Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Thomas Mulcair in Contempt of Greenpeace, Maude Barlow and Canines

On March 24, 2005, the following items were tabled in the Quebec National Assembly. 

Copy of a letter, dated 24 March 2005, he sent to Mr. Jacques Saint-Laurent,Chairman of the Commission d’accès à l’information, asking him to investigate the conduct of Mr. Thomas Mulcair, Minister of Sustainable Development, the-environment and Parks, during Routine Proceedings, at the sitting of 22 March 2005.(Sessional Paper No. 1702-20050324) 

Copy of a letter, dated 24 March 2005, addressed to Mr. André Dicaire, Secretary General of the Government, by Mrs. Line-Sylvie Perron, Executive Assistant to the Leader of the Official Opposition, concerning the observance of sections 30 and 33 of the the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information.(Sessional Paper No. 1703-20050324)

On March 22, 2005; Thomas Mulcair, then Minister of Environment, failed yet again to present the necessary documents, requested by the opposition, to explain his actions in several matters.  This put him in contempt, and the matter would eventually make its way to the Supreme Court. (1)

It might have been simpler just to buy a big black magic marker, like the one that Harper used when he was found in contempt, and produced heavily redacted documents.  But Mulcair dug in his heels, citing cabinet confidentiality.  His reputation for obstinance was well known.

Michel David in Le Devoir spoke of that reputation when in opposition, stating that “he literally horrified his opponents” with his “brutality or vulgarity”, earning him the moniker, “pit bull”.  (2)  David had hoped that Mulcair would be a “green pit bull”  fighting for the environment, but it was not to be.  Instead Mulcair fought for the economic interests of the multinationals.

In fact, one of the debates held on the day in question, centred around the appointment of William J. Cosgrove, to chair the public hearings on the environment.  In that position, Cosgrove could select his own people to conduct the assessments, a red flag given who Cosgrove was.

He was President of The World Water Council, a group calling for the privatization of water services worldwide, and promoters of public-private partnerships, to control not only the environmental concerns, but the selling of water in bulk, to multinational corporations.

Maude Barlow, a foremost authority on the issue of water, has attended protests against the World Water Forums , held every three years, run by the WWC.  In 2009, she was interviewed by Democracy Now during the event held in Instanbul.

They [the WWC]  basically say that they are the collection of people around the world who care about water, and they come together every three years to have this great big summit. And every single year, the police presence gets more and more like the World Trade Organization, every single year, from the very beginning, when there was none, to this. But basically, the World Water Council, which puts this on, is really the big water corporations and the World Bank and some UN agencies and some northern development agencies, some academics, the odd small NGO — small as in, you know, NGOs, but really, it is the corporations, and it’s a big trade show. That’s what this is about. They’ll put on sessions on gender and water, but they don’t mean any of it. This is really about one development model for water, and that’s the privatization model. And that’s what they’re promoting, and that’s what their consensus is, and they refuse to include the notion of the right to water and, of course, the public trust into their documents. 

Mulcair not only said that “he does not share the fears of people like Maude Barlow”,  but that he found no problem with using PPPs to monitor water safety.  Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace told Le Devoir:

“one wonders what ideological alignment the new president of the BAPE gives commissions of inquiry when they have to decide on the adequacy of public facilities where PPPs are concerned, works that touch water in one way or another or, for example, on projects small private stations. Ultimately, one wonders if it is not a government strategy to reduce the moral authority of the BAPE, which annoys many developers.

Despite being called a conflict of interest, since Cosgrove worked for corporations trying to privatize the world’s water supply, he was allowed to stay in that position until 2007, and Mulcair would continue to allow PPPs to flourish, even in the building of a highway.

I am a huge fan of Maude Barlow.  A respected voice on progressive issues and supporter of the NDP, when they were too.  But did she ever think, during her many protests of the WWC, that it’s president was once lauded as hero (March 22, 2005) by the current leader of the NDP?  It defies logic.

