Why we should listen to Elizabeth May

Paul Wells on the Harper government’s latest cuts

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Chris Wattie/Reuters

After Question Period on Monday, a colleague took me aside as we walked out of ?Parliament’s Centre Block.

“Were you the one asking Elizabeth May questions?”

I knew right away I was in trouble. “Yes. Sorry. Why?”

“Justin Trudeau was waiting for that microphone.”

Ah. After question period, MPs from government and opposition take questions from reporters in informal scrums. There are three microphones for this purpose, parked in front of TV cameras in the Commons lobby. Two were being used by other MPs. One momentarily had no MP at it. Trudeau, the Liberal leader, had been on his way to the microphone. May, the Green party leader, got there first.

By asking questions, I was gently informed, I had delayed Trudeau’s arrival at the microphone. These days in Ottawa, delaying Justin Trudeau’s arrival somewhere is not a way to become popular.

Eventually, Trudeau made his way to the microphone. First question: What did he think of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s decision to deliver a budget on Feb. 11, in the middle of the Sochi Winter Olympics?

“I think we have a government that’s trying, once again, to play political games,” Trudeau said. “They’re out of ideas.”

(Fun with history: Marc Lalonde delivered the last budget from a government led by Pierre Trudeau on Feb. 15, 1984, halfway through the Sarajevo Winter Olympics.)

“They’ll try to come up with something,” Trudeau continued, “but it won’t be—” he considered for a moment. “It won’t be something serious Canadians need.”

He was asked: “What would you like to see in this budget so it would be acceptable?”

“I’d like to see a budget that responds to the real needs of the middle class.”

His interrogator wasn’t satisfied. “But concretely?.?.?.”

“Concretely, I’m not expecting much that’s concrete.” Lately, neither are we. From anyone. Ahem.

Yet, Elizabeth May still surprises. The Green party leader has had trouble lifting the fortunes of the Green party, if by “party,” you mean “more than one person.” Around her, lieutenants have come and gone. Having managed to get elected to Parliament in 2011, May does not seem to have improved anyone else’s chances of getting elected. Her only Green colleague in the Commons, Bruce Hyer, was elected for the NDP but was kicked out of that party’s caucus when he supported the Conservatives in ending the long-gun registry. He has fetched up with the Greens. So, if you are one of those gun-totin’ environmentalists, not an unheard-of species, the May-Hyer Greens are for you.

May’s microphone-hogging scrum, abetted by yours truly, was about cuts, consolidations and closures in government libraries across more than a dozen departments and agencies. May wondered whether such closures are even legal. The law requires the written consent of the librarian and archivist of Canada for such activity. May met the librarian and archivist of Canada, Hervé Déry, after repeated requests and in the presence of two super-helpful officials from the Department of Canadian Heritage who were there whether Elizabeth May liked it or not. Déry told May he thinks departmental officials have the authority to cull the collections.

May’s concerns extend beyond procedure. “I think it’s a real issue for Canadians. This material was put together under the auspices of the government of Canada. Canadians paid for this material. This is not the Conservative party’s library to throw on the Dumpster. This belongs to Canadians.”

Postmedia News, which has done yeoman work on the library issue, calculates the cost savings from all these consolidations in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s a rounding error in the budget of any department. But the library closings are the way of Stephen Harper’s world these days, as are a handful of other recent headlines: the sale of embassy assets abroad, the far larger cuts at dozens of departments and agencies, whose details have escaped the scrutiny of two successive parliamentary budget officers and, therefore, of you, sir or madam.

In 2009, after the opposition forced him to run very large deficits as the price of Conservative political survival, Stephen Harper made a simple, crucial decision: He would eliminate the deficit over time, not by cutting transfers to the provinces for social programs, but by cutting direct spending on the things the government of Canada does. The government of Canada operates embassies, labs, libraries, lighthouses, benefits for veterans and Arctic research outposts. Or rather, it used to. These days, each day, it does a little less of all those things.

The sum of these cuts is a smaller role for the federal government in the life of the nation. Each of the steps toward that destination is trivial, easy to argue both ways (who needs fancy embassies?) and impossible to reverse (if a future government decides, “We need fancy embassies,” it can never get back the prime real estate this government is now selling).

In his long-delayed appearance before the cameras (sorry), Trudeau depicted the Harper government as devoid of ideas. “Its primary interest is the well-being of the Conservative Party of Canada and not of Canadians.” May, on the other hand, is sure the government has ideas; that it is pursuing them even when the rest of us are grandly bored with details; and that it is changing the country. She’s right.




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Why we should listen to Elizabeth May

  1. Yes, get away from that microphone indeed. Why pay attention to actual policy criticism when you can just ask the usual suspects for the money quotes about who will make which strategic move and perhaps ‘win the game?’ Why bother with listening, research, and fact checking when you have a neat, predictable package that’s easy to put together?

    • Yes, and no. You’re not being totally fair.

      Yes, the media largely ignored May in favour of Trudeau, who had far more insightful comments than Trudeau did. Of that, we agree.

      But the “interrogator” that Paul quoted above was trying to get something more concrete from Trudeau rather than just clichés. I wonder if the media is slowly getting fed up of Trudeau’s empty comments, and starting to put his feet to the fire for something more than a neat little package.

      • Maybe, but permanent election mode for the parties too easily translates into a permanent horse race mode for the media. It’s not an isolated incident that concerns me so much as a general dumbing down of reporting (not just political) that has been occurring as news organizations shed reporters.

        • Its starting to sound like player interviews after a hockey game.

          • preach

          • Exactly.
            As an aside, what kills me about player interviews is the dumb jock reporter hanging on every word as if he never heard it before.

        • It’s agreed that all the all political parties have progressed to redundancy. Ask any discussion group having morning coffee at Timmy’s. Almost everyone will attest politics is a forum for greed. See http://www.robertgordonca.com for more details.

  2. I didn’t see any evidence that Trudeau himself was disturbed that May was answering questions at the mic.

    • I don’t think that was Paul’s point at all. Paul’s point was that the MEDIA was completely uninterested in what anybody but Trudeau had to say. But of course, there’s no Liberal media bias.

      • I detected a little touch of criticism of Trudeau himself, although there was NO evidence of him doing anything wrong.

        • No one said Trudeau did anything wrong, wells was saying the media has eyes only for Trudeau Mr sensitive.
          But I will suggest what is wrong, the thought that that air head drama queen could be PM.

        • Yes, all of those papers endorsed Harper despite their bias. I would think that even you would have to acknowledge that the Liberals last campaign was a complete disaster, considering it was their worst finish in Canadian history.

          How much more plain can it be when members of the media are actually criticizing one of their own for asking questions of anybody BUT Justin Trudeau?

          • Uh huh. Right. It was despite the bias…

            I do agree that the last two LPC campaigns have been gifts to the CPC.

          • The Liberal Media conspiracy is a rabbit hole that goes ever deeper…

        • No mention of the big Liberal hold out, CBC, Canadians BSing Canadians.

          But it is correct, back room money and media buy elections. We as a collective voting public vote on false promises, fear, greed, envy and a naive hope of better.

          Everyone blames Harper, but hte real problem is Ottawa. When we get board of the name “Harper” they will just find a new name, with new false hope and the same old lies. Then you have the illusion of democracy as it preys on the naive average voter.

          Its why NDP get support, even if irrational and no economic way t support it, they always sell false hope…always appeal to peoples envy and greed….its guaranteed to get a large section of the vote.

          And given 20% of this country is government employed (on level or another), government dependent, relies on governemtn “free” money, bailout buddies, lobbyist driven, the vote for STATISM as a deity is propelled. Productive and working people don’t stand a chance at the statism only ballot box.

      • Yep. In Canada we don’t manage government.

        Statism government manages us for our money.

        Its why Ottawa owns CBC, setting the statism quo for everyone. Even pays them over a billion a year to always put MORE governemtn in good light, a liberal concept for sure.

        Nothing on my ballot for efficiency, effectiveness and economy governance….just who gets more of my money for doing less and less for it.

        Democracy in Canada is a ruse. We are a managed people, they skip real economics in high school as less educated people are easier to lead with deception, lies, envy, greed and their naive hopes.

  3. Prior to the last election, I asked each leader to give me his/her vision for the country, if elected. No one replied from CPC or LPC and I received a generic response from the NDP. Elizabeth May was the only leader who answered with a specific view of how she would guide the country.

    • I am increasingly impressed by her. If she can attract someone of similar calibre to run in my riding, I’d definitely consider voting Green. And, for a change, NOT as a protest vote (as I’ve threatened to do in the past).

      • The Greens could have had a whole bunch of capable candidates last election. Too bad nobody would have known because May insisted on using all the resources to promote herself and herself only.

        Will be interesting to see if the Greens take a different strategy in 2015, or if they focus all resources on May and Hyer.

        • True. This time around, though, I’ll be actively looking to see what I can find out about my Greenie.

        • Im a bit late but by your comment you are too. You forget that due to “CTV” administrators decision to limit who is able to compete in the national debate forced the GPC to focus on one riding. Imagine the innumerable things that would never have been discussed in the house of commons if Mrs May wasnt there to ask them. They were forced by a rigged system rather then any ego of elizabeth May.

