I recently wrote about the new Berlin Brandeburg Airport opening this week. This report from DW is sobering.
Today the trial for corruption of Prince Edward Island Senator Mike Duffy came to an end with a 308 page judgement from Judge Vaillancourt in the Ottawa Court House. He is one of four Senators for the Province of PEI as per the Canadian Constitution Act of 1867.
Senator Duffy a former journalist of National reputation well known to all was appointed to the Senate a few years ago under the Stephen Harper Regime, 10 years which will forever be referred as years of great darkness in Canada where our institutions where under threat from a man who understood nothing and thought he could bully a Nation into submission. Looking on Canadians as nothing more (according to his own words) a people to be governed by a firm hand.
Senator Duffy stood accused under 31 counts of fraud, corruption and breach of trust. A scandal which shook the Senate of Canada. Launch a national investigation of all Senators and their expense accounts and the rules and procedures of the Senate. The investigation revealed that the Senate had operated since 1867 as a sort of Private Club, where a gentleman’s word was good enough. The Senate is our House of Lords, the Red Chamber and Upper House of Parliament and the Crown has its privileges in our Constitution.
The whole matter started a year ago when it was revealed in the newspapers that Senator Duffy and others had problems with their expense accounts, all of them appointees of Stephen Harper.
Stephen Harper thought that he could stack the Supreme Court and the Senate with his friends and sycophants and that they would in turn do whatever he wanted. That is not how it turned out to his dismay and anger. On the Supreme Court the new appointees showed their judicial independence which bewildered Harper how could this be. In the Senate unfortunately partisan politics showed its face and we had a dysfunctional institution. The Senate in Canada has a very special role to play in defending minorities representing regions of our Country and correcting excesses in Legislation sent to it from the House of Commons.
The Harper Regime sought to pervert this process and control every aspect of the functions of the Senate from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), something unseen in Canadian history. Duffy was the tool of the PMO and he did everything he was asked to do and more. Harper could not be more happy with such a well recognized journalist, a lap dog doing tricks for his master.
However the day the expense account scandal erupted Harper sought to bury it but could not. Comes in his Chief of Cabinet Nigel Wright an asexual aesthete and Christian religious fanatic who has movie star good look, runs 10 K every morning at dawn. A straight arrow as the Press likes to describe him, he is also a millionaire. So the Media speculated un-corruptible Nigel, the real story is always different, Wright devised a plan to magically bury the expense account scandal by handing a personal cheque from his own bank account to Duffy and have him say it was all a big mistake and he is repaying back what he owes. The Press knew that Duffy did not have this kind of money, where did the money comes from? they asked. The problem here Nigel was trying to corrupt a Senator by hiding the truth from auditors. He also tried and so did his boss Harper to lean on the audit company and interfere with the text of the final audit report with the help of Conservative Senators. Harper went to the leadership of the Conservative members in the Senate to get them to do his dirty work and of course they agreed.
Wright’s plan was to advise Duffy on what to do with his expense problems, etc and accept the cheque for $90,000 dollars to cover all the money he owed to the Treasury. Of course he told his boss Harper what he was doing and Ray Novak the head gofer and bum boy of Harper was the go between. A very unsavoury affair where Novak at the Trial testified that he was present in the room when the plan was hatched but heard nothing, everyone laughed at that and Novak has not been heard of since.
When the Justice Department started its investigation they were told that Nigel the right hand man of the Prime Minister was off limits, the RCMP complied also, the old management covering their ass as it were, disgracing himself in the eyes of the public.
Judge Vaillancourt today in Court in his judgement sorted out the mess and uncovered the truth, he acquitted Duffy of all 31 counts, so he can now resume his work in the Senate, the judge did not find any of his doing criminal since he was following naively the direction advice and suggestions of the PMO, Duffy did ask a lot of questions on what to do with his expenses and received advice which he followed from other Conservative Senators and the PMO. The judge then pointed the finger at Harper and Wright for their deviousness and efforts to suppress the truth. Judge Vaillancourt wrote quote Could Hollywood match their deviousness it is interesting to see that no one in the PMO suggested doing the right thing, the legal thing unquote.
This only goes to show how corrupt the Harper government was. Stephen Harper subverted Parliament, politics, the inner workings of the Senate and his own party during his one-man government. But thanks to a fearless defence attorney and an unblinking judge, he was not able to subvert justice.
On Monday 19 October, a week after Thanksgiving, we will elect the 42 Parliament of Canada since 1867. On Twitter #elxn42 (election 42) is the hashtag used.
Canadians are encouraged to vote this Thanksgiving weekend, voting by anticipation this time is seen as a good thing and it is to prevent a repeat of the last Election in 2011 when 40% of eligible voters or 9 million people chose not to vote.
This is one of the longest campaigns ever, Prime Minister Harper chose to call this election early, we are currently at day 64 of a campaign dominate by consultants imported from the USA and Australia. All work for the Reform Alliance called the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), all have strong connections to FOX News, Tea Party, Koch Brothers, GOP, and other extreme right wing groups, like the KKK, Neo-Nazis and Evangelicals.
Harper has decided that since he does not want to talk about the current Recession in Canada, the unemployment figures, the low dollar at 0.71 cents, failing infrastructure, how he has failed the poor, the elderly, Veterans, and how his foreign policy has had disastrous consequences, his non-existent environmental agenda, his belittling the black guy in the White House, his constant lecturing other World leaders, his chronic underfunding of the Health System by 36 billion dollars as of 2016 and the list goes on.
