Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Three F-35 questions the feds can’t answer — despite what Ambrose said

On Tuesday, the government could not answer three things.

It could not tell Canadians when its next generation fighter jet secretariat will be up and running. Despite what the minister of public works told the House of Commons, it could not say who or what body will be independently verifying fresh costing figures for the F-35 fighter. And, the government also could not say when that costing data will be available to Parliament.

Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose told the Commons Tuesday the government would “not table cost estimates from the Department of National Defence in this House until they are independently validated and verified, and we will make sure that we get those numbers right.”

Ten things Stephen Harper hopes you forget by 2015

Tyranny, the arbitrary exercise of power by a government, usually pads up behind you in stockinged feet. It has to. In a democracy, stealth is the only way it can succeed.

But in Canada these days, it pokes you in the chest with an index finger while shoving you backwards with the other hand. As it turns out, Blaise Pascal might have been right: mankind can get used to anything, including the breathless loss of democratic freedoms when the usurping party masquerades as strong, competent government. Six years in to Harper rule, blue eyes and mascara apparently have everyone taking a few steps backwards.

Quebec Student Federation Says Sorry For Nazi Salutes

Quebec's federation of university students has apologized for the appearance of Nazi salutes at recent demonstrations after prominent Jewish organizations condemned protesters' use of the gesture.

Martine Desjardins, president of the federation, said the salute, which some protesters have been using to mock Montreal police for alleged brutality, doesn't "represent the values of Quebec and Canada."

"We think it was an error in judgment that they used that sign," she said.

Bill C-38: Thomas Mulcair Says Marathon Voting On Canada Budget Highlight Tory Arrogance

OTTAWA - The tongue-in-cheek nickname for the omnibus Conservative budget bill is "the omni-mess" — an opposition sobriquet to describe 400-plus pages of legislation that make widespread changes to almost every facet of Canadian life.

But the term has also been sneaking into Tory vocabulary of late as the government finds itself buffeted by unanticipated political turbulence from the Jobs, Growth and Long Term Prosperity Act, also known as Bill C-38.

Parts of Alberta oil spill may never be cleaned up

A sunny break from heavy wind and rain allowed crews to come out in force to battle an oil spill that has stained one of Alberta’s most important rivers – one that, environment officials warn, is likely to never be completely cleaned up.

Rough weekend weather and a flooded Red Deer River had impeded efforts to clean up a spill of 160,000 to 480,000 litres from a Plains Midstream Canada pipeline. But on Tuesday, a response team of nearly 200 workers set to work skimming, vacuuming and absorbing the spill.

Austerity alone won’t solve a structural debt problem

Austerity is the mot-du-jour almost everywhere at the moment. It reigns in Spain, for instance. (“Austeridad.”)

As Jim Flaherty said, in hailing the Spanish bank bailout, it “doesn’t solve the problem but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Let us examine that statement for the briefest moment, leaving aside such interesting but tangential questions as, whose money is bailing?

The problem is structural, not fiscal. The fiscal solution does not really get at the problem. Instead, it kicks the problem down the road.

Thomas Mulcair’s Dutch Disease warning supported by OECD report

A new OECD report seems to support controversial claims by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair that Canada is suffering from an economic condition known as Dutch Disease.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development warns in a report released Wednesday that the run-up in commodity prices is leading to an uneven economy in Canada.

As well, it says the country needs to do more to develop non-resource aspects of the economy so as to maintain high levels of employment and an equitable distribution of wealth across regions.

Kenney rebukes newspaper, lectures reporters on ‘incomplete’ work

The Conservative government has taken “the unusual step” of publicly challenging a newspaper report and reminding journalists across the country that it’s their job to get both sides of a story before racing to publication.

In an open letter, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said the ministry wasn’t approached about an article that appeared in Montreal’s La Presse on June 11, about a Colombian woman facing deportation.

Debt, reparations and a new form of power

How do we move from economies of indebtedness towards financing sustainable and socially just development? The United Nations has argued that US$80 billion per year for 10 years would: "guarantee to every human being living on this planet access to basic education, basic health care, adequate food, drinking water and sanitation, and for women, gynecological and obstetric care." This proposal is significant in a world where -- according to the Canadian International Development Agency -- nearly 800 million people do not have sufficient food, and approximately 500 million suffer from chronic malnutrition; roughly 130 million children of primary school age and 275 million of secondary-school age do not attend school; and in developing countries, the maternal mortality rate, at more than 350 per 100,000 live births, is nine times as high as in OECD countries. The challenge that debt activists face is that Northern, neoliberal, funding regulations have not produced a financially solvent form of development.

