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This is the guy Harper allies himself with on the environment?

Talk about lack of tact:

George Bush surprised world leaders with a joke about his poor record on the environment as he left the G8 summit in Japan… The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.” He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

Needless to say, I don’t think anyone was that impressed, though they tried to be diplomatic about it:

One official who witnessed the extraordinary scene said afterwards: “Everyone was very surprised that he was making a joke about America’s record on pollution.”

I’m sure Canadian Environment Minister John Baird and Prime Minister Harper thought it a hoot however, since their view of Bush is that he walks on water. I can just picture Baird saying,  “Good one George! Stick it to those other countries who think we in North America are doing a crappy job of trying to combat climate change… that’ll show ’em.. hahahah”.

Between this and his “Yo Harper!” routine, Bush was a regular circus jester at this conference, which I guess happens when you’re a lame-duck president who everyone is waiting on to finally leave so real progress can be made on issues like the environment.

Fortunately, the world has less then a year left that we have to put up with him. If anything can be said about Bush, it verifies the fact that anyone can run to be president of the United States, no matter how much of a buffoon they are, and sometimes, they fool enough of the electorate down there to get elected.

Harper shows his true colours & his contempt for the Canadian justice system.

So Steven Harper is now on public record as saying he has no intention of asking for the repatriation of Omar Khadr – this despite the growing evidence Khadr’s rights were violated, and it was done so with Canada knowing about it (and it started lamentably with the Paul Martin-led Liberal government), and despite growing pressure internationally and domestically on the Canadian government to do so.

This is not a surprise, but what Harper said yesterday about why the US should continue to deal with Khadr seems to me to show his utter contempt in the Canadian justice system:

He argued that the special U.S. military trial that Mr. Khadr faces – in which he does not have the same standard of legal representation and rights he would in an ordinary criminal trial – is the only way he could be brought to answer the charges against him…”frankly, we do not have a real alternative to that process now to get to the truth about those accusations”

You get that? Harper would rather have Omar Khadr be tried in a quasi-military court setting that the US Supreme Court has just ruled is unconstitutional in denying habeas corpus rights to the detainees then in Canada where he would be given his due process and proper legal representation before a Canadian court. That’s not good enough for Harper apparently.  It’s quite a slam on the Canadian Justice system, but then, Harper and the Conservatives have always made their disdain known for the judiciary in Canada. This is just one of the more extreme examples of it.

I’m going to leave aside the habeaus corpus argument here and/or the fact Canada has signed on to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and should have been insisting from the start that this applied to Khadr;  the fact of the matter is that Harper has just bluntly stated that the Canadian justice system is not an alternative to  determine whether a young man was guilty or not of the crime he was accused of committing.

According to Harper, the truth can only be found out in a setting where his legal counsel is denied access to the documents to allow a proper defence of him, where the US has refused to bring him to trial for several years despite claiming all this time he has committed terrorist acts (and which spurred even the conservative-tinged US Supreme Court to overrule this denial of habeas corpus rights), and where he is subjected to interrogation acts that cross the line at the very least, and which could be described as torture.

Yet Harper says we have “no real alternative” to trying Khadr in a traditional Canadian court over a quasi-judicial kangaroo court setting that the Supreme Court of the US has said has violated the Constitution? We can only find out the truth of Omar thru very questionable methods and very questionable tribunals where Khadr isn’t allowed to properly defend himself? And it doesn’t matter that other Western Countries repatriated their citizens held at Guantanamo and were able to use their process at home to deal with them?

Unbelievable.  This toadying by Harper to the Bush Administration and the similar disdain that Harper holds for the country’s legal system as Bush did for his (which is why Guantanamo was set up in the first place – to try and avoid those detainees being charged in traditional US courts so the supposed evidence against them couldn’t be properly scrutinized by a judge and defence lawyers) is appalling to anyone who believes in the rule of law, and rather scary.

You can read between the lines here, can’t you? If Omar were brought back here and the Canadian courts ordered his release, it wouldn’t be because he was innocent of the charges, or there were mitigating circumstances (being a child soldier); it would be because in Harper’s view, Canadian courts are too concerned with proper legal process and too concerned with following international law – “too liberal” in otherwards.

