Changing a society, one step at a time - Macleans.ca
 

Changing a society, one step at a time

Harper’s stacking of the Rights and Democracy board got noticed. Not so with most of the other levers he shifts.


 

The excitement is winding down at Rights and Democracy. Last week I wrote here about the conflict between newer and longer-standing board members of the Montreal-based, federally funded rights organization. A majority on the board had been complaining about the new board chairman, Aurel Braun, since last spring. The government kept sending Braun reinforcements, in the form of newly appointed board members, throughout 2009. By the new year, Braun and his supporters had a majority on the board. Two of the old-guard board members quit in frustration at the new direction. The president of Rights and Democracy, Rémy Beauregard, was dead of a heart attack. The organization’s full-time staff circulated a letter, signed by nearly all of the employees, calling for the departure of Braun and two of his closest associates from the board.

That’s where we left things last week. A few days later the Rights and Democracy board met in Toronto. Now securely controlled by recent appointees, they selected a new interim president. The guy they chose was Jacques Gauthier—one of the three top board members whose resignation the staff had demanded. This was a crisis moment. The staff had asked for Gauthier, Braun and a third board member, Elliot Tepper, to resign or be fired. Instead one of the three, Gauthier, was the staff’s new boss. The new board appointees obviously weren’t going to back down. Would the staff?


You bet. There were no immediate resignations in protest at Gauthier’s appointment. And ringleaders of the staff rebellion, who had stupidly gone public with a “unanimous” letter calling for the three board members’ ouster before gathering signatures on paper, suddenly had trouble proving they had every employee on their side. The rebellion essentially collapsed. The Ottawa press gallery, whose interest in this complex story was never more than fleeting, moved on.

Each side in the showdown offered a public explanation for its behaviour that had little to do with the real stakes. Braun, in careful statements to only a few selected journalists, insisted he was sticking up for “transparency” and “accountability,” even though he had fought for half a year to keep an evaluation of Beauregard’s work secret from Beauregard himself. The staff insisted there was nothing ideological about the conflict when everything about it was ideological. It was all about whether Rights and Democracy was within its mandate to give money to groups that advocated for the rights of Palestinian Arabs during the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The old guard, obviously, thought this was fine, because they did hand out the money. The new board appointees see all this talk of Palestinian Arabs’ rights as a coded attack on Israel’s right to exist. Braun told a reporter one of the groups that received a donation, B’Tselem, is Israeli “in name only.” So I looked them up. Actually almost everyone there is Israeli in citizenship, place of residency, home of the heart, what have you. You know: Israeli. They also worry that it’s possible to treat Arabs too harshly.

The new interim president, Gauthier, spent 20 years working on a doctoral thesis in which he argues that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews by international law. A lot of people don’t share that analysis. But they’re not running Rights and Democracy.

I’m actually not here today to argue most of this one way or the other, merely to note that it all happened. It happened while Parliament was prorogued, while Stephen Harper continued to hold a minority in the Commons and to command roughly a third of decided voter allegiance in most polls. Four years after Harper was elected, Liberals still like to console themselves that he hasn’t won a majority. But he now controls a majority on the Rights and Democracy board, and the Liberals couldn’t even slow him down.

Harper’s government cut funding to Kairos, an interfaith human-rights organization. Two Harper ministers, Jason Kenney and Bev Oda, couldn’t agree on why Kairos’s funding was cut—Kenney told an Israeli audience it had something to do with anti-Semitism, then insisted he had said nothing of the sort. An op-ed in the Jerusalem Post last week chose to believe his first explanation and ignore the second. Whatever. The Conservatives still have a minority in Parliament—and 100 per cent of Kairos Doesn’t Get The Money.

Onward. The Canadian Council on Learning, whose superb Composite Learning Index measured the way people in a community study, play and take part in cultural activities, gave us the information for two Maclean’s cover packages on Canada’s Smartest Cities. The Harper government didn’t renew its funding. The Millennium Scholarship Foundation ran a flawed student-aid program and, with a little money on the side, did the best research in Canada on who gets into university and how much it costs them. The feds have shut that research program down, too.