She has spent decades fighting for something, not realizing that she was held in such low esteem by Thomas Mulcair, who got his talking points from a man inside the walls, protected by soldiers, that kept her on the other side of them.  I wonder how many times her name was brought up?

“Minister Mulcair, concludes Jacques Boivin [vice president of the of the Quebec Association for a World Water Contract] has just shown his true colors …it will not be economic development that respects ecosystems but ecosystems that must comply with the requirements of economic development.

So he is different from Stephen Harper, how?


1. CANADA, PROVINCE OF QUEBEC, DISTRICT MONTREAL, Citizens Committee of the peninsula-Lanaudière c. Quebec (Attorney General), 2006 QCCS 4861, SUPERIOR COURT; No: 500-17-023251-047, August 24, 2006 

2. Green Pitbull, by Michael David, Le Devoir, December 7, 2004

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Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Our Addiction to Balanced Budgets May Need an Intervention

“There is always a storm. There is always rain. Some experience it. Some live through it. And others are made from it.” Author Shannon L. Alder

Recently NDP candidate and former Saskatchewan finance minister, Andrew Thomson, stated on Power and Politics, that cuts were inevitable, in order to balance the budget.

In Saskatchewan, he cut funding to education, though it still didn’t balance the books.  He had to take money from the province’s contingency fund, including almost a half million dollars for advertising, that he had balanced the books, when in fact, he had not.

Hiding deficits for politicians is not uncommon.  Jim Flaherty did it in Ontario and Joe Oliver is doing it now.

But in defence of Thomson, Flaherty and Oliver; we have become the enablers of their addiction to the high of being good economic managers.  They had to hide their red eyes and red ink, so they didn’t have to come before us in shame, or ruin their chance for re-election.

The question we need to be asking ourselves, is why balanced budgets are so important.  Does it really matter if the federal government runs a deficit?

Political consultant and commentator, Will McMartin, discussed this recently in the Tyee.  He begins with the announcement that the Conservatives would present a balanced budget.  However, he implies, so what?

A closer look at the country’s finances, however, raises a simple question: why all the fuss? The budget is a thin slice of the Canadian economic pie, and interest costs on our debt are shrinking to near-giveaway size. Ottawa is just one of three government levels, and taken as a whole our government spending is very much under control. 

The federal budget represents just 15% of our overall economy.

The Blame Game

There has been a lot of debate recently, over what political party is responsible for our perceived debt/deficit “mess”.  Since only Conservatives and Liberals have ever formed government, it narrows the debate down to those two.

The biggest targets are Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau.  However, John Diefenbaker, also ran consecutive deficits, but that is not how their legacies should be judged.

Diefenbaker was a visionary, who fought for a united Canada.  He gave us the Canadian Bill of Rights and stood up to the Americans, who wanted us to join their missile defence program.  He may have made mistakes, but his deficits were created in part, by a new universal hospitalization program, and an enhanced Old Age Security.

Lester Pearson also left a deficit, but what defines him, are the many contributions he made.  He expanded Diefenbaker’s hospitalization plan, to give us universal health care and introduced student loans and the Canada Pension Plan.  He also created the Order of Canada, and moved toward abolishing capital punishment.

There’s no denying what Pierre Trudeau did to move our country forward, as he also expanded social programs, and created a more just society, with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Even Brian Mulroney, whose tenure was mired in corruption, left his mark on making Canada a better country. He created eight new national parks, finalized the U.S.-Canada acid rain treaty, and brought in the Environmental Protection Act.

He is also credited with giving us NAFTA, not necessarily a good thing, but it did help Canada in the short term.

All of these men were big idea guys, who had the courage to make things happen.

Diefenbaker’s idea:  a united Canada with a focus on human rights.

Pearson’s: nation building and making Canada a diplomatic player on the international stage.

Trudeau’s:  nation building with a focus on rights and freedoms, and an inclusive society.