What comes next: The Liberals after Rae

A few thoughts on Bob Rae’s decision to forego the Liberal leadership race.

First, that cloud of dust you see is the Conservative Party of Canada tumbling forward to the ground. They’ll get up and regroup of course. They have a lot of money and a five-year winning streak. But they spent millions of dollars in 2012 running Bob Rae down. And now for their efforts they are left with Tom Mulcair’s NDP at a new durable plateau of popularity; serious trouble in a Quebec that will have 78 seats at the next election; and Not Bob Rae. Attack-ad money down the drain.

PM Harper’s sweeping omnibus budget bill lays political track for next federal election, say Nanos

PARLIAMENT HILL—Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives are “laying political track” for the next federal election by stuffing their first majority-government budget with dozens of controversial measures and ramming the legislation through the Commons at lightning speed with Parliament set to adjourn on June 22 for a three-month summer recess, says Nanos Research pollster Nik Nanos.

“For the Conservatives, it’s all about effective political sequencing, they’re working on the timeline for the next federal election, it’s not surprising their first [majority] budget is front-loaded with everything they need, including the kitchen sink, in order to set the table for the next federal election,” Mr. Nanos told The Hill Times as MPs were bracing for a marathon of overnight voting Wednesday and while the opposition parties attempt to draw as much voter attention to the spectacle as they can before the long summer break arrives.

Canadians pay more than Americans for Canadian-made vehicles

Consumer advocates say the Competition Bureau should investigate why Canadians are paying thousands of dollars more than Americans for vehicles manufactured here in Canada.

CBC News looked at the relative prices of 24 models made in Ontario by the five big automakers — Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota — and found that in 18 cases, the models cost thousands of dollars more to buy in Ontario than in the United States, including Hawaii.

Based on the manufacturer's suggested retail prices, the two-wheel drive Toyota Rav4 would cost $22,650 in Honolulu, with an additional charge for freight and pre-delivery inspection (PDI) of $810.

Netanyahu's hands are finally untied in Israel

Barely a month after a dramatic move to reshape his coalition by including the centrist Kadima party, Benjamin Netanyahu is already reaping benefits. Last week, the broad coalition of 94 (out of 120) Knesset members enabled him to defeat extreme right-wing settlers and their advocates in his governing coalition. This may portend change in the Likud party itself, and with it a redrawing of the Israeli political map. Any potential change still leaves the question of the kind of leadership the Israeli Prime Minister will provide.

Over the past three years, Mr. Netanyahu repeatedly claimed his hands were tied by partners in a narrow rightist government. But not any more. With Kadima in the tent, he can securely manoeuvre between right and centre and has gained the ability to do anything he wants. Recent events underscore this point.

Defiant Levant stands by Spanish slur

A sharp rebuke from the country’s broadcast ethics regulator hasn’t chastened Sun News Networks’ Ezra Levant, who said there’s no reason for him or his network to apologize for an on-air Spanish slur that roughly translates into “go have sex with your mother.”

Mr. Levant railed against Chiquita Brands International in December, after it said it would stop using fuel from Alberta's oil sands. Mr. Levant challenged the company's ethical record, but the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council was more concerned with a portion of the show when he stared into the camera and told a company executive "Hey you, yeah you, Manuel Rodriguez. Chinga tu madre."

Tories tap former auditor to oversee revamped fighter-jet purchase

The Harper government is enlisting a former federal spending watchdog to add more credence to a promised rethink of which new fighter jet Canada should buy.

The Conservatives have been scrambling to rescue their reputation for sound fiscal management after it emerged that the Department of National Defence selected the $25-billion F-35 jet with only the flimsiest of justifications.

Denis Desautels is one of two independent experts Ottawa is hiring for the new government body that’s taking over the job of verifying whether the F-35 jet is the best choice for Canada.

Canada falling well short of its climate change targets, report says

OTTAWA—Under the rosiest outlook, Canada will only be a little over half way toward meeting its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions when the pledge comes due in 2020, according to a new report.

But the incentive for the federal government to launch additional measures to tackle climate change should be strong because the cost of cutting carbon from the atmosphere will only rise after 2020.

That’s the conclusion of the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy, an arms-length advisory panel, in a report to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government before the agency is abolished at the end of the year.

Canada’s flagging productivity

The OECD has taken yet another swipe at Canada’s sluggish productivity.

