Monday, November 02, 2015

Why We Need A Public Inquiry Into the Activities of the Harper Regime

For years Stephen Harper and his brutish Con regime politicized every government department to a degree never seen before.

They turned every department into cogs and wheels of their massive propaganda machine.

They muzzled those who disagreed with them, and turned others into their willing collaborators.

And now we find out that some of the top bureaucrats waited until a few months ago to discuss what to do about the problem. 

As a new Liberal government takes the reins this week, Canada's top bureaucrats are looking for ways to purge partisan politics from the shell-shocked public service.

The highest echelon of the bureaucracy met in the spring, before the election was called, to discuss ways to insulate public servants from intense pressure to be "promiscuously partisan" instead of neutral in carrying out the government's agenda.

Which in itself couldn't be more outrageous, when none of them did anything about it for so many years. And they should all be asked to explain why they waited so long, and if necessary disciplined.

But even more importantly we need to go after those who gave them their orders, by holding a full public inquiry into the nefarious activities of the Harper regime.

For as I have mentioned before, we absolutely must find out whether the Cons turned departments like the Canada Revenue Agency into a blunt weapon to go after and try to intimidate their political enemies.

We must know why for example they targeted a bird watcher's club for the "crime" of complaining to Con ministers about government approved chemicals that were destroying bee colonies.

A small group of nature lovers in southern Ontario enjoy spending weekends watching birds and other wildlife, but lately they're the ones under watch — by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The stern missive says the group must take appropriate action as necessary "including refraining from undertaking any partisan activities," with the ominous warning that "this letter does not preclude any future audits."

And why they and other groups even mildly critical of government policies were threatened or subjected to audits, while other highly political right-wing groups were not.

A special squad of 15 auditors has so far targeted some 52 charities, many of them critical of Conservative government policies. Environment groups were hard hit in the first round in 2012-13, but the net has since widened to snare social justice and poverty groups, among others.

We need to know why ministers like Pierre Poilievre used government employees to make his ghastly propaganda videos... 

Or why the Cons used our tax dollars to put out this kind of propaganda masquerading as a government announcement.

And why every government service included ads like these at the bottom of the Environment Canada weather page.

Or why the government of Canada was rebranded as the Harper government.

Ralph Heintzman, a research professor at the University of Ottawa, has cited the example of a communications directive requiring bureaucrats to refer to the "Harper government" in news releases, rather than the government of Canada. 

Other examples include a request last year that departments send retweets promoting a family-tax measure not yet passed by Parliament, including a hashtag with the Conservative slogan #StrongFamilies, and public servants working overtime to create promotional videos about child benefits, spots that prominently featured Pierre Poilievre, the employment minister.

Who ordered those things, and can we see the e-mails please?

But even more importantly we need to find out whether the same creeping politicization was also used to turn the RCMP, other security agencies, and the Canadian Forces into Harper's Police or Harper's Army.

For if that is the case, and I personally don't doubt it, we were well on our way to becoming a police state...

I realize that many Canadians just want to move on out of the darkness and into the light, and I certainly don't blame them.

But until we find out what exactly the Cons have been up to, we cannot leave the past behind, for what happened was an outrageous assault on our democracy. And we need to expose the guilty and restore faith in our government. So it never happens again.

Maybe a public inquiry would be too divisive, maybe what we need is a massive unhindered Access to Information project.

But one way or the other let's pull back the curtain of secrecy, shine a light into the dark and grubby corners of the Con regime.

Expose those who gave the orders, embarrass those who collaborated with them.

And at the very least, make sure that the man responsible for that corruption.

Does not escape the harsh verdict of history...

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  1. As shown in this article, the Harperites spent over $100 million of taxpayers' money promoting their economic agenda:

    1. hi political junkie...I know, it's an absolute scandal, and I just hope that we can open up the books and see whether the real cost was even higher than that. I think it's safe to say that no people in modern democratic history have ever been as brainwashed with their own money as we have been, And the Cons should not be allowed to get away with it...

  2. Anonymous7:51 PM

    I wanna know why Harper hired thugs to work security during the election, and why could they carry guns in Canada?

    1. hi anon...from what I understand the RCMP does not do crowd control at political meetings, since it would look bad to evict a protester for daring to heckle Great Leader or raise the subject of climate change. So they hired some kind of ex-military security firm, but whether they were armed I do not know...

  3. Anonymous8:26 PM

    It would be wrong to simply forgive and forget the trasgressions of 'The Harper Government'. Yes we need to move on and definitely need to raise the bar going forward

    We must expect our leaders and governments to work honestly, openly, and democratically. However if there is not an accounting and reckoning of all ten years of HarperCon illegal, undemocratic deeds ... well then similar transgressions will too soon happen again... who cares, no big deal, same old same old, no consequences etc. and this sad history will simply repeat itself.

