The Process of Mounting a Charter of Rights and Freedoms Challenge

The Process of Mounting a Charter of Rights and Freedoms Challenge

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This was originally written by Wayne G. Stickland and available at a University of Toronto Web site. Sadly it was deleted – no doubt this is also due to the termination of the Court Challenges Program by the Harper government -.Since this is important information that enables citizens to defend their rights in court, it is too important to be deleted. I will re-post the entire article here.

The Process of Mounting a Charter of Rights and Freedoms Challenge

by: Wayne G. Stickland
INTRODUCTION

This paper will explore the process and the procedure in bringing a Charter of Rights and Freedoms1 challenge in a civil proceeding in the province of Ontario. It is not meant to be a theoretical examination; rather, it is directed at those seeking a practical view of the procedural steps to be followed in bringing a Charter challenge.

There are two types of Charter challenges. Collateral challenges, where applicable, occur during the normal course of litigation. For example, in a criminal defence an applicant may seek protection from state action or inaction, which may have affected either the investigative process or the arrest and detention of the accused. In this example, the accused has already been charged; therefore, the Charter challenge arises in the course of criminal prosecution. As well, in a civil litigation case, the defendant may challenge the validity of a law or legislation upon which the plaintiff’s action, or application, is based. In either case, the applicant is seeking to challenge the validity of a law.

Direct challenges arise when an individual, or public interest group, files an originating process for the express purpose of challenging the constitutionality of a law. In most cases, the general argument by the applicant is that legislation has affected a party either by inclusion or omission. An example would be an applicant who argues that the exclusion of same sex couples from receiving family benefits violates section 15 of the Charter. Usually, the applicant is seeking to have the legislation declared invalid.

It should be noted that the Rules of Civil Procedure2 might differ for each province. Therefore, readers in other provinces would be wise to consult the applicable rules in their province.

THE COLLATERAL CHALLENGE

Collateral challenges are the most frequent type of challenge. Because a collateral challenge arises in the course of litigation, the identity of the parties, the originating process, and the appropriate court have already been pre-determined by the nature of the action3.

However, if a party seeks to raise a constitutional issue, the declarant party must provide to the Attorney General of Canada and the Attorney General of Ontario a notice of constitutional question. Notice is required by Rule 109 of the Courts of Justice Act. 4

Rule 109 provides the Attorneys General with an opportunity to respond to any attacks on federal or provincial legislation. Further to rule 109(1), rule 109(4) provides that the Attorneys General are entitled to adduce evidence and make submissions to the court with respect to the constitutional question. Therefore, even if the Attorney General of Canada or Ontario is not named as a party, the respective governments, vis-à-vis the Attorney General, have the option of defending the respective legislation if a constitutional challenge should arise. In Ontario, notice has to be in the prescribed form 4F5 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.6

One may inquire as to when the notice must be served. Rule 109(2.2) of the Courts of Justice Act indicates that notice must be provided to all parties in the proceeding as soon as the circumstances requiring it become known. In any event, notice must be given at least fifteen days prior to the day in which the question is to be argued, unless the court orders otherwise7. It has been suggested that providing the proper notice is the fundamental element required in a collateral challenge. However, once proper notice has been given, when will the constitutional question be heard?

Normally, the trial judge in the main action will hear the constitutional question. However, parties are becoming increasingly concerned about the costs associated with litigation. In some cases, it may be more economical, or indeed procedurally correct, to determine a constitutional issue prior to the trial at a preliminary motion. The Ontario rules of civil procedure allow for the determination of an issue prior to the commencement of a trial.

Rule 20 permits the plaintiff or defendant to move for summary judgment. As well, it authorizes the court, where it is satisfied that the only genuine issue is a question of law, to determine the question and grant judgment accordingly.8 Therefore, requiring the constitutional issue to be determined prior to the trial will decrease the total time required to argue a proceeding. Although many issues are determined during the course of a trial, the nature of constitutional arguments is such that these arguments can easily become very long and protracted. It is not inconceivable, depending the constitutional issue, to devote two full days of court time to arguing a constitutional issue. For that reason, rule 20 is of particular importance. A prolonged trial transfers additional costs to both parties in the proceeding.

