Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unelected senate should not ride rough shod over parliament - Harper

        Well, you have to give 'em credit. No moss grows on the this stone..

        Way back when, before he was elected, Steven Harper was a staunch defender of populist democracy,

“disgraceful, undemocratic appointment of undemocratic Liberals to the undemocratic Senate to pass all too often undemocratic legislation.”

          Hard to be clearer than that! 

         Until, of course, you get elected and you stack the (unelected, still) senate with Conservatives. Then along comes the NDP with an environmental bill committing Canada to an 80% reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050. And without a debate - the first time in 7 decades - the bill was killed. 

        Harper, of course, lamely rationalized / justified this undemocratic procedure by playing the phoney "lost jobs" card:

"“It sets irresponsible targets, does not lay out any measure of achieving them, other than by shutting down sections of the Canadian economy and throwing hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people out of work,” Harper said."

           reported The Star.

          Once again, unfortunately for all that transparency we were promised when this government was elected, these "facts" provided by Prime Minister Harper are pure bullshit. As Scandinavian countries are demonstrating, green jobs, in reality, create more jobs than they destroy. They tend to be in labor-intensive sectors of the economy, requiring relatively modest investments and plenty of work for many hands. Ironically, it is the fossil fuel sector - Harper's buddies in the Oil Patch - that is highly CAPITAL INTENSIVE - big investments - while being relatively weak on job creation. Harper has stood things on their head! I guess it's who pays the piper..

"The volume of renewable energy produced within the EU-27 increased overall by 57.0 % between 1998 and 2008, equivalent to an average increase of 4.6 % per annum."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oh dear! They're at it again, procurement..

          The Harper team got elected on a platform of clean, transparent / limpid, accountable / responsible government. Procurement scandals, well, those were things of the Liberal past. These are heady new days..

           Or maybe not.. Federal auditor general, Sheila Fraser, has found that the Harper team talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. They don't play by their own rules, she says.

           Federal purchases of Chinook and Cyclone helicopters for the military will prove to be considerably more expensive than lawmakers were led to believe, claims Fraser. Full costs and estimated life-cycle costs were not divulged at the time of debate. Transparency, you say? Accountability? 

"..costs have since skyrocketed, in part because the initial estimates didn't include long-term servicing costs. The 15 Chinooks were supposed to cost $2 billion, but are now estimated at $4.9 billion with support. They're due to be delivered in 2013.

The 28 Cyclones were initially estimated $3 billion. The costs have since been revised to include long-term service support and are now estimated at $5.7 billion. They're due to be delivered in 2012."

           Thus, by my estimation, what should have cost $5 billion has now ballooned to $10.6 billion, an impressive 110% cost over-run. Such "scandalous, irresponsible behavior" a thing of the Liberal past, you say? Think again..