Harper government gives money to anti-gay religious group working in Uganda

Via reader Jeffrey P, seems the Government of Canada has provided over five hundred thousand dollars to a rabidly anti-gay religious group, Crossroads Christian Communications, to “help dig wells, build latrines and promote hygiene awareness in Uganda through 2014.” Given John Baird’s spoken out against the plans for a death penalty for homosexuality in that country, this seems like a rather underhanded way to promote that same agenda without taking flak for it.

Ottawa Citizen reports:

Until Tuesday, the organization’s website carried a list of “sexual sins” deemed to be “perversion”: “Turning from the true and/or proper purpose of sexual intercourse; misusing or abusing it, such as in pedophilia, homosexuality and lesbianism, sadism, masochism, transvestism, and bestiality.”

Lower down the page, the group asks sinners to “repent.”

“God cares too much for you (and all of His children) to leave such tampering and spiritual abuse unpunished,” according to the group’s website.

Just hours after The Canadian Press contacted the group to ask a spokesperson about the site, the page in question disappeared from public view.

[Read more…]

An anniversary to remember, with a thumb to Harper’s eye

Today’s the 23rd anniversary of the Montréal Massacre, which has of late been a focus in Canadian politics with Harper having successfully destroyed the long gun registry.

Except, as it turns out, in Quebec. The provincial government kept their copy, with the help of a sympathetic judge, and plans on implementing their own registry, according to Stephane Bergeron in statements made marking the anniversary of the deadly shooting at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique.

Bergeron also mentioned the deadly shooting at Dawson College in 2006, as well as the fatal shooting that disrupted Premier Pauline Marois’ victory speech on Sept. 4.

“Quebec believes in a system of firearms registration, essential to the administration of justice, to police work and to the safety of the population,” he said.

[Read more…]

Harper government celebrates destruction of long gun registry… quietly

Via Winnipeg Free Press, a spokesperson for the Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed that the long gun registry has been destroyed — at least, except for Quebec’s, where legal battles are ongoing. Interestingly, the Harper government did not issue a press release on the matter; it took gun enthusiasts rumoring about the registry’s destruction before the spokesperson would confirm.

No formal news release appears to have been issued by a Conservative government that has made repeal and destruction of the long-gun registry one of its bedrock promises.

Nor has the government said exactly how much taxpayer money will be saved by repealing the registry, although a study by The Canadian Press suggests it is a small fraction of the millions spent annually on gun licensing.

Could it be because the suggested “savings” are a total canard? A non-starter? A… dare I say it… complete line of bullshit?
[Read more…]

Wayback: remember when Harper’s government wanted to process dead animals too?

Someone tweeted a link to this story a few days ago. The story happened in May, but it’s chilling in light of current events.

The Conservative government is pitching the change as a way to cut red tape and provide greater flexibility to slaughterhouse operators.

But the New Democrats are raising a red flag saying the move invites possible “contamination” of the food supply.

“Under the present regulations . . . it has to come in alive, be slaughtered on site,” said NDP MP Malcolm Allen (Welland), the party’s agriculture critic.

“Now you can bring in dead stock. It’s okay to bring in that animal into a slaughterhouse, have it cut, wrapped . . . for human consumption.

“The real fear is how did it die, (and) under what circumstances did it die.”

[Read more…]

SCOC ruling: Harper’s warrantless internet wiretapping unconstitutional

Via Ottawa Citizen:

The Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark ruling that emergency wiretapping without a warrant is unconstitutional — which could pave the way for a new federal law that better safeguards privacy rights — is being used by critics to revive their attacks on the Harper government’s controversial Internet surveillance bill.

“It’s a huge blow to the Conservative’s Internet snooping bill,” NDP justice critic Jack Harris told Postmedia News.

[Read more…]

Massacre survivor speaks out against Harper scrapping long gun registry

Another chapter in the ongoing evisceration of everything that makes Canada great, thanks to the Harper government.

A survivor of the Montreal Massacre has spoken out against the planned scrapping of the long gun registry. While the law is pretty much a fait accompli at this point, with the majority in government being Conservatives, it’s good to know people are protesting.

She reminded the committee the bill will abolish the requirement to register non-restricted weapons like the semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 that Lepine used. She and Rathjen urged the government to realize the bill eliminates the legal obligation to verify the validity of a firearms licence when a long gun is sold or otherwise transferred.