The effect of a successful motion for summary judgment is that the issue being argued can be decided prior to proceeding to trial. If the only issue to be decided is the constitutional issue, then a summary judgement, in effect, eliminates the need for a trial.

Rule 21 permits an applicant to narrow the issues at a motion hearing prior to proceeding to trial.9 Thus, this rule also assists a party in saving litigation costs by limiting the issues that must be determined at trial. Therefore, rule 21 is also beneficial to applicants who are fiscally constrained.

Finally, rule 22 permits parties to a proceeding to state a question of law in the form of a special case for the opinion of the court.10 Rule 22 allows a party to make an application to a judge to determine whether a constitutional issue really exists. There may be some disagreement between parties as to the extent of the issues, or even whether a constitutional issue exists; thus, rule 22 facilitates the narrowing of issues once again, thereby expediting the trial process.

It is possible that a constitutional issue would not be resolved prior to the commencement of the trial. It is also possible that the judge may find that a constitutional issue should be argued within the structure of the trial process and not at a hearing. In either case, the issue would simply be argued within the framework of the trial.

COLLATERAL CHALLENGES IN ADMINSTRATIVE TRIBUNALS

The legal system today is comprised of more than simply “courts” proper. Some issues, for example labour issues, are argued before administrative tribunals. These administrative tribunals are created by statute. Although the jurisdiction of administrative tribunals to consider the Charter has been questioned, guidance has been provided by the Supreme Court of Canada. In Cuddy Chicks Ltd. v. Ontario (Labour Relations Board)11 a Union filed an application for certification of employees at a chicken hatchery. The issue in Cuddy Chicks was with respect to section 2(b) of the Labour Relations Act. That section stated that it did not apply to persons employed in agriculture. The Union argued that section 2(b) was invalid because it was contrary to section 15 equality provisions of the Charter12. The issue was whether the board could consider and rule on Charter arguments. The majority of a panel, convened for the purpose of hearing the ultimate issue, held that the board had jurisdiction to rule on Charter issues. This jurisdiction was found in three authorities. The authorities were section 24(1) of the Charter, section 52 of the Constitution Act13, and section 106(1) of the Labour Relations Act. Cuddy Chicks did not agree with the ruling and obtained leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. The Court held that due to the principle of supremacy of the Constitution, confirmed by s. 52(1) of the Constitution Act, an administrative tribunal which had the power to interpret law also held a concomitant power to determine whether that law was constitutionally valid. The court further held that section 52(1) did not specify who could consider and rule on a Charter question; therefore, jurisdiction had to be conferred on the tribunal by its enabling statute. The tribunal did not need to be a “court” according to section 24(1) to have the authority to consider the application of the Charter. However, it had to have jurisdiction over the entire matter, that is the parties, the subject matter and remedy sought.

In Cuddy, the board had jurisdiction over parties; but since the subject matter and remedy were premised on the application of the Charter, the authority to apply jurisdiction had to be found in board’s enabling statute. Thus, since section 106(1) gave the board jurisdiction over questions of law and because a Charter issue had to be a question of law, the board had authority to apply the Charter. Its jurisdiction was only limited in that it could not give a formal declaration of constitutional invalidity.

Currently, rule 109(6) of the Courts of Justice Act states that section 109 applies to proceedings before boards, tribunals, and court proceedings.

THE DIRECT CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE

A direct constitutional challenge raises many of the same issues that arise in a collateral challenge. However, unlike collateral challenges, the issues of parties, originating process, and the appropriate court are not defined by the nature of the action. Therefore, a direct challenge requires that the parties, the originating process and the court to be determined before a constitutional issue can be brought forth.

a) THE ISSUE OF STANDING

In order to determine whether a party can challenge the constitutionality of a law, the applicant must determine whether or not it has standing, or status, to mount a Charter challenge.

