Canada: Attawapiskat Citizens In Desperate Need of Housing -Some are Living in Tents

Canada: Attawapiskat Housing Crisis A Serious Risk To Women, Children, Elders

By Ahni Nov 22, 2011

Children living in un-insulated tents; families relying on buckets for toilets; elders living in sheds–these are some of the conditions witnessed by Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus and MPP Gilles Bisson on a tour through Attawapiskat this month.

For almost two years, the Attawapiskat First Nation has been facing a severe housing shortage. As MP Charlie Angus recently witnessed first-hand, there are several families on the reserve who are living in makeshift shelters including uninsulated tents, converted garages, temporary trailers and deteriorating homes filled with Stachybotrys chartarum–a fungi more commonly known as black mold.

Some of the shelters have no heat, electricity, or plumbing of any kind. Some don’t even have toilets, so instead people are using plastic buckets, which they are dumping into nearby ditches.

With winter fast approaching, the housing shortage is turning into the kind of crisis that humanitarian aid groups would normally flock to in droves, if it was happening in Haiti or Darfur. But the Cree Fist Nation isn’t in Haiti, it’s in Canada. And Canada is basically doing nothing. In fact, these days the government seems more interested in spying on Cindy Blackstock and shutting down native healing centres than actually helping and working with Indigenous Peoples.

In response to the ongoing crisis, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence recently declared a state of emergency, in which she pleaded for the government to step in and, if necessary, lead an emergency evacuation to ensure everyone’s health and safety. The government said no.

It probably came as no surprise to Chief Spence, given the way Canada has dealt with Attawapiskat in recent years. For instance, in 2009, another state of emergency was declared after INAC finally stepped in to clean up a 30,000 gallon oil spill from the 1970s. The mass of oil had accumulated directly beneath the community’s school grounds.

Some 30 years later, children at the school started getting sick, leaving Attawapiskat with no choice but to abandon the building. INAC responded by providing a new makeshift school a few metres away; but the actual clean up didn’t begin for another nine years.

In 2009, INAC demolished the old school and left an “open wound” at the center of the community, which it covered with a tarp.

Soon after that, community members started complaining of headaches, nausea, skin rashes, nosebleeds and chronic diarrhea. In the makeshift school, some children were said to be just “passing out”.

Canada did nothing. In fact, then-INAC Minster Chuck Strahl even went so far as to say that the whole situation was little more than a publicity stunt being propped up “on the backs of needy aboriginal people.”

This time around, the Canadian government appears to be acting a shade more reasonably, but only a shade. They recently promised to give the First Nation $500,000 to renovate 15 houses; but that’s it. Federal officials haven’t even bothered to visit the community. And who knows how long that will take for that fund to go through; never mind the fact that almost half of the houses on the reserve need renovations or are condemned.

In a frustrating twist, Attawapiskat happens to be in the shadow of the De Beers Victor Diamond Mine, which extracts about 600,000 carats per year.

Attawapiskat is getting an undisclosed amount of money from De Beers; however, Chief Spence says the bulk of that money goes directly into a trust fund which they can’t access for housing. Chief Spence is trying to renegotiate with De Beers, but those negotiations don’t appear to be going anywhere. Source

The Canadian government says it has given Attawapiskat roughly $90 million since 2006. However, documents from the department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada show Attawapiskat only received $4.3 million in funding for housing since 2006. Source

Someone is not being truthful. Which is it?

I am guessing they only received $4.3 million.

Harper’s government is not to reliable when it comes to facts.

Even if they did get $90,000,000

Divided by 6 years

=  $15,000.000 per year

Divided by 1,800 citizens

= $8,333 per person per year = about

$694 per month per person

When you bring it down to reality it really isn’t very much.

That money of course does not go to the people. Some does, but not it all.

A few things money is used for in Northern Communities.

They have to bring in most of what they use.

Shipping is a huge cost.

Snow Removal.

Building maintenance for schools or should I say school and portables.

They need an air port.

Have to pay the teachers, janitors etc.

Have to pay for the Health Care workers.

Have to pay the airport personnel and maintenance.

Have to pay for road maintenance employees.

Those are just a few of the things not all. There are many more if I took the time to really think about it.

The cost of living in Attawapiskat is quite high, due to the expense of shipping goods to the community.

Local stores include the Northern Store and M. Koostachin & Sons (1976). More than a third of the residents occasionally place orders for perishables and other goods which are shipped in via aircraft from Timmins, and for which the residents make prepayments with money orders. When their orders arrive, the residents have to pick them up at the local airport. For example, 6 apples and 4 small bottles of juice cost $23.50 (2011-12-01).

The price of gasoline is considerably higher than the provincial average. When the fuel is shipped via winter road, the prices of gasoline and propane tend to drop slightly.

It costs $250,000 to build a house in Attawapiskat and only the Federal Government can build houses on the reserve. . The cost of renovating one condemned house is $50,000-$100,000. A majority of the community members have updated their heating needs, while many households still use dry firewood. Firewood in Attawapiskat costs $150 and $200 a cord, and a cord will heat a winter-bound tent for only a week, or at most 10 days. More information at  Source

Charlie Angus, scrum on Attawapiskat – 111201

Dec 1, 2011

Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay answered questions about the First Nations community of Attawapiskat in crisis – recorded by Samantha Bayard and Ish Theilheimer for Straight Goods News on December 1, 2011 during a scrum on Parliament Hill.

Canadian leadership in Attawapiskat

NDP Canada on Dec 1, 2011

ATTAWAPISKAT HOUSING-CRISIS

Attawapiskat First Nation is on the shores of James Bay Ontario.

Gilles on Attawapiskat Housing crisis

Nov 23 2011

Timmins James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson calls on provincial government to help residents of Attawapiskat

Canada AM – Attawapiskat

This video was taken fall 2010 when my family and I had visited Attawapiskat. Canada AM followed us up, and created this documentary to bring awareness to the housing, food, and ect. crises. since then not much has changed. and the people continue to lose more, and more hope.

