Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goodbye Canada - Hello Harperland

It's old news that Stephen Harper, our oh-so-humble Prime Minister, took it upon himself to replace all the portraits of former Prime Ministers in the lobby of the House of Commons with portraits of himself. It's also old news that government communications have been replacing the phrase "Government of Canada" with "Harper Government". Harper and his spokespeople have vehemently denied that this change was directed by Harper or his office. Documents recently acquired by The Canadian Press suggest otherwise.

It's also old news that our Defense Minister, Peter MacKay, used a search-and-rescue helicopter as a personal taxi last year while on a fishing trip. MacKay has defended his use of the helicopter, claiming that he was being shown its search-and-rescue capabilities. The cost of the 25-minute "demonstration" was $16 000. When MacKay sent out the request for the helicopter to pick him up, according to The Star, his plans sent "military personnel in three provinces scrambling" to accommodate the unplanned flight. Colonel Bruce Ploughman, who was the director of the Combined Aerospace Operations Centre at the time, warned that MacKay's personal use of the military aircraft would result in backlash from the public. He wrote to colleagues, "So, when the guy who's fishing at the fishing hole next to the minister sees the big yellow helicopter arrive and decides to use his cellphone to video the minster getting on board and post it on Youtube, who will be answering the mail on that one?" He continues, "If we are tasked to do this we, of course, will comply. Given the potential for negative press, though, I would likely recommend against it."

Even older news is Tony Clement's gross misdirection of $50 million in border funds to "beautify" his riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka for the G8 summit in 2009. In an attempt to absolve himself of any responsibility, Clement has consistently claimed that he was not involved in approving any of the projects carried out in his riding. Not surprisingly, documents show otherwise. Obtained through freedom-of-information legislation, new documents show that Clement's office was responsible for approving projects costing nearly $45 million. According to The Star, Clement's office actually "edited an official parliamentary transcript, in an effort to hide a trail of documents showing he directed how $50 million in G8 funds should be spent in his riding." Tony Clement is now the Treasury Board President - he's in charge of our money.

So much for the transparent, accountable government Harper campaigned on. Clearly, our megalomaniacal Prime Minister and his lackeys are going to do things their way, the rest of us be damned. Harper wasn't joking when he said, "You won't recognize Canada when I get through with it."

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