The question whether a person has standing (or locus standi) to bring legal proceedings is a question about whether a person has sufficient stake in the outcome to invoke the judicial process. The question of standing focuses on the position of the party seeking to sue, not on the issue that the lawsuit is intended to resolve.14

Professor Hogg indicates that the restrictions on standing are intended:

1. to avoid opening the floodgates to unnecessary litigation;

2. to ration scarce judicial resources by applying them to real rather than hypothetical disputes;

3. to place limits on the exercise of judicial power by precluding rulings that are not needed to resolve disputes;

4. to avoid the risk of prejudice to persons who would be affected by a decision but are not before the court;

5. to avoid the risk that cases will be inadequately presented by parties who have no real interest in the outcome; and

6. to avoid the risk that a court will reach an unwise decisions of a question that comes before it in a hypothetical of abstract form, lacking the factual context of a real dispute.15

Prior to the enactment of the Charter, standing was determined in accordance with the requirements as defined in the “trilogy of standing cases.”16 The trilogy of cases culminated in Finlay v. Minster of Finance17. The end result of these four cases is a very liberal interpretation of the rule determining standing. Professor Hogg has stated that:

[w]hile it is still the case that a private plaintiff has not right to bring a declaratory action when he or she has no special interest in an issue of constitutional or public law, the courts will grant standing as a matter of discretion to the plaintiff who establishes (1) that the action raises a serious legal question, (2) that the plaintiff has a genuine interest in the resolution of the question, and (3) that there is no other reasonable and effective manner in which the question may be brought to court.18

b) NOTICE OF CONSITUTIONAL QUESTION

Once an applicant has determined that they have standing, they must then establish whom they are going to name in the suit. Generally, because a direct challenge attacks the vires of legislation, the challenge must be directed at the makers of the legislation. Despite the fact that the Attorney General is named in the suit, the applicant must file a notice of constitutional question nonetheless. The steps required in filing a notice are the same as the steps that were previously discussed in the collateral challenge portion of this paper. Simply, the applicant must complete and serve a form 4F on the Attorney General of Canada, and the Attorney General of Ontario. Rule 109 (2.2) requires that the notice be filed at least 15 days prior to the hearing.

c) WHERE WILL THE CHALLENGE BE HEARD?

Section 24 (1) of the Charter provides that:

Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy, as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances. [Emphasis added]

What then, practically speaking, is court of competent jurisdiction?19

In Ontario, a court of competent jurisdiction can be one of three courts. One is the Divisional Court. The Divisional Court is comprised of a panel of three judges from the General Division Court. The purpose of the Divisional Court is to review decisions of administrative tribunals and to review government actions. The Divisional Court was created by the power of the Courts of Justice Act; therefore, the court only has the jurisdiction and powers that the statue confers upon it.

The remedies available through the Divisional Court are mandamus, prohibition, and certiorari. Mandamus is a discretionary prerogative writ issued by a superior court and used to compel public authorities to perform their duties. Mandamus may also be used to ensure the proper exercise of discretion, or to compel observance of the rules of natural justice where a duty to observe those rules is required by statute or can be implied. Prohibition is a process or writ issued by a superior court that prevents an inferior court or tribunal from exceeding its jurisdiction or usurping jurisdiction with which it has not been vested by law. Finally, a certiorari is a means of achieving judicial review. A certiorari is issued from a superior court to one of inferior jurisdiction, inquiring into the validity of the latter. The writ is used to determine of there have been any irregularities in the proceeding of the inferior tribunal.20 The court does not have the authority to declare a statute invalid.21 In more practical terms, the Divisional Court would be the appropriate court to bring a Charter challenge against an employee of a government ministry, such as the Ministry of Transportation. If an employee of the Ministry denied a licence applicant the right to obtain a licence, and applicant may bring a Charter challenge claiming that his section 15 equality rights have been infringed.

Another court is the Federal Court. The Federal Court is a statutory court similar to the Divisional Court. The Federal Court can hear constitutional issues that relate to Federal legislation. However, since the Federal Court is also a statutory court, it is subject to the same limitations that are imposed upon the Divisional Court (outlined above). It should be noted that review of Federal legislation is not required to occur in the Federal Court. It is possible to have the Ontario Court General Division hear cases dealing with Federal legislation and constitutionality.