      • Ask your Greenie about Agenda 21 and how it might fit (collide) into your future plans, that is if you are allowed to live.

    • Too funny….I tried the same thing by letter in 2004.
      I asked a question about a specific policy, and here are the results.
      Conservative Party – received a letter with handwritten comments on the bottom of the letter. Comments were from Stockwell Day.
      New Democrats – no response
      Liberals – received a letter asking for a donation to the Liberal Party; no response to my original query. ( I held membership in the Liberal Party in 2004)
      LIzzie wasn’t an issue then.

    • Those without a prayer, especially in politics, have a lot to say regardless of content because they will never be held to account and they welcome anyone who will listen. If you used that as a metric as to who to vote for…..

      • I agree but it does tell me if the leader is prepared to articulate his vision instead of attacking his opponents. As a matter of fact, the local candidates were more influential in my voting decision.

      • So what you are really saying is that as long as you only say things with the idea of reelection your ok. But speaking out about real issues in a non partisan way is off the board??

        • Did you read my post??!! Those that have no chance of handling the leavers of power will say anything because they have no chance of being held accountable. They can promise the world.

          • I think maybe the problem lies then in your perception of what a government is expected to be. Unfortunately this the norm these days. Imagine a government who said and did the right thing first worrying about f it would get them reelected. I know crazy idea right.

          • Democracy has been hijacked by promise seekers telling the engineered uninformed they will get looked after if they get their vote. Lo and behold the promise makers get to steal more from the producers, killing jobs, increasing taxes all in the name of “fighting poverty”. If these a$$holes just got out of the way there would be a lot less poverty, a lot less drugs, and a lot more jobs and a lot less government.
            Fire the Commies and lefties – all of them. They don’t give a crap about anyone except themselves.

          • Well, actually, the truth is that leftist politics is far more concerned with social well-being of the group, and rightist politics is centred on the individual’s well-being.

            By the sounds of the above paragraph you think the right – those in charge – should get out of the way, and leftists should all be fired. So I guess you’d then have completely unregulated centrists running a new anarcho-state.

            Strange indeed.

          • Leftist politics in my view is about identity politics to divide and conquer; creating dependency to secure their vote; and generally maintaining the view they know what’s best, not you.

            My ideal is a government that governs with the least resources. If a service is available in the private secctor, no public employees should be doing it. A non-politicized public service is essential for investigations and public work where time is not of the essence. I like charter schools, health saving accounts, retirement accounts. Give the elected and public officials as little power as possible to do their job. Our public service today is running amock in hand with the elected official. It needs to stop.

          • There’s a miles-wide difference between promise-making and telling it like it is.

          • Unelectables will spew whatever they want, truth not being one of then because they have never been close to power. It’s all fantasy we can change the world by electing said candidate, but those who really know or who have amassed enough power to it like it is, get shot.

          • And your point is?

          • I think his point is that since most politicians are unreliable scum bags we shouldnt expect anyone to behave differently. Its unfortunate that those willing to speak for their constituents and not for their sponsors are ostracized and berated as Mrs May is. What has she done other then attempt to force the government to be held accountable for their actions and advocate on behalf of what is right for the country and not what will get them re elected. There is a reason she is voted parlimentarian of the year by her peers. Its unfortunate that more of those in power dont have her conviction and work ethic.

          • I think your view of the world is skewed by skepticism. The fact that the system is broken to the point where it has very little to do with its citizens should be the focus. Not picking on those who speak the truths and are not cowtowing to corporate interests. This does not make them commies or socialists just courageous people who you should support as they are the ones with the countries best interests at heart. I hear what you are saying but I for one am not ready to let those in power off the hook.

  4. What a weird article, I don’t see how going off about May’s failure to grow the party is particularly relevant to the end conclusion that she’s right, in fact it seems you felt the need to discredit her before taking the uncomfortable stance of saying she was right, which of course she is.

    May sees what the media keeps missing while waiting for that never arriving word of wisdom from the Dauphin, Harper’s incremental dismantlement of government beyond the role blowing things up in foreign wars and subsidizing industry. It’s not new, its not hidden its just now showy enough for headlines.

    • Here’s a crazy idea: Wells was juxtaposing the relative popularity and insightfulness of Trudeau and May to make the point that being “right” doesn’t necessarily advance one’s political fortunes. Heck, a thoughtful reader might use this piece to reflect on the relationship between what voters reward and the governments we end up with.

      • May is a prophet and the rest of us are too dumb to realize it.

      • See also Antony’s speech v Brutus’ speech in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. It’s politics 101.

      • preach!!

      • Yes, Elizabeth May got all the brains and JT got all her success. You would think he would at least know his own party history before he makes comments about budget speeches and Olympics.

        • Why? Harper makes similar goofs all the time.No kind of excuse of course.

          • Forgive me, I thought we were looking to get someone better than Harper. If we are going to get the same sh*t in a better looking outer package, why bother taking the risk?

          • We were talking about a pretty small goof on Trudeau’s part. I don’t quite know how you get from there to same as Harper only better packaging.

          • “We were talking about a pretty small goof on Trudeau’s part.” Yes, THIS time it was another small goof on Trudeau’s part, revealing yet again that the man is not very intelligent. Each time Mr. Trudeau makes a goof and you his faithful followers make an excuse. Today’s excuse: “a pretty small goof.” Do you notice that Tom Mulclair’s followers aren’t having to make those excuses….”It was taken out of context…..it was a joke….we are talking about a pretty small goof.” I believe you alone have made these comments in the past two weeks.

          • Sorry to appear to upset you but despite being a far more experienced politician Mulcair’s has made his share of goofs.
            So Trudeau didn’t know his father’s right hand man had also released a budget in the middle of an Olympics – big deal. You’re nit picking.

          • Nit picking”….Nah! It is merely amusing that he made an issue of something his father did.

          • Oh pleeeaze…you guys are almost mute on the concept of Dutch disease for one simply reason – it blew up in your face. Are you really interested in hearing a litany of Toms goofs?

          • Dutch disease? Hahaha! I am not an NDP. I do recall though how you and several Albera-haters jumped on the Dutch disease claims for why Ontario manufacturing was in the toilet. It was amazing to me how people could ignore that US manufacturing was in the toilet at the time as well and they had no resource-rich Alberta to blame.
            No,….Tom Mulclair is clearly head and shoulders more intelligent than Justin Trudeau. The Dutch disease bit was jumped on by all kinds of pundits as ridiculous as it was.

          • Hahaha yourself. You’re contracting yourself as you point out the obvious flaw [now anyway] in Tom’s argument at the time. You also miss the screamingly obvious point TM is a politician not a pundit or macleans commenter.
            Quite right i did think he had a point at the time. I even pointed out something similar happened in the UK once they became a petro state. There has been a debate since then that makes a reasonable case for it not just being AB’s fault and Oil and gas only make up 6% of our economy. My bad. The point is many dippers aren’t convinced of this still and since Mulcair ran with this imagining it to be a political winner[ which it has not been] i think its fair to call that a major goof. Or do you think he can resurrect it? Fat chance! Will it do him any lasting harm? Depends if Harper or Trudeau make it an election issue.
            And i also once thought Mulcair a really sharp blade one that would dice and slice Trudeau[ who is undoubtedly very green still]i was wrong about that too. So are you. Keep on underestimating Trudeau at your peril, it’s one of his key cards still.

      • You might even say the same of SH.

        Oh and by the way i hate you. I think you just blew my long piece criticism of Well’s take on Trudeau[ he has a strategy] out of the water.

  5. Justin proclaims that all Liberals in the senate (who are lifelong Liberals and continue to vow to be liberals, to advance Justin’s agenda and continue to sit as Liberals in the senate) are now magically not Liberal, while he points the finger at his opponents for playing political “games”.
    Oh how wonderfully rich.
    And I especially love his deep and well thought out response to what should be in the budget – good things for the Middle class. I see. I see.
    I’m starting to think that a brief stint in teaching, then going in and out of University courses until he was in his 40′s may not have prepared him for the rigours of leading one of the world’s most powerful economies.
    He has nice hair and facial features, so there’s that.

    • As opposed to the hard-nosed, real world practical experience our current PM brought to the job.
      Nothing like a stint as a backroom lobbyist to prepare you for national leadership.

      • Harper unified the right in Canada. He was also an MP before he was a lobbyist. He’s also got 9 years experience as PM. Meanwhile Trudeau is kicking Liberals out of his caucus. Harper’s shown countless times that he is a real leader. Trudeau, not so much.

        • So he was a politician, then a bureaucrat, then a politician.
          Yep, lots of real-people experience in that career path!

          lol

          • I think you miss my point. If you’re going to look at Harper’s experience, you have to include the fact that he’s been PM for 8 years. Harper had also lead the CPC through a losing national campaign in 2004.

            Trudeau will be running against Harper in 2015, not 2004. You can try to pretend the previous 9 years didn’t happen…. but most Canadians will remember living them.