    There need to be consequences. What has transpired/Conspired under the Harper regime to must not be repeated.


    1. hi Bill...I share your point of view. I do desperately want to move on, but there has to be some reckoning for the ten nightmare years we have experienced, if only so we can set boundaries for future governments. Because you're absolutely right, what transpired or conspired under the Harper regime was an atrocity and an assault on our democracy that must never be repeated...

  4. Simon, I pointed this out long ago and why I insured the readers over at that I would help spearhead a major not an inquiry but a major major major lawsuit [can i say major one more time?] against Harper and his cons. Here is two searches on people already taking "The Harper Government" to task:

    And one that really Trudeau the first [father Pierre] initiated in '74 that made us all paupers in our own land except the 1% pulling the strings of the government. In Canada there is eight families. Then there is the mob but they don't fuck with you like the cons did. Same with the 'Hells Angels' both groups never fucked with you [pardon my strong language here only if you fucked with them] But the cons?

    This is Trudeau's problem now let's make him fix it. Do not get me wrong I am grateful the younger Trudeau has the 'helm' of the country as opposed to Harper the [comment removed due to offensive language by Mogs] get my drift?

    So Simon I personally am taking you to task here vis a vis you really want that crook Stephen J. Harper pay for his perverse criminal actions at the helm of the Government of Canada changed to Harper Government [Charge number one] or was that just rhetoric for your Montreal Simon blog? I believe the former not the latter so what I wish is as I have become blog literate and visit many across Canada where the feelings run high about corporate/government conspiratorial crimes against the sheeple to fleece them ?

    So if you are serious join me in a campaign to strip harper of his ill gained fortune between five and seven million. He won the lottery by turning in the screw to Canadians for his corporate upper echelon buddies now I want that money back it was a bribe he took from people that +love to turn the screws into us and our environment to ply and play a game called monopoly for owned and operated by the 1%

    You in? All we do is ask for donations on sites like yours no it does not go to us we appoint a lawyer like Rocco Galati to hold the funds in escrow and once it accumulates enough to be the Canadian Iceberg that sinks the cons floundering titanic we throw em all in jail Harper's jails for violations too many to list.

    You in?

    1. hi Mogs...I would prefer to see some sort of government inquiry or failing that some massive Access to Information investigation, hopefully conducted by journalists because I think that would have a better chance of success than any individual court action. And neither of those court cases, whether they have merit or not, would be useful in that regard. I want to know what the Cons have been up to behind the curtain, and I intend to focus on that. Readers are of course free to do what they want...

  5. Anonymous10:20 PM

    There have been auditor reports, books published, former employee lawsuits, firings, court cases ( Duffy / Carson ) on how the Cons abused power and tinkered with laws to enslave our democratic institutions. The only one that could not be brought to heel was the Supreme Court but that was only a matter of time until it would have been forced to buckle under the onslaught of minority rights issues that were not understood and popular with the general public as well as the appointment Con-centric judges. Its unfortunate but an inquiry would just be viewed as a public witch hunt so the best we can hope for is that the head Con gets caught up in some of the current court cases or those yet to be launched as more dirt bubbles to the surface. Lets all push for electoral reform before the Libs get caught up in their own problems, memory fades and the Stevie years are viewed in a nostalgic light. The Cons were bad but really did not get to transform Canada into that divisive, fear driven warmongering state where everyone blames someone else but their own government. The irony is the average Canadian would not have blamed them after the transition so why would they blame them now? They were just doing their job in a very uncertain treacherous world.

    1. hi RT...yes I understand the point about how a public inquiry could be seen as a public witch hunt, and it is a valid one. However, as you point out, I'm hoping that some scandal will be unearthed, and that can be used as an excuse for some kind of inquiry. And yes, while I do want justice, and I would hate for the Harper Cons to get away with what they have done, I want electoral reform even more, so we can make sure at least that they never get a majority again...

  6. Anonymous2:13 AM

    I'll tell you Simon, when you said "when none of them did anything about it for so many years" and "why they waited so long", is simple, if they didn't toe the line they're careers would take a sudden nosedive or worse, then you had those who reveled in doling out Harper's toxic mandate. Now that the bullying bastard is gone, the truth is slowly coming out and will continue to do so until the abuses of power that Harper inflicted on the PS are fully known and hopefully, the enablers fully dealt with by either dismissal, charges, or both.
    They also need to take a long hard look at the near 100 or so patronage appointments Harper made during last summer's pork-a-palooza fest. Harper may be gone but the stench remains.