Attawapiskat

This video was taken fall 2010

Attawapiskat – where are the promises?

Apr 14, 2009

Attawapiskat is the home of the Mushkegowuk (swampy) Cree that is situated on the west coast of James Bay. The community has been exposed to toxic fumes dating back to 30 years. Since 1979, about 30, 000 gallons of hydrocarbon oil spill has occured underneath the old school grounds. In the year 2000, there were health concerns of children and the staff getting sick. This resulted the closure of the old school. INAC build temporary portables near the contamination site til the new school was build. The community worked hard in negotiations with INAC and the government to get a new school and finally came to light! There was Hope once again for the children. Everything was in the process until the the new government stepped in 2007. On August 2007, Minister Chuck Strahl became the new Minister for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada under the leadership of the Conservatives. On December 2007, Minister of INAC decided to halt the deal, that left the community devastated. But that didn’t stop the community and the Children, they went as far to having a Human Rights Conference in Toronto. The students argue for a right to a quality education in safe environment in November 2008. Mr. Chuck Strahl was invited but didn’t show up?

Finally on March of 2009 , the old school was demolish under the direction of INAC, exposing the ground once capped by the old building. The contaminated debris wasn’t properly contained and was dump too closed to the community. As for the old building, it wasn’t capped leaving the fumes exposed to the residence. A stench was reported making the students, teachers and the community sick which then resulted to the closing of the schools, shortly by a declared state of emergency from the leaders. A few days later, INAC and Health Canada flew in to meet with the community and listen to the community’s testimonies of getting nausea, headaches, dizziness and skin rashes? The community felt it had to do with the contaminated ground and their water source.

INAC responded that they would take the information back to their Superiors and report back of their decision for further immediate action. Three days later, Attawapiskat was devastated when INAC and Health Canada went to the media and said “There was no iniminent dangers and that the community’s air tested normal?”. The Leaders didn’t buy it! As of April 9, 2009, Attawapiskat is still under state of emergency and have no trust in the government officials. They suspected that something wasn’t right with their findingsl because of all the testimonies that were given at the meeting of people getting sick? That people were dying from cancer too fast, children having skin rashes and the stench of the contaminated oil can still be smell.

Later that week, MP Charlie Angus and MPP Gilles Bisson responded to the urgent call of the Attawapiskat Chief and Council and did their own investigations. They were shock to find out the extent of this urgent matter and confirm the seriousness of addressing the health concerns right away.The next day, Both parties called for a National Press Conference and share their findings. Shortly after, INAC responded by saying, it was just a grandstanding photo-op? Which is not true. The Reps of James Bay-Timmins took soil samples with them and send them to Ottawa to get tested right away, doing INAC and Health Canada’s job for them?? They are calling on independent study by the medical and environmental team. As of today, INAC still refuses to evacuate the reserve even though they asked for immediate action until the remediation was completed and safe. The community was very upset to find out it would take INAC 2 more years to clean up the contamination site which wasn’t acceptable.

Ask yourself this question? Would you find it acceptable from INAC (Indian Northern Affairs of Canada) if they told you everything is fine in your community and there is nothing to worry about? While the children are breaking up in rashes, people getting sick and alot of reports of cancers since 30 years ago? Think about it…..Would you be willing to accept returning your children back to the toxic zone for their education? Would this happen down south? Is it acceptable to be told that it would take 2 years to finish cleaning up the toxic soil after it has been there for 30 years. These schools were under INAC’s watch when the spills happened…… If this reaches you, please help the community and put your government to shame!! Spread this video and let the world know what our Government is doing to their Indigenous People!

Shannen’s Dream of a new school may become reality in 2013. Will it really happen? Well I guess we will have to wait and see.

There have been promises before and still no school for the children.

After 2000, three successive INAC ministers — Robert Nault, Andy Scott and Jim Prentice — promised a new school for Attawapiskat. You can read the full chronology of seven years of negotiations on the departmental website. On April 1, 2008, the new minister, Chuck Strahl, informed AFNEA that Ottawa would not finance the new school after all. Well wasn’t that just the worst slap in the face a bunch of kids could get.
Shannen Koostachin at the National Day of Action on Parliament Hill in May 2008, a rally calling for better schools for First Nations children. The Attawapiskat teenager organized children in her community to lobby for a school to replace the portable classrooms she grew up attending. She was killed in a car accident on June 1 2010 at the age of 15. Photo Courtesy of 8th Fire

8th Fire: Aboriginal Peoples, Canada and the Way Forward. The four-part series begins airing on CBC television and Radio-Canada on Jan. 12, 2012.

Nov 30, 2011 VIDEO: A view from Attawapiskat before the crisis plus 2 other videos

Canadian Red Cross provides relief in Attawapiskat

The Canadian Red Cross is on the ground in Attawapiskat providing urgently needed aid to vulnerable families in the community.

“Our goal in Attawapiskat is to ensure that the immediate needs of the community are met, which includes making sure families have the supplies they need to survive the winter,” said John Saunders, provincial director of disaster management with the Canadian Red Cross. “We are focused on providing short-term relief to the community.”

The Canadian Red Cross is helping the families of Attawapiskat on the request of the local chief, Theresa Spence, and will continue to work alongside public authorities.

On November 29, a Red Cross team consisting of Saunders and two volunteers from Timmins arrived with preliminary supplies including sleeping bags, heaters and winter clothing. The team is conducting assessments to determine exactly what items and quantities are needed for short-term relief. Once the assessment is complete, the Canadian Red Cross will distribute those supplies.

In Attawapiskat, the Canadian Red Cross has identified families living in tents and wooden sheds without electricity and plumbing in most dwellings. Some homes have power by running extension cords. Some have created make shift wood stoves out of old oil drums, which is a threat to public safety and health.

Government and community officials continue to work to determine long-term solutions.

