Saturday, April 30, 2011


Canada's largest newspaper endorses Jack Layton and the NDP


Toronto Star endorses the NDP

April 30, 2011

Monday’s federal election may well turn out to be historic for all kinds of reasons that were not obvious when it was called five weeks ago today.

... Stephen Harper’s Conservatives ... would be bad for the country. The last thing Canada needs is an affirmation of a government obsessed with control, dismissive of critics, and determined to further diminish the role of the state in charting a better future for the country.

Voters who believe that Canada can — and should — aim higher have an important decision. Until 10 days ago, they had only one realistic alternative to the Conservatives — the Liberal party under Michael Ignatieff. Today, that is no longer the case.

The New Democrats have been reinvigorated under the leadership of Jack Layton. After Monday, they may well challenge the Liberals as the principal national standard-bearer for the roughly two voters in three who disagree fundamentally with the course charted by the Harper Conservatives. Progressive voters should give them their support on Monday.

In the past it has been easy to dismiss the federal NDP as naive idealists. That no longer applies. In this campaign they have emerged as a credible force, for many reasons.

• The party is on the verge of a historic breakthrough in Quebec, which would go far toward establishing it as a truly national party. Pushing back the Bloc Québécois is an enormous service to all Canadians. For the long-term unity of the country it is vital to have a national federalist leader trusted in Quebec as well as other regions. Layton’s roots in Quebec have proven key to this.

• The platform the NDP offers voters is ambitious and puts people first. It focuses on seniors, health care and the environment. It is in the broad tradition of nation-building that has long been at the heart of Canadian politics. After years of hearing the Harper Conservatives give the back of the hand to such aspirations, it is refreshing to see.

• On economic issues, long the NDP’s weakest point, the party is much sounder than it has been in the past. It is reaching out to small business as the main motor of job creation, and proposes no increases in personal taxes (though it would hike the corporate tax rate to 19.5 per cent). It pledges to balance the federal budget in four years, the same as the Liberals and Conservatives.

• In Layton it has a leader who has won the trust of many voters — a rare feat in a time dominated by cynical, ultra-partisan politicking. As a product of Toronto’s municipal scene and a veteran of urban politics, he is more attuned than any other major leader to the needs of our country’s cities — the engines of innovation and future prosperity.

Question marks remain. The NDP has never felt the discipline of power at the national level, and it shows. There are doubts about some of its proposals, including the amount that might be raised from its cap-and-trade system and its plan to claw back revenue from tax havens.

New Democrats have shown at the provincial level that once in office they can square their social conscience with fiscal responsibility. They are the party of Tommy Douglas, Allan Blakeney and Roy Romanow — pragmatists with a vision and a heart. Now that a much more significant role beckons at the federal level they must accept the challenge of developing that approach nationally as well.

The way this campaign has developed took everyone by surprise. The biggest disappointment has been the Liberal party under Ignatieff. Going into the campaign they had by far the biggest challenge — to connect with voters and offer a strong alternative to the Conservatives. They had to overcome the Conservatives’ brutal but effective framing of Ignatieff as something other than a real Canadian. With only two days to go before voting day, all the signs are that they have fallen short.

Ignatieff has spent the past few days lamenting the loss of the centre ground of Canadian politics and attacking the NDP as spendthrifts and “boy scouts.” His party’s collapse in Quebec raises the question of whether it can truly be considered a national force at this point. Liberal governments built much of what is best about this country — but voters are sending a clear message that they don’t feel they owe the Liberals anything for what the party did once upon a time. Nor do they believe the party has fully purged itself of the cronyism and corruption of the past. Elections are about the future, and the Liberals have not made a persuasive case for themselves as the alternative in 2011.

Fortunately, this time there is a real choice. Voters who believe Canada should aspire to something greater than the crabbed, narrow vision offered by the Harper Conservatives should look to Jack Layton and the New Democrats on Monday.



Top Stories in Toronto Star today:

Vote NDP for a change
Election choice: a question of trust
Bloc’s success paved the way for NDP’s surge in Quebec
The election choice: No new mandate for Conservatives
G20 policing: Good riddance to bad law


Thursday, April 28, 2011


Lara Dauphinee has left the building, apparently


'Obscene' amounts spent on severance packages for B.C. bureaucrats: critics

B.C. taxpayers paid $2.4 million in severance for Gordon Campbell's senior staff and political appointees

By Rob Shaw and Cindy E. Harnett
Times Colonist - April 28, 2011

Thirteen bureaucrats — many handpicked for their jobs by Gordon Campbell — received severance payouts, according to finance ministry figures.

B.C. taxpayers spent $2.4 million on "obscene" and hard-to-justify severance packages for Gordon Campbell's senior staff and political appointees, critics charged Thursday.

Thirteen bureaucrats — many handpicked for their jobs by Campbell — received the payouts, according to finance ministry figures. Most were fired when Premier Christy Clark took power last month.

Among the most notable deals was $549,776 to Allan Seckel, Campbell's deputy minister and head of the civil service, who, during his tenure, issued layoff notices to 772 government employees.

{Snip} ...

Other severance payouts included $323,917 for Ron Norman, the former head of the public affairs bureau, responsible for media management and communications. Norman's figure does not include an undetermined amount of executive holdback pay, the finance ministry said.

Lesley Du Toit, the controversial deputy children's minister who frequently clashed with the independent children's watchdog, received $337,413, also not including executive holdback pay. Du Toit was fired by Clark as part of widespread changes to the children's ministry.

The government quietly posted details about the severance packages on its website Thursday afternoon. Finance minister Kevin Falcon later defended the payouts at a press conference, saying they were necessary under the contracts signed with the individuals.

{Snip} ...

The payouts are "obscene," said Jim Sinclair, head of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

"It just says that nothing's changed," Sinclair said. "You can change the premier but it doesn't matter, it's the same behaviour. I guess when [Premier Clark] says families are first, she forgot to tell us it was Allan Seckel's family or Martyn Brown's family."

Brown, Campbell's longtime chief of staff who left in 2010 to become a deputy minister in the civil service, received $416,191.

Paul Taylor, who replaced Brown less than a year before Campbell quit, received $113,955.

Sinclair said most of the people receiving severances are "competent" professionals hired under political appointments by the current government, and with a 30,000-strong public service should have retained their positions or been slotted into new jobs.

The severance packages send the wrong messages to British Columbians, said Sinclair.

"Every time we turn around we're told we haven't got money [for seniors and teachers] ... and then they spend this kind of money for people just to go away," he said.

A full list of the severance packages:

- Cathy Armstrong: administrative co-ordinator: $33,810

- Martyn Brown: deputy minister and Campbell's former chief of staff: $416,191 including executive holdback pay

- Lara Dauphinee: deputy chief of staff for the premier, executive assistant to the premier: $192,886

- Richard Davis: ministerial assistant: $31,183

- Lesley Du Toit: deputy children's minister: $337,413 plus executive holdback pay, amount to be determined

- Jeff Hanman: deputy chief of staff to the premier, policy co-ordination and issues management: $117,930

- Michael Harrison: ministerial assistant: $75,698

- Ronald Norman: head, Public Affairs Bureau: $323,917 plus executive holdback pay, amount to be determined

- June Phillips: executive assistant: $72,994

- Allan Seckel: deputy minister to the premier, cabinet secretary: $549,776 including executive holdback pay

- Dale Steeves: premier's director of communications: $108,193

- Paul Taylor: premier's chief of staff: $113,955

- Christine Willows: administrative co-ordinator: $51,033


Gee, I hadn't heard Lara Dauphinee's name in a while. She did quite nicely under Gordon Campbell.

Important to have remuneration packages competitive with private sector. "Equal pay for work of equal value". Most governments have an independent committee to evaluate such packages. Not clear that BC has one but the rich severances are good reason for permanent down-sizing of all government - including union positions.

Read more:



Good question


Click HERE.

BC Mary comment: Fascinatin', isn't it,  the way Big Media lately has been using the Citizens' letters-to-the-editor as hard news? This one, by Keith McGuiggan of Coquitlam, raises a good point: that the law should apply equally to all citizens:

B.C. pursues Malik's legal fees but not Virk and Basi's

By Keith McQuiggan
Vancouver Sun - April 28, 2011

Re: Court allows B.C. to pursue Malik for $5.8 million in legal fees, April 22

Barry Penner pledged "all our available means" to collect $5.8 million in legal aid fees from acquitted Air India bomber Ripudaman Singh Malik.

Yet Penner refused any effort to recover $6 million in legal fees from the only two men, David Basi and Bob Virk, convicted in the BC Rail scandal.

{Snip} ...

Penner won't do anything that further tarnishes his government's reputation or what's left of Gordon Campbell's political legacy.

Keith McQuiggan


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Law Society of Upper Canada licensing hearing on Erik Bornmann application: April 26, 2011

BC Mary comment: It ain't over until it's over ... and I have it on good authority  (from the Law Society of Upper Canada) that Erik's 2nd hearing concluded today, and the hearing panel has reserved its decision.

