Author Michael Harris’s new book is a takedown of Stephen Harper

By the time author Michael Harris nears the end of his magisterial review of the strife and times of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it is as if he felt the need of a shower.

Almost 500 pages of Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover have by then been devoted to chronicling the Harper government’s bullying, abuse, duplicity, betrayal, affinity for crooks, public shaming of individuals, diminishment of democratic institutions.

“It was hard every day getting up and working on this particular government,” Harris told the Star in advance of the book’s publication this week. “It made you feel poorly.”

So in the last chapter he seeks figurative respite. He takes readers on a drive across the Canso Causeway to Cape Breton, N.S., and on to River Bourgeois, there to meet a man worlds away from officialdom, backroomers, talk show know-it-alls.

He goes to meet Farley Mowat, then 92, in the last months of his life, yet sound of mind and opinion.

“Stephen Harper is probably the most dangerous human being ever elevated to power in Canada,” Mowat tells the author.

“We took Parliament for granted, but, like the environment, it turns out that it is an incredibly delicate and fragile structure. Harper has smothered MPs and is destroying Parliament.”

Harris presents a meticulously researched, deeply reported case for why Mowat was in all respects correct. “I think that (the Harper government) badly needed a rational critique in detail and I hadn’t seen it,” he says.

Now we have one. And it may be that since Peter C. Newman’s landmark Renegade in Power 50 years ago there has not been such a comprehensive account of a Canadian government and critical eye cast on a prime minister’s poverty of spirit. In fact, Party of One will likely stand as the definitive text on the Harper government, the go-to reference on every Ottawa bookshelf.

Through his long career in journalism, Harris, now 66 and national affairs columnist for iPolitics, has been drawn to stories — Mount Cashel, Donald Marshall — of injustice and abuse of power. Again in this book, “that’s the No. 1 impulse,” he says. “A lot of the things that (Harper) was doing struck me as not only unjust but unjustifiable.

Continue Reading.

Call a public inquiry into hundreds of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada

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On August 22nd, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper once again rejected the call for a public inquiry into the 1181 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women across Canada since 1980.  Aboriginal women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, but account for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women. 

Please sign this petition and share this as much as you can. It is time for the Canadian government to take action. The slaughter of Canada’s aboriginal women cannot go on any longer and the government must take responsibility and be called into action. 

anonymous said:

Pardon my ignorance, but who is Stephen Harper? What did he do?

He’s the Prime Minister (the equivalent of the President of the USA) of Canada. He’s been in power 8 years now.

He’s one the worst politicians that Canada has ever produced.

He blindly supports everything israel does (which is why he’s been nominated for a noble peace prize by a pro-israel group). He even actively blocked a request to treat Palestinian kids who were injured or dying in Canadian hospitals (the Ontario government and Toronto Hospitals all agreed to help).

He made Canada leave the Kyoto protocol; the only country in the world to do so.

Also under Harper’s control, environmental regulations have been slashed and the entire government’s focus seems to be on promoting the oil sands in Alberta; AKA one of the most energy and water intensive methods of oil extraction plus it is poisoning the environment and water supplies locally.

He doesn’t care about aboriginal rights in this country. He’s declined to do anything concrete about the epidemic of aboriginal women who continue to go missing or murdered in this country.

He is anti-science and muzzles government scientists from talking about their work. Most of this work is environmental in nature or related to climate change. The government has also been radically changing the National Research Council; now it only focuses on profitable science; no longer is basic research considered. Oh yeah and they defunded several world famous environmental research facilities in Canada.

The government is the only one in the entire british commonwealth’s history to be found to be in ‘contempt of parliament’. It has never happened anywhere in any of the former british colonies until Stephen Harper prorogued parliament to save face.

He’s been involved in numerous major scandals; including cheating during elections, allegations of robocalls to mislead voters and paying off canadian senators in a secret cover up.

I can’t even list all the terrible things he’s done, but here is a quick list of just what I could think of off the top of my head.

Here’s some more info on why Stephen Harper is bad news for Canada:

Why Not Harper?

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Time running out for Harper as Conservatives risk 2015 defeat: poll

Canada could have a minority Liberal government with an NDP official Opposition a year from now if current trends continue, according to a new EKOS poll conducted jointly for iPolitics and Radio-Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, who have ruled Canada since 2006, risk being relegated to the back corner of the House of Commons unless they can turn things around in the coming year, the poll conducted by EKOS Research indicates.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are well out in front with 38.5 per cent of the vote. The Conservatives are at 26.4 per cent, with Thomas Mulcair’s NDP in a close third at 25 per cent. However, the NDP leader has the highest approval rating and the New Democrats have the most potential to grow, leading EKOS President Frank Graves to conclude the NDP could form the opposition, despite its current third place standing.