At the further request of the community, the Canadian Red Cross has taken on a donation management role. Canadians wishing to support immediate needs can make a donation through the Red Cross online, by phone by calling 1-800-418-111 or in person at their local Red Cross office. Red Cross.Ca

Libya took better care of it’s people then Canada does.  Canada helped Carpet Bomb them back to the stone ages and could afford to do that but not help their own people.

Did You Know

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at zero percent interest by law.
3. Having a home considered a human right in Libya.
4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 dinar (U.S.$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.
5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25 percent of Libyans were literate. Today, the figure is 83 percent.
6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kickstart their farms are all for free.
7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need, the government funds them to go abroad, for it is not only paid for, but they get a U.S.$2,300/month for accommodation and car allowance.
8. If a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50 percent of the price.
9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.
10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amounting to $150 billion are now frozen globally.
11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession, as if he or she is employed, until employment is found.
12. A portion of every Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
13. A mother who gives birth to a child receive U.S.$5,000.
14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $0.15.
15. 25 percent of Libyans have a university degree.
16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Manmade River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.
17 Women’s Rights: Under Gaddafi, gender discrimination was officially banned and the literacy rate for women climbed to 83 per cent. The rights of Black’s were also improved. Source

All that has been destroyed.

Recent

Canada: Mohawk Elders looking for mass graves of Children that died in Residential Schools

US wants to Censor the Internet

Over 7,000 prisoners are held in Libya

Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill

There are a number of Videos in the link below on How Americans Factory Farm Animals. Unbelievable cruelty.

McDonald’s drops U.S. egg supplier over ‘disturbing’ animal-cruelty video

War Crimes Tribunal finds Bush and Blair are war criminals

US Lawmakers Corruption “Busted”

Indonesian Citizens Protest Obama’s Visit to Bali

A series of political rallies were held in cities across Canada

Demonstrators hold signs at a rally in support of the Bloc Quebecois supported Liberal-NDP coalition to replace the Conservative minority government, in Montreal on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Demonstrators hold signs at a rally in support of the Bloc Quebecois supported Liberal-NDP coalition to replace the Conservative minority government, in Montreal on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Demonstrators hold signs at a rally in support of the coalition to replace the Conservative minority government in Montreal on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Demonstrators hold signs at a rally in support of the coalition to replace the Conservative minority government in Montreal on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Nancy Szkurhan, of Kanata, Ont., holds a sign as she takes part in an anti-coalition rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Saturday Dec. 6, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Sean Kilpatrick)

Nancy Szkurhan, of Kanata, Ont., holds a sign as she takes part in an anti-coalition rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Saturday Dec. 6, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Sean Kilpatrick)

Coalition and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion and NDP leader Jack Layton raise their joined hands at a pro-coalition rally in Toronto on Saturday Dec. 6, 2008. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Coalition and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion and NDP leader Jack Layton raise their joined hands at a pro-coalition rally in Toronto on Saturday Dec. 6, 2008. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A protester holds up a drawing of Liberal Leader Stephane Dion stylized as Stalin during an anti-coalition rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday Dec. 4, 2008. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A protester holds up a drawing of Liberal Leader Stephane Dion stylized as Stalin during an anti-coalition rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday Dec. 4, 2008. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

December 6 2008

A series of political rallies were held in cities across Canada on Saturday, some in support and others in protest of the opposition coalition that threatened to topple the Conservative government earlier this week.

In some cases, both pro- and anti-coalition rallies took place in the same city.

In Toronto, Canada’s federal Liberal and NDP leaders addressed several thousand supporters in Toronto on Saturday afternoon.

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion told a pro-coalition crowd at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square that Canada urgently needs a plan to help the country’s economy.

“We want to help our country to fight the economic crisis that is coming, and for that we need to pull together,” he said Saturday afternoon.

He also said Prime Minister Stephen Harper had “wasted time on partisan games and locked the doors of Parliament.”

NDP Leader Jack Layton followed Dion and told the crowd that the prime minister had put “a padlock on Parliament Hill” and was “desperately clinging to power.”

“By closing down Parliament, he has silenced your voice,” Layton said. “He has turned his back on the economy and on the people who are being thrown out of work.”

Layton criticized Harper for delivering “an ideological plan” in the government’s fiscal update, when Canadians needed the prime minister to look after their best interests.

About two kilometers north of the pro-coalition rally featuring Layton and Dion, a crowd of more than 500 held an anti-coalition rally at the provincial legislature buildings in Queen’s Park.

In Ottawa, an anti-coalition rally saw an estimated 3,000 people gather on Parliament Hill in the bitter cold, in order to protest the Liberal-NDP coalition that is backed up by the Bloc Quebecois.

CTV’s John Hua said crowd members had told him “the people here are for Stephen Harper, but for the most part they are here for democracy.”

“They have come because they have chosen a government, they have chosen the specific people to lead this country, and that it’s…not up to backroom deals for people to come together and pull that majority away from Stephen Harper,” he told CTV’s Newsnet in a phone interview from Ottawa.

Another rally in Calgary saw about 2,000 people gather in support of the existing Conservative government, and just over 200 people showed up to a similar rally in Halifax.

Another 200 people showed up at anti-coalition rally held in front of the New Brunswick legislature in Fredericton.

In Halifax, protesters held placards urging federal politicians to respect their votes, using slogans like “My Vote Counts,” “No Secret Deals” and “Respect Our Votes” to convey their message.

Conservative MP Gerry Keddy, who was present at the Halifax rally, called on the coalition to give “its head a shake.”

In Montreal, just under 1,000 people showed up to a pro-coalition rally that was organized by three major Quebec unions.

That rally was attended by Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, as well as NDP and Liberal party representatives.

Duceppe told the crowd that Harper is “trying to make Canada a banana republic” by proroguing Parliament.

Also in Montreal, a crowd of about 30 people held a demonstration outside Dion’s Montreal offices, in support of the Conservative government.

