Democracy

Letter to Leaders of the G20

... We urge the G20 to make a commitment to recognizing, respecting and supporting the role and independence of civil society organizations, within all member states. We call on the G20 to ensure that G20 summits, ministerial meetings and other aspects of its work include meaningful opportunities for civil society participation. We look to G20 members to raise the concerns laid out in the VOICES-VOIX Declaration about the eroding respect for democratic principles and human rights advocacy in Canada in discussions with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other Canadian officials. ...

Time to Reform Question Period

If one thing has been made abundantly clear to me during my time as a Member of Parliament, it is that ordinary Canadians are disappointed with the behaviour in Question Period and want to see their Parliamentarians focus on the issues that really matter, instead of cheap political point scoring.

Media Avoidance by the Harper Government

The desire to control communications and the flow of information to media is not a new objective of the Harper administration. This was clear almost immediately after Stephen Harper became Prime Minister in February, 2006, and it was emphasized on March 27, 2006 when security barred photographers from taking pictures outside of the Prime Minister’s Ottawa office. Mr. Harper’s director of communications at that time, Sandra Buckler, said, “I don't think the average Canadian cares as long as they know their government is being well run.” This cavalier attitude toward media access appears to be a good summary of the current government’s media relations policy. ...

Tories blasted for handbook on paralyzing Parliament

The Harper government is being accused of a machiavellian plot to wreak parliamentary havoc after a secret Tory handbook on obstructing and manipulating Commons committees was leaked to the press. "The government's deliberate plan is to cause a dysfunctional, chaotic Parliament,'' Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale told the House of Commons.

Some A, B, Cs of federal government waste

Governments are famously wasteful. Huge cost over-runs are routine. One of the most spectacular is the federal gun registry program which was to have a net cost over the first four years of some $2-million. Over the first six years, the officially-stated net cost will be over $1-billion. And now we find that the $250-million sponsorship program officially aimed at fighting separatists in Quebec involved waste of some $100-million according to the Auditor General's Feb. 10 report.

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