“The next Parliament, if it were to be created based on the poll that we have, would see a strong minority Liberal government with a sizeable NDP opposition with Mr. Harper reduced to a third party, rump status,” said Graves.

The poll of 1,671 Canadians was conducted October 10-15. It is considered accurate to within 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

However, the numbers also indicate there could be some surprises in store between now and the next federal election, scheduled for October 19, 2015.

It is NDP Leader Tom Mulcair who has the highest approval ratings at 58 per cent, compared with 46 per cent for Trudeau and only 30 per cent for Harper.

Moreover, Graves says the NDP has the most potential to grow. While the poll found the New Democrats in third place, it also found they were the second choice of 30 per cent of respondents – especially Liberals.

“When you look at Thomas Mulcair and the NDP there is reason, I would think, for both the Liberals and the Conservatives to be concerned,” said Graves.

Continue Reading.

Approximately 1,200 indigenous Canadian women have been murdered or gone missing since 1980. Furthermore, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report in May found aboriginal women account for 16% of female homicides and 11% of missing women despite only making up 4.3% of the country’s population. There has been little public inquiry into the high rate of murdered First Nations women and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been quoted as saying the deaths should be viewed as individual crimes and not as a “sociological phenomenon.” 

The hashtag #AMINext is putting more pressure on the government to investigate the unusually high death rates. Holly Jarrett began the campaign after her cousin, Loretta Saunders was found dead in February in New Brunswick. Since the campaign’s launch, more than 2,600 have tweeted the hashtag.

Read more via BBC.

Tumblr’s opinion of Stephen Harper and the Canadian government: Part 6

Just for fun I’ve been collecting people’s responses describing Stephen Harper (Prime Minister of Canada) and the Canadian government that people leave in tags or comments on this blog. They are not well liked.

View part 5 here

Here’s part 6:

#fuck harper and fuck his government #i swear to god if anyone i know who is old enough to vote next year does not do it im gonna cut a bitch

#god do i ever hate this fucker #and he’s making good on his promise that we ‘won’t recognize canada when [he’s] done with it’ #that’s literally what he promised and that’s literally what he’s doing #this country is going to shit because of this fucker #i want my country back #i want to feel safe in this country again #i want to feel proud of this country again #because holy hell i have not felt proud of canada for eight long years and now it’s not just a lack of pride but actual REVULSION #welcome to my country

#i dont know #if its comforting #or depressing #that america isnt the only country #with jackass politicians

#oh ffs #fuck you harper

#fuck Harper

#i swear to god #they are running this country to the ground

#fuck harper

#when is this conservative nightmare over?

#THE FUCK YOU DOING STEPHEN?! #STAHHP

#my literal lived reality #why do you think i want to Exit: Stage Right from this country? #the fucking ‘harper government’ thing has made me angry for 6 years #like… you want to talk about corruption? come on up to the great fucked-up north #the latest shit on the news — more evidence that scientists are censored constantly & that media may now… #almost basically be used freely by political parties in attack ads for the upcoming elections — is frightening #i’m fucking petrified for the next year

#[curls up in a ball because i love my country and hate my government]

#canadian conservatives suck #if you support them you are either ignorant or an asshole

#yeah our government is nooooot doing so well right now

#conservative party #someone I know defends them and I just…

#stephen harper is a stupid wanker #immoral weenie face #fuck you harper

#it makes me burn with rage that the harper government says there’s not enough money for improved social services #but they have the money to dedicate to another endless and unwinnable war that we don’t belong in

#the harper government makes me fucking sick #if i ever meet stephen harper i am just going to vomit all over his shoes #this is fucking wrong #for a government who ~supports our troops~ they sure don’t have any concerns about putting them back in harms way #and they sure don’t seem to understand that sending more soldiers on tour into a warzone is not something to fucking cheer and laugh about #jesus fucking christ #welcome to my country #burn it to the ground

#this country’s politics are a joke #stephen harper is a joke #a big huge vest wearing war loving capitalist joke

#oh my god this government is so fucked #fuck you harper

#haha fuck you harper fuck you SO much

#I literally get excited about being able to vote at that level for the first time just because I want to get rid of him so badly

#the sooner Harper isn’t PM the better #on virtually every front

#im so glad that harper’s being stalled like #can we just no do the oil/lng thing #and stop spending fucking money on it #what about like #ROADS AND SCHOOLS AND SOCIAL SECURITY AND ENDING POVERTY????