Mulroney’s:, a desire to bring Canada into the 21st century, with a focus on business and international trade.

Who cares if they left deficits when those deficits represented only 15% of our GDP?  Look at what we got in return?

I know that a lot of people are critical of NAFTA.  I’m one of them.  Not only did it hurt our manufacturing sector, but it has forced subsequent governments to adopt programs of deregulation, to meet the terms.  Unfortunately, more deregulation may be required, since we are now the country most sued, for not meeting our nefarious commitments.

Election 2015: a Psychedelic Trip to Bizzaro-land

When Thomas Mulcair was the environment minister in Quebec, and wanted to privatize water, shipping it in bulk, he said that “the environmental laws protecting water are considered barriers to trade.” (The Press, Charles Cote and Mario Clouthier, June 16, 2004 ).  Mulcair helped to draft NAFTA.

Everything has become a “barrier to trade”, that will exacerbate with even more international trade deals.

But what about the barriers to helping Canadian society?  We were told that these deals would lead to economic prosperity.  Where is it?  I guess we should have read the fine print, that said only economic prosperity for the top 1%.

During the 2008 economic crisis, the Canadian government bailed out our banks with over 100 billion of our money.  They bailed out companies, and sprinkled largesse over Conservative ridings.  They built libraries and indoor soccer fields for private religious schools and set up an advertising campaign called the Canada Economic Action Plan that would have rivalled Joseph Goebbels propaganda ministry.  (Yes I said it).      

We found money for that, by adding to our deficit and debt.  Adding it to the 15% stake in our country’s GDP.  So why can’t we do the same for the Canadian people?  

We need a National Housing Strategy, a National Food Program, and we need to expand our healthcare to include dental and prescription drugs.  We need a subsidized tuition program, help for our seniors and our veterans, and an environmental plan that works.

Those things are not drains on our economy, but a viable way to grow our economy, that will create good, full time jobs, while reducing poverty and homelessness.    We will see the value for the dollars we spend.

A recent poll shows that Canadians are OK with deficits.  They have different priorities and Justin Trudeau has tapped into that:

That suggests that it’s Mr. Trudeau whose position is in sync with the majority’s mood. The Liberal Leader has refused to rule out running a deficit, arguing he’ll have to see the extent of the “mess” the Conservatives have left in the public finances. 

It is the NDP, traditionally to the left of the Liberals, who have launched the most blistering attacks on Mr. Trudeau for opening the door to running a deficit. Under Mr. Mulcair, the New Democrats have sought to allay concerns about their economic policies by insisting they will balance the books, despite the slowdown in the economy.

What an odd turn of events. 

I’m glad that Trudeau is bringing the Liberal Party back to its roots, that put Canadians first. Now the NDP have to find their way back to the days of Tommy Douglas.
Many people have called me a socialist, but like Will McMartin, the author of the first piece I linked, I’m a conservative.  Although actually a liberal/conservative.  Common sense solutions to social problems.  Grow the economy and the budget will balance itself.

Or maybe I’m just a Diefenbaker, with a dollop of Pearson and a splash of Pierre Trudeau.

Not such a bad thing to be.

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Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper Dance to the Beat of a Shared Drummer

Someone posted a link to an interesting article yesterday, from January of this year.  At the time the NDP were third in the polls and going nowhere, so the party met in the Conservative caucus room, to discuss strategy.

Tom Mulcair is trying to turn around the NDP’s flagging fortunes as he gears up for a federal election within nine months, shaking up his office and campaign team and stepping up his attacks on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

That the NDP has been more focused on Justin Trudeau, than Harper, has been evidenced for quite some time. However, there was another comment made by Mulcair, in the context of the following, that was a bit revealing.

And he contrasted that with Trudeau’s upbringing, implying that the Liberal leader was born into privilege as the eldest son of a former prime minister and believes “he can just inherit power without proposing a thing.” 

