (white hat good guy) wrote a piece about a Winnipeg lawyer who'd temporarily withdrawn from practicing law pending the outcome because he was under investigation. But go to the Law Society of Manitoba's webpage and there it was in boxcar sized letters, "John Doe" has withdrawn from the practice of law blab ... blab ... blab ... blab ... blab."

Yet if someone from the social or mainstream media had published John Doe's name, under Section 79 (1), (2)  of The Legal Profession Act of Manitoba they would be libel to a fine of up to $2,000 and or 6-months in jail. For the latter it's a penalty to a maximum of $10,000. Now wouldn't this be interesting? You can almost hear it now. CyberSmokeBlog publishes John Doe's actual name. "But Your Honour, this information came directly from the LSM's website!" Talk about an interesting lawsuit. But not to worry CSB is not about to spend time with the lads at Stony Mountain. CyberSmokeBlog has always found the folks at the Manitoba Law Society to be nice, polite and respectful albeit a tad misguided.

Here's what Section 68 c (ii) of the aforementioned LPAM says:

"direct the publication of the name of the member, the nature of the matter being investigated and suspension or practice restrictions imposed on the member."

Perhaps it's time for the Law Society of Manitoba and its counterparts to walk the talk for a change. Forget disciplining lawyers (you're not very good at it anyway) and start improving access to justice.

Now doesn't that sound like the work of nice, polite, respectful slightly misguided little pecker heads?
"Discipline" the Law Society of Manitoba cat

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk

Lawyers raw words raise eyebrows after disbarment fight

After winning disbarment fight, man takes aim at Law Society with curses and a cat playing dead

Jacques Gallant Staff Reporter
Sunday, June 21, 2015

Paul Robson (Alois/Jam Pack Inc.)


He may have sworn at them, referred to their organization as feces and sent them a video of a cat playing dead, but lawyer Paul Robson says he was trying to make a point: that the Law Society of Upper Canada spends more time disciplining its members than focusing on access to justice.

The language in question was used by the Toronto attorney in messages he sent to the Law Society’s appeal division earlier this year, which was deciding whether to grant Robson his costs after he successfully appealed an earlier decision to revoke his licence.

The five-member panel ruled late last month that neither Robson nor the Law Society should be awarded costs — Robson had asked for $750,000 — and the lawyer gets to keep his licence.

“The Law Society shouldn’t be disciplining its own members,” Robson told the Star, adding he intends to appeal to the Divisional Court. “They have to have a separate body completely independent of the Law Society. The Law Society should be spending money making sure access to justice is provided for.”

The Law Society had argued Robson had not met the preconditions for costs, and in any case, should be disqualified from receiving any money because of his “inappropriate” communications.

A lower panel ordered last year that Robson be disbarred, after it found he concealed assets to the tune of about $1.4 million from creditors before his bankruptcy discharge, but the appeal division overturned that ruling earlier this year.

Robson is still facing a disciplinary hearing for what the Law Society describes in a notice of application as “abusive” and “offensive” communications to two lawyers, which Robson says is “nonsense.”

He was recently in the news as the lawyer representing businessman Michael Elder, who unsuccessfully sought an injunction against Toronto Life to prevent the magazine from publishing a profile of him.

While lawyers interviewed by the Star generally agreed that the Law Society could spend more time on initiatives such as better access to justice, they were unanimous in saying that Robson took the wrong approach.

“I thought that his time as a lawyer was perhaps going to be rather limited,” said criminal defence lawyer John Struthers after reading what Robson sent to the Law Society. “If you’re trying to make a point, you can certainly do so without being rude or vile, frankly.”

“I don’t think it’s ever appropriate to use foul language in written submissions before an adjudicative body, whether it’s your own case or anybody else’s,” said criminal defence lawyer Daniel Brown.

Robson’s correspondence to the appeal division dates back to January, when he was requesting access to documents from the Law Society for his submission on costs.

In a series of messages, he used the term “f---ers,” sent the panel a video of a cat playing dead, saying it depicts what the Law Society does for access to justice, and threatened to involve the Premier and Attorney-General. He also wished them a Happy Valentine’s Day.

“The letter appears to refer to the appeal division as ‘f---ers,’ ” the appeal panel said of Robson’s first message.

In one message, Robson accused the society as being an “accessory to murder.” He told the Star he was referring to the death of Zahra Abdillie, a Toronto woman murdered last December along with her two young sons by her husband. The public health nurse had been fighting for custody of her children and wanted an emergency court order, but didn’t qualify for legal aid and couldn’t afford a lawyer.

