Friday, April 29, 2011

Layton's previous run-in with Toronto's vice squad


In the course of the volunteer advocacy work that I did over the past five years for the 2 million income trust investors who were fraudulently deprived of $35 billion of their retirement savings by the deceitful Stephen Harper and his lies about income trusts causing tax leakage, it was always perplexing to understand why the NDP were so easily duped to support a policy that was antithetical to everything they ostensibly stood for.

Without the support of the NDP, Stephen Harper would never have pulled his fraudulent income trust policy off. Another factoid is that Jack Layton met with Stephen Harper on noon on that day of infamy on October 31, 2006, hours before Jim Flaherty surprised the whole world with his Halloween announcement that income trusts would be double taxed with an additional tax of 31.5%, on top of the taxes that Canadians were already paying on income trust distributions. Clearly income trusts were the main topic of that fateful noon meeting between Harper and Layton.

Many people. myself included, often wondered about what transpired in that meeting. What did Harper do to convince Layton to support Harper's egregious income trust tax? Did Harper use the carrot or did he use the stick? If Harper used the carrot, what exactly was it, since no such "carrot" emerged in the way of policy in the ensuing months or years? Many surmised that Harper used the stick approach and threatened to embarrass Layton with some dark secret of the past.

One such individual who I spoke with maintained that he knew what that "stick" may have been as he maintained that Layton had been caught in a compromising situation with an Asian woman by a Toronto police officer when Layton was a Toronto city councilor. This individual's story sounded completely plausible and full of details, but had never seen the light of day and without any form of verification was only that, a story.

Well imagine how surprised I was to read the revelation contained below in the article entitled "Layton found in bawdy house: Former Cop".

Now we just need to find out what actually happened in that noon meeting of October 31, 2006 between Harper and Layton, such that Layton sold 2 million Canadians down the river with his trust tax support that caused them to lose $35 billion of their life savings and saw Canadian taxpayers-at-large lose over $1 billion in taxes a year from the resulting 45 takeovers of devalued income trusts by entities like Abu Dhabi Energy or Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing who pay ZERO taxes in Canada?

Evidently Jack Layton isn't just dumb, he's dumb AND compromised:


Layton found in bawdy house: Former Cop

By SAM PAZZANO ,Toronto Sun

First posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 9:18:44 EDT PM

TORONTO - Jack Layton was found laying naked on a bed by Toronto Police at a suspected Chinatown bawdy house in 1996, a retired Toronto police officer told the Toronto Sun.

The stunning revelation about the current leader of the New Democratic Party comes days before the federal election at a time when his popularity is soaring.

When the policeman and his partner walked into a second-floor room at the Toronto massage parlour, they saw an attractive 5-foot-10 Asian woman who was in her mid-20s and the married, then-Metro councillor, lying on his back in bed.

Layton was cautioned by police and released without being charged.

Olivia Chow, Layton's wife, denied her husband had done anything wrong in an e-mail statement late Friday night.

"Sixteen years ago, my husband went for a massage at a massage clinic that is registered with the City of Toronto," Chow wrote. "He exercises regularly; he was and remains in great shape; and he needed a massage.

"I knew about this appointment, as I always do."

In a letter from his lawyer, Layton recalls "being advised by police at the time that he did nothing wrong."

What police say happened on Jan. 9, 1996, was recorded in the former cop's notebook, which was reviewed and photocopied by the Toronto Sun.

The former Asian crime unit officer, who requested anonymity, details a prior police raid on the "premise currently ID as a bawdy house" looking for underage Asian hookers and a subsequent follow-up visit to the two-storey brick storefront on Jan. 9.

At first the policemen didn't realize they were interviewing one of the best-known Toronto politicians who was married to Chow, also a Metro councillor and now the incumbent NDP MP for Trinity-Spadina.

The officer's notebook indicates he asked the suspected john: "Did you receive any sexual services?"

He replied: "No sir, I was just getting a shiatsu."

The cop: "Why did you have all your clothes off?"

The suspected john: No answer.

The cop: "Are you aware that there were sex acts being done here?"

The suspected john: "No sir."

The woman, who was from mainland China, denied masturbating the suspected john but when the question was repeated became nervous and replied, "I don't know I only come to work today," the cop's notes show.

His notes also claim he saw the "female dump wet Kleenex into garbage."

In the interview with the Sun, the officer said: "I asked him for his wallet and I looked at his name and I looked at the last name and it looked familiar.

He's registered as 'John' and I thought he's a 'john.'"

Layton's Christian name is John.

"I explained to him this was a bawdy house and then I asked him the silliest question, 'Are you any relation to the councillor, Jack Layton?' and ... he had that defeated look on his face and he said, 'We are one in the same,'"
the ex-cop said.

The former officer said Layton, seemed quiet and mellow and denied that he knew it was a suspected bawdy house.

The police had to decide what to do with the controversial councillor.

"To have arrested him and charged him would have served our egos a lot more. Layton was a thorn in the side of the police, siding with the anti-poverty movement in '96 or '97 ... Jack was anti-police," the ex-cop said.

"We looked at it and thought do we take advantage of this, or do we look at this like (he's) any other person, put it away and we hope this thing dies a slow death."

In the end, they came to the conclusion they shouldn't charge him.

"If we had barged in and he was engaged in a sex act and we had plainly saw it, then it would have been a different story."

The officers said police filled out a suspect investigation card that recorded his name, address, date of birth -- July 18, 1950 -- height and weight.

That information would be filed away by a civilian administrator for crime analysts to use in tracking criminals with particular attributes.

The former cop is surprised it took so long for the incident to become public.

"This stuff was never leaked out back then. The professionalism was outstanding. I thought this would have come out. This thing within the circle was so well known."

The policemen warned the councillor about the dangers of hanging out in suspected bawdy houses that could be run by Asian triads.

"I remembered lecturing him on a lot of these triads, they'd videotape the customers and extort them afterwards. Jack went pale. I said to him you have to understand it's quite possible," he says.

"He came on a bicycle. I escorted him down and he went away on his bike."

We will be in touch shortly. The Liberal Party of Canada


Dear Bruce Benson,

Your message was successfully sent. We will be in touch shortly.

Sincerely,
The Liberal Party of Canada

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Madams/Sirs:

As I watch you flounder in the polls it’s obvious that your Liberal Family pack is not resonating with the voters. Most people seem to think that you are wasting our tax dollars on new programs which we cannot afford. I fall into this category. Your priorities must be to eliminate the deficit and get our fiscal house in order, not initiate more government give a way’s. Lastly I am saddened that you have thrown Income Trust Investors under the bus. You have deserted over 2 million potential voters who were screwed by Harper. You have refused to tell the truth and make public the Tax Leakage lies that the CON’s have perpetrated on Canadians. As a Liberal, I have been greatly disappointed by your initiatives and I have refused your requests for more money. By deserting Canadian Investors and Seniors many of whom are retired, you do not deserve my financial support or our votes but you deserve your current position in the polls.

Bruce Benson

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Globe article: Four things we've learned about Stephen Harper


My comment:

Three things we've learned about Stephen Harper:

Lie

Conceal

Fabricate

Readers tear a strip off of the Globe's endorsement of Harper



Remember the Globe and Mail was the paper that promulgated Harper's patent falsehoods about tax leakage from income trusts on behalf of its commercial owners of the day: BCE, Ontario Teachers' Pension Fund, Torstar Inc., and the Thomson family (through Woodbridge).

Below are the top rated of over 4,000 comments on the Globe and Mail's endorsement of Stephen Harper and his CONservative Party in the May 2nd election:

Gary Wilson

So with your endorsement you are saying that you're okay with this dysfunctional approach to politics. Personal smear attacks? The Globe is okay with that. Lying to Parliament? No problem. Lying to Canadians? The Globe finds that just fine. Obstructing justice? Bulling government workers? The Globe sees no serious issue there. Weaer a Harper t-shirt to a Prime Minister's event and you can stay. Wear an opposition t-shirt and be physically removed. Or simply have an opposition photo on your Facebook and get kicked out. Or a bumpersticker. It's all fun, the Glove says. Unimaginable and unaccoutned for billions on jets with no engines? The Globe's okay with that. Billions more on prisons with no convicts. Keep spending, says the Globe. Get in trouble, shutdown Parliament, the Glove thinks that's a good idea.

The Globe's message to Harper? We're okay with yuor approach to politics.