The High Court of Justice is the third court where a party may bring a constitutional challenge. Unlike the other two courts, the High Court of Justice is a court of inherent jurisdiction; therefore, it is always a court of competent jurisdiction. Because it is a court of inherent jurisdiction, it can grant remedies similar to those outlined above in addition to having the authority to declare legislation invalid. However, the High Court of Justice is not always the most appropriate court in which to commence an action. For example, if the subject matter of the a challenge is already before another court or tribunal, that court would be more appropriate to hear the issue.

d) ORIGINATING PROCESS

The final step to be examined with respect to direct challenges is process. With which process, by an application or by an action, should a party commence a constitutional challenge?

Generally, proceedings are commenced by way of an action. The originating process of an action is issuance of a statement of claim. (Rule 14.01)

14.01 (1) All civil proceedings shall be commenced by the issuing of an originating process by the registrar of the court in which the proceeding is to be commenced, except where a statute provides otherwise and as provided in subrules (2) and (2.1).

Then the originating process is issued. (Rule 14.07)

14.07 (1) An originating process is issued by the registrar’s act of dating, signing and sealing it with the seal of the court and assigning to it a court file number.

(2) A copy of the originating process shall be filed in the court file when it is issued.

If an applicant has insufficient time to prepare a statement of claim, a notice of action may be issued. (Rule 14.03)

14.03 (2) Where there is insufficient time to prepare a statement of claim, an action other than a divorce action may be commenced by the issuing of a notice of action (Form 14C) that contains a short statement of the nature of the claim.

After a statement of claim has been served, a statement of defence must be served and filed in response if the respondent chooses to defend the action. (Rule 18.01)

18.01 Except as provided in rule 18.02 or subrule 19.01(5) (late delivery of defence) or 27.04(2) (counterclaim against plaintiff and non-party). A statement of defence (Form 18A) shall be delivered,

(a) within twenty days after service of the statement of claim, where the defendant is served in Ontario;

(b) within forty days after service of the statement of claim, where the defendant is served elsewhere in Canada or in the United States of America; or

(c) within sixty days after service of the statement of claim, where the defendant is served anywhere else,

18.02 (1) A defendant who is served with a statement of claim and intends to defend the action may deliver a notice of intent to defend (Form 18B) within the time prescribed for delivery of a statement of defence.

Once pleadings have been closed, a notice of examination for discovery of documents can be served on every party that has been joined in the proceeding. (Rule 30)

Following the examination for discovery of documents, either party could make a motion under rule 20, 21, or 22 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.22 A motion under one of the preceding rules can be made anytime after the statement of defence has been filed. Assuming that the motions were not successful, and the examination for discovery process has been completed, the proceeding then moves to trial.

Rule 14.05 of the Rules of Civil Procedure indicates that in some cases a challenge may be brought by an application rather than by an action. Proceedings may be commenced by an application where authorized by a statute (Rule 14.05 (2)) or where authorized by the Rules of Civil Procedure. (Rule 14.05(3)).

Notice of Application
14.05 (1) The originating process for the commencement of an application is a notice of application (Form 14E, 68A, 73A, 74.44 05 75.5).

Application under Statute

(2) A proceeding may be commenced by an application to the Ontario Court (General Division) or to a judge of that court, if a statute so authorizes.

Application under Rules

(3) A proceeding may be brought by application where these rules authorize the commencement of a proceeding by application or where the relief claimed is,

(g.1) for a remedy under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; or

Following the notice of application, the applicant must then serve the notice of application and all supporting affidavits. (Rules 38.06 and 39.01(2))

Once the notice of application and supporting documents have been served upon the respondent, the respondent, if they should choose to defend, must serve and file a notice of appearance. (Rule 38.07(1))

Notice of Appearance

38.07 (1) A respondent who has been served with a notice of application shall forthwith deliver a notice of appearance (Form 38A).

A respondent who does not deliver a notice of appearance is not entitled to receive notice of any step in the proceeding or other document. Nor is the respondent able to file material, examine a witness, cross-examine on an affidavit, or be heard at the hearing except with the leave of the judge.