“The Law Society should be operating low-cost legal clinics and assisting under privileged people in getting access to justice,” Robson told the Star.

Criminal Lawyers’ Association president Anthony Moustacalis said that the Law Society is viewed by some lawyers as a “prosecutorial monolith,” but said it has done work on access to justice.

“It started the Treasurer’s access to justice committee that, for the first time, got government, judiciary, legal aid and all members of the Bar together to try and solve these problems,” he said. “LSUC also has dedicated staff to coordinate and help promote its access to justice mandate.”

Despite Robson’s language, which the panel described as “deeply offensive and appalling,” they still granted him an extension on at least two occasions to file material, but he never did.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The death of democracy in Canada!


Canadastan Supreme Leader heading for election rally at secret location in Nova Scotia!

Stephen Harper heading to Cumberland-Colchester for stop at secret location

"I've never seen anything like it," says Liberal candidate Bill Casey

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Conservative leader Stephen Harper is scheduled to make his first visit to Nova Scotia this weekend since the federal election was called. (Sean/Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is making his first visit to Nova Scotia this weekend since the federal election was called, but residents will have to register online to find out the secret location of the event.

Bill Casey, the Liberal candidate for the riding of Cumberland-Colchester, said Harper plans to be in the riding on Sunday to attend a meeting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

He said the location of the meeting is "currently a secret" and both residents and the media have to register online to attend. If you register, you get an email saying the location of the event will be revealed 24 to 72 hours before the meeting.

"I've never seen anything like it," Casey said Wednesday. "My understanding is people will be vetted and some will get tickets and some of them won't."

Casey said he understands the media will be restricted on what "you can report and say afterwards," adding residents in the riding received emailed invitations to the meeting.

Although Harper has not yet been to Nova Scotia in this election campaign, Casey said it was the third visit for the Harper family to Cumberland-Colchester in as many months.

He said it was a clear indication that the "Harper election crew have identified Cumberland Colchester as one at risk and are focusing their senior efforts here."

Casey said many people in the riding want answers to
  • Why the Truro area was "targeted" to have its mail service reduced
  • Details on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
  • Services for veterans.
  • Issue of missing aboriginal women being on the government's agenda. 

Attending a political rally in Canadastan for The Supreme Leader of The People's Republic!

Reporter Shelby Tom asks Harper supporters about pot, gets booted from rally

By Zi-Ann Lum
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
CKNW reporter Shelby Thom was told to leave a Conservative rally in Richmond, B ritish Columbia. on Tuesday after asking party supporters if they support marijuana legalization.

The incident happened at a rally headlined by Stephen Harper at the Pacific Gateway Hotel. Conservative candidates including Wai Young and Alice Wong were also in attendance.

Earlier in the day, the Conservative leader claimed a majority of Canadians are on side with his stance against marijuana legalization.

“We just think that’s the wrong direction for society and I don’t think that’s the way most Canadians want to deal with this particular problem,” he told party supporters in Markham, Ontario.

Harper travelled to the Lower Mainland later that day, and Thom attended the event alongside party supporters and other media.

When the Conservative leader finished his speech and the crowd and reporters began trickling out of the hotel ballroom, Thom told CKNW radio host Drex she grabbed her microphone and started asking attendees if they support legalizing marijuana.

Shortly after, she was told to leave.

She shared clips of her interviews with party faithful on the show:
“So after the first interview I was approached by a campaign staffer informing me that it was time for me to leave. I ignored him,” she said. “I continued interviewing people in that room.”

Thom said as a journalist, she did that because she didn’t want to just repeat a story about “Harper touting his economic record.”

But minutes after her first warning by the campaign staffer, she was approached again. “He signalled me towards a side door exiting the building,” she explained. But she headed toward the lobby, where she intended to conduct more interviews.

“He pointed at me, he said ‘No, come this way.’ He once again directed me to that side door.”

Outside the building, Thom tweeted a picture of the hotel door that closed behind her.
Just got kicked out of @pmharper campaign rally for talking to supporters post rally about marijuana. #elxn42

“So I did feel essentially that I was kicked out. I was interviewing supporters after the rally, and I was continuously interrupted by Conservative campaign staffers,” she said.

When asked, party spokesman Stephen Lecce did not provide any details or reasons why Thom was shown the door.

“The reporter in question attended the entire event and was the last reporter to leave after the event concluded,” Lecce told The Huffington Post Canada in an email.

This latest incident follows backlash levied against the Conservative party over the weekend after it was revealed attendees who attend Harper campaign events were asked to sign gag orders.

The Ottawa Citizen reports the party has since removed the policy.

