Early this morning, a federal department issued a press release that said:
“The … Election Commission has done an exceptional job under especially difficult circumstances in ensuring transparent, inclusive and credible electoral processes”
“An independent and effective election commission is an essential element in any genuine democracy”
Was this a quote from the joint letter signed by more than 100 professors condemning the Conservatives’ Unfair Elections Act? (http://ww2.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.html?b=fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/03/11/dont-undermine-elections-canada) Was it a quote from the Official Opposition? Has Pierre Poilievre come to his senses?
No need to worry about that happening today. The above release was from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the “…” represents “Maldives”.
So while someone in the Department of Foreign Affairs considers it a problem that the Maldives is undermining its electoral commission, the PMO is determined to undermine Elections Canada.
The Unfair Elections Act muzzles the Chief Electoral Officer—who will be prevented from talking to the public about democracy or the importance of voting from talking to the public. It moves the enforcement activities of Elections Canada to a department that reports to the Conservative government. And it will block thousands of Canadians from voting.
Canadians deserve better.
NDP is calling on the Minister of Transport to take immediate action to address the concerns of striking truckers at the Port of Metro Vancouver.
“The Port of Metro Vancouver is crucial to our economy,” said Official Opposition Critic for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, MP Jasbir Sandhu (Surrey North). “It’s important to get it fully functioning again, but in a way that is fair to both truckers and business.”
This week, hundreds of Unifor organized truck drivers joined more than 1200 truckers already on strike over long wait times and low wages at the port.
“The Conservative government has been warned for years about conditions at the port,” said Sandhu. “Their response has been totally inadequate. Truckers don’t need a report in May; they need all parties at the table working out a solution together.”
After a decade of secret negotiations, the Conservative government has announced a trade deal with South Korea while refusing to release its details.
“New Democrats welcome growing trade opportunities with South Korea and the Asia-Pacific and want a deal that guarantees real market access for Canadian exporters” said Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway), NDP International Trade critic. “The Conservative government is cherry-picking details of this deal for release and ignoring the concerns of Canadian industry. That’s not an acceptable way to conduct trade policy.”
While the US and EU are setting new standards for transparency by releasing trade negotiation documents to lawmakers and the public, the Conservative government has been caught asleep at the switch, failing to negotiate terms as attractive as those achieved by others.
“The Canadian auto industry and manufacturing sector have been kept in the dark throughout the negotiations,” said Guy Caron (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques), deputy NDP critic for International Trade. “We are particularly concerned about the auto sector and its 115,000 quality middle-class Canadian jobs.”
The NDP wants a balanced, job-promoting trade deal with South Korea, and urges the Conservative government to release the full text of the deal.
Official Opposition Heritage critic Pierre Nantel (Longueuil – Pierre-Boucher) made the following statement after the Canadian Screen Awards gala:
“New Democrats would like to congratulate all Canadian artists who were honoured at last night’s Canadian Screen Awards.
Quebec artists once again took the spotlight, winning in some of the most prestigious categories. Congratulations to director Louise Archambault for her film Gabrielle, which won best feature film of the year; Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, who won the best actress award for her role in the film; and Denis Villeneuve who won five awards for his film Enemy. We would also like to recognize David Cronenberg, who received a lifetime achievement award.
The NDP is also proud of Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais who received the Claude Jutra award the best first feature film award for Whitewash as well as the creators of The Mortal Instruments who won four awards in total.
I’d also like to acknowledge actors Rick Roberts and Sook-Yin Lee who won best actor awards for their roles in Jack—a film about the life of Jack Layton.
The NDP would like to emphasize the importance of supporting Canada’s film and television industry which creates jobs in Canada and drives our identity and culture. We are proud of all Canadian artists who bring national and worldwide acclaim to our film and television industry.”
“International Women’s Day is an annual opportunity to celebrate the pioneering individuals and groups who have struggled to create a society that promotes diversity, tolerance, safety, social justice and equality for all people. While we have accomplished so much, we’re also daily reminded that there is more work that needs to be done. Recent economic [...] Read More
Today the federal Conservative government appointed former Cabinet Minister Vic Toews to the bench in Manitoba.