The self-proclaimed Party of Law and Order indeed. They seem to have forgotten the “law” part of the equation.

UPDATE: I’m not the only Progressive Blogger who’s enraged by Harper’s attitude about this. The story of Harper’s blatant disregard for proper judicial process has struck a chord of condemnation with those of us who believe in a liberal democracy and the right of the accused to face his accusers in a proper court of law, and its reflected at the Prog Blog aggergate this AM. I expect to see more as the day goes on.

Multiple polls show strong support for Morgentaler receiving Order of Canada

A lot of progressive and/or feminist blogs such as these ones were pointing out this poll done by Ipsos-Reid commissioned for Canwest Global which showed that 2/3 of Canadians polled supported giving Dr. Henry Morgentaler the Order of Canada. There has been a  very public outcry of some of the anti-abortion crowd and some of the media – specifically the Canwest newspapers and editorialists  – claiming that the letters and calls they received showed a lot of opposition to Dr. Morgentaler getting the Order of Canada.

Well,  Ipsos-Reid’s poll (ironically commissioned by CanWest) showed that not to be the case, and now another poll from Angus-Reid this morning has confirmed those findings – the silent majority of Canadians approves of Dr Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada:

The exclusive Angus Reid Strategies online poll done yesterday and Monday – a week after the Canada Day announcement – showed that, of the 1,016 Canadian adults surveyed, 60 per cent supported Morgentaler getting the honour while 29 per cent opposed it. Another 12 per cent weren’t sure. Asked whether Morgentaler was a hero to millions of Canadian women, 66 per cent said they agreed, 26 per cent disagreed and 9 per cent weren’t sure. The results don’t reflect what Morgentaler critics have called widespread national condemnation of the decision.

No kidding. This is just a very vocal minority that is very good at organizing letter campaigns and telephone calls and freeping online polls.  Here’s another interesting tidbit from this poll that shows there appear to be more fair-minded people about this on the other side of the divide then is represented by some of the Blogging Tories and the radical Religious Right up here:

..the survey did find that even people opposed to abortion supported his appointment. “There were a number of people who feel despite their views on abortion they support the appointment of Morgentaler”

Ouch. That and these poll results have  got to sting for those claiming that this appointment is “divisive” or that there is “massive opposition” to this.

One more thing: I posted a couple days ago a blogpost alluding to those radical right-wingers calling the Supreme Court and the Governor-General’s office and urged that others look up the 1-800 #’s and let them know there ARE some silent majority out here that aren’t so silent who support Dr. Morgentaler’s choice.  I didn’t directly post the #’s, but since Matt has at least posted the G-G’s office #, I’ll direct you to his blog to get that one, and I’d encourage you to call in to show your support for the pick of Dr. Morgentaler as an Order of Canada recipient.

Conflicting signals and shooting at the wrong target.

Since Blogging a Dead Horse was crowing this morning about how Ipsos-Reid shows somehow that Canadians are sceptical about the Green Shift (a notion that Red Tory by the way refutes rather convincingly over at his blog), I thought it only appropriate to mention the Harris-Decima poll talked about in the Star which shows that Canadians want aggressive action on climate change by a wide margin (and no Mr. Harper, being aggressive doesn’t mean agreeing to non-binding targets).

I’d add that I find that its regrettable that the NDP and its partisans continue to charge at the Liberals Green Shift plan rather then go at the Conservatives, who absolutely have no plan at all to combat climate change. Yet, the NDP supporters attack the Green Shift just as hard the Conservatives do in trying to discredit it.

Apparently, the desire to gain seats at the expense of the Liberals left flank is more important to Jack Laytom and the NDP’s partisans rather then pointing out that all other parties,  despite taking different approaches, have concrete plans and committment to combat climate change, while the Cons. don’t.

Your Cons. Kool-Aid of the day…

..comes to you surprisingly in the Toronto Star, but not surprisingly from Rob Mitchell, guest columnist in the Star every other week. It’s not a surprise because Rob was a senior aide to former (and short-lived) Ontario Premier Ernie Eves, and so is used to dealing out Kool-Aid like this (though it obviously didn’t help Eves out at all).

