Wednesday, January 29, 2014 

HoC Speaker Scheer's Lack Of Impartiality Is Hurting Canada's Democratic Parliamentary Process..... SHAME!




"OTTAWA — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair seemingly questioned the impartiality of the referee of the House of Commons on Tuesday, effectively accusing the Speaker of picking sides and favouring the government in question period.
Mulcair said he refuses to be silenced in question period by Speaker Andrew Scheer on matters of government business, arguing that the Speaker should remain a referee and not become a player who stops questions from being asked.
Scheer chided Mulcair on Tuesday afternoon, saying that one of his questions to Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the RCMP investigation into former Liberal senator Mac Harb had nothing to do with government business — a prerequisite for queries during question period.
According to court documents, Harb allegedly sold 99.99 per cent ownership of his declared primary residence to a former Brunei diplomat to Canada. That diplomat, Magdalene Teo, has not fully responded to RCMP queries in the force’s investigation of Harb over allegations of fraud and breach of trust, according to court documents.
Mulcair was starting to ask Harper about the RCMP investigation into Harb, and a deal he made on the house he told the Senate was his primary residence, when Scheer stood up and told him the question was out of bounds. Scheer is a Saskatchewan Conservative MP.
The NDP leader disagreed, arguing it was a matter of public interest to see what the government of Canada was doing to make Teo speak with investigators.
Mulcair eventually asked the question, and Harper gave an answer, but the NDP leader served notice after question period that he is not happy with how Scheer has been refereeing some of the debate.
“I’ve been doing this job for a while. I’ve seen this situation before where the referee decides that he’s going to become a player in the sport. It’s ill advised for the Speaker to start this. And I think he made a mistake with me today,” Mulcair told reporters outside the Commons.
“So if the Speaker of the House of Commons is going to try to shut down questions about government business from the leader of the Official Opposition before he even hears the end of the question, then we’ve entered new territory, and I’m telling you right now I’m not going to be told to sit down on questions that have to do with the public and that have to do with government business.”
When questioned about it by reporters, Mulcair stopped short of directly challenging Scheer’s impartiality, but said he has a lot of concerns with the Conservatives using the Speaker to stop debates.
“The Speaker didn’t even let me ask the question. I am from the Official Opposition. This is a question that’s of public interest, it concerns government, the public has the right.”
Earlier in the day, Scheer came back with a ruling in the Commons that told MPs he wouldn’t police the answers during debate, but rather the questions. He urged MPs to refrain from what he called “hybrid” questions that have a long preamble criticizing the actions and statements of other parties but have nothing to do with federal government responsibility.
“I will continue to rule questions out of order that do not establish a direct link to the administrative responsibilities of the government,” Sheer told the Commons in his ruling.
Canada.com

 

It starts ....Even MSM Political Opinion Starting To Turn On Harper's Dictatorial Ways....



The political columnist of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix gives a fairly accurate opinion of what is going down in the ranks of the Federal Conservative Parliamentary Caucus lately:

"This newly found sense of independence among federal Conservative backbench MPs is obviously a good thing.
What's so often lost on us is that we elect individual members of Parliament, of whom we require that they form a government under the leadership of a prime minister. It's not the other way around, despite Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's view on the matter.
But is the recent display of independent thought really a case of backbenchers embracing their duty and democratic reform, or is it mostly about backbenchers lashing out against a Prime Minister's Office that often has stifled their hobbyhorse agendas? It's likely the latter, but even that's better than what we've had until now.
The latest example of backbenchers exercising their independence comes via an unlikely pairing of B.C.'s New Democratic Party MP Kennedy Stewart and Saskatoon-Humboldt Conservative MP Brad Trost. They are collaborating on a motion to introduce electronic petitions to the Commons, which would force MPs to debate issues of consequence - a populist idea first contemplated by Reform party founder Preston Manning.
More to the point, it's the latest in a series of moves from government MPs trying to wriggle free from Harper's Darth Vader-like grip. Consider some other examples:
Retiring Conservative Saskatoon-Wanuskewin MP Maurice Vellacott gave notice of a motion Monday to prevent the muffling of backbenchers. Vellacott called the "muzzling ... a blight on democracy" and used words such as "arbitrary" and "capricious" in his written statement.
Melville-born Edmonton MP Brent Rathgeber quit the Conservative caucus over similar issues.
Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, once Harper's rabidly loyal parliamentary secretary but now a socalled independent conservative after running afoul of Elections Canada, is criticizing Finance Minister Jim Flaherty over the Bank of Canada monetary policy that has devalued the dollar.
Ontario backbencher Michael Chong has introduced a private member's bill that seeks to empower MPs, including giving them power to turf their leaders.
It all sounds good, but it's hardly a democratic revolution. Short of Chong and perhaps Rathgeber (by virtue of the way he handled himself since he's left caucus), few of these backbenchers have much respect, weight or credibility with many Canadians. In fact, quite the opposite.
Trost and Vellacott are social conservatives who are far more interested in representing the ideology of a select few constituents on anti-abortion and antigay-rights issues than their constituency as a whole.
Vellacott remains angry because the PMO blocked B.C. Conservative MP Mark Warawa's motion to condemn sex-selective abortion. Trost's motion seems as interested in having caucus choose committee chairs rather than having them chosen by the prime minister. A committee chair gets an extra $11,300 to go along with his $160,200 annual MP salary.
But if one is inclined to question the motives and ethics of backbench MPs now making noise, one really has to ask if they are any less motivated by democratic duty than those Harper has chosen for cabinet.
Consider Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who might very well go down as the worst ever to hold the job. His tenure truly has been a death by a thousand (cold) cuts, highlighted by the very undemocratic demise of the Canadian Wheat Board as a singledesk seller.
Those who opposed the CWB always had and still have legitimate arguments about whether it was a nimble, effective seller of grain. Less in doubt, however, was the CWB's powerful role as a broker of rail cars and an advocate for farmers when railways decided that moving other more lucrative commodities was their priority.
This was among the many concerns raised by both board proponents and Ritz's constituents. But did he listen and weigh their concerns as any good MP would do? Did Ritz and the Conservatives have a backup plan for the eventuality of the railways abandoning grain movement or not treating it as anything vaguely resembling a priority?
Or did he simply do what he was told to do? Ritz was elevated from the backbenchers not because of any particular talent, but because he has been among the loudest and most loyal trained seals in Harper's circus.
What some backbench MPs are now doing may not be pretty, or even all that noble. But reform has to start somewhere.
-Murray Mandryk - Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Friday, January 24, 2014 