Multiply these few decisions by all the appointments and funding choices a government makes. Understand that almost none of them are reviewed by Parliament and almost none will be noticed by most voters or even most journalists. A government stands or falls on bigger, simpler questions. But having stood and not fallen, it gets to shift these hundreds of levers: not to reward cronies, but to change a society. This is why Harper likes his job, and why simply hanging on to it is at the heart of his game.


 

Changing a society, one step at a time

  1. This is all a mute point. We need the funding here in Canada. We have an aging workforce which is leading to a diminishing tax base and an increasing demand for tax dollars. Regardless of the international needs (I hold no opinion on any organization here), we have to look after our own. If this means cutting the funding, then this is the decision we have to make.

    • "Moot", not "mute". Just in case. (http://www.pcnineoneone.com/howto/bettercomm2.htm

      I disagree. While we need funding for various things, I prefer a government that sees the global average as an important metric. Yes, we have a diminishing tax base, aging seniors, and homeless on our streets. But in Haiti/Lesotho/SriLanka/wherever, there are far greater needs and far greater poverty. Canada only sends something like 0.5% of our GDP out as foreign aid – surely we can afford a bit more than that? I disagree that we need to cut, but agree we can improve where the money goes.

    • Mute would mean "silent".

      I' sure you mean "moot", meaning something that is "open to debate".

      In any case…your ignorance notwithstanding…you really ought to remain mute.

  2. Commanding a majority on the Board of an Human Rights group is hardly remaking society. Those people can be swept out as swiftly as they were swept in (more swiftly, because a Liberal government would more closely represent the Canadian consensus and wouldn't have to act under the cover of darkness). Two Mulroney majorities and two Harris majorities did almost nothing to change the underlying Canuck mindset. These guys, when they are gone, will be remembered if at all the way a particularly nasty headache is remembered–as a brief annoyance.

    • But I think the point here is that it's *not* that easy to sweep them out, and that it's not the people that are the issue. Every lever (appointment) pushed leads to dozens or hundreds or other levers (decisions, appointments, contracts, priorities, …). Reversal takes a long time.

      My father (die-hard Reform/Alliance/Conservative voter) made a great point to me (in the midst of a bunch of other stuff I disagreed with): once you create a bureaucracy, it is near impossible to uncreate it. So each lever pushed invents, modifies, and adjusts things in a certain direction, and it gets harder and harder to turn the ship with each passing year.

      That's Harper's intent: to steer the ship. He keeps turning in his preferred direction, and dodges the icebergs when necessary.

      • "it is near impossible to uncreate it."

        You don't need to uncreate it; just put it back on course . If it's being run by people who have not bought into the goals or purpose of the a particular bureaucracy branch (and that is how the Conservatives *do* operate), by definition alone, they're usually doing a lousy job and can be more easily removed on the basis of poor job performance alone.

    • lets hope so

  3. Mr Wells,
    I was having a relaxing Friday morning here at work, until I read your commentary. Harper just appt'ed his senators and to stop those liberals – what a farce. He is slowly getting his way, right under our noses and changing Canada one step at a time and to the worse.

    • Start a Facebook group to stop Harper from the right to appoint Senators, and Judges and board members!!!!
      Liberals will never abuse the power, but will table legislation to reign in the power of the (current) Prime Minister!!!!

      • Exactly – the media tries to keep making out that the Liberals are some benevolent group of individuals just seeking the bestest things for Canada clearly shows the so-called unbiased media true roots. The media does themselves no favours and Canada no favours. They should be learning the lessons in the US when the media through their weight behind an inexperienced but charismatic candidate – and now they are trying to salvage their own skins.

        Harper is exercising his rights as a PM – is the media suggesting that he shouldn't and that they would object just a much if a Liberal PM did???

        I re-subscribed to Macleans have a long period of avoiding them – I'm rethinking that.

        • His right is to be accountable for all of these decisions in parliament. The one tool the Canadian people have – through their elected representatives – to ask questions and demonstrate their confidence or lack thereof in the government – has been unilaterally taken away.

      • Shut up.