72 replies
Score: 877

canadaman


The Globe has endorsed contempt over democracy, secretiveness over openeness, and unforgivingly couched it in the canard of economic stewardship. Not only is this lazy journalism, it is in itself contemptuous of Canadian voters. Goodbye Globe.

19 replies
Score: 687

sk_er

This article is ridiculous. Where have you been living?

17 replies
Score: 651

G. Patrick


Does the Globe remember when they went to the remarkable steps of posting an editorial on their front page in late December of 2009 against Stephen Harper? It was on your front page for cripes sake. Yet, you endorse this same man?

Incredibly disappointing to see this decision.

9 replies
Score: 626

Giller77

And people complain about the mainstream media having a liberal bias?

11 replies
Score: 574

KT Ocean


Okay, but when the convictions for electoral fraud stick and when the G8 report shows the abuse of public funds and the misinformation, the Globe and Mail will wear it too. And now we know that the GLobe and Mail doesn't even require the political party they endorse to take questions from the media or from Canadians. I guess you guys are just happy to make up the news. Peas in a pod, you and Harper. Difficult to respect either.

9 replies
Score: 554

MJBW

Opinions are nice, facts are better. Here are the facts. Canada was in deficit prior to the recession and this was due to the second cut to the GST. This was Harpers fault, and yes the recession added to Harper's deficit. The two primary reasons that Canada has faired so well through the recession is because of strong banking regulations and strong commodity pricing, both of which have nothing to do with Harper. The Conservatives killed the western based trust model while keeping the eastern based trust model? Harper brought in stimulus spending after the IMF, World Bank, and parliment insisted on it. This was certainly not his idea. Ask Keen or Colvin how he treats public employees. Ask Canada's nobel winning scientist how he treats them. Oh right, they cannot talk publiclly without approval from Harper. "Shut up or I pull your finding". Ask Hilary Clinton, UAE, or voting members in the UN about Harpers foreign policy (mythology) or his commitment to human rights and aboriginal peoples. I am sure Jim Prentice enjoys his enormous effort being tossed to the curb at Harpers whim. Yes some things are expensive, but some things are worth it. 2% higher GST is a small price to pay for a Canada we can love opposed to a divisive Haper Government. Just sayin.

7 replies
Score: 462

good grief10


I loathe harper

25 replies
Score: 451

mkirkland


Sad. I suppose the Globe has abandoned any pretence to centrism with their third endorsement of a radical extremist.

10 replies
Score: 444

Ucuniano

The opening paragraph sets the tone. It begs for no endorsement, and that should've been the line to follow. Your editorial might be right when it highlights pragmatism as one of the traits of Harper and his conservatives. However, everything beyond that is just fabrication. The G&M knows better than I do that the current financial stability cannot be credited to Harperism, unless The G&M wants to twist the fact, which is something conservatives are adept at (even Ford our mayor can tell you about its benefits) but not a paper like yours. Yet, you just did it.
In all honesty, I was expecting a no endorsement position. Your editorial is disappointing because it betrays a lack of touch with the reality out here.

5 replies
Score: 428

JayRoc5000

Endorsing Harper????? He is mean, vindictive, slanderous, and his record speaks for itself (and rather poorly at that). He is a scourge on our society and needs to be voted out!

4 replies
Score: 413

VanMorty


So the Globe is endorsing Harper on the grounds that the Liberals did not sufficiently inform people of the economic meltdown, the record deficits, the rampant spending increases coupled with unnecessary tax cuts, the in-and-out scheme, the G20 slush fund, the Maxime Bernier and Bev Oda affairs, the use of federal funds for partisan political advertising, and the finding of contempt of Parliament? Pardon my asking, but is it not the responsibility of _the press_ to report on these things?

Like most voters I'm tired of attack ads, yet this article seems to fault the Liberals for not engaging in more of them. It reads more like parody than an actual endorsement. I'm disappointed on two fronts: first, that the Globe would endorse the party responsible for the most dysfunctional aspects of our current government, and second, that the paper would implicitly endorse the sort of muck-raking, negative campaigns that the Conservatives have made their calling card. I would have thought that we, as a nation, deserve better.

4 replies
Score: 395

From the same Bozos in government who brought you "tax leakage".


An Ottawa 'airport ticket agent' offers some examples of 'WHY' our country is in trouble!

1. I had a New Brunswick member of parliament ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)

2. I got a call from a Manitoba legislature staffer, who wanted to go to Cape Town. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, and then he interrupted me with, ''I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Cape Town is in Massachusetts ..''

Without trying to make him look stupid, I calmly explained, ''Cape Cod is in Massachusetts , Cape Town is in South Africa .''
His response -- click..

3. A senior B.C. deputy-minister called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando .. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that's not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.

He replied, 'Don't lie to me!, I looked on the map, and Florida is a very THIN state!!'' (OMG)

4. I got a call from a federal minister's wife who asked, ''Is it possible to see Russia from Canada ?''

I said, ''No.''

She said, ''But they look so close on the map'' (OMG, again!)

5. An aide for a cabinet member once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas .. I pulled up the reservation and noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas ... When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, ''I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.'' (Aghhhh)

6. A Calgary council member called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Calgary left at 8:30 a.m., and got to Vancouver at 8:33 a.m.

I explained that Alberta was an hour ahead of B.C. , but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.

7. A Québec MP, called and asked, ''Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?'' I said, 'No, why do you ask?'

He replied, ''Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude!''

After putting him on hold for a minute, while I looked into it. (I was dying laughing). I came back and explained the city code for Fresno , Ca. is (FAT - Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on his luggage..

8. A Senator from Saskatchewan called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii . After going over all the cost info, she asked, ''Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii ?''

9. I just got off the phone with a rookie MPP from Ontario who asked, ''How do I know which plane to get on?''

I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, ''I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them.''

10 A senator called and said, ''I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola , Florida . Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?''

I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola and fly on a commuter plane.

She said, ''Yeah, whatever, smarty!''

11 A senior federal government official called and had a question about the documents she needed in order to fly to China . After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded her that she needed a visa. "Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those.''

I double checked and sure enough, her stay required a visa. When I told her this she said, ''Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!''

12 A Newfoundland & Labrador minister called to make reservations, ''I want to go from St John's to Rhino, New York ..''

I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, ''Are you sure that's the name of the town?''

'Yes, what flights do you have?'' replied the man.

After some searching, I came back with, ''I'm sorry, sir, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a rhino anywhere."

''The man retorted, ''Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!''

So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, ''You don't mean Buffalo , do you?''

The reply? ''Whatever! I knew it was a big animal.''

Now you know why the Government is in the shape it's in!

Could ANYONE be this DUMB?

YES, THEY WALK AMONG US, ARE IN POLITICS, AND THEY CONTINUE TO BREED.

I don't write it, I just offer it for your consideration. Like manure, you just gotta spread it around.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Layton attacks Ignatieff's attendance record, but supports NDP absenteeism?


Layton supports vacationing Quebec candidate

Joanna Smith Ottawa Bureau

WINNIPEG—New Democrat Leader Jack Layton is standing behind a Quebec candidate who spent the past few weeks working at an Ottawa bar before heading down to Las Vegas for a mid-campaign vacation.

“If we had fixed election dates, then families of candidates could make their plans,” Layton told reporters in Winnipeg on Wednesday when asked to explain the surprising whereabouts of the NDP hopeful in Berthier—Maskinongé.

Candidate Ruth Ellen Brosseau is reportedly on a trip to the city of casinos and cocktails she booked before the election was called, after having spent the first few weeks of the campaign working full-time at the student bar at Carleton University in Ottawa.

That is three hours away from the rural riding north of Montreal where the NDP put her forward as the one to defeat Bloc Quebecois incumbent Guy André, once a long shot but now at least within the realm of possibility since the so-called orange wave has catapulted her party into first place in the province.

Layton defended her choice to keep her vacation plans and full-time job far away from the riding by saying it is hard for candidates—especially ordinary people with ordinary jobs – to plan for an election.

Layton noted Conservative Leader Stephen Harper defied his own fixed-date election law to go to the polls in 2008.

“Well, you know a lot of families make plans and if we had fixed election dates that were being properly honoured — we know Stephen Harper broke that law himself — then it would be a lot easier for candidates to be able to make plans to participate,” Layton said when asked how he could stand by Brosseau when he has gone after Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff for missing so many votes in the House of Commons.

