So it’s the Harper government, not the Government of Canada, now. A comment on Facebook suggests today that Harper is emulating the George W. Bush attitude and behaviour towards science. The muzzling of science, supporting business at all costs, the money for religion but not for research, all of it suggests that the discredited neocon attitude is behind all of it. Now the government is tearing down the buildings of the Experimental Lakes Area. How will we know what is happening to our water if we don’t let the scientists investigate and tell us? What will we do when it is too late?
It’s time to change the government.
Clock ticking down for renowned environmental research station – The Globe and Mail.
A line in a “budget” and a world-renowned research facility, the one that taught us about phosphates and acid rain and would have taught us how to deal with the oil sands is closing because of some politician’s scientific illiteracy and inability to face hard facts. Not everything in this world of ours can be reduced to a line in a profit and loss statement, but the members of the Harper government seem to think it can. But even it that was the way it worked, the knowledge produced by the experiments at the Experiment Lakes is far more valuable than any minimal decrease in budgetary expense.
Even if other sectors could pick up the cost, the time line imposed by the Omnibus bill is too short. I suppose the Harperites like to see people who are so much smarter than they are twisting in the wind.
It is shameful decision and a disgrace to this country.
Budget cuts put rescue teams in peril long before Elliot Lake – The Globe and Mail
Teams such as these cost a great deal of money. The Harper government, which is cancelling the funding, claims that 90% of disasters are handled locally. Whether or not that is true, and who knows about statistics released by this government, the 10% are those such as the disaster at Elliott Lake or future terrorist attacks, or crumbling urban infrastructure collapses that take heroic effort by well-trained teams with advanced equipment to save lives. Without funding, Public Safety Canada said that some or all of the teams would not survive.
The funding cut was another of those buried in the Omnibus Bill, just passed with much high-fiving and cheering by the Harper party stalwarts. Perhaps they will come to dig out the survivors when the next building collapses.
What so these guys think federal governments are meant to do? Oh, I remember. Build bridges for the Americans.
Tory ministers crash budget hearing, leaving little time for questions – The Globe and Mail.
The Harper government appears to think that this is very clever political behaviour. Can’t you just hear them chortling in the men’s room over the way they’re going to put one over on the committee?
But this is not adult political behaviour. The Parliament in my view has a responsibility as a whole to consider well legislation that is before it and it is the duty of the Ministers of the Crown to answer questions about legislation. The more the Harper government plays these games, the more they look like they have something to hide.
The Omnibus bill is too large, and too vague to be passed as responsible legislation. There are far too many non-budget items included and they are too ill-defined.
Today, for example they floated some idea of paying EI recipients to move to where the jobs are. This was in response to the suggestion that a person should take any job, picking tobacco for example, even if the person’s training was teaching or nursing or engineering or graphic design. What nonsense is this? It reminds me of the Chinese sending their best and brightest to be reeducated in the countryside, with a subsequent loss of knowledge and skills that took two generations to recover. This country is supposed to be about progress and opportunity, and an insurance plan is supposed to provide insurance, not a bludgeon to take away people’s right of movement.
Did we decide as a people, sometime when I wasn’t paying attention, that the only thing that matters is the bottom line, that there is no room for compassion, or art, or history or a social safety net? I don’t think we did.
I’m tired of the posturing and the lies and the games. I want transparent, responsible and good government.
Didn’t the Harper Tories campaign on something like that?
Prison rehab program axed due to budget cuts – Canada – CBC News.
The CBC reports this morning that the government has cancelled the rehabilitation programme that has operated successfully in prisons, helping prisoners fight addiction and return as better and safer citizens to the outside world.
This government has curious pseudo-logic — put more people in prisons so you have to build more prisons, and make sure the prisoners continue to be addicted so they will reoffend when they hit the streets, and justify the increase in prisons.
Humane civilizations treat those who fall within their care, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the sick, and yes the prisoners, many of whom fall into the last two groups as well, with compassion. It does the country no good whatsoever to return the untreated addicted to the streets.
The more bizarre the actions of this government, and that’s without considering Peter McKay, the better Thomas Mulcair looks.
The myth of Tory economic performance – The Globe and Mail.
Check out Lawrence Martin’s assessment of the Harper record. The out-of-control cuts and spending left us with a deficit where there had been a surplus. Martin puts it all together in this fine article. Politics is ever the same. The politicians “spin”, trying to convince us that up is down, black is white and guys who denied the economic downturn in ’08 are somehow our saviours in ’12.
Writing: I’m working on book three in my Dangerous Journey’s series. Anne is in Bermuda this time, fending off a police detective who thinks that Anne is a killer, and a killer who thinks she’s a nuisance that needs to be eliminated. I hope to be finished by the end of March, so watch for it next fall. Title, as always, pending.
Reading; I finished The Hare with the Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal. De Waal writes the biography of his family’s collection of netsuke and through it a memoir of his family of Russian Jewish bankers and their sad fate at the hands of Austrian Nazis. A fascinating and moving story, and a very good read.