          • The closest thing Harper came to real world experience was when he delivered the Toronto Star in the upscale enclave of Leaside in Toronto.

          • What you fail to mention of course….is that Trudeau has most likely never even read one.

          • You got that one right!

          • I don’t support him but I think he has more intelligence in his little finger than Harper has in total.

          • He shares the experience of having had some crappy jobs with many Canadians. It is only the rich and privileged kids in that generation that didn’t have to earn their own money. He wasn’t one of them. I don’t believe that it a strike against him.

          • So Harper learned on the job…

          • If you mean that Harper wasn’t Prime Minister before he became Prime Minister, then yes. But he’d had plenty of experience in other leadership positions before becoming PM, which is I think more important, since nobody has experience as a PM before they become a PM.

          • The thing is, though, Rick – many of us think he’s been really sucking at the job. At this point, it’s not so much JT (or Mulcair) he has to worry about as his own baggage.

            Best outcome for Harper, from my vantage point, is another minority. I’d put it at 50/50 for the CPC or Libs forming the next government, barring something really boneheaded from JT between now and then.

          • I have no doubt you dislike the job the PM’s been doing. But I bet you were saying the same thing his first day on the job. You’re both ideologues, and you’re ideologies aren’t the same. It’s not a surprise that you don’t like the job he’s done.

            I think Harper could very well win another majority in 2015. Trudeau will have to avoid doing anything bone-headed, yes. We’ll also have to see if he’s able to control his candidates’ messaging. There’s also the very real possibility that he’ll have to deal with fallout in Ontario from what will by then be a very unpopular Liberal Party of Ontario. I don’t know why Trudeau’s been aligning himself so closely with Wynne, but that could have some serious repercussions for him in 2015.

          • You’re right about that first day. He’d been very loud, while in opposition, saying that anyone who wants to cross the House should be required to resign, and saying he would not appoint any senators. And then – his first real act as PM, he announced his cabinet and… that’s right – TWO principled stances tossed out the window.

            I’d had my fingers crossed and hoped that maybe his actions might measure up to his words – but in that one action he proved that my gut instincts about his character were bang on. And he has proved me right just about every day since.

            And as to ideologues… what the hell are you then? Harper could crap on your head and you’d ask for more.

          • Harper could crap on your head and you’d ask for more. As would every good conservative.

          • You obviously haven’t been paying attention. Not a Conservative; far from being a Harper fan.

          • “And as to ideologues… what the hell are you then? Harper could crap on your head and you’d ask for more.”

            lol You owe me a computer screen.

          • and his buddy rob ford

          • Where do you get leadership experience in a mailroom?

          • You know there is nothing like a sh*t job to show one that they want better for themselves.

          • but most Canadians will remember living them.

            Unfortunately you are right. I hope they remember election day. I don’t think this country can handle another term from this fascist dictator.

          • “You can try to pretend the previous 9 years didn’t happen…most Canadians will remember living them”

            Exactly. I think you put your finger on the problem.

          • Sying he has 8 years as PM is a red herring argument. No new PM, by definition, has any experience as PM

        • Trudeau was an MP first too – in fact he won a riding many expected was unwinnable. He has overseen a tremendous uptake in party donations that almost rival the Conservative take, and they are showing the best poll numbers in years. He’s made a conscious choice to work the grassroots circuit over performing in parliament. Whatever you think about the wisdom of his latest Senate gambit – it’s bold. All in all (and I’m not a Trudeau backer) he’s fast showing a capacity to exercise independent judgment, surround himself with some smart folks, and in a word “lead”.

          I note all of this without endorsing or criticizing the particlar merits of his decisions along the way. But I think he’s roughly comparable to Harper at the same stage of political life.

          • I don’t think Trudeau’s even close to having the same amount of political experience as Harper when he ran his first national campaign, seeing as before Harper was an MP he’d also worked for several other MPs and had a hand in running campaigns. He also worked as a lobbyist between stints as an MP.

            But forget all that. The fact of the matter is that Harper and Trudeau, today, are not at the same stages in their political lives. Harper’s run national campaigns against 3 different Liberal leaders, and dispatched of each of them. Paul Martin and Stephan Dion had WAAAY more experience than Justin Trudeau currently does. Ignatieff, Dion, and Martin all lead Harper in the polls at one point, but when it came down to campaign time, Harper demolished them.

          • This means he’s dictator for life now?

          • Yes, because obviously electoral success is a dangerous sign of a dictator.

          • No disputing the gap in experience now. But I think you’re overstating Harper’s experience when he was first leader. His uncanny political instincts cannot be explained fully by the short road he followed to get there. Only time will tell if Trudeau has similar abilities (if different in form), but he’s already shown greater leadership qualities than Dion or Ignatieff did combined. (All of that said, there’s the variable of internal leadership that depends so much on the make-up of a party it’s hard for outsiders to evaluate. Harper has been able to pull that off – who knows if Trudeau can in the medium or long term.)

          • Some of us don’t think lobbying is the kind of experience we want our politicians to have.

          • Why not? Politicians will inevitably have to deal with lobbyists, why wouldn’t it be a good thing that they know the game before working for the people’s side of the equation?

            Don’t get me wrong, I don’t particularly like lobbyists. But I also don’t like lawyers. Yet I would certainly hope the Attorney General would have some experience as a lawyer before becoming Attorney General.

          • So receiving lobbyists is a key part of being Prime Minister? You are confirming my worst doubts about Harper’s relationship with the oil industry and other large corporate interests.

          • ” Paul Martin and Stephan Dion had WAAAY more experience than Justin Trudeau currently does. ”

            And more than Harper did to that point. Didn’t help them though.

            When voters want you / your party gone, past experience at best counts for nothing and may well be an albatross.

          • They’d both had more experience as MP’s than Harper. But neither had run a national campaign, whereas Harper had run 2 and 3 of them respectively. He’ll now be going on his 4th national campaign.

          • Harper’s run national campaigns against 3 different Liberal leaders, and dispatched of each of them.

            And how much of what was said in his campaigns was true. He is allergic to telling the truth! Aside from the gun registry, what promise made has he kept – Over 8 years?

          • Demolished them so bad it took him how many attempts to get a majority…two ,three? Thankfully i forget. Beating up on the liberal B team after Chretien packed it in.Impressive.

        • Sadly Harper united the PC’s, into a fascist dictatorship. Conrad Black was a member of Harper’s Northern Foundation of 1989. Black kept the lid on things. That is why Harper permitted Black back into this country. Then disaster when Harper was elected. From then on, this country has steadily gone downhill. The Canadian Neo-Na*is even donated to Harper’s Alliance in 2002.

          Elizabeth May is one smart lady. She exposed more than a few of, Harper’s underhanded dirty tactics. Harper’s vile FIPA deal with Communist China. Also Harper’s Omnibus Bill that permits China to sue Canada if, anyone tries to block China’s huge inroads into our country. Communist China can even sue Canada, in the International Courts.

          Heads up on the meeting of the 3 Amigo’s, coming shortly as well. I have been tracking the 3 Amigo’s for some years. The Keystone was always a go and always intended. The 3 Amigo’s have been working on the NAU, for more than a few years now. We already have the European Union. The NAU is Mexico, Canada and the U.S. We will be, Mexcanaricans. Our currency will be the Amero dollar. We already have American Police operating in Canada. Two Americans, Wenzel and Parker, directly participating in two Conservative campaigns. Robo-calls also came out of the U.S.

          Harper’s corporations are pushing for the NAU, to make it easier for them to have a, cheap labor pool, and easier to fleece the citizens. Corporations want only one government to deal with, instead of three.

          We also see Harper’s behavior towards our Veterans. He certainly does not seem worried about, losing votes. I am also extremely leery of Harper and his jumbo plane full, visiting Israel, as well.

          I have many links, if anyone wants them?

        • Which ‘right’; certainly not anything resembling fiscally conservative or anti-bureaucratic trough feeding hogs. Why don’t you look back on the various ‘Conservative’ platforms and tell me how many of those promises came to fruition: I’ll guarantee you’ll find more flip-flops than kept promises.

      • Harper was also an accomplished economist and had done real scholarly work at think tanks. Meanwhile, as far as can be seen Justin has literally accomplished nothing – no scholarly works, dropped in and out of courses, dropped out of a stint at teaching, zilch. Go look at Justin’s sad Wiki entry. He’s actually not qualified to run a convenience store, let alone the country – most employers just love when adults stay in school going from program to program until into one’s 40′s, a real sign of success. Though he was known for his awesome edges on the slopes (he was quite the hobby skier, living off his family’s wealth).

        • ” accomplished economist ”

          LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • “Recession? What reces-” BLAM!!! Ran right over him. Meanwhile, every other economist an politician had seen it coming for months…

          • No national leader in their right minds fear mongers about a recession, weather they know it’s coming or not. It’s insanity to suggest that a Prime Minister should be warning people about impending economic doom. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

          • Fear mongers? IT WAS ALREADY HERE!
            The question on the table was: What are you doing about it?
            If he hadn’t been threatened with a coalition, the answer would have been… “nothing”

          • Well, everyone else on the damned planet was talking about it; a little late for ol’ Stevie to be sticking his finger in the dam. But hey – he had an election to win, so truth be damned.