“Our party puts forward exceptional and interesting Canadians from all walks of life and all backgrounds to be in the House of Commons and we’re very proud of that,” Layton said. “Every party is going to have some challenges in this area, but we think that our team is ready to work hard and demonstrates that each and every day as they’re campaigning across this country.”

Brosseau is not the only NDP candidate to have chosen leisure over shaking hands and knocking doors in this campaign.

Their candidate Jim Koppens in Ajax—Pickering was in the Caribbean earlier in the campaign and Layton defended him then too, although blaming the lack of fixed-date elections for scheduling difficulties.

It remains unknown whether the NDP can translate its favourable poll numbers in Quebec into seats in the province, where the victory of deputy leader Thomas Mulcair in the former Liberal fortress of Outremont in a 2007 by-election was viewed as a major breakthrough for the party.

But as the numbers grow the roster of candidates is coming under increased scrutiny and although Layton has been talking up star candidates like former Liberal MP Francoise Boivin in Gatineau and Cree activist Romeo Saganash in the northern Quebec riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, he has had difficulty naming more than a handful of Quebec candidates when asked.

Layton was asked to explain how Quebec voters can have confidence in NDP candidates when many of them might have their faces on lawn signs but are not seen on the ground.

“We are proud of our team. We have a team from all backgrounds, all professions,” Layton said. “We have a rainbow of candidates and it’s normal sometimes when we have an election that was not necessarily foreseen that some will have problems to arrange their schedules. It’s not that complicated.”

Monday, April 25, 2011

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s thoughts on Stephen Harper


Excerpt from article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, on Huffington Post:

Harper, often referred to as "George W. Bush's Mini Me," is known for having mounted a Bush like war on government scientists, data collectors, transparency, and enlightenment in general. He is a wizard of all the familiar tools of demagoguery; false patriotism, bigotry, fear, selfishness and belligerent religiosity.

Harper's attempts to make lying legal on Canadian television is a stark admission that right wing political ideology can only dominate national debate through dishonest propaganda. Since corporate profit-taking is not an attractive vessel for populism, a political party or broadcast network that makes itself the tool of corporate and financial elites must lie to make its agenda popular with the public. In the Unites States, Fox News and talk radio, the sock puppets of billionaires and corporate robber barons have become the masters of propaganda and distortion on the public airwaves. Fox News's notoriously biased and dishonest coverage of the Wisconsin's protests is a prime example of the brand of news coverage Canada has smartly avoided.

Why Leaders Lie


John J. Mearsheimer’s “Why Leaders Lie” (Oxford University Press 142 pp)

By CARLOS LOZADA,
The Washington Post
Friday, April 15, 3:20 PM

Who is more duplicitous, more inclined to deceive his own people as well as other nations for strategic advantage — current and past dictators such as Moammar Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak and Saddam Hussein, or democratically elected Western leaders such as, say, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Obama?

Easy. Just look at Gaddafi, who early in the revolt against his regime claimed that the Libyan people still loved him, that the gunfire in his country was merely celebratory, and who announced a ceasefire only to continue his attacks on rebel forces. Or Mubarak, who tried to cling to power in Egypt by suggesting that nefarious foreign agents — rather than frustrated Egyptian citizens — were behind the Tahrir Square protests. It’s got to be the dictators, right?

John J. Mearsheimer would disagree. The University of Chicago political scientist argues that the leaders most likely to lie are precisely those in Western democracies, those whose traditions of democracy perversely push them to mislead the very public that elected them. In fact, Mearsheimer says, leaders tend to lie to their own citizens more often than they lie to each other.

In his disheartening yet fascinating book, “Why Leaders Lie,” Mearsheimer offers a treatise on the biggest of big fat lies, breaking down the deceptions the world’s presidents and generals and strongmen engage in — when, why and how they lie, and how effective those falsehoods can be.

First are “inter-state lies,” deceptions aimed at other countries to gain or retain some advantage over them. Think of Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev grossly exaggerating the size of the Soviet Union’s ICBM arsenal — giving rise to the Cold War “missile gap” — in order to deter the United States from striking first. Or recall President Carter, whose press secretary had to lie to reporters at home when asked if the administration was preparing a rescue operation for the hostages in Iran. (Mearsheimer considers this an inter-state lie because the intended audience was Iran.) Or look at Greece, whose authorities misstated the size of the nation’s budget deficits in order to win admission to the European Union.

Such state-to-state lies are relatively uncommon, Mearsheimer contends, and successful ones are even less so. In a world where each state must fend for itself, leaders are unlikely to take each other’s word on serious stuff. (The world doesn’t buy Iran’s pronouncements that its nuclear program is peaceful, insisting instead that international inspectors verify the claims.) Also, if you lie too often, no one will trust you, so what’s the point?

Mearsheimer says that “fearmongering” — when leaders cannot convince the public of the threats they foresee and so deceive the people “for their own good” — is far more prevalent and effective. His Exhibit A is Bush and Iraq. With the public and Congress unconvinced of the case for war, “the Bush administration engaged in a deception campaign to inflate the threat posed by Saddam,” the author writes.

Mearsheimer, who opposed the invasion of Iraq on strategic grounds — he thought Saddam was dangerous but deterrable — calls out the administration on four falsehoods: Iraq’s possession of WMDs, the notion of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, the implication of an Iraqi role in the Sept. 11 attacks, and the suggestion that the administration was still seeking peace even on the eve of war.

Mearsheimer also points to President Lyndon Johnson and the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, which Johnson used to escalate the war in Vietnam; as well as to President Franklin Roosevelt’s lying about a 1941 skirmish between a German submarine and the U.S.S. Greer, an American destroyer — an event that FDR hoped would propel America into World War II. It is no coincidence that these are all freely elected leaders. Democratic regimes are more likely to fearmonger, Mearsheimer concludes, because, unlike dictators, they need public opinion on their side to go to war.

Next is the “strategic cover-up,” in which a leader misleads in order to cover up a policy that has gone badly wrong, or to hide a smart but potentially controversial strategy. Mearsheimer cites a French World War I commander so incompetent that French authorities hid his bungling, fearing it would undermine morale at home. He also recalls President Kennedy’s decision to deny that he had struck a deal with the Soviet Union to withdraw missiles from Turkey in exchange for Moscow pulling its missiles from Cuba. Whether or not the press believed it, Mearsheimer calls it “a noble lie, since it helped defuse an extremely dangerous confrontation between two states armed with nuclear weapons.”

The last two types of lies — “national mythmaking” and “liberal lies” — deal with a country’s self-perception. National myths fuel solidarity by putting a country’s history in the best possible light. This is why French schoolchildren read textbooks praising the country’s colonial past, or why America’s founders have achieved demigod status over the centuries. (Founding myths are particularly untrustworthy, Mearsheimer warns.) And liberal lies — a term the author uses apolitically — are used to justify odious behavior that conflicts with traditional ideals. For example, Winston Churchill and FDR served up a generous helping of deceit when depicting Stalin as a good guy (friendly ol’ “Uncle Joe”) to justify their cooperation with the Soviet leader during World War II.

To be clear, Mearsheimer doesn’t necessarily consider all this lying to be morally reprehensible. “There are sometimes good strategic reasons for leaders to lie,” he asserts. Depending on the situation, lies can be “clever, necessary, and maybe even virtuous.” But he does see some negative consequences to engaging in excessive deceit at the top.

Widespread lying makes it harder for citizens to make good choices in the voting booth, Mearsheimer writes, since they’ll often be working with false information. And in fragile democracies, pervasive lying can so alienate the public that they are willing to embrace more authoritarian leadership. Fearmongering and strategic cover-ups in particular are dangerous because they reflect leaders’ low opinion of (or even contempt for) the people they represent. Also, sometimes citizens refuse to support a war policy simply because they are intelligent and informed, and it is the leaders who have misread the threat. If so, lying to persuade the public leads to folly.

In the United States, of course, skepticism and mistrust of Washington already seem rampant, ranging from fringe conspiracies regarding Sept. 11 or President Obama’s birthplace to substantive debates on foreign and domestic policy. Rep. Joe Wilson’s infamous “You lie!” charge against Obama in 2009 was probably more shocking for its setting — a formal State of the Union address — than for its message.