All of the protests began at noon ET on Saturday, including about 20 organized by Canadians for Democracy, which opposes the proposed Liberal-NDP-Bloc Quebecois coalition.

On its website, rallyforcanada.ca, the group accuses the NDP and Liberals of getting into bed with separatists and warns that the threat of a coalition taking power will resume once Parliament returns on Jan. 26.

“Let’s rally to show the proposed coalition that this isn’t a good option,” reads a message on the website.

The Canadian Labour Congress, which supports the coalition, held rallies in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square, as well as in Montreal and Sudbury, Ont.

A radio ad that also appears on the CLC’s website encourages supporters to attend Saturday’s rallies by slamming Harper’s inability to work with the opposition parties to devise solutions for a sluggish economy.

“During the election, Stephen Harper told us he would make a minority Parliament work and put our economy first. He has failed.”

The rallies come at the end of a whirlwind week in Ottawa, as the three opposition parties threatened to overthrow Harper’s Conservative minority and take power after a confidence vote that had been scheduled for Monday.

The move was largely a response to last week’s economic update, delivered by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, which withdrew public funding for the federal parties and failed to include details of an economic stimulus package.

Harper responded by asking Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean to prorogue Parliament. That gives him until Jan. 26 to prepare a budget that will contain a plan for stimulating the economy. Jean agreed and Harper will now present a budget on Jan. 27.

He has said he would like input from the opposition parties as he prepares his economic plan.

Saturday’s rallies follow a series of pro-coalition protests Thursday, including one on Parliament Hill that drew about 2,000 supporters.

Source

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces that Governor General Michaelle Jean approved his recommendation to prorogue Parliament at Rideau Hall in Ottawa Thursday, Dec. 4 , 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Tom Hanson)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper prepares his speech to the nation from his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec.3, 2008. (Tom Hanson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper prepares his speech to the nation from his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec.3, 2008. (Tom Hanson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion reads his speech in reaction to the prime minister's televised speech to the nation from his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion reads his speech in reaction to the prime minister’s televised speech to the nation from his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Harper wrong on democracy claims: experts

December 4 2008

By Jim Brown

OTTAWA — If there’s one point on which Stephen Harper has been adamant, it’s his claim that the opposition politicians trying to strip him of power are undermining democracy.

“The Canadian government has always been chosen by the people,” the prime minister declared in his mid-week televised address to the country.

But now, he told viewers, a coalition of opposition parties is trying to oust him through a backroom deal “without your say, without your consent and without your vote.”

Just how valid is Harper’s claim that changing governments without a new election would be undemocratic?

“It’s politics, it’s pure rhetoric,” said Ned Franks, a retired Queen’s University expert on parliamentary affairs. “Everything that’s been happening is both legal and constitutional.”

Other scholars are virtually unanimous in their agreement. They say Harper’s populist theory of democracy is more suited to a U.S.-style presidential system, in which voters cast ballots directly for a national leader, than it is to Canadian parliamentary democracy.

“He’s appealing to people who learned their civics from American television,” said Henry Jacek, a political scientist at McMaster University.

Harper signed similar document in 2004

In Canada, there’s no national vote for prime minister. People elect MPs in 308 ridings, and a government holds power only as long as it has the support of a majority of those MPs.

“We have a rule that the licence to govern is having the confidence of the House of Commons,” said Peter Russell, a former University of Toronto professor and adviser to past governors general.

“I’m sorry, that’s the rule. If they want to change it to having a public opinion poll, we’d have to reform and rewrite our Constitution.”

Harper himself signed a letter to then-Governor General Adrienne Clarkson in 2004, claiming the right to form a government if Paul Martin’s minority Liberals could be defeated in a confidence vote in the Commons.

His ostensible partners would have been NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe — now derided by Harper as the “socialist” and the “separatist” in Liberal Leader Stephane Dion’s coalition.

“I was just as much a sovereigntist then as I am now,” Duceppe sniffed Thursday in a reference to Harper’s new-found aversion to any deals with the Bloc.

Such facts are conveniently forgottenby some members of Harper’s cabinet who have been even more vocal than their boss in the current crisis.

Revenue Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn has characterized the opposition effort to bring down the Tories as a “coup d’etat.”

Transport Minister John Baird spoke Thursday of the need for the Conservatives to go “over the heads” of both Parliament and Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean to take their case straight to the people.

There’s no doubt the central Harper claim — that he can’t legitimately be dumped from office without a new election — is dead wrong, said Jonathan Rose, a Queen’s University political scientist.

But as a communications strategy it has the virtue of being simple, direct and powerful.

“He’s using this bludgeon of an argument (but) most people just see the word democracy and have some intuitive connection to it,” said Rose.

By contrast, the theory and practice of parliamentary confidence and responsible cabinet government take some explaining.

But Harper may have undermined his own effort Thursday with his visit to the Governor General to get permission to shut down Parliament for seven weeks.

It was the only way he could dodge a confidence vote that would have toppled his government next Monday. But it also presented the Liberals, NDP and Bloc with a ready-made response to the prime minister’s claim of democratic superiority.

“You need something visceral and simple,” said Rose. “The opposition metaphor of locking the doors to Parliament does it. I think people understand that.”

Source

Harper ‘lies’ about coalition details

Harper ‘lies’ about coalition details

PM ‘shameful’ in portraying crisis as national unity issue, former NDP leader says

December 3, 2008

Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent speaking in Toronto Wednesday.

Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent speaking in Toronto Wednesday. (CBC)

To save his own government, Stephen Harper is deliberately trying to deceive Canadians about the facts surrounding a proposed Liberal-NDP coalition, former NDP leader Ed Broadbent said Wednesday.

In an interview with CBC News in Toronto, a furious Broadbent had harsh words for the prime minister, saying Harper was also trying to pit English Canada against Quebecers in his attempt to discredit the proposed coalition to replace him if the Conservative minority government falls.