#fuck Canada #fuck Harper #and his shitty racist ass

#Harper is gross #:(

#why is stephen harper even still here like he does nothing honestly #he never does anything for indigenous people #like there was that un thing a couple weeks ago and he didnt sign it #cos it would mean that indigenous people would have right to their own land #and what goes on their own land which makes complete sense #but he doesnt want that cos there’s oil under their land and he wants the oil for money #stephen harper doesnt care about anything but money #im so pissed off why is he still here

#take harper down man i don’t think anyone likes him he’s just there makin rich ppl richer and poor people poorer #fuck him ilksjdglkjglkfd

#PLEASE he’s absolute shit #he needs to go #can’t even make a statement on the young girl aboriginal girl #who was found dead in the red river in august #certainly not the first time this has happened and wont be the last

#stephen harper should leave #and by ‘leave’ i mean THE COUNTRY

#VOTE THESE FUCKERS OUT #TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK #GovernmentThieves

The Conservative Government, under Stephen Harper, are one of the biggest criminal government systems we’ve ever had in Canada.

#this country is going to hell in a handbasket

#this is disgusting and i hate harper #he keeps using history as a propaganda technique and THAT IS NOT GOOD #like how fucking stupid do you have to be #hes intentionally trying to stir nationalistic #patriotic sentiments to keep himself in office #and i just want to see him gone

#oh hey harper hates women what else is new #fucking ass

#the harper administration has me sobbing #why canada why #you were the good guys and now this #Abbott I could sorta expect and groan a little but having terrible right wingers in CANADA of all places feels like a betrayal

#fuck you stephen harper

I’m so done with Stephen Harper. 

Please, someone, anyone… remove this man form office. He is not only selling our country out he is determined to bring us back to the 1950’s in regards to our values and social structure.

#fuck stephen harper

#conservatives can you fucking relax

#can we have the election NOW?

#oh jesus fucking christ #welcome to my country #misogyny #conservative party of canada #god these are the people running our country #why

#conservatives are idiots

#the harper government makes absolutely no sense and their bullshit policies have resulted in people being KILLED #so don’t tell me they’ve done no harm

CANADA, GET OUT THERE AND VOTE. SERIOUSLY I DON’T CARE WHAT YOUR POLITICS ARE, JUST VOTE.

#jesus crhsit u fcking kidding me #CANADA. voting is coming up pls use good judgement and look at all parties from all aspects #PLS

#*facepalm* #these people are so fuckin’ stupid

#seriously tho fuck the conservatives

#fuck harper

#oh look there’s now a handy dandy book that collects all the reasons I hate harper in one place

#I want this book #it’s gonna make me so mad but I want this book #Canada is the actual worst #actually in this case it’s just Canada’s monstrous boss atm #which lbr Canadians elected in #that said #first past the post is broken as fuck #but a large number of people still think this man is not just sound of mind and judgement and reason #but also A GOOD GUY who IS ON OUR SIDE #protecting Canada #I can’t stop laughing #I laugh so hard I make myself sick

Harper Government’s Anti-First Nations Education Act

Iroquois Caucus Resolution 

[Photo] Toronto FNEA Demo

WHEREAS the Iroquois Peoples are self-determined Peoples, that consistently and historically assert their right to govern their own affairs; 

WHEREAS the Iroquois Peoples abide by the philosophies, values, traditions, concepts and principles of Peace, Power and Righteousness prescribed in, and in accordance with, the Kaianere’kó:wa [the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Confederacy — TML Ed. Note];

WHEREAS these principles have governed, and continue to govern, the direction of the Iroquois Peoples since time immemorial;

WHEREAS the Iroquois Peoples have an historic, inherent and inalienable right to education;

WHEREAS the Iroquois Peoples have never ceded traditional territory, Title or Rights, and continue to assert their rights as Peoples;

WHEREAS the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms the right the Iroquois peoples the right to establish and control our education systems and institutions providing education in our own languages, in a manner appropriate to our cultural methods of teaching and learning.

WHEREAS the Declaration further calls upon Canada to work with the Iroquois Peoples to “take effective measures, in order for Indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.”

WHEREAS “effective measures” include the guarantee of funding that will cover the actual costs of linguistically and culturally responsible education, from early childhood to post-secondary.