And Mearsheimer worries that there will be more lying — and more mistrust — to come. Washington has proved adventurous in its foreign policy in recent years, willing to police the globe and use military force freely. And though the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may dampen popular and elite enthusiasm for war, “it may not be long before the United States marches off on another crusade” — leaving leaders in Washington willing to fearmonger yet again in order to garner support.

Why do they do it? “They think that . . . what they are doing is for the good of the country,” Mearsheimer explains. “Thus their lies will matter little in the long run if they expose the threat for what it is and deal with it effectively.”

In other words, if you lie to start a war, make sure to win it.

Carlos Lozada is editor of Outlook.

The politicised Sheila Fraser is stonewalling Canadians.


AG, public sector integrity commissioner could have released reports in election
AG Sheila Fraser refuses to release report on G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund. Her reasons do not stand up to careful scrutiny.


By B. THOMAS HALL
Published April 25, 2011
The Hill Times


OTTAWA—I am greatly disturbed by the decision of appointed officials such as the auditor general of Canada and the public sector integrity commissioner not to release reports containing information that the public has a right to see when deciding who should represent them in the next Parliament.

Following the leak of two draft versions of her future report to Parliament, Auditor General Sheila Fraser has steadfastly refused to release her office's findings about the government's use of the G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund. With the greatest respect, the reasons given by Ms. Fraser on the AG's website do not stand up to careful scrutiny.

Ms. Fraser says, "Under the Auditor General Act, we can only present reports when Parliament is sitting." Well, that's not quite true. The act requires that the AG report to the House of Commons through the Speaker and sets out how she can do this. The act says absolutely nothing about whether the contents of a report can be released when Parliament has been dissolved for an election.

The AG Act is fairly typical of the many acts of Parliament that require government departments and other officers of Parliament to submit reports to Parliament. All such acts set out how often and when the reports are to be provided and the reporting procedure to be followed. For government departments, reports are to be provided by the responsible minister. For officers of Parliament, reports are tabled by the Speaker of the House of Commons. To my knowledge, none of these acts requires that the contents of a report be kept confidential until the report is tabled in the House. The reason the reports are traditionally considered confidential until tabled has to do not with the act but with the right of the Members of Parliaments to see the contents before anyone else. There may be grounds for a finding of contempt of Parliament if a report is released before being tabled when the House is sitting or adjourned.

When Parliament is in session, public servants and officers of Parliament who ask whether their report can be made public are always advised by House clerks not to release the report until it has been tabled in the House. When Parliament has been dissolved, however, officials are simply told not to send their reports to the House during the electoral period but to wait until a new House has been elected—which is what the Clerk of the House did this time. But the Clerk does not tell officials that their reports cannot be made public during this period.

The first edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, at p. 376, states, "During the period when Parliament is dissolved, however, ministers or government departments may authorize the release of any return, report or other paper required to be laid before the House." While the AG's office may or may not be a government department, and the AG does not report through a minister (the minister of Finance is, however, the responsible minister), there is no reason this statement cannot apply to the AG's office. It is simply one of those persistent, but unfounded, myths of Parliament that the AG's report cannot be released when there is no House to table it in and no Speaker to submit it to.

It is perhaps ironic that the House of Commons adopted on May 5, 1887—almost exactly 124 years ago to the day—a resolution which read in part as follows: "That the practice now in force, requiring the withholding of Blue Books and Departmental Reports till the assembling of Parliament, results in the suppression, often for periods of many months, of information relating to public affairs which the public interests require should be promptly made public. That the Blue Books and Departmental Reports for each fiscal or calendar year should in future be made public as soon as practicable after the same are prepared, and that no unnecessary delay should be permitted to interfere with the issuing of the same." To my knowledge, that resolution has never been rescinded or amended and is still in force. It appears that the desire for transparency and accountably may have been stronger 124 years ago than it is today in some quarters.

It is understandable that the auditor general and the public sector integrity commissioner do not want to be seen as influencing the electorate at this time. But the circumstances here are quite different from those that prevailed when the then commissioner of the RCMP inappropriately revealed during an electoral period that a minister was under investigation. Here the public has a right to information that they need to make an informed electoral decision. If there were no election on, the reports would be released. To withhold them because there is an election is itself an interference in the electoral process.

B. Thomas Hall, retired House of Commons procedural clerk and former clerk of the Public Accounts Committee.

news@hilltimes.com

The Hill Times

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Avaaz thinks Linda Keen was responsible for Earthquake Safety?


Here we have a video put out by Avaaz entitled "Canada: take back democracy":

YouTube

The script for this piece was obviously written in Avaaz's headquarters in New York City, by someone completely removed from Canada, since who else would write:

"When Parliament criticized Stephen Harper, he shut it down When our nuclear watchdog raised the alarm on earthquake safety, Harper forced her out."

Earthquake safety? Hello? At least try to get the facts straight before criticizing Stephen Harper from afar, as there are no shortage of things to criticize the man for, including his ability to distort facts and make false accusations.....just like Avaaz themselves, it would appear.

I love the use of the word "our" in this video. Just who do they mean by "our", since the people who wrote this video are obviously not Canadians, since Linda Keen is responsible for nuclear safety and not earthquake safety and it's not like Canada has a big problem with earthquakes.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

McGill business ‘guru’ Mintzberg fears a Harper majority


MONTREAL - When you listen to the most-repeated selling points in Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s election campaign, high on the list is his campaign’s business-friendly agenda of corporate income-tax cuts and steady economic leadership.

Why, then, do we find one of Canada’s leading business scholars, McGill University’s Henry Mintzberg, waging a determined campaign to prevent Harper from achieving the majority that the Conservative leader insists is essential to safeguarding Canada’s best interests?

Mintzberg has spent the current campaign saying exactly the opposite: that far from safeguarding Canada’s future, a Harper government would undermine it. The home page of Mintzberg’s website (www.mintzberg.org) is now entirely devoted to the election, featuring arguments against voting Conservative and advice on voting strategically to prevent a Conservative majority.

What’s going on here? Is Mintzberg suddenly opposed to the free-enterprise system and in favour of the heavily taxed, government-dominated society that Conservative attack ads suggest Liberals would favour?

Not at all, he said in a recent interview. “I don’t want a society dominated by government. I just don’t want a weak government.”

What Mintzberg wants, as he’s written for a number of years, is a balance between government, business and a healthy non-profit sector.

He fears that Harper’s brand of conservatism, which can be considerably more hard-edged and combative than Canadians have been used to, “puts at risk the things that make Canada different and wonderful” in a world he sees as increasingly dominated by “an unholy economic dogma of corporate entitlement.”

It’s true that Mintzberg sounds rather different from most people you’d find in a business school, but iconoclasm is nothing new to him.

Even as he became an influential management scholar, Mintzberg has been free with acerbic criticisms of business education as it’s practised in North America. A couple of years ago, The Economist listed him as one of the world’s management “gurus” but described him as “a consistently contrary Canadian academic who sometimes seems to be undermining the very industry that he works in.”

Mintzberg’s critique of the Harper government has less to do with specific policy positions than with an attitude that he sees as embodying the same unhealthy values that dominated the presidency of George W. Bush. Some key elements are the glorification of overpaid corporate leaders and short-term profits. That’s tied to the denigration of government’s role in providing a regulatory and socially conscious counterweight to business.

The U.S. financial crash and its devastating recession were directly related to this skewed view of the world, Mintzberg believes. As a result of Canada’s having followed a different path, with more willingness to let government regulate financial institutions, “we’re doing better than the Americans,” with an economy that suffered far less and unemployment that’s lower.

It’s also worth noting that the elements that saved Canada during the U.S. crash were put in place long before the Harper government arrived on the scene.

It was the Liberal governments of Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien, for example, that slashed Canada’s government debt. As for the strict bank regulation that helped keep our financial sector safe, it was actually loosened by the Harper government before it more recently reversed course.

And perhaps most worrisome, the Harper government insisted that it would balance the budget at any cost as the recession struck, a good formula for a more serious downturn. It reversed itself only after a chorus of complaints.

Still, Mintzberg doesn’t claim there would be any immediate lurch to the far right under a majority Conservative government, but he worries about a shift in emphasis that would erode much of what makes Canada unique.

Part of this would be that Canada’s political discourse could be debased by more of the harsh, personalized attacks on opposition figures that have become commonplace under Harper. And in tangible terms, Mintzberg would expect to see a steady erosion of government support for such Canadian icons as medicare and the CBC.