      • Liberals will never abuse the power?What planet are you from?

    • we need an election asap

  4. This is exactly right. In 2006, they went after Court Challenges, Status of Women, Environment Canada and others. In 2006 I wrote: "I'm sure, in addition to ordering his minions to stick to the five “feel good” planks of accountability, tax cuts, and money in your pocket, Harper likely said: “anything you can do to dismantle the state that doesn't require a vote in the house, do it. Just don't write a press release.”

    • You forgot Elections Canada,
      but maybe that is because they came after the Cons, and lost twice.

    • As long as 17% of Canadians vote NDP, and 40% of Quebecers vote for the Bloc, these policies will continue, unabated.

      It may take four or five Liberal governments to rebuild whatever this guy dismantles in his 8 to 10 years in office. In the same way that Republicans notoriously bankrupt the Treasury whenever they get control in Washington, the Conservatives will essentially do the same in Ottawa.

      But it's not like you weren't warned.

  5. 'But having stood and not fallen, it gets to shift these hundreds of levers: not to reward cronies, but to change a society.'

    So that is your opinion of the motive,
    what about the merits of change.

    • I think you could recycle the phrase "change you can believe in".

      • "change we're keeping you in the dark about".

  6. I'm delighted to see the continued dismantling of the Trudeaupian socialist nanny state.

    • c_9 says
      change you can believe in

    • See, that's not what's happening though. It's nice to pretend it for ideological reasons, but it's not happening. When some on the right complain about "Trudeaupian socialist nanny state", what are they complaining about exactly?

      Trudeau: What a dork/troublemaker/whatever.
      Socialist: Stop helping people who are sick, old, downtrodden.
      Nanny: Get government off my back and let me make my own decisions!

      Trudeau's gone, and nobody really means stop helping the troubled. So what you're saying (in my humble opinion) is that you want less government, less bureaucracy, less red tape. Well guess what? Harper's not turning off these boards or removing red tape, he's just putting his own friendly version of each in place. Bureaucracies exist TO EXIST, they don't willingly put themselves out of business.

      So if they were being dismantled, we could discuss that. But all we're getting is new signatures on form letters, different colour schemes in offices, and different postal codes on the money being shuttled around.

      • Trudeau's gone, and nobody really means stop helping the truly troubled.

        Big screen TV's for the truly troubled ?

        • when do I get mine?

      • All things in their time. First, take them over, then listen to the leftards howl, then turn off the funding.

        Yay!

        • Dream on – most expensive, bloated government in history.
          Including most Senate appointments.

          Surplus to entrenched deficit -> that was before the stimulus deluge.

          Oddly, how cost-cutting governments seems to bleed money.

          • kat, you are so old news. Please quit belching your garbage and realize how truly good, good and more good the Conservatives are making Canada.

            Yep, no more stealing from the people with Mr. Harper.

  7. I just hope Harper keeps it up. The sooner we get rid of these parasitic groups and leeches the better.

    • The research department of the Millenium Scholarship Foundation a leech? Seriously? Are you brain dead all the time, or is it just a morning thing?

    • Ya, wouldn't want and professional researchers interrupting out truthiness now would we.

      • By truthiness, I presume you would include grammar? I didn't know that the MSF was an essential Canadian institution, or that 8 out of 10 people on the street would know that it had a research department, let alone care…

        • thanks, me bad, lets try again…
          Yes, we would not want professional researchers interrupting our truthiness, now would we?

          aaaah,

        • and Thinkless, your point is as well thought out as the grammar and typos blunders in mine….

          while a poll could be constructed to show just what you said, 8 out of 10 people appreciate there is lots of stuff they don't know about, stuff that keeps society and human-kind evolving and pursuing a better world, and they are OK with it when it is explained to them.

  8. So you believe the following:
    employees should be allowed to act without any board oversight.
    Once an organization has been created they have a right to continue forever.
    They can also create their own mandate without accountability.
    They never has to justify the current value of the programs they deliver.

    Wow, amazing and scary!

    • Welcome, Ezra readers.

