Canada watches its democracy erode

Peter Milliken

On Friday, the minority Stephen Harper government fell on a confidence motion by a 156-145 vote. Speaking to the motion, Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff attacked the government for disrespecting Canadian democracy and treating parliament with contempt. [...] Following rulings by Speaker Peter Milliken, for the first time in Canadian history, the government and a minister have been found to be in contempt of parliament for withholding information and misleading the house. The Integrity Commissioner was so inept that she failed to uphold a single one of more than 200 whistle-blowing complaints. [...]

Stephen Harper’s hit list

Steven Harper

The Conservative government, or the Harper government as it insists upon being called, has either fallen or engineered its own defeat and the election is upon us. This is perhaps a good time to take stock of who the Harperites have spent their time attacking in the past several years. (They have also lavished favour on their own, appointing them to be judges, to the Immigration Review Board, the CRTC or other federal agencies). The list of organizations that have been shut down and cut back, and the individuals bullied, is a long one and we can expect it to grow if, as seems likely, the Conservatives are reelected. [...]

Green Party Response to Voices-Voix Letter

Green Party of Canada

Dear Voices-Voix Coalition, Firstly, let me thank you for coming together to engage in this initiative. Your membership includes some of the most respected development organizations, trade unions, and powerful voices for social justice, human rights and peace in Canada. Well done. The issues you highlight in this pledge touch on positions that the Green Party has already taken. For instance, we are at this point the only federal political party to have called for an open public inquiry into the security actions at the G-8/G-20. [...]

Voices-Voix Letter to Party Leaders before 2011 Elections


Dear Party Leaders,

As the likelihood of a federal election looms, we are writing to seek clear pledges from each of you that your party will take action to restore and strengthen the state of democracy and human rights in Canada. There is widely-held and very serious concern in Canada that a range of deeply troubling government actions and decisions over the past several years have significantly eroded fundamentally important democratic and human rights principles and institutions in our country. The concerns are shared by organizations large and small and by Canadians from all walks of life, from coast to coast to coast. [...]

Found in contempt

Steven Harper

The Harper government has been found in contempt of Parliament by an opposition-dominated House of Commons committee. But it may yet dodge the ignominy of becoming the first government in the Commonwealth to be formally cited with contempt. Various procedural manoeuvres could ensure the committee’s report doesn’t come to a vote in the Commons this week. Should the minority Conservative government fall over votes related to Tuesday’s budget or a Liberal non-confidence motion Friday, the contempt report would become a dead letter. [...]

Speaker’s contempt rulings add ammunition

Stephen Harper faces not just the prospect of being found in contempt of Parliament. He faces a new challenge: to fight an election not simply on economic issues, but on the charge his government abuses power.House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken ruled on Wednesday that, “on its face,” the government withheld information from a parliamentary committee, and that International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda may have misled the House. [...]

Election talk hits fever pitch as Harper government loses two ethics rulings

[...] The bombshell landed when Speaker Peter Milliken delivered rulings on two questions: Did the government provide Parliament enough information about the cost of corporate tax cuts and its tough-on-crime bills, and did International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda mislead MPs about her involvement in a 2009 decision to cut funding for a church-based aid group called KAIROS? On both counts, he ruled there is a "prima facie" case for a breach of privilege. [...]