The Communications advisor very kindly invites us to phone, if we have questions. I'll do that tomorrow. Today I spent in a very big hospital and, as a result, I am taking the evening off ... bathrobe, slippers, and watching some happy drivel about two attractive young people who are getting married on Friday.

And I'm thinking, Ha! Dogs and cats have licences but Bornmannn doesn't. Yet.

See story by Neal Hall April 26, 2011:


Monday, April 25, 2011


BC Rail: Has anybody seen our railway?

Bill Gates identified as largest CN shareholder

The Canadian Press - April 25, 2011
(AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

MONTREAL — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has become the largest shareholder of Canadian National Railway, with a $3.2-billion stake in Canada's largest rail company.

Montreal-based CN (TSX:CNR) says the world's second-wealthiest man owned or exercised control over 10.04 per cent of its shares as of Feb. 25.

Gates has been buying up the railway's stock since being identified as a shareholder in 2006.

He holds the 46.07 million shares through Cascade Investment and as co-trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, CN said in a proxy circular ahead of Wednesday's annual meeting in Chicago.

The value of Gates' shares are based on Monday's trading price of $69.75, down 13 cents in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

CN's market capitalization for its 458.6 million shares was $32 billion.

Gates friend Warren Buffett, through his holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc., acquired full control of U.S. rail company Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. early last year. {Snip} ...



A very good comment ... 

Ten years ago, I was in a antique store where the owner had a 3,000 year old Chinese vase for sale. While there, one of his best customers came in and bought the vase. He, the customer, was the same age as Bill Gates is today, 55.

The Customer said "Now I own this Vase!"

After the Customer had left, the store owner said: All that the customer has done is paid me so that he look after the vase. He'll never own it. Its been around for 3,000 years, and will last, with great care, another 3,000 years.

The owner at 55, will be lucky if he lives, in good health, to 95, and appreciate what he has.

All that Bill Gates has bought is shares in a company. One thing is for sure, the BC Railway assets won't be hung on a wall like a famous painting for some Executive Officer to view in his spare time, and not knowing when some terrorist will show up to ram his fully fueled jet liner through the building and destroy... BC Rail.....

It's ours BC Mary, and always will be, no matter how much skullduggery that the current bunch of politicians try to pull off on the public. 


Friday, April 22, 2011


Unbelievably beautiful



BCR 4618 leads 762 and 3911... Cleared to the mile 154 on Seton Lake.


Corporatists crippling British Columbia

Regional News

Corporatists crippling British Columbia's political economy (while robbing its citizens): 

Two examples—Campbell coalition gave away BC Rail to oligarchs and DFO 'stacks' salmon quotas to cut jobs and up corporate profits

Posted Monday, April 25, 2011 -  by: Jim Scott, Saltspring News

Once proud and independent BC communities have been stripped of their railroad and once proud and independent fishermen are being reduced to wage-earning employees, the equivalent of grocery store clerks working in a vertically integrated food corporation.

... unlike Alaska, where the license to catch fish is held by a fisherman who must be onboard the boat when it is fishing, Canada has respected the capital investment in the boat over the rights of the citizen to make a living. 

- Alan Haig-Brown.

Read more HERE.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


BCRail: Three western premiers form a COALITION to support the Harper agenda

BC Mary comment:  What does Health Care or even the May 2nd federal election itself have to do with BC Rail?   Well, today I found the answer stated clearly in an article copied below. Title: Why Canadians must say no to Harper.

Also: This morning's news is that the western premiers have formed a coalition to fight against the federal Liberal Party in the May 2, 2011 election.  Hmmmm. Would they go to all that trouble, just to please us? Ha.

Answers to another question are added, below too. This is the first election campaign I can remember, which so brazenly tries to achieve their goals by keeping the voting public confused, or completely uninformed. Maybe it's time to seriously ask what those goals are. So, if the current election campaign (as it's fed to us on TV) is hurting your brain ... I hope this helps. First, the Dobbin article:


... Harper’s first policy efforts regarding health care were undertaken on behalf of the Reform Party ( I [Murray Dobbin] wrote a book on the party and published a Reform Watch Newsletter for four years in the mid-1990s when Harper was the party’s policy director).

Harper said then what he believes now: that the Canada Health Act gives the federal government too many powers and, crucially, that the funding should recognize “different levels of economic development in the provinces.” That’s code language for opening the system to user fees, extra billing, erosion of the number and kind of services provided and the end of “portability” – the transferability of care across provincial boundaries, and different standards of care between rich and poor provinces.

After developing the death knell policy prescription for health care for the Reform Party, Harper quit politics in frustration and joined the most viciously right-wing lobby group in the country and the source of many Reform policies: the National Citizens Coalition. The NCC was founded by Colin Brown, a wealthy insurance broker, in the aftermath of the advent of national Medicare in 1967. Its raison d’être was, at the time, exclusively to fight Medicare and open it up again to private insurance. But it became much more....

The full article is at

Why Canadians must say no to Harper
By Murray Dobbin
Salt Spring News - April 20, 2011


BC Mary commentRemember a few short years ago: Preston Manning as Leader of the federal Opposition -- with his new hair-do, his new contact lenses, his Hollywood approach to parliament? It didn't work, did it. So they got Prester's right-hand man, Mr. Keeps-his-hair-in-the-frig. We seem to have forgotten that Harper started off as Reform Party. Then Alliance. Then as the guy who killed the old Progressive Conservative Party. Harper was even in the well-named Canadian Reform Alliance Party for a while, until one of their rocket scientists noticed the acronym. 

As for Gordon Campbell, I've always thought that Gordon Campbell was aligned with the Harper Gang. They have a style of thinking, a smell, which in their minds, makes it OK to give away BC Rail, or BC Ferries, or BC Hydro, or the Alberta Tar Sands, or whatever can be peddled for whatever reason. 

And that, I'm afraid, is what today's Harper news has to do with the loss of BC Rail. Like the loss of that major public asset, it's the harbinger of things to come. 

I agree wholeheartedly that Canadians must say no to Harper, and to all his partners. But ... 

Today's headlines tell us that Gordon Campbell, Brad Wall, and Ed Stelmach  formed a coalition last year, to achieve certain personal goals. Click HERE.

and that they met again, the other day (with Christy Clark instead of Gordo) to review their strategy which includes supporting Harper and giving Michael Ignatieff a hard time:

Three Western premiers meet to discuss year-old New West Partnership ... um, ahem: wouldn't that be a COALITION?

THE CANADIAN PRESS - April 20, 2011

VANCOUVER - The premiers of Canada's three westernmost provinces are in Vancouver today to talk about a year-old agreement to combine their purchasing power on everything from textbooks to health-care supplies.

The so-called New West Partnership was signed in Regina in April of last year, between Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and then-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell.

Campbell has since left office, and taking his place at the meeting will be Premier Christy Clark.

The provinces agreed to create joint agreements to get cheaper prices on government purchases.

They also pledged to reduce trade barriers between provinces, work together to market the region internationally [Alberta Tar Sands for Sale, cheap!), and co-ordinate research and development activities in Western Canada.

{Snip} ...

For a closer look at these political figures:

Ed Stelmach, outgoing premier of Alberta, from Wikipedia: Stelmach is a Progressive Conservative ... his premiership has been heavily focused on management of the province's oil reserves, especially those of the Athabasca Oil Sands. He has rejected calls from environmentalists to slow the pace of development in the Fort McMurray area, and has similarly opposed calls for carbon taxes or other measures designed to discourage oil consumption. Other policy initiatives have included commencing an overhaul of the province's health governance system, amendments to the Alberta human rights code, a re-introduction of all-party committees to the Legislature, and the conclusion of a major labour agreement with Alberta's teachers. His government has also attracted controversy for awarding itself a 30% pay increase shortly after its re-election, and has enjoyed strained relations with Calgary, one of Klein's former strongholds. Despite this, Stelmach increased the Progressive Conservatives' already substantial majority in the 2008 election.

Brad Wall, premier of Saskatchewan, from Wikipedia (recommended for the chuckles, e.g., how about that $15,000 worth of government alcohol which Brad accidentally consumed but thinks the experience is a valuable asset; he also started his own business called The Last Stand Adventure Company. No I didn't make that up.)

Seriously, here's his biography from Wikipedia: Bradley John Wall became Leader of the Official Opposition Saskatchewan Party on March 15, 2003. In 2007 he led the Saskatchewan Party to a majority.

Prior to his election, he was the director of business development for the City of Swift Current. In 1999, the Saskatchewan Economic Developers Association (SEDA) had presented him with the 1998 Economic Developer of the Year Award. In the early 1990s, Wall also managed a country music museum that was relocated to Swift Current from Kitchener, Ontario, following a significant grant from the Grant Devine government. The facility went bankrupt in 1995. Wall has also sat on a number of boards including being a founding member of the Southwest Centre for Entrepreneurial Development. Wall also started his own business, The Last Stand Adventure Company.