[Read more…]

Shit Harper Did

Something I’ve noticed coming off of the debates here in Canada, is that people have been primarily thinking Stephen Harper looked “Prime Ministerial” or “hit it out of the park” — two phrases that, I swear, were used by three separate Conservative callers to the post debate show. That kind of coincidence seriously makes me think someone fed them some talking points, given that it used to always be “presidential” despite Canada having a Prime Minister. This is the first electoral cycle I’ve heard “Prime Ministerial.” And we’re, of course, famous primarily for baseball here in Canada.

Along comes a brilliant idea, though! A slickly designed website has taken it upon themselves to say, “let’s air all of Stephen Harper’s dirty laundry so that people stop getting the false impression that the person willing to lie calmly on camera looked Prime Ministerial.” So they did. This page is the result:

Follow @shitharperdid on Twitter, and visit their website. Great site, and great idea. All backed with links to the evidence for the allegations, if you don’t believe it.

As the page says, there are better choices. No matter who you decide to vote for, as long as it’s not Conservative, Harper will not get the Conservative majority he so desperately desires. Please vote on (or before) May 2nd. It won’t take THAT long, and you’ll get a clap on the back from me.

CRTC: a pawn in Harper’s larger game?

In reading news about the CRTC of late, I can’t help but notice a few converging threads. I legitimately feel that I am above conspiracy theory, and I like to say that without evidence, our understanding of reality is potentially unreliable. Therefore, I write this post tentatively, knowing I may be drawing incorrect conclusions.

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Click for original.

Pictured: the CRTC.

But if they are correct, they are damning conclusions indeed.

The Tory government appears to have a greater strategy of discrediting and generally casting as an anacronism the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Council for at least the last year. Harper’s government — not to be confused with The Harper Government, which you can protest such use by signing this petition — overturned the CRTC’s decision last year to disallow Globalive from entering our wireless market due to regulations requiring telecom companies to be locally owned. On this point, I agree with Michael Geist, that content, not ownership, preserves Canadian culture. The overturning of this decision, while well-founded, undercut the CRTC’s ability to make a second ruling — as they so often have done, given the fullness of time and understanding of the public and experts’ opinion in such matters — with the overturning coming so shortly after the original decision. The problem with this is the impression left of the CRTC as an impotent body that cannot make regulations that under any circumstances contradict what the ruling party happens to believe.

[Read more…]

Harper government intentionally suppressing inconvenient truths

Remember how rules changes in 2007 basically muzzled climate scientists in Canada from providing interviews with journalists about evidence-based climate research? Remember also how a troll on this blog suggested it was really just the public losing interest in, you know, being “guilt-tripped” by the media about the current state of today’s climate?

Documents were recently obtained by Postmedia News proving these policies are in fact governmentally mandated. Apparently, climate scientists are not allowed to discuss floods or the last ice age without special clearance either.

The documents say the “new” rules went into force in March and reveal how they apply to not only to contentious issues including the oilsands, but benign subjects such as floods that occurred 13,000 years ago.

They also give a glimpse of how Canadians are being cut off from scientists whose work is financed by taxpayers, critics say, and is often of significant public interest — be it about fish stocks, genetically modified crops or mercury pollution in the Athabasca River.

“It’s Orwellian,” says Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at University of Victoria. The public, he says, has a right to know what federal scientists are discovering and learning.

Scientists at NRCan, many of them world experts, study everything from seabeds to melting glaciers. They have long been able to discuss their research, until the rules changed this spring.

These policies are squelching legitimate studies based on legitimate scientific evidence, out of some misguided fear that they may be used against Harper’s politics. To translate: reality might have political ramifications that are detrimental to the Conservatives’ platforms.

NRCan scientist Scott Dallimore co-authored the study, published in the journal Nature on April 1, about a colossal flood that swept across northern Canada 13,000 years ago, when massive ice dams gave way at the end of the last ice age.

The study was considered so newsworthy that two British universities issued releases to alert the international media.

It was, however, deemed so sensitive in Ottawa that Dallimore, who works at NRCan’s laboratories outside Victoria, was told he had to wait for clearance from the minister’s office.

Dallimore tried to tell the department’s communications managers the flood study was anything but politically sensitive. “This is a blue sky science paper,” he said in one email, noting: “There are no anticipated links to minerals, energy or anthropogenic climate change.”

But the bureaucrats in Ottawa insisted. “We will have to get the minister’s office approval before going ahead with this interview,” Patti Robson, the department’s media relations manager, wrote in an email after a reporter from Postmedia News (then Canwest News Service) approached Dallimore.

Are you outraged yet?