Thursday, November 25, 2010

From Russia with Love!

Until this week, the Harper government had been silent about the M1-17 "Hip" helicopters that were leased last year from Russia.  The government still refuses to provide any details of their procurement, including how much the lease is costing Canadian taxpayers.

CBC has confirmed that Military sources have confided to them  that last year the Harper Government had leased from the Russians a series of MI-17 "Hip" helicopters for "secret" missions into Afghanistan.
Defense Minister Peter McKay confirmed the story but said for reasons of National Security we cannot go into details at this time, except to say we found the Russian copters to be very robust and extremely reliable. So reliable in fact that the Harper Government starting using the M1-17 helicopters for every day missions in Afghanistan.  Then why the secrecy

NDP defense critic Jack Harris wants to know why the Russian M1-17, a very robust and reliable helicopter according to McKay and good enough for Canadian troops in Afghanistan was ruled out by the Harper government in 2006 and the contract given to the American Boeing Company.
The Russian M1-17 came with a de-icing system and cost $17 million each. Canada would pay extra to have a de-icing system installed in the Boeing Chinook helicopter. It's total cost was $80 million each. Jack Harris believes the extra $63 million per copter was the reason the Harper government kept the information "secret".
$63 million per copter?...that's one hell of a secret!!
Defense analyst Rob Huebert believes the Tories may have chosen the Boring  Boeing Chinook Helicopter because of the easy of getting "spare parts"
Let's see : four Russian M1-17 copters for the price of one Boeing Chinook copters.
You do the's obvious the Harper Government can't! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The "Plane" Truth

1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the conduct of the relations of one state with another by peaceful means
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) skill in the management of international relations
3. tact, skill, or cunning in dealing with people
[from French diplomatie, from diplomatique diplomatic]

 The Harper Government has for the last two years refused to meet with the UAE Ambassador to Canada.
Harper issued a statement claiming the the UAE was "black mailing" Canada into more landing rights, but if this is true how does Stephen Harper explain the following:

Trade between the two countries increased from $706 million in 2007 to $1.54 billion in 2008

According to figures provided to Gulf News by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade, the country's imports from Canada were valued at $1.18 billion (Dh4.32 billion) in 2009.

The dogfight in the skies over the United Arab Emirates has the potential to punch a billion-dollar hole in Canadian exports to the region even while we're hastily evicted from a military base that has cost tens of millions of dollars to carve out of the desert sand near Dubai.

With 27,000 Canadians living in the UAE, and a significant trade relationship (the UAE is Canada's largest trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa with bilateral trade figures of over 1.5 billion dollars of which 95 per cent is Canadian exports) as well as 200 Canadian companies active in the UAE today, six flights per week does not service the economic needs of both countries or the potential for growth.   

Did Harper really think this through?

Now Canadians must ask themselves was Stephen Harper shooting from the hip as he usual does?
Stephen Harper is usually quick to anger and strikes back without taking the time to think things through.  
1.Did Harper foresee the $300 - $500 Million it would cost Canadians to lose their base at Camp Mirage?
2.Was the expense of setting up another base in Turkey ever considered?
3.Now that the Afghanistan mission has been extended (without a parliamentary vote) does Stephen Harper wish that he had used a more diplomatic approach in dealing with UAE.
4.Did this conservative government ever consider the added stress and worry of Canadian soldiers?
5.Over 200 Canadian companies are in the UAE doing business. The most mentionable might be Research in Motion and Bombardier. What will the fall out be? We already know that every single Canadian must now have passports to enter the UAE. All 26,000 of them!
The truth of the matter is we do not know how it will cost Canada in the long run, but many say billions of dollars. Some say Harper's loss of the UN Security Seat will pale in comparison.


Defense Minister Peter McKay believes that issue with the UAE could take a decade to repair, a fact that Stephen Harper was angered to hear McKay speak of and for the next week Peter McKay was frozen out of negotiations


UAE Ambassador in Canada issues statement on UAE-Canada airline negotiations posted on 11/10/2010

Ottawa - In a statement released yesterday by the UAE Embassy in Canada, UAE ambassador Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ghafli said in reference to UAE-Canadian airline negotiations: "The UAE is disappointed that despite intensive negotiations over the last five years the UAE and Canada have been unable to arrive at an agreement on expanding the number of flights between the two countries. It is unfortunate that this process has been so protracted and frustrating. The UAE entered negotiations in good faith on the understanding that a solution would be reached and that constructive ideas would be brought to the negotiating table. The fact that this has not come about undoubtedly affects the bilateral relationship.
The UAE continues to support the development and growth of international trade ties across all sectors, with our partners and friends around the world, in the belief that such ties are the basis for strong strategic relations." รข€“ Emirates News Agency, WAM

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Gate Keepers and Other Secrets

The Building

This is the Blackburn Building! On the 6th-floor office of this ordinary building sit the gatekeepers. It is the communications and consultations
hub of the Harper government. This is where "transparency & accountability" come to die, and the spin begins. This is Stephen Harper's "downtown". Here the gate keepers decide which ministers can speak on a certain subject and which ministers must keep their mouths shut. Failure to comply and that minister will be frozen out or in extreme cases kicked out of the Conservative Party.

Harper calls RCMP to investigate His own Minister

Helena Gurgeis now sits as an Independent Member of Parliament after Harper kicked her out of the Conservative Party.

                                           Having Your Cake & Eating it too!

Raitt & Paradis

When Minister's staffers were summoned to appear Dimitri Soudas (Harper's Spokesman) announced that staffers would no longer be allowed  for questions regarding their departments and only the Ministers could appear, but in a very bizarre turn of events Harper's Ministers Raitt and Paradis refused to appear before Government Committee. Public appearances by Ministers must be approved and vetted by Harper's Privy Council.

                                                                                      Another One Bites the Dust

Ian Brodie(remember that guy who tried to tarnish Senator Obama's Presidental Campaign) and  head of the most powerful and secretive PMO in national history, was telling Garth Turner what he would be doing in the next few hours. Issue a media release,  praising the Prime Minister for appointing David Emerson to cabinet. And  immediately stop writing that blog.

Eight months later at a conservative caucus  meeting a motion to expel Turner was tabled. Jim Flaherty and Diane Finley asked for a show of hands and just like that Garth Turner was gone! 

Freedom of Information Denied

The law allows Canadians – for an initial fee of $5 – to ask Ottawa to disclose internal documents, reports or records. Within 30 days documents requested should be available. But under this Harper Government it takes months and months and sometimes even years.
The information department admits that complaints about the handling of requests shot up by 80 per cent last year to 2,387 from 1,317 the previous year. (However, more than half of the extra complaints concerned a single Crown corporation, the CBC.

Is this free press or Harper's own brand of "preferred" press.

It is now becoming apparent to all Canadians from coast to coast that if you cross Harper in any matter you will pay a price, whether you are a member of the conservatives, the liberals, the NDP or the media. 

Definition of Minority Government

In Canada, the party which wins the most seats in a general election forms the government. If the party wins just half or fewer than half of the seats in the House of Commons or legislative assembly, then the party forms a minority government. A minority government has to negotiate with other parties and adjust policies to get enough votes from other parties to pass legislation. A minority government must constantly work to maintain the confidence of the House of Commons or legislative assembly to stay in power. This is something that the Harpercons have never understood!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Email List for Canadian Media

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

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