It’s not the Senate appointment he likely really wanted, but he’ll just have to make do with this plum patronage post and the $288,100 salary.
As a minister in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, Vic Toews was most famous for his failed attempt to get warrantless access to Canadians’ emails and phone calls. He even said that anyone who didn’t like his warrentless snooping stood with the child pornographers!
Who can forget his own adventures in patronage?
And of course there’s his recent lobbying, where he registered on behalf of four different organizations in Manitoba, finding loopholes around the five-year ban on federal ministers lobbying after leaving office.
We can only assume it was his fine legal mind, demonstrated by his record of breaking election laws in Manitoba, that most appealed to Stephen Harper. Couldn’t have been his long history as a Conservative warrior for the prime minister? Could it?
Canadians deserve better than more Conservative patronage.
The Conservatives are once again failing Indigenous women and girls by issuing a committee report sanctioning their refusal to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“It is appalling that after hearing witness after witness testify that much more needs to be done on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the Conservatives could produce a sanitized report saying that everything is fine,” said NDP Aboriginal Affairs critic Jean Crowder (Nanaimo Cowichan). “This is an intergenerational tragedy that demands immediate action.”
The NDP’s dissenting report recommends that the federal government:
- establish a National Commission of Public Inquiry to analyze violence against Indigenous women and girls;
- utilize Niki Ashton’s motion (M-444) to develop and implement a national action plan to address violence against Indigenous women and girls;
- ensure that Indigenous women lead, design and implement solutions to address this crisis;
- address chronic underfunding including key frontlines services, shelters, child welfare, and research; and
- invest in prevention and treatment services.
“The Conservatives have turned their backs on Indigenous women and their families but ignoring this serious issue won’t make it go away,” said NDP deputy Aboriginal Affairs critic Jonathan Genest-Jourdain (Manicouagan). “The NDP will keep pushing for action on this national tragedy.”
The Official Opposition’s Energy and Natural Resources Critic, Peter Julian, issued the following statement in response to the National Energy Board’s decision to approve the Line 9 reversal:
“All Canadians benefit when our resources are developed and transported in a safe and sustainable way. With the proper environmental review and high safety standards, New Democrats believe that processing Canadian oil in Canada makes sense.
However, we remain extremely concerned about the changes forced in by the Conservatives that gutted the review and approval process dealing with the Line 9 proposal. This weakened process has created uncertainty for industry, as evidenced by the numerous court challenges facing the Northern Gateway approval.
Conservatives have forced artificial timelines on project reviews, slashed the number of environmental assessments, and placed arbitrary limits on who can intervene in consultations.
This curtailed review process shuts out community voices and fails to fulfill the government’s obligation to consult and accommodate Aboriginal and treaty rights, inherent rights and Canada’s international obligations. This process failed to properly deal with important local concerns about safety and the environment.
New Democrats are committed to a fair, credible and transparent review process, based on principles of sustainability and ensuring Canadians draw maximum benefit from the sustainable development of our natural resources.”
The Conservatives again broke their own record for shutting down debate by using Time Allocation for the 52nd and 53rd time. Add this to the six uses of closure, the most recent being to shut down debate on Brad Butt’s lies to the House of Commons, and you have 59 instances and counting of the Conservatives shutting down debate.
In their latest attempt to evade accountability on the Unfair Elections Act, Conservatives are using dirty tricks in the House of Commons to sabotage the testimony of Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand.
Conservatives had agreed to hear from the Chief Electoral Officer, but then turned around and started playing games and doing everything they can to disrupt Marc Mayrand’s testimony on this important bill.
The Conservatives proposed bill makes radical changes to the Elections Act and could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Canadians. The bill also targets the Chief Electoral Officer, reducing his powers and forbidding him in the future from educating and engaging Canadians about the importance of voting.
Canadians deserve better.
QUEEN’S PARK – New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath tabled an opposition day motion to proclaim the month of January in each year as Tamil Heritage Month. “It is our hope that all parties will support this motion in recognizing the Tamil community,” said Horwath. “We’ve supported this initiative for a very long time and look [...] Read More