Tuesday, December 3, 2013

As with Rob Ford, you have to ask Harper the "right question"

Just like Rob Ford, you have to ask Harper the right question before you'll get an incriminating response.  To wit:

 Last Saturday on CBC’s “The House” Terry Milewski made an interesting observation that may prove pretty important.

 Several times, both in Parliament and elsewhere, Harper has been asked if he knew about the $90,000 that Wright had paid to Duffy.  Every time he has flatly denied knowing anything about it before it became public.  Likewise he has now been asked frequently whether he knew about the arrangement for the Conservative Party to pay Duffy $32,000.  However, he refuses to answer that question.  The obvious implication is that he did know, and doesn’t want there to be any public record of him lying about it in case the truth does come out. 

 The program can be heard here.  Milewski joins the conversation at the 52 minute mark, and makes the comments at :58.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Harper's singing a new tune: Making plans for Nigel

Yesterday it was Harper's rendition of "With a little help from my friends" (how appropriate!), whereas today it's:

Making plans for Nigel (You Tube link)

We're only making plans for Nigel
We only want what's best for him
We're only making plans for Nigel
Nigel just needs this helping hand
And if young Nigel says he's happy
He must be happy
He must be happy in his work
We're only making plans for Nigel
He has his future in a British steel
We're only making plans for Nigel
Nigel's whole future is as good as sealed
And if young Nigel says he's happy
He must be happy
He must be happy in his work
Nigel is not outspoken
But he likes to speak
And loves to be spoken to
Nigel is happy in his work
We're only making plans for Nigel

Monday, May 20, 2013

Team Canada: Harper style

Click on image to enlarge (if your stomach can take it).

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Double standards at Michael Sabia's Caisse de depot

The Caisse de depot, headed by Michael Sabia, is taking issue with the $11 million signing  bonus paid to Barrick Gold's Co-Chairman John Thornton in this Globe and Mail story today, citing issues of "pay for performance", while ignoring the $21 million paid to Michael Sabia as the head of BCE, under these highly dubious circumstances (i.e his failure to sell BCE to Teachers')

Sabia got $21M golden handshake from BCE

Published on Wed Apr 01 2009

Michael Sabia received a $21-million golden handshake from BCE Inc. when he departed the telecom company last summer, before accepting his controversial appointment as head of Quebec's pension fund manager.

MONTREAL – Michael Sabia received a $21-million golden handshake from BCE Inc. when he departed the telecom company last summer, before accepting his controversial appointment as head of Quebec's pension fund manager.
Sabia's package from BCE (TSX: BCE) included severance equal to three years' salary and short-term incentives exceeding $9 million, according to a regulatory filing of BCE's proxy circular.
He also received $1.25 million related to BCE's abandoned privatization attempt, $3.1 million incentive pay, $2.9 million in accelerated vesting of stock options and $729,000 in salary until his departure July 11.
Since turning 55 in September, Sabia began to receive an annual pension of nearly $969,000.
Sabia has attempted to quell concern about his recent appointment as president and chief executive of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec by offering not to accept a bonus for two years, a $235,000 annual pension and another departure payment.
BCE chief executive George Cope earned $4.6 million last year. He replaced Sabia as the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and its partners attempted to close the $52-billion transaction, which ultimately fell apart later in the year.
Included in Cope's payment was a $2 million retention payment related to the privatization effort and a $1.2 million incentive payment. His base salary was $959,000. That amount increased to $1.25 million as of Dec. 31.
Meanwhile, board member Jim Pattison plans not to seek re-appointment to the board at BCE's May annual meeting. New nominees for the board include CAE Inc. (TSX: CAE) president Robert Brown, along with Barry Allen and Paul Weiss.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Harper's little house of horrors

Just think, each of these people listed below was hand picked by Stephen Harper. What does that tell you about Stephen Harper and his capacity for governing Canada?

The latest disgrace being Tom Flanagan, Harper's campaign manager in the 2006 election, and the individual who along with (now) Senator Doug Finlay was the one who attempted to bribe Chuck Cadman and buy his vote in Parliament, a criminal offense that Harper had foreknowledge of.