    • how dorky

  9. Finally Mr wells you are Doing what you as decent journalists has To do . showing what is wrong and educate the public. I remember how Giddy you been when he won his first election and it took Years for you to ask "wait a minute is this we were voting for? " Then You went asleep for many years…
    I Blame You too !!!

    • "showing what is wrong and educate the public"

      That is not the job of a journalist, nor should it be the job. That's the job of a politician, or a preacher, or an editorialist.

      Journalists do their job best when they present all of the facts, digging if necessary, and then they let the readers interpret those facts.

  10. Not to mention the 26% who vote Liberal. What are these people thinking? We all need to vote for a single not-the-Conservative party that would only do what every Canadian agrees on!

  11. As long as there are still journalists like Wells who will inform and educate the rest of us about how Harper is carrying out his agenda and what it means for our democratic rights, there is still hope. When future historians write about this country's brush with an absolute dictatorship, they will wonder why it's citizens didn't heed the warnings sooner.

    • agreed

    • So you like your education to be aimed at achieving political enlightenment eh? Thats not called education, it called bias and propaganda. Mr Wells isnt interested in reporting this story in a fair, unbiased way. He is using the story like Mike Moore would, to make his (political ) point. Lap it up! Since most folk confuse truth with agreement I cant really blame you for doing the same….

  12. So far unmentioned in this discussion of the (subtle?) influence of the Harper government on Canadian life is a discussion of selective non-enforcement of existing laws an regulations. For example, the former chief of enforcement for the federal environment ministry (Linda Duncan, currently an NDP MP) has said that it is the government's failure to make sure current regulations are applied to oil sands development that has led to much of the known environmental damage.

    • This is not true.

      • Which part? Are you saying Linda Duncan did not say that?

        • What evidence do you have that current regs are not being enforced?

          • I was reporting the judgment of an expert (the former chief of enforcement for Environment Canada and the founder of the Environmental Law Centre). However, you could check out other critics, such as http://envirolaw.com/uneven-enforcement/ .

        • A logician wrote:

          "it is the government's failure to make sure current regulations are applied to oil sands development that has led to much of the known environmental damage. "

          Sorry Spock, but the oil sands make an insignificant contribution to the overall impact on the environment. Dirty…yes, ugly…definitely, but until you can provide an alternative to fossil fuels I'm afraid we're stuck with them.

          You can spout off about windmills and nuclear if you wish, but the fact remains, we live in a huge, cold country and the only way to get heavy, bulky goods from one side of the country to the other is by truck. Trucks that need to be powerful and efficient…..and the only reliable thing we have right now is the Diesel engine. I won't discuss the part about heating your home, as obviously you live in your own little world where the weather doesn't' appear to be a factor.

          • I was referring only to the known damage to the environment caused by oil sands development. Whether the damage is a significant percentage of all environmental damage is not the point.

            And where do you get the idea I was suggesting we don't need the fossil fuels from the oil sands?

          • Criticism is verboten! It's the new normal now. Wells might even have to make a new law about it, eventually.

  13. When a political party is on the government side of the House, they appoint committee members who reflect their opinions. The lIberals have been doing it forever. Because the Liberals have been on the government side of the House for so long, and so often, the public service is sympathetic to them. They have learned the Liberal "sense of entitlement". The truth is that public servants are to be politically neutral in their jobs, and support the govt, whomever they may be.

    • Well said Fred.

      I'm afraid that many of the posters on this site are of the mindset that appointments of individuals to the public service are only allowed if the appointee's are Liberal. They fail to consider that too much of anything isn't good for you…….or the country. It's about time we've had some balance.

      • Yep. The bureaucracy gotta know its place ok!

    • Hard to believe because you don't believe in it……or hard to believe that someone in the senate is actually concerned more about the victims of crime as opposed to the perpetrators?

