Fugitive Nathan Jacobson, a friend of Harper, you decide

Fugitive businessman with Tory ties arrested in Toronto

By John Nichol

Oct 26, 2012

Fugitive Nathan Jacobson, whose ties to the federal Conservatives made him the subject of recent Question Period queries from opposition benches, was arrested at his home in Toronto Thursday afternoon.

The Winnipeg-born businessman had his bail denied in Toronto court Friday and remains in Toronto’s West Detention Centre awaiting another appearance Oct. 31.

U.S. Justice authorities in San Diego had told CBC they were upset that no Canadian law enforcement agencies had responded to their July 30 warrant for his arrest when Jacobson failed to attend court after pleading guilty to money laundering.

With others, Jacobson had set up an online pharmacy known as Affpower, based in Costa Rica, that sold drugs to Americans without prescriptions from 2004 to 2006. The 58-year-old was originally charged with several counts of fraud, money laundering and the distribution and dispensing of controlled substances, but he co-operated with authorities and pleaded guilty in 2008 to laundering $46 million in drug payments.

He was expected to serve a four-year sentence, but failed to show up at pre-sentencing.

An international red notice — a warrant issued for a flight risk — was certified this week by a Canadian judge for the sometime philanthropist who made millions selling GMproducts and setting up gas stations in post-Soviet Russia.

U.S. District Attorney Philip Halpern of San Diego would not comment on the arrest because the matter is before “judicial processes.”

Claimed he was friends with Baird, Kenney

Calls by CBC on Friday to his three lawyers, his wife and business partner were not returned.

In recent years, Jacobson had spent much time in the corridors of power, both in Israel and Canada, and in March a smiling Jacobson was photographed between both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu at a reception in Ottawa. Jacobson claimed to have worked on the 2008 campaign for the Tories and was also considered a friend of cabinet ministers Jason Kenney and John Baird.

But when challenged earlier this year on their relationship to Jacobson, both ministers said they were oblivious to Jacobson’s legal problems.

Jacobson himself had initiated a lawsuit against Conservative MP Mark Adler last fall for what he claims was a $265,000 loan. Adler, in court documents, denies that amount changed hands, and said what was given to him was a gift from Jacobson to expand his Economic Club of Canada to the United States.

Besides donating more than $10,000 to the Conservative Party in recent years, Jacobson was prominent in his philanthropy within the Jewish community. Source

 

Who’s the man between the prime ministers?

By Michael Harri

Sept. 28, 2012

Stephen Harper, Nathan Jacobson, Benjamin Netanyahu

Whatever the relationship between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Nathan Jacobson, the high-flying Canadian businessman now a fugitive from U.S. justice, one thing is certain: they certainly didn’t just run into each other at a “community event” as the PMO claims.

Jacobson had an intimate relationship with several senior Harper cabinet ministers, paid off a CSIS agent while doing business in Russia, and apparently finessed a secret settlement out of the Canadian government under the Liberal administration of Jean Chretien even though the government denied ruining Jacobson’s business interests abroad.

Notwithstanding the Harper PMO’s ludicrous official line that “the prime minister may have met with Mr. Jacobson at a community event, as he meets thousands of Canadians from all walks of life each year,” perhaps they would be good enough explain this: who is the man standing between the prime ministers of Canada and Israel and how did he make his way into the inner sanctums of the current government?

For a prime minister who has lived through the murky departure of Arthur Porter, his handpicked chair of the Security and Intelligence Review Committee, and who also hired convicted felon Bruce Carson as a senior policy analyst and troubleshooter, it is a momentous question.

Porter left office under a cloud after his dealings in Africa with an arms dealer were revealed, and now faces a police investigation from his days at the McGill Hospital Health Centre and a billion-dollar contract the hospital awarded to disgraced Canadian engineering firm SNC Lavalin Group Inc.

Carson was a lawyer who had been jailed and disbarred for multiple counts of fraud, a criminal past that, according to his own lawyer, was fully disclosed to the government during a security check before joining the inner circle of the PM’s staff.

And so, to Nathan Jacobson: For a man with a devastating secret, the Winnipeg-born businessman lived like a male version of Cinderella – until the legal clock struck midnight.

He was rich, powerful, funny, generous, and very well-connected. The Jewish community never had a more dedicated son. Well known for his philanthropy, Jacobson and his wife Lindi were staunch backers of Israel. After high school in Winnipeg, Jacobson spent six years in the Israeli Defense Forces.

The couple were major sponsors of an event in September 2007 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the “re-unification of Jerusalem.” Jacobson was also a sponsor of the Maccabi Tel Aviv football club, a franchise that Gerald Schwartz of Onex Corporation once considered buying. (It was ultimately acquired by two Russian oligarchs in December 2007. Ironically, they were associated with the Russian defence corporation Rosoboronexport, Syria’s top weapons supplier.)

In October, 2010, when the Royal Winnipeg Ballet celebrated its 70th anniversary with performances in Israel, two of the major funders of the tour were Gerald Schwartz and Nathan Jacobson.

Even Jacobson’s anonymous philanthropy sometimes drew attention. A visitor to his ancestral home, Pavolitch in western Ukraine, admired how the Jewish cemetery there had been restored and noted the local talk about the modest benefactor whose name doesn’t appear at the site. “The renovations were done there a couple of years ago by a guy named Nathan Jacobson…”

The blogger posted photos of the restored graveyard on the internet. On the chain-link fence around the burial ground was a sign that read, “The cemetery is renovated by descendants of the Jews buried here, in their blessed memory.” The blogger got this response from a native son of Winnipeg who knew Jacobson from childhood days: “He’s about 10 years older than me and grew up around the corner … Nathan is an apparently successful international-man-of-mystery kind of guy.”

Not badly said.

The blogger posted photos of the restored graveyard on the internet. On the chain-link fence around the burial ground was a sign…

Jacobson’s business acumen and philanthropy made him legendary in both Canada and Israel. He was honoured at the 38th Annual Sports dinner in Winnipeg on June 23, 2010. “Nathan lives in Herzylia, Israel and is the current International Ambassador of Jerusalem,” a local paper gushed. Eleven hundred people attended the event, including the Israeli ambassador who flew in to the evening.

There were glowing profiles in the Winnipeg Jewish Review, a favorable notice in the Jewish National Fund of Canada newsletter, and praise in newspapers like the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz for his entrepreneurial brilliance.

Jacobson was busy in the world of the boardroom too, holding positions on the Jewish National Fund, Meir Hospital and the Ukrainian Jewish Congress. He also sat on the Board of Tel Aviv University and personally funded two faculty recruitment chairs at TAU, bringing over young researchers from Toronto. One of his fellow board members was Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate and, according to Forbes, the 12th richest person in America.

The two men shared the same working-class roots as descendants of immigrants from the Ukraine and both were self-made tycoons. The businessmen have given generously to a variety of charitable causes and shown unwavering loyalty to the staunch right-wing policies of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and to neo-conservative causes in their own countries.

Adelson, for example, has worked ceaselessly to have convicted spy Jonathan Pollard released from a U.S. prison, lobbied Washington to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and championed former GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich after he declared the Palestinians to be an “invented people.”

In the current U.S. election, Adelson has promised “limitless” funding to defeat the Democrats. He may be the only political donor in history to have given $10 million to political activists who also happen to be billionaires themselves. Charles and David Koch, the recipients of the contribution, and whose own companies have annual revenues of $100 billion and estimated personal net worths of more than $30 billion each, have dedicated the donation to taking down Barack Obama through their action committee, Americans for Prosperity.