Canada’s economy has weathered the global economic crisis well thanks to timely fiscal stimulus, low interest rates, a solid banking sector, and revenues from natural resources, according to the study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, released Wednesday.

But our workforce will have to become more productive to sustain our high standard of living as the workforce shrinks.

It`s big: a primer on the Harper government`s omnibus budget bill

OTTAWA - Here`s a quick rundown on the more significant provisions included in Bill C-38, the omnibus budget implementation bill:

* Environment and Natural Resources _ The most significant change is a complete overhaul of Canada`s environmental review process for industrial projects. Under the revisions in C-38, the federal environment minister would decide which projects will be subject to environment assessments. The bill would also set time limits on reviews, restrict the ability of some Canadians to participate in the environmental hearings process, and allow Cabinet ministers to grant certificates for ``major pipelines.''

Another section scraps the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, which called for annual reports on the effectiveness of federal climate change policies and an independent review of results.

How Dark-Money Groups Sneak By the Taxman

Here at Mother Jones we talk about "dark money" to broadly describe the flood of unlimited spending behind this year's election. But the truly dark money in 2012 is being raised and spent by tax-exempt groups that aren't required to disclose their financial backers even as they funnel anonymous cash to super-PACs and run election ads.

By Internal Revenue Service rules, these 501(c)(4)s exist as nonpartisan "social welfare" organizations. They can engage in political activity so long as that's not their primary purpose, but skirt that rule by running issue-based "electioneering communications" that can mention candidates so long as they don't directly tell you to vote for or against them (wink, wink), or by giving grants to other politically active 501(c)(4)s. (Super-PACs, on the other hand, can spend all their money endorsing or attacking candidates, but must disclose their donors.)

House GOP Blocking Abortion Access for Raped Soldiers

Republican Senators John McCain, Scott Brown, and Susan Collins all support an effort by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, to expand abortion access for military women who are raped. But despite bipartisan support in the Senate, Shaheen's proposal may not make it into the final version of the 2013 defense authorization bill—because House Republicans oppose it.

If Shaheen's measure passes, military families will finally have the same access to abortion that other federal employees already receive. Unlike the rest of the federal government, the Department of Defense currently only provides abortion coverage if the life of the mother is at stake. Under current law, if a State Department employee is raped, her government health insurance plan will pay for an abortion if she wants one. But if an Army medic serving in Afghanistan is raped and becomes pregnant, she can't use her military health plan to pay for an abortion. If she does decide to get an abortion, she will have to pay for it with her own money. And if she can't prove she was raped—which is difficult before an investigation is completed—she may have to look for services off base, which can be dangerous or impossible in many parts of the world.

Auto Insurance Injury Benefits In Ontario Plummet

New figures released by Ontario's insurance industry regulator show that auto insurance companies are paying out dramatically less in accident benefits over the past two years.

Figures released Tuesday by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario show that insurance companies were paying $300 in injury benefits for every car on Ontario's roads in 2012. That's well down from the $764 paid out on average in 2010.

Yet the average premium hasn't dropped anywhere near that rate — auditor general Jim McCarter said in a report last December that Ontario drivers pay significantly more for auto insurance than other Canadians.

Inflammatory rhetoric poisons climate for mature debate of public policy issues

There are many quotes that pay homage to the power of the spoken and written word. Once uttered, and having taken root in the mind of people, words and the ideas that they express can last for thousands of years. They are by their very nature a source of great good and great harm. Accordingly, those who wield them as part of their professional lives should use them with care.

I have spent some thirty-six years dealing with public safety matters, some twenty of which dealt with national security at the highest of levels within government. Both senior officials and ministers were sensitive to the use of terms such as “extremist” or “radical” to describe individuals or organizations. These are loaded terms that convey a stigmatization that has few parallels in a democracy. Yet this language has intentionally been employed as a sword by the government to attack its critics both in Parliament and in an “Open Letter” to the public by the Minister of Natural Resources in January of this year. This Open Letter, describing the need to diversify our energy markets, would have been a very carefully crafted communication. Each word would have been weighed and scrutinized to ensure that the government’s position was crystal clear. The following words, lifted from the open letter, are reflective of the government’s thinking:

Beware politicians preaching restraint

Restraint is one of those words that politicians like to use.

It is supposed to conjure up images of fat people cinching their belts as they forego that extra slice of chocolate cake.

When applied to government spending it is meant to reassure voters that nothing crucial is being cut — that, to use the words of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, only the gravy is being eliminated.

