#OpProRogue Part VII

Stick Figures Used To Explain Cuts To Federal Employees  Huffington Post

Federal government employees whose jobs are affected by the implementation of this spring’s budget cuts have received a stick-figure diagram to help them understand what they may be going through.

 

Food banks face new challenges

 

Polling firm finds evidence non-Conservative voters were targeted in robo-call scandal  Globe & Mail

One of Canada’s leading polling firms says it has found strong evidence of a targeted program of voter suppression aimed at non-Conservative voters during last May’s federal-election campaign.

The activities, surveyed in seven ridings across the country that are currently being contested in Federal Court, included erroneous reports of changes in voting station locations as well as faux calls purported to be from Elections Canada, says Ottawa-based Ekos Research Associates.

The Ekos survey, done in mid-April, is the first extensive study using fresh data that has been done of voter suppression allegations since anecdotal evidence of illegal automated calls – the so-called robo-call scandal – began surfacing in February.

Ekos president Frank Graves said the survey found voters in the seven ridings were 50 per cent more likely to have received illegitimate calls than those in 106 surveyed “comparison” ridings, in many of which there have been no allegations of illegal calls. And about three times as many Liberal, New Democrat and Green supporters as Conservative supporters claimed they were given false or incorrect information about polling station locations in the last two or three days of the campaign, Ekos found

 

CSIS wants better controls on terror suspects leaving country  Toronto Star

Canada’s top spy supports the re-introduction of never-used anti-terror powers and would like exit controls to better track the movements of would-be terrorists.

It would make CSIS’s job easier to know who is coming and going given the “alarming number” of young Canadians who express willingness “to do jihad” abroad whom Canada’s allies would like monitored more carefully, said director Richard Fadden, head of the Canadian Security Information Service.

Fadden acknowledged there are civil libertarian concerns around exit controls that should be up to elected politicians to decide, and are not currently on the table. However, other new provisions proposed in Bill S-7 would help.

 

Conservative government won’t buy 14 additional F-35s anticipated for fleet attrition: ’The government will not spend more than $9-billion on aircraft to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s,’ says Associate Defence Minister Julian Fantino’s communications director  Ottawa Citizen

The government has ruled out an additional round of F-35 fighter jets that one expert says would have added a minimum of $1-billion to the $9-billion purchase price the government has been citing in the controversy over the plan to acquire the stealth warplanes.

Auditor General Michael Ferguson disclosed the Department of National Defence expected that because of aircraft attrition it would have to later acquire an additional 14 F-35s, on top of an initial purchase of 65 planes, in a scathing report to Parliament earlier this month.

Former National Defence procurement official Alan Williams, a vocal critic of the way the government has handled the acquisition, told The Hill Times last week National Defence was being “deceitful” by not including the cost of the 14 additional F-35s the department anticipated because of fleet attrition when it reported to Parliament on the program last year and insisting on treating the cost as part of a separate project.

 

Bill C-31: Tories’ Human Smuggling Reforms Could Land More Asylum Seekers In Canada’s Jails  Huffington Post

At the whim of the public safety minister, refugee claimants could face incarceration in provincial jails for one year without review under a major overhaul of Canada’s immigration system.

The provisions are contained in Bill C-31, which the Tories laud as a crackdown on queue jumpers and illegal smugglers who exploit Canada’s generous social safety net.

 

How the Conservatives corrupted the F-35 procurement process  Examiner

According to internal Department of Defense documents, the supposed “requirements” for Canada’s next fighter were written and released just two months before the purchase was announced. They weren’t made public nor widely discussed nor vetted, and there is no evidence that they were based on any realistic assessment of the mission they would be called upon to fulfill. They were simply put together by a small group who knew what they wanted to buy and wrote the requirements to ensure that they got what they wanted. In other words, they gamed the system.

 

Kelly McParland: Bev Oda has a perfectly rational explanation for living like a pasha at taxpayer expense. Right Bev?  National Post

The House is reconvening after a break, and there’s a new opposition leader itching for attention. The government still hasn’t explained why it forgot to add the 3 and carry the 2 when calculating the cost of the new F-35s, and everyone will be interested in its explanation. You have been assigned to the international development minister, who somewhat inconveniently steals all the attention when it becomes known she blew almost $1,000 a day being chauffeured around London rather than stay at the five-star hotel where the conference was being held. The Grange St. Paul’s  wasn’t good enough for Bev Oda, she had to stay at the Savoy a short distance away, where they charge $16 for an orange juice.

 

Enough is enough: Fire Bev Oda   The Spec

A five-star London hotel was not good enough for the minister, even though it was the site of a 2011 international immunizations conference she was in the U.K. to attend. Oda had her staff rebook her in the Thames-side Savoy hotel, the swanky London base for Saudi oil princes, visiting movie stars and lesser royalty. Her room cost taxpayers $665 a night, compared to the $287 at the Grange St. Paul’s hotel she rejected. (We had to pay for the night she passed on there, as well.)

Because she was not on-site at the conference, we ponied up almost $1,000 a day more for limo and driver.

The good minister was scrupulous enough to detail in her expenses that a glass of Savoy orange juice cost us, mere motel-customer taxpayers, $16.

That the minister has reimbursed the extra funds since this story broke is irrelevant now.