“I’ve never seen the leader of a Conservative party, certainly not Bob Stanfield, certainly not Joe Clark, lie — I choose the word deliberately — the way Mr. Harper has,” Broadbent said.

The former NDP leader, who helped negotiate Monday’s deal between the New Democrats and the Liberals with the support of the Bloc Québécois, said Harper also lied when he said the three opposition leaders refused to sign their agreement in front of a Canadian flag because Gilles Duceppe, a Quebec sovereigntist, objected.

In fact, there were at least two flags present at Monday’s signing ceremony, as well as a painting of the Fathers of Confederation.

Broadbent said Harper is conducting a “shameful operation” by trying to turn certain defeat in the House of Commons into a national unity crisis.

“I’m concerned I have a prime minister who lies to the people of Canada and knows it,” Broadbent said. “It’s one thing to exaggerate. It’s another to deliberately tell falsehoods.”

The former NDP leader also accused Harper of lying about the details of the proposed coalition, including his charge that the Bloc Québécois is a formal partner and that six Bloc MPs would be offered Senate positions under the coalition government.

The Bloc has said it will support the Liberal-NDP coalition for 18 months in the House of Commons, but none of its members will sit in a cabinet led by Stéphane Dion as prime minister and a Liberal as finance minister.

“They make it up,” he said of Harper’s Conservatives, who have been quick to label the proposal a “separatist coalition.”

“They lie. They pay people to destroy things.”

Clark, Stanfield ‘would have done the proper thing’

Broadbent said he understood how some Canadians are furious to watch politicians fighting while the economy continues to be battered.

“I have no doubt that is how they see it in the short run, but we are doing what should be done in a parliamentary democracy,” he said.

“They’re trying to turn a serious economic situation into a political crisis. We will say we objected because there is a serious economic situation for Canadians.”

The opposition’s proposed economic stimulus package, Broadbent said, contains similar measures to ones planned by U.S. president-elect Barack Obama in the wake of the global economic crisis.

“Other countries are doing it and we should be doing it here,” he said.

He said Harper was betraying the honourable legacy of past party leaders by continuing to delay a confidence vote in the House of Commons. The prime minister pushed back the confidence motion brought by the opposition parties until next Monday and could delay a vote indefinitely by proroguing Parliament.

“I had, my predecessors had a sense of integrity. Bob Stanfield, a Conservative, Joe Clark, a Conservative, had a sense of integrity,” Broadbent said.

“They would have done the proper thing. If we lost the confidence, then we would accept that and have to resign.”

Source

Day denies report of 2000 coalition plot with Bloc

Former Alliance leader once told reporters, ‘I’m not big on labels’

December 3, 2008

Federal Trade Minister Stockwell Day denied on Wednesday he was aware of a secret plan in 2000 for him to take power through a formal coalition between the Bloc Québécois, the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives.

Trade Minister Stockwell Day speaks during Wednesday's question period in Ottawa.

Trade Minister Stockwell Day speaks during Wednesday’s question period in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The Globe and Mail reported on Wednesday that well-known Calgary lawyer Gerry Chipeur, who identified himself as an associate of Day’s and the now-defunct Alliance, sent a written offer to the Bloc and Joe Clark’s Progressive Conservatives before the votes were counted on election day on Nov. 27, 2000.

The 2000 election saw Jean Chrétien’s Liberals win another majority government before the 2004 reunification of the two conservative parties that now comprise Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

The paper said Chipeur’s letter proposed a coalition between the Alliance, the PCs and the Bloc, while a separate document discussed contents of a potential throne speech.

Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe held up the letter during Wednesday’s question period while grilling the former Alliance leader over the alleged plan, as well as over the Conservatives’ apparent willingness to form a coalition with the separatist party in 2004.

“Will he admit that in 2004, and in 2000, he was prepared to make such a deal with the Bloc?” Duceppe told the House.

The Conservatives have lambasted Stéphane Dion’s Liberals for entering into a proposed Liberal-NDP coalition government with the support of the Bloc if Harper’s minority government were to fall, portraying the pact as undemocratic and a threat to national unity.

Day replied that the report was a “complete fabrication” and that he had never seen the letter, never endorsed it and would never sign such a deal.

“It would be against my very DNA to do a coalition deal with socialists, and it would absolutely go against my heart and the heart of Canadians to do a deal with separatists,” Day told the House on Wednesday, in reference to the current proposed coalition.

In an interview with the Globe, Chipeur played down the importance of the offer, saying he never discussed the matter with Day or with other MPs, and was simply getting ready in the event of a minority government.

But in July 2000, Day indicated a willingness to form political ties with the Bloc if it meant ousting the federal Liberals from power. He said his party’s position was “to be open to anybody who’s interested in a truly conservative form of government.”

“I’m not big on labels,” Day told reporters at the time when asked about a possible coalition to oust Chrétien’s Liberals.

“If there are people who embrace the views of the Canadian Alliance and believe we need a federal government that is limited in size, that respects the provinces and that wants lower taxes, I’m not interested where they may have been in the past politically.”

Source

A Blast from the Past

Prime Minister Stephen Harper responds to a question from newly elected Liberal leader Stephane Dion (background) during Question Period in the House of Commons. (CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper responds to a question from newly elected Liberal leader Stephane Dion (background) during Question Period in the House of Commons. (CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson)

Tories blasted for handbook on paralyzing Parliament
May 18 2007

The Harper government is being accused of a machiavellian plot to wreak parliamentary havoc after a secret Tory handbook on obstructing and manipulating Commons committees was leaked to the press.

Opposition parties pounced on news reports Friday about the 200-page handbook as proof that the Conservatives are to blame for the toxic atmosphere that has paralyzed Parliament this week.

“The government’s deliberate plan is to cause a dysfunctional, chaotic Parliament,” Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale told the House of Commons.