What every Canadian computer keyboard needs during the federal election campaign!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

But serial failure Kory Teneycke, "Will Sergeant Preston and his trusty junk sniffer dog King still be there to greet attendees at the door?


Conservative pledge to scrap controversial gag order

Elizabeth Thompson
Monday, August 10, 2015

The Canadian Press (Nathan Denette)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative party says it is abandoning a controversial rule for participants in its campaign rallies that prohibited the transmission of accounts or pictures of the events.

Kory Teneycke, spokesman for the Conservative party campaign, says the clause contained in invitations to Harpers’ events is being scrapped.

“It has been removed,” Teneycke said in an e-mail. “It was never intended or enforced. We encourage people to take pictures and share them on social media.”

Asked by iPolitics why the clause still appears to be present on the website for a rally Harper is holding in Edmonton on Wednesday afternoon, Teneycke said he would look into it.

The Conservative party’s decision came two days after iPolitics revealed Saturday that members of the public who attend Harper’s campaign events were being required to agree to a gag order before they could participate.

While attendance is by invitation only, and attendees are vetted by the Conservative Party before receiving a ticket, those who want to attend a campaign event in person were being asked to agree to a number of conditions including not to transmit any description of the event or any images from it.

“Holder (of the confirmation of registration) is prohibited from transmitting or aiding in transmitting any description, account, picture or reproduction of the Event,” according to information contained on the invitation website for Harper’s rally in Brampton East on Monday.

A similar warning appears in connection with an event Harper appeared at in the Montreal riding of Mont Royal as he kicked off his campaign last Sunday.

Those attending the event also have to agree to being searched.

“Holder and his/her belongings may be searched upon entry, and Holder consents to such searches and waives any related claims that might arise against Conservative Fund Canada, the Electoral District Association concerned, and the facility. If the Holder elects not to consent to these searches, Holder will be denied entry to the facility.”

The party also makes it clear that breaking that rule – or any of the other rules it sets out – can result in attendees being expelled from the event.

“The confirmation of registration and entry to the event is a revocable licence: it may be withdrawn, admission refused or Holder expelled from the premises at any time for any reason without recourse by Holder.”

Harper’s opponents did not hesitate to take advantage of the revelation, pointing out that their parties did not screen people attending their rallies and did not prohibit them from taking pictures and posting them on social media.

“Ottawa, join me for a campaign rally today at 2 p.m.” Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau tweeted Sunday. “And no, you don’t need my permission to post pictures on social media. In fact we encourage it.”

While the Harper government has prided itself on its message control since it took office nearly a decade ago, this year’s election campaign has taken it to new levels.

The Ottawa Citizen reported that not all of those who have signed up for the Conservative Party’s expensive campaign tour are being allowed to attend all events, with Harper taking only a small pool with him to some photo opportunities.

Last week, veteran Queens Park reporter Susanna Kelley was refused entry to a Harper campaign event. While she arrived 20 minutes before the start of the event, she was told she could not enter because RCMP sniffer dogs were not available to check her out.

The RCMP refused to discuss the incident, saying they don’t discuss security arrangements around the prime minister. But while the RCMP required reporters to be vetted by sniffer dogs at the Conservative Party event, there was no such requirement for either the media or members of the public at Rideau Hall the day Harper launched his campaign.

elizabeththompson@rogers.com

Monday, August 10, 2015

President Harperiban of The Peoples Republic of Canadastan is a serial abuser of power ..... it's now official he's batshit crazy!

Dear CyberSmokeBlog:

The thing about Harper is that he has done so many things to change Canada for the worse that it is impossible to remember them all. He has made small changes incrementally and he hides them in omnibus bills. Then he cuts short Committee review and invokes closure all of which decreases thoughtful consideration of his election package. When you read this list you will get a full appreciation of what Harperism means.

Please pass this story, which was posted today, on to all who might be interested.

Anonymous


Dear Anonymous,

Thank you very much for this. CyberSmokeBlog has already sent The Tyee the following message suggesting it has forgotten an important item from its list. Here's an excerpt CSB received the other day from San Francisco-based the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Its lawyers have already successfully challenged in court the United States government regarding issues of internet privacy.

"Desperate to finalize TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement) as soon as possible, the Harper administration has taken an extreme measure. It released new guidelines granting itself power to keep negotiating the deal, rather than respecting regulations that would otherwise prevent anything beyond administrative activities during the election season."
Supreme Leader of Canadastan Stephen J. Harperiban on October 19 after his North Korean-style command and control system collapsed all over him.

