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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Some of Stephen Harper's Old Lies

Well it looks like we could be in an spring election! .... time to remind Canadians what our Conservative Prime Minister has been up to over the last 2 1/2 years. His honesty record is NOT very good. Here is what Canadians NEED to know:

1) Promise Made: Mr. Harper campaigned for an elected senate and pledged that “all appointments would be made on merit-based requirements”.
Promise Broken: In his first act as Prime Minister, Harper appointed his campaign co-chair Michael Fortier as a Senator and Minister of Public Works –the largest governmental procurement department and home of the sponsorship scandal. Because Mr. Fortier is not elected, he cannot be held accountable for his actions in the House of Commons.
2) Promise Made: In Opposition, the Conservatives fought hard against floor-crossing. Days before the election, 40 Conservative MPs supported a private members’ bill banning floor crossing without a by-election.

Promise Broken: Within hours of receiving the election results, Mr. Harper dismissed the valuable contributions of many of his fellow Conservative candidates and instead s
ought out the Liberal Minister, David Emerson, for a key position in his cabinet.
3) Promise Made: Prior to the election campaign, Mr. Harper unveiled his party’s Accountability Act, which aims to “crack down on the revolving door between ministers’ offices, the senior public service and the lobbying industry”.
Promise Broken: The Accountability Act apparently didn’t stop Gordon O’Connor from walking right through this revolving door into the crucial portfolio of Minister of Defense. Minister O’Connor, formerly a lobbyist for the defense industry, is now responsible for overseeing some of the largest defense contracts in Canadian history. Gordon O’Conner has since been dumped from this position.
4) Promise Made: Mr. Harper’s election platform committed to strengthening the role of the Ethics Commissioner and preventing the Prime Minister from overruling the Commissioner’s decisions in the application of ethics rules.
Promise Broken: Despite “numerous attempts” to interview Mr. Harper over a four-month period, our new Prime Minister refused to make time for the Ethics Commissioner to discuss his role in the Gurmant Grewal taping affair.
5)  Although Conservatives promised a free vote in the House of Commons on the appointment of new Supreme Court justices during the election campaign, they will now appoint an ad-hoc parliamentary committee to question the new appointee.
6) During the election campaign, the Prime Minister promised the Canadian people that he would “lead by example”.  In his Federal Accountability Act, Harper went so far as to promise that he “will prevent the Prime Minister from overruling the Ethics Commissioner on whether the Prime Minister or an official is in violation of the conflict of interest code”.
“Now, Mr. Harper has admitted he has even gone so far as to try and have Dr. Shapiro replaced, showing utter contempt for the Parliamentary process by trying to unilaterally remove a duly appointed officer of Parliament – an officer seeking to carry out his duties under the law “, Mr. Easter continued.
7) During the election campaign, the Conservatives promised to make all capital gains exempt from taxation, as long as the funds were reinvested within a six month period.  The proposal was widely criticized by economists because of difficulties in implementation as well its prohibitive cost.
Two budgets later and still no exemption
8) Stephen Harper also promised to revamp the income support system, to make it more responsive to farmers’ needs, saying “A new Conservative government will scrap CAIS.” Minister Strahl is now saying he will “transform” it. The crisis on farms continues with no meaningful action.
9) The Prime Minister has repeatedly reiterated his commitment to end “the revolving door between ministers’ offices, the senior public service, and the lobbying industry”. During the last election campaign, he pledged to Canadians that “under a new Conservative government, politics will no longer be a stepping stone to a lucrative career lobbying government.”
But now that Mr. Harper is in power, the actions of many of his party’s members seem to contradict the very wording and spirit of this promise.
According to The Globe and Mail and information posted on the Public Registry of Lobbyists, a host of Conservative strategists, former staffers and political operatives—including former employees from Mr. Harper’s Opposition office, assistants to newly minted Cabinet Ministers, and even old Reform and Mulroney-era aides—have queued up in recent weeks to sway government policy.
“Prime Minister Harper has appointed three former lobbyists to Cabinet: Gordon O’Connor, Lawrence Cannon, and Jean-Pierre Blackburn,” Mr. LeBlanc added, also noting that several PMO staffers including Sandra Buckler, the Prime Minister’s new communications director, along with the chiefs of staff to Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn and Minister of the Environment Rona Ambrose, Government House Leader Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Revenue Carol Skelton were also recently registered as federal lobbyists.
Not only do these actions appear to contravene the Lobbyist Registration Act as well as the 2006 Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders, but they also violated the proposed Federal Accountability Act –the very cornerstone of the Conservatives’ election platform.
10) The “Selective” Accountability Act breaks a key Conservative campaign promise to implement all of the recommendations made by the information commissioner.
What happened to Prime Minister’s pledge on access to information, which was the core of his promise to clean up government? Under the conservatives access to information has almost ground to a halt!
Also missing from the legislation was any mention of preventing lobbyists from joining the government, where conflict of interest is an even greater concern.
“This is not surprising given that former Minister of Defence Gordon O’Connor wa a former lobbyist for major defence contractors
11) Mr. Harper campaigned on an elected Senate and then appointed his election campaign co-chair as a Senator;
He vowed to stop the revolving door between lobbyists and government, and then appointed a senior lobbyist as Minister of National Defence; and he promised Canadians his government would only make “merit-based” appointments, and is now handpicking House of Commons committee chairs.