The reality of restraint is rarely so simple.

Harper's public-sector wage curbs subject of legal appeal by federal lawyers

TORONTO - The federal government's curbs on public-sector wages are subject to an Ontario Court of Appeal hearing today.

Crown lawyers argue the legislation enacted in 2009 violates their rights to bargain collectively for more money.

Known as the Expenditure Restraint Act, the law was a response to the global economic slump.

It essentially limited wage hikes for about 400,000 federal workers for five years retroactive to 2006.

Ominous omnibus budget bill will impact millions

Canadians are just now awakening to the widespread implications of Stephen Harper’s omnibus Bill C-38. It may be too late to mobilize against it.

The Conservatives have buried major policy changes, none of which was in their election platform, in a 400-page piece of legislation.

The annual budget bill is intended to implement the government’s financial plans for the year. But the prime minister has chosen to use it to weaken environmental legislation, raise the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and make sweeping changes to employment insurance. The bill amends more than 70 laws.

Military Suicide Epidemic: More U.S. Soldiers Have Killed Themselves Than Died on Battlefield in 2012

More U.S. soldiers have died this year by taking their own lives than on the battlefield. The Pentagon says there have been at least 154 suicides among active-duty troops in 2012, a rate of nearly one each day. We’re joined by three guests: Kevin Hines, who survived a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and now counsels suicidal soldiers; Bonnie Carroll, co-chair of the Pentagon’s Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide in the Armed Forces and president of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors; and journalist Aaron Glantz, author of the book "The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans."

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

Is Syria in a Civil War? Journalist Patrick Seale Debates Activist Rafif Jouejati on a Just Response

Has a full-blown civil war broken out in Syria? Hervé Ladsous, the UN under-secretary general for peacekeeping operations, became the first senior UN official to make the assertion on Tuesday amid worsening violence across the country. The U.S. meanwhile is accusing Russia of arming the Syrian military while Saudi Arabia and Qatar are sending anti-tank missiles to the Syrian opposition through Turkey with the Obama administration’s backing. We host a debate between Syrian opposition activist Rafif Jouejati and longtime Middle East journalist Patrick Seale.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

Omnibus bill exposes ‘pragmatic’ Stephen Harper as a radical

Stephen Harper is often portrayed by his supporters as a pragmatist, a man who simply wants to do what works. But the evidence suggests that the “major transformation” he promised at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January is aimed in a more radical direction.

Instead of measures aimed at producing more above-the-poverty-line jobs for the unemployed and directly attacking stagnant wages for middle class Canadians, the massive omnibus bill before Parliament has a more narrowly conservative intent. Instead of providing hope, its measures will dampen our expectations and deepen inequality.

Deal sealed but second bridge to Detroit still has hurdles to clear

Canada has reached an accord with Michigan’s governor to build a second bridge between Windsor and Detroit, sources say – another step forward in a decade-long battle by Ottawa to broaden the biggest conduit for two-way trade with the United States.

About 25 per cent of the goods Canada and the U.S. sell to each other in any given year cross over the existing Ambassador Bridge between Ontario and Michigan.

Canadian efforts to build a second span have been repeatedly frustrated by the owners of the current bridge, who have used legal action and public-relations campaigns – including TV ads – to fight back.

Federal budget 2012: More subterfuge hidden inside The Trojan Horse bill

OTTAWA—Blasting out of the bubble is often not easy.

It requires a strategy that is simple, if mind-numbing.

It involves repeating a message over and over again and when no one in this town can stand to hear it repeated one more time, repeat it.

Repeat it in the House, in the foyer, on television, on Twitter and in your home riding.

If you shout it out often enough, the bubble bursts and people start listening.

Ottawa: Ship deal isn’t leaking

OTTAWA — The value of the Halifax Shipyard’s shipbuilding contract will absolutely not decrease, the federal government insists.

Some military analysts have speculated the $35-billion shipbuilding procurement strategy — of which the largest contract, $25 billion, was awarded to Halifax in October — has hit a wall. No final contracts have been signed.

This, combined with $2 billion being cut from the Defence Department budget, has fuelled speculation that the shipbuilding project will be scaled back.

Neo-con policies drive financial inequality

For at least three Conservative MPs, anything that smacks of creating greater financial equality should either be "smashed," is "far-left economic thinking" or "dirty bathwater."