Sincerely,
Clare L.Pieuk
Harper, Serial Abuser of Power: The Evidence Compiled

An omnibus of sins, topping 50. Tell us ones we've missed, we'll add to the PM's rap sheet.

By David Beers and Tyee Staff and Contributors
Tuesday, August 4, 2015



Building a brand.Election time has proven to be dirty tricks time, over and over for Stephen Harper's Conservatives. (Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons)

Stephen Harper and his Conservatives have racked up dozens of serious abuses of power since forming government in 2006. From scams to smears, monkey-wrenching opponents to intimidating public servants like an Orwellian gorilla, some offences are criminal, others just offend human decency.

Last week we published 59 examples in two parts, and asked our readers to suggest any we may have missed. Among the many suggestions we gratefully received, we concluded that 11 more meet the criteria for "abuses of power." Today we compile all 70 items into one omnibus of abuse by the Stephen Harper government.

Thanks, once more, to friends of The Tyee who help with this list.

SECTION I. ABUSING PARLIAMENT: SABOTAGE, SCANDALS, CORRUPTION AND CONTEMPT

This section includes examples of willful misgoverning by the PM and his team, 31 times they have lied, flouted rules and stymied democracy to achieve political and ideological ends.

PMO Tied to Senate Hush Money Scandal

An RCMP affidavit reported widespread involvement by PMO staffers in a secret payment to Senator Mike Duffy to try and make a political problem go away. The Senate expenses scandal brought on allegations of a cover-up, a breach of the public trust, and a whitewashing of a Senate report. The PMO was found to have hand in the altering of a damning Deloitte audit.

Harper Found in Contempt of Parliament

For refusing to disclose information on the costing of programs to Parliament, which Parliament was entitled to receive, the Harper government became the first in Canadian history to be found in contempt of Parliament.

Against Court Order, Refusal to Share Budget Info

Even though it lost a court case and was ordered to comply, the Harper government nevertheless refused to share 170 times reasons and impacts for cuts with Canada's independent budget watchdog, mocking Parliament's right to control the public purse.

Conservative Cabinet Staffers Granted Immunity from Testimony

A PMO edict absolved political staffers from ever having to testify before parliamentary committees.

Conservatives Falsify Reports and Documents

Among documents deliberately altered in the writing or the quoting by the government:CIDA document by Bev Oda's office on Kairos; the Senate Committee Report on the Duffy affair; a report by former auditor general Sheila Fraser on financial management.

Repeated Duplicity in Afghan Detainees Controversy

Among the abuses: Parliament was misled and denied documents. An inquiry was shut down. Tories attempted to discredit diplomat Richard Colvin whose testimony diverted from the government's line.

Repeated Duplicity on Costing of F-35 Fighter Jets

An auditor general's report revealed serial deceptive practices used by the Conservatives in misleading the public and Parliament on the projected cost of the fighter jets.

Harper Minister Lies, Blames Statistics Canada for Killing Long Form Census

Under fire for Conservatives killing the long form census, Industry Minister Tony Clement falsely stated that StatsCan backed the idea and assured the voluntary substitute would yield valid statistical data. Neither was true, outraged StatsCan sources confirmed.

Conservative MP Admits He Lied to Parliament

As opposition members claimed the Harper government was out to rig election rules in its favour, Conservative MP Brad Butt rose in the House of Commons to say why the bill was needed -- all the voter fraud he had personally witnessed. Weeks later he rose again to say his statements were false. Delivering his strained apology, he failed to explain why he lied in the first place.

Conservative House Leader Admits to Mockery of Question Period

Criticized far and wide for farcical answers in question period, Paul Calandra, parliamentary secretary to Harper, made a tearful apology for abuse of the democratic process.

Harper Maligns the Supreme Court Chief Justice

The Prime Minister took the unprecedented step of alleging inappropriate conduct by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. Facts undermined the credibility of the PM's position.

Conservatives Engage in Abuse of Process with Omnibus Bills

Harper's party pushed legislation through Parliament via omnibus bills, the scale of which Parliament had never seen. Such bills are widely condemned as an abuse of the democratic process, because they blend and bury so many controversial laws within one dense package. Harper himself once railed against them, and his born again love for them made his own MPs queasy. Referencing such bills, former auditor general Sheila Fraser said that "Parliament has become so undermined that it is almost unable to do the job that people expect of it."
"Parliament has become so undermined that it is almost impossible to do the job that people expect of it." Former Auditor General Sheila Fraser on Harper's omnibus bills.