On the one specific election issue where he’s been quite vocal, however, it’s only fair to acknowledge that Mintzberg’s position is tenuous.

This is the clash between Harper’s intention to cut the current 16.5-per-cent corporate income tax rate to 15 per next year and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s plan to raise this tax to 18 per cent.

Ignatieff claims that he’ll raise billions for social programs with this increase; Harper that he’ll create many new jobs with his cut.

Mintzberg accepts Ignatieff’s belief that the increased corporate tax burden would fall on corporate shareholders, bringing about a true shift in the burden of taxation and causing corporations to pay a “fairer” share, although he acknowledges that the shift would be small.

But more than one economist is dubious that corporate shareholders can really be made to pay more. Stephen Gordon of Laval University, for example, says that both economic theory and empirical evidence indicate that most of any rise in corporate income tax is eventually passed on to workers.

Shareholders can own shares of companies anywhere in the world, so if their profits are more heavily taxed in Canada, it’s very easy to sell shares here and buy elsewhere. That tends to limit the capital available to companies in this country, squeezing productivity gains and therefore wages. And, of course, it’s much harder for workers to escape by relocating elsewhere.

Gordon has a different solution: keep corporate taxes low to encourage investment, and finance generous social programs through progressive income taxes and high value-added taxes, as several Northern European countries do.

jbryan@montrealgazette.com
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lie. Conceal. Fabricate: Flaherty misleading the public


CLC President Ken Georgetti responds to Finance Minister's Claim
Posted: Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti has sent the following letter to Finance Minister James Flaherty calling on him to retract statements he is making that the CLC gives unqualified support for his 2011 budget.

March 23, 2011

Honourable James Flaherty
Minister of Finance
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister:

I am deeply troubled to hear you are misleading the public that the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) gives unqualified endorsement of your government’s budget, released yesterday.

With unemployment and underemployment still at high levels, you could have led the way to a sustained and broadly shared economic recovery. Instead you introduced only modest new job creation and social spending measures. With many of the jobs created in the short recovery from the recession being just part-time and temporary, and the unemployment rate still well above the rates prior to the recession. After you tabled your budget, had you been willing to open dialogue with the opposition parties, you could very well have settled it. It was our expectation that the government would want to negotiate, as you have in the past.

Minister, one can support parts of your budget without giving it full endorsement. While we have supported certain measures in the budget, we in no way have given unqualified support for the budget as a whole. We are looking for a real timetable for improving Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits, not vague promises to expand the CPP at some later date. We have certainly opposed your government's planned corporate tax cuts and expressed our concern over where $4 billion a year of planned spending cuts will come from.

To suggest, as you have been stating in the media that the CLC fully endorses your budget is misleading and we respectfully request you cease making these statements. I attach our detailed analysis of your government's 2011 budget for your further information regarding our concerns in this regard.

Sincerely,



Kenneth V. Georgetti
President

Conservatives run bubble campaign


In Whitby-Oshawa the fixture debate is the Virtual Town Hall broadcast on CTV. When I ran against Flaherty in 2008, he refused to participate in that event. So what did CTV do? They cancelled the event and tried to BS me by saying that a number of the candidates had declined. I was on good terms with all the other candidates and asked them whether that was true or not. Learning that it was pure BS I then went back to the CTV producer and had her repeat her lie to me again and called her out saying that all the other candidates were willing and eager to participate and asked her (1) why she is running cover for Flaherty and (2) why is she canceling the fixture debate and depriving voters of hearing from their candidates simply because Flaherty is too chicken?

Conservatives run bubble campaign

POSTED ON APRIL 22, 2011

Across this country, Conservative candidates are emulating Stephen Harper’s tightly scripted bubble campaign by deliberately skipping all-candidates debates in their ridings.

Why?

Could it be that when Conservatives don’t duck debates, they put their foot in their mouths – or commit gaffes to embarrass their party?

Diane Finley says pets are more vulnerable than children

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hq6wGiwckRs

Cheryl Gallant storms out of local debate

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UOYGSiXbxI

This comes after star Conservative candidate Chris Alexander confirmed that Conservatives are “for businesses first, for families and pensioners second” and after Conservative candidate Brad Trost spoke with pride of his role in defunding Planned Parenthood at an all-candidates debate yesterday.

It doesn’t help Stephen Harper when his candidates tell their constituents what they really think.

Perhaps that’s why the list of Conservative candidates shirking open democracy during this campaign is growing daily. Here’s a list of Conservatives who are either refusing media interviews, and/or refusing to attend all-candidate debates or have indicated they won’t:

1. Stephen Woodworth – Kitchener Centre
2. Corneliu Chisu – Pickering-Scarborough East
3. Bob Saroya – Markham-Unionville
4. Bev Oda – Durham
5. Jennifer Clarke – Vancouver Centre
6. Peter Kent – Thornhill
7. Cheryl Gallant – Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke
8. Rob Anders – Calgary West
9. John Koury – Nanaimo-Cowichan
10. Sylvie Boucher – Beauport-Limoilou
11. Daniel Petit – Charlesbourg-Haute-Saint-Charles
12. Robert Goguen – Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe
13. Jilian Saweczko – York South-Weston
14. Marty Burke – Guelph
15. Dave Van Kesteren – Chatham-Kent-Essex
16. Costas Menegakis – Richmond Hill
17. Joyce Bateman – Winnipeg South Centre
18. David Wilks – Kootenay-Columbia
19. Pierre Lemieux – Glengarry-Prescott-Russell
20. Fred Slade – Sudbury
21. Lynne Reynolds – Nickel Belt
22. Elie Salibi – Ottawa South
23. Gordon O’Connor – Carleton Mississippi Mills
24. Kevin Moore – Toronto Centre
25. Michelle Rempel – Calgary Centre-North
26. Shelly Glover – St. Boniface
27. Julian Fantino – Vaughan
28. Deepak Obhrai – Calgary East
29. Diane Ablonczy – Calgary-Nose Hill
30. Ed Holder – London West
31. Royal Galipeau – Ottawa-Orleans
32. Damian Konstantinakos – Ottawa Centre
33. Devinder Shory – Calgary Northeast
34. Larry Miller – Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
35. Patrick Brown – Barrie
36. Phil McColeman – Brant
37. Mark Strahl – Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon
38. Wally Daudrich – Churchill
39. Nancy Brassard-Fortin – Hull-Alymer
40. Peter Braid – Kitchener-Waterloo
41. John Duncan – North Vancouver
42. Pierre Lacroix – Trois Rivières
43. Leanna Villella – Welland
44. Lavar Payne – Medicine Hat
45. Kelly Block – Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar
46. Chuck Konkel – Scarborough-Guildwood
47. Gerald Keddy – South Shore-St. Margaret’s
48. Pierre Poilievre – Nepean-Carleton
49. Theresa Rodrigues – Davenport
50. Donna Cadman – Surrey

The Liberal Party is running a campaign of openness and accountability. For details on how these Conservative candidates are ducking their democratic responsibilities, please contact: Liberal Party of Canada, 613-783-8888.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Want to hear a joke? Building on principles!



Star probe: Toronto builder siphoned $1.8M from Gravenhurst project



Parry Sound MP Tony Clement officially breaks ground at Gravenhurst Centennial Centre.

Kevin Donovan Staff Reporter
Published On Thu Apr 21 2011

A Toronto builder siphoned almost $1.8 million of taxpayers’ money from a municipal project in cottage country by taking advantage of weak controls in the Conservative government’s economic stimulus program, a Star investigation has found.

Dalton Engineering and Construction Ltd. used a sophisticated kickback scheme to extract the money from cement, steel and other suppliers working on an expansion of the Gravenhurst Centennial Centre. The project is in Industry Minister Tony Clement’s riding.

Dalton was paid a fixed-price fee to manage construction of a recreation centre with pool and hockey rink but secretly insisted on hefty kickbacks from many of its subcontractors.

Kickbacks from subcontractors — as much as 10 per cent of their individual contracts — helped hike the cost of a project that started at $18.7 million and is now dangerously over budget at $21.8 million and not yet completed.

Here’s the kicker: Local residents have been told property taxes will rise to make up the difference between the final price tab and what the federal, provincial and town governments originally intended to pay.

The Star’s investigation is based on Dalton’s accounting records, town documents, interviews with some subcontractors who worked on the large project, and interviews with two former Dalton officials.