      • You do appreciate that when running for the job of PM, that actually being PM for a decade qualifies as “relevant experience”?

        • Partisan Liberals will spin their heads in circles to justify voting for the trust fund baby. That includes pretending the last 8 years didn’t actually happen. The Liberals don’t realize that they lose elections because they’ve been constantly running against an opponent that doesn’t actually exist.

          • If only that were true.

        • When you do it for so long – even if you do it well, which I definitely do not believe is the case with the present PM – there comes a time when you reach your “best before” date. In Harper’s case, that was a while ago. The rot has set in; the CPC needs to be turfed out.

        • In the PM business, a decade of experience usually turns out to be a liability.

          • I agree a limit on the amount of time in the job of PM is a good idea. We should adopt a 2 term limit for the PM and the senate.

        • That argument would apply to at least 50% of all PM who have ever lost an election

    • And of course he didn’t say that at all. He said they are not part of the Liberal caucus. When you have to make stuff up to make it look bad, maybe it looks good.

  6. Two microphones and closing of gov’t libraries full of moldy old books, Toronto Telegram newsclippings etc.

    And Macintosh just celebrated 30 years since its debut…

    Wells: It’s just a jump to the left,
    May: And then a step to the right.
    Wells: Put your hands on your hips
    PPG: You bring your knees in tight.
    But it’s the pelvic thrust
    That really drives you insane.
    Let’s do the time-warp again.
    Let’s do the time-warp again.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZanHo6Wn1H4

    • online libraries allowing all Canadians access to this supposedly top quality science we can’t do without is too much to expect from our public service.

    • Lots of irreplaceable research material – historical documents, not just scientific research – have been destroyed. The dollar value of those documents alone far outweighs the cost savings.

      But then, what value is knowledge to CPC supporters? Not much, apparently.

      Ever read Fahrenheit 451?

      • Lots of irreplaceable research material – historical documents, not just scientific research – have been destroyed. The dollar value of those documents alone far outweighs the cost savings.

        I missed the book burning bonfire. When was that?

        Invite in Google – scan the documents, put them online, and stick the irreplaceable material in climate controlled archives.

          • Thx. Your article suggests that scanning in documents was in fact the plan:

            Shea told CBC News in a statement Jan. 6 that all copyrighted material has been digitized and the rest of the collection will be soon. The government says that putting material online is a more efficient way of handling it.

            So, the issue seems to be who determines of the tens or hundreds of thousands of documents which should be deemed superfluous.

            Surely some head Ottawa bureaucrat has no time for this.

            I find the process not unreasonable. Not ALL info in a library needs to be saved, surely. Culling seems like a normal library process that perhaps has been overlooked over the years through various gov’ts. Municipal libraries constantly do this.

          • Municipal libraries constantly cull irreplaceable research docs do they…interesting?
            We don’t even know if they were irreplaceable do we? They might as well have lit bonfires. What can you expect from philistines who’s sole fixation is to balance the books and get reelected.

          • Municipal libraries constantly cull irreplaceable research docs do they…interesting?

            There you go again. Your partisan blinders allow you to only see what your brain has pre-programmed.

            Yes, let’s keep everything ever printed right back to Gutenberg. Because the years 1439-present will never happen again. So, irreplaceable, them. Brilliant!

          • Listen up Einstein. The point of this little debate was not that everything printed should be kept[ though god knows you don't just say come and get what you want, the rest is going in the dumpster. You have a thorough, resourced, professional programme in place. Not this circus]but that nothing should happen until there was a process in place to digitize the documents. Way to miss the point entirely Rocky.

          • Listen up Pavlov. Just because Wells likes to occasionally throw a piece of cheddar into the caged rat exhibit, and sit back and chuckle as he watches tails being chewed off, doesn’t mean you have to salivate, and respond as conditioned.

          • So trashing libraries is just a bit of poliical gamesmanship is it? You’re ethical slip is showing there Sylvester.

          • Looks like you’re confusing Dale Carnegie (How to win friends and influence people) with Andrew Carnegie (founder of 2,509 libraries).

            Check out the Cod Almanac, c 1900 for distinctions.

          • You’re absolutely right that libraries withdraw material to ensure that their collections are up to date and relevant. However, in this case, much of the staff who would do the evaluating and scanning (library staff) have been laid off. Also, the people who use those materials believe that valuable content was discarded.
            What we should be seeing is a coordinated process, but instead we’re getting a chaotic mess, with discarded documents, unhappy library users and little if any digitization.

          • There will ALWAYS be individuals who complain when you change the status quo.

          • Doesn’t mean they can’t be right.

          • Doesn’t also mean its a national issue.

            Now, multiply this by all of the other ministries…

          • I recently read an interesting article about the valid concern that much research may be lost in the next 20 years due to electronic storage and improper transfering of data to new devices etc…..

  7. “Were you the one asking Elizabeth May questions?”
    I knew right away I was in trouble. “Yes. Sorry. Why?”
    “Justin Trudeau was waiting for that microphone.”

    LMFAO.

    By asking questions, I was gently informed, I had delayed Trudeau’s arrival at the microphone. These days in Ottawa, delaying Justin Trudeau’s arrival somewhere is not a way to become popular.

    Just ask Daniel Proussalides

  8. So, if you are one of those gun-totin’ environmentalists, not an unheard-of species

    It helps to have guns when you believe, as many environmentalists seem to, that “not non-violent protest” is required to achieve your objectives.

    • Ironic that the article is specifically aimed at counseling the opposite. Did that fact somehow escape your attention?

      • The fact that this article needs to be written at all confirms that there are many who need such counsel. Did that escape yours?

        • No it didn’t. What i did notice is the senior greenpeace folks are taking the time to give good advise.
          So you’ve discovered there are hot heads in social change movements…i swear you’ll be discovering steam next John.

    • Any real environmentalist, you know, the type that actually venture out into the wilderness beyond Mississauga, would know that when you’re out in Canada’s expansive terrain, you frequently NEED a gun to protect ones self from “the environment”.

  9. “So, if you are one of those gun-totin’ environmentalists, not an unheard-of species…” The Greens used to have something of a balance between socialism and libertarianism that I quite liked.

    • Agreed. I actually really liked the guy who ran against May for the Green Party leadership. I can’t remember his name off hand, but he was a bright young guy who’d been an entrepreneur his entire life, if I recall correctly. The type of guy who realized that we live in a capitalist society, but can also protect the environment. Frankly, I think if the Greens had gone with him instead of May, they’d be doing much better than they are now. Under May, the Green Party has turned into the Elizabeth May show, which isn’t good for growing the party.

      • Jim Harris. I was very sad when May took the party away from him and his ideals. I don’t know if they’d be doing better than they are now, but they’d certainly be splitting the CPC vote up again here in Alberta and I’d be happy for that at least.

  10. I suggest that if Trudeau became PM, May would be invited into the cabinet and would accept.

    • Not sure if she would accept, but he should offer her some role in gov’t. She’s one of the few politicians talking about what’s wrong & how to fix things.

  11. but to be pleased by Hyer specifically, you need to not only be “gun totin’” but actively support not being able to trace long guns used in crime and making it more difficult to locate the weapons of those who lose their license through criminal activity,.

  12. Perhaps someone in the Liberal caucus other than the leader has been assigned responsibility for this very important issue.

    • Bingo. It is either Goodale and or Brison that are assigned to this one. They could prioritize it some more. I wouldn’t a thought it detracted from the M/C meme really.

  13. Oh my, an apparent reason for the bold move:

    “We have 24 senators from Quebec and there are just six from Alberta and six from British Columbia. That’s to our advantage,” Trudeau said in response to the new NDP push to have the scandal-plagued $91.5-million-a-year upper chamber abolished….

    His and Quebec’s “advantage” indivisible. Divide and conquer. How lovely.
    In a world with an impartial press, this would be gargantuan. But this is boy Justin, so it is likely to be promptly swept aside after a bit of gratuitous reporting.

      • If the full “context” of the statement is misleading, by all means post it here for all to see. Of course, the reason you won’t is because you cant. You will drive by with some link suggesting Justin didn’t really mean what he said (and implying my quote was false), when in fact Justin himself stood by that statement, giving some lame excuse that he has a right to defend Quebecor’s interests.
        We have so much to learn from Justin’s “progressive” followers here.

        • When Liberals claim that something Justin Trudeau has said was taken out of context, what they really mean is they WANT it to be taken out of context.

          • I said: Here’s ALL the context. Don’t expect Biffer to give it…moron!

          • “moron!” Good one! Did your big brother teach you that word?

            When someone reads the context of the quote, it’s just as damning for Trudeau as it is without the context. By stating that the quote was taken out of context, you’re suggesting he was actually saying something different than what it sounds like. He wasn’t.

            Trudeau wants to keep the Senate as it is, because it gives Quebec more control than it’s population would suggest it should have. Trudeau thinks this is a good thing, because he’s a Quebecer first, and a Canadian second.