If Romney and the GOP couldn’t imagine a better supporter than Sheldon Adelson, Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party would have trouble finding a more dedicated backer than Nathan Jacobson.

Jacobson not only shared their conservative ideology, but put his money where his political heart was; from 2007 to 2011, he made the maximum donation to the party, and also gave to several individual Conservative riding associations.

The love did not go unrequited. Jacobson was a fixture at major events involving senior Harper cabinet ministers.

In May 2009, he was master of ceremonies for the 61st anniversary of the founding of Israel, an event that took place in the West Block of Parliament. He introduced the keynote speaker – Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney.

The same month, Jacobson and Kenney appeared at a private party with Ezra Levant, an event attended by the who’s who of conservative journalists, columnists, and bloggers. The guests included Mark Steyn, Stephen Taylor, who would be appointed a director at the National Citizens Coalition on December 7, 2010; Kevin Libin, who published the controversial Danish cartoons mocking the prophet Muhammed while at the Western Standard; Sun Media’s Brian Lilley; and National Post columnist Father Raymond de Souza. One of the pictures posted on the internet by an attendee of the event shows Nathan Jacobson with his arm around a smiling Father de Souza.

When then Transport minister John Baird travelled to Israel in March 2010 to examine airport security methods (principally behavioral analysis to identify human threats), Nathan Jacobson was photographed with Baird at Israel’s holiest site, the Western Wall.

On November 4, 2012 the Mount Carmel dinner will be held in Toronto at the Fairmont Hotel hosted by the Canadian Friends of the University of Haifa. Immigration Minister Kenney is scheduled to receive an honorary degree that night. The campaign chair for the event was to have been Nathan Jacobson.

That was before an extraordinary disclosure by the U.S. Department of Justice put an end, perhaps temporarily, to Jacobson’s life at the pinnacle of business and political elites in two countries. Though his troubles had been brewing for some time, the official date of his exit from the corridors of business and political power was July 30, 2012.

It was on that day that the millionaire-philanthropist was supposed to appear for sentencing in front of a California judge. He had quietly plead guilty on May 7, 2008 to charges of conspiring to commit money-laundering, including clearing $46 million through his credit card clearing company, RX Payments Ltd.. Judge Irma Gonzalez issued an arrest warrant for the convicted fugitive and Nathan Jacobson, dual citizen of Canada and Israel, went to ground.

The investigation by U.S. authorities had been painstaking, involving special agents from six federal agencies including the DEA, FBI, and the IRS. Their work led to a 313-count indictment against 18 people on July 27, 2007. The individuals, including doctors and businessmen, were all involved to varying degrees with Affpower, an internet-based prescription pharmaceutical business.

The delay in sentencing Jacobson after his guilty plea following multiple charges of fraud, money laundering, and the distribution and dispensing of a controlled substance through an on-line pharmacy, is a familiar story. Jacobson made a deal with U.S. prosecutors. In exchange for his cooperation in the continuing criminal investigation of Affpower, Jacobson’s file was sealed — for six years as things turned out.

He had, in fact, been indicted in 2006, pleading guilty two years later. Over the next several years, he continued his career in the business and political stratosphere. No one apparently knew he had been fined $4.5 million for his part in the scheme, or that he could be looking at a possible 20-year stint in prison when he finally had to stand in front of an America judge for sentencing.

After his guilty plea was made public, the exits began to clog with friends, contacts, and business partners who didn’t know much about Jacobson’s dealings or history and who reduced their relationships with him to distant associations, or, as in the case of the PMO, chance acquaintanceship.

According to his office, Foreign affairs minister John Baird knew Jacobson, but didn’t know about his legal transgressions. Nor did the minister meet with Jacobson during an official trip to Myanmar in 2012. Jacobson was reportedly traveling in Asia, possibly Myanmar, when the indictment against him was unsealed.

Jacobson’s is reported to have had a connection with Myanmar Access, a company that was created in 2012 to develop business opportunities in the former Burma. The company was based in the same city, Yangon, that Baird travelled to in 2012 after Canada decided to open an embassy in the third most corrupt nation on earth. (On a list of 182 nations, only North Korea and Somalia are considered more corrupt.) Baird told Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, “We would love to play a bigger role in development and trade and commerce,” an objective Nathan Jacobson would have heartily seconded.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement’s office said that the minister knew Jacobson, but had no idea of his U.S. conviction before July 30, 2012 or the activities that led to it.

Former business associate Alan Bell said in a telephone interview from Toronto that he knew nothing about Jacobson’s American legal problems.

Stephen Harper’s Director of Communications did not return calls for this piece. But this is what Andrew MacDougall told Postmedia’s Stephen Maher, the journalist who broke the Jacobson money-laundering story: “I understand the prime minister may have met with Mr. Jacobson at a community event, as he meets thousands of Canadians from all walks of life each year.”

It was intended to be an official response, but it was more like the PMO’s debut in stand-up comedy – unless you believe someone gets their picture taken between the prime ministers of Canada and Israel on a particularly significant day by running into them at a political barbecue.

Netanyahu’s appearance in Ottawa in 2010 was the first official visit to Canada by an Israeli PM since 1993. Relations between the two countries had been strained in 1997 after the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, used forged Canadian passports in an assassination attempt against Khaled Meshal, a political official of Hamas. Canada recalled its ambassador over the affair.

The murder weapon the agents tried to use was a fast-acting nerve gas. President Bill Clinton was outraged and insisted that Israel turn over the antidote to the lethal poison after the Israeli agents were arrested. Netanyahu, who had approved the operation, complied. He later apologized for the dismal incident.

According to Haaretz, Netanyahu turned to renowned American propagandist Arthur Finkelstein after the disastrously botched Mossad assassination attempt. Netanyahu escaped a police investigation into allegedly sharing classified information with a a foreign national, because of lack of evidence. Finkelstein was widely credited with being the architect of Netanyahu’s first win as PM in 1996 when the hardliner defeated the moderate Shimon Peres.

The day of the photograph in Canada with Jacobson, Harper and Netanyahu, May 30th 2010, was noteworthy in another way. At 10 pm eastern, 4 a.m. Gaza time, Israeli commandos dropped down from a helicopter onto a Turkish aid ship 60 kilometers out to sea in international waters and killed nine people onboard in the ensuing confrontation.

It touched off a major international incident and caused the cancellation of a visit between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed that the commandos, armed with automatic weapons, acted in “self-defense” against aid-workers brandishing clubs and knives after their vessel was boarded. The government of Turkey called it a gross breach of international law.

Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) annual ACTION party in Toronto in March 2010. (Left to right) Bernie Farber, Nathan Jacobson and then Transport Minister John Baird. Photo: Mitchel Raphael

Despite the ghosts of both the near and distant past, Netanyahu’s visit to Canada went off briliantly. He gave a rousing speech at the Ricoh Coliseum at the CNE grounds in Toronto on Sunday, May 30th at the opening ceremony of Walk With Israel, an event to raise money for educational and social projects in Israel. The visit moved to Ottawa, and Jacobson’s photo with the two PMs happened the same day.

No one in the Harper government, including Canada’s foreign minister (Baird personally met Netanyahu at the Ottawa Airport on May 30, 2010), had apparently read the Israeli newspapers just three days before that power picture was taken.

If they had, they would have known that Haaretz had run a story about a police complaint focusing on PayGea, a Canadian company that entered the Israeli market in 2008. That was the year that Nathan Jacobson entered his guilty plea on money-laundering charges and also the year he moved to Israel. PayGea was controlled by Jacobson. It provided on-line services similar to Paypal Inc., but specialized in clearing payments for medicines, legal soft pornography and gambling sites.