After becoming leader of the Saskatchewan Party, Wall committed to a review of Saskatchewan Party policies. This policy review process reached its culmination at the Saskatchewan Party's annual convention inFebruary 2005 and resulted in a complete revamping of policy and the replacement of old resolutions, including  a resolution that called for "boot camps" for young offenders. New policy resolutions included calling for treatment for crystal methamphetamine addicts, a patient-first review of the health care system, the development of a comprehensive plan to recruit and retain health care professionals, the development an integrated addictions strategy for young offenders who are incarcerated, a comprehensive review of the justice system to restore trust and confidence in the system, the establishment of a provincial youth justice board to address youth crime, rehabilitation and restitution measures, support for victims of crime, the establishment of a university research chair in occupational health and safety, and a review of the Workers' Compensation Board.

His political roots are in the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan, working as a ministerial assistant to Graham Taylor, Minister of Public Participation, Tourism, Small Business, Co-operatives and Health, and John Gerich, Associate Minister of Economic Development. Wall ran unsuccessfully for the Progressive Conservative nomination for Swift Current in April 1991.

Christy Clark, the unelected leader of the BC LINO party (Liberal In Name Only), (from Wikipedia):

... Her campaign faced questions regarding her involvement in the sale of BC Rail due to her cabinet position and family connection to people "mentioned prominently in court documents, including search warrants", with opposition members stating that she "wants to shut down the public's questions about the scandal". It was in the wake of the controversial Basi-Virk guilty pleas that ended the trial proceedings that she [felt it safe to?] declare her candidacy for the party leadership on her radio show. Clark had called for more questions to be answered about BC Rail, but since then has said that there is no need for a public inquiry, as have the other Liberal Party leadership contenders. - quoted from Wikipedia, [except for the BC Mary comment].

Oh. And Gordon Campbell, the guy who saw nothing wrong in breaking an election promise, or in creating a semi-secret deal under suspect circumstances to strip away the transportation lifeline of the province of B.C. giving it away to foreign interests ...

We didn't really think Gordo would support Michael Ignatieff (federal Liberals), Jack Layton (federal New Democrats), Gilles Duceppe (Bloc Quebecois) or Elizabeth May (Green Party). But ...

why exactly did those 4 people believe that a special COALITION -- the New West Partnership -- was necessary?


A worthy comment, cross-posted:

Ignatieff said his Liberal party was given a bad name, but not by me. The BC Liberals are nowhere near the true Liberal party. They are a nothing phantom party who gives allegiance to Harper.

Harper and Campbell work very closely with China. We know China bought a huge chunk of the tar sands. Harper and Campbell have the full intention of forcing the dirty oil tankers from China and the Enbridge pipeline on us.

The three provinces signed this agreement, far before Campbell left. The pipeline has to go through Saskatchewan, that's why the cahoots of the three provinces. Saskatchewan, will get its pound of flesh too. The people of BC will gain nothing, as usual.

BC people don't understand. When the pipeline is finished, so are the jobs. And BC has the most danger and will bear the brunt of the oil spill.

BC is foul with corruption. Even if Christy did order a criminal investigation of, Campbell's corrupt sale of the BCR. We have corrupt courts and corrupt judges. Did we not see that? The trial of the corrupt sale of the BCR, was a blatant farce.

There is nothing in this province, that isn't corrupt. We have to first run this rotten, corrupt BC Liberal party right out of BC.

If Harper wins, we can bloody well count on becoming Canada U.S.A., America's brand new state.


Monday, April 18, 2011


Liars, liars. How to disrupt and destroy Parliament. Contempt? Oh yes.

BC Mary comment:  Yesterday, on Pacific Gazette, we were talking about The Harper Government's goons going right into University of Guelph and fighting with students to seize their legally-installed ballot box. 

It was another ethical outrage and I was hurting (as are many, many others). Day after day, the news seems to be telling us: Nothing is sacred. Nothing is safe. 

I left a heartfelt comment saying, in a nutshell, that "everything is changing" ... RossK probably won't mind if I copy the thing I said over at his place ...

BC Mary said [April 17, 2011]...

Seems to me that something's changed. It used to be that if anybody was accused of a criminal activity, they'd get truly upset and offer explanations or corrections etc.

Not any more.

Contempt of Parliament? Phhtttt.

Fraudulent letter praising themselves and "signed" (but NOT signed) by Sheila Fraser, Auditor-General. Phtttt.

Costs of F-25 fighter planes kept secret because the planes come without engines? Phhttt.

Snatching ballot boxes from a University campus? Fighting with students to make them stop voting? Phhttt.

etc etc

If the scoundrels don't know about ethics, and get away with pretending there's no such thing as ethics, everything changes. Crookedness becomes normal.

I hope and pray that The Harper Government has made the kids at University of Guelph darn good and angry.


This morning, April 18, 2011, Salt Spring News has a feature which is more scientific:


Canada Votes 2011: Every voter should understand the techniques of disinformation before they enter the polling booth

Intro: "Thirteen Techniques for Truth Suppression" by David Martin

Strong, credible allegations of high-level criminal activity can bring down a government. When the government lacks an effective, fact-based defense, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party.

*Dummy up. If it's not reported, if it's not news, it didn't happen.

*Wax indignant. This is also known as the "how dare you?" gambit.

*Characterize the charges as "rumors" or, better yet, "wild rumors." If, in spite of the news blackout, the public is still able to learn about the suspicious facts, it can only be through "rumors."

*Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Even better, create your own straw men. Make up wild rumors and give them lead play when you appear to debunk all the charges, real and fanciful alike.

*Call the skeptics names like "conspiracy theorist," "nut," "ranter," "kook," "crackpot," and of course, "rumor monger." You must then carefully avoid fair and open debate with any of the people you have thus maligned.

*Impugn motives. Attempt to marginalize the critics by suggesting strongly that they are not really interested in the truth but are simply pursuing a partisan political agenda or are out to make money.

*Invoke authority. Here the controlled press and the sham opposition can be very useful.

*Dismiss the charges as "old news."
Come half-clean. This is also known as "confession and avoidance" or "taking the limited hang-out route." This way, you create the impression of candor and honesty while you admit only to relatively harmless, less-than-criminal "mistakes." This stratagem often requires the embrace of a fall-back position quite different from the one originally taken.

*Characterize the crimes as impossibly complex and the truth as ultimately unknowable.

*Reason backward, using the deductive method with a vengeance. With thoroughly rigorous deduction, troublesome evidence is irrelevant. For example: We have a completely free press. If they know of evidence that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) had prior knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing they would have reported it. They haven't reported it, so there was no prior knowledge by the BATF. Another variation on this theme involves the likelihood of a conspiracy leaker and a press that would report it.

*Require the skeptics to solve the crime completely. [See letter from Gary Bass to Robin Mathews.]

*Change the subject. This technique includes creating and/or reporting a distraction. [Olympics. Campbell resigns. Enter Christie Clark.]

"Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression: (Originally Thirteen Techniques for Truth Suppression)"
David Martin Propaganda Alert USA April 30, 2005

The original thirteen techniques reprised (edited, modified and expanded). Here is number 17:

17. *Flood the Internet with agents. This is the answer to the question, "What could possibly motivate a person to spend hour upon hour on Internet news groups defending the government and/or the press and harassing genuine critics?" Don't the authorities have defenders enough in all the newspapers, magazines, radio, and television? One would think refusing to print critical letters and screening out serious callers or dumping them from radio talk shows would be control enough, but, obviously, it is not ...

BC Mary comment: all those clues reminded me of The Harper Government's infamous 200-page How-to Manual for their Members of Parliament. How to disrupt meetings. How to how to promote the Harper government's agenda, how to disrupt committee proceedings and, if all else fails, how to shut committees down entirely.

  This is relevant in today's world:
'Obstruction' handbook leaked

Joan Bryden
Canadian Press - May 18, 2007

OTTAWA – The Harper government is being accused of a Machiavellian plot to wreak parliamentary havoc after a secret Tory handbook on obstructing and manipulating Commons committees was leaked to the press.

Opposition parties pounced on news reports Friday about the 200-page handbook as proof that the Conservatives are to blame for the toxic atmosphere that has paralyzed Parliament this week.

"The government's deliberate plan is to cause a dysfunctional, chaotic Parliament," Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale told the House of Commons.

New Democrat Libby Davies said the manual explodes the Tories' contention that opposition parties are to blame for the parliamentary constipation.

"So much for blaming the opposition for the obstruction of Parliament," she said.

"Now we learn, in fact, that the monkey wrench gang have had a plan all along and not just any plan, a 200-page playbook on how to frustrate, obstruct and shut down the democratic process."

Bloc Quebecois MP Monique Guay said the manual demonstrates the government's "flagrant lack of respect" for the democratic process.