Our investigation was hampered by Dalton’s instructions to all subcontractors not to speak to the Star and Dalton’s decision not to comment and to refer all questions to the town of Gravenhurst.

Dalton officials called the Star’s information “inaccurate” and “outdated or incomplete.”

This week, the town confirmed several aspects of the Star’s investigation but said most of the Star’s questions could not be answered because until very recently Dalton had all project documents. Gravenhurst is hiring a “cost consultant” to investigate the allegations.

Questions to Dalton and the town and their responses can be found at thestar.com.

“I get your allegations, I don’t know anything about it,” said Ravi Rajpal, vice-president of estimating at Dalton, the only current Dalton official to speak to the Star.

A Dalton official also sent a note to the Star saying: “We are confident that the Town’s review of this information will demonstrate that Dalton has and continues to provide good value to the Town of Gravenhurst in respect to the Centennial project.”

Mike Campian, who until November ran the Gravenhurst project for Dalton, has viewed the results of the Star investigation and confirmed its conclusions.

“When I was at Dalton the top officials of the company were always saying, ‘We have to make 10 per cent above the fixed fee.’ They would get us to do everything we could to squeeze the trades,” Campian told the Star.

He said he was fired late last year after he refused to continue with the scheme.

“I was the face of Dalton to the town. I feel terrible about what I did for them,” he said.

The Star has obtained two sets of accounting records prepared by Dalton and examples are posted on our website. One set was given to the town; the other was for Dalton’s internal use.

The internal records, which the town did not see, show evidence of kickbacks — two columns listing the amounts.

The internal records show that as of last November Dalton had extracted almost $1.8 million in addition to its set fee and its allowable expenses, which together total $1.3 million. (Other increases in the project budget are due to a decision to increase the size of the expansion.)

The Gravenhurst project is part of the Conservative government’s $8.8 billion Building Canada fund, hailed by the Harper government as its bid to build “a stronger economy, a cleaner environment and better communities.”

The federal government has little oversight over these projects, relying on municipal officials to oversee the project with occasional monitoring by a provincial official.

Dalton was chosen by Gravenhurst in October 2009 to be the project manager. The job was to renovate an aging hockey arena and to add an aquatic centre, new change rooms and fitness rooms.

Gravenhurst chose Toronto-based CS&P Architects Inc. as project designer.

The Dalton family, which lives in the Toronto area, has a longtime presence in cottage country, owning part of Tobin’s Island on Lake Rosseau. Peter Dalton, who started the company, has left day-to-day operations of the firm to sons Randy and Andrew.

This appears to be the first large government project for Dalton, which made a name for itself renovating private clubs and schools in the Toronto area.

Among the sites where it done work are Upper Canada College, the Granite Club and numerous private golf clubs including the Rosedale, Weston and Islington.

Dalton employees do not perform construction work itself. Rather, the firm acts as construction manager, keeping two or three staff on the site.

Dalton’s first big task on the Gravenhurst project was to issue tenders for the subcontractors who would do the actual building and to recommend which companies the town should choose. Tenders were issued between March and May 2010.

The federal and provincial governments split the stimulus contribution of $12.3 million equally, with Gravenhurst expected to kick in roughly $6.4 million. (The town will now pay more — nearly $10 million.)

Under the contract, Dalton was to be paid a fixed fee of $933,146 and about $293,000 in expenses.

Records obtained by the Star show kickbacks involving at least half of the 88 trades hired to do work. It found there were at least four ways that Dalton extracted additional money from the project.

• Telling the town something cost more than it did.

Concrete is one example. At a tender meeting in the spring of 2010, Dalton presented a document summarizing three tenders from cement companies. It stated each company bid $160 per cubic metre of concrete for a job that would use about 3,000 cubic metres.

The Dalton document recommended Lafarge be chosen because it is 15 minutes closer to the job site. The Star contacted the two losing bidders; neither would reveal its bid but both said it was lower than $160.

Two sources involved in the Gravenhurst project said Lafarge actually bid $130 and Dalton pocketed the difference.

Lafarge would not open up its books to the Star. After a reporter put the results of the Star’s investigation to company official Brian MooSang, Moosang called back and suggested the original price his company bid may have dropped and Dalton would not be required to “pass it on” to the town. Dalton’s internal accounting records reveal Dalton pocketed $86,343 on concrete.

• Using a fictitious charge.

Dalton recommended Squire Masonry be chosen at a cost of $848,848. Dalton’s internal records show it took $51,091 back from Squire, and the paperwork from Squire shows it had to pay Dalton for “cleanup and materials handling.” In fact, Squire did its own cleanup on the site.

Two people who have worked for Dalton say the cleaning invoice was just a way of making the kickback seem legitimate.

Gravenhurst Mayor Paisley Donaldson sent a statement to the Star this week noting that “Dalton would not be allowed to charge ‘up fees’ to the trades (subcontractors)” on the project.

Squire officials would not respond to four requests from the Star for an interview. John Pinkney, a former Squire executive who worked on the contract (he was laid off several weeks ago due to lack of new work) said he has “no recollection” of a cleaning fee in the contract.

• Saying there was a tax and there wasn’t.

The Gravenhurst project straddled the changeover between the PST/GST and the new HST in the summer of 2010.

Dalton’s job, as the project wore on, was to pay (using the government money) all subcontractors. In at least four cases, Dalton mistakenly included provincial sales tax (PST) in its payments to the subcontractors for the time period when PST no longer existed. In those cases, Dalton then asked the subcontractors for the PST portion back.

Benson Steel, which had a $930,000 contract to supply steel, was one of those companies. Officials there confirm they paid the money back to Dalton. (Benson Steel would not say how much but it would be roughly $50,000.)

Mayor Donaldson’s written response to the Star said the town asked Dalton last August about the PST issue and Dalton responded it had “tendered this project without PST . . . and there would not be any credits for PST.”

That money should have been paid back to the governments that provided the grant money but they can find no record of receiving it. A Benson Steel spokesman said “it is unknown” what happened to the PST money it returned to Dalton.

Schindler Elevator Corp. was another company that confirmed it paid PST back to Dalton. A spokesman confirmed they paid PST back to Dalton, then hung up the phone when the Star asked more questions.

• Flat payment.

Dalton’s internal records show some companies paid flat fees to Dalton during the contract.

Acapulco Pools was paid $577,672 to install pool equipment. The internal Dalton records show Dalton was paid money by Acapulco in two installments — one listed as $21,530, the other as a flat fee of $20,000.

Acapulco president Bernhard Gall did not respond to a telephone request for an interview or to a written note setting out the allegations.

Paradise Steel had a $250,135 contract and Dalton’s records show Dalton collected a flat $20,000 from Paradise. Owner Raju Shah said he had been away in India for four months but would look into it. “Whether (Dalton) collected it or they are back charges, I will find out and call you back.”

Shah did not call back.

The Dalton records have a “Total” section at the bottom, adding up these additional charges. As of November 2010 the charges totalled $1,777,926 and the document calculates that as “9.36 per cent” of the project budget.

The Dalton’s stated fee plus expenses is about 5 per cent on top of that.

The records also show some unusual expenses charged by Dalton to the town of Gravenhurst.

The two Dalton officials on site for about six months each had a cellphone but the town was charged $15,551 for cellphones.

Dalton has an old laptop that the site manager carries. Dalton charged $11,348 for that.

Town officials say they are looking into the allegations raised by the Star.

“Any allegations made against Dalton of improper charges, additional charges, or inappropriate charges are currently being investigated by the Town,” Mayor Donaldson said in the statement.

The town noted that independent of the Star’s questions it had already noted “certain irregularities in respect of (charges for) insurance and bonding.” It said Dalton has corrected its mistake and paid some money back.

The only evidence that a town official may have benefitted from the project is the line called “Fire Watch” in the Dalton expense sheets.

The 25-year-old son of the town counsellor who chaired Gravenhurst’s building decision committee was paid $25,000 over a period of several months to stand in the building while it was under construction and call out if he saw a fire.

Kevin Donovan can be reached at kdonovan@thestar.ca or 416-312-3503

Brilliant.....moron!


Leave it to Jack Layton to attempt to score political points by proposing an absurd policy. Just like the time he wanted to control ATM fees, this time he is proposing to fine MPs who fail to attend more that half the votes in Parliament. Think about what Jack Layton is actually saying. MPs will be paid $150,000 a year if they attend more than half the votes in Parliament and only (?) $149,000 a year if they attend none. This is Layton's "solution" to Parliament's dysfunction? It will probably have the opposite effect, now that such a low price has been assigned to actually attending Parliament.