“Whether it’s meeting with premiers to work on the future of our federation or with world leaders to discuss global economic opportunities or terrorist threats, being prime minister is not an entry-level job,” Mulcair said.

“being prime minister is not an entry-level job”.

This was several months before the Conservatives used that in a national ad campaign.  Bruce Carson, in his book, relates that Stephen Harper had met with Jack Layton in 2008, wanting him to join the Conservatives in destroying Stephane Dion.

So did Mulcair provide Harper with his talking points?  

Yes this is politics, and Canadian politics have become nasty since Harper came on the scene.  We also know that Jack Layton and Stephen Harper had worked together in the past, beginning with their 2004 coalition attempt, to take down Paul Martin and make Harper prime minister.  So it’s only understandable that Mulcair and Harper would make natural Samba partners.

But Who’s Providing the Dance Music?

Thomas Mulcair never did inspire his way to a bump in the polls.  It was the over the top campaign against Trudeau and Bill C-51.  What made this completely bizarre, was the media’s complicity in it.  They are supposed to be the Fifth Estate, not the staff of the wannabe Second Estate.

Jooneed Khan, a former journalist, had helped with Mulcair’s 2007 campaign in Outrement, that won him his first federal seat.  However, by 2012, be noticed that something was happening.

A piece in La Presse, glowingly comparing Mulcair to Tony Blair, caught his attention.  By then, he knew what the current NDP leader stood for, and was sounding the alarm.

Revealingly, they all look backwards to 1990s Britain and to Tony Blair’s so-called “New Labour” as the appropriate recipe for a Mulcair-led NDP …

No statement has struck me as more contemporary and forward-looking than Brian Topp’s unhesitant and courageous answer to a media question on Palestine’s bid for a UN seat when he launched his own NDP leadership campaign: “We want Canada to vote with the rest of the world.”

Mulcair’s ultra-Zionist position on Palestine and the Middle East would never countenance such a possibility. On this issue, he remains solidly entrenched in his bunker with Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman (and their friend Tony Blair, the Quartet’s very ineffectual special Mid-East envoy), while the entire Middle East is changing as people demand a future of social and economic justice and democratic participation.

Khan could see what was happening, as the major Quebec, and many other media outlets, were promoting Mulcair as Harper’s replacement.  If he could turn the NDP to the right, just as Blair had done with the Labour Party, they would never have to worry about a progressive agenda, that might threaten their hegemony.  First they had to get rid of the Liberal Party, where they no longer had many friends.

Rabble also published a piece by their editor Derrick O’Keefe: Following the money: Is Bay Street backing Thomas Mulcair?

Information on individual donors to Canada’s political parties, and to the NDP leadership candidates, is made publicly available at the Elections Canada website. Mulcair’s donor list is of particular interest, since he is a perceived frontrunner and because some have speculated that he would aim to move the NDP further to the right of the political spectrum, given that he was a Liberal cabinet minister in a right-wing Quebec provincial government.

What I found out about Mulcair’s donors should be of interest to NDP members and to everyone watching and covering this leadership race …