Here's former Conservative cabinet minister Monte Solberg writing in his blog recently: "For 40 years 'progressives' called the shots in Canada and their influence affected and infected everything... Anyway, that whole way of thinking must be smashed and (Finance Minister Jim) Flaherty has made a start on it but only a start."

Last Thursday, two more Conservatives chimed in. During debate on Liberal MP Scott Brison's motion to conduct a year-long investigation of growing inequality in Canada, St. Boniface Conservative MP Shelly Glover, Flaherty's parliamentary secretary, attacked the Liberal party's "embrace of far-left economic thinking" while Alberta Conservative MP Jim Hillyer likened Brison's motion to "dirty bathwater."

Few fireworks result from long-awaited audits of MP, senator expenses

OTTAWA - The auditor general pulled back the curtain on politicians' spending by just a few inches Wednesday, giving Canadian taxpayers only the faintest of glimpses at how MPs and senators spend their money.

Anyone hoping to learn details about any exorbitant spending by parliamentarians was likely disappointed by a pair of process-heavy audits of some $500 million in Senate and House of Commons expenses.

Watchdog groups, hopeful the reports would probe specific spending habits, were disappointed in what they described as little more than polite reminders to MPs and senators to properly fill out their expense claims.

Endangered species face one-two government punch

Canada's environmental laws are under attack by both the federal and Ontario governments. In Ottawa, the government introduced Bill C-38 to implement far-reaching measures announced in its budget. Ontario’s government introduced a similar omnibus bill with profound implications for the environment.

The 420-page Bill C-38 will gut a raft of federal laws passed over the years to ensure that our air, water, and most vulnerable wildlife populations are protected. Casualties include the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Fisheries Act, Species at Risk Act, National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy Act, and the Kyoto Implementation Act.

Canada is 'back' on the world stage? Hardly

For those who care about Canada's international reputation and Canada's ability to influence others in the pursuit of Canada's self-interest, these are discouraging days.

Everywhere, there is penny-pinching that makes no sense, a hectoring tone not appreciated by others, and a misunderstanding about how international affairs really work. For a government that has proclaimed Canada is “back” on the international stage, what is actually happening would be funny were it not serious.

For some time now, the euro zone has been in various states of crisis. To observe that the European Union, and particularly those member states using the euro, needs to improve its internal arrangements is obvious, as is any observation that the crisis there is a long way from resolution.

Banks go on appraisal alert in a volatile housing market

Several Canadian banks have been quietly re-evaluating their appraisal strategies amid increased worries about the accuracy of property values in a market deemed at risk of overheating.

Lenders use a variety of techniques, including full appraisals, so-called “drive-by” appraisals based on the exterior of the home, and databases of market prices, to evaluate homes. The values they arrive at help determine how much money they should lend to mortgage borrowers. They are also key for measures such as the loan-to-value ratio that are used to track the health of loan portfolios and borrowers’ debt loads.

Oil sands must do ‘heavy lifting’ to meet climate goals, Ottawa told

Canada is facing a yawning shortfall in its commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and both Ottawa and the provinces will have to embrace far more aggressive measures to meet their targets, the federally-appointed National Roundtable on the Economy and Environment says in a new report.

In a report prepared at the request of Environment Minister Peter Kent, the agency said Ottawa and Alberta will have to dramatically rein in emissions from the fast-growing oil industry as part of a national climate strategy.

Ontario native class-action suit stays alive

Lawyers acting on behalf of aboriginal children who lost their families and culture during what’s known as the “Sixties Scoop” in Ontario have won the right to keep fighting for their class-action suit.

The multi-million-dollar suit was filed more than three years ago and already appears to mimic the residential schools class-action suit that dragged on in the courts for nine years before aboriginal plaintiffs finally won in 2005.

Marcia Brown, a key plaintiff in this Ontario suit, says she won’t give up. “The law process is slow but we will use this time to get the truth of the Sixties Scoop out to people locally, provincially and internationally,” she said, in a statement to the Star from Kirkland Lake.

Space: The Mining Frontier

What sounds like a plot element from a science fiction movie could soon become a very real concern for the United States and other countries—mining in outer space. Two US companies recently announced plans to explore mining opportunities on the moon and close-in asteroids. But the environmental, legal, and public safety effects of private companies' plans to exploit space resources could be significant—and remain largely unexplored.

Stephen Harper: Austerity Still Needed For Economic Growth

MONTREAL -- World leaders wrestling with mounting debt face a false choice between fiscal discipline and economic growth, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday.