If the respondent party has filed a notice of appearance, then the examination of witnesses follows. (Rule 39.03) The parties can cross-examine the opposing parties on the affidavits. (Rule 39.02)

After the process of completing the preceding steps results in each party creating an application record. The respective parties must then file and serve their respective application records to the required parties. Once the parties have been filed and served, the hearing of the application can be completed. At the hearing stage, the presiding judge may either grant the relief sought, dismiss, or adjourn the application in whole or in part with or without terms. In the alternative the presiding judge may order that the whole application, or a single issue, proceed to trial and give such directions as are just (Rule 38.10(1))

Upon a quick reflection of the rules, it is painfully obvious that the rules were not designed in contemplation of the complex constitutional cases proceeding on this basis. For example, rule 39.01(3) simply requires a party to serve and file their documents the day before the hearing is to take place. If counsel were to abide by this last minute deadline, the hope of proceeding in a timely manner would be eradicated simply because opposing counsel would no other alternative than to seek an adjournment. The best resolution to this problem it to have a mutual agreement with opposing counsel for co-operation. It is only with the co-operation of both parties that an application can proceed expeditiously.23

Prior to the adoption of the new Rules of Civil Procedure (post 1985), the issue of originating process was vital. If counsel commenced a proceeding in the wrong originating process, the proceeding may have been quashed. The offending party would then have to start a new originating process in the proper method. This would translate into great costs to the litigants. However, rule 38.11 of the Rules of Civil Procedure gives the court the authority to convert a proceeding commenced by notice of application into an action.

Now, because of rule 2.01, failure to comply with rules of originating process does not render a proceeding a nullity.

However, in the interest of costs and fiscal constraints, it is still in the best interest of counsel to determine the best process so that additional time and cost can be avoided.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I hope that I have been able to adequately delve into the procedure and process of mounting a Charter claim. As previously mentioned, I have tried, wherever possible, to relay as much information as I thought would adequately describe the required steps. If you should find that I have neglected to reflect upon some vitally important procedural step, I would hope that you would contact me so that I may update this informational site. With anticipated diligence, I hope to update this paper and provide current, and relevant information.

.

Endnotes

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (U.K.), 1982, c.11. [hereinafter, the Charter]
J.J. Carthy, W.A.D. Millar & J.G. Cowan, The Ontario Annual Practice, 1996-97 (Aurora: Canada Law Book, 1996
For a comprehensive discussion of the steps in an action or application, please see below.
Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chap. C.43 [hereinafter, the CJA]
See Appendix A.
Rule 109. (2.1) CJA
Rule 109. (2.2) CJA
R.E. Charney, “Litigating Charter Claims” (Address to Canadian Bar Association-Ontario, Continuing Legal Education Seminar, 15 April, 1989.)
Supra, note 8.
Supra, note 8.
[1991] 2 S.C.R. 5
It was also argued that s. 2(b) also violated s. 2(d) of the Labour Relations Act.
Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (U.K.), 1982, c. 11.
P. Hogg, Constitutional Law of Canada (Toronto: Carswell, 1996)
Ibid.
See Thorson v. Attorney General of Canada, [1975] 1 S.C.R. 138; Nova Scotia Censor Board v. MacNeil, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 265; and Borowksi v. Attorney General of Canada, [1981] 2 S.C.R. 575.
[1986] 2 S.C.R. 697
Hogg, supra note 17.
For a very comprehensive and theoretical interpretation of jurisdiction of courts, see J. Sack Q.C., “Where to go and how to get there-Questions of Forum and Form in Charter Litigation” (Address to the Canadian Bar Association, October 25-25, 1986.)
J.A. Yogis, Canadian Law Dictionary (New York; Barron’s Educational Series, 1995)
See Re Service Employees’ International Union and Broadway Manor (1985), 48 O.R. (2d) 225.
See the above descriptions of Rules 20, 21, and 22.
Charney, supra note 8.

Here at least is the entire article re-posted for the use of the Canadian People.
2 Responses

single mom
22 April 2010 9:21 pm
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I searched for something completely different, but found your website! And have to say thanks. Nice read. Will come back.

Viamund
17 August 2013 11:16 am
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I apologize for not replying sooner. I thank-you for your polite compliment and hope that this information is useful.