Just sayin' .....




We are well into 2014. The Canadian political scene has remained relatively quiet in the post Christmas/New Year period. The current lull should not be considered an accurate reflection of the raucous year that ended 2013 for the embattled Harper Conservative administration.
 
Expect things to heat up at the national political level very soon. In a big way ...  

Just sayin' ..

Thursday, January 16, 2014 

Sask Progressive Doug Taylor Passes


Douglas James Taylor
1956 - 2014

I lost a very good friend this week. Doug Taylor, author of a number of progressive Canadian political blogs died on Monday, January 13, 2014. I met Doug in the 1970's when he was still a student. His zeal for a progressive and fair society dates back decades to his youth.

Doug obtained a BA in sociology at the University of Regina in the 1970's.. His first employment after university was a contract to write the history of SGEU. This was the first of a number of works he authored, edited or contributed to over the ensuing years. He then worked as a social worker for several years at Fort Qu'Appelle followed by a 20 year career at SGEU as an agreement advisor and communications worker. After retiring a few years ago he found enjoyment in part time work as a communications worker with Lakeview United Church. He was a staunch activist, socialist and trade unionist all his life. When advised of his short life expectancy a week ago, he faced his pending passing with stoicism, courage and good humour, easing his final days for his family.

Doug's writings and thoughts were published in the following Left Progressive websites:

-Next Year Country

-ecosocialism canada

-Next Year Country Socialist Retro




obtained a BA in sociology at the University of Regina. His first employment after university was a contract to write the history of SGEU. This was the first of a number of works he authored, edited or contributed to over the ensuing years. He then worked as a social worker for several years at Fort Qu'Appelle followed by a 20 year career at SGEU as an agreement advisor and communications worker. After retiring a few years ago he found enjoyment in part time work as a communications worker with Lakeview United Church. He was a staunch activist, socialist and trade unionist all his life. When advised of his short life expectancy a week ago, he faced his pending passing with stoicism, courage and good humour, easing his final days for his family. He passed away peacefully with family at his side. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/leaderpost/obituary.aspx?n=douglas-taylor&pid=169129310#sthash.HYyOsVVF.dpuf
obtained a BA in sociology at the University of Regina. His first employment after university was a contract to write the history of SGEU. This was the first of a number of works he authored, edited or contributed to over the ensuing years. He then worked as a social worker for several years at Fort Qu'Appelle followed by a 20 year career at SGEU as an agreement advisor and communications worker. After retiring a few years ago he found enjoyment in part time work as a communications worker with Lakeview United Church. He was a staunch activist, socialist and trade unionist all his life. When advised of his short life expectancy a week ago, he faced his pending passing with stoicism, courage and good humour, easing his final days for his family. He passed away peacefully with family at his side. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/leaderpost/obituary.aspx?n=douglas-taylor&pid=169129310#sthash.HYyOsVVF.dpuf
obtained a BA in sociology at the University of Regina. His first employment after university was a contract to write the history of SGEU. This was the first of a number of works he authored, edited or contributed to over the ensuing years. He then worked as a social worker for several years at Fort Qu'Appelle followed by a 20 year career at SGEU as an agreement advisor and communications worker. After retiring a few years ago he found enjoyment in part time work as a communications worker with Lakeview United Church. He was a staunch activist, socialist and trade unionist all his life. When advised of his short life expectancy a week ago, he faced his pending passing with stoicism, courage and good humour, easing his final days for his family. He passed away peacefully with family at his side. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/leaderpost/obituary.aspx?n=douglas-taylor&pid=169129310#sthash.HYyOsVVF.dpuf
obtained a BA in sociology at the University of Regina. His first employment after university was a contract to write the history of SGEU. This was the first of a number of works he authored, edited or contributed to over the ensuing years. He then worked as a social worker for several years at Fort Qu'Appelle followed by a 20 year career at SGEU as an agreement advisor and communications worker. After retiring a few years ago he found enjoyment in part time work as a communications worker with Lakeview United Church. He was a staunch activist, socialist and trade unionist all his life. When advised of his short life expectancy a week ago, he faced his pending passing with stoicism, courage and good humour, easing his final days for his family. He passed away peacefully with family at his side. Doug's Obit: -Regina Leader-Post

Wednesday, January 01, 2014 

Happy New Year


Happy New Years greetings to Progressives all across Canada!!
 



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