WHEREAS the member communities of the Iroquois Caucus are aware of plans of the Federal government implement legislation known as the First Nations Education Act;

WHEREAS the Federal government has not properly, nor meaningfully, met its duty to engage member communities of the Iroquois Caucus in the development of any federal legislation related to education;

WHEREAS the member communities of the Iroquois Caucus are strongly opposed to imposition of federal or provincial legislation upon any Indigenous communities, and in particular, Iroquois communities, which do not explicitly acknowledge the exclusive jurisdiction of our communities;

WHEREAS the member communities of the Iroquois Caucus reiterate that the Federal government unfairly and chronically underfunded community education systems, jeopardizing student success and outcomes; 
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the member communities of the Iroquois Caucus reject the First Nations Education Act in its entirety, including all of its components and contents, and any and federally or provincially imposed legislation in this matter;

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the member communities of the Iroquois Caucus demand that Canada immediately cease any further development, passage or implementation of legislation on First Nations education;

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the member communities of the Iroquois Caucus demand that Canada recognize and respect the Aboriginal Right to jurisdictional control of our own educations systems and meet with our communities who are the legitimate rights holders to discuss and take steps necessary to address the chronic underfunding of our education systems;

FINALLY BE IT LASTLY RESOLVED that the member communities of the Iroquois Caucus take all actions necessary to work with partners to counter the First Nation Education Act.

http://www.cpcml.ca/Tmld2014/D44015.htm

Scientists are calling it “libricide.” Seven of the nine world-famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans [DFO] libraries were closed by autumn 2013, ostensibly to digitize the materials and reduce costs. But sources told the independent Tyee in December that a fraction of the 600,000-volume collection had been digitized. Irreplaceable documents like the 50 volumes produced by the H.M.S. Challenger expedition of the late 1800s that discovered thousands of new sea creatures, are now moldering in landfills.

Renowned Dalhousie University biologist Jeff Hutchings calls the closures “an assault on civil society.”

"It is always unnerving from a research and scientist perspective to watch a government undermine basic research. Losing libraries is not a neutral act," Hutchings says. He blames political convictions for the knowledge massacre.

"It must be about ideology. Nothing else fits," said Hutchings. “What that ideology is, is not clear. Does it reflect that part of the Harper government that doesn’t think government should be involved in the very things that affect our lives? Or is it that the role of government is not to collect books or fund science?” Hutchings said the closures fit into a larger pattern of “fear and insecurity” within the Harper government, “about how to deal with science and knowledge.”

Many scientists have compared the war on environmental science to the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe. Hutchings muses, “you look at the rise of certain political parties in the 1930s and have to ask how could that happen and how did they adopt such extreme ideologies so quickly, and how could that happen in a democracy today?”

The centrepiece of the document is the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In his opening remarks, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared,“I am proud that the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples during my first year in office … that set minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples. … And we are joining forces with indigenous peoples to reach our common goals.”

Regretfully, Canada was the only state in the world that chose to request an explanation of vote. In regard to the outcome document, Canada claimed it cannot accept the two paragraphs on “free, prior and informed consent,” which is widely accepted in international law.

Canada implied consent may constitute some kind of absolute “veto,” but never explained what the term means. Canada also objected to the commitment “to uphold the principles of the declaration,” since it was somehow incompatible with Canada’s constitution.

These arguments are false. They contradict Canada’s own endorsement of the UN declaration in 2010, which concluded: “We are now confident that Canada can interpret the principles expressed in the declaration in a manner that is consistent with our constitution and legal framework.”

"Harper Writes Name in Arctic Snow with Pee... I Mean Ship"

Here’s why this week’s discovery of the Franklin expedition ship in the Arctic is important— and why Prime Minister Steven Harper is front and centre for the announcement.  It’s a strategic tool by which the Canadian nation-state can claim parts of the Arctic as its own.  Despite the presence of Indigenous communities in the region long before the colonization of Turtle Island, it has remained a largely disputed area with regards to its sovereignty among nation-states (spoiler: it belongs to Indigenous communities).

As climate change continues to melt away Arctic ice at an alarming rate, the region is rapidly becoming a vast new expanse of newly accessible area that is ripening for natural resource exploitation.

(Chasing Ice, 2012)

But for whom?  

Since the colonization of Turtle Island by European imperial settlers, the Arctic has developed the reputation of a treacherous frontier which holds enormous potential for economic wealth.  The infamous search for an elusive Northwest Passage was the reason Sir John Franklin’s ships ended up buried beneath Arctic ice.  A navigable route would have solidified access to strategic trade routes between the Atlantic and Pacific, a trade route that is still lustfully pursued.  Because of its inaccessibility to non-Indigenous people and its supposedly barren, wild, and dangerous climate, the Arctic’s been ignored for the most part when much of the world’s land was (and continues to be) stolen and carved by hegemonic colonial powers.