I’ve actually printed out the list, and Khan is not wrong about the newspaper conglomerates.  They are not only promoting Mulcair, while trashing Trudeau, but are also financing his career.
After Mulcair’s coronation, long time NDP supporter, Murray Dobbin, wrote of a party in mourning.  They chose the bombastic right-winger to take out Harper,  but, says he:  “Facing a ruthless tough guy? Get your own ruthless tough guy. And possibly create a monster you can’t control.”
It’s pretty obvious that the media is once again trying to engineer the making of a prime minister, just as they did for Stephen Harper, with the help of Conrad Black’s empire.  Now it’s the Power Corp and allies.
When are we going to say enough is enough?
My Little Experiment
As I’ve mentioned in several posts, Thomas Mulcair was a horrible Environment Minister in Quebec, who earned the wrath of many environmental groups, in part because of his deregulation and privatization agenda. 
Yet our media continues to allow him to perpetrate this lie.
Another lie, that is going unchecked, is his claim that he left the Charest government on principle, because he opposed the sale of a portion of Mont Orford Park.
I posted on this before in my other blog.  The story went something like this.
1.  Mulcair proposes selling the park in a caucus meeting.  Charest told him to look into it.
2.  Mulcair approaches developers who only ask if it is legal.  He assures them that he can fix that.
3.  Mulcair prepares the legal framework, required to pass legislation, allowing the sale to go through.
4.  Mulcair launches a public attack on Coca Cola, after they announced that they would be ending the voluntarily can deposit on non-carbonated beverages, without even consulting them.  The company was understandably upset.  This was the last straw for Charest, who had already been embarrassed enough by Mulcair..  He called him into his office and told him that he could no longer go to the media unless it was first cleared by him.
5. It was common knowledge that Mulcair was after Charest’s job, so he pulled a stunt that might assure his boss’s defeat.  He released to the media that the Charest government wanted to sell portions of Mont Orford, creating a public outcry.  Everything was gong in his favour, until Charest called a press conference, showing the papers that Mulcair had drawn up.  Oh, oh!
6.  Mulcair went into hiding for a month, refusing to talk to anyone, not even his beloved press.  Then he came up with a new strategy.  He announced that the papers were only hypothetical and that he hadn’t signed them.  
7. This rift in the party was fair game to the opposition.  A committee met, and several witnesses were sworn in, who testified that it was indeed Thomas Mulcair who proposed the sale of the Park.  Mulcair went ballistic.  It created a lot of tension, and it took several government staff, to hold him down. 
His lie was exposed and his dreams of being premier, were dashed.  He left Quebec in shame. 
Yesterday, I sent a link to a 2006 story, confirming the actual events, to several key members of the Canadian media:  Rosemary Barton, Susan Delacourt and Don Martin.  I put it on their Twitter pages so that it could be viewed by many.
I wanted to see if any of them would do the right thing, and inform the Canadian public, that Thomas Mulcair was not being truthful, in his representation to us, or to his followers.
This is the link and this is what it reveals:

“L’Esperance also revealed in testimony that Thomas Mulcair, who resigned from Charest’s cabinet, saying he disagreed with plans to sell off the mountain, assured him last fall the government would approve his plan to build condos on 85 hectares of park land. 

“It was definitely confirmed to me several times,” he told reporters. “Once by himself (Mulcair) and other times by his representatives.” 

L’Esperance said that, on the strength of assurances from Alain Gaul, then Mulcair’s chief of staff, that “You have a project. Go ahead and prepare your winter season,” Mont-Orford invested another $1.5 million to $2 million for the 2005-2006 ski season. 

Questioned by Mulcair, L’Esperance admitted Mulcair, at the time environment minister, raised the issue that the sale of provincial park land was illegal.”

And remember this wasn’t just “testimony” but “sworn testimony”.

Witnesses at National Assembly hearings are rarely sworn in but, at the request of the Parti Quebecois opposition, L’Esperance took an oath, swearing to tell the truth, before he testified.

“However, according to the Canadian Press, Mulcair had indeed approved the project Monday. The proposal would have been accepted ten days prior to the redesign of 27 February.” 

“Mulcair had indeed approved the project Monday.”  Ten days before he resigned after being demoted.

Now that we know that we are not only fighting two right-wingers, but also the Canadian media, we have to be diligent.  Own the comments sections to set the record straight. Go after those in the media who refuse to be honest with us and out them.
We cannot have another election where the press determines the results.  Only we, the voters, should have the right to do that.
Besides blogging on this, I’m going to create a list of links to articles that reveal the real Thomas Mulcair.  His admiration of Margaret Thatcher was no passing fancy.  He lived and breathed her Neoliberal legacy.
This country will never survive another Stephen Harper, whether it’s in the form of our current prime minister, or the man who wants to replace him. Another “ monster” we “can’t control”.
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Pushed to the Left and Loving It: How Bernie Sanders and Justin Trudeau Have Changed the Election Narrative

Recently, one of my favourite journalists, Rick Salutin, weighed in on Justin Trudeau’s comment, that the Liberals wanted to grow the economy “from the heart outwards”, meaning from the centre or middle class.