The opposition demanded that the manual, given to Tory committee chairs, be tabled in the House of Commons.

Peter Van Loan, the government's House leader, ignored the demand and continued to insist that the Tories want the minority Parliament to work.

He again blamed the opposition parties for its recent dysfunction. He cited various justice bills which have been stalled by opposition MPs in committees for up to 214 days.

"The opposition pulls out every stop they can to obstruct (the justice agenda) and then they get upset when a matter gets debated for two hours at committee," he scoffed.

But Van Loan's arguments were weakened by the leak of the manual. The government was so embarrassed and annoyed by the leak, that, according to a source, it ordered all committee chairs to return their copies of the handbook, apparently in a bid to determine who broke confidence.

The handbook, obtained by National Post columnist Don Martin, reportedly advises chairs on how to promote the government's agenda, select witnesses friendly to the Conservative party and coach them to give favourable testimony. It also reportedly instructs them on how to filibuster and otherwise disrupt committee proceedings and, if all else fails, how to shut committees down entirely.

Some of those stalling tactics have been on display this week.

Tory MPs on the information and ethics committee stalled an inquiry into alleged censorship of a report on the treatment of Afghan detainees. They debated the propriety of the witness list for more than five hours while two critics of the government's handling of the matter cooled their heels in the corridor.

The official languages committee has been shut down all week after Tory chair Guy Lauzon cancelled a hearing moments before witnesses were to testify about the impact of the government's cancellation of the court challenges program. All three opposition parties voted to remove Lauzon from the chair but the Tories are refusing to select a replacement, leaving the committee in limbo.

Tories have also launched filibusters to obstruct proceedings in the Commons agriculture and procedural affairs committees and a Senate committee study of a Liberal bill requiring the government to adhere to the Kyoto treaty on greenhouse gas emissions.

The previous Liberal regime also tried to control the conduct of committees. Former prime minister Jean Chrétien even faced a mini-rebellion during his final months in office from backbenchers who chafed at being told what to say and do at committee. They demanded the right to choose their own committee chairs.

But Davies, a 10-year parliamentary veteran, said the Tories have taken manipulation to extremes she's never seen before.

"They've codified it. They've set it down. They've given instructions."

Both Davies and Goodale agreed that the recent dysfunction may be part of a long term Tory strategy to persuade voters that minority Parliaments don't work, that they need to elect a majority next time.

{Snip} ...


Saturday, April 16, 2011


Rise up, Canada!


Rise up, Canada / Debout, Canada

Click HERE for the answer to any bozos who dare to look at what's happening to this country and say "So what?"

BC Mary comment: "The Harper Government" wants to buy 65 of this new U.S. F-35 Stealth fighter aircraft. Harper didn't know exactly how much they would cost. No wonder. These planes would be coming to us without engines. Isn't the engine the most critical part of any aircraft? 

Canada’s F-35s: Engines not included

Government will be required to provide powerplant for stealth fighters, documents show

The Ottawa Citizen -  April 17, 2011
The multi-million dollar F-35 stealth fighter that the Conservatives want to purchase comes with all the accoutrements of a high-tech aircraft — everything, that is, except an engine.

Go HERE to see photograph by Reuters.

The multi-million dollar F-35 stealth fighter that the Conservatives want to purchase comes with all the accoutrements of a high-tech aircraft — everything, that is, except an engine.

The government will be required to provide engines for the 65 planes to be delivered by U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin, according to newly released Defence Department documents.

The proposed F-35 purchase, estimated to cost between $14 billion and $29 billion depending on what figures are used, has been controversial. Opposition parties are calling for a review or cancellation of the program, while the Tories have made it a key part of their defence policy.

The DND documents, which outline answers to questions about the F-35, also note that the stealth fighter could be used in a secondary role for search-and-rescue.

The records, obtained through the Access to Information law by peace activist Tamara Lorincz, are from a series of meetings last fall when defence bureaucrats and military officers toured the country to promote the F-35 deal.

“Engines are provided as gov’t furnished equipment,” noted the documents.

The term “government furnished equipment” signifies that the engines are being provided separately by Canada.

It is unclear how much extra the engines will cost or whether there would be additional costs for installing the power plants into the fighters.

In an e-mail late Friday, DND stated that Canada is purchasing the least costly variant of the F-35.

But DND did not provide an explanation about why the government is required to provide the engines.

It also did not provide any details on the price tag of the engines or the cost to install them.

But the e-mail suggested the cost of the engines is included in the overall price.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has labelled the F-35 as a good deal for Canada and notes that the aircraft will cost around $75 million per plane.

The Conservatives say the entire purchase will cost around $14 billion but a report from Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page puts the number at $29 billion.

The Government Accountability Office, the U.S government’s equivalent of the auditor general, has also warned about serious ongoing problems with the aircraft and rising costs. Mike Sullivan, a senior official with the Government Accountability Office, estimates that the F-35 model that Canada is buying will cost between $110 to $115 million.

U.S. defence specialist Winslow Wheeler, who has also raised concerns about the F-35, has warned that the extra cost of an engine could boost the price of an aircraft for Canada to around $148 million.

“If Canada’s government can get an F-35 for the mid-70 million dollars per airplane, well they should sign a contract right now and get it delivered,” said Wheeler, an analyst with the Center for Defense Information in Washington. “Because I can promise you nobody on this earth will ever get a flying F-35 for $75 million per copy. It’s pure fantasy.”

{Snip} ....

Read more HERE



Strategic voting. Harper must get the boot!

BC Mary comment:  When an Unholy Alliance took over the Progressive Conservative Party federally, they did not become "Conservatives". They double-crossed the real Conservatives and then snatched the name for themselves. They were, in fact, Re-tread Social Credit, or Reform-a-Tories. British Columbia knew them well, where they snatched the Liberal name first from Gordon Wilson (leader of BC Liberals) then federally they seized the Progressive Conservative Party name from Peter MacKay and David Orchard who had signed a binding agreement never to join the Harper gang. Ha! We called them LINOs -- "Liberal In Name Only" -- and they were a coalition of anybody willing to "Unite the Right".  The important thing in both cases was to snatch those time-honoured names: Liberal, Conservative. But the Harper Gang is  neither. Federally, they are shameless fakes. Harper's triumph is to lead his government into a dramatic defeat under the first-ever charge of "Contempt of Parliament". He is not even embarrassed. He says that the remedy for that is to give him more power!

This means that we're facing the most important election in Canadian history.  

The challenge on May 2, 2011 is to make sure that a democratic vote will remove these dishonest, destructive, anti-democratic fakes. That's the important thing: send these Corporate Stenographers out into the world to make an honest living. But we must be careful. Make sure you're voting to ELECT an alternative.


Targeting vulnerable Harperites could workor backfire

Swing 33 and Catch 22 encourage voters to defeat Conservatives with lesser-evil votes. - April 12, 2011

by Ish Theilheimer.

Please visit the full article for the two embedded links.

{Snip} ... Progressive-minded Canadians have a real dilemma: how can they get rid of a dangerous Prime Minister who can govern with minority support, without a skewed result?

In the past, anti-Conservative activists (like Buzz Hargrove in 2006) have told progressive Canadians to "vote strategically" against the Conservatives by voting Liberal. As mentioned in last week's column, this strategy usually backfires. It has had the effect of electing Conservatives in ridings where the NDP was their main competition by encouraging voters to switch from NDP to Liberal. Many feel "strategic" voting helped make Harper Prime Minister.

This year the stakes are higher than ever, and the strategy of those urging strategic voting has become more sophisticated. The Catch 22 and Swing 33 campaigns, about which Straight Goods News has run coverage, pursue tactics that are more truly strategic. They are targeting ridings where the combined Liberal and NDP vote in the last election surpassed the  Conservative vote but a Conservative won the seat. In those ridings, they are asking supporters of the side that finished third in the last election to vote for the party that finished second. They're endorsing NDPers in some ridings and Liberals in others.

Voters don't like to abandon the parties in which they believe, especially party activists to do so, let alone for central parties to condone this sort of activity. Compared, however, with the justifiable terror with which progressive Canadians regard a Harper majority, switching votes seems a reasonable proposition.

I live in a Conservative riding where the voting equation is different. The incumbent won more votes than the combined total of the Liberal and NDP candidates. A small-c conservative independent candidate probably has the best chance to win, and some anti-Conservative voters are telling me they plan to hold their noses and vote for him despite his own dubious record.

Most Canadians are not political junkies, but they know whether they like Harper or not. The challenge for this year's crop of strategic voting campaigns, especially in ridings where the NDP is their pick, will be to transmit a fairly sophisticated message that will overcome the Liberals' own strategic voting message ("Just vote Liberal."). Otherwise, we'll get Harper again.


Friday, April 15, 2011


Anti-Harper web-site goes viral!

Vancouver-based anti-Harper website attracts 2 million hits in first 4 days.

As our good friend, RossK at Pacific Gazette says so often, "The kids are all right."  

