A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Successful Coverup, Fall Guy Convicted

The Conservative party has consistently said it ran a clean and ethical campaign and had nothing to do with what happened in Guelph and has also said that they 'fully cooperated ' with the investigation by Elections Canada. This being the case then how is it that only one person was charged, and now convicted, in what was obviously a far wider conspiracy?

November 14, 2013, One of Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s top advisers instructed a potential key witness in the robocalls investigation to delay an interview with an Elections Canada investigator until she could obtain legal advice.
Jenni Byrne, who was the Conservatives’ national campaign manager during the 2011 election, emailed Guelph campaign worker Andrew Prescott on Nov. 30, 2011, to ask him not to talk to an investigator looking into the “Pierre Poutine” robocall until she had a chance to talk to the party’s lawyer.
Prescott, whose computer was later linked to the robocall through web data logs, consulted with party lawyer Arthur Hamilton, as instructed by the party, in December, but he didn’t speak with the investigator until more than two months later –  on Feb. 24, 2012, the day after the Ottawa Citizen and Postmedia News reported that the fraudulent election-day robocall had been sent through a Conservative voter-contact firm.

Prescott was given immunity for his testimony which turned ot to be “unreliable” and “selfserving” and another key person Ken Morgan fled overseas never to be heard from. It seems that the new Commissioner of Canada Elections will not be perusing this any further in that he can find 'no evidence' that any such calls took place outside of Guelph.

Prescott, however, cannot be charged because he was given an immunity agreement from the Crown in exchange for testimony against Sona — testimony that, ultimately, Hearn found unreliable.
Ken Morgan, the campaign manager, has refused to speak to Elections Canada investigators and moved to Kuwait during the nearly three-year investigation. He has not been charged.
Unclear is whether Commissioner of Canada Elections Yves Côté, who investigates alleged violations of the elections law, will re-open his investigation of the Guelph robocalls to find the other alleged collaborators or simply let the matter drop.
Côté has already said he could find no evidence to support allegations of misleading calls reported in more than 200 ridings that Elections Canada during the election.

Prescott involved more than he said

One person mentioned in the judge’s ruling was Andrew Prescott – the deputy campaign manager and IT professional who received immunity to testify against Sona.
Hearn threw out the majority of Prescott’s evidence, calling it “self-serving.”
There certainly is some basis for the court being concerned Mr. Prescott was involved more so than he indicated,” Hearn wrote.
Prescott declined to comment Thursday. Throughout the trial, court heard that Prescott withheld information from investigators, even after he struck his immunity deal in December 2013.

In short can you say “successful coverup” and “fall guy convicted”
For more news articles and details of this 3 year 'investigation' see my Electoral Malfeasance page, my apologies if there are some articles that have disappeared since being originally posted.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Peacekeepers ignored by Harper.

Today our Canadian military members and veterans as well as police officers come together in ceremonies across the country to honour and remember all Canadian peacekeepers who have served or are currently serving in support of peace operations around the world. Among those who will NOT be there are PM Stephen Harper, Veterans Minister Julian Fantino, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, Veterans Affairs have condescended to send a parliamentary secretary provided that the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping write his speech!

It remains to be seen if the regimes censors will remove the section of the prepared speech that promises a change to the monument.
The three military figures on the monument behind me recognize …  the variety of military missions in which our country has participated,” the speech prepared for parliamentary secretary Gill reads. “But there is something missing — a police officer. It gives me great pleasure to announce that the government of Canada is resolved to correct that deficiency by adding a fourth figure.”

As Wayne Mac Culloch, national president for the above organization said after inviting the 3 ministers back in Febuary.
The first one to say no was National Defence, followed not long after by Public Safety. I had to prod Veterans Affairs to give me an answer, which I only got two weeks ago. And at that point, they said, ‘No, it’s going to be the parliamentary secretary. And you write his remarks.’”
Surveys show Canadians are very proud of Canada’s once-strong reputation for being at the forefront of international peacekeeping efforts,” he said in an interview. “The fact that this government would ignore the efforts of the UN peacekeepers’ association is a shame.”

Indeed given their efforts to beat the drum at every opportunity regarding war and conflict both past and present one would think that the Harper Regime would be quick to put themselves in front of this gathering and highlight the regard in which Canada is held for its peacekeeping efforts across the world since 1948, when the first Canadian peacekeepers went to the Middle East, 150,000 Canadians have followed suit and over 100 lost their lives during such missions. Today Canada is way down on the list of contributors to international peacekeeping efforts, with fewer than 120 people participating in missions around the world.

That Harper and his minions ignore such an opportunity to thank this relatively small but respected group says much about his regard for the UN, peacekeeping, and international efforts to prevent conflict rather than encourage it. His recent rhetoric re current conflicts rings hollow and adds little to efforts to reduce the carnage that religious and ethnic extremists across the world are creating.
In my view what these UN peacekeepers do is far more difficult and dangerous than those who would make war and we should all thank them for their efforts to make the world a safer place and our 'government' should be at the head of the line in that regard, a routine press release hardly counts!

Thanks guys we are all proud of you.

PS. Here are a few other ceremony’s that Harper will not be attending anytime soon. The opening of the promised Artie Deepwater Port, the arrival of the first Sea King replacement helicopter for our SAR folks, delivery of a new reliable twin engined military jet and................ if we all get our wish, the swearing in of a new government in 2015!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Defence or Destruction?

Gaza deaths reported to July 8 - July 30 – 1,363, Injured – 6,780 the majority being civilians, including women and children.
Israeli deaths – 58 just two of which were civilians....
Whilst it is very difficult for those of us just observing from a distance via various news media and other online sources to know the true situation in Gaza, it is clear that the virtual imprisonment of an entire population and the targeting of civilian infrastructure by a far superior Israeli force is not simply 'defending' themselves and should not be supported by ANY democratic nation. I do not endorse my governments stance on this issue and therefore agree with the opinions expressed in this open letter to my government and others.

Dear Prime Minister, Minister Baird, Mr Mulcair, Mr Dewar, Mr Trudeau, and Mr Garneau,
We, the undersigned academics, lawyers, and community leaders, are profoundly perturbed by the unbalanced and partisan position adopted by the Canadian Government and federal political parties regarding the current violence in Gaza. While more than 650 Palestinians [update: more than 1000 Palestinians] – 75% civilians, according to the United Nations – have been killed in Israel’s latest military operation, official statements have focused exclusively on denouncing Hamas’s rocket strikes (responsible for two fatalities) and uncritically proclaiming Israel’s right to self-defence.
While Hamas’s indiscriminate rocket firings are illegal under international law, Israel is still bound by basic international humanitarian law principles protecting civilians during times of war and prohibiting collective punishment. Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilian life and infrastructure in Gaza violate fundamental norms of international law. As of July 22, the toll of the ongoing offensive (the third major military assault on Gaza in six years) includes:
And the toll increases by the hour.
Multiple human rights groups have documented and condemned likely Israeli war crimes in Gaza. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay concluded two weeks ago that “Deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes . . . raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.” This week, Ms Pillay confirmed: “There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated [by Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip], in a manner that could amount to war crimes.”
Amnesty International’s report observed, “In several cases of [air strikes on civilian homes in Gaza], no evidence has emerged to indicate that the alleged ‘Hamas operatives’ were inside the homes at the time of the attack, that the homes were being used to store munitions, or otherwise being used for military purposes.” According to Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Programme: “Unless the Israeli authorities can provide specific information to show how a home is being used to make an effective contribution to military actions, deliberately attacking civilian homes constitutes a war crime and also amounts to collective punishment against the families.”
Human Rights Watch similarly found that “Israeli air attacks . . . have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war.”
The disregard for international law conveyed by the Government’s silence on such potentially grave violations committed by Israel discredits Canada domestically and internationally. Moreover, adoption of such a one-sided position subverts Canada’s own official foreign policy goal of achieving a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace settlement” between Israel and Palestine. Rather than maintaining a studious silence in the face of these documented violations of international humanitarian law, a true friend would act responsibly and call Israel to account for those violations.
As a country claiming to champion universal human rights and dignity, Canada’s foreign policy must align with international law, and reflect the equal value of Palestinian and Israeli life. The callous devaluation of Palestinian life communicated by our political leaders does not represent us.
Signed by over 900 academics, lawyers, journalists and community leaders and other professionals.

This letter is continuously updated to reflect “current casualty figures and findings of human rights organizations,” and list of signatories at Canadians4Gazans.com.

"And I condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization for sending missiles into Israel, but the Israeli retaliation and the invasion of Gaza violates international law and humanitarian norms, and any Prime Minister of Canada worth his or her salt would say that as a friend and ally of Israel, “you’ve gone too far - you must move to peace talks.”
Elizabeth May in her keynote address to GPC Convention, July 19, 2014