12) As Leader of the Opposition in May 2004, Mr. Harper pledged to Canadians that a Conservative government would eliminate the GST on gas entirely if prices escalated above 85 cents per litre. Mr. Harper called the GST a tax on tax, referring to the federal excise tax which is also charged on fuel.
I think that the truth of the matter is that higher gas prices are…going to be something that we’re going to have to get used to,” the Prime Minister told reporters yesterday.
13) During the election campaign, Mr. Harper promised that Quebec’s role at the international organization would be one of a “participating government,” knowing full well UNESCO’s rules state that only sovereign states may participate. As a result, today’s agreement only gives Quebec an official representative within the Canadian delegation.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government today reneged on their campaign promise to Quebec which would have guaranteed the province a place at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
14) “Last fall, during a rush of promises to garner votes for an impending election, Stephen Harper unequivocally promised to ‘stand up for veterans’ by immediately extending VIP services to the widows of all Second World War and Korean War veterans.
Instead in the House of Commons, Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson confirmed that this government has no intention of honouring this commitment. In fact, yesterday before the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, Mr. Thompson had the gall to tell Canadians that it was never promised in the first place, when it is very clearly laid out in the party’s Blue Book for all to see.
15)  The conservatives promised to do away with gun control, we now have the curious situation where the police use the registry hundreds of times a day but the records are not being kept up to date
16) Implementing an Accountability Act that will actually increase government secrecy and make it less accountable, after running an election campaign on openness and accountability in government;
17) Pushing through a highly politicized deal on softwood lumber that industry representatives oppose because it puts more than $1 billion into the hands of American lumber competitors, after campaigning for years against any deal that does not return 100 per cent of duties paid to the U.S.;
“The Conservatives said they would demand that the U.S. government play by the rules on softwood lumber, and return the more than $5 billion in illegal softwood lumber tariffs to Canadian producers. But the agreement they signed with the U.S. only allowed for $4 billion to be returned to Canadian producers, and even went as far as to leave the U.S. a $1 billion dollar tip.”
18) Presenting a budget (2006) that increases income taxes, cuts billions of dollars from social programs and contains no vision for the economic progress of our nation, despite having inherited the strongest financial position of any incoming government in Canadian history.
19) July 14, 2006                Breaking an election promise to implement the Patient Wait Times Guarantee and instead recycling the Liberals’ $5.5-billion Wait Times Reduction fund, but downloading its responsibility to the provinces and territories without investing any new money;
20) The Harper Conservatives misled the public on their plans to arm Canada’s border guards and are now hiding the costs of this expensive campaign promise, says Liberal MP Mark Holland, Opposition Critic for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
 “They now admit that this is a ten-year process and not the short-term solution they pretended it was when they made up this promise on the fly during the campaign,” says Holland. “Now they are refusing to disclose the costs over ten years, and are trying to bypass the scrutiny of the House of Commons Public Safety Committee
We now hear they plan to arm border guards and Parks Canada Wardens as soon as possible!
21) During the last federal election campaign, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised that all government public opinion research would be published within six months of a project’s completion. Mr. Harper clearly stated that using public money for partisan polling was an abuse of power that his government would have no part of.
But now that the Conservatives have taken office, Mr. Harper appears to be singing a different tune. With only a month left until their promised deadline the Conservatives have yet to publish the March 3rd poll or the results of the environmental focus group testing.
Recent media reports indicate that on March 3, 2006, the Harper government commissioned an exhaustive poll to gauge public support for their five campaign platform priorities. Even though the poll’s questions were obviously partisan in nature, the $85,446 bill was sent to the Privy Council Office, not the Conservative Party of Canada.
Moreover, the Conservative Party’s most recent year end fiscal report indicates that no money had been spent on polling, yet we know that polling is happening. Canadians are right to wonder just how much of their hard-earned tax dollars are going towards partisan public opinion research.
Since this comment was written it has been revealed that the conservatives have been spending many times the amount they criticized the Liberals for doing, and you guessed still aren’t releasing the results in a timely manor.
22)  “The Prime Minister has cut 39 percent of the operating budget from Status of Women, and he has cut the Court Challenges Program. During the election Stephen Harper said he would uphold the government’s commitments to women. Why has he broken that promise?
23) The Conservative federal election platform specifically states: “A Conservative government will…stop the Liberal attack on retirement savings and preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them.”
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Harper’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that income trusts will be taxed like corporations starting in 2011, blatantly contradicting a major Conservative election promise to Canadians.
“Since the last election, many Canadians put their money into income trusts precisely because Prime Minister Stephen Harper told them to do it, and told them he'd protect them,” said Liberal Leader Bill Graham. “This isn't about corporations. It's about Canadians from all walks of life that’ve lost their savings. It’s about Canadians sitting around the dinner table with their heads in their hands saying ‘what do we do now?’

“The Prime Minister is the author of their fortune. Yet he refused to admit it's him that lured Canadians into investing in his promise. Will the Prime Minister at least admit that he misled Canadians and offer them an apology?

24) “In January the Prime Minister signed a declaration that he would support women’s rights and that his government would take ‘concrete and immediate measures’ to uphold its commitments to women. But  this government did just the opposite when it eliminated equality from the mandate at the Status of Women.”
25) Minister of Environment Rona Ambrose has repeatedly broken her promises to the people of Quebec,” said Quebec Liberal MP Raymonde Folco. “First Ms. Ambrose said she was open to allocate $328 million to Quebec. Now she is not.
This is typical of conservative on again off again support of projects in Quebec, the main deciding factor appears to be the governments position in the polls and the likely hood of an election
26) “During the election Canadians were duped into believing a Conservative government would honour the terms and objectives of the Kelowna Accord. But that promise was broken with the Conservative budget, which cancelled the $5.1 billion agreement.
27) “The Conservative platform promised to cut income taxes for all Canadians, yet on July 1, taxpayers noticed an extra hit on their paychecks. The promised tax CUT had turned into a tax HIKE at the lowest bracket, hurting virtually all taxpayers.”
28) Passing a Federal Accountability Act that Information Commissioner John Reid describes as “retrograde and dangerous,” and that breaks 21 election promises relating to conflict of interest and failing to change the Access to Information Act;
29) Breaking an election promise of openness and accountability by refusing a call from Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer to open the party’s books for a full independent audit after Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to admit that his party had violated election financing laws;
30) Breaking an election promise that no province would lose out in any new equalization program by back-peddling on a firm commitment to remove non-renewable resource revenue from the equalization formula, which would result in hundreds of millions of dollars being lost to some provinces;
31) Breaking an election promise to create 125,000 new spaces, while canceling the Liberal early learning and child care agreements to pay for a $100-a-month taxable allowance that does nothing to help families in need of child care;
32) Breaking an election promise to honour the $6.9-billion Canada-Ontario agreement;
33) Breaking an election promise to immediately compensate victims of Hepatitis C; He did take some action but as of January 08 the process was still tied up in the courts, hardly the help dying victims expected! Update, Compensation cheques started to be mailed in June 08, I will leave it to the reader to decide if this was the immediate help dying victims expected. I will give them credit for acting something the liberals should have done, they were just naive to expect anything could be done immediately in government
34) Breaking an election promise to outdo the Liberal government on investments in integrating foreign-trained workers into Canada by actually investing nine times LESS.
35) Breaking an election promise to reverse the Canada Post decision to close down the Quebec City mail sorting plant and save 300 jobs from moving to Montreal.
36) The Conservative government’s failings on immigration include a broken promise to establish a Foreign Credentials Agency, the abandonment of the Liberal government’s work on family reunification, and a failure to do anything to decrease backlogs in immigration applications. It has also slashed $20 million set aside to update Canada’s citizenship laws.
37) ACOA   “This is a minister who campaigned on a promise not to cut funding to the Agency and then cut millions of dollars from it just a few weeks ago,” said Mr. D’Amours. “Now service is going downhill fast while Minister MacKay travels the globe, leaving the needs of his own constituents in limbo.