I have a better idea: Let's abolish the party system. Maybe then, Canadians will have true representation in Parliament, rather than Parliament being a gathering of trained seals:

Layton wants $1,000 fine for MPs who miss half of Commons votes

Postmedia News
April 21, 2011 7:01 AM

NDP leader Jack Layton wants to crack down on MPs who don't show up for work by subjecting those who miss half the votes in the House of Commons to a $1,000 fine.

NDP leader Jack Layton wants to crack down on MPs who don't show up for work by subjecting those who miss half the votes in the House of Commons to a $1,000 fine.
Photograph by: Chris Wattie, Reuters

OTTAWA — NDP leader Jack Layton announced plans Thursday to crack down on members of Parliament who don't show up to work.

Under his plan, MPs who miss half the votes in the House of Commons would be subject to a $1,000 fine.

"Canadians expect their elected MPs to show up to Parliament and vote on their behalf. That's why they send us to Ottawa," he said in a statement. "It's an insult to voters to consistently and deliberately avoid voting on the issues that matter to them. My proposal ensures that if you don't show up, you will pay a price."

While he believes most MPs work hard and have good reasons when they miss votes, he's hopeful his proposal will "restore public confidence in Parliament."

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has been a key target of the NDP's crusade against absentee MPs.

Earlier this week, the party issued a statement attacking Ignatieff for missing 70 per cent of votes in 2010.
© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

Read more: http://www.canada.com/news/decision-canada/Layton+wants+fine+miss+half+Commons+votes/4654521/story.html#ixzz1KAnimQ9X

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The real story why Canadians can't see the AG's report


From: Michael Ignatieff

Brent --

Last week, through an Avaaz.org petition, you asked me to call on the Auditor General to release her report on the Conservatives’ potentially illegal handling of funds for the G8/G20 summit.

You are absolutely right to want to see this report. Which is why we have put our support behind Sheila Fraser to make it available if Stephen Harper won’t, and, earlier today, called on the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate the matter immediately.

But the truth is the real battle to get this report released took place in March.

On Thursday, March 24, less than 48 hours before the election began, Liberals from the Standing Committee on Public Accounts brought forward a motion to permit the Auditor General to release her report whether Parliament was sitting or not.

After months of growing evidence that the Conservatives may have funneled millions of dollars into a Conservative Minister’s riding under the guise of summit spending, it was clear to the Liberal Party that the Auditor General’s report would be of significant public interest.

However, moments before this motion was to pass, the NDP rose to block it, saying they needed 48 hours to review the motion.

Don’t take my word for it — follow the links below to read the relevant section of the committee transcript, and media reports outlining what happened.

Had that motion passed, Sheila Fraser would have had the consent of Parliament to release the report, and Canadians would be heading to the polls with all the facts.

On May 2nd, Canadians will have the opportunity to choose their next government, and the choices have become clear.

On one hand, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are putting families last in line, spending billions on jets, jails and tax breaks for big banks and oil companies, and getting set to slash universal health care to pay for the $11 billion hole in their platform.

On the other hand, the Liberal Party of Canada is the only national party that can replace Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and form a progressive government that puts families first with our “Family Pack” of policies, and unswerving commitment to public health care.

Please take a moment to read the source materials below. With so much at stake, it’s time to choose a Liberal alternative that will protect health care and bring accountable government back to Canada.

Thank you.

Michael Ignatieff



SOURCES

40th PARLIAMENT, 3rd SESSION Standing Committee on Public Accounts EVIDENCE – CONTENTS – Thursday, March 24, 2011
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=5069719&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=3#Int-3826365

Failed motion to release AG report during election not ‘respectful’: NDP MP (Postmedia News, April 12, 2011)
http://www2.canada.com/story.html?id=4601992

Fraser launches probe into report leaks (CBC News, April 12, 2011)
http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/politics-canadavotes2011/story/2011/04/12/cv-election-christopherson-ndp-rules-115.html

Liberals call for legal investigation into Conservative misappropriation of G8 slush fund (Liberal.ca, April 20, 2011)
http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/news-release/liberals-call-legal-investigation-conservative-misappropriation-g8-slush-fund/

Liberals decry hypocrisy of Jack Layton’s proposal after NDP voted with Conservatives to cover up AG’s G8 report (Liberal.ca, April 13, 2011)
http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/news-release/liberals-decry-hypocrisy-jack-laytons-proposal-ndp-voted-conservatives-cover-ags-g8-report/

The Liberal Family Pack: Our five-point plan to strengthen Canadian families
http://www.liberal.ca/familypack/

Open letter to Canadians on the future of health care from Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (Liberal.ca, April 8, 2011)
http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/news-release/open-letter-canadians-future-health-care-michael-ignatieff-leader-liberal-party-canada/

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Has no trust of PM Harper


There are many examples of where trust in our politicians has been questioned. Promises are made and broken within a short time before and after elections are held.

Our most significant and personal example is the complete reversal on the taxation of income trusts which had provided a good retirement income source for our investments.

Stephen Harper had prior to his first election stated that he would not tax income trusts if he were elected, yet within a short time after he was elected and without consultation with the public or businesses completely reversed his promise. This was after the liberal government had canceled their planned taxation of the income trusts because of protests by the opposition Harper Conservatives.

We had worked hard and saved for our retirement only to have a significant portion of it erased overnight. We were not the only ones affected by this decision, as much protest arose across the country from all stakeholders. There was also much talk and investigation of insider trading before the announcement was made.

The long-term effects of this deceit is a reduction in our pension income compounded for the rest of our lives. This is just one of many reasons we will not vote for a party with a leader like Stephen Harper who cannot be trusted and is without question a control freak. It's his way or the highway.

Appearances are deceiving. If you vote for his party don't be surprised by future decisions he makes. I hope those who are in our situation remember the cost and vote for a better alternative!

Ralph Johnston,
Bass River

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Globe and Mail: Your complete source for misinformation


......like quotes wrongly attributed to Stephen Harper....and the constant lies advanced by the Globe and Mail that income trusts cause tax leakage. There ought to be a law....truth in journalism is a myth. The Globe was quick to retract the misquote of Stephen Harper but has yet to set the record straight on Stephen Harper's lie about tax leakage.

‘They dish it but they can’t take it,’ Ignatieff says after Liberals pull Harper quote
BILL CURRY AND JANE TABER
DETTAH, NWT, AND OTTAWA—
Monday, April 18, 2011 12:46PM EDT

The Liberals are escalating their attack on Stephen Harper over the future of health care, portraying complaints from the Conservative war room as a sign of nervousness.

Liberals say they will post an online poll Monday asking Canadians which new Harper quote on health care they should use to replace one that was inaccurate.

“I think they’re nervous. They are under attack for the first time on a fundamental question,” Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Monday in French. “Do you trust Mr. Harper on health care, yes or no? And I think the answer is no.”

The flurry of activity began in the morning with phone calls from the Conservatives informing reporters travelling with the Liberal Leader that a recent attack ad on health attributes a quote to Mr. Harper that was in fact written by David Somerville, president of the National Citizens Coalition – an organization that Mr. Harper once led.

Mr. Ignatieff responded by saying the source of the quote was The Globe and Mail and Maclean’s. The Globe then published a correction Monday related to an Aug. 25, 2010 column that misattributed the quote.

Liberals note the ad has been running for several days without comment from the Conservatives. While all three national parties are promising to continue spending 6 per cent more each year on health transfers to the provinces, Mr. Ignatieff argues the Conservative numbers “don’t ad up” because Mr. Harper has made expensive long term promises related to fighter jets, income splitting, prisons and corporate tax cuts.

The Conservatives counter that they are focused on the economy and a strong economy is the best way to ensure Ottawa has the money to spend on health care. The NDP, for its part, says neither the Conservatives, nor the Liberals can be trusted on the issue.

Mr. Ignatieff noted that the Conservatives have been taking his quotes out of context in ad campaigns for years.

“I’ve had five years of malicious, selective misquotation of my work. But that is no excuse. If there is misquotation in any campaign, then that’s unacceptable. The fact that they did it to me doesn’t make it acceptable,” he said, in relation to the Conservative objections regarding the quote. “I don’t want us to go down this road. They went down that road and I don’t want to go down there with them.”