  14. I am not political expert but we all know Harper is the biggest mistakes in Canadian political history.. As a kid growing up, all I know is, politician is always have to be there for people, in anytime or anywhere.. rain or shine..and now, politics become stepping stone to be the most rich and famous arrogant bastards that take the wealth of people , now, they are simply high class thieves. no difference from a thieves or shoplifter..and this people is more likely forgiven for they just want to eat for the day but corrupt politician they will take every single chance to be rich, in any evil which way,, i don't know how they got in position, but sure, we put them there, because of our poor judgement..and lure for change, while we shake their hands, back of their head..is evil laugh. You can hardly known and count on your fingers the truthful person in the position..and they know themselves…they might be in thrown right now but they will stumble and fall in front of people soon enough and their children children will disown them for their humiliate the new generations

    • You are one bitter person, Grace. Why don't you run for office and get things in order? Of course, you'd have to lean the English language first.

  15. hard to believe because it is using government resources to promote a very partisan point of view

    • It's pretty clear that the web page is from the department of justice, and it's pretty clear that's been their position from the outset. Every department, and every MP, and every senator is free to present the issues as they see it.

      • So, what's it doing on their website? Blatant misuse of the bureaucracy. It's just hilarious how Halifax and you[?] can go from bleating about liberal misuse of boards and gov't generally and yet not say this is wrong. I guess partisanship and justice are both blind.

      • Just to be clear: The Canadian government site for National Defense and the Armed Forces could be used by Peter MacKay/The Conservatives to assert that the Afghan Inquiry is simply a baseless campaign launched by the Opposition to smear the troops?

        • You seem to be asking whether one government body can publicly criticize another government body. I think that happens every day in question period, when ministers of parliament criticize every single government body that exists. It also happens in the various offices such as the budget officer when he criticizes the department of finance, the auditor general criticizing various government departments, and so on.

          • So, you are saying it would be ok for the National Defense website to assert that the Afghan Inquiry is simply a baseless campaign launched by the Opposition to smear the troops?

            If the roles were reversed and the Liberals were using government resources like this, you would still think the air smells fine?

          • Well, no, the department of defense would be far more respectful and classy than to use the words "baseless campaign".
            Using resources? We're talking about a few words on a web site, repeating what government officials have been saying in words for weeks. Whatever.

          • "Using resources? We're talking about a few words on a web site, repeating what government officials have been saying in words for weeks. Whatever. I've seen the Libs do the same thing a million times. It's not a big deal for them to say what they're thinking. I have no idea what you're freaking out about."

            Since when did the justice department become an arm of the gov't? They are the bueaucracy, no?
            Provide examples of libs doing this a million times – i'll make it easy for you. Just a couple will do.
            You and i disagee all the time. We probably coudn't agree on the correct way to cross the road. But i thought you were at least a libertarian of sorts. But here you are just dead wrong The abuse is really that obvious.

          • I am a libertarian, but I don't believe in the absence of government, I believe in limited government. I believe in democracy as well, also courts and laws. If the various arms of the government want to jostle with each other, that's fine, I see no problem with that, if they always got along that would worry me more.

            I've already given examples of this, such as the budget officer, the auditor, and question period, of government bodies criticizing other government bodies.

            Here's your links for more:

            Ontario government agency uses taxpayer money and taxpayer agency to attack Maclean's conservative writer:

            http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/resources/news/en/resour

            An act of the Canadian Parliament established The Law Commission of Canada in 1997 as an independent departmental corporation accountable to the Parliament through the Minister of Justice.

            It recommended that national and local governments move toward removing from their laws the restrictions on marriages between people of the same sex, ie it used taxpayer money for Liberal propaganda.

            http://www.cga.ct.gov/2002/olrdata/jud/rpt/2002-R

          • scf

            Neither of those examples are comparable at all. The orgs in both cases simply outline what they have been doing…they explain their function or role. They do not take partisan shots at opposition opinions, as did the DoJ link. Neither myself or Danby [i assume] said the govt shouldn't communicate its views re the senate appointment. But that's not the same as posting a highly partisan view on a GoC website. I believe it's been corrected to reflect a more balanced view. This knd of thing should stay on the CPoC website where it belongs.