Opposition accuses Harper of putting prisons before seniors – The Globe and Mail.
First I must admit, I am a senior. Have been for seven months. Before that I worked as a physician for forty years. I paid taxes on every penny. Taxes that paid for schools, roads, hospitals, hydro dams, and lately politicians’ gold-plated pensions. Also wars, expansions of prisons. and incentives to large corporations.
Yes, I and the others of my age paid for it all. When Harper was elected, another pair of seniors, Chretien and Martin, handed over a surplus. We, the elders paid for that too, enduring those years of restraints. Harper squandered it.
And now we have a government that has decided that those of us who paid for all that will be too big a drain on the economy, too big to carry on with the 540.12 each month, that is the total OAS that seniors receive. What is the total amount that the MP’s present and past receive?
Perhaps we could forgo the expansion of our prison system, and the required prison sentences that are forcing it. The crime rate is falling after all.
Mr. Harper knows that we’re coming, the seniors. I think he should remember that we all vote.
- Solitary confinement Kingston Penitentiary
Two articles on opposite pages of the Globe and Mail this morning. One spoke of the tremendous support for Canadian values— tolerance for others and equality—that native Canadians and immigrants supported at the same level, the other of the conditions within our prisons, in particular the plan in the Omnibus Bill to deny visitors to people in solitary confinement. The Canadian Bar Association calls that “mean-spirited and counterproductive”. The article quotes 2008 Florida study as showing that prisoners who had family visitors were less likely to reoffend. The evidence against the punitive, unyielding nature of the measures in this bill continue to mount, yet the government remains committed to an approach that is being discredited and dismantled in the prototypic programmes in the US. Even a right-wing stalwart like Newt Gingrich has spoken against this approach, mainly because it is to expensive and it does not work.
If Harper thinks that he must continue with this because he believes he has a mandate to do so, he needs to think again. Those people who supported Canadian values in the survey quoted above, a vast majority, are not likely to long support a prison run on the recommendations of jail guards and their unions alone. Solitary confinement and the punitive instincts of prison administrators led to the death of Ashley Smith in a Kitchener prison. Four years have passed and this “mean-spirited” bill is the result. How many more people have to die?
Agnes McPhail one of the Famous Five, whose statues confront the politicians every day on the Hill, led the demand for prison reform in this country. Prisons in that unenlightened time were based on principles of retribution, not rehabilitation. Are we returning to that, not only inhumane but useless, expensive and unconscionable in a time of economic uncertainty and falling crime?
Guards are afraid of prisoners’ anger and violence. Measures which increase that anger make them less rather than more secure.
I wonder if the Prime Minister should make an unannounced visit to the Kingston Pen or to the prison here in Lindsay, as Agnes McPhail did in 1935. What she saw ignited a crusade that brought down the Conservative Government of R.B. Bennett later that same year. On second thought, maybe one of the opposition leaders should be making that visit.
Famous Five on Parliament Hill
Texas conservatives reject Harper’s crime plan – Canada – CBC News.
If you missed this article on the CBC news website, have a look. According to the Texans who have “been there, done that,” incarceration on the scale Mr. Harper is planning will cost billions of dollars and won’t work. That’s right. No decrease in crime. No decrease in drug use. What works? Treatment of drug addicts, outside of the prison system.
I don’t want to pay huge amounts to build new prisons, incarcerate countless young people and have nothing to show for it at the end but regret as expressed by these Texans, Republican to the core.
“Marc Levin, a lawyer with an anti-tax group called Right on Crime, argues that building more prisons is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“We’ve see a double-digit decline in the last few years in Texas, both in our prison incarceration rate and, most importantly in our crime rate,” says Levin.
“And the way we’ve done it is by strengthening some of the alternatives to prison.””
I just don’t get it. I can understand the Tories not being swayed by the sociological, psychological and moral arguments, but thought they would accept the economic one. I thought they were supposed to be pragmatic, bottom line guys. Just ideologues, the bunch of them.
Why do we have to go down this well-worn path to failure?
In March I wrote a post about my reasons for not voting for Harper. My reasons for voting Liberal are based on history:
1)The last government left us with a surplus–Harper spent it on things like 300 million for security at the G20/G8, but mostly on dropping taxes. How much of that did you see on your bottom line? Did the economy improve? Not.
2)This country had a reputation for intelligent foreign policy. Now, do we have a foreign policy. Harper had some on the job training. Ignatieff comes with a wealth of knowledge of the outside world.
3)We used to feel secure without social safety net. As a lady waiting to have her blood drawn for tests said this morning,”There’s no security any more.”
4)We need money spent on our colleges and universities. The Liberals will do that.
5)We need more thought, less ideology on the subject of Law and Order. Attention to relevant statistics would help. The Liberals will do that.
It’s time for a change.