New Democrat Libby Davies said the manual explodes the Tories’ contention that opposition parties are to blame for the parliamentary constipation.

“So much for blaming the opposition for the obstruction of Parliament,” she said.

“Now we learn, in fact, that the monkey wrench gang have had a plan all along and not just any plan, a 200-page playbook on how to frustrate, obstruct and shut down the democratic process.”

Bloc Quebecois MP Monique Guay said the manual demonstrates the government’s “flagrant lack of respect” for the democratic process.

The opposition demanded that the manual, given to Tory committee chairs, be tabled in the House of Commons.

Peter Van Loan, the government’s House leader, ignored the demand and continued to insist that the Tories want the minority Parliament to work.

He again blamed the opposition parties for its recent dysfunction. He cited various justice bills which have been stalled by opposition MPs in committees for up to 214 days.

“The opposition pulls out every stop they can to obstruct (the justice agenda) and then they get upset when a matter gets debated for two hours at committee,” he scoffed.

But Van Loan’s arguments were weakened by the leak of the manual. The government was so embarrassed and annoyed by the leak, that, according to a source, it ordered all committee chairs to return their copies of the handbook, apparently in a bid to determine who broke confidence.

The handbook, obtained by National Post columnist Don Martin, reportedly advises chairs on how to promote the government’s agenda, select witnesses friendly to the Conservative party and coach them to give favourable testimony. It also reportedly instructs them on how to filibuster and otherwise disrupt committee proceedings and, if all else fails, how to shut committees down entirely.

Some of those stalling tactics have been on display this week.

Tory MPs on the information and ethics committee stalled an inquiry into alleged censorship of a report on the treatment of Afghan detainees. They debated the propriety of the witness list for more than five hours while two critics of the government’s handling of the matter cooled their heels in the corridor.

The official languages committee has been shut down all week after Tory chair Guy Lauzon cancelled a hearing moments before witnesses were to testify about the impact of the government’s cancellation of the court challenges program. All three opposition parties voted to remove Lauzon from the chair but the Tories are refusing to select a replacement, leaving the committee in limbo.

Tories have also launched filibusters to obstruct proceedings in the Commons agriculture and procedural affairs committees and a Senate committee study of a Liberal bill requiring the government to adhere to the Kyoto treaty on greenhouse gas emissions.

The previous Liberal regime also tried to control the conduct of committees. Former prime minister Jean Chretien even faced a mini-rebellion during his final months in office from backbenchers who chafed at being told what to say and do at committee. They demanded the right to choose their own committee chairs.

But Davies, a 10-year parliamentary veteran, said the Tories have taken manipulation to extremes she’s never seen before.

“They’ve codified it. They’ve set it down. They’ve given instructions.”

Both Davies and Goodale agreed that the recent dysfunction may be part of a long term Tory strategy to persuade voters that minority Parliaments don’t work, that they need to elect a majority next time.

But Goodale predicted the ploy won’t work because Canadians will realize that the Tories are the “authors of this stalemate.”

Goodale said the manual also demonstrates that the government is in the grip of an “obsessive, manipulative mania,” run by a prime minister who has “a kind of control fetish” in which there can’t be “one comma or one sentence or one word uttered without his personal approval.”

Source

They can lie all they want but the truth is coming out. The Present Conservatives have been manipulative and lieing for some time. They are not really conservatives anyway.

The Alliance took them over.

So really what Canadians have is an Alliance Government, not Conservative Government.

The Alliance is just a right wing nightmare.

Similar to George Bush and his Republicans.

Nothing to worry about now is there?

Canadians really need to wake up and stop looking through those rose colored glasses and take a long hard look at what is really happening in their country.

Canadian Leaders Fighting tooth and nail

Prime Minister Harper officially endorses North American Union!

Stephen Harper lied about Cadman Tape

Stephen Harper hid the actual cost of the War

Harper has done nothing to get this kid our of Guantanamo Bay. I guess he must think it is alright to keep this child in prison and torture is just fine.

Ontario lawyers call on Prime Minister to ask U.S. to return Omar Khadr

Harper wins minority government

By Michael Stittle

Oct. 15 2008 1:46 AM ET

Stephen Harper says Canadians have “chartered the way forward” for Canada, after strong gains in Ontario gave the Conservatives a larger minority government.

“No matter what economic challenges we face from abroad, this is a land where people from every corner of the Earth have come together to build a peaceful and prosperous country without comparison,” the Conservative leader told cheering supporters in Calgary. “Canada will always be the true north, strong and free.”

He said the Conservatives would continue to ensure Canada is able to weather the global credit crisis, by enforcing firm regulations for banks and promoting business through low taxes.

“For Canada’s $1.5-trillion economy, for the protection of the earnings, savings and future opportunities of our 33 million people, we have a realistic, prudent and responsible plan,” he said.

Past midnight, the Tories had won or were leading in 143 ridings across the country, out of a possible 308. Harper needed at least 155 seats to form a majority government.

As the dust settled in Tuesday’s election, the NDP had 37 seats and the Bloc Quebecois 49. The Liberals were headed to a crushing defeat, losing about 18 ridings to fall to 77.

In Liberal Leader Stephane Dion’s concession speech, he promised to work closely with the Conservatives to tackle any economic troubles.

“We Liberals will do our part responsibly to make sure this government works,” he said in Montreal. “It’s clear our economy — indeed, the global economic crisis — is the most important issue facing our country. As the official opposition, we will work with the government to make sure Canadians are protected from the economic storm.”

NDP Leader Jack Layton also said he would work closely with Harper, telling supporters in Toronto that the Tories could not govern alone without a majority.

“No party has a mandate to implement an agenda without agreement from the other parties,” Layton said. “I believe the people of Canada have called upon all parties to put aside the acrimony that arises in campaigns, and to come together in the public interest. So we’re going to do exactly that.”

Harper needed to make strong gains in Quebec in order to secure a majority, but made missteps in the final weeks of the campaign by pledging to cut arts funding and crack down on young offenders.