“Of course, we should hardly be surprised. This is the same government that referred to ACOA in the past as ‘corporate welfare.’ It appears Mr. MacKay agrees with this. He owes Atlantic Canadians an explanation as to why he continues to ignore them,” he said.

38) The Atlantic Accord       Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote a letter to Williams in January 2006 vowing to keep non-renewable energy resources out of the equalization formula. The 2006 election platform also stated
• Work to achieve with the provinces permanent changes to the equalization formula which would ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula to encourage economic growth. We will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula.
"The Conservative government will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula," Harper wrote at the time.. The 2007 Budget includes non renewable natural resources in the formula
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams said the federal budget released Monday is a betrayal of his province, and he wants voters to punish the Conservatives in the next federal election."What they've done today is basically and completely shafted us," Williams told reporters after the budget was released. "It's scandalous what they've done, when you think of it."
39) Child Tax Benefit       Stephen Harper   had been campaigning to have the child tax benefit increased to $5100 per child. Instead he increased the  Child Tax Credit which will do absolutely nothing for the poorest children whose families have no taxable income.
40)  Prime Minister Harper had pledged to boost aid spending beyond Liberal government's planned 8% annual increases to achieve the average aid donor country performance by 2010. While the 2007 Budget reported that $315 million would be added to Official Development Assistance for this current year, 2006/07, it promised no new funding initiatives for 2007/08.
41) During the 2006 Election campaign Steven Harper promised 2000 new RCMP constables would be on the streets, now it turns out he meant IF the provinces agreed to pay half the cost. This surprised the provinces so far none have taken up his offer.
42) In the election campaign Stephen Harper promised to increase Canada’s presence in the Artic by. 
By building three heavy armoured Icebreakers capable of carrying troops. Building a year round combined military civilian deep water docking facility in the Iqaluit region. Establishing a new unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV squadrons in CFB Comox and CFB Goose Bay.
Instead he delivered a commitment to build.
Six to eight Canadian made patrol ships capable of operating in ice up to a meter thick and certain other conditions. These vessels will be able to capable of traveling in summer ice and be at the mercy of the Artic weather much of the time. I guess he should have checked the price tag before opening his mouth.
43) In June, the Prime Minister promised all provinces that he would not treat some differently than others, and that they would all operate on a level playing field.
In October he flip-flopped on this promise that he would never sign side deals on the Atlantic Accord by signing one with Nova Scotia.
 Or more correctly claiming that the was a deal, so far no one has seen it.
44) 35 Billion Reasons to break this Promise.
In the conservative election platform one of their promises was:-
  "To enact legislation to ensure that full, just and timely compensation will be paid to all persons who are deprived of personal or private property as a result of any federal government initiative, policy, process, regulation, or legislation.”
Millions of Canadian investors that have lost Billion of dollars due to Harpers Income Trust Debacle would love to hear the cheque is in the mail.
45) During the 2006 election Stephen Harper pledged to clean up government polling, having repeatedly criticized the Liberals for spending $18 million on polls he pledged a Conservative government would not take its position based on public opinion polls. 
      After having spent $31.2 million in its first year on 546 polls or nearly double the amount the Liberals spent, the failure to clean up polling, in fact doing the opposite makes it to the list again.
 46) and 47)  In the 2006 Election Platform the conservatives promised to;
  *Ensure that party nomination and leadership races are conducted in a fair, transparent, and democratic manner.
    * Prevent party leaders from appointing candidates without the democratic consent of local electoral district associations.
Former federal Conservative candidate Mark Warner was pushed aside by the party despite being acclaimed by their riding associations for the next election.