The police complaint had its origins in irregularities at a subsidiary of Israel Discount Bank (IDB).The chairman of the bank had been removed in 2009 after Globes, an Israeli business publication published in Hebrew, unearthed “anomalies in the clearing of credit card transactions on the internet at ICC-Cal”, a subsidiary of IDB.

Visa International levied a heavy fine against ICC-Cal for deviations from rules governing electronic commerce. The subsidiary then cut ties with the problematic clearing companies. A substantial portion of those problems were related to PayGea, the company owned by Nathan Jacobson, although the formal police complaint was sworn out against the former CEO of ICC-Cal.

On April 2, 2012, Jacobson’s on-line clearing company halted its Israeli operations without warning, leaving behind debts running into the millions of shekels. As one of Paygea’s creditors told Globes, “One morning they were simply gone.”

And so was Jacobson.

A full three months before senior members of the Harper government, including John Baird and Jason Kenney, said they learned of Jacobson’s dark side with the unsealing of his U.S. indictment, Paygea was an open scandal in Israel – a country in which both ministers had more than a passing interest and excellent contacts.

But even if Harper cabinet ministers and the PMO didn’t read the papers, they could have learned a lot about the man posing between the two prime ministers by looking into a lawsuit launched by Jacobson against the Attorney-General of Canada and various members of CSIS, Export Development Canada (EDC), and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), when the Liberals were in power. John LeCarre would have found the legal twists and turns novelistic.

It is not every day that someone takes Canada’s domestic spy agency to court, but that is exactly what Jacobson did in 1998. The case, which dragged on until 2004, laid out serious allegations about several CSIS agents, including Robert Fluke, who in the mid-90s worked on the Russian Desk of the intelligence agency.

According to Jacobson’s statement of claim, he and his company, The West Group Inc., were directed by Fluke to enter into two joint ventures in 1995 and 1996. Jacobson further alleged that Fluke advised him not to “bother with written agreements” because “Fluke would ensure that the parties would comply with obligations.”

Two questions come to mind: Why would a CSIS agent be telling a private Canadian businessman in Russia who to do business with? Just as peculiar, why would the businessman comply? Both of these unorthodox business arrangements ended up in court with Jacobson as plaintiff in each case.

One of them, a joint venture with Anatoly Rozenberg and his company Sealand Petroleum, was settled. Jacobson claimed that the settlement was reached after he complied with a request from Robert Fluke to remove all references to CSIS from the lawsuit.

But the second deal, brokering an arrangement to sell Russian medical isotopes to a Toronto company, proved more intractable to settle. Jacobson claimed that he did not name CSIS in his pleadings at the request of Fluke. But when Fluke allegedly asked him to discontinue the lawsuit against the second company, Jacobson refused. Even though Fluke had not been named in the action, his name came up in the discovery process.

According to Jacobson’s statement of claim, “During the conversation, Fluke advised that he was aware that it was critical to the success of Jacobson’s business to be able to obtain visas so that Russian businessmen could travel to Canada … Fluke also advised Jacobson that he could place a negative report in the central government computer about Jacobson that would scuttle any further visa applications by Jacobson.”

Jacobson, who claimed that he was coerced into paying part of the rent on Fluke’s condominium and making small presents to the agent’s family, continued with his lawsuit against the Toronto company. Immediately after the CSIS agent allegedly suggested he could block visa applications for Jacobson’s foreign associates, something strange happened: for the first time in eight years, a routine request for visitors’ visas for Russian businessmen interested in coming to Canada and doing business with Jacobson was refused by the Canadian Embassy in Moscow.

According to Jacobson’s statement of claim, the responsible embassy officials “refused to issue the visas due to a false, negative report about the plaintiff placed on the Government’s computer network system through CSIS by Fluke … the Royal Canadian Mounted Police approved the request for visa clearance … The visa clearance was never granted only due to the conduct on the part of CSIS, and specifically on the part of Fluke.”

As a result of the visa denial, one of the Russians involved, Leonid Tarasenko of JSK Nefto-Service, opted to make a deal with a German supplier and Jacobson lost the deal. Even though the two other Russian businessmen involved eventually got their visas, it took months. By then, they too had decided to deal with a German company. Other Russians who were refused visas included the Chairman of the Federal Industrial Bank from Uzbekhistan and the General Director of the Liksar Vodka Company.

Jacobson fixed his business losses at millions of dollars, including the loss of credit lines at the EDC and the CCC totaling $64 million because both agencies were allegedly aware of the damning CSIS report about him. In his lawsuit against the Attorney General of Canada, which included several amended statements of claim as Jacobson gathered new information, his settlement demand went from $5-million in 1998 to $50-million by 2004, and a further $1 million in punitive damages plus legal costs.

Jacobson’s lawsuit wasn’t restricted to lost contracts. He was also suing over loss of reputation, defamation, and the violation of his rights under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Jacobson claimed that two companies he had represented in Russia and the Ukraine, Thermo Tech Technologies Inc. and Global Technologies, had decided to appoint him President and director. Before doing so, it was decided to conduct a due-diligence check. The president of Thermo Tech, Owen Anderson, allegedly reported to his management team in September 1998 that a representative of CSIS had advised him against appointing Jacobson because it could create a “scandal”.

According to Jacobson’s statement of claim, Anderson was told by CSIS that “Jacobson is heavily involved in criminal activities, specifically, narcotics, representing the Russian mafia in Canada, bringing over Russian members of the mafia to Canada – and other criminal activities. Jacobson is under close scrutiny by CSIS who are planning to arrest Jacobson in the near future.”

The directors who heard Anderson’s report at their 1998 meeting and whose names appeared in Jacobson’s statement of claim, initially decided not to give him the executive appointments.

When Jacobson was informed of their decision, he demanded an apology from Anderson and full disclosure of the person at CSIS who had uttered the alleged defamations. Anderson demurred through legal counsel, claiming a “qualified privilege” to the information. But in Jacobson’s amended statement of claim in 2003, he said that Anderson changed his story.

“Anderson subsequently advised, as did the Attorney General of Canada, that there were two representatives of CSIS at the meeting with Anderson, Jennifer Joseph and Cherie Henderson. Mr. Anderson is not certain which of these officers made the disparaging remarks about Mr. Jacobson, including a statement that she ‘wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole’ when asked if she would do business with Jacobson.”

Anderson was dropped as a defendant from the lawsuit and replaced by the two CSIS agents, who, oddly enough, were named in a statement of defense by the Crown.

Jacobson had commenced the legal action as a last resort. At the beginning of his visa difficulties in 1997, his lawyers had formally complained to the Attorney General of Canada about the alleged situation. Oddly, there was no reply to his serious complaints. Jacobson claimed that Fluke then told him “that he was aware of the letter [to the AG] and that Jacobson should not waste his time as nothing would be done since CSIS would simply use the excuse that this was a matter of national security and therefore nothing would be done.”

Jacobson travelled down another avenue to try to solve his problem with the Canadian government. He took his case to the First Secretary at the Canadian Embassy-Visa Section in Moscow. He asked Douglas Agnew to contact the RCMP Joint Task Force on Eastern European Crime to verify Jacobson’s good reputation.

According to Jacobson’s statement of claim, “Subsequently, Agnew advised that he had contacted the RCMP and received a positive report about Jacobson. He further indicated, however, he would have to proceed on a case-by-case basis [visa applications] given the fact that there was still this negative report on the system from CSIS. Agnew advised Jacobson that the report contained very damning information about Jacobson.”