May Day: May will be our month of action

Upon this Planet are two divergent views. Those of Classification verses Universal Humanity. Those that believe in classes of Human beings according to set class restrictions such as Race, Sex, Sexuality, Socio-economics etc..Then there are those who believe in the Universal Humanity. The only race is the Human Race. Every Human would rather be happy than sad, meet a new lover instead of a new enemy. A Universal Consciousness. Regardless of any divisions according to Tribe, Age, Sex etc. These represent a duality of Truth verses Untruth. Pride verses Shame. Courage verses Fear. We – those who represent the light of Reason – are those who represent the positive aspects of Humanity.
Those who believe in Classification support the negative, sectarian, segregationist, superstitious aspects of Humanity. Hate.
We represent positive, secular, integrationist, reason aspects of Humanity. Love. Those who oppose us are trying to program a negative view of Human sexuality and expression. Again this is due to the selective classes that they choose to invent and impose. Good rape and bad rape. Good victims and bad victims. Good lovers and bad lovers. Sex is not evil. It is the biological function which serves as the natural state of existence and certainly a NEED in terms of human emotion and mental stability. The joy that is a learning in human emotion, passion ( EROS ) that all human beings deserve. No one sexuality is better than any other and each entitled to the same equal consideration and respect in all matters as a human requirement regardless of population percentage. Each entitled to their existence as a part of human nature. As entities in a dimension afloat many in this our dimension. Sex is no different from any other in terms of the entire human make-up that is the flesh. Fear of Human sexuality and expression is the worst form of sexual perversion. A whole view of positive Flesh/Spirit harmony is vital.
So in May a direct constitutional challenge will begin against the Federal Conservative Party and all involved in this recent violation of our charter of Human Rights that is our Constitution. No precedent shall be set. After our victory will follow a Civil Suit.
Comrades, now is the call to Liberation.

Time For An Election: What is a Conservative World?

It is past time for an election in canada. The Conservatives must go. We – the Canadian People – can no longer tolerate their foolish corruption of Canadian Values. Privatization, segregation, discrimination, sexism, ageism, censorship… enough is enough. Some of the sick attempts to destroy Canada -Propped by the opposition too afraid to call an election – are as follows:

BILL c-10 : Here is an excellent article about this Bill.

Canadians are already familiar with the Omnibus Crime Bill that the Conservatives have tried to pass in Canada. A bill that will raise the age of Sexual Consent from age14 – where it’s been for over 100 years – to age 16 (just to please the Religious Right), while age 14 is still old enough to be prosecuted as an adult for a violent crime.
Make criminals guilty until they can prove themselves innocent, classify individual Human acts in groups and not regard those acts individually.

Read this Article below from Tousaw Law

————————————————————————————————————————————————

Submission on Bill C-2 (Omnibus Crime Control Act)

I gave the following statement to the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on February 25, 2008. Unfortunately, it appears that the Senate is going to pass Bill C-2 without any amendments, mainly to avoid a possible election. I find it dubious that the Conservative Party could actually go to an election on this. I find it incredibly weak that the Liberals are scared to go to the people.

In any case, here is what I said:

My name is Kirk Tousaw, and I am here as a volunteer Board member and the Chair of the Drug Policy Committee of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. The Association is the oldest and most active defender of civil liberties and democratic freedoms in Canada and is this country’s pre-eminent advocate on this issue. The Association has a long history of providing input to government and the courts on matters of vital importance to civil liberties in Canada, and I thank this Committee for the opportunity to speak about the impact of Bill C-2.

I will begin my comments with a general proposition concerning the role of the criminal law in our society. I will then discuss three specific points regarding Bill C-2. My comments will focus on the proposed mandatory minimum sentences for firearms offences, the changes to the age of sexual consent and the granting of new, broad, investigative powers to police in cases of suspected drug-impaired driving.

As a general matter, government should be loath to use the criminal law power and particularly cautious when enhancing penalties, creating new crimes or giving legislative blessing to significant increases in police power. This is because the criminal law represents the most coercive tool in the government’s toolbox. The civil liberties that Canadians enjoy, and that form the cornerstone of our democracy, are rarely more at risk than when the government acts in the area of criminal justice policy. Changes to the criminal law should, at minimum, be contemplated only when there exists a demonstrable social need for the change and implemented only after very careful consideration of the need and the effects of the policies at issue.