Harperites Deliberately Sabotage, Stymie Committee System

Conservatives used tactics such as barring witnesses, closure, time limitations, and in camera sessions to an extent rarely, if ever, witnessed in Canada. In their early days in power, top Conservatives prepared a handbook instructing committee chairpersons how to obstruct proceedings.

Harper's Own MPs Protest Muzzling

In a caucus known for his tight discipline, in 2014 some members finally rose up to contest being censored at question period by the Prime Minister's Office. Former Conservative backbencher Brent Rathgeber turned independent and published a book,Irresponsible Government, decrying anti-democratic practices.

Conservative Bill Rewrites History to Protect Mounties from Potential Criminal Charges

To protect the RCMP, the government retroactively made an old bill come into force before it was passed by Parliament.

Harper Minister Caught in Advertising Scam with Public Funds

The Globe and Mail revealed that Harper's chosen Minister for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre commissioned a team of public servants for overtime work on a Sunday to film him glad-handing constituents. The vanity video on the taxpayer dime was to promote the government's benefits for families.

Corrupt Conservative Cronies

The Senate scandal is just the latest eruption of crony corruption in Harperite ranks. Take Bruce Carson. He was a convicted fraudster before Harper made him a key advisor in the PMO. There, Carson was lobbied for money for a new University of Calgary eco-think tank. He then left the PMO to run the same think tank, converting it to an oil industry booster with a $15-million grant from the Harper government. The complex saga added one more criminal charge to others Carson faces for allegedly illegally working his connections with the Harper government.

Access to Information System Impeded

Many new roadblocks have been put up by the Harper Conservatives. Former Information Commissioner Robert Marleau concluded that having obtained absolute power, the prime minister "has absolutely abused that power to the maximum."

The Silencing of the Public Service

The PMO took an unprecedented step in instituting a system wherein the bureaucracy has all its communications vetted by the political nerve centre. The policy contribution role of the public service is significantly reduced. Complaints from insiders allege that the Privy Council office has become increasingly politicized.

Loyalty Oaths Imposed on Public Servants

Archivists and librarians were made to swear strict oaths of allegiance and were hit with restrictions on freedom of speech that editorialists of the right and left described as chilling.
Integrity Commissioner Christine Ouimet sat on more than 200 whistleblower files before quitting. Her style? "Gross mismanagement," concluded the Auditor General.

Harper Government Sued by Justice Department Whistleblower

Time and again the Harper government proposes bills that end up being shot down by the courts, prompting critics to say such legislation is more about making political statements than lasting policy. The wasted efforts bothered senior justice department lawyer Edgar Schmidt so much he finally sued the government for breaking the law by inadequately evaluating whether proposed bills violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He was promptly suspended without pay.

Conservatives Block Accreditation for Opposition MPs

In another example of partisanship taken to new heights, the PMO blocked opposition members from being accredited for international environment conferences and from visiting military bases.

Tactic Borrowed from North Korea's Dear Leader

Ostensibly neutral public servants were used as stooges, falsely posing as new citizens in a staged Citizenship Renewal public relations exercise by the Immigration Department. Media critics had a field day comparing the charade to practices undertaken by North Korean dictators.

Clampdown on Freedom of Speech of Diplomatic Corps

Ottawa's diplomats must get all communications approved from Conservative political operatives. Under Harper, the country's ambassadors are hardly heard from any more. In a recent speech, former United Nations ambassador Stephen Lewis said our political culture under the Conservatives has descended into "a nadir of indignity."

Marine Science Libraries Decimated

The Harper government's downsizing of federal libraries included sudden closing of seven world famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans archives. A leaked memo revealed the destruction and consolidation would save less than half a million dollars. Scientist patrons of the libraries, who witnessed chaotic chucking of rare literature, called it a "book burning" with no logical purpose other than to restrict environmental information. The Harper government claimed vital works would be digitally preserved, but never provided a plan or cost for doing so, nor any proof it had happened. No scientists interviewed by The Tyee believed digitizing would or could replace what was lost.

UN Blasts Canada's Treatment of Immigrants

Changes made to the Canada's immigration and refugee system under Harper were investigated by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, whose report blasted how thousands of migrants are detained indefinitely without due process, many for over a year or more, as well as poor mental health support for those incarcerated.

Harper Government Denies Khadr Basic Rights

Defying court rulings, the Conservative government refused to accord Omar Khadr basic rights such as access to media. Editorialists of right and left persuasion described the move as unbefitting a democratic government.

Illegitimate Prorogation of Parliament, Twice

Prorogations are a legitimate procedure that can be abused depending on motivations. The Harper government provoked 60 protests across Canada and beyond its borders in 2010 after shutting the legislature's doors to escape condemnation on the Afghan detainees' file. It was the second prorogation in a year's period.

Undue Interference with Independent Agencies
Command and control system was extended to meddling in bodies like National Energy Board and CRTC whose arms-length autonomy is significantly reduced. A special target was the Parliamentary Budget Office, which was hit with condemnations and budget cuts for its critical reports.

Billions Borrowed without Parliament's Permission

The auditor general sounded alarms about the "prodigious" growth and size of federal borrowing. Those billions in "non-budgetary" spending used to get Parliament's oversight, but no more. The finance minister can borrow what he wants without Parliament's permission. Why? A loophole buried in a 2007 Harper omnibus bill.

Lapdogs Appointed as Watchdogs

The most controversial was the case of former Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet. Her office reviewed more than 200 whistleblowing cases. Disciplinary action followed on none of them. Ouimet's own angry staffers blew the whistle on their boss. The auditor general found Ouimet intimidated her employees, took "retaliatory action" against them and may have breached their privacy, all part of the Harper appointee's "gross mismanagement." Ouimet was paid more than $500,000 to leave her post.

SECTION II: 'HARPER BRAND' ABUSES: LIES, SPIES, AND THIS PORK SMELLS REALLY BAD

This election began the minute the last one ended. Since his first day as PM, Stephen Harper has reinforced his party's 'brand' by rewarding cronies, slapping the Conservative logo on government cheques, perfecting the no questions photo-op, instructing bureaucrats to start calling Canada's government "the Harper Government." The flip side has been relentless monitoring, muzzling and attacks on anyone who might tarnish the image. Here are 22 instances of power abused to build the Harper brand.

PMO Attempts to Cover up Video Leak Putting Troops at Risk

On an Iraq visit, the PMO was caught lying to try and cover up the leak of a promo video, which constituted a security breach. The PMO, noted a National Post editorial, "stumbled from blunder to evasion and falsehood in the service of shamelessly manipulative partisanship, especially in using our troops as PR props."

The 'Harper Government' Labelling Deception

Public servants were told to use "Harper Government" instead of "Government of Canada" in publicity releases. The Conservatives denied it was happening -- until internal memos revealed by the Canadian Press revealed the denial to be without basis.

Conservatives Place Party Logos on Government of Canada Cheques

Once "caught red-handed," they backed off. The federal ethics commissioner, adopting the exasperated tone of an adult lecturing a child, noted: "Public spending announcements are government activities, not partisan political activities, and it is not appropriate to brand them with partisan or personal identifiers."

Record Amounts of Partisan Political Advertising, on the Public Purse

Several media reports told how the Conservatives used taxpayer money for partisan political advertising in record quantity, costing the public treasury $750 million since Harper became PM. In one instance, the Tories spent lavishly on ads for the promotion of a jobs grant program that had yet to be made public or presented to parliament or the provinces. Even more nakedly partisan, a mailed blast, charged to the taxpayers, targeting Justin Trudeau.

Conservatives Stack Their Own Ridings with Infrastructure Funds

In a display of brazen pork barreling, the Conservatives arranged for no less than 83 percent of infrastructure fund projects go to Conservative ridings.

$50 Million Spending Deception as Documented by the Auditor General

The auditor general ruled Conservatives diverted $50-million from spending slated for border infrastructure to political spending on projects in Tony Clement's riding at the time of the G-8 summit. Parliament was willfully misled.

Patronage Run Amok

After promising a new way, the prime minister dismantled his newly created Public Appointments Commission and reverted to old-styled patronage by the barrel. In June 2015, the PM made 98 patronage appointments. That included stocking the National Capital Commission with loyalists in advance of decisions on the controversial monument to the victims of communism.

Undermining Statistics Canada, Killing Data

Against pleas from everyone who needs and uses data from the long form census, the Harper government scrapped it, prompting the Statistics Canada chief to resign in protest.

Government Muzzles Science Community

Top scientists came under such heavy monitoring by the Conservatives that they staged" Death of Evidence" protests for being denied freedom of speech. The Conservatives sent out chaperones or "media minders" to track Environment Canada scientists and report on them.
Like never before, limits placed on media access. "Death of evidence rally on Parliament Hill, July 10, 2010. (Photo: Richard Weber)

Journalists have been hard-pressed to recall another time when controls put on them were so tight. At the Conservatives' 2013 Calgary convention, reporters wrote of being harassed and penned in at every turn by the PMO's command and control system. In his book Killing The Messenger, journalist Mark Bourrie charts the many examples of new limits on freedom of speech introduced in the Harper era.

Harper's Team Tries to Ban Journalist for Asking Question

Veteran TV cameraman Dave Ellis covered a Harper speech about oil to a business audience. Though media had been instructed no questions allowed, Ellis posed one about charges laid against a Conservative MP. The PMO tried to punish Ellis and his network by kicking him off covering Harper's trip to Malaysia. After media hue and cry, Harper backed down and Ellis went.

Harper Minister Sucker Punches CBC Budget

After the 2011 federal election Heritage Minister James Moore assured Conservatives would "maintain or increase support for the CBC. That is our platform and we have said that before and we will commit to that." The next year, Harper's Cons delivered the biggest government cut to CBC since the mid-1990s, much deeper in proportion than overall trims to federal programs, defying public sentiment.

Suppression of Research

In the gun registration debate, incriminating research and documents such as a Firearms Report were deliberately withheld from the public. While ramping up their prison building, Conservatives suppressed related research and studies contradicting their political priorities.

The Vic Toews Porno Smear

In a vivid example of the browbeating of opponents, the minister of public safety said anyone who opposed federal plans to make electronic surveillance of Canadians easier for authorities was siding with child pornographers.

Harper's Fallen Soldiers Blackout

Emulating George W. Bush's optics tactics, Stephen Harper banned media coverage of fallen soldiers' caskets returning from Afghanistan. He also refused to lower the flag half-mast. Soldiers' family members expressed confusion and anger at the perceived show of disrespect.

Protesters Put under Blanket Surveillance

According to a leaked memo, as part of its command and control approach, the Conservatives have approved a system wherein all advocates, protesters and demonstrations can be monitored by authorities. The Government Operations Centre has requested federal departments to assist it in compiling a comprehensive inventory of protesters. Security specialists have called it a breach of Canadians' Charter of Rights. Conservatives have moved to give CSIS even more powers than the spy agency wants.

Rights and Democracy, Other Groups, Dismantled

In a show of brute force, the Montreal-based group Rights and Democracy was pole-axed for its alleged political leanings and eventually disbanded. Organizations like the church group Kairos were de-budgeted or dismantled for political leanings. Nuclear Safety Commission head Linda Keen was dumped. Among the complaints cited by the PM was that in her distant past, she had some Liberal ties.

Harper Government Spied on Aboriginal Critic, 'Retaliated'

Aboriginal child welfare advocate Cindy Blackstock was spied on by the Harper government, and when she arrived for a meeting with other First Nations leaders at the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs only she was barred entry. Finding Blackstock had been "retaliated" against by a ministry official, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal awarded her $20,000 for pain and suffering.

Revenue Canada Loosed to Attack Charities

Not all charities, just the ones that don't seem adequately aligned with the Harper brand. Enough to include many environmental, aid, human rights and free speech charities that banded together to push back against what looks like a politically motivated witch hunt.

Conservatives Use Unheard of Tactic to Force through Anti-Union Bill

Conservative senators went to the unprecedented extent of overruling their own Speaker. What could be so important to break Senate rules? A bill pushed by Harper that is almost certainly unconstitutional for its privacy invading measures forced onto unions, unlike other groups. Latest in a steady stream of Conservative attacks on organized labour in Canada.

Harper Smears Liberal Sikh MP, Insinuating Tie to Terrorism

When Liberals opposed a 2007 Conservative plan to extend anti-terror legislation, Stephen Harper singled out Grit MP Navdeep Bains, seeming to suggest that Bains' party was motivated by a desire to protect Bains' father-in-law, Darshan Singh Saini. A recent news story had claimed Singh Saini was on a list of witnesses sought by the RCMP for its Air India investigation, but provided no proof he was involved. In the House, Liberals erupted with outrage and Bains asked, in vain, that Harper apologize.

Veterans' Advocates Smeared

Medical files of Sean Bruyea, a strong advocate for veterans' rights, were leaked in a case that privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart described as "alarming." Veterans Affairs Canada ombudsman Pat Stogran was dumped after criticizing the government.

SECTION III: ELECTION ABUSES: SCAMS, SLIMES, STINGS AND CROOKED SPENDING

Stephen Harper's Conservatives have made federal elections a gladiators' arena where anything goes -- unless and until you are caught, that is. Here are 17 times his team violated election laws or ethics.

Conservatives Run Undercover Sting Operations

Conservatives secretly recorded political opponents and also used agent provocateur techniques to try and entrap them. A sting operation against Marlo Raynolds, a Liberal candidate in Alberta, was backed by then employment minister Jason Kenney.