(Jacobson claimed that Fluke had originally told him that if he dropped his legal action against the Canadian isotope supplier, the alleged CSIS report could be removed from the government’s computers in fourteen days, a claim, like all the others, that Fluke denied.)

There was one other critical component to Jacobson’s allegations against the Canadian government when he went to court. He claimed that not only had a false report been entered into the government’s computer system by CSIS, but that the report had been shared with Russia’s Federal Security Service, (FSB), the intelligence successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

This in turn led to a major, and according to Jacobson, damaging investigation into his business activities by Russian authorities. At one time, Jacobson employed 1,800 workers in Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus, built eight fuel terminals and 600 gas stations. The impression was being created, falsely and maliciously according to Jacobson, that his company, The West Group Inc., was up to no good.

Jacobson also complained about the toll on his private life caused by the government’s stealth attack on his reputation:

“I have had to with visit a psychologist and psychiatrist due to the serious depression I was suffering as a result of these wrongful acts. My relationship with my wife has suffered such severe strain that our relationship almost ended. I have suffered tremendous stigmatization, loss of privacy, incredible stress and anxiety far beyond anything inherent in the failure of an ordinary business arrangement as a result of this conduct on the part of the Government of Canada…”

The Attorney General of Canada responded to Jacobson with a farrago of denial, delay, official secrecy, and legal pettifoggery – including the claim that because the businessman hadn’t commenced his action within six months of the alleged damages, he had missed the statutory window to take legal action. The bureaucratic boa constrictor was squeezing tightly around information the plaintiff requested to support his case.

In its statement of defense on behalf of all the defendants, the Attorney General of Canada denied virtually all of Jacobson’s allegations with one exception. The AG admitted that his office had not responded to a formal complaint from Jacobson’s lawyers in 1997 about the visa refusals and the alleged involvement of CSIS.

The government specifically denied that a “false” report had ever been placed on its computer system by agent Fluke, or that the alleged report had been shared with Russian intelligence. It also denied that the two other CSIS agents named in the action, Joseph and Henderson, had defamed Jacobson to Owen Anderson. The AG went on to raise the issue of security certificates, the legal tool of choice in national security matters to withhold or redact documents, in an attempt to block Jacobson’s access to information.

Under Section 37.(1) of the Canada Evidence Act “a Minister of the Crown in right of Canada or other official may object to the disclosure of information before a court, person or body with jurisdiction to compel production of information by certifying orally or in writing to the court, person or body that the information should not be disclosed on the grounds of a specified public interest.” Jacobson objected to the government’s motion and battled on.

The action moved at a snail’s pace, with the government opposing Jacobson’s multiple amended statements of claim and missing agreed-upon dates for providing documents. Jacobson had this to say about Agent Fluke in a sworn affidavit:

“Mr. Fluke, the former head of the Russian Desk for CSIS, has been suspended from CSIS permanently. Mr. Fluke was charged with accepting a benefit after a nine-month investigation by the RCMP. Mr. Fluke was suspended immediately when the charges were laid in June 1998, and even though the charges were stayed by the Crown Attorney in September 1998, Mr. Fluke was still suspended from his work at CSIS … The charge also indicated that I had provided a benefit to him although I only provided this benefit to him as I was coerced into providing the same, which consisted of providing a portion of the rent for his condominium on a monthly basis and also providing some small inexpensive gifts such as a playpen for his daughter and a mini-stereo…”

Pending the outcome of mediation, the stage was set for a bombshell court case pitting one of Canada’s leading businessmen against the domestic spy agency and several crown corporations – all of it to be played out on centre-stage of the Canadian media universe, Toronto.

And then, nearly six years after it had begun, the Jacobson’s lawsuit was suddenly dismissed without costs on a motion brought by the plaintiff and agreed to by the defendant. The case was settled out of court, though no record of a settlement could be found on the public accounts either under government departments or lawyers of record.

Jacobson’s allegations against CSIS, EDB, and CCC were never established in court, nor were the Attorney General’s blanket denials of any wrongdoing that caused harm to Jacobson’s business operations. Since CSIS and the other Crown Agencies involved in the action were blameless, Jacobson wasn’t entitled to a dime of damages – or so the government argued.

(Justice minister Rob Nicholson’s office declined to comment on the settlement, claiming that inquiries should be directed to the lead agency in the matter, CSIS. CSIS spokesperson Tahera Mufti said the terms of the settlement were “confidential” and suggested an alternate source: Jacobson, whose whereabouts has been a matter of speculation.)

Notwithstanding the murkiness in which the lawsuit was resolved, Jacobson got right back to business before the legal dust settled. By May, 2004, they were talking in Israel about the dynamic businessman’s latest venture, an online pharmacy called MagenDavidMeds.com. The idea was to sell drugs manufactured in the U.S. or Israel to American consumers at prices up to 70% lower than at the neighborhood pharmacy.

Jacobson’s marketing focused on Jewish community media. He personally regarded the new business as a “social and Zionist mission.” Many of his elderly customers faced a choice of buying medication, turning down the heat, or going without a hot meal. The whiz kid from Winnipeg was determined to give them another option by becoming a kind of pharmaceutical Robin Hood.

Not everyone was thrilled with his new business. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration frowned on Jacobson’s venture, arguing that it couldn’t guarantee the safety of the imported drugs and charging that the businessman had simply taken advantage of the “Canadian niche,” the price gap between the cost of a particular drug in Canada and the U.S., where pharmaceutical prices are market driven. Pharmaceuticals are the most profitable sector in the U.S. economy and Jacobson was obviously rocking the boat.

And there was another new direction for this Canadian entrepreneur; the security business. Jacobson’s long-running battle with the Attorney General of Canada, including his confession that he had made regular payments to a CSIS agent, didn’t appear to limit his extraordinary access to some of the most sensitive intelligence issues in Canada.

In March 2006, three months after the Harper government took office, Jacobson was given access to do a four-day, independent security assessment of the oil sands with a team of experts paid for and provided by him. The six-member team included Alan Bell, former British SAS officer and president of Toronto-based Globe Risk Holdings; James G. Liddy, the son of Watergate’s Gordon Liddy, and a former leader of the U.S. Navy’s Antiterrorism Assessment Team; and Alon Moritiz, an Israeli computer expert.

Bell had already designed security protocols and armed tactical teams for Ontario’s nuclear reactors. He wasn’t impressed with what he saw: “You can’t have a $9-an-hour security guard protecting this kind of asset,” he told the Edmonton Journal. With 10 Muskoka-sized lakes full of highly corrosive toxic waste at the oil sands, a breach in one of the containment berms could produce what Jacobson told an Alberta cabinet minister would be “an environmental holocaust.”

So how did a businessman with no obvious expertise in security matters gain access to the oil sands with a team that included foreign experts? One potential explanation is Jacobson’s own declaration of his board memberships, which included The Mackenzie Institute.

When contacted about Jacobson’s involvement in the organization, Editorial Director John Thompson said “I can’t comment on that.”

The Mackenzie Institute bills itself as an “independent non-profit organization” concerned about political instability and organized violence. The institute’s July 2012 newsletter #88 compares the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to the rise of Hitler in Germany. The conservative think tank was founded in 1986 by Maurice Tugwell, a dashing veteran of British intelligence whose missions stretched from Palestine to Northern Ireland over a decades-long career. Tugwell was an expert in the use of propaganda.

Occasionally, the truth got in the way of his spin.

As head of the Information Policy Unit in Northern Ireland from 1971 to 1973, he falsely told the BBC that four of the people murdered by Britain’s Parachute Regiment in Derry on Bloody Sunday, sometimes known as the Bogside Massacre, were on a list of wanted men from the Irish Republican Army.