Tom Flanagan  (Tom Flanagan is okay with child pornography)

Patrick Brazeau (Senator Patrick Brazeau accused of pushing woman down stairs)

Arthur Porter ( Canada’s former spy watchdog is now a wanted man in Quebec)

Bruce Carson (influence peddling)

Mike Duffy (P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy under fire for living expenses)

Pamela Wallin ( Senator Pamela Wallin paid back some of her expenses: report)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flaherty strong arms the "arms length" regulator

Ethics Commissioner to look into Jim Flaherty’s letter to CRTC

But Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson – who recently warned cabinet ministers to be careful about how they use their positions when representing constituents – wants to give the issue a closer look.
“Commissioner Dawson is aware of the issue and is following up with Minister Flaherty’s office. We cannot comment further at this time,” a spokesperson said.

The Canadian Press reported on Thursday that Mr. Flaherty wrote a letter last year in support of Durham Radio Inc.’s bid to obtain a licence for an open spot at 88.1 FM on the Toronto dial. The licence was awarded in September to Barrie’s Rock 95 Broadcasting Ltd., which will focus on independent music.

Mr. Flaherty’s March 30, 2012, letter states: “As the MP for Whitby-Oshawa, I support their proposal and their application.” Underneath Mr. Flaherty’s signature, the letter states: “The Honourable Jim Flaherty, P.C., M.P. Minister of Finance” and “Minister responsible for the Greater Toronto Area.”

A 2010 report on the Prime Minister’s website called “Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State” notes that “ministers must not intervene, or appear to intervene, with tribunals on any matter requiring a decision in their quasi-judicial capacity, except as permitted by statute.”

Carl Vallée, a spokesman for the PMO, said the Ethics Commissioner says that ministers should assist their constituents in the same way as any other MP would.

“The Minister of Finance plays no role and has no input into the deliberations or decisions of the CRTC,” Mr. Vallée wrote in an e-mail. Mr. Flaherty also released a statement defending his decision.
“I will continue to be a strong advocate for the people and community I represent,” he said. “It is my job.”

The NDP pointed out that when Liberal heritage minister Michel Dupuy sent a similar letter to the CRTC in 1994, the Reform Party demanded his resignation. Liberal defence minister David Collenette resigned from cabinet in 1996 for signing a letter to a quasi-judicial body – the Immigration and Refugee Board – on behalf of a constituent.

“It looks like the rules and the precedents would require him to step down, but the Harper government, they follow different rules,” NDP MP Andrew Cash said. “He’s not a regular MP. He’s not even a regular cabinet minister. He’s the Minister of Finance. He’s No. 2 in the government.”

Mr. Cash pointed to a July, 2012, report from the Ethics Commissioner that expressed concern that Tony Clement, when he was minister of health in 2008, used his ministerial title to promote a constituent’s work. The commissioner said that, when helping constituents, cabinet members should not use their positions as ministers in a way that would give them “greater assistance” than they would otherwise receive.

This is not the first time Conservatives have been on the defensive over last year’s competition for a radio spot.

The Globe and Mail reported in July that Paul Calandra, the Conservative MP for Oak Ridges-Markham, raised thousands of dollars in political contributions from people involved with companies bidding for the licence.

After The Globe raised the matter with Mr. Calandra, the MP gave some of the money back. He also argued that he never lobbied the CRTC on behalf of the companies tied to the political donations.

Ms. Dawson decided not to investigate whether the MP breached the Conflict of Interest Act. She also said she could not rule on whether Mr. Calandra breached the Prime Minister’s “Accountable Government” guide, because her office does not enforce those rules, the Prime Minister does.
The PMO also decided not to take action in the case of Mr. Calandra.

“The CRTC regulatory process is completely independent; politicians are not involved in any way,” PMO spokesperson Julie Vaux stated at the time.

The PMO said on Thursday it stands by its position that politicians are not involved in CRTC decisions.