Visit the whole wonderful story HERE and see the 4 kids who created the website.

They get it.  Go here (Margaret Atwood did) and be refreshed: 

Click HERE


High Five, Five, 

Sorry, I think I've messed up the format ... too tired tonight ... back tomorrow.


Guergis accuses Harper of smear campaign; Harper remains unapologetic

BC Mary comment: Google "Harper Government Scandals" and you will get 4,400,000 results, maybe more.  That's even BEFORE we heard from Harper's former Cabinet minister, Helena Guergis this morning. O Canada ... oh, oh, oh ... Canada, what can your citizens do?

Tories re-brand government in Stephen Harper's name

By Bruce Cheadle
The Globe & Mail - March 4, 2011

See the story HERE:


On the road to the Harper Government's tipping point

By Lawrence Martin
The Globe and Mail - March 8, 2011

Story is HERE:


Tories used praise for Liberals to defend G8 summit costs: Fraser

CTV - April 11, 2011

Canada's auditor general has rebuked the Conservatives for recycling an unrelated quote by her [Sheila Fraser] about a previous Liberal government's security spending in a parliamentary report on the costs of the G8/G20 summits in Ontario last summer, CBC News has learned.

The Conservatives' report, presented as a dissenting opinion to the Commons the morning Parliament was dissolved last month, quotes Sheila Fraser giving high marks to the Harper government for prudent spending on the summits.

The report quoted the auditor general as saying: “We found that the processes and controls around that were very good, and that the monies were spent as they were intended to be spent.”

But in a scathing letter addressed to members of a Commons committee on Friday, which was received by the clerk and members on Monday, Fraser said the quote had nothing to do with the summits.

Instead, she said, the Conservatives inserted a 2010 comment she made during a CBC News interview on security spending by a previous Liberal government after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.“The comments attributed to me in the [Conservative] report are completely unrelated to G8/G20 spending,” Fraser writes in her letter.“I would appreciate it if the report could be modified as it is clearly erroneous.”

The earlier Jan. 13 version of the report suggested the manner in which the funding for the G8 infrastructure legacy fund was approved may have been illegal and the money was ultimately used on projects that were of dubious connection to the G8 summit in Huntsville.

The January draft report said that some of these projects included spending:

$274,000 on public toilets located 20 kilometres from the summit site
$100,000 on a gazebo that was an hour's drive away
$1.1 million for sidewalk and tree upgrades 100 kilometres away
$194,000 for a park 100 kilometres away
$745,000 on downtown improvements for three towns nearly 70 kilometres away.

Canadian Press reporter Joan Bryden said the January draft indicated that the government tabled supplementary spending estimates that asked for $83 million for a border infrastructure fund, which was supposed to pay for improvements at Canada's border crossings.

"Why 50 million for Huntsville and environs? Why was that suddenly so important, or such a large amount of money? Why did it go to projects that had nothing to do with the summit," Brydon said Monday evening on CTV's Power Play.


Draft report questions Conservative G8 spending

CTV - April 11

Click HERE:


BC Mary comment: Which brings us to the question of Harper's police-state. The media is muzzled, the public is robbed of information in broad daylight. This is serious. Citizens have work to do!

The Globe and Mail - April 15, 2011


On the last day of March, reporters in Halifax – standing behind a yellow barricade at least a dozen feet away from Stephen Harper – called out to him to explain why only five questions. He refused to respond. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP Leader Jack Layton answer all the questions they’re asked, the reporters pointed out. Why had Mr. Harper limited reporters to five questions a day? He refused to explain. “If there’s another subject, I’ll answer it,” he told them.

When the reporters properly pushed back, getting into a bit of a shouting match with the Prime Minister, he again refused to elaborate. “If there are other subjects I’m not addressing, I’ll take them. What’s the subject? One subject.” Mr. Harper was then asked a question about Libya. He answered it and walked away.

So there we have it: The Prime Minister who promised more openness and accountability, who’s been in power for five years, has told the press to get used to it – you can cover my campaign, but you can ask only five questions.

Members of the media were predictably indignant. Paul Wells, of Maclean’s, speaking on April 5 on a morning radio show, lamented the restriction: “The fact is we can’t ask the Prime Minister about real situations that concern real people, we can’t press the Prime Minister for straight answers on things like the cost of his programs, promises he made in the past he hasn’t kept, things like that.”

Journalists play a vital role in our society. We depend on them to ask questions and demand answers. Mr. Harper and the other party leaders are running for the highest office in the land. Even opposition MPs are allowed to ask follow-up questions in the House of Commons. But not reporters covering the Conservative campaign.

The only astonishing thing is that the media are taking it. They are playing along, accepting the unacceptable.

It’s the middle of an election campaign. Reporters are not only entitled to ask the Prime Minister about his record and accomplishments, they’re required to do so. It may be good politics for Mr. Harper to build a bubble around his campaign, and throw a blanket on the media. After all, the Conservatives are leading in the polls. But what’s incomprehensible, inexplicable in fact, is that the media have accepted it. True, when the policy was announced, some journalists objected. Their complaints were ignored, then it was on to the next scripted stop.

Ask any reporter. Since Mr. Harper took office, the bureaucrats have stopped talking to journalists because they fear reprisals. Many government MPs won’t return telephone calls if it’s the news calling. Cabinet ministers regularly refuse to comment. The Harper government has established more roadblocks to access to information than any other government since the act was put on the books.

Mr. Harper’s refusal to provide information to Parliament on the cost of his law-and-order initiatives is just the latest in a long list of his top priority: information control. How long are reporters going to allow themselves to be pushed around? When are they going to say, “We’ve had enough”?

End of quote.


Full story is HERE.

Read THIS about the hiring of Stephen Harper's personal choice of advisor for the P.M.'s office:


India Times - April 15, 2011

Click HERE:


And then The Harper Government tries to snatch the ballot box from a university!! From "The Harper Government", there's no shock, no shame, no human emotion whatever. 

Ignatieff slams attempt to annul Guelph student votes

CTV - April 15, 2011
20,200 results

Click HERE:

Elections Canada validates contested student ballots in Guelph

The Globe and Mail - April 15, 2011

Click HERE:


Then ... Helena Guergis, former Cabinet Minister in "The Harper Government", takes centre stage today, April 15, 2011, with what looked to me like vivid images of Violence Against Women. Harper violence, that is. 

Guergis slams Conservatives over 'destructive campaign'

Vancouver Sun - April 15, 2011

Click HERE:


 Don Martin is no Lefty. He's not even fair, sometimes. But I think the Harper Government stench freaked him out on the Helena Guergis last week. 


By Don Martin
CTV - April 18, 2011

Power Play: The Last Word on Helena Guergis

If nothing else, former Conservative MP Helena Guergis got a small measure of revenge on Friday.

Almost exactly a year after she was dumped from the Conservative cabinet and jettisoned from the caucus, she unleashed hell's fury against her former boss, Stephen Harper.

The Prime Minister's Office had sent a letter of incendiary allegations -- including fraud, drug and prostitution -- against her to the RCMP last year.

So far, so good: it's only proper to alert police to concerns about possible illegal behavior.

But like all political hangovers, it's not the action but the reaction which causes the pain.

While Guergis was quickly cleared of any wrongdoing, she remained forgotten and not forgiven by her former party.

Harper delivered an icy, dead-eyed obituary to her life as a Conservative on Friday, which could send a shiver though the spine of some voters just warming up to his potential as a majority prime minister.

Harper dismissed his former minister as an irritating trifle, unworthy of even being named in public, which will seem excessively mean for a guy who needs to warm up his hypothermic personality.

What's even stranger is how Harper shows remarkable tolerance for others who have alleged black marks on their resume.

Two of his most valued senators are hard at work on the campaign, despite facing fraud allegations from Elections Canada. And Harper stood rock solid by minister Bev Oda, even as MPs prepared to find her in contempt for misleading Parliament.

Look, as a newspaper columnist, I called for Guergis to be fired several times. Her various aloof antics were, I felt, grounds for her demotion to be a mere backbencher.

But to punish the innocent without a hint of remorse, while rewarding the potentially guilty with patronage plums, sends a very warped message from a government campaigning for, of all things, law and order.

Don Martin is the host of CTV's Power Play, with two editions during the election campaign: 5 and 8 pm ET on CTV News Channel.

- 30 -


BC Mary comment: There's much, much more, as anyone can expect with so many tell-tale clues to the quality of "The Harper Government". If only Canadians will read up on it, and then NOT vote Conservative. 

As yet, Big Media doesn't seem able to understand the seriousness of the embedded criminality. "The prime minister has a duty to shuffle his cabinet," said that p.i.a., Suhana Mareschand on CBC Newsworld today after the Guergis press conference. 

Shuffle? What shuffle? Stephen Harper saw to it that Helena Guergis was kicked out of cabinet, kicked out of government, stripped of her party membership, and stonewalled ... for cryin' out loud, since when does a Canadian Prime Minister's duty consist of accusing people of crimes without any evidence? Isn't that slander?