          • I don’t think that was an approved talking point. Be careful. Don’t wing it too much or you’ll be out of a job.

          • Yuk yuk! Good one!!!! ROFLOLOLOLOL You really showed me!!

          • Well Quebecer first Canadian second, and wanting to keep Senate because it favours Quebec control, are beyond the pale even for Harper. Forgot the “nation” resolution?

          • To further clarify, I don’t think Harper himself would ever say what you said. You are off the regular field of play.

          • That’s your opinion, you’re entitled to it. Others may disagree. I didn’t say it was out of context. i said Biffer’s post didn’t provide all the context – part of which is Trudeau’s response. Lots of people wont believe him and that’s fine too.
            What you think Trudeau wants is pretty much the rambling of a vacant mind. The point is he had a right to try and explain his views. If you choose to see that as spin that’s your right. But neither you or your half witted buddy have the right to claim it is the only possible explanation.

        • You don’t actually know what context means do you? The link is there for folks to make up their own minds[ where was yours?]. Are the accusations you level fair or not? I might and i do accuse you of the same thing…not wanting to provide the other side of the story. I implied nothing. I said you didn’t give all the facts. You never do. It’s your brand Biff.

          • Context in the real world, means the words cited, when placed in the contexts of other words, take on a different meaning, and hence the quote is misleading. Trudeau’s supporters say “context” is Justin’s after-the-fact attempt to explain away the clear meaning of his words. That isn’t context. That is spin.

          • http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/context

            No. Context is the whole enchilada. What was actually said and the context in which it was said. Others are free to make up their own minds as to whether the explanation given is reasonable or merely spin.

            “Trudeau’s supporters say “context” is Justin’s after-the-fact attempt to explain away the clear meaning of his words. ”

            What you are doing here is reserving the right to have only your interpretation of his words stand as truth. It may be clear to you and others.But you don’t own the “facts” Biffer. You merely have a right to interpret them as you see fit. Your frequent attempts to “own” the facts are a regular and tedious component of all your posts.

        • “If the full “context” of the statement is misleading, by all means post it here for all to see”

          I did. It is called a link. If you click on it it tells you things you almost certainly weren’t aware of. Isn’t the internet thingy a hoot!

        • Quebecor is a company, not a people.

  14. Our union bureaucracy at work – spending more of Canadians $$$ year after year after year to provide us with fewer and shoddier services year after year after year.

    You would think there would be at least one party that would want a smaller federal bureaucracy so there was more money to spend on services for public. Feds continue to suck money out of productive economy and they can’t afford to provide basic services either while spending more and more annually.

    • The only thought I can get out of your comment is “unions bad”. Please explain what you mean so I can decide whether you get a thumbs up or down.

      • public unions are bad because they take $$$ for themselves instead of providing taxpayers with services. Feds cut the library to save hundreds of thousands of $$$ but annual spending will increase by billions.

        • True…we do need more Canada action plan ads. The old ones are starting to look a bit tatty.

          • Before we get more ads, could we divert some of that spending to create some of the programs that the ads are ALREADY PROMOTING?

          • Some of the actual jobs might be a plus also.

        • Well, then lets fire all the experience unionized public servants & hire inexperienced non-union ones and see just how much “service” we get.

          • Or privatize .Er, with the appropriate user fee of course to cover the profit margin.

          • Are you saying privatization is always a bad thing?

          • Yes, of course i’m saying that Einstein.

          • It certainly can be – and Gazebo Tony’s screw-up of the PPP hospital in Brampton certainly doesn’t give me much faith that this bunch could get it right…

          • Actually, there’s some research out there that shows PPP is usually the worst funding option available. It winds up getting all of the inefficiency and non-accountability of government operations, combined with the need for private enterprise to generate profit above and beyond the cost of the project.

      • You might want to add publicly supported Libraries and science to that thought?

  15. Kudos to Wells for gently nudging the arm of Trudeau…’Look over here where Elizabeth is looking. See what these bast**ds are really up to! They aren’t devoid of ideas at all, you’re on the wrong track youngster.’ [ Trudeau has also made the point this govt lacks imagination too. Which is more too the point]

    Fair point and one you have been pushing relentlessly. I’m pretty sure Justin is aware of it, as well as the litany of other acts of petty vandalism this PM is determined to carry out before someone carries him out feet first from office.[figuratively of course]

    But you’ve also complained in the past that the Liberals seem to shun strategy, that they are all over the place chasing shiny objects like leafs spinning in the breeze. Where did that get them? How many times did we see MI or Dion[ or Layton] step up to a mic and decry some fresh sacrilege? How seriously did most of the media take them? More importantly did it help them politically? Heck, that supposed great amateur Ignatieff even succeeded in getting a contempt of Parliament noose over Harper’s head. It didn’t save him in the subsequent election. Didn’t seem to help him much either.
    Now Trudeau has a strategy…talk endlessly about the m/c till even my eyes glaze over when he utters his scripted tps. So, yes Ms May is twice the off the cuff chronicler of the latest outrage, pointing up the direction of Harper’s govt with every breath she takes. Good for her, i admire the lady. But it wont help her bring SH down will it?At least not on her own. But a well thought out and executed strategy will.
    Edit: Goodale/Brison seems to be the ones following your thread there Paul. Better hound dogs than Trudeau anyway.

  16. there’s a dirth of imagination, regards Stephen Harper’s well-defined economic strategy, that he has single-mindedly pursued as Prime Minister. it is only Naomi Klein, who has clearly laid it out in her brilliant
    revelation, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster
    Capitalism” (2007); which, I strongly recommend to anyone interested in understanding
    the economic philosophical underpinnings to the current global chaos. Milton
    Friedman nurtured his “shock doctrine” strategy to create unfettered or
    laissez-faire capitalism, at the “University of Chicago School of
    Economics”, over forty years ago. He considered capitalism’s core tactical nostrum was: to
    dismantle all government regulation of banks & corporations, privatize all
    government assets, cutback all federal & social services;
    and, eliminate all resistance to corporate plunder of natural resources. does that sound familiar?

  17. I’ve never liked May much. However, next to Trudeau, she looks like Einstein.

    Case in point – your “Fun with history”. Thanks for that.

    As for the cuts in rounding errors, two points:
    -that fact that you can cut hundreds of thousands and it remains a rounding error within any department, that says something about the size of the many many departments
    -rounding errors add up

    • These cuts may be small potatoes financially speaking, but the value of libraries does not primarily rest in the financial realm. Elizabeth May is correct – these libraries belong to us & I have a problem with this gov’t deciding libraries don’t matter.

      • The government decided to create these things, and it is the government that decides to remove them.
        The military is owned by all of us as well. Do you have a problem when military spending is reduced? All of the government’s advertisements are owned by us as well. Do you have a problem when they reduce spending on advertising?

        • The government buys and sells assets all of the time, but as a citizen (or taxpayer, as I am constantly referred to), I expect those assets to be disposed of A) when they’re no longer needed and B) in a way that makes sense. I wouldn’t be any happier if someone found a perfectly good Leopard tank next to a dumpster.

          • Do you think Canada “needs” a $500M embassy in London? Does Canada “need” physical Fisheries libraries when the few hundred people who use them can access the same material easier in a digital format?

          • I guess they digitized all that stuff we saw in the dumpster on tv then? Oddly others beg to differ on that one. People who use those fisheries records for research. But they’re just union scientists so i guess we can discount them then.

          • The government offered all the books to researchers, librarians, and the general public. If something’s been digitized, and literally not a single person in Canada wants to keep the hard copy, then it’s obvious that the government should dispose of it.

            The mere fact that they were thrown in a dumpster and these “researchers”, who oddly want to remain anonymous, didn’t go grab them is all the evidence that you need that they had no value.

          • Sorry – nope! Not a word of truth there.

          • The key point here is “If something’s been digitized”. From what I’ve read, an awful lot of the material that they destroyed had not been digitized. They got rid of the ONLY COPY of a fair bit of data according to the stories I’ve seen.

          • What I expect is rational decision-making and a professional well-thought-out plan, not talking points and dumpsters.

          • “…when the few hundred people who use them can access the same material easier in a digital format?”

            That’s the point, idiot – they destroyed the only copies

          • Well, you should be happy, because they’re not needed and it’s been done in a way that makes perfect sense. Congrats.

          • They are and it’s not. This is a poorly thought out and executed initiative.

          • They are not and it is. Congrats.

        • Most of the time I have a problem when military spending on front-line troops is reduced. There is a certain point below which military spending should NOT be reduced (it would impact on readiness capability).
          Would love to see gov’t reduce spending on advertising, since very little these days is providing actual information to Canadians. Mostly it is partisan drivel attempting to sell the Harper gov’t.

      • No, the value of the libraries is does not primarily rest in the financial realm. Nor does it lie in the physical building or documents. The value lies within the knowledge contained within the libraries, which has been digitized and is still available for researchers. Is there any value lost if a researcher has to look up a document on a computer vs going to a physical library and finding the pieces of paper? I would think that researchers who were serious about what they were doing would be happy that this information has been digitized and will be MORE readily available to them.

