How Harper controls the spin

Throughout the government, it's known simply as "downtown", the place where decisions are made on who speaks on issues and what they say. In the Conservative government's clampdown on communications, this is Ground Zero.

Harper defends database shutdown

Mr. Harper was forced to explain in the House of Commons Monday why his government quietly killed off a database called the Co-ordination of Access to Information Requests System.
Created in 1989 and revamped in 2001, the CAIRS database is a monthly compilation of all Access requests received by federal agencies.
Canadians could use it to see the information that had already been made public or was in the process of being released, and could then make a request to see the documents themselves.

A Decade Of Torment

In 1998, the Department of Foreign Affairs whistle-blower -- who exposed lavish waste and extravagance within Foreign Affairs in the 1990s --left Foreign Affairs and sued her bosses for harassment. More than nine years later, a pre-trial judge has issued an important ruling, criticizing some of the government lawyers' methods and calling for these tactics to end.
After dragging through the courts for almost a decade, the case of Joanna Gualtieri has produced an important development.

Whistle-blower Sues Ottawa

A Canadian bureaucrat who claims he was punished for blowing the whistle on security problems and unethical managers is suing the federal government.

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.

Health Canada Muzzles Oilsands Whistleblower

A northern Alberta physician who publicly aired concerns over carcinogenic pollution from the massive oilsands development is being investigated by the province's College of Physicians and Surgeons. The complaint against him comes from none other than Health Canada, which claims the physician caused "undue alarm."

Supreme Court strikes down security certificates

The country’s top court has declared unconstitutional the overly-secretive “security certificate” system used to deport non-citizens suspected of terrorism ties. But in a unanimous 9-0 ruling released this morning, the Supreme Court of Canada pointed to different ways the law might be re-written to comply with the Charter of Rights’ guarantees of fundamental justice, and given the federal government 12 months to do so. Until then, the now-tainted provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act remain valid. [...]

A plea for transparency in Canada's “new government”

baby

On Dec. 21, 2006, Health Minister Tony Clement announced the appointments of a chair, a president and 8 board members for Assisted Human Reproduction Canada.1 This new federal agency is charged with regulating fertility clinics, making decisions about research that uses human embryonic stem cells and advising Mr. Clement about assisted human reproduction.

But for an agency entrusted with Canadians' reproductive well-being, it has had a protracted and problematic birth. The end result is that only 2 of that total of 10 board members were among the 25 people recommended by an expert selection committee, one convened by Health Canada under the previous Liberal government.

Canadian Prime Minister Harper attempts to muzzle the press

Canada’s new Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is refusing to meet the country’s national press. Harper announced Wednesday that he will no longer give press conferences for the parliamentary press gallery, after journalists balked at the attempts by the prime minister’s office to dictate who can and cannot ask him questions. On Tuesday many reporters walked out of a Harper press conference to protest his handlers’ demands that prior to such conferences they be given lists of who wants to question the prime minister so that they and Harper can choose journalists to be called upon for questions. [...]

INDEPTH: Jean Chrétien; L'Affair Grand-Mere

The controversy surrounding former prime minister Jean Chrétien's involvement in two properties in his riding is rooted in events that are more than a decade old. But the details were only made public after a series of media reports, a lawsuit and a barrage of questions raised by a united opposition in the House of Commons. Chrétien sold his stake in the Auberge Grand-Mère resort just before becoming prime minister and sold his shares in the Grand-Mère Golf Course shortly after that. But he wasn't paid for the golf course shares until 1999. The issue at the heart of the debate was, when exactly did Chrétien stop having an "interest" in the properties?

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