And how incredibly brutal that Harper feels he must refer to Ms Guergis as "that individual" ?? I hope that little boy of hers grows up and punches Herr Harper right in the nose, one day.  Or, no, wait ... better that Rahim Jaffer, the boy's father and Ms Guergis' husband, should take care of that issue himself.

Meantime, best wishes to Ms Guergis. If she's courageous and principled enough to stand up for Canada, for responsible democracy, and for the actual old Conservative Party (not this Reform Party in drag), I'll be standing up with her. 


Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Auditor-General Sheila Fraser's last day in office is May 31, 2011. Is this beginning to sound like Gordon Campbell's timing or Stephen Harper's timing?


Many thanks to Prime Time Crime for providing 5 of the the following links to the story of allegedly illegal activities on the part of "The Harper Government" in parliament.

BC Mary has added Sheila Fraser's  Wikipedia biography.

Click HERE for:

Click HERE for:
Wikipedia biography of Sheila Fraser

Click HERE for:

Click HERE for:

Click HERE for:

Click HERE for:

Many thanks to:



BC Rail: How I watched the entire Leaders' TV Debate and discovered the meaning of political life

BC Mary comment. It's "Federal Leadership TV Debate Day" + one ... and although it's true that I watched the whole performance, I found it incredibly flat and unsettling. Strange to say, I also found the answer to how I want to vote. More of that later.

Right now, this blog -- which is entirely focused upon BC Rail -- has 5 comments in the queue waiting for me to decide what to do with them. They're not about BC Rail. They're not even about good governance or the fate of the country we love. Example [a mere excerpt, leaving out many fiery questions about BC Mary's bad behaviour]:

... And what about those who receive dividends from those big big corporations because they are SHAREHOLDERS? GUess what, they taxed on that income too, but receive a dividend tax credit.

Are you going to complain about individuals who recieve a dividend tax credits as unfair and unjust?

Before you do that, you better get educated, becuase from your rant, you clearing are emotional and not educated at all in respect of income tax, or economdics.

Ahem. Yes ... 

These knock-off droppings are what I dislike most of all: political party-line brainless denunciations of "They're good, Everybody Else bad" ... apparently (in my case) because I applaud that good lady, Sheila Fraser, who has nailed a prime minister who damwell deserves to be nailed. Not because he's "Conservative" because Stephen Harper is no Conservative at all; just ask David  Orchard. Go HERE for that disgraceful  story. [Disclosure: I had a Progressive Conservative Party membership card at that time.]  Some readers will remember Orchard as the brilliant organic farmer living in Saskatchewan -- who seemed symbollic and well-schooled in everything that was good, strong, Canadian about the old P.C.P. It was a heady time, I tell you.

Just go HERE for Wikipedia's summary of David Orchard's time in the spotlight, including the ominous arrival of the Canadian Alliance, drooling at the thought of the historic Progressive Conservative Party as road-kill. And it didn't take long. Read about the signed agreement between Orchard & MacKay which declared that there would never be a merger; then read about the merger ... which put a certain ominous Stephen Harper in the leadership role of a once-historic conservative party, thenceforth known as the Conservative Party of Canada (C.P.C.) (no longer "progressive"). Go HERE to see Harper's happy face announcing that he's another wonderful "Conservative" prime minister, as of January 23, 2006.

It had been a bumpy road, up until then ... my favourite moment was when "The Communist Party of Canada" which had always been The C.P.C.,  took Harper's upstart CPC to court for stealing their acronym. Ha. Guess how that turned out. But it was a good moment, almost as good as when the Harperites -- re-inventing themselves for the umpteenth time -- discovered that they'd made themselves into the Canadian Reform Alliance Party -- oops, no, no, not that one ... this one: C.R.A.P.

It goes to show, i.m.h.o., that S. Harper had and still has a powerful backroom machine headquartered in Calgary with its strong U.S. oil links. It didn't take long for toxic politics to kill Orchard off ... Stockwell Day got the boot (sorta) ... Preston Manning stepped away ... and it really didn't take long before this Michelin Man emerged, boss of everything. He even (I'm not making this up) had David Orchard thrown OUT of the party (whatever it was called, by then). Like, how the heck dare he? But that's the Stephen Harper we have come to know.

David Orchard became a Liberal. Not the BC fake kind of Liberal In Name Only ... but a real federal Liberal.

Peter MacKay at that time, was the last leader of the original, historic party of Sir John A. MacDonald, Diefenbaker.  My membership lapsed and I still think that Canada lost a very good person when we  let the C.R.A.P. party crush David Orchard. Many others thought so, too: "He speaks for Canada" ... "He can take us back to our roots" ... thoughts fully expressed HERE.

In my opinion, many ghosts were riding on Harper's shoulders in yesterday's TV debate. His "closed" expression says he's a dead man walking ... happy to do what he's told, but a robot all the same. Only a soulless machine would revise an old letter to make it look as if the Auditor-General of Canada is praising the Harper Gang of today -- when, in fact, it was praising the Martin Liberals of a bygone era. How unethical, how dirt-bag stupid, how mechanical is that. Read about it HERE. The findings of Sheila Fraser simply confirmed the CRAPsters' blind, aggressive stupidity once again. Don't miss Prime Time Crime's important new info. HERE, under today's date.

And I find that same, blind soulless, aggressive stupidity in these 5 letters. Decision: they are deleted. Meantime ...

The TV debate did clarify how I'd like to vote. Mind you, how we vote is really nobody else's business; right? But I'm going to tell you my voting-wish because I can't vote as I'd like to vote. Here's why, in two parts:

1) I've been admiring Jack Layton (his credentials HERE). The media rode roughshod over him at first, hitting him over and over about his health. Is that cricket? I don't think so. And I began thinking: why don't people say "Jack, this is real courage you're showing: broken hip, prostate surgery, and you're sounding strong, well-informed, decisive, and caring about the right things. Well done." I thought he was courageous in all the right ways.

2) I was also thinking about what we've learned about Michael Ignatieff. Not Canadian? Ha. Few of us are as Canadian as he and his family are. Rarely have we had a prime minister who has already made a distinguished contribution abroad [see a bit about that HERE]  and then brought its honour with us back home ... for Canada's benefit. Plus: Ignatieff brings no toxic partisan politics with him.

I realized, during the debate, that I desperately want to vote for BOTH OF THEM ... for both Liberal and NDP (federal, not provincial). For historic old political parties. Familiar. For two decent men with enormous gifts to bring to the task of leading this wonderful country. Much, much more trustworthy people. 

Then I fully understood why Michelin Man began this election campaign by denouncing an old, honourable tradition: coalition. Ha! He knows it too: that, if the federal Liberals and the federal NDP were to join forces, Canada would once again be Canadian.

And frankly, I think a Liberal-NDP coalition would listen to us if British Columbia tries to inform a federal Liberal-NDP coalition government ... tries to make it clear to them that BC Rail was stolen from us ... that Ottawa can do something, because BC Rail lost its regional status and comes under a federal statute when (wrongfully) CN seized it.


Monday, April 11, 2011


Auditor-General of Canada refuses to release leaked report into G8 spending

Read about it HERE.

Sheila Fraser has never before given the Canadian people any reason to doubt her integrity. But right now, she says she cannot reveal certain allegations of parliamentary illegality in the matter of $50 million spent during the early days of G8 meetings. That's what a very unhappy Sheila Fraser said today: she can't just up and tell us. There's protocol. Rules.

And the protocol is that the Auditor-General by tradition must present her findings to parliament. They, in turn, are supposed to tell the people. Ha ha. But there is no parliament right now. So how does she comply -- without giving egregious insult to every Canadian voter?

The public interest must somehow be served better than to have the Canadian people sit and wait, bags over our heads, seeing nothing, knowing nothing until the May 2nd federal election is over.

This is a case of a possibly-illegal maneuver in Parliament. The reason we're having a federal election is because "The Harper Government" has already  been formally charged with Contempt of Parliament.

Surely Sheila Fraser's conscience will tell her that nobody -- not even the Auditor-General -- should be entitled to keep the voting public isolated from the facts of such a serious matter.

So, does that mean that the Auditor-General should seize the initiative herself and tell all, immediately, before the May 2 election? before the leaders' TV debate on April 12?

I say YES.

Or ... should the AG hold firm and wait until a new government and a new session of parliament enables the tabling of her findings which have been thoroughly vetted .. i.e., after a new government is elected and they call for a new session of parliament?

My opinion is that questions of illegality and Contempt of Parliament are so important, they must not be trivialized. What kind of message does that send, both at home and around the world?!

I believe that means must be found by which the Auditor-General may open the vetted findings to the public before voting day ... in fact, before the Leaders' debate on April 12 if the debate is to be meaningful.