My interpretation of his column today is as follows:

Sandra Buckler really did a great job as communications director – which is a bit of an oxymoron with this government, but it needed to stay in power, so I think being overly secretive and not releasing information to the public […]

Bits and Bites – Some links.

I’ve been busy with attending and helping a 2 1/2 day family reunion that concluded Sunday, and I’m still feeling a tad worn out from that, but here are some things that grabbed my attention:

– Over at his blog, David writes that it appears the Conservative government is again trying to take it to the Wheat Board – and by extension the farmers which support it – by having “blocked the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board rail car fleet to the country’s wheat farmers, only to turn around and sell it off to the railways”. It appears a combination of wanting to sell to the highest bidder + […]

When wingnuts freep, its time to freep right back.

I got an email from someone who I know who liked my blogpost going after Jeff Watson and his ridiculous assertion that this Henry Morgentaler appointment is all Paul Martin’s fault, and she mentioned that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if people gave the Governor-General’s residence and/or the Supreme Court a call at their 1-888 #’s and leave them a “happy” call. Apparently, the conservative radicals on the right-wing are “freeping” the switchboards of both, due to the governor-general’s decision to award Dr. Henry Morgentaler the Order of Canada. The governor-general being called is obvious, but I guess the Supreme Court is being called so they can lambaste Chief […]

Come again, Jeff Watson? The only one politicizing the Order of Canada is you!

Jeff Watson, in case you weren’t aware, is the Conservative MP for Essex, which is down near Windsor. Apparently, Jeff wasn’t too thrilled that Henry Morgentaler was given the Order of Canada by the Governor-General. Not a shocker – most Conservative MP’s aren’t.

What caught my eye about his particular objection was this line in his press release:

Watson in his written statement said the choice of Morgentaler, one of 75 people receiving the honour this year, is a “continuation of the sad legacy of the Paul Martin administration. Today, through his appointee for governor general, Mr. Martin has succeeded in politicizing the Order of Canada and in doing […]

Not a very good return on all that money you’re spending on attack ads, Cons.

Since Steve over at Far and Wide is away on holidays, I thought I’d take up the poll analysis slack. It appears that the Cons. attempt to go after Dion and the Liberals using some of that money advantage of theirs by spending massive amounts on pre-election (and pre-Green Shift release) attack ads with their “TAX ON EVERYTHING!” fear-mongering in going after the Liberals proposed carbon tax isn’t working with the public:

A new poll suggests the federal Conservatives have lost key support amongst women, Quebecers and Ontario voters. The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey indicates the Tories and Liberals are tied at about 31 per cent of national support… In Quebec, the poll suggests Tories lost a 15-point lead with voters who say they’re neither federalist nor separatist – and are now tied with the Liberals. And in Ontario, it indicates Conservative support has dipped outside the greater Toronto area and especially in the 613 area code.

Of course, some of this drop in support will probably have to do with the Bernier affair, but at the very least, this poll shows that the Liberals certainly haven’t faced a wave of massive opposition from the public over their Green Shift proposal, and it also shows the Cons. have had little return for their investment in attack ads and trying to “misappropriate” Dion and the plan (and you don’t see Dion and the Liberals suing anyone over that, like a certain over-the-top hyper-partisan Prime Minister, now do you?)

When more details and polling data come out on this specific poll for regional splits, I’ll post the #’s here in an update.

Harper off to embarrass us on the international stage again on the environmental front.

Here we go again: Harper’s off to the G-8 to try to convince everyone with the Conservatives argument that they tried using in Bali that until everyone in the world agrees to a climate change agreement, none of the world should bother doing anything about climate change. This attitude wasn’t appreciated at Bali by the world, and it won’t likely be appreciated at the G-8, except of course, by Harper’s fellow climate-change feet dragger, the US.

This “all or nothing” approach was nearly what scuttled the Kyoto talks in Montreal back in 2005. It took the leadership of the conference’s chairperson, then-Environment Minister Stephane Dion, to rescue the talks and […]

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