 

International aid minister opts for swanky hotel favoured by royalty  Winnipeg Free Press

International Development Minister Bev Oda repaid taxpayers Monday for the cost of rejecting one five-star hotel in London, England and rebooking at a swankier establishment at more than double the rate.

Oda’s office revealed the reimbursement about eight hours after The Canadian Press first reported the hefty lodging bills, and three days after the agency began asking questions about the expenses.

Spokesman Justin Broekema said Oda paid the fee difference between the two hotels, as well as the cancellation fee at the first one.

Oda was originally supposed to stay at the Grange St. Paul’s Hotel, site of the conference on international immunizations she was attending.

Instead, she had staff rebook her into the posh Savoy overlooking the Thames, an old favourite of royalty and currently owned by Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia.

 

Oda pays taxpayers back for $665 nightly hotel stay: Canadian International Development Agency facing $380 million in budget cuts CBC

International Development Minister Bev Oda has reimbursed taxpayers for an expensive hotel stay after documents obtained by the Canadian Press showed she refused to stay at one five-star hotel in London, England, last year and rebooked at a swanky establishment for more than double the cost.

Oda’s office had originally said the expenses met government guidelines but after the revelations started causing controversy on Monday morning, her spokesman said the minister has now personally covered the difference in cost between the two hotels, the cancellation fee, and a costly bottle of orange juice.

 

National News: Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda Must Explain her Lavish Extravagance   Northumberland View 

The Conservative government is cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid to the world’s poorest countries and billing Canadians for this Minister’s champagne tastes. Tastes which included a $16 glass of orange juice, two double-booked, five-star hotels and a chauffeured luxury car.

Ms. Oda must explain why the 5-star hotel on site was not up to her standards and why she only repaid this gross extravagance when she was discovered by the media.

 

Bev Oda: Overconfidence  Macleans

Let’s travel into the head of Canada’s Conservatives in June of 2011.

They had just spent half a year being hammered in the House of Commons by — ah, nostalgia — the Michael Ignatieff Liberals for improper respect toward Parliamentarians and the Canadian taxpayer. One item of contention was the memo-writing habits of Bev Oda. She got to sit in her very comfortable chair for week after week after week while handy helpers — John Baird, Pierre Poilievre, sometimes even Stephen Harper himself — stood up to cover for her. It was sometimes written that Oda was “in hot water” over her actions. But this was comical. The water wasn’t hot. She wasn’t in water of any temperature at all. She didn’t even have to do her own standing. And when it was over, Michael Ignatieff pulled the plug on an election, and the voters of Canada descended on him like villagers with torches. The Conservative party was richly rewarded. Bev Oda’s share of the vote in her riding increased.

And two weeks after the election, everybody trooped off to Rideau Hall, where Oda, described by the CBC as “embattled minister” — embattled? What? She’s got the Prime Minister of Canada to do her standing up for her — got her old job back.

 

Canada-EU free trade talks ’75 per cent’ complete, EU rep says  Calgary Herald

Free-trade talks between Canada and the EU have been going on since May 2009. The parties originally aimed to have a deal wrapped up by the end of 2011.

The Conservatives have said free trade with the EU could add $12 billion annually to Canada’s economy and boost trade by $38 billion.

Critics of the deal on both sides of the Atlantic argue that parts of the agreement could have effects on domestic jobs, make the privatization of public services a likelihood and increase the prices of consumer goods and pharmaceutical drugs.

Dozens of Canadian cities have asked the government for exemptions from the agreement, worried the pact will limit their ability to award contracts to local organizations.

 

Alberta chiefs say Ottawa’s environmental assessment changes violate treaties  APTN

Ottawa announced last week that it will reduce federal oversight of mining and oil projects and turn over most environmental reviews to the provinces.

That move could hamper First Nations in Alberta who are trying to stop such projects on their traditional territories.

What impact will this change have on First Nations and the duty to consult?

 

Judge skeptical of nixing riding vote due to Elections Canada clerical errors  NEWS 680

A series of essentially clerical errors was enough to warrant overturning election results in a federal riding, an Ontario court was told Monday, much to the skepticism of the judge.

In an unprecedented attempt to upend last May’s vote in Etobicoke Centre, lawyers for the losing candidate argued the integrity of the electoral system depends on strict adherence to procedural rules.

“These are issues that affect everyone in this country,” lawyer Gavin Tighe said. “It is a true national issue.”

Tighe represents former Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who lost by 26 votes to Conservative Ted Opitz in last year’s election that swept Prime Minister Stephen Harper to a majority government.

 

New Democrat MP Bruce Hyer quits party caucus to sit as independent  Canadian Press

Hyer, first elected in 2008, was one of two New Democrat MPs who were punished earlier this year after they voted in favour of scrapping the gun registry, in defiance of the NDP’s position. Hyer and neighbouring MP John Rafferty were stripped of their roles in the shadow cabinet of interim leader Nycole Turmel and were banned from asking questions or making statements in the Commons.

Last week, Mulcair named Rafferty his northern Ontario development critic. But he gave no role to Hyer, who took that as a message that the gag order against him was to remain in force.

 

Victim services need to be equal across Canada: advocates   Global News

When it comes to supporting victims of crime, not all provinces are equal.

 

Quebec’s education minister to meet with students to discuss tuition hikes  Winnipeg Free Press

 

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