50+ EXAMPLES OF HOW HARPER HAS BETRAYED YOUR TRUST
This list only covers the first 20 months of the Harper MINORITY Government. UNTRUSTWORTHY FROM THE BEGINNING:
Before becoming government
The Seeds of Betrayal:
In order to gain the support of David Orchard in his bid to become leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada Peter MacKay signed a deal confirming he would not seek to merge the PC Party with the Canadian Reform Alliance Party. Immediately following the leadership convention MacKay began secret negotiations with the Reformers.
Stephen Harper chose this "man of his word" as Deputy Leader of the new Conservative Party and has since put a person whose signature isn't worth the paper its written on in charge of External Affairs (ie: International Agreements); and most recently National Defence and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Mr MacKay is from Atlantic Canada so keep the fact that he's the minister for the region in mind as we proceed.
Since Forming Government
BUSH Republican or Canadian Conservative? You decide:
1). In addition to "accountability", "transparency", and an "end to cronyism" Mr. Harper campaigned for an elected senate and pledged that "all appointments would be made on merit-based requirements".
But in his first act as Prime Minister, Harper appointed his campaign co-chair Michael Fortier as a Senator and then as Minister of Public Works - Public Works is 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). 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. But within hours of receiving the election results, Mr. Harper dismissed the valuable contributions of many of his fellow Conservative candidates and instead sought out the Liberal Minister, David Emerson, for a key position in his cabinet, allowing Mr Emerson to cross the floor without standing in a by-election.
3). Prior to the election campaign, Mr. Harper unveiled his party's "Accountability Act", which aimed to "crack down on the revolving door between ministers' offices, the senior public service and the lobbying industry". However, this promise apparently didn't stop Gordon O'Connor from walking right through this revolving door into the crucial portfolio of Minister of Defence. During his term, Minister O'Connor, formerly a lobbyist for the defence industry, was responsible for overseeing some of the largest defence contracts in Canadian history.
4). 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. But 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). Mr. Harper's election platform promised free votes in the House of Commons on the appointment of new Supreme Court justices. After forming goverment the Conservatives announced that, for the first time in Canadian history, the next judicial appointee to the Supreme Court of Canada will be questioned by a public parliamentary hearing. 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". When then Ethics Commissioner, Bernard Shaprio began probing into the Prime Minister and his Government, Mr. Harper had the Ethics Commissioner 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.
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.
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."
However, 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.
10). Additionally Prime Minister Harper has appointed three former lobbyists to Cabinet: Gordon O'Connor, Lawrence Cannon, and Jean-Pierre Blackburn. Additionally 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.
11). It should also be noted that "Selective" use of the Accountability Act breaks a key Conservative campaign promise to implement all of the recommendations made by the information commissioner.
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 April 06.
13). 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. Following this Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson stood in the House of Commons and confirmed that this government has no intention of honouring this commitment. In fact, Mr. Thompson has had the gall to announce to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, 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.
14). They campainged on a pledge to STAND UP FOR CANADA, and while in opposition the Conservatives argued for years against any softwood lumber deal that did not return 100 per cent of duties charged by the U.S. back to Canada, but almost immediately after forming Government Harper tossed their pledge and arguments aside and quickly pushed through a highly politicized deal on softwood lumber that industry representatives oppose because it let the Americans off the hook for more than $1 billion, effectively rewarding the Americans for appealing every trade decision they lost.
15). Harper's Government presented a budget in 2006 that increases income taxes, cuts billions of dollars from social programs and contained no vision for the economic progress of our nation, despite having inherited the strongest financial position of any incoming government in Canadian history. In October of 2007 the Federal Government posted its first net loss (deficit) in almost a decade.
16). On July 14, 2006 Harper's Conservative broke the election promise to implement the Patient Wait Times Guarantee and instead recycled the Liberals' $5.5-billion Wait Times Reduction fund, while downloading its responsibility to the provinces and territories without investing any new money.
17). The Harper Conservatives promised to quickly arm guards in the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) without additional costs but have since admitted that doing so 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. Despite repeated requests from the Opposition critics for the CBSA the so-called "Open and Accountable" Conservative Government of Stephen Harper is refusing to disclose what the costs will be over that ten year period, and are trying to bypass the scrutiny of the House of Commons Public Safety Committee in the process.
18). 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 since the Conservatives have taken office, the Conservatives have yet to publish a single poll or the results of the environmental focus group testing.
19). Additionally 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 tab was sent to the Privy Council Office, not the Conservative Party of Canada.
20). 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.
21). Harper's Conservatives have 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. In addition to cutting the operating budget Harper has eliminated equality from the mandate for Status of Women program.
22). 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." 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. Many Canadians put their money into income trusts precisely because Prime Minister Stephen Harper told them that he would protect Income Trusts. Canadians from all walks of life have lost their savings because of Canada's New Government.
23). Under Rona Ambrose, the Ministry of Environment, promised Quebec $328 million for environment projects. This money was withdrawn without explanation. Under John Baird we've all but given up on the environment.
24). 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.
25). The Conservative platform promised to cut income taxes for all Canadians, yet on July 1, 2007, 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.
26). Harper's Conservative Government passed a Federal Accountability Act that Information Commissioner John Reid described as "retrograde and dangerous," and which breaks 21 election promises relating to conflict of interest while failing to change the Access to Information Act.
27). They ran on an election promise of openness and accountability but refused 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. The issue of election fraud remains unanswered.