The Bloc Quebecois appeared ready to dominate the election results in Quebec once again, while the Tories were leading or had won about 10 seats in the province — a loss of roughly one riding.

Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe boasted of his party’s strong performance, noting it was the sixth consecutive majority win in Quebec.

“I want to salute the work of all the candidates with the Bloc,” he told supporters. “It was a great campaign.”

Tory cabinet minister Michael Fortier was defeated in the Montreal-area riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, where he was defeated by incumbent Bloc MP Meili Faille.

But despite controversy, embattled Conservative candidate Maxime Bernier managed to keep his Quebec riding of Beauce. Bernier was removed from his post as foreign affairs minister earlier this year after he left sensitive government papers at the home of his former girlfriend, Julie Couillard.

“It’s a good feeling, I’m very happy,” said Bernier.

When asked if he hoped to return to cabinet, Bernier said “the prime minister will decide.”

Strong gains in Ontario

Ontario was key to a strong Conservative victory, with the province’s 106 seats. While Toronto was largely expected to remain a Liberal stronghold, early results suggested the Tories would pick up roughly nine more seats elsewhere in the province.

In one major loss for the Liberals, Garth Turner was defeated by Conservative candidate Lisa Raitt in the Ontario riding of Halton.

“I think the Liberal party, my party, failed to deliver a real, cogent response to the economic crisis,” he told CTV News.

But despite the Liberal losses, Bob Rae said the opposition parties had deprived Harper of his ultimate goal.

“I think it’s important for people to recognize that Mr. Harper started this campaign looking for a majority. He didn’t get it,” Rae told CTV News, after winning his riding of Toronto Centre. “Regardless of what anyone might want to say, tonight is a defeat for Mr. Harper because he didn’t get what he was seeking to get.”

In one hard-fought Liberal win, former leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy unseated NDP candidate Peggy Nash.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives were set to win 20 seats, including a win by Dona Cadman, the wife of the late Independent MP Chuck Cadman.

The Liberals largely held their ground in Atlantic Canada and swept Newfoundland, where Premier Danny Williams waged a fierce campaign against the Conservatives. But the Tories have made gains in New Brunswick.

Early results in the region showed the Conservatives completely shut out of Newfoundland and Labrador. One high-profile loss for the party was Fabian Manning.

Williams, a Progressive Conservative, has had a long-standing feud with Harper over rights to his province’s offshore energy revenues and the latest equalization formula. In the past month he had publicized an “Anything But Conservative” campaign.

But Conservatives had a strong showing in other parts of Atlantic Canada. Peter MacKay staved off a challenge from Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to hang on to his Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova.

“It’s overwhelming, it’s exhilarating,” he said. “All of these emotions come back every time.”

May had likened the fight to David and Goliath, after casting her ballot early Tuesday morning. If she had won, it would have made her Canada’s first elected Green MP.

While no Green Party candidates are headed to Parliament, the party did manage to increase its popular vote to 7 per cent from 5 per cent.

In New Brunswick, the Conservatives managed to unseat the Liberals in two ridings: Fredericton and Miramichi.

Before Parliament was dissolved on Sept. 7, the Conservatives had 127 seats, the Liberals had 95, the NDP 30 and Bloc 48. The Greens had one seat, but the MP had initially been elected as a Liberal.

Worst voter turnout in history

Only 58 per cent of eligible voters decided to cast their ballots Tuesday, the lowest in the country’s history. In 2006, it was 64 per cent.

An estimated 1.5 million Canadians cast their ballots in early voting.

The election followed a 37-day campaign — one of the shortest possible under Canadian law. Harper asked Canadians for a stronger mandate to govern the country, after two and a half years of minority rule.

He called an election after complaining that Parliament had become increasingly “dysfunctional,” making it difficult for him to lead the country.

“It’s difficult to see … how the prime minister comes back to the people of Canada, at the end, of the day and says this election was worth something,” former Liberal cabinet minister Brian Tobin told CTV News.

Source

POPULAR NATIONAL VOTE

Party Total Votes Percentage Difference / 2006
5,122,610 38% 1%
3,572,478 26% -4%
2,461,363 18% 1%
1,361,660 10% 0%
920,126 7% 2%
OTH 158,279 1% 1%
Published in: on October 15, 2008 at 5:56 am  Comments Off on Harper wins minority government  
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Stephen Harper hid the actual cost of the War

Stephen Harper hid the cost of the war


As you may have seen from reports in yesterday and today’s morning newspapers, the cost of the war in Afghanistan will reach $18 billion by the end of 2011, according to a new report released by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

The report, by Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, does not even include the salaries of the 2500 soldiers in Afghanistan, and is still much higher than the $8 billion estimated cost provided by the Conservative government, which included salaries.

I attended the press conference yesterday in Ottawa, and during the announcement of the investigation, Page noted that this study is incomplete because he did not receive full co-operation from government departments, including the military. Even worse, those departments may not realize how much they are spending on the war because of sloppy accounting.

This the first public costing of the war completed by a government office or department. The study was produced at the request of NDP MP for Ottawa Centre Paul Dewar.

Earlier this week, David Macdonald and I released our own costing of the war in Afghanistan called The Cost of the War and the End of Peacekeeping: The Impact of Extending the Afghanistan Mission.

Based on our calculations, the cost of the war to the government coffers, including the salaries of the troops, will be $21 billion. Add to that the financial loss felt by families and communities from so many young men and women injured or killed, and the impact reaches $28 billion.

I was astounded to see that the Parliamentary Budget Office’s findings, when adjusted to use comparable methodologies, are actually much higher than our own results. Therefore the real cost is higher than anyone imagines.

Our report went a step further to look at our military’s contribution to peacekeeping, and we learned that it has dropped by more than 80 per cent since the beginning of the Afghanistan war. This year the military will spend a paltry $15 million for the entire year on UN peacekeeping, the equivalent of what we spend on the war in just two or three days. We contribute only 63 soldiers for UN peacekeeping operations – they could all fit into a school bus!