        • The government’s digitization plan, if there is one, is underfunded and in chaos. Library closure and disposal of the material came first, the digitization later, if it comes at all. Digitization is merely a talking point, a fig leaf designed to provide some cover while sounding cutting edge.

          • Are you really claiming that:
            1) There might not be a digitization plan.
            2) If there is a digitization plan (which you don’t know) it’s underfunded and in chaos.
            3) They’re digitizing the material (which you’re not sure they’re actually doing) AFTER they’ve disposed of the material?

            I’m very confused. You seem to think the government is digitizing material that’s been disposed of, but you’re not really sure if they’re digitizing that lack of material, and if they are the program is in chaos.

            I would suggest the only chaos that’s happening is between your ears.

          • I know this space. Here’s how you digitize – you do an inventory and decide what to digitize. You devise a plan to make sure that the materials are available while you do that and you don’t discard stuff until it is digitized and available to those who need it. According to the people who are supposed to be doing the digitizing and the people who use the material, this is not happening.

            http://www.canada.com/technology/Last+chapter+many+Environment+Canada+libraries/9368919/story.html

            As for digitizing the material after disposal, it’s the government that’s saying that, not me. They’re the ones that filled the dumpsters and then told us that there was a digitization program.

            Here’s another example of a non-existent digitization program. The National Library is a repository for books, microfilm and other material unavailable anywhere else. People could request it from their local library and the National Library would mail it for them to use. Then the program was ended suddenly and there was a bunch of stuff about digitization. Awesome, great idea, except that there wasn’t any. That was a year ago and nothing has changed. You want to look at a microfilm that only the National Library has, you drive to Ottawa. They haven’t put any of that material online – it would be a major project to do so and their budget and staff for digitization has been cut.

          • According to your own link, the only materials that were destroyed were items that were offered up, for free, to researchers, librarians, and the general public. If there is literally not a single person in Canada who’s willing to take this “valuable” research, then I would suggest it has no value at all.

          • And how much of a heads up did those librarians and researcher get? What resources were put at their disposal. “Offered up” is one hell of an alternative plan isn’t it? You have absolutely no idea of how much work this would involve do you? Did you think they could just hold a yard sale; i bet the govt flunkie in charge did?

          • I don’t know what kind of advance warning they had, do you? Though I can’t see it taking an inordinate amount of time to figure out if you want a bunch of books or not. You think that kind of decision needs several years to figure out?

          • I’m pretty sure it does take a great deal of time and effort – particularly when the govt provides zero resources to enable it.
            You Harperclowns aren’t fit to run a roadside hot dog stand, much less a public service.

          • Oh, you’re “sure”. Well then, that’s all the explanation I need. Obviously I’ll just take the word of a Trudopehaed.

          • Oh i thought we were just exchanging opinions here. I didn’t realize yours was informed in ways mine isn’t. The fact that you don’t have any first hand experience yourself hasn’t seemed to stop you SHOUTING your opinions all over this thread.

          • Keep in mind, they were shutting down entire libraries. It’s not as simple as “drop by if you’d like to pick up a bunch of these books”, it’s more akin to “if you can find the space to house all these items, and find the money to build the shelves to house these items, and the staff to move these items, and the cataloguers to rebuild the catalogue of them, and… then you can have them. Otherwise, we’re gonna chuck them.”

            I’m pretty sure that it’s less about scientists and institutions not WANTING this material, it’s about other scientists and institutions not being able to come up with a plan to re-organize their own budgets and staffs quickly enough to collect and absorb the contents of very large collections.

          • This is all about the public service trying to embarrass the Harper Government. They are all waiting for the day their Liberal partners are back and they can have the run of the house again.

          • Years, maybe not, but it’s more complicated than it seems at first blush. We’re talking about around 85,000 volumes here, after all. Anybody who wants any of it has to figure out if they’ve got space first, and make room for the inclusion of the collection. If you just wanted half of it, and it takes 10 seconds per book to take it off the shelf and put it in a box, it would take a five person team working 8 hours a day with no breaks 3 days just to box the stuff up. Then you ship it and integrate it into the catalogue of the new home institution, and put it up on the shelves.

            I don’t know how long it would take to go through the material, figure out what you want, figure out where to put it, etc… nor how long it would take to figure out the staffing implications of accepting the material, and when you’d have free staff to do the work. However, it seems to me that just the physical act of accepting half the collection would mean a month long process costing at least $5,000 in staff time, plus the shipping costs. That is if everyone involved is making $10 an hour.

          • That’s what the Minister says. Everyone else in the article involved says otherwise.

            It’s chaos. Chaos. At best, a horribly lousy digitization plan and mad scramble to get rid of material before the end of the fiscal year. At worst, no plan, no consultation, just dumpsters.

          • The only person in that article who claimed anything was being destroyed without first having a chance at being saved was some anonymous bureaucrat who wouldn’t allow their name to be published.

            Now who has more credibility, the Minister, who we all know and can be held accountable, or some anonymous bureaucrat with skin in the game?

          • Everyone but the minister and the ministry spokesman in the article criticizes the government’s actions. And the Minister has no skin in the game? It is her ministry that’s being criticized, so obviously she’s going to stand up for the decision.

            This is a poorly thought out move, Rick. Period.

          • Yes, the article extensively quotes people who will personally be negatively affected by this decision, who are unsurprisingly critical of the decisions. But the government of Canada doesn’t operate to keep a handful of people happy, it has to keep 30,000,000+ happy.

            Government has a finite amount of resources to work with. It should invest those resources as efficiently as possible. Spending millions of dollars to keep open a bunch of libraries that next to nobody uses just so a few scientists is not an efficient use of tax dollars.

          • Scientists that they, sorry, we pay to conduct research. It isn’t about keeping them “happy,” it’s about giving them the tools they need to do their jobs. Like research materials and studies.

            And see my earlier comment about the National Library – these cuts sloughed off under digitization programs cut access for everyone who can’t get to Ottawa.

            BTW, as noted in the article above, we’re talking thousands, not millions. Of course there are finite resources. You might as well state that the world is round. But this is a poorly thought out and poorly executed initiative.

          • Yes, shutting the libraries down only saves hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. But that’s annually. Even if it were as low as $100,000 a year, over 20 years that’s $20,000,000. That pays for a lot of surgeries, or cancer drugs, or basically anything more important than ensuring scientists have easy access to certain materials.

          • Sure. An F-35 would pay for even more. I don’t have anything against F-35s and we need an air force, but hey, cancer drugs.

            Or maybe if we’re going to put the studies that weren’t thrown out in a locked basement behind a door that says “beware of the leopard” in New Brunswick, maybe we should ask if there’s any point in even having these lazy DFO scientists who refuse to brave leopards. That would pay for even more cancer drugs. Of course, you could apply the same logic to the scientists with the Department of Health who approve cancer drugs. Oh wait – their libraries were cut to ribbons too.

            http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/health-canada-library-changes-leave-scientists-scrambling-1.2499217

          • Cut a few EAP ads; that would have covered the costs “saved”. But propaganda before knowledge…

          • “Now who has more credibility, the Minister, who we all know and can be
            held accountable, or some anonymous bureaucrat with skin in the game?”

            You really shouldn’t ask questions like that, not of this govt after 8 years. Someone might think you either stupid or biased or both.

          • All part of the plan. Bury the most inconvenient facts under a mountain of uncatalogued bunf – preferably in some hard to get to or inconvenient spot. We didn’t know we’d be electing philistines in 06 did we?

          • If there was any information of value in the material disposed of, somebody would have taken advantage of that when the government OFFERED IT ALL UP FOR FREE TO THE PUBLIC. How many millions of dollars should the government spend to retain something that literally not a single person in Canada wanted?

          • THEN WHY IS EVERYONE COMPLAINING if it is all going according to plan. You don’t need to shout. It doesn’t make your case any better or more logical.

          • The only people complaining are people who refuse to put their name to their claims and demand on remaining on anonymous. Doesn’t exactly give their claims a lot of credit.

          • Science historian Jennifer Hubbard is quoted extensively in the article and she’s critical of the decision. As for the anonymous staffer, the government demands that everyone applies for permission to speak to the media. Think giving a name was an option for someone who wants to keep their job?

          • Hubbard was critical of the fact that scientists couldn’t just “waltz in” to the new facilities. She didn’t make any claims of anything being destroyed. She was annoyed because the government was making it harder to access some information, that’s all. How many millions of dollars should the federal government spend just so that a handful of scientists can be lazy?

            There’s whistle blower protection for people who out bad government policies. For an anonymous bureaucrat to suggest that they’re speaking out out of principle and not be willing to do so publicly is more indicative of someone who’s lying than who’s blowing the whistle.

          • Shoot the messenger, eh? Hubbard said quite a bit more than that. Bit much to call her “lazy” because the government has restricted access (which includes throwing up geographical and procedural barriers) to these documents. But hey, if they were all digitized like the Minister said, they’d all be online for her and others to access easily, right? Except apparently they’re not.

            Here’s what else she said:
            Claims by DFO that “all material has been scanned and made available online is simply untrue,” said Hubbard. She said she has been having trouble locating historic reports about East Coast marine science that were on the selves of DFO libraries that closed.