          • "Freaking out?" not since I sailed on blotter a few lifetimes ago, thank you very much!
            Honestly? The whole thing stinks to me. IMHO the announcement should read "Government appoints 5 new Senators" and go on to express the government 's desire to enact tougher crime legislation. This is a government website – not a partisan blog.
            I may be hopelessly naive, but it reads like one of the endless ten percenters that come to my door – and I don't like taxpayer funded partisan advertising.
            I notice the TV commercials for the Economic Action Plan tell me that the government is working hard to help Canadians prosper, but stop short of bashing the opposition. I guess it passes the sniff test on government websites, but they are afraid your average TV viewer might object to the smell in their living room.

          • good one, Dandy.

          • I think there is one thing that I'd like to point out: everything a government does is partisan. It promotes the government's agenda which is frequently at odds with the opposition agenda.

            And it is all taxpayer funded. Every single web site, television appearance, government advertisement, and in fact every time you walk into a crown corporation or a hospital, you are subject to advertisements that promote the position of the government. If you see a sign on the wall at the hospital bragging about their new wing or new MRI machines, it is taxpayer funded government advertising. Whenever you see one of those signs on the highway promoting highway projects, it is government funded advertising. It's everywhere, especially for a government that has its tentacles in everything. Almost everywhere you look in Canada, you see an arm of the government promoting a position.

            Every single thing a government does has a partisan element to it. Everything. As soon as you make a decision, or take a position, there will be something that is partisan about it.

          • And along with that same theme, Wells is talking about an agency that used to take positions that were in tune with Liberal governments. Soon it will take positions more in tune with the Conservative government. That's inevitable. I would prefer the agency did not exist at all, not because I'm not in favour of human rights, but because I know that in reality it's just one more arm of the current government promoting itself, and I see no reason why we should have this agency throwing money around at their pet causes, which really have nothing to do with human rights.

            Human rights are not brought to us by the government, we have rights to protect us from the government. Rights are safeguarded by the courts and the charter, not by some government agency.

          • Check out the original link and you'll notice the headline has been changed.
            Apparently someone decided it didn't pass the sniff test

          • Maybe so, although the story is the same.

            Anyway, despite my massive diatribe, as much as I don't care about the previous shots at the senate Liberals in the older headline, I don't see the point in it either. After a certain point it just doesn't win votes. The positive headline is better.

            Actually, they may have changed it because the previous headline was misleading. The opposition really consists of the MPs in the house, not the senators in the senate. So to say that the opposition obstructed the bills is misleading.

          • enjoyed the "diatribe" and keep up the posts – the main thing I like about this site is the opposing views; it can be very educational

            cheers

          • Good catch Danby. I'd lay dollars to doughnuts someone read your post. For what it's worth sf hasn't convinced me. Yes all gov'ts are partisan in their messaging, but this blurring of the line between info and propaganda on our dime is worrisome.

          • It was not my catch. A friend sent me the link, which I now understand came from Susan Delacourt.
            I really don't know if the Liberals did this sort of thing in the past, but I agree it is worrisome. I also agree with scf in that "after a certain point it just doesn't win votes". This kind of thing is very prevalent under Stephen Harper and I think people are getting fed up with it. If SH continues with his tried and true negative schtick, especially while dodging accountability, his numbers will continue to slide.
            But hey, can you teach an old dog new tricks?

          • Per Kady O'Malley over @ the cbc
            [http://www.cbc.ca/politics/insidepolitics/2010/01

            Quote:
            So, remember that oddly partisan press release touting the prime minister's new senate appointments that appeared on the Justice Canada website earlier today? Turns out that the Liberals aren't about to let this one slide.

            This afternoon, Liberal MP Marlene Jennings sent a letter to the Clerk of the Privy Council, Wayne Wouters, in which she demands that he "instruct the Department of Justice to remove the January 29, 2010 press release from the department's website," and "issue instructions to this department and all others that this kind of partisanship in communications products issued by non-partisan departments and agencies will not be tolerated in the future."

            End Quote.