They were not. In fact, all 14 of the people killed, as well as the 12 who were wounded that January day in 1972, were unarmed civil rights marchers. Tugwell later apologized for his false statements after the Saville Inquiry, which heard from over 900 witnesses, established the innocence of all the murdered marchers. That finding wiped out the conclusions of an earlier inquiry that had whitewashed the troops’ actions and the government’s cover-up, a process in which Tugwell’s misinformation had played a key part.

According to people who know both the prime minister and the organization, The Mackenzie Institute is well known to Stephen Harper from his time as vice-president and then president of the National Citizens Coalition, (NCC), as well as time spent in elected office.

In the early days of its existence, the fledgling Mackenzie Institute shared office space with the NCC. While he was writing his book about peace through power, Tugwell was given an office within the NCC premises. “That was before Harper’s tenure, but he was certainly aware of The Mackenzie Institute. After all, there are only six true conservatives in Canada!”, a former NCC employee quipped.

The Mackenzie Institute website has several pictures of the Prime Minister: Stephen Harper in conversation with Mackenzie Institute officials in 2006; a portrait of a smiling prime minister with the Chair of The Mackenzie Institute a month after Harper won his majority government, “subsequent to a briefing to the Prime Minister about the security of Canada’s infrastructure”. And a 2010 photo of Mackenzie Institute board member Nathan Jacobson, “Nathan enjoying some levity after a meeting with visiting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

That picture of Jacobson between the two prime ministers disappeared from the Mackenzie Institute web site just prior to the publication of this article.

“The prime minister may have met with Mr. Jacobson at a community event, as he meets thousands of Canadians from all walks of life each year,” asserts the PMO?

One picture is worth a thousand press secretaries.

http://www.ipolitics.ca/2012/09/28/whos-the-man-between-the-prime-ministers/

Nathan Jacobson, Jason Kenney and the representative of Dalton McGuinty at Israel rally in Toronto

September 2011

The rally at the Canada Christian College. Organized by B’nai Brith, its purpose was to express the protest of those who stand for Israel, against the unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. Source

Seems to me that the Conservatives, know Nathan Jacobson rather well after all. Seems they are rather close to this man.

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Canada: Coroner’s Inquest of Ashley Smith’s death in Prison

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//

Canada: McTeer accuses Tories of putting women’s lives at risk

May 5 2010

The federal government’s decision not to fund abortion as part of its new G8 maternal health initiative will contribute to the loss of life of women and young girls, says Maureen McTeer, wife of former Progressive Conservative prime minister Joe Clark.

McTeer, who works with the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, said she was at first “delighted” to hear that Prime Minister Stephen Harper planned to make reducing maternal and childhood morbidity and mortality in the developing world a key initiative when he hosts next month’s G8 and G20 summits in Ontario.

However, the federal government’s plan to exclude abortion from its funding for the initiative means women who live in conflict zones where rape is a tool of war, or young girls who are married off to older men and find themselves pregnant at age 10 or 11, will be left to their own devices when trying to access a safe abortion, McTeer said.

“In situations where they are pregnant against their will, (help is about) providing them with a safe abortion,” McTeer told CTV’s Power Play Wednesday afternoon. “Because women will continue to abort if the situation is as dire as it is for so many of these women. They die, the fetus dies. What in the world are we saying to our partners around the world? Why are we so smug about saying to them, ‘Well, figure it out as best you can?'”

The government’s stance on abortion as it pertains to the maternal health initiative has become a hot topic on Parliament Hill, and gained steam earlier this week when Conservative Sen. Nancy Ruth advised a gathering of women’s groups to “shut the f–k up” on the abortion issue or risk a blacklash from the government.

The day after Ruth’s contentious comments, it was revealed the government had cut funding to 11 women’s groups over the past two weeks. On Wednesday, Liberal status of women critic Anita Neville said by her count, 24 groups have had their funding cut, including groups that have long been funded by Status of Women Canada.

“I think it’s politics at its worst,” Neville said, adding that funding was slashed to groups that “had the temerity to speak out against” the government on abortion or other issues.

Government defends spending

Rona Ambrose, the minister responsible for the status of women, responded that the government is spending the most it has ever spent on women’s programs, but cannot fund all 400 groups that apply for funding.

According to Ambrose, 78 groups have had their funding requests approved, and 40 per cent of them are “brand new groups that have never received funding before.”

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff criticized the funding cuts in the House Wednesday, saying the government is trying to bully and bankrupt its critics.

“This is a big issue here. It is about whether the government respects democracy,” Ignatieff said.

“That is the fundamental issue. When will the Conservatives stop the smears, stop the attacks, stop the intimidation and start showing the Canadian people some respect?”

Transport Minister John Baird replied by charging Ignatieff with bullying his MPs for forcing them to vote against a bill to scrap the long gun registry.

“Let us let members of Parliament honour the sacred trust, the promises that they made to their electorate,” Baird said.

Shift in policy

McTeer accused the government of backing away from a foreign aid policy that has long supported access to safe abortions as part of maternal and reproductive health initiatives.

“Maternal health, and sexual and reproductive health, which is what we’re talking about here, is about providing a basket of services that are needed by women because they happen to be able to bear babies,” McTeer said.

“So that’s what we’re talking about here. This is a brand new shift in our foreign policy, because our foreign policy since the Nairobi Conference has been quite clear: we have supported women’s access to all necessary medical procedures related to reproduction and sexuality where they are legal.”

McTeer said the goal is always to provide women with health services so they can avoid having to make the “terrible decisions” that many women have to make every day. The initiative must include funding for health facilities, trained health workers and equipment, she said.

But she wondered what will come of the negotiations at the two summits, when the Canadian government will be facing countries such as Britain, the U.S. and France, all of which support abortion as part of maternal health.

“The larger question is:

Is our government willing to do what’s needed to be done to save women’s lives? Historically Canada has,” McTeer said. “We seem to be moving away from that policy now. We don’t know what the final agenda will look like, we don’t know how it will play out.” Source

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Canada and the European Union: Advancing the Transatlantic Agenda

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Canada: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Democracy

Author and Rabble.ca columnist Murray Dobbin details the harm Prime Minister Stephen Harper is doing to the political and social fabric of Canada in a new, hard-hitting essay commissioned by the Council of Canadians titled Harper’s Hitlist: Power, Process and the Assault on Democracy.

As Dobbin explains in the opening paragraphs of the essay, “This study is intended to examine the most serious violations of democracy committed by the prime minister and his government. Some are clearly more serious than others. But taken as a whole they add up to a dangerous undermining of our democratic traditions, institutions and precedents – and politics. These violations are not accidental, they are not incidental, and they are not oversights or simply the sign of an impatient government or ‘decisive’ leadership. They are a fundamental part of Harper’s iron-fisted determination to remake Canada, whether Canadians like it or not.”


Harper’s Hitlist: Power, Process and the Assault on Democracy

Download report here 1 MB or in sections below:

About the Author
Murray Dobbin has been a freelance journalist, broadcaster and author for thirty-five years. He is also a leading activist and analyst in the movement against corporate globalization. He has written extensively on various trade agreements and their impact on democracy and on neo-liberalism’s attack on social programs. He is a past executive board member of the Council of Canadians and author or Word Warriors, and online activism tool hosted on the Council’s website at www.canadians.org.