Yet after saying that, he went on to say the gloves are off at this point in the campaign.

“It’s getting tight. The heat’s on. They dish it out but they can’t take it,” he said. “We’re saying: ‘Gloves off. Let’s have a real serious debate on this issue.’ It’s a fundamental issue. This is about values.”

The Liberals will not be taking the ad off the air, as the Tories demanded.

“We're going to replace the quote with one of the many other comments Stephen Harper has made attacking public health care in Canada – and we've got plenty to choose from,” Ignatieff spokeswoman Leslie Church told The Globe Monday.

“The question for Mr Harper now is whether he stands by the view that the CHA should be ‘replaced’ or ‘overhauled?’”

Ms. Church added that the new ad will be on television by Tuesday.

The original quote – “It’s past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act” – was used by the Liberals in their attack ad, and attributed to Mr. Harper.

The TV spot had been running for six days before the Tories found the misquote. Then they seized upon it, accusing the Liberals of fabricating the line and calling on them to pull the ad.

“There is no excuse – not even the desperation of a flailing campaign – that justifies the Ignatieff decision to take someone else's words and pass them off as Mr. Harper's,” Conservative campaign manager Jenni Byrne said in a statement issued to the press. “Mr. Ignatieff must pull the false ad immediately. His campaign should apologize, not to us, but to Canadians, for trying to mislead them.”

But the Liberals fired back with a series of quotations from Mr. Harper and what they are calling “his controversial views on the Canada Health Act.”

“In 1997, when Harper was vice-president of the National Citizens' Coalition, a group obsessed with privatizing health care, he said: “Well I think it would be a good idea. … Moving toward alternatives, including those provided by the private sector, is a natural development of our health care system.’”

There are other quotes from Mr. Harper, including just last week when he said during the English-language leaders debate: “Governments across this country have experimented with alternative service delivery. … We’re not going to wave the finger at provinces because they experiment with different delivery.”

The ad has caused much consternation in the Tory camp. Even before the Tories started pointing fingers Monday, Conservative campaign manager Jenni Byrne sent a memo to her troops, suggesting that the Liberal attack ad was a sign of desperation.

That was repeated again Monday in the statement sent to reporters. “In a clear sign of desperation, the Ignatieff Liberals are running a TV commercial based on a fabricated quotation,” the Tories charged.

But the Liberals fired back with a series of quotations from Mr. Harper and what they are calling “his controversial views on the Canada Health Act.”

They noted that he was quoted in The Globe and Mail (in August, 2010) and in the Calgary Herald (in May, 2005) saying “it’s past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act.”

“In 1997, when Harper was vice-president of the National Citizens' Coalition, a group obsessed with privatizing health care, he said: “Well I think it would be a good idea. … Moving toward alternatives, including those provided by the private sector, is a natural development of our health care system.’ In another interview that year, Harper said, ‘It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act,’ according to the Calgary Herald article.”

There are other quotes from Mr. Harper, including just last week when he said during the English-language leaders debate: “Governments across this country have experimented with alternative service delivery. … We’re not going to wave the finger at provinces because they experiment with different delivery.”

But the Tories are unfazed. “Ignatieff knows that the words belong to David Somerville, not Stephen Harper, because in past the Liberals have correctly attributed the quotation to Somerville (Liberal Party of Canada, “Stephen Harper and the National Citizens' Coalition” (2004), page 5, footnote 20),” the Conservative news release said.

In response to the Tory accusation, an Ignatieff spokeswoman said: “This ad exposes one thing: you can’t trust Stephen Harper on health care. The Conservatives may not like Canadians having this debate about the future of health, but they have a right to know where Stephen Harper stands and how he explains his controversial views on the Canada Health Act.”

The Liberals also note the ad has been up since last Tuesday, and curious why the Tories are only raising the issue now.

Charges of fabrication by the Great Fabricator himself!


Grits shrug off Tory accusation they fabricated Harper quote
Jane Taber
Globe and Mail Update
Monday, April 18, 2011 1

A Liberal attack ad questioning a perceived hidden agenda in the Conservative health-care platform has the Tories aggressively pushing back with accusations the Grits fabricated a quote from Stephen Harper.

The Liberals are dismissing the accusation, arguing the Conservative Leader has been quoted previously musing about private health care.

The disputed quotation attributed to Mr. Harper is: “It’s past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act.” It appears at the beginning of the new Liberal attack ad, titled Health Risk.

The Tories, in a statement released to media covering the Liberal campaign, say Mr. Harper never said it. Rather, the words belong to David Somerville, Mr. Harper’s boss when he worked as vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, a right-wing lobby group.

The ad has caused much consternation in the Tory camp. Even before the Tories started pointing fingers Monday, Conservative campaign manager Jenni Byrne sent a memo to her troops, suggesting that the Liberal attack ad was a sign of desperation.

That was repeated again Monday in the statement sent to reporters. “In a clear sign of desperation, the Ignatieff Liberals are running a TV commercial based on a fabricated quotation,” the Tories charged.

But the Liberals fired back with a series of quotations from Mr. Harper and what they are calling “his controversial views on the Canada Health Act.”

They noted that he was quoted in The Globe and Mail (in August, 2010) and in the Calgary Herald (in May, 2005) saying “it’s past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act.”

“In 1997, when Harper was vice-president of the National Citizens' Coalition, a group obsessed with privatizing health care, he said: “Well I think it would be a good idea. … Moving toward alternatives, including those provided by the private sector, is a natural development of our health care system.’ In another interview that year, Harper said, ‘It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act,’ according to the Calgary Herald article.”

There are other quotes from Mr. Harper, including just last week when he said during the English-language leaders debate: “Governments across this country have experimented with alternative service delivery. … We’re not going to wave the finger at provinces because they experiment with different delivery.”

But the Tories are unfazed. “Ignatieff knows that the words belong to David Somerville, not Stephen Harper, because in past the Liberals have correctly attributed the quotation to Somerville (Liberal Party of Canada, “Stephen Harper and the National Citizens' Coalition” (2004), page 5, footnote 20),” the Conservative news release said.

In response to the Tory accusation, an Ignatieff spokeswoman said: “This ad exposes one thing: you can’t trust Stephen Harper on health care. The Conservatives may not like Canadians having this debate about the future of health, but they have a right to know where Stephen Harper stands and how he explains his controversial views on the Canada Health Act.”

The Liberals also note the ad has been up since last Tuesday, and curious why the Tories are only raising the issue now.

CAITI called out Harper on the matter of "democracy" long before many others did:



CAITI advertisement from February 2007 published in the Hill Times entitled "Stephen Harper's insidious attack on Democracy". Click on above image to enlarge.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lie. Conceal. Fabricate: Canada’s F-35s: Engines not included


Canada’s F-35s: Engines not included

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

By DAVID PUGLIESE, The Ottawa Citizen April 17, 2011 11:15 AM

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.”

But former chief of the defence staff, retired Gen. Paul Manson, a strong supporter of the F-35 and a former chairman of Lockheed Martin Canada, has challenged Wheeler’s viewpoints in a letter to the Citizen. According to Manson, the F-35 project is progressing well and the plane is the right one for Canada. He said Wheeler lacks credibility because he is associated with a “left-wing” organization in Washington.

Wheeler, who was asked to testify last year before a Commons committee, has spent the last 30 years working on defence issues for Republican and Democratic politicians. He was an analyst for nine years with the Government Accountability Office, working on studies concerning defence procurement and military aircraft.

The DND records highlight the F-35’s capabilities, pointing out that it will be easy to fly and the purchase will provide contracts for Canadian aerospace companies.

During the tour, the issue of whether the F-35 could contribute to search and rescue (SAR) missions also came up. “Fighter aircraft (are) not a primary SAR asset, but can play a secondary role — and would,” the documents state.

But Steve Staples, a vocal critic of the F-35 purchase, calls that claim ludicrous.

He said the billions of dollars earmarked for the fighter jets have helped delay other more important projects such as the air force’s much-delayed plan to buy fixed wing search and rescue planes.

“The concern here is that the F-35 eats everybody’s else’s lunch and there will be no money left,” said Staples, president of the Rideau Institute. “The search and rescue aircraft are a casualty, so instead we’ll get some supersonic stealth fighter trying to find hikers lost in the woods.”

According to the DND presentations from the documents, the first F-35 will be delivered to Canada in 2016. The final delivery will take place in 2022.
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