     His crime was going off message and addressing such issues as education, affordable housing and AIDS.
     Brent Barr had won the party's nomination in March, but was told on Oct. 19 that party headquarters had rejected him without any warning, brass told him he was being dropped because he wasn't campaigning hard enough to build up the party locally, something he strongly denies, Barr said he suspected the party has pushed him aside in favour of a star candidate.
      Harper announced that Bill Casey will not permitted to run as the party's candidate in the next election, despite being acclaimed by his riding association and having been elected as MP 5 times.
48), 49), 50), 51) In the 2006 Election Platform the conservatives promised to
 • Oblige public officials to create the records necessary to document their actions and decisions.
• Provide a general public interest override for all exemptions, so that the public interest is put before the secrecy of the government.
• Ensure that all exemptions from the disclosure of government information are justified only on the basis of the harm or injury that would result from disclosure, not blanket exemption rules.
• Ensure that the disclosure requirements of the Access to Information Act cannot be circumvented by secrecy provisions in other federal acts, while respecting the confidentiality of national security and the privacy of personal information.
All the above promises were broken when the government refused to release the information it used to reverse its promise not to tax income trust (no.23), freedom of information requests have produced nothing but blacked out pages.
   The government has repeatedly put secrecy before the public interest.
52) In the 2006 Election Platform the conservatives promised to
  •Require ministers and senior government officials to record their contacts with lobbyists.
They still are not required to keep these records or make them available to the public, all that is required is a simple policy directive.
There have been numerous suspected cases of lobbying that have resulted in favorable results for corporate Canada, several companies represented by Brian Mulroney have received favorable treatment. According to the Globe and Mail several corporate leaders lobbied the government against Income Trusts, there is no record of these meetings or of the corporate leaders registering as lobbyists, another legal requirement. The new accountable government was supposed to keep a record of these sort of meetings.
53)  In the 2006 Election Platform the conservatives promised to
   •Work with the provinces in order to achieve a long-term agreement which would address the issue of fiscal imbalance in a permanent fashion.
They unilaterally broke the Atlantic accord without consulting anyone and started disputes with several provinces. After nearly 2 years there still hasn’t been a first minister’s conference despite repeated requests.
54) In the 2006 Election Platform the conservatives promised to
  •Make all votes in Parliament, except the budget and main estimates, “free votes” for ordinary Members of Parliament.
Not only has the government completely failed to deliver but now everything is suddenly a confidence vote. What happened to the democratic reforms?
55) In the 2006 Election Platform the conservatives promised to
  •Increase the power of Parliament and parliamentary committees to review the spending estimates of departments and hold ministers to account.
Instead the government produces a manual of dirty tricks for Conservative committee members and attempts to shut down these committees and ignores their recommendations if not happy with the results.

 Broken promises collected as they were broken, in a few cases when it was considered politically expedient attempts have since been made to rectify the error.

What to you consider Step Harpers most serious broken promise? due to the length of the list we have broken the list down to 5 categories.
Patronage including appointing unelected officials to the senate and lobbyist’s to senior government positions appointing committee and judicial position instead of the merit based system promised.
Accountability, including an accountability act that results in more government secrecy and blacked out documents, floor crossing, attacking the ethics, information and election commissioners.
Broken promises to groups of Canadians, including but not limited to Natives (Kelowna Accord), women’s groups farmers, lumber produces and Veterans
The Income Trust Debacle resulting in Canadian investors losing 25+Billion dollars and the loss of billions of future tax revenue as these Trusts are convert to private entities

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