This isn't rocket science.  It's about talking to the people. Who could oppose that? It scares me when Canadians start behaving like an oppressed people and feel that they have no rights left. How in God's name are we not entitled to know if a prime minister is making bald-faced and improper use of our Parliament?

Share your thoughts ...

Prime Time Crime has a scoop HERE:

What's next?

Sheila Fraser [photo]

OTTAWA - The Speaker of the House of Commons has made several historic rulings in this latest spate of minority parliaments, but Peter Milliken could be called out of the woodwork to set an “unorthodox” precedent once more, a parliamentary expert says.  Should the four federal parties agree, they could conceivably request that Mr. Milliken ask the Auditor General to circumvent parliamentary tradition and release the final version of her leaked G8/G20 draft report - even though the act governing her office requires that reports be tabled to a sitting House of Commons.  (National Post)

MORE:   AG to probe leak of G8 spending report
Public statement from Sheila Fraser   AG Spring 2011 report topics (now on hold until after the election)
PREVIOUS:   AG urges 'caution'   AG slams G8 projects   List of projects approved for G8 funding  

Fraser's last day in office is May 31, 2011



The only political statement to appear on this site

Federal & Provincial Elections
Crucial Choices for BC's Future

by Rafe Mair
The Common Sense Canadian
April 10, 2011

Excerpt - Rafe Mair writes ...

In the many years I’ve been involved in political life this is the first time I’ve seen a situation which, if not changed, will permanently leave longstanding wounds – wounds which will get worse and be incurable to boot  ...

We don’t have to destroy our forests to make a living. We have no need to jeopardize, indeed kill off our wild salmon so that people other than British Columbians can provide dividends for their shareholders.

We have no need to sacrifice our rivers so, once again, outsiders can profit from the electricity produced.

BC Hydro [is] the main gem in the provincial crown. WAC Bennett saw three areas where the people, through those they elect, could use crown corporations for good policy decisions.

Bennett knew that no private ferry system would keep unprofitable routes yet he also knew that all British Columbians must have decent, affordable transportation options, so he bought Black Ball Ferries and created BC Ferries - which Gordon Campbell privatized. It left us the worst of all results – BC no longer directs its affairs but must still subsidize it.

Bennett knew that BC, large and bountiful as it is, needed a rail system that would lose money on some runs in order to open the province up and thus should be owned by the people and again a vehicle for public policy. Campbell gave this away to the private sector which won’t tolerate money-losing lines.

Bennett also knew that for British Columbians to compete and prosper it must have certainty of power both at home and in industry, so he bought out BC Electric Railway and created BC Hydro. This company was a huge success yet Campbell has developed a private power scheme leaving BC Hydro in a position that, if it couldn’t go on raising rates to subsidize its mandated giveaway program, would be bankrupt. It will be sold by way of bankruptcy, a bankruptcy which is clear on the horizon.

We must surely re-evaluate our political priorities. If the sale or disposition of our public assets would bring us prosperity thus making us better able to meet social obligations that would be one thing. But the fact is that each of these privatizing schemes hurts our economy badly. 

For the first time in our history we have embarked on a program to destroy our environment and our ability to make our own rules about transport and power – and we have done this for the immense enrichment of others.

 For the first time we have policies in place that will deliberately destroy the environment.

 I believe that the last chance we’ll have to save the situation is in the forthcoming federal election and the provincial election most likely to occur this Fall, if not sooner.

This means, in my view, we must make a stark decision: are we, in exchange for the usual promises about health care, education, and welfare, going to put back into government those who are destroying our environment and giving away our power?

 To this must be added that both the Federal Conservatives and the provincial Liberals have lied through their teeth in doing their destructive deeds.

The federal Conservatives are as much to blame as the Campbell/Clark bunch. One need only look at what’s coming out of the Cohen Commission to see how the destruction of our salmon by fish farms is not an accident but a very careful and deliberate policy.

Moreover the feds have actually been financing the Independent Power Producers with our tax money! Can you beat this? Your tax dollars are going to help General Electric destroy our rivers and our power system!

In one line I want to dispose of the notion that we need majority governments: can you imagine what the Harper government would have done if they had a majority?

At The Common Sense Canadian we will support candidates who will end the giveaways and recover that which can be recovered, knowing that painful though the decision may be to many of us, our environment and energy will continue to be stolen from us, with one of the clear consequences that we have even less money to look after our hospitals, schools, universities and those who need help.

Read Rafe Mair's complete column HERE


Friday, April 08, 2011


BC Rail hasn't left the station

BC Politics will now shift into Overdrive

By Richard Hughes
January 4, 2011

BC Mary comment: Please visit the blogsite of Richard Hughes for the embedded link, and for the gorgeous image of BC forests and their place in BC history.

Today -- 3 months after he wrote this -- Richard brings new life to the wise old adage (plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose) which says the more things change, the more they stay the same.


... David Basi and  BobbyVirk take the fall for the real bandits that so far have gotten away scott free with selling off BC Rail, the biggest conspiracy in BC History.

The BC Rail Sale has been the biggest most corrupt case of deceit and wrong doing in BC History.  Former Provincial Government Executive Assistants David Basi and  BobbyVirk had their six million dollar legal bill picked up in exchange for their guilty pleas. While Abbott is tippy toeing around a review he comes up short in calling for a full scale Public Inquiry into the BC Rail Sale that has been demanded by the far right, the far left and the far middle.

Surely as night follows day a Full Scale Public Inquiry will eventually be called. In the meantime we will be treated to a political dance over the hot coals that will only get hotter. Who will finally spit it out and make the call?

It won’t be Christy Minister Clark former Deputy Minister when much of the wrong doing took place is leading the polls in her bid to take over the Premier’s Chair. She says that it has been dealt with and wants to move on!

Mike DeJong danced about with CKNW  Talk Guy Michael Smith. The former Attorney General refused to step up and make the call for an inquiry. DeJong referred to a review but after  huffing and puffing  he was just blowing smoke. Interestingly his fingerprints are all over the Basi Virk deal where he approved the deal that paid the Basi Virk legal bills and relieved former key Cabinet Minister Gary Collins the discomfort of having to take the stand.

So far, all leadership candidates are reluctant to take responsibility for the BC Rail deal ...


Wednesday, April 06, 2011


It's a long, long way from the BC Legislature press gallery to the BC Rail Scandal

BC Mary comment:  Les Leyne is trying to tell us something. It isn't easy for him. Telling both sides of "the story" is one thing. Leyne understands that. But there are other sides, other shadows, sticking out of his column in today's Victoria Times Colonist. Have a look. Where does your sympathy kick in?

From BC Rail scandal to Press Gallery

By Les Leyne
Times Colonist - April 6, 2011

Brian, Brian, Brian, what are we going to do with you? [BCM: Stop it, you simpering fool! Have some respect for the profession of journalism: yours as well as Brian's.]

My old pal Brian Kieran has applied to join the B.C. legislature press gallery as a correspondent for, wait for it, [Stop it!] Monday Magazine.

He's better known as the founder of the lobbying firm that started one of the longest-running political scandals in B.C. history. So the new gig -actually, the return to his old trade -is either part of his rehabilitation effort, or a continuation of his notoriety, depending on your view of journalism.

Either way, it's prompted some soul-searching among reporters who cover the legislature. The looseygoosey gallery has limited executive functions. It's up to media outlets to decide if they want to cover the place, and with whom. Whatever standards they use to make the choice are up to them.

But Kieran's comeback effort prompted some thinking about friendship, the new media age and the nature of scandal ...

Read Les Leyne's complete thought(s) HERE, and try to forget that Victoria, B.C. is a very small town ... such a small town that Mr Big can go on trial in Victoria Court House (a few blocks down the street from the offices of Times Colonist), and somehow an effective media silence prevailed.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Eliminate partisan politics and the issues become clearer.

BC Mary comment: Here's an important demonstration of how citizens may rise above partisan politics to discuss a vital issue: why we need a public inquiry into BC Rail, why the current premier won't allow it, and how the next BC government is almost certain to do so. 

BC citizens should never feel that we are  helpless spectators. Yes, we do have a right to know every detail about how BC Rail was taken out of our public ownership and slipped into private pockets ... that's why we need the public inquiry.

But we also have a duty to understand what went wrong with BC Rail and to take corrective steps where necessary. Presentations like this can only help the process. 

Go HERE to pick up on this conversation:


Monday, April 04, 2011


THE SEARCH FOR JUSTICE. How much justice can the average Canadian afford? Isn't THIS is why we become political?

Excerpt from Lawyers Gone Bad,
CHAPTER 16, p. 311

By Philip Slayton

How much justice can the average Canadian afford? None. For financial reasons, he is denied use of the legal system and courts, key institutions of government and democracy. It is as if the right to vote in a general election were given only to those with an income above a certain level. Do not look to the legal profession to solve this problem. The answer will not be found within legal culture.