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Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 8:29 pm  Comments Off on Canada: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Democracy  
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Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean has suspended Canadian Parliament

December 5 2008
The Mace is removed from the House of Commons in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. The Mace represents royal authority and is a sign that the Queen has given the House of Commons the authority to meet and decide on the law. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)The Mace is removed from the House of Commons in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. The Mace represents royal authority and is a sign that the Queen has given the House of Commons the authority to meet and decide on the law. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion walks back up to his office after Parliament was prorogued, in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. (Fred Chartrand / THE CANADIAN PRESS)Liberal Leader Stephane Dion walks back up to his office after Parliament was prorogued, in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. (Fred Chartrand / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean has approved Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s request to suspend Parliament, agreeing to put the government on hold until the end of January.

Harper addressed the media at just before noon after about two-and-a-half hours of meetings at Rideau Hall.

“Following my advice, the Governor General has agreed to prorogue Parliament,” Harper told reporters from the front steps of the building.

He said the decision reflects the will of Canadians.

“Last Friday I asked Canadians to give us their opinion on the parliamentary situation. That feedback has been overwhelming and very clear. They want Canada’s government to continue to work on the agenda they voted for — our plan to strengthen the economy.”

Harper also said that when Parliament resumes, the first item on the agenda will be the presentation of the federal budget and he will spend his time working almost exclusively between now and then on the fiscal blueprint.

He opened the door to co-operating with the opposition parties on the budget, saying Canadians expect all parties “to get on with it.”

“It’s the opportunity to work in the next six weeks on these measures, and I invite all the opposition parties, especially those that have a responsibility to the whole of Canada, to work with us, to inform us of their detailed position and we will be there to listen,” Harper said in French.

Harper was seeking a suspension of Parliament in order to avoid a confidence motion scheduled for Monday that would have likely toppled his government.

The Liberals and NDP have agreed to form a coalition, with the support of the Bloc Quebecois, and have signaled their intention to bring down the government over the fiscal update that was introduced last week and would have come before Commons for a vote on Monday.

They had hoped Jean would deny the prorogation request and let the confidence motion go ahead. If it did, and the government fell, Jean would have to decide whether to send Canadians to the polls for another election, or grant the coalition the chance to win the confidence of the House of Commons and possibly take over government.

Jean returned home early from a central European tour on Wednesday to deal with the political crisis that has gripped the nation.

The decision Thursday followed a rare nationally televised address by Harper on Wednesday night.

In the five-minute pre-taped broadcast Harper said the opposition plans to oust his government and seize power would cripple the country’s economy.

Harper also signaled he would be willing to work with the opposition parties in order to deliver an economic plan that will help Canada navigate perilous economic times.

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion also took to the airwaves Wednesday, though only after a major delay that saw national networks filling time as they waited for the tape to arrive.

“Stephen Harper still refuses to propose measures to stimulate the Canadian economy,” said Dion. “His mini-budget last week demonstrated that his priority is partisanship and settling ideological scores.

The NDP’s Jack Layton said Wednesday that the Conservatives have been wasting time with partisan politics instead of dealing with the economy.

“Stephen Harper simply refused to act,” he said, adding the Conservatives also attacked the rights of workers and women.

The opposition began to cobble together their coalition after the Tories proposed last week to cut public funding for political parties as a part of their fall economic update.

The update also lacked a sufficient stimulus package, the opposition has said.

Source

Well now they all get a nice long vacation.  Sweet.

Just like kids they needed time out in their perspective corners.

It will give Canadians time to reflect.

I am quite sure there is an up side to this.

I still don’t see Why Harper cannot co-operate with the opposition.

Those who are elected by the people are suppose to work for the people.

They are suppose to be taking care of the citizens best interests.

Maybe a time out in the corner will wake them up.  If not maybe a good spanking would be in order.

Harper is not what the majority of Canadians wanted.  He should remember that while he is in his corner doing his time out.

Michaelle Jean made the right decision.  This will also give her some time to reflect on what needs to be done in Canadians best interest.

If she had called for another election Canada would be right back where they are now. Harper calling and early election changed nothing.

Calling yet another at this point would be foolish.

A Coalition Government would be a viable alternative.

Michaelle Jean and the parties involved will now have time to think about a few things.

Silence on Canadian coalition crisis in U.S. media What a Shocker, LOL


Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 5:50 am  Comments Off on Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean has suspended Canadian Parliament  
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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

Canadian Government to Curb Parliamentary Perks

November 25 2008

Marie-Rose Angers, left, and Kevin Larocque clean the the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 17, 2008.  (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Marie-Rose Angers, left, and Kevin Larocque clean the the

Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on

Monday, Nov. 17, 2008. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Kory Teneycke, the prime minister's communications director, speaks on Mike Duffy Live in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008.

Kory Teneycke, the prime minister’s

communications director, speaks on

Mike Duffy Live in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008.

As the economic storm clouds gather, Ottawa plans to curb the pay, bonuses and perks of politicians and top bureaucrats in Thursday’s fiscal update, CTV News has learned.

“In this time of belt-tightening, politicians have to be able to demonstrate to people that they are able to do that themselves,” Kory Teneycke, the prime minister’s communications director, told CTV News on Tuesday.

Sources told CTV News the measures will include:

  • Cancellation of a planned three per cent or $4,600 pay hike for MPs who already earn $155,400
  • Restricting the use of government challenger jets
  • Ending all unnecessary travel and entertainment
  • Cutting all business-class travel for cabinet ministers and top civil servants

It’s also believed that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will order spending cuts at Crown corporations and other federal agencies. Insiders say the financial belt-tightening could save Canada tens of millions of dollars each year.

On Tuesday, debate in the House of Commons focused on the way the Conservative government has handled the country’s economy in recent months. Flaherty took much of the heat from opposition members on behalf of the absent prime minister.

Stephen Harper, who recently attended the APEC conference in Lima, Peru, this past weekend, was not present during question period.

Flaherty has said that there will be no fiscal stimulus included in the fiscal update, set to be delivered at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Flaherty was on the defensive, telling his fellow MPs that the Conservatives made prudent financial moves in recent years that left Canada in a better position than many of its peers.

“Canada is not an island, but fortunately, we are well prepared,” Flaherty said Tuesday, noting that the Conservatives had cut taxes and increased spending on infrastructure in the past two years.

But Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said it appeared to him that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had failed to predict the coming recession.

“The prime minister contradicts himself on deficits. He contradicts himself on recessions as well,” said Dion, pointing to the prime minister’s recent referrals to ‘structural’ deficits and ‘technical’ recessions.

“Recessions are not about semantics — they are about job losses, about Canadians who need help,” Dion said.

“Why doesn’t the prime minister get it?”

In response, Flaherty said Dion “ought to take the advice of the expert on deficits in his own caucus” — whom he named as Liberal MP Bob Rae.

Rae served as premier of Ontario during the recession of the early 1990s.

Flaherty quoted Rae as saying that it was “not a reasonable position or an intelligent position to take” that the prime minister was personally to blame for any recent deficit that may have occurred at the federal level.

A few minutes later, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe returned to the issue of the prime minister not predicting the economic crisis.

“The prime minister said during the election that there would not be a recession, but today he admits that there will be a recession — and that the recession is right at our door,” Duceppe said in French.

“Can the minister explain what was so urgent to call an election because of the economic crisis, whereas now it’s not so urgent to take action to deal with the impacts of this crisis?”

Flaherty said “no one in the world was predicting the kind of economic downturn, and the severity and depth of the economic downturn that we’ve experienced in the last 12 weeks.’

Things also got a little heated during an exchange between the finance minister and Liberal backbencher Yasmin Ratansi, who asked Flaherty about the way he would use “non-core federal assets” to help raise funds for the government.

Flaherty said the government intended to review corporate assets under the expense management program, to determine if individual assets “still fulfill a need for the people of Canada.”