The media and opposition parties went crazy, calling him a Care Bear, not comprehending the meaning of his words.  Everyone is looking for that sound bite, to make them look clever, when in fact, it ended up making them look foolish.

Salutin, on the other hand, did know what Justin was talking about, but preferred that it be the misinterpretation.  

Why not economics from the heart instead of from the head?  We’ve been led to believe that balanced budgets are the Holy Grail, and that the  “Economy” is  a beast we must feed or risk extinction.

Canada has become the Fisher King;  the legendary figure from the days of King Arthur. Wounded in battle, he could no longer perform his duty to protect the coveted chalice, nor could he produce an heir to continue the obligation.  As a result his kingdom was reduced to a barren wasteland, while the king amused himself fishing, and waiting for rescue.

The mythical Holy Grail has become a symbol for things most cherished and desired, but unfortunately, we no longer know what those things are.  Salutin discusses the economic crash of 2008, that should have taught us that the current system wasn’t working.   Yet things continued as before, with misguided tax cuts and mean spirited austerity measures.  This election is probably the most important of a generation.  We can vote for the status quo, or not vote at all, ensuring the status quo.  Neither is an option.

Bernie Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination, in the run up to the presidential election, in 2016. He has become a phenomenon, primarily because he is not campaigning on lowering taxes or fighting deficits, but on the things that should matter to most Americans.  And they are listening.

A liveable minimum wage, better working conditions, an end to war; to name a few.  These things have not been mentioned in election campaigns for a very long time.  This has forced the other candidates, vying for the job, to address the same issues, or at least promote progressive ideas.

He has changed the narrative, which has changed the issues.

Our media and politicos are too focused on Justin Trudeau’s hair, and his famous father, to listen to what he is saying. Like Sanders, he is discussing better working conditions, better wages, and benefits for veterans, seniors and children.  A sensible environmental plan, and an improved relationship with provinces, so that everyone has shared goals, and can better reach them.

Stephen Harper is focused on his dubious leadership skills, while scaring us into submission, over the threat of a terrorist attack.  The NDP is hoping the fact that they voted against C-51 and the Liberals didn’t, despite neither vote having an impact; will carry them through for the next two months.  It won’t.

Most of their policies are the same old tired promises.  More fluff than substance.  A $15.00 an hour minimum wage, to create a group of “federal employees” who can be unionised;  only gave false hope; and a daycare plan that won’t be implemented in this cycle or the next.

In fact, many children needing daycare today, won’t; when the first phase of their plan is rolled out, so it is not an election issue, only some vague notion, made during what Salutin calls “an intellectually threadbare era”..

We need to slay the bastard named “Economy” and create our own goals. As the thoughtful journalist says:

This kind of paradigm shift in economics — I’m calling it, after Trudeau, the economics of the heart — is probably more crucial now than it was in the heyday of what was called socialism. Then the stakes were merely misery for the masses. Now the survival of the species is at risk due to climate change and the current model doesn’t — and can’t — even take that into account. When the environment kacks out, it’s an “externality.” You carry on modelling, oblivious. It really doesn’t matter what you call it but “heart economics” sounds good to me.

Investing in Canadians is the best way to grow financially.  We can’t just sit around waiting to be rescued, while our country is being reduced to a barren wasteland, and our people to a life of nothing but debt and meagre opportunities.

Sanders and Trudeau have something lacking in politicians today.  Genuine compassion and the ability to inspire.  

It’s risky in today’s political climate and with the state of our media, to have dreams of a better country, but Sanders and Trudeau have them anyway.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” ―  Paulo Coelho

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