    1. hi JD...I understand why ordinary civil servants felt they had no choice but to go along with the dictates from the PMO. They needed their jobs to feed their families. But I find it hard to excuse those mighty mandarins for never having even one of them object publicly at least to what was going on. I'm really not looking for a witch hunt, but I would like to know who put up at least token resistance, and who bent like a blade of grass in the wind. Some really bad and dangerous things happened to our democracy during the Harper years, and only the truth can stop something like that from ever happening again...

  7. "Or why the government of Canada was rebranded as the Harper government."

    1. “In 2010 I decided to rename the Government of Canada as the Harper Government in official communication because he who has seen Me has seen the Party.”

    1. hi tells how great is Stephen Harper's opinion of himself, or how eluded was the dictator, that he should think that rebranding our government was the way to go, when in fact it was the dislike of everything Harper that was most responsible for ending his depraved rule...

  8. My both anons why not support my pledge look if all of us throw in a couple of toonies we can corner the cons in their own game of thrones do it pledge today.....

    They go to Harper's Jail and we get money back to help social programs it is a win win situation for us, Simon time to ring the bell...

  9. Anonymous3:37 AM

    I hope one of the Cons secretly records Harper's talk, then leaks it to the media.

    Stephen Harper will address Conservative caucus on Thursday

    1. hi anon...yes I do too. I would give anything to hear what Harper tells his defeated cult. And whether he puts in a subtle plug for any of the candidates. He is supposed to step out of the room during the vote, but will no doubt monitoring the situation., with a peep hole, a hidden camera, or a furiously texting Con flunky.It would also be interesting to see how he is received now that he can't rule by fear anymore...

  10. I think Simon, that the Libs are going to find so many legally questionable procedures, done by Harper and his minions, that they may not have a choice, but to initiate an inquiry. This is how Harper and his criminal cabal should inevitably end.

    1. hi Pamela...that is what I am hoping. I simply cannot accept that after doing what they did for almost ten years they will be allowed to get away with it...

  11. The next thing I want to see gone is His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. Unsure who I'd like to see as the next GG, but this Harper flunky has got to go.

    1. hi Omar...I knew David Johnston, from a distance, during his McGill days. At the time I thought him decent enough, but his chumminess with Harper and his role in the Mulroney affair, have made me reconsider that opinion. And I am not sure what might have happened had he been called in to arbitrate a minority government situation. So yes, throw him out along with the Cons and let's make a totally clean start....

  12. e.a.f.12:07 AM

    We have spent 9 years talking about steve and his Cons. It might be all well and good to want an enquiry, but do any of you know how much an enquiry costs. A single subject enquiry can run into the tens of millions if not hundreds of millions.

    WE have other things to spend the money on: re opening the 9 closed Veterans officers,
    providing clean drinking water on reserves
    building affordable housing
    providing housing for the homeless
    signing the national health accord
    putting money into the health system.

    Now if you would rather spend that money on studying the entrails of Steve, fine, but most people want to get on with improving the country and there is only so much money to go around. .

    We do need an enquiry into the 1,200 murdered/missing First Nations Women because it will cause the country to have a real discussion about the issues facing First Nations people in this country and how the rest of the country ignores those issues. we as a nation need to be held accountable.

    As the P.M. and the majority party in Parliament, under our system a lot of things can be done, whether we like it or not. senior bureuocrats most likely didn't meet previously because steve and the gang were still obeying the game rules.
    So unless Steve did something more than unethical and immoral, lets get on with dealing with the issues he left behind instead of studying the entrails of a power hungry bunch of jerks.

    I am quite certain that as new cabinet ministers take over departments things will come to light. those which are illegal can and most likely will be sent to the RCMP and Crown.
    Remember Steve and his Cons were elected to office 3 times and the Con still have 100 M.P.S iTS A DEMRACY AND THE WINNER PRETTY MUCH TAKES ALL,WE JUST NEVER HAD A GOVERNMENT THAT ACTUALLY DID IT UNTIL WE HAD STEVE AND HIS CONS.

    There is currently a joke cirucmlating about steve now being an ordinary citizens. The city he lives in has a Muslim Mayor. The province he lives in is governed by the NDP and the country is governed by the Liberals, a Trudeau at that. I'd say we all got even legally and democratically and let that be a lesson to all who think they may want to repeat steve's performance. Canadians only will take so much. so lets take all that inquiry money and build housing for the homeless and affordable housing for those working for min wage.

    1. " housing for the homeless and affordable housing for those working for min wage."