The finance minister bristled at a follow-up question from Ratansi, who suggested the finance minister had shown a “lack of fiscal discipline” in doing his job prior to the current economic crisis.

“Fiscal discipline is an oxy moron coming from a Liberal member,” Flaherty said, while house members both cheered and jeered.

Think-tank predicts big deficit numbers for Canada

Also on Tuesday, the Ottawa-based Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a left-of-centre research institute, said Canada may see a $46.8 billion deficit in the coming years, if there is a major recession.

That’s much bigger than the high end of the parliamentary budget officer’s prediction, who said last week that Canada’s deficit could be as high as $14 billion as the economy slows in the next two years. Kevin Page put the low end of possible deficits at just below $4 billion.

According to the CCPA, those numbers may be too low.

“A major recession starting in the fourth quarter of 2008 and lasting through 2009 could produce deficits of $1.4 billion in 2008/09, rising to $27.9 billion in 2009/10, and $46.8 billion in 2010/11,” said a CCPA press release.

However, it also noted that a mild recession would create:

  • a very small deficit in 2008/09, perhaps in the $1.4 billion range
  • a $12.6 billion deficit in the following year that would go up to $20.5 billion in 2010 and 2011

The CCPA is calling on Ottawa to take decisive action to curtail the damage from a global economic slowdown.

“The real underlying question now is not whether the federal government should run a deficit but how large the planning deficit for 2009/10 should be,” Marc Lee, CCPA senior economist, said in a press release.

“The federal government has a lead role to play in cushioning the impact of a recession, both through federal programs and in partnership with the provinces.”

Source

Canada urged to join U.S. in creating ’strong, bold’ stimulus package

Icelandic politicians to get paid less

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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Prime Minister Harper officially endorses North American Union!

YOU WANT HARPER IN A MAJORITY GOVERNMENT?? CANADA WILL BE LOST, PLEASE VOTE SMART.

Mr. Harper’s speech at the CFR on 25 September 2007 affirms Mr. Harper’s Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPPNA) commitment to hand over Canada to full control by no later than 2010, to a political fraternity which is associated with the current U.S. Bush administration. Mr. Harper’s government apparently reports to the CFR.

In effect, the Government of Canada appears to be governed not from a sovereign Parliament in Ottawa, but run through a New York City-based political fraternity, which seeks to replace a democratic form of government, with the rule of society by a “Council of Wise Men”.

The architects of such a fascistic government look upon their vision of society, to be much more “efficient” in dealing with the need to vanquish enemies, i.e. “terrorists”.

Be sure to check out the sight for the rest of the information.

Source information and Video Presenting Stphen Harper

He wants to sell out the country

The Three Amigos are still at it.

Published in: on October 14, 2008 at 3:18 am  Comments Off on Prime Minister Harper officially endorses North American Union!  
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Stephen Harper lied about Cadman Tape

Cadman bribe tape wasn’t doctored: Expert

A file photo of Independent MP Chuck Cadman. Author Tom Zytaruk asked the prime minister on tape about an alleged attempt by Conservative officials to bribe Cadman.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s own audio expert says a tape providing key evidence about an alleged bribe was not doctored as Harper has claimed.

Ted Colley ,  Canwest News Service

October 10, 2008

SURREY, B.C. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s own audio expert says a tape providing key evidence about an alleged bribe was not doctored as Harper has claimed.

Author Tom Zytaruk asked the prime minister on tape about an alleged attempt by Conservative officials to bribe Independent MP Chuck Cadman.

In 2005, Cadman told his wife, Dona Cadman, that two Conservative representatives had offered him a $1-million life insurance policy in exchange for his vote in a confidence motion aimed at bringing down the Liberal government.

Cadman was terminally ill at the time and died just two months later.

The interview, in which Harper speaks of an offer to Cadman “to replace financial considerations he might lose during an election,” has been cited by Liberals in the House of Commons and on articles posted on the Liberal party website as evidence that Mr. Harper knew of an alleged attempt to bribe Cadman in May 2005, in exchange for his vote in the Commons to topple the Liberal government of the day. Harper, who denies knowing any such thing, is suing the Liberals for $3.5-million.

Two audio experts hired earlier by Harper said the tape appeared to have been doctored.

An Ontario judge ordered another analysis and Harper tapped former FBI agent Bruce Koenig for the job.

Koenig said the portion of the tape dealing with the insurance policy “contains neither physical nor electronic splices, edits or alterations,” according to a report entered in court on Friday.

Last month, Harper was able to persuade the court to put the lawsuit on hold until after the Oct. 14 federal election. Harper also tried to keep Koenig’s report out of the court record until the vote had passed, but the Liberals were able to get it on the record Friday.

Zytaruk, who has steadfastly maintained the tape was never altered, said he’s happy about the timing.

“I’m glad this came out before the election. I was really looking forward to testifying because it’s not pleasant to be accused on a national scale of doing something dishonest, such as doctoring a tape.”

Dona Cadman, the Conservative candidate in Surrey North, could not be reached for comment before press time.

Source

Harper, Bush Share Roots in Controversial Philosophy

Close advisers schooled in ‘the noble lie’ and ‘regime change.’

What do close advisors to Stephen Harper and George W. Bush have in common? They reflect the disturbing teachings of Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish émigré who spawned the neoconservative movement.

Strauss, who died in 1973, believed in the inherent inequality of humanity. Most people, he famously taught, are too stupid to make informed decisions about their political affairs. Elite philosophers must decide on affairs of state for us.

In Washington, Straussians exert powerful influence from within the inner circle of the White House. In Canada, they roost, for now, in the so-called Calgary School, guiding Harper in framing his election strategies. What preoccupies Straussians in both places is the question of “regime change.”

Strauss defined a regime as a set of governing ideas, institutions and traditions. The neoconservatives in the Bush administration, who secretly conspired to make the invasion of Iraq a certainty, had a precise plan for regime change. They weren’t out to merely replace Saddam with an American puppet. They planned to make the system more like the U.S., with an electoral process that can be manipulated by the elites, corporate control over the levers of power and socially conservative values.

Usually regime change is imposed on a country from outside through violent means, such as invasion. On occasion, it occurs within a country through civil war. After the American Civil War, a new regime was imposed on the Deep South by the North, although the old regime was never entirely replaced.

Is regime change possible through the electoral process? It’s happening in the U.S., where the neocons are succeeding in transforming the American state from a liberal democracy into a corporatist, theocratic regime. As Canada readies for a federal election, the question must be asked: Are we next?

The ‘noble lie’

Strauss believed that allowing citizens to govern themselves will lead, inevitably, to terror and tyranny, as the Weimar Republic succumbed to the Nazis in the 1930s. A ruling elite of political philosophers must make those decisions because it is the only group smart enough. It must resort to deception — Strauss’s “noble lie” — to protect citizens from themselves. The elite must hide the truth from the public by writing in code. “Using metaphors and cryptic language,” philosophers communicated one message for the elite, and another message for “the unsophisticated general population,” philosopher Jeet Heer recently wrote in the Globe and Mail. “For Strauss, the art of concealment and secrecy was among the greatest legacies of antiquity.”

The recent outing of star New York Times reporter Judith Miller reveals how today’s neocons use the media to conceal the truth from the public. For Straussians, telling Americans that Saddam didn’t have WMD’s and had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda, but that we needed to take him out for geopolitical and ideological reasons you can’t comprehend, was a non-starter. The people wouldn’t get it. Time for a whopper.