            “DFO is dumping documents, including grey literature that exists in limited quantities, just at a point when fisheries biologists around the world have been turning to historical studies, data, and graphical information to reconstruct the effects of fishing and fisheries policies, and to document environmental change,” said Hubbard.

          • Maybe she is just not very good at looking up things. Just because you are brilliant in one area doesn’t mean you can find your way to the washroom.

          • “There’s whistle blower protection”

            On paper. Doesn’t seem to have a lot of teeth though (less than the PBO, which says something) – and even if you come out on the other side still holding your job, there’s the emotional (& likely financial) havoc the process would wreak…

            Be serious Rick!

          • Examples of the whistle blower protection being insufficient, please? Either way, for someone acting “on principle”, you’d think they’d be able to weather a bit of emotional or financial “havoc”, if their principles actually mean anything to them.

          • That rule has always been on the books and it is on every level of government’s standard procedures. You work for the government, you sign a non disclosure agreement. Prof. Andrew Weaver is making an issue out of this as though it were only the Tories doing this. No, it’s every level of government.

          • Given this govt’s record for vindictiveness i wonder why?

          • What vindictiveness? Has Canada Revenue been going after left wing groups (other than to make them obey the existing rules), has Harper been digging up dirt on Trudeau or Mulcair’s private life? That is what has been going on under the saintly Obama in the US. It makes the PM look like a milquetoast.

          • You’ve been in a coma for 8 years I guess then?

          • Another commentator that can throw out the slogans but has no substance.

          • Another Harper loyalist who’s head is up his arse.

          • Another case of HDS.

          • I have a cure for that…an election in ’15

          • The only people who are complaining are the users of the service…the victims essentially. Sure, got that, check.

          • Nearly no notice given; no opportunity to come up with a plan for storage… It was closer to “Hey I’m wheeling this stuff to the dumpster; grab anything you want.”

        • Just because gov’t says info has been digitized doesn’t make it so. Why would researchers be raising alarms if this digitization has in fact happened?

    • Funny, how every time Justin goes off script and answers questions, he makes everyone else around him sound brilliant. Him? As these instances are mere snippets, imagine what he will look like in a full hour or so of open debates?
      I very much look forward to Joan Bryden’s post debate, alternate universe account of how Justin faired well.

  18. Of course Harper is changing the country.
    Those few Ottawa media whose self interest does not mean a larger, more interfering, more socialist government are aware of the change that is slowly happening. We elected Harper to reduce the size of government, so no surprise there. I would encourage May and Trudeau and Mulcair and the Bloc and the new old Liberal Senators all to take their turns at the microphone to bitch about government efficiency in streamlining depts. while pulling public sector unions kicking and screaming into the 21st century. There are enough of us out there to make sure Harper continues to prepare the country for the New Age we are entering. In the meantime those that want to keep overstaffing empty libraries and lighthouses can choose to live in the past and choose one of the above socialists to follow.
    The rest of us are moving ahead.

  19. Uh oh, spagettio:

    Before I post this startling link a quick question: if it is illegal for A to pay B, can A avoid that rule by paying for B’s expenses? Spoiler: it’s well settled in law that you can get around the law that way.

    Get a load of this:

    “A Liberal source told The Hill Times on Wednesday that Mr. Trudeau’s decision to detach the 32 Liberal Senators from the Liberal House caucus had been taken in part because of concern Mr. Ferguson’s audit might be critical of the fact that Senate fund might be subsidizing the political and research activities of MPs in the House of Commons.

    When questioned about the system on Wednesday, following Mr. Trudeau’s announcement, Liberal Senator James Cowan told The Hill Times: “What we’ve done is hired researchers and shared the results of that research with the [Commons] Liberal research bureau, that’s what we’ve done. We haven’t transferred any funds to the House because we can’t do that.””
    Sorry Charlie, but not only can’t you transfer funds, you can’t indirectly transfer funds by paying the other’s expenses.
    As an aside if you have ever had children you would know that if there is something akin to a big red button in a room full of kids, if you don’t want that button pressed the last thing to do is proclaim to the kids: “don’t press that big red button”.
    Did Justin just tell all not to press the big red button, with his dramatic (albeit shallow) attempt to divorce himself from the Senate prior to the audit report??

    • Wait, are you suggesting that Trudeau’s “bold” Senate move was in fact a cowardly attempt to avoid accountability? Color me shocked!

      • Color? That’s an interesting, un-Canadian way to spell. A tell, if you will. Are you in some Republican data-bunker in Utah or something?

        • Just try to pay attention to what Charles and Rick are telling you about more Liberal corruption. Leave the spelling to spell check.

    • I don’t recall Trudeau defending Harb? He said, if Harb is found innocent he was welcome back. However if Harb did the crime, he does the time. It was Harper that was lying and covering up.

      There is a Liberal Senator doing time for a much lesser sum of theft. All of the other thieves, had better do the time too. That includes Harper and Wright as well, if they are in the wrong. Harper is an obsessive control freak. Not for one minute do I believe Harper had no clue as to, what was going on. Harper stonewalls and blocks every investigation, to do with him. That includes his stonewalling the investigation of Harper’s robo-call election fraud. That also was the investigation of the torture of the Detainee’s. The coward prorogued Parliament on that one too.

      Canada has become a cesspool of corruption. There is no honor, decency, ethics nor morals left in this country, what-so-ever.

      Harper has not, one saving grace. Harper is the one and only Canadian PM, that has ever been held in contempt of Parliament.

      • What Harper cover up? When he found out about the illegitimate expenses of Duffy/Braz/Wallin, he publicly demanded they pay the money back. Trudeau didn’t demand Harb repay the money, he defended him saying the expenses were legitimate and he’d welcome him back as a Liberal once it was cleared up. Now it turns out Harb was by far the biggest crook of them all. The only thing that got Harb to repay his expenses was to save his pension, nothing the “bold” Trudeau did or said.

        • And the Liberals consistently get off the hook by proclaiming they ejected Harb from caucus. What does that tell you about what is going on today?

          • Then they congratulated Harb on doing the right thing by retiring from the Senate when in fact he retired so he wouldn’t lose his pension if he was found guilty of criminal action in his apparent less than honest dealings while there.

      • “There is a Liberal Senator doing time for a much lesser sum of theft.”

        GREAT! Now we can compare just HOW big the crooks are in one party versus the other. Oh wait! I forgot! The Independents no longer belong to a party so the Liberal Party of Canada no longer accepts responsibility for the reprobates that they appointed, fostered and held to their collective bosom until yesterday when they decided that the remaining 32 were now persona non grata and were never to be mentioned in relation to the Liberal Party of Canada again. Well surprise, surprise! As Harper has learned and as Chretien learned, it isn’t that easy to cut the ties in the minds of Canadians.

      • The contempt was trumped up as any non-partisan would know by looking at the facts For one a minority government. So blow it.

        ADSCAM trumps anything any party ever did. It brings up all the many other programs missing billions under the Liberals, where did all THAT money go!!??
        If I were a Liberal, I would stay away from a few words, corruption, crook, ethics, scam and leadership.

        • Everytime I see ‘ADSCAM’ brought up I remember how the Liberals called an inquiry. (And everytime I see a writer take us on a history lesson I remember this is 2014 – the Liberals have a new leader). I expect I’m not the only one.

  20. If PW’s assessment of Harper’s long game objective (smaller government) is accurate, I wonder how incisive the corresponding cuts in size, scope, budget and staffing of the PMO have been?

  21. May has a quite a few useful things to say. Unfortunately she will never have the ability to use any of her ideas as she will always be on the outside looking in.
    Talk is Cheap

  22. May is also in a snit as governemtn is spending $22,000 to eliminate mountains of paper that costs millions of dollars per year to house and no one reads them any more.

    Reality is, May should ask why our government hasn’t moved into late last century with electronic document controls on ALL activities. Having some 6 digit a year “gone fishing” quack scientist producing paper reports no one reads is sort of an insane waste of taxpayers money.

    But May supports it says it all. Not an economic bone in here entire body.

    • The point she’s making is that govt isn’t digitizing all that info. And don’t you think it’s for the scientific community to decide what’s relevant enough to keep, not a bunch of ideological philistines like just about any of Harpers front line ministers?

      • The scientific community??? The people that sit in our universities and live off government grants??? That’s a joke.

        • No. Like fisheries scientists and researchers duh!

          • Then point out you are discussing government employees.

          • What freakin’ difference does that make? Are they inherently bad people? You seem to be saying so.

  23. Don’t worry May. When we get tired of the Harper name, the back room will give us new false fresh hope with a fresh name and face, and the same old statism government lies and deceit.

    At 57 years old, its clear I will never see a federal government (any party) that really works for the people. Ottawa is about illusions, deceit, lies and blame defection. Doesn’t mater who the PM is, we don’t manage government, government manages us.

    Reason government can’t solve the economic problems started with 2006 money counterfeit for debt and interest rate fraud is that government statism bloat caused the problems….G7/8/20 meetings are not about serving the people, it is and was about statism an control of the people.