      Cross Country Checkup (CBC Radio, Nov. 1)

      Jeff Dwyer · University of British Columbia
      Neither municipal, provincial nor federal governments have wanted to deal with homelessness, so the courts just throw the ball back on to the court to be kicked around again. Victoria's mayor wants to put money into the problem and the citizens go on the warpath about their taxes, though they all have two new SUVs and multi-million dollar houses. Trudeau has said he wants to address homelessness across Canada; we'll see how altruistic people are when it comes to paying a dollar more in federal taxes. Most civilized countries not on this continent have well-established plans to at least ease the problem, if not solve it. It will not go away on its own.
      Some might question Abbotsford’s nickname as the “Bible Belt of BC” in today’s post-modern, secularist society. Yet, even today approximately half of the population of Abbotsford identifies themselves as being Christian. Therefore, even though church attendance and the Christian population are in decline in Abbotsford, there is still something that is keeping the Bible in the belt.

      Matthew 25: 41-43 (The Message)

      41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
      I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
      I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
      I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
      I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
      Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

      Abbotsford homeless win in B.C. Supreme Court

      Salvation Army was 'in agreement' with manure-dump at Abbotsford homeless camp

      At Home, in Medicine Hat, Our Plan to End Homelessness [PDF]


    GRAPHIC: Ten years of attacks on dissent & debate in Canada

  14. Canada's public servants not buying Harper's comments...

  15. hi e.a.f...what on earth has got over you? There is no price too high for defending our democracy, and where did you ever get the idea that the Cons followed the rules. There's was a roue regime in every sense of the word, who broke every rule in the book, muzzled and terrorized their opponents, and I remind you were supported by powerful business interests, and most of the MSM, who will now turn their attention to trying to destroy Justin Trudeau's government. So the struggle to make this a better country is not over, and to say I'm beating a dead horse is absolutely ridiculous...

  16. e.a.f.3:26 PM

    what came over me? well, its like this. if I have to make a decision between providing clean drinking water to a reservation or spending $20 Million on an inquiry, I would spend the money on the inquiry. There are only so many tax dollars to go around. The general public will not agree to have taxes raised or tax dollars spent with no results. There have been ever so many "enquiries" into things, but really not much changed. Here in B.C. we had an Inquiry into why the police, etc. didn't figure out Willy Picton had murdered 49 women in greater Vancouver. The thing cost millions upon millions but there was nothing that changed.

    When you say the Cons broke every rule in the book, most of those "rules" were not in a book. They were the practises of governments, they were guidelines, but the government is ruled by acts of Parliament. If it isn't in an Act of Parliament, it isn't law and if there is no law against it, there is no law to be broken.

    Lets look at the federal scientists. Harper muzzled them. There was no law against it. That is why when the scientists where negotiating their collective agreement they wanted to include clauses which protected their ability to speak out.

    Democracy is a very fragile thing. As we have seen it can be almost destroyed in a period of 9 years. That is why people need to be engaged.

    The powerful business interests and MSM, yes they do want Harper or his clone back. yes, they will try to destroy the credibility of the new government, but it is up to each citizen to find the truth. Some times its as easy as turning on your computer and reading blogs such as yours. Just as easily as corporations became the driving power behind changes in laws in Canada, the new government can simply explain their time is over. It is also the responsibility of Canadians to ensure corporations do not run the agenda of their country. The MSM as we have known it is on its way out. Post Media is on life support. Our media became much like the media in places like Russia, please the Cons. They share similar agenda.

    I agree, the struggle to make this a better country is not over, but I do believe continuing on about the "sins" of the Cons will not make this a better country. We need a balance between working for a better Canada and remembering history, or we will repeat it.

  17. e.a.f.3:33 PM

    I see blogs such as yours as very important in our society. You bring information to the public view which we would not have otherwise had available to us. Had it not been for blogs many of us in Canada would not have know how dire the situation was in many areas, such as First Nations issues, Veterans, silencing of the scientists, and auditing for revenge. For me it provided additional information when I wrote letters to the editor.

    Now that we have a new government we need to focus on the future and what can be done, while the public is engaged, while rembering what happened in the past.

    its one of those situations where we may not be that far apart in our opinions, Harper is a dead horse and flogging him, is not going to change the past.

    We know Harper and his Cons refused to sign the national health accord and our Health care system is slipping, o.k. it on a fast track down hill. Now we need to get the new government to sing the health accord and start funding health care, and doing things such as a national prescription plan. Examining what went wrong in health care with the Cons is O.K. but we need to move ahead with things which will help Canadians. time and money on the past will not help fix things in the future.

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