Miller was responsible for pushing into the Times the key neocon lie that Saddam was busy stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. This deception helped build support among Americans for the invasion of Iraq. Miller was no independent journalist seeking the truth nor a victim of neocon duplicity, as she claimed. She worked closely with Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff and responsible for coordinating Iraq intelligence and communication strategy. Libby is a Straussian who studied under Paul Wolfowitz, now head of the World Bank, and before that, deputy secretary of defense, where he led the ‘Invade Iraq” lobby. Wolfowitz studied under Strauss and Allan Bloom, Strauss’s most famous student.

Miller cultivated close links to the neocons in the administration and at the American Enterprise Institute, the leading Washington-based neocon think tank. AEI played the key role outside government in fabricating intelligence to make the case for invading Iraq. Straussian Richard Perle, who chaired the Defence Policy Board Advisory Committee until he was kicked off because of a conflict of interest, is a senior fellow at AEI and coordinated its efforts. Miller co-wrote a book on the Middle East with an AEI scholar. Rather than being a victim of government manipulation, Miller was a conduit between the neocons and the American public. As a result of her reporting, many Americans came to believe that Saddam had the weapons. War and regime change followed.

‘Regime change’ in Canada

As in the U.S., regime change became a Canadian media darling. Before 9-11, the phrase appeared in Canadian newspapers less than ten times a year. It usually referred to changes in leadership of a political party or as part of the phrase “regulatory regime change.” Less than a week after 9-11, the phrase began to be used in its Straussian sense, as if a scenario was being choreographed.

From 19 mentions in Canadian newspapers in 2001, regime change soared to 790 mentions in 2002 and 1334 mentions in 2003. With the Iraq invasion accomplished that year, usage tailed off in 2004 (291 mentions) and in 2005 (208 mentions to November 10).

There’s one big difference between American and Canadian Straussians. The Americans assumed positions of power and influence in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The Canadians have not had much opportunity to show (or is that hide?) their stuff. That may change with a Harper victory.

Paul Wolfowitz’s teacher, Allan Bloom, and another Straussian, Walter Berns, taught at the University of Toronto during the 1970s. They left their teaching posts at Cornell University because they couldn’t stomach the student radicalism of the ’60s. At Toronto, they influenced an entire generation of political scientists, who fanned out to universities across the country.

Two of their students, Ted Morton and Rainer Knopff, went to the University of Calgary where they specialize in attacking the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They claim the charter is the result of a conspiracy foisted on the Canadian people by “special interests.” These nasty people are feminists, gays and lesbians, the poor, prisoners and refugee-rights groups who are advancing their own interests through the courts at the expense of the general public, these Straussians allege.

The problem with their analysis is that the special interest which makes more use of the courts to advance its interests than all these other groups combined — business — receives not a mention. Deception by omission is a common Straussian technique. The weak are targeted while the real culprits disappear.

Harper’s mentors

Harper studied under the neocons at the University of Calgary and worked with them to craft policies for the fledgling Reform Party in the late 1980s. Together with Preston Manning, they created an oxymoron, a populist party backed by business.

Ted Morton has turned his attention to provincial politics. He’s an elected MLA and a candidate to succeed Premier Ralph Klein. But he did influence the direction of right-wing politics at the federal level as the Canadian Alliance director of research under Stockwell Day.

When Harper threw his hat in the ring for the leadership of the Alliance, Tom Flanagan, the Calgary School’s informal leader, became his closest adviser. Harper and Flanagan, whose scholarship focuses on attacking aboriginal rights, entered a four-year writing partnership and together studied the works of government-hater Friedrich Hayek. Flanagan ran the 2004 Conservative election campaign and is pulling the strings as the country readies for the election.

Political philosopher Shadia Drury is an expert on Strauss, though not a follower. She was a member of Calgary’s political science department for more than two decades, frequently locking horns with her conservative colleagues before leaving in 2003 for the University of Regina.

Strauss recommended harnessing the simplistic platitudes of populism to galvanize mass support for measures that would, in fact, restrict rights. Does the Calgary School resort to such deceitful tactics? Drury believes so. Such thinking represents “a huge contempt for democracy,” she told the Globe and Mail‘s John Ibbotson. The 2004 federal election campaign run by Flanagan was “the greatest stealth campaign we have ever seen,” she said, “run by radical populists hiding behind the cloak of rhetorical moderation.”

Straus and ‘Western alienation’

The Calgary School has successfully hidden its program beneath the complaint of western alienation. “If we’ve done anything, we’ve provided legitimacy for what was the Western view of the country,” Calgary Schooler Barry Cooper told journalist Marci McDonald in her important Walrus article. “We’ve given intelligibility and coherence to a way of looking at it that’s outside the St. Lawrence Valley mentality.” This is sheer Straussian deception. On the surface, it’s easy to understand Cooper’s complaint and the Calgary School’s mission. But the message says something very different to those in the know. For ‘St. Lawrence Valley mentality,’ they read ‘the Ottawa-based modern liberal state,’ with all the negative baggage it carries for Straussians. And for ‘Western view,’ they read ‘the right-wing attack on democracy.’ We’ve provided legitimacy for the radical-right attack on the Canadian democratic state, Cooper is really saying.

A network is already in place to assist Harper in foisting his radical agenda on the Canadian people.

In 2003, he delivered an important address to a group called Civitas. This secretive organization, which has no web site and leaves little paper or electronic trail, is a network of Canadian neoconservative and libertarian academics, politicians, journalists and think tank propagandists.

Harper’s adviser Tom Flanagan is an active member. Conservative MP Jason Kenney is a member, as are Brian Lee Crowley, head of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and Michel Kelly-Gagnon of the Montreal Economic Institute, the second and third most important right-wing think tanks after the Fraser Institute.

Civitas is top-heavy with journalists to promote the cause. Lorne Gunter of the National Post is president. Members include Janet Jackson (Calgary Sun) and Danielle Smith (Calgary Herald). Journalists Colby Cosh, William Watson and Andrew Coyne (all National Post) have made presentations to Civitas.

The Globe and Mail‘s Marcus Gee is not mentioned in relation to Civitas but might as well be a member, if his recent column titled “George Bush is not a liar,” is any evidence. In it, Gee repeats the lies the Bush neocons are furiously disseminating to persuade the people that Bush is not a liar.

Neo-con to Theo-con

The speech Harper gave to Civitas was the source of the charge made by the Liberals during the 2004 election — sure to be revived in the next election — that Harper has a scary, secret agenda. Harper urged a return to social conservatism and social values, to change gears from neocon to theocon, in The Report‘s Ted Byfield’s apt but worrisome phrase, echoing visions of a future not unlike that painted in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian work, A Handmaid’s Tale.

The state should take a more activist role in policing social norms and values, Harper told the assembled conservatives. To achieve this goal, social and economic conservatives must reunite as they have in the U.S., where evangelical Christians and business rule in an unholy alliance. Red Tories must be jettisoned from the party, he said, and alliances forged with ethnic and immigrant communities who currently vote Liberal but espouse traditional family values. This was the successful strategy counselled by the neocons under Ronald Reagan to pull conservative Democrats into the Republican tent.

Movement towards the goal must be “incremental,” he said, so the public won’t be spooked.

Regime change, one step at a time.

Donald Gutstein, a senior lecturer in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University,

Source

The we have this:

US War Resister faces deportation from Canada

Canada hit hard by war on Taleban

We won’t win Afghan war, admits UK commander

And This

Omar Khadr:

He was 15 years old at the time and has now spent more than a quarter of his life in prison. Khadr has been in U.S. custody since 2002, when he was captured in Afghanistan and charged with murdering an American soldier during a firefight.

Stephen Harper, George Bush’s Fart Catcher

Well put I must say.

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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