  24. We could bring that down to a local level and ask why our libraries are culling valuable and important books to bring us the latest in Can-Lit or books about the Third World. Space. If you need a book, find it on Internet Archive.

  25. May is entirely right, and it galls me that none of the other parties nor the media (with the exception of the excellent recent CBC documentary “Silence of the Labs”) has been taking the illegal library closures and anti-knowledge policies of Harper as very serious issues.

    By saying that “Harper has no ideas”, Trudeau is either being ignorant or disingenuous. Harper has always been boring, and he’s always put his ideas into practice by making them so boring that nobody much noticed. The media and the opposition parties must not allow him to get away with this and yet they are! May is the only party leader who is as detail-oriented as Harper and has the breadth of vision to see what he’s really doing.

  26. It’s true, Elizabeth May is worth listening to and I don’t know why it’s so hard to find out what she’s up to in the mainstream media. Her speech in the House during the debate on the omnibus bill was amazing.

    Having said that, I don’t feel like dumping on Trudeau because he’s figured out it’s hard to keep people’s attention on complex issues in the few minutes he has in front of them, at least as filtered through fairly hostile journalists. After all, May’s brilliant speech didn’t change one single thing. I note also that he doesn’t appear at all to have made a big deal out of Elizabeth being on the microphone, that’s coming from you, Paul Wells.

    Congratulations, you finally noticed Elizabeth May has interesting things to say. It doesn’t necessarily mean that therefore Justin Trudeau doesn’t..You know, if you could refrain from being snitty about him for a couple of minutes.Maybe he’s just got your number.

  27. It’s good to hear from Elizabeth May it’s the first time in months she needs to come out more to the media and fight for her party more come up with plans and ideas come out to the citizens of Canada Ontario with a real plan so you don’t have to raise gas hydro Elizabeth May always has u tube to share her plans with good luck with the media they will always show the Green Party is yellow

  28. I wish more of the media would pay more attention to her. She is as smart lady and has already done more to expose flaws than any of the others even with her very limited budget. She is my choice in the next election.

    • May has blown her chances with the media or anybody other than you devoted fans. She’s nothing but a trougher of the highest order. I’ll never forget the time she was running around declaring Dion was going to make her a Senator. Added to that was her refusal to run in a riding she could actually win. I mean you can’t expect Miss May to just live anywhere can you? This woman is all about herself and if it meant switching to the Liberals to keep her trotters in the trough, she would.

      • An accurate assessment.

      • your statement is bullshit if I’ve ever seen it. I’ve seen party leaders from liberals, NDP and the greens. And honestly May seems to be the only one with a grasp of what is really going on. The only one who sticks up for Canadians and informs them of what Harper is really doing. I have never met a more selfless politician.

        • Pardon me while I snort my coffee. May selfless? She had to be shoe horned out of Central Nova and refused to run anywhere else until the party found her another riding where the people were upscale, it was environmentally beautiful -and-she had a chance to win. She has been a member of all three political parties which means she stands for nothing and was willing to throw the other Green candidates under the bus in order to participate in strategic voting.

  29. Whenever I hear about or see the Shiny Pony make a statement, I wonder who is whispering in his ear, because I don’t think has has the capacity to talk about any issue that concerns Canadians and neither does whoever is whispering in his ear. If he becomes PM he will be Canada’s Obama, run from the backroom by faceless opportunistic commies destroying freedom and wealth.

    • The faceless opportunistic commies are definitely the worst variety of opportunistic commies.

      • Having a bad day Mr. Wells? Oops these are all bad days. You’re right. But at least we’re not in the Ukraine because this is worrisome

  30. yes. I have to ask myself why it is these dark days that whenever I hear the voice of E. May it resonates as ‘sanity’. Don’t get me wrong the environmental issues are indeed grave but the political-economics of this county’s oil reserves still trumps when it comes to maintaining a standard of living which has and is the envy of the world. Yet it is true also if inadequate safe-guards are not in place there maybe be no resources left – besides what’s in the ground – to warrant any envy when all is a wasteland. Even China sees this. A Liberal government(the generation that was) knew how government works. Not the clowns who currently occupy the majority. And Ms. May while in my opinion is one of the most intelligent of the leaders has still to be tested against the barons of Bay St. Still isn’t it about time she gets her chance. Come on Canucks we’re smarter than most. Or at least I used to believe so.

    • Canada is not the envy of the world. Canada has been declining for years in all kinds of ways under Harper and recent moribund governments . Harper’s admin. governs solely on ideology – “no tax is good” – and that’s it. We are certainly not maintaining a standard of living, and that’s the point. Our children have no way near what we enjoyed 20-30 yrs ago.

      • Standard of living compared to who? Germany? Dubai? Certainly not any of the other G8 because they are in more of a mess than anybody else –
        aforementioned countries excepted.

        • Standard of living compared to ourselves. It has been in a steady decline for years. Unless of course if you want to measure our material gains, then yes, we certainly do have a lot more Chinese toxic plastic crap today. But wages have been stagnant for years.

  31. And where was the official opposition while this was going on?

  32. Justin Trudeau’s Senate policy is colossal stupidity which could cost him his leadership. The incredible thing is how the media laps this drivel up, like Trudeau is some kind of genius and a bold “man of action”. Why is the media so in love with this guy? It makes no sense.

    The problem with the Senate is not that its too partisan it is unelected and unaccountable. Mulcair says abolish it. Harper says make it elected or, if that’s not possible, abolish it. Trudeau is the only one now who will defend an unelected and unaccountable Senate.

    In fact, as Stephane Dion pointed out last year, Trudeau’s idea to have an unelected and unaccountable panel of experts (Council of Jedi Knights?) appoint unelected and unaccountable Senators make the situation worse, not better. Dion says at least the PM is elected so there is theoretical accountability for a PM’s Senate appointments, as we see with Duffy et al.

    In a mature democracy, unelected people should have no role in shaping or approving legislation, period.

    It would be an excellent way to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation by doing away with the last surviving vestige of British colonial rule, the unelected Senate, on July 1, 2017. Since their views on the Senate coincide, I can now easily see Harper and Mulcair cooperating on Senate abolition, leaving Trudeau’s “bold move” of defending the indefensible completely irrelevant.

    This is much more than a rookie mistake. It is a huge blunder.

    • Harper has done nothing on Senate reform in his 8yrs and appointed more un-elected senators than any other PM in Can. history. Sorry, he and Mulcair share no similar visions on senate reform. And as for May, of course she’s right. Does she have a snowballs chance to become PM? No – sadly.

  33. Good grief…delay of microphone for Zeus…definitely an offense worthy of the pillory or worse…permanent prohibition from D’Arcy Mcgee’s

  34. Harper has done nothing on Senate reform…(crickets)

  35. May, may have a point, but she has annoyed so many people that they tune her out.
    As for the ‘cuts’ – again we are moving into an era when INFORMATION as opposed to hard copy books or printed reports is what is needed. I’ve moved most of my reference texts off the shelves and onto electronic copy; I hardly ever provide a client with a printed copy of a report (but send them the electronic version); and I no longer purchase hard copy/paperback books for pleasure reading. Has my world become less because of it – no!.
    Only about a decade ago (under the Liberals) there was the great push (at great cost) to support communities and organizations to digitalize their information as we moved into the 21st century. And that was praised as insightful and thinking like leaders. So the current government actually fulfills that plan and it is demonized. Am I the only one who thinks that the outrage has less to do with the actual tasks and more to do with the MSM and the various Harper Haters taking another opportunity to project their own feelings on this than anything based in reality?

  36. Fair complaint, but here’s the catch: where you agree with your whispering colleague is on the assumption that only the Leaders’ comments are (or should be) worth covering. But why? I’m a firm believer that our concentration of power in the PMO is mostly driven by the narrow focus of media, on the PM and direct competitors for his office. If only Leaders are given a national spotlight, it’s a self-fulfilling premise.

    There’s no shortage of other folks to quiz on such matters in a year when nomination races are kicking off across all the parties: lots of these people, who are not yet under the whip, might have lots of basically undisciplined things to say. It’s odd how who’s-running-where is always the main story in US congressional coverage, and almost always at the expense of actual chamber debate… but riding politics is mostly ignored here in favour of central spin in the Hill bubble. This is because Maclean’s lacks of resources to get out here and find our far-flung stories, I suppose?

    Or it flows from underestimating the weight of local candidates on election outcomes, perhaps… but in truth, the candidate search matters more and more the farther from Ontario one looks. (i.e. MPs are somebodys 50ft from Parliament!)

  37. That Miss May is more informed, has done more homework on the issues than Mr Trudeau is quite telling. We will probably see more of the ”This is bad, this is bad, this is bad” from Mr Trudeau as the months go by. And when asked what he would do differently…..we will get just more of the ”this is bad, this is bad, this is bad”.

  38. At this point it won’t matter what Trudeau says, the public is willing to accept him no matter what vacuous promises or empty headed statements he continues to say.
    Seriously, this is where politics has been for a long time in Canada and I blame it on the incompetent consecutive CON/LIB government revolving door.

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