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Indigenous communities, such as the Inuit, have lived in the Arctic for centuries until colonization began jeopardizing their existence.  Ironically, “discovery” efforts of the Franklin ship were carried out with the help of the Inuit whose oral histories included knowledge of the wreck site. 

An indication of ongoing colonial rhetoric surrounding this news story, where Indigenous knowledge is undermined by Western settler knowledge (as it was during early periods of colonization of Turtle Island), can be seen in the surprise expressed by the dominant Canadian public that Inuit accounts were correct:

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(source: CBC)

sidebar: +10 cheese points for Harper with that “wind in our sails” remark

The “discovery” of this ship, however, is being touted as historic— so much so that Prime Minister Harper felt he needed to personally deliver the news to the Canadian public.  But why the hell do we care about this particular ship, aren’t there likely hundreds buried all around the shores of Canada?

Yes.  But the Northern location of this wreck finally allows Harper to assert Canadian sovereignty with increased clout.  The Harper government has made it clear that increased militarization of the North is critical to protecting Canada and untapped resources buried beneath the Arctic.

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Meanwhile, Inuit families in Nunavut have been protesting raising food prices, expired products, and even rotten goods on grocery store shelves for some time; imagine a $600 a week grocery bill to feed your family.  Global warming from carbon emissions emitted from industries south of the Arctic (i.e. Canada and the US) have lead to rapid Arctic ice melting (an ice-free Arctic summer is projected in this century).  Toxins emitted from industrial activity have accumulated in animals Inuit communities rely on for sustenance in the North, making their way into the bodies of Inuit people.

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But that’s none of Harper’s business, he’s worried about an old boat.

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There is vivid symbolism at play here that’s making the corpse of Christopher Columbus smile.  Indigenous communities continue to be subjected to genocidal conditions in many parts of Canada.  In the arctic, the Inuit are suffering immensely from the negative impacts of climate change— directly caused by large scale industrial projects like mining and the tar sands.  Yet what got Harper to pay attention (and invest public tax dollars) to the Arctic was an old colonial ship buried under the sea.

Thanks to technology, which something tells me is called climate change and Inuit knowledge, Harper found one of Franklin’s ships.  As we can anticipate, efforts will be made to frivolously commemorate this colonial artifact which will serve as a guise to validate Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic.  Eventually, increased militarization in the warming Arctic and natural resource exploitation can be expected.

So while no one else but ship enthusiasts, Franklin family members, and privileged white settler Canadian politicians looking to write their name in the snow with pee to mark their territory might really care about this news, we need to start giving a ship.

—WritesonHumanRights

New documents obtained by VICE show that not only is the Harper government blocking a bill that would offer human rights protections to trans people, they’re concerned about a “societal debate” protecting trans people from hate crimes. But Randall Garrison, the bill’s proponent, might just trump them yet.

Long Story Short: Stephen Harper is a shit prime minister, and I’m hoping the NDP get a majority next term.

Program that helped special needs children on reserves loses funding

A Regina-based program that helped special needs children has lost funding from the federal government to provide services to families living on reserves.

The Early Childhood Intervention Program, which helps developmentally-delayed children in their early years, used funding from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to train workers and travel to reserves. Funding, which was used to help about 150 youngsters on reserves, amounted to $800,000 and ended in June. The non-profit which runs the program will continue to offer services, but only to Regina clients.

The visits made a huge difference to the McCallum family from the Pasqua First Nation, 60 kilometres northeast of Regina.

Three-year-old Dannalee McCallum has a form of spina bifida and doctors told her parents it was unlikely the youngster would be able to speak or walk.

But the child has made huge gains, credited to the Early Childhood Intervention Program, or ECIP.

"The doctors always told us they didn’t know where her paralysis was in her legs," the girl’s mother Danna Henderson-McCallum, told CBC News. "So the ECIP workers would work on exercises to get her from sitting to crawling to standing. And now she walks along furniture."

CBC News contacted officials in Ottawa to learn more about the funding cut to ECIP, but no comment was provided. An official only noted that the federal government is committed to helping aboriginal children.     

The McCallum family, however, does not feel that is happening.

"I want to be that voice for my daughter — for people who cannot speak — that our children deserve a chance," Henderson-McCallum said. "I feel like we’re not getting a chance."    

She added that paying for the program, from the family’s own resources, is not an option because they cannot use the Regina service even if they drove into the city. Nor is there a program available on reserve.

Todd Peigan, chief of the Pasqua First Nation, told CBC News that he attempted to get information from officials in Regina about the program’s funding cut and a possible alternative. He is still waiting for a response.

"It’s unfortunate that the department of Indian Affairs initiates programs, starts helping children and then cuts the program," Peigan said.

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