          • Thanks kathryn

            Your link did not work, so I'll try posting this:

            Displayed Text

  16. I find it very difficult to read the comments without becoming quite enraged. Mr. Harper appears to be the best thing that's happened to this country in a very long time. Canadian Media for the most part are extremely partisan in their reporting, and they are disgustingly pro Liberal. If you are going to blast our duly elected PM and Gov't and invoke "thieves and shoplifters" you seem to have become confused… that was the Liberal Party of Canada, the best representation in Canadian parliament that criminals and the taliban have ever enjoyed. Did anyone here catch Mr. Harper's speech to the G20? Truly a statesman on the world stage that can make all Canadians proud. I suspect the contributors here all get their news from CBC, so it probably wasn't covered. Like the last time when Mr. Harper was being congratulated for Canada's economic performance as the recession was unfolding. CBC instead covered the "did he pocket the host" flap.

    • You're right of course..cbc coverage doesn't extend to Davos.

  17. It's called due diligence. All groups need to be reviewed against their mandate and whether their mandate needs to be reviewed. The fact is that the Conservatives have the courage to take the necessary action to cease, alter or suspend these groups to reflect government policies and direction. Accountability counts. What has me more concerned is that the Liberal MSM keeps knocking the Conservatives without offering what values or merits are being contravened. Or do they only uphold Liberal values whatever they may be although that has never seemed apparent to me.

  18. Hurray that Harper has the leadership to drop or change some of these parasitic programs. The government needs to get back to basics and let people manage their own money.

  19. Wells, you and your Liberal loving media buddies will say and do anything to marginalize Harper and the Conservatives. When was the last time anybody saw a positive opinion piece or report honoring the Conservatives on the CBC,CTV, G&M, or Star? Can you say NEVER? All you'll ever see are things like the media obsessive, "prorogation fiasco", which boiled down, is about NOTHING! The media in Canada is irresponsible in the extreme. Pathetic really!!

  20. The Canadian government is no different from its counterparts in all other western, industrialized countries in providing funds to a wide range of non-profit and non-governmental organizations for a variety of purposes that serve and further the public interest. We are a richer society, as a result, and the practice should continue. But governments are best advised against creating their own NGO's or GONGOS -(Govt. Organized Non Governmental Orgs) to which they appoint some or all of the Board of Directors. It is bad practice and we've seen the consequences with R&D. But R&D is not unique. There are other federal GONGO's which may provide more fodder for future columns and posts by Mr. Wells. Good for Mr. W; bad for Canada.

    • Not all NGO's are created equal. I am ashamed of what this one has been up to. And i am not talking about the new board. We are talking inappropriate spending, funding terrorists, all that good stuff.

    • Not all NGO's are created equal. I am ashamed of what this one has been up to. And i am not talking about the new board. We are talking inappropriate spending, funding terrorists, all that good stuff.

  21. Boy the liberals are everywhere any commet board, on any news site,any story that bashs Harper they are there,quick to agree with anybody willing to, such as Mr.Wells blame Harper for everthing thats wrong with the country what the hell the world.It probably runs about 5 to 1 and its very easy to know the liberals they are the nasty ones.What about the people that agree with what Harpers trying to do,undo all the liberal harm that's been done to Canada,we mean nothing, its their view that counts, the rest of us are uncanadian,from the liberal perspective anyway.

    • Funny, i could as easily say the same things about you and Harper supporters.

    • Odd – this is exactly what I seem to see, except it's the neo-con supporters who are everywhere, who prefer vindictive and name-calling to rational discussion, who feel that people who disagree with them should be mocked and frozen out of the 'discussion', which consists mainly of mockery of anything they find disagreeable or disagree with.

      • This thread is an unusually bad example of that. A lot of names i've never seen here before. Wells welcomes Ezra fans somewhere above. Wonder if Ezra put the word out?

  22. http://sites.google.com/site/thegospelaccordingto

    This web page and many more show how ill Canada really is. The fact of the matter is we are dying, killing ourselves as a result of our excessive liberal policies.

    Defender's of the flower child revolution point to immigration as our Saviour. They should think this one through.