28). Harper's Conservatives broke 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.
29). Harper's Conservatives broke an election promise to create 125,000 new child care spaces. Following the public outcry Harper's Government introduced an early learning and child care taxable allowance of only a $100-a-month per child which does almost nothing to help families in need find affordable child care.
30). Harper's Conservatives broke the election promise to honour the $6.9-billion Canada-Ontario agreement.
31). Harper's Conservatives broke the election promise to immediately compensate victims of Hepatitis C.
32). Harper's Conservatives broke the an election promise to outdo the Liberal government on investments in integrating foreign-trained workers into Canada by actually investing nine times LESS.
33). Harper's Conservatives broke the 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.
34). 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.
35). Peter MacKay (remember him?) campaigned on a promise not to cut funding to the Atlantic Canada Agency, but as Minister for ACOA he cut millions of dollars in just a few weeks. Of course, Atlantic Canadians should hardly be surprised. These are the same people who once referred to ACOA as 'corporate welfare.
36). Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote a letter to Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams in January 2006 vowing to keep non-renewable energy resources out of the equalization formula. The 2006 election platform also stated: Harper would 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. They promised to ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula. The 2007 Budget includes non renewable natural resources in the formula.
37). Stephen Harper campaigned to have the child tax benefit increased to $5,100 per child. Instead he replaced it with the Child Tax Credit, a system that requires payment first and which will do absolutely nothing for the poorest children whose families have no taxable income.
38). 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.
39). Whatever you think of the Atlantic Accord there can be no doubt that Steven Harper promised to honour it, Bill Casey the former Conservative MP claims Mr Harper has made subtle but critical changes to the wording which Harper, of course denies. The Premiers of the Atlantic provinces all agree that the Accord has been broken, yet Harper continues to deny there have been significant changes. If you introduce a budget with an either/or clause on the Accord it would appear the intent would be to circumvent the intent of the accord, it fact you could ague as the Premiers do, that the very existence of the clause breaks the Accord.
40). In the election campaign Stephen Harper promised to increase Canada's presence in the Artic by building three heavy armoured Icebreakers capable of carrying troops, creating a year round combined military civilian deep water docking facility in the Iqaluit region, and establishing a new unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV squadrons in CFB Comox and CFB Goose Bay. Instead he announced a commitment to build six to eight Canadian-made patrol ships that are only capable of traveling in summer ice and will be at the mercy of the Artic weather much of the rest of the time.
41). The Prime Minister promised all provinces, that unlike his Liberal predecessors, 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. After nearly 2 years there still hasn't been a first minister's conference despite repeated requests.
42). The Harper Conservative election platform included a promise: "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 an estimated $35 Billion due to Harpers Income Trust Debacle would love to hear that the cheque is in the mail.
43). 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.
44). In the 2006 Election Platform Harper's 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. Conservative candidate Mark Warner was pushed aside by the party despite being acclaimed by his riding association for the next federal election. Brent Barr was told on Oct 19 that party headquarters had rejected him without warning. Bill Casey has been told he is not permitted to run as the party's canadidate in the next general election, despite being acclaimed by his riding association and elected as MP 5 times. In fact, if you're a local member of the Conservative Party of Canada you are probably still waiting for the Party Executive to tell you who your candidate in the next Federal Election will be.
45). 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.
46). 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. Freedom of information requests have produced nothing but blacked out pages. Blacked out pages on documents about a tax decision? Canada's New Government, which ran on openness and accountability, has repeatedly put secrecy before the public interest.
47). In the 2006 Election Platform the Harper 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?
48). In the 2006 Election Platform the Harper 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 committees and ignore their recommendations if they're not happy with the results. This isn't just a corruption of process, it is contempt for the proper workings of Parliament.
49). Harper and Minister Gary Lunn unilaterially decided to override the decision of Canada's top nuclear regulatory agency and reopen the Chalk River Nuclear Plant in order to meet international expectations for a medically needed radioactive isotope. The Chalk River plant had been closed for safety reasons, reasons decided by nuclear scientific watchdogs, which were overruled by their political masters. Harper is now considering PRIVATIZING CANADA'S NUCLEAR AGENCY. The last thing we need is the safety of our nuclear industry being decided by bean-counters and business exectuives.
50). Despite promises to help students and a repeated claim that Canadians need more power to save for their own futures Harper's Conservatives vowed to block passage an Education Tax Shelter that would allow Canadians to save up $5,000/year. The legislation, put forward by Toronto-area Liberal MP Dan McTeague, would treat registered education savings plans the same as registered retirement savings plans. Unlike RRSPs, contributions to RESPs haven't been tax-deductible. Even though the long-term effect of this is that more Canadians would be better prepared to give their children higher education, the Harper Government is livid the Liberals were able to pull such a sneaky trick over their eyes. See kids, its not about you, it's about those evil Liberals trying to help you. No doubt we'll see more complaints about how ineffective the Senate is as Harper tries to bully them into rejecting passage of the bill his own whip missed.
51). Proud Canadians they are not. Not one member of Harper's Conservative Cabinet agreed to meet and be photographed with the recent winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. A group of Canadian scientists who won with their research on the catastrophic effects of human and industrial impacts on earth's climate. Not since the vatican and galileo has a government been so out of touch with science.
These are just a few of the examples where the Harpercrits have shown their true stripes, arrogance shown by a minority government hoping to become a majority. If this is Stephen Harper on his best behaviour we have much to fear should he get a majority mandate.
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