Conservative Convicted on Robocalls Scam

Tory operative Michael Sona was given jail time for his role in the robocalls scam. The judge indicated more than one person was likely involved. In another court judgment in a case brought by the Council of Canadians, the ruling said the robocalls operation was widespread, not just limited to the Guelph riding. Donald Segretti who did dirty tricks for the Nixon White House told a Canadian reporter his skullduggery didn't go so low as to run schemes sending voters to the wrong polling stations.

Harper's Ex-Parliamentary Secretary Jailed for Breaking Election Law

Dean Del Maestro was one of Harper's favourites. As his parliamentary secretary, the PM frequently used him as an attack dog to allege misdeeds by opposition members. Del Maestro was given a jail sentence in June for his own election spending violations.
Dean Del Mastro received a jail sentence for election over spending.

.'Reprehensible' Dirty Tricks Campaign against Irwin Cotler

Conservative Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer ruled his party's own tactics in running a surreptitious misinformation campaign in the riding of the highly respected MP were "reprehensible."

Conservatives Bar Crosbie Candidacy

In a clear-cut case of the party hierarchy's undercutting of democratic rights, Ches Crosbie, son of former Tory cabinet minister John Crosbie, was barred from running for the party in Newfoundland.

Election Violations Prompt Resignation of Cabinet Member

Peter Penashue, another Harper Conservative was compelled to step down over election spending violations.

Conservatives Attempt Election Campaign Frame-up
In an attempted smear in the last week of the 2011 election campaign, a senior Harper strategist planted a false story in Sun Media that Michael Ignatieff was an Iraq war planner. (Neither Conservative operatives nor Sun Media opted to make hay with the true story that Stephen Harper had, while leader of the Canadian Alliance in 2003, published a letter in The Wall Street Journal itching to get Canada into that disastrous war and slamming then PM Jean Chretien for saying no.)

Harper's Office Deploys Interns for Dirty Tricks

In one instance that brought on allegations of Nixonian tactics, junior PMO staffers in the guise of normal citizens were sent out to disrupt a Justin Trudeau speech.

Citizens Ejected from Conservative Rallies

Tory operatives hauled out citizens from a Harper rally in the 2011 campaign because they had marginal ties to other parties. A spokesperson for the PM was compelled to apologize. Problem fixed this time around: Only fully vetted Harper supporters will be allowed, by invite only, to attend the PM's campaign stops. If they have a ticket.

Conservatives Make Campaign Event Attendees Sign Gag Order

Not only have Harper's campaign handlers made his campaign events by invite only, they are forcing anyone let in to sign an agreement not to transmit any description of the event or any images from it.

Conservatives Unfix Their Own Fixed Date Election Law

In 2008, Harper pulled the plug on his own government, violating his own new law, which stipulated elections every four years.

Guilty Plea on In and Out Affair

The Conservative Party and its fundraising arm pled guilty to some Elections Act charges stemming from their exceeding spending limits in the 2006 campaign. The investigation cost taxpayers over $2 million.

Cons' Elections Bill Strips Power from Elections Canada

The Fair Elections Act also makes it harder for Canadians to vote as more ID is required. Nationwide protests in which more than 400 academics took part forced Pierre Poilievre to withdraw some measures in the bill because of their alleged anti-democratic bent.

Harper Minister Smears Head of Elections Canada

In a bid to impugn his integrity, Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre accused the Elections Canada CEO Marc Mayrand of being a power monger and wearing a team jersey.

Copyright Grab for Attack Ads

CTV News found out Conservatives aimed to rewrite copyright law to let political parties grab any media content and use it for free in their ads. The impact, warned CTV's Don Martin, "will be to cast a chill on every broadcast appearance" by MPs, commentators and reporters, who "must now be aware their views could end up featured in a political attack ad." By asserting "unlimited access to the airwaves for propaganda purposes," Martin said, the Harper government "could be seen as flirting with fascism."

Conservatives Use Terrorists' Propaganda in Attack Ad

Harper's party created a political ad incorporating music and horrifying images of doomed captives pulled straight from the Islamic State's own promotional video. The target: Justin Trudeau, whose views on the risks and rewards of bombing ISIS differ from Harper's.

Personal Attack Ads

Under Harper's leadership, Conservatives became the first to routinely use personal attacks ads outside an election writ period. Their ads often used quotes deliberately taken out of context. Incidence of attack ads by Harper Conservatives was heavier than by any other government.

Read more: Politics, Federal Politics, Election 2015,


David Beers is founding editor of The Tyee. He was assisted in compiling and writing this list by friends and readers of The Tyee.

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