  23. I guess it a good thing that these changes are being made. As an ordinary citizen I didn,t know these organizations existed. The people appointed were obviously Liberals and changed drastically the country I grew up in. So Harper appoints Tories? Did you expect him to appoint Liberals?
    Today I read a judgment by the Landlord Tenant Board here in Ottawa. It compelled the Landlord to keep a mentally ill tenant who assaults other tenants in her building because asking her to leave would infringe on her Human Rights.
    Maybe , just maybe , we need to see some of these appointed members tossed

  24. All what is happening in Canada today is not political. It is all about power to overcome private rights and freedom of the public. Protection of all minority rights and freedoms will be destroyed. This is a underground religious battle, Canadians are not stupid. May be slow but not stupid. Politics is politics, and there should be no religious involvement within it. Each to their own, Thats why the Liberal, Bloq, NDP and your own Conservative voters, when ever they feel fear of a lose of freedom or right, will put you in your place. If the agenda of the Harper government undermines or blunders much more. Voters will put him in his place. What goes around, comes around.

  25. I beg to differ that society has not notice that Harper is changing society. CAPP, and the members posting on, have certainly notice and appreciate how Harper is manipulating those levers, and recognizes the dangers of doing so.

  26. "learn"

    • "irony"

      • Dammit! For the last time, look up the definition of irony!

  27. The question is nor who is on the board, commisions sororities etc, but why are we forced as taxpayers to support every nutbar cause that exists. If these organizations can not raise the funds it takes to operate they simply should not exist. I think that the government could eliminate 25% of their spending and 95% of Canadians would not notice the difference. We eventually need a government who believes Canadians are capable of lloking after themselves.

  28. For an instance, while I was reading this article I was wondering whether I was living in the US again during Bush' administration but I realized that I am in Canada. Is this the Canada that was an example of a democratic society, freedom and multiculturalism? No, I guess Canada is no longer that country. Developing countries is time for us to look for other countries to teach us about democracy!

  29. Both 'rights' and 'democracy' have been under attack for some time in Canada, by both major branches of the Bay St Capitalist / Republican North party which has been running Canada for the last 30-odd years. Anyone interested in a bit of history from a perspective not to be found in the mainstream media might start here – What Happened – http://www.rudemacedon.ca/what-happened.html .

  30. Isn't it the aim of politicians in general to "change a society"? Isn't that the point?
    So far it seems to me this is still just a 4 year interregnum from almost 50 years of mostly Liberal hegemony.
    IOW 50 years of mostly Liberal efforts to change our society.

  31. Thnaks, Paul, for dogging this. Although it can easily be dismissed as an inconsequential, inside baseball kinda sideshow, your reporting proves otherwise.

    The incremental imprinting of ideology by the Last Straussians is as disconcerting s it is strenuous.

  32. Are you kidding me? Putting people in place to cover positions where people have died of a heart attack? Not listening to an employee who is disgruntled because he does not like his new boss. This is changing society one lever at a time? How about Gay marriage? Not saying I am for or against it, but that is changing society. National Energy Program (and now that they have found gas in Quebec, let's see how they would like that law implemented today). Unilateral decision on multiculturalism. Mandatory wage and price controls. Oh yeah and don't forget what came out of the Gomery Commision. Unilateral decsion on longarm gun control. Coming out with your own numbers in Kyoto, without even your own parties knowledge. These changed society.

    So quit fear mongering about Harper changing society on by changing leadership on a governement board that most Canadians have never heard of, and really does not affect Canadians.

    • Harper is scary

  33. All, and I mean all, of these groups (NGOs is a misnomer since they can't survive without government funding) should be cut off taxpayer funding. If they can't raise their own money why should others pay for them just because some politician thinks it will get him a few votes. These leeches have nothing to do with democracy, they impede and are an affront to it.

  34. The CCL is garbage. Their reports are worthless. If we were or are to keep funding the CCL we need to do an overhaul of the research they are doing. It's amateur hour at the CCL.

    • Wrong, Pete.

      Next

  35. Paul – while I agree with the overall premise of your article, I've never been a fan of buried off-hand comments that aren't supported…

    You say that 'the Millennium Scholarship Foundation ran a flawed student-aid program' – care to explain the basis for that evaluation? I'm keen to understand your reasoning for it!

    -H.