Unfortunately, Bill C-2 fails on both counts. The proposed legislation does not respond to any actual or perceived need for amendment of the Criminal Code, as many others including criminologist Professor Neil Boyd, have already noted. Perhaps worse, the process by which this Bill was pushed through the House of Commons, and the attempt by the government of the day to pressure this body into quickly passing the Bill, demonstrate significant disregard for the principles of careful consideration, reflection and debate over deeply important issues. The issues of firearms, youth sexual activity, protection of privacy and regard for due process of law are too important to be used for short-term political gain. All Canadians are done a disservice when speed is substituted for substance. I’m pleased that this body appears prepared to take the necessary time to reflect on these matters, and I urge you to stand strong in the face of political pressure for haste.

Mandatory Minimums

The Association is opposed to the use of mandatory minimum sentences. Judicial discretion in sentencing is a hallmark of our democracy and a fundamental principle of our criminal justice system. Indeed, the occasional media sensationalism on the subject of unfit sentences – a statistically rare occurrence but likely a factor leading directly to this portion of the legislation – implicitly recognizes this principle while appearing to argue for the opposite. In those rare cases where judges have imposed sentences that are perceived to be unfit – and almost always too short – the disapproval of the sentence universally takes the form that the punishment did not fit the crime. Let me be clear about something: these cases are uncommon and outside the norm for sentencing. In the vast majority of cases, the sentencing judge does an excellent job tailoring a sentence to the facts of the case before him or her. There is an old saying that bad cases make bad law which I think is applicable here. Bad stories lead to bad laws.

Unfortunately, the use of mandatory minimums will exacerbate the problem. We hear, though rarely, of cases where a too-lenient sentence was imposed for a serious crime. If this Bill passes, we can expect to commonly see sentences that are far too harsh in the context of the individual case because judges will no longer be able to use their long-standing discretion to craft sentences that take into account an offender’s degree of culpability and role in the offence. This is the experience of other jurisdictions that regularly use mandatory minimums. Other problems include (a) disparate impact on racial minorities and economically less prosperous defendants; (b) significantly increased costs associated with both the criminal justice system and with the correctional system; (c) reduced ability for correctional officers and parole boards to impact in-custody behavior; (d) an increasing tolerance for the imposition of such mandatory penalties in situations where the empirical evidence of efficacy is even more lacking than in the area of firearms offences – such as for drug crimes. This last factor is evident in the current government’s proposed Bill C-26, which seeks to add a series of mandatory minimums to our nation’s failed and harmful policy of drug prohibition.

On this issue, I would like to close by quoting from a 2002 in-depth review of mandatory minimums conducted by our Department of Justice: “The use of incarceration as a preventative measure, therefore, must be finely tuned or its counterproductive impacts may well outweigh its benefits. Therefore, MMS should not be introduced merely to placate a political constituency or without regard to a thorough understanding of infractions or offenders for whom they are intended.”

Age of Sexual Consent

The Association opposes raising the age of sexual consent. There appears to be little or no empirical evidence demonstrating any need to change the long-standing age of sexual consent in Canada. Responsible sexual decision-making is a developmental process that requires social guidance, not legislative control. Young people are already protected from sexual exploitation, internet luring, and prostitution by ss. 150 through 172.1, and ss. 212(2) and 212(4) of the Code (Sexual Offenses and Disorderly Conduct). Raising the age of consent will create barriers to sexual health information, especially among marginalized youth who need it the most. Barriers to sexual health information will result in more cases of SDIs, HIV/AIDS and pregnancies among youth. Raising the age of consent may criminalize healthy sexual relationships between young people, and places undue restrictions on their autonomy. Finally, the impact of this law is also likely to be discriminatory because its effects will be more acutely felt by sexual minorities who already face significant stigmatization as a result of their sexuality. The best way to protect children and youth is through education and empowerment.

Under the Criminal Code, the age of consent for anal intercourse is eighteen, four years higher than for vaginal intercourse. This disparity has been criticized for targeting and criminalizing consensual sex between adolescent men. When the Ontario Court of Appeal declared that this section of the Code to be unconