Harper’s Senate appointments latest example of his stunning hypocrisy

Now that the sad news of Harper’s Conservatives winning his long coveted majority has waned ever so slightly, it’s time to get out of the depression and back to blogging.

Progressives and small ‘l’ liberals are in for a long four years – and maybe longer if the Liberals and NDP don’t get over their respective egos and unite the left (unless they wish to hand Harper majorities on a silver platter for the foreseeable future) – but that’s fodder for a different blog.

Right away, Harper showed his true duplicitous colours by appointing three losing Conservatives to the Senate. It’s an incredibly hypocritical move by Harper. In the election Harper kept on harping on the fact that the Conservatives would respect the mandate given them by Canadians. in his attempts to fight of a possible coalition, he specifically kept referring to the fact that the party with the most votes should lead the government. Period.

He was unequivocal on that fact. He was doing it to try make any potential coalition appear illegitimate, but by placing such a big moral emphasis on the pure math, he unknowingly made a mockery of his morals by then plucking three losing candidates and rewarding them with plumb Senatorial appointments.

By his own standards, Harper should listened to what the voters said. Those candidates were all losers and therefore – by Harper’s own logic – should go quietly away in the dark. Instead, they got rewarded big time. There was some outrage, but for the most part the story just went away.

One would think that Harper, with his bold promise to reform the Senate, would have upset conservatives by so flaggrantly thumbing his nose at democracy, but no one in the conservative media had anything critical to say about Harper’s controversial appointments.

Harper’s appointment of three losing candidates to the upper chamber exposes Harper’s breathtaking hypocrisy. But once again, he is showing that he will gladly steamroll over his ethics if it helps him politically, and stacking the Senate with cronies does just that.

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Stephen Harper and the Supreme Court: A grave consequence of a Conservative majority

If the idea of Stephen Harper selecting the next three Supreme Court justices and thus inserting his right-wing ideology on Canadian society for generations isn’t enough of an incentive for progressives to vote in this election, then nothing will.

Harper’s potential influence on the Supreme Court hasn’t been discussed much during the campaign, mostly because all the oxygen has been used up by the litany of scandals that surrounds Harper and the Conservatives, not to mention Harper’s unprecedented contempt for Canadian parliamentary democracy.

As the NDP surges it’s more important than ever to vote strategically. Every progressive owes it to themselves and to future generations to go to Project Democracy to find out how to cast the best tactical and strategic vote to keep Harper and the Conservatives from gaining a majority.

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The absolute necessity of voting strategically

As it appears no scandal and no precedent-setting contempt of parliament charges appear to hurt Stephen Harper’s status in the polls, it is imperative that progressives and liberals vote strategically on May 2.

Whatever your specific ideological issues are, if you reside on the left side of the political spectrum, you must vote wisely if Stephen Harper is to be denied a majority. Put aside the small differences and focus instead of making sure the Conservatives don’t win a majority on election night.

Two great sites will help with that. Project Democracy and Swing33 need to be bookmarked by every progressive in the country. Go to either site and find out what the lastest polling is in your riding and then cast your vote appropriately.

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Note to Frum: Being pro-human rights does not equal being anti-Israel

David Frum earned some respect from progressives these past couple of years as being the rarest of all conservatives – one that can criticize mistakes that his side has made. His writings on Sarah Palin and the Republican response to the health care debate were examples that he is one of the few with the ability to think cleary and rationally in these hyperpartisan times.

But his article in today’s Post shows that Frum is just like every other conservative in that all common sense, logic and rationality are thrown out the window  when it comes to the topic of Israel.

This is how Frum opens his column:

Michael Ignatieff used this week’s English-language leaders’ debate to send dog-whistle signals to anti-Israel voters.

One occurred at about the 20-minute mark:

“Canada has lost its seat on the Security Council of the United Nations. First time it ever happened … ”

For Frum, those words cannot ever be interpreted as a Canadian who is willing to explore why, exactly, Canada was denied a seat on the Security Council. Frum reads between the lines and amazingly calls it a “dog whistle.”

What Frum and his ilk always miss in this debate is the common sense fact that Canadians (or any other nationality for that matter) who prefer a more balanced approach towards the Middle East than the current “Israel can do no harm” position of Stephen Harper aren’t anti-Israel.

Just because most of the civilized world wishes Israel would treat the Palestinians better doesn’t mean you are anti-Israel.

Conservatives always reflexively call any criticism of Israel, no matter how much it is justified, as being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. It’s a tactic used to shut down any real debate on the topic, and sadly it is a tactic that is used so often because it is so successful.

If only Frum and other intelligent conservatives could look at the issue with any kind of reason. Being in favour of human rights for all in the Middle East doesn’t equate with being anti-Israel. But rather than go down the difficult road of asking hard questions, Frum and company like to take the easy way out. Avoid any serious exploration of the topic and while they’re at it, attack the character of people who simply want everyone’s rights in the Middle East respected.

So clouded and biased is the conservative mind when it comes to Israel, that a politician articulating a concern that is shared by many Canadians – the embarrasment of not getting a seat on the U.N. Security Council – is suddenly dog whistling anti-Semites. Frum should be ashamed of himself.

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Sun writer calls Harper a “liar”

Hats off to The Sun’s David Akin for having the courage to call Stephen Harper a liar. In the debates Harper has consistently denied his party favours corporate tax cuts. Akin calls Harper out on his lack of “truthiness.”

Here’s the money quote from Akin:

Meanwhile, Harper, when asked flat out in the debates about corporate tax cuts, flat out lied.

It’s astonishing that the far right Sun chain would allow such honesty on it’s pro Conservative pages. Kudos to Akin for having the guts to write the truth.

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Will this scandal stick to Harper?

Now there is some empirical evidence that G20 funds were used as a slush fund for things that really had nothing to do with the G2o but everything to do with greasing the palms of constituents, one might wonder if this scandal will stick to Harper and the Conservatives.

Likely it won’t, which is why the opposition should be hammering away at the contempt of parliament charges against Haper and the Conservatives. That has a chance of reasonating with voters, but you hear very little about the first political party in Canadian history to be held in contempt of parliament. Strategically and tactically that just doesn’t make any sense.

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A choice on defence spending: Jets that kill or boats that help

Jack Layton’s discussion of his party’s defence priorities offers Canadians a clear alternative to Stephen Harper’s aggressively militaristic approach: are we a country that spends money buying jet fighters that take lives or on supply boats that help save lives?

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