In a speech to an international economic conference in Montreal, the Conservative prime minister said the choice does not need to be between austerity and prosperity.

"The Canadian approach is what the world needs, a practical approach and an approach that works,'' he told the annual International Economic Forum of the Americas.

Canada Green Economy: Oilsands Won't Fuel Growth, CCPA Study Says In Arguing For Economic Shift

Canada will not see significant employment gains from the oil boom in the western part of the country, and should turn to development of green energy to drive future job growth, says a report from a left-leaning think tank.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives argued in a study published Tuesday that jobs created in the oil sands are fleeting, and the country should establish a plan to shift to a zero-emissions economy -- an ambitious goal the paper says will keep the country from missing out on more green jobs.

BCCLA Alleges 3 People Injured By RCMP

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is calling for an investigation after they say three First Nations people who called the RCMP for assistance were injured by police.

According to the BCCLA, an RCMP officer broke a 15-year-old Prince Rupert girl's arm while arresting her on Apr. 4 after her family called 911 for assistance. The Delta Police Department is investigating.

The group also alleges two men — Robert Wright, 47, and William Watts, 36 — were injured by Mounties in Terrace, B.C.

Quebec Student Protest: Nazi Salutes Enrage Jewish Groups

MONTREAL - The appearance of so-called Nazi salutes at Quebec student protests was condemned by a Jewish-rights organization that asked people to refrain from using the hurtful gesture.

Some protesters have been using it repeatedly in recent weeks to mock Montreal police at demonstrations in which chanting crowds have referred to local officers as the "SS," called them fascists and compared them to Nazi police for their alleged brutality.

There have also been swastikas on anti-police pamphlets being distributed.

Rona Ambrose Says She is Confident the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy Will Be On Time and Budget

The opposition parties have started sniping at the Conservatives over the lack of action on the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. They point out that some of the shipbuilding programs (AOPS for instance) have already fallen behind schedule and that industry representatives expect the NSPS to increase in cost and fall behind schedule.

Liberal defence critic John McKay said his party was too hasty in complimenting the government on its shipbuilding strategy.

Premier expects Ottawa to stick to shipbuilding deal

Premier Darrell Dexter says he's not worried about the $25-billion shipbuilding contract shrinking as the federal government tries to cut $2 billion from the Defence Department's budget.

Analysis predict the contract with Irving Shipyard in Halifax will have fewer ships or be delayed as the feds scale back defence spending.

"Of course we expect, and I'm sure they expect, to fulfill the terms of that procurement strategy," Premier Dexter told reporters at Pier 21 Tuesday. "I have heard nothing that would suggest otherwise."

The comments were made following the Premier's address during the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council's (APEC) major projects event.

APEC research analyst Patrick Brannon told the audience that  the shipbuilding project is already being set back by two years.

"Initially, in the early stages of talking about the contract, there was an outlook to 2013 to start cutting steel," Brannon told the breakfast crowd. "That's moved back to 2015. That moves the timeline for the ramp-up of activity, as well as the peak of activity."

Original Article
Source: news957
Author: Desiree Finhert 

Scott Brison's Income Inequality Motion M-315 Calls For Study Of Canada's Growing Gap

The growing gap between rich and poor Canadians has caught the attention of a Liberal MP.

Scott Brison, the Liberal’s critic for finance and national revenue, is concerned an increasing numbers of Canadians are being left with less and that those being sidelined could end up causing big problems for businesses if the income gap isn’t addressed.

Brison wants a parliamentary committee to study the issue and report back with solutions. The Nova Scotia MP for Kings-Hants sat down with The Huffington Post Canada this week to talk about his motion, M-315, before MPs vote on it Wednesday.

John Baird: The Next Minister of National Defence?

I don’t normally follow Canadian politics closely enough to play the parlour game of predicting the winners and losers of the next cabinet shuffle, but sometimes you get a hunch worth wagering on, and this is one of those times. I’d bet a whole dollar that John Baird will be moved from the Department of Foreign Affairs to National Defence this summer.

Look at it from the prime minister’s standpoint. He needs a minister of defence who can weather the political storm that’s gathering around the department. Projected costs of the controversial F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will probably continue to rise, which is terrible news for the Tories, who have attempted to build their brand on fiscal discipline. Further, as Postmedia’s Lee Berthiaume reported yesterday, even the enormous price tag on the F-35 acquisition is dwarfed by the government’s $35-billion shipbuilding plan, which is already behind schedule. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is too smart not to see the great political risks.