Yesterday we were busy discussing the cost of the war to Canadians through the national news media, in both Quebec and the rest of Canada. Here you can watch interviews on CTV Newsnet, CBC Radio, CBC TV, GlobalTV, and Business News Network. We also received coverage in The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and elsewhere.

Our message was this:

• The $18 billion estimate for the cost of the Afghanistan war provided by the Parliamentary Budget Office is very large – the largest anyone has seen. It is welcome information and should serve as a basis for further reporting.

• The number is likely too low, because the office did not receive full co-operation from the departments involved, including the military. The Prime Minister should have instructed departments to co-operate fully.

• It is appalling that Conservative and Liberal MPs voted to extend the war by three years, to December 2011, without even knowing that they were approving the expenditure of an additional $7 billion over the $11 billion already spent.

• With financial storm clouds gathering on the horizon and no large budget surpluses to rely upon, will the government cut social programs to fund the war and avoid tax increases or a deficit?

I would like to hear from you. Do you think the Afghanistan war has been worth the cost?

Source

Stephen Harper hid the cost of the war

Sparks fly over Afghan mission cost

Budget officer admits $18.1B estimate likely low

Mike Blanchfield , Canwest News Service

Published: Thursday, October 09, 2008

OTTAWA – Opposition leaders attacked Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday for hiding the full cost of the Afghanistan mission after the Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page said a lack of “transparency” meant his projection of up to $18.1 billion was on the low side.

The eagerly awaited report of the cost of Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan catapulted the mission back to the centre of the federal election with five days left in the campaign.

Page took pains to present his office’s analysis – sparked by a request from a frustrated NDP MP – as apolitical.

The cost of the war in Afghanistan, from the time it began until it is scheduled to end in 2011, will cost each and every Canadian household $1,500.

But Page’s criticism of a confused bureaucracy that didn’t have its numbers straight placed Harper on the defensive when the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc Quebecois piled on criticism.

Page’s report cites a cost in the range of $13.9 billion to $18.1 billion to 2011. But several relevant departments – including Foreign Affairs and the Canadian International Agency, the military’s two main partners in Afghanistan – refused to give his office additional figures beyond what they had already posted on their websites.

Page’s estimate means each household is contributing $1,500 to support the deployment. But because of inconsistent government bookkeeping, that figure would be significantly higher because departments “have not met any appropriate standard or best practice,” said Page, who called on Treasury Board to implement a streamlined practice.

“Budget transparency for parliamentarians and Canadians needs to be improved,” Page said. “When compared with international experience, Canada appears to lag behind the best practices of other jurisdictions.”

Page did not spare the previous Liberal government, which first sent Canadian troops to Afghanistan, when he said: “Although Canada is in the seventh year of the mission, Parliament has not been provided with estimates by successive governments on the fiscal costs incurred by all relevant departments.”

Paul Dewar, the NDP MP for Ottawa Centre who requested Page’s investigation, said knowing the true cost of the mission would have radically changed the House of Commons debate earlier this year that extended the Afghanistan mission by two years to 2011.

“The reason I asked the Parliamentary Budget Officer for this study is because the government would not answer my questions in the House nor at committee nor through order paper question. So Canadians were never given the facts,” Dewar said. “This is the tip of the iceberg as you’ve heard today.”

Dewar argued Page’s finding showed Harper could not be trusted and he reiterated his party’s stand that Canada’s 2,500 troops should be withdrawn within months.

Page’s estimate is still significantly higher than the original $8 billion that has been publicly cited, said Dewar.

The Canwest News Service first reported that figure in April based on an Access to Information request made by the NDP.

“The debate is not that the numbers are wrong. It’s a debate about what to include and what not to include. This is something that governments of both stripes have been supporting for a decade,” the prime minister said.

“One can go back and debate, ‘Should we have made this commitment in 2002, should we have gone into Kandahar in 2005?’ These are interesting questions. But the fact is the commitment was made, and this government has no option but to respect its obligations.”

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion accused Harper failing to provide Canadians with an accurate year-to-year account of spending.

“It is the false transparency that is the problem,” said Dion.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe said the Conservatives were not being “transparent and honest” with Canadians.

“In presenting numbers that were grossly erroneous on the cost of the mission in Afghanistan, Harper wanted to mislead the population,” Duceppe said.

Page was supposed to report to Parliament last month, but it was dissolved when Harper called an election.

Page then said he would be willing to release his figures before Canadians went to the polls on Oct. 14 if all major party leaders agreed. They did.

The report said that CIDA’s departmental performance reports “do not provide annual spending in Afghanistan for individual projects.”

The Canadian government has earmarked $1.9 billion between 2001-2011 for development spending in Afghanistan.

“VAC (Veterans Affairs Canada) does not report basic financial data specific to the Afghanistan mission, although Canada’s involvement in the Afghanistan mission is a major project and the death, disability, medical and stress related payments are fiscally material,” the report said.

So far, 97 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have been killed in Afghanistan, while hundreds more have been injured.

The military also does not provide “mission specific details” to parliament, the report found.

“For example, it is impossible to determine how many reservists were deployed for each year of the mission; how much fuel was consumed; or the level of expenditure on equipment reset and betterment, for all Afghanistan related operations.”

Page backed away from publicly criticizing the various government departments after the report’s release, saying he wanted to build bridges with the bureaucracy.

His new oversight office was created this past spring, and is a largely unknown entity in Ottawa, he said, but is determined to bring better “fiscal transparency” to the federal government.

“It’s important for me to be diplomatic,” Page said, while also making clear he’s not worried about being kicked out of a job if he ruffles a few feathers.

“Do I look afraid? I promise you I’m not afraid.”

Source

Published in: on October 11, 2008 at 2:29 am  Comments Off on Stephen Harper hid the actual cost of the War  
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