In 2004, average after-tax earned income for a "non-elderly" male living in Canada (a Statistics Canada category) was $28,300; for a "non-elderly" female, $24, 400. If this is how much money you make, you won't get legal aid (available only to those who are really poor), and will almost certainly be denied the pro bono legal services that socially concerned lawyers occasionally offer. If you need a lawyer, you'll have to dig into your own pocket. In the cities, even a junior lawyer charges $200. or more for an hour's work. A routine matter can cost as much as a mid-priced car. Fees of this magnitude are beyond almost everybody's ability to pay ...

Law school encourages cosmopolitan desires and pursuits. It reaffirms traditional values. It teaches what the economist Paul Seabright has called "the narrative". Students are encouraged to anticipate wealth and power; they are told how to serve the rich, for it is only the rich who can afford lawyers; they are taught rules, technique, and toughness, and learn to avoid emotional involvement or moral judgement. This is what law students, and those who will eventually employ them, want. Access to justice is not on the agenda. The one-time young idealist who backpacked through Asia and dreamed of a better world becomes a tax lawyer; the youthful environmentalist who once supported the Green Party, general counsel to an auto-parts company. As Michael Gorra has written of characters in Ward Just's novel Forgetfulness, "They have discovered that a career creates its own requirements, which are often at odds with the ideals that led to the choice of that career in the first place. At their outer edges, the compromises people make become ... Lebensluge, the lie that allows one to live.

Every year an army of law school graduands disperses into society and the workplace. These new lawyers are clever and educated, ambitious and aggressive. With few exceptions, they seek to participate in what their predecessors have established, not to reform what is there. They will make their way in the world as they find it. They will adopt it ways and eschew change. They will be reluctant to turn away clients, no matter who they are and what they want. They will be helpful, not judgmental. They want to work hard and be successful (although, as I have described, some will stray). They will serve their rightful masters. Their masters do not include the poor, or even the middle class.

As the stories I have told show, a lawyer in practice, whether he is by himself or with a handful of others or in a large firm, has much to contend with. Harsh economic imperatives promote inefficient work habits and even bad behaviour (overbilling, for exampe, or other forms of cheating). There is no moral compass, for it is not the job of the lawyer to pass moral judgment. Professional mastery of legal rules, and the need to manipulate them on behalf of clients, may encourage disrespect for values that are found in the law. Almost all of it practitioners see law as a business (the judgment of the BC Court of Appeal in the Strother litigation notwithstanding).

And there is extensive psychological baggage. To quote Martin Seligman once more, "Lawyers are analytical and emotionally detached. This produces predictable emotional consequences for the legal practitioner: he or she will be depressed, anxious, and angry a lot of the time. Lawyers are also pessimistic And sometimes, as some of my stories show, a lawyer descends into what can only be called a kind of madness, exhibiting psychopathic and other deviant behaviour. None of this favours justice in the broader community.

Many new lawyers join the great Canadian law firms and stay there for many years, even for their entire careers. In these great firms, which serve the economic elite (corporations, governments, a few rich individuals), a lawyer's work is as challenging as it gets; his prestige, considerable; his income (in due course), huge. Many of these firms are very large, with multiple offices in Canada and overseas. They have enormous overheads. They are businesses. Their need and desire for profit is relentless. Abusive billing practices are common. Oversight of quality and integrity is difficult, if not impossible. The partners and associates hardly, if at all, know each other. Knowing and trusting your partner or colleague is unusual and unnecessary; firm size, geographic spread, and organizational and legal structures (such as the limited liability partnership, creating what David Cay Johnston calls "a moral hazard) ensure that this is the case. A law firm has little concern for access to justice by the man on the street. ...

I have described the often ineffective and confused treatment by regulators of lawyers gone bad. Some egregious conduct leads to disbarment; sometimes, to a token reprimand. Sometimes a disbarred lawyer is easily readmitted to legal practice (after cooling his heels for a few years) sometimes he will remain forever beyond the pale.  ...

Law societies are run by lawyers, according to the world view and temperament of lawyers. It is no surprise that they have the same agenda and attitude as their members. Law societies are by nature conservative and protective of the status quo. They nourish their own and are the voice of the establishment. A law society member who is different risks severe criticism and marginalization. It is not the law societies of Canada that will change things. ...

There are no good arguments for the view that only lawyers can regulate lawyers, and many good arguments for the contrary position. Disciplinary action should be in the hands of an independent body; for a law society to investigate, prosecute, and judge violates elementary principles of justice. Above all, it is time to put the interests of the consumer at the centre of the system, making the legal system and the courts available to all. Only the government can do these things.

There will always be lawyers who go bad, no matter what the legal system. But the legal system should have no tendency to create, encourage, or permit transgressions. Those will inevitably come from the vagaries of human nature, which cannot be escaped.

Lawyers Gone Bad
Money, Sex and Madness in Canada's Legal Profession
By Philip Slayton
ISBN 978-0-14-305610-2

Published 2008 by
Penguin Group (Canada)
90 Eglinton Avenue E., Suite 700
Toronto ON M4P 2Y3

The author, Philip Slayton, studied law at Oxford University, spent a year as law clerk to Justice Wilfred Judson of Supreme Court of Canada, taught law for 13 years at McGill University and University of Western Ontario (where he was Law Dean) then in 1983 joined the Toronto Bay Street firm of Blake, Cassels & Graydon where he practised corporate law.

BC Mary comment: Slayton's excellent book provides detailed case studies and bushels of notes ... all Canadian. I wrote to him hoping he would look into the BC Rail affair. He replied, saying "Quite a story" but that he's already working on two new books. I would love to know how he would handle the theme of The Government v. The People, wouldn't you? Or ... The People v. Government.
Visit Philip Slayton on FaceBook and Twitter.
Mighty Judgment will be published in April.
Lawyers Gone Bad is now available as an ebook.

Wow. So this is how it goes ... this is from today's edition of Toronto Star:

Would-be lawyer rejected by Ontario’s Law Society for poor character
 Ryan Manilla leaves the Law Society of Upper Canada with his lawyer on March 4 after a hearing in which Manilla appealed a decision that he wasn't of good character and therefore could not practise law. The appeal was rejected.

Visit the Toronto Star story to see the  photo of the Ryan Manilla and his lawyer leaving the Law Society of Upper Canada. 

Dan Robson
Staff Reporter
Toronto Star - April 5, 2011

Ryan Manilla was a terrible neighbor, but does that mean he can’t be a good lawyer?

The 29-year-old did exceptionally well in high school. He was at the top of his class at Osgoode Hall Law School. He won summer jobs at Canada’s top legal firms.

But in September, Manilla’s application to become a lawyer was rejected by the Law Society of Upper Canada when he failed to meet its “good character” requirement because of his aggressive and bizarre conduct as a member of his condo’s board.

Manilla’s appeal of the decision was dismissed by a Law Society panel in late March.

Canada’s Law Society Act requires that licences to practise law only be granted to people with “good character.” It doesn’t define what that is.

In September 2008, Manilla was condo board president and became embattled with its members over proposed fee increases at the Vaughan building.

According to the law society ruling, Manilla sent threatening emails to the other board members and condo management stating they “run the risk of being shot by the residents in the building.”

He was booted out as president, but continued to fight against the fee hikes, once boasting that he enjoyed making the other members “squirm.”

Manilla didn’t stop there. He reportedly used unprintable language in reference to another board member’s wife and daughter during a confrontation, and made insulting remarks about Russian people who lived in the building.

Manilla then forged a letter from a woman claiming to be a private investigator and a non-resident owner of one the units in the building. (He used the name of an actual owner, but flipped her first and last name.) In the letter, which he circulated through the building, Manilla claimed other board members were receiving kickbacks from the company that built the condo.

Under weighty speculation, the board members were subsequently voted out by the other owners. Manilla was crowned president of the new board.

In March, 2009, Manilla was charged with criminal harassment. Those charges were dropped after he agreed to sell his condo, among other stipulations.

He apologized to the four board members, and gave Sick Kids Hospital a $250 donation in each of their names. He went to anger management classes and received psychotherapy.

But it was too little, too late.

In its ruling at Manilla’s “good character hearing,” a Law Society committee said he “pulled the wool” over the eyes of the anger management agency that wrote him a reference letter.

The committee cited Manilla’s forged letter as the most serious offence, calling it “clear character assassination” and noted he didn’t come clean about writing it until five days before the hearing. He was rejected on the basis of his “serious misconduct” that betrayed his character flaws.

The Law Society, which regulates Ontario lawyers, requires applicants to complete 14 questions and offer two references from the legal profession to determine they are of “good character.”

They include questions on everything from being fired from a job to being subject of a criminal trial. The Law Society notes it may investigate or verify any information supplied. Its last question is rather open-ended:

“Are there events, circumstances or conditions, other than those mentioned above, that are potentially relevant to your ability to practise law?”

The Law Society was unable to comment Monday on whether Manilla is out of the profession forever, or if he can eventually reapply.

The Star could not reach Manilla for comment.