Harper has picked a piece of cloth to attack a small minority in Canada. The Niqab that piece of cloth covering the face of some Muslim women has become the rallying cry of bigots and racists in Canada. Make people fearful of the ”other” is the campaign strategy of Harper. What is shocking is the number of intolerant and hateful people we actually have in this country. Just look at Twitter or Facebook to see people being proud of exposing their hateful views, their ignorance and xenophobia for all to see and turning that into a badge of honour and patriotism.
Unfortunately the Media in general has been too happy to beat the drum and spin the stories of Muslim women being attacked on the streets, the Harper base cheers. Some Conservative Candidates have said in public ”well they deserved it” PM Harper himself continues his campaign of hateful speeches without nuance and certainly he knows that by promoting mediocrity, the lowest common denominator, he can but win votes. How many Muslims do we have in Canada, they are 1% of the population, a very small group indeed. Harper has labelled them enemies of Israel, terrorists all, Islamicists, so they are fair game. On Twitter and Facebook many talk of an invasion, they must be stopped, what is being advocated to stop them is extreme. Reason and balanced views are not welcome in any such chat lines.
There are lots of extremely naive and poorly educated Canadians out there. People can be excused for not understanding complex economic formulas and monetary issues or even issues on foreign policy if you do not have a background in this field. But on a matter of morality and having the moral courage to stand up to bullies like Harper and pointing out that what he is advocating are not policies that a person wanting to be the Prime Minister should ever consider or even be proud of. This is where a lot of Canadians are moral cowards. As one commentator on Twitter point out ”I am only stating my opinion so I cannot be a racist”.
Harper has made it quite clear that he despises minority, just look at his campaign speeches, any one of them. He firmly believes that the majority can oppress and dictate to a minority, any one who is not White and Christian is an inferior being.
The Canadian Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights protect us from Harper’s abuses and the Courts have pointed out to him time and again that he is quite wrong in his biased interpretation of the Law. He has wasted some $750 million dollars on such challenges in Court. There have been close to 20 judgements so far in the last 2 years against bills he forced through Parliament, all struck down, one by one. He hates the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and has openly criticized her. Again Harper publicly rejects the idea that the Judiciary is a Pillar of our Government. It serves him well to do so, there are about 35% of the population who cheer him up loudly for doing so, mostly men and women with less than 12 years of education who are in the Middle to lower Middle Class.
We are in a deep morass in Canada right now. It is impossible to have any kind of intelligent conversation or debate with arguments and facts. Canada is certainly not the same country it was just 10 years ago. It has become a place of nasty, unpleasant people, bigots and xenophobes. We can only hope that October 19 will bring change.
The election is so close at the moment with only 12 days to go it looks like we will have a minority government. A coalition of the Liberals and the NDP would save us from Harper. I can’t wait for the suspense to end. I may just go and vote on Friday at least I will feel I have done my bit.
With the arrival of Autumn, days are noticeably shorter and the weather cooler, so it is time to look at wardrobes and make a switch to Fall-Winter clothing. I cleaned up my wardrobe, gave away what I no longer wear. I also cleaned my library and made four boxes of books to give to the Ottawa Library, not to worry I still have books for 45 boxes. What I want to do next is go through all the dish ware and glasses, a lot of it we have not used in years, best to sell it or give it away. I also reorganized my 50 mm lead soldiers and packaged all those I no longer wanted on display. It is a long task to box them up and put them away, that alone took 2 days.
I bought a big pumpkin for $5 dollars which I believe was a bargain. Next the small garden on the balcony will need cleaning out and put away for winter. But that can wait until after Thanksgiving on 11 October. This year we will share the preparation of the meal with friends, much easier that way and a lot less stressful.
We got our Voters cards from Elections Canada, so we are registered to Vote in the Federal Election come 19 October. We have to also bring photo I.D. with proof of home address, like a Driver’s Licence. A wind of panic is now blowing in Canada, this very long campaign has people frazzled and politicians making desperate promises for a vote. What is assured now is a Minority Government but who will win is not certain, all 3 major parties are tied at 29 or 30% which is far to close to call. This is truly depressing, it looks like the issue is about a piece of tissue, a veil worn by some Muslim Women. With all our problems you would think that there are more pressing problems facing us but no, oh no, it’s all about Muslims women who wear a head covering. It does not help to point out that Muslims in Canada represent just 1% of the population of 36 million and are no threat to any of us. Hysteria is the order of the day and Mr. Harper is doing a fine job of it. Someone said in the 1950’s it was the Communists now it’s the Muslims, how true. Canada has turned into a version of the book 1984.
As for the refugee crisis Mr. Harper calls them Bogus refugee, that is the only way he refers to anyone claiming to be a refugee, you are bogus, a free loader. What is interesting is how this line of attack has woken up the sleeping beasts of ignorance, racism and xenophobia. Someone pointed out that in the past you had the Tavern drunk who would rant about this or that, but you could always ignore that guy sitting at the end of the bar. Now he is on the Internet and trolls around with his petty insults and outrageous opinions, not so easy to ignore and in the meantime infects others into thinking it’s Ok to be hateful. All the while saying he is a supporter of Stephen Harper and the CPC. I have not heard the Conservatives or Harper contradict or distance themselves from such statements. The other day I was looking at Jeb Bush’s platform for the US Presidency and realized it was the same as Stephen Harper in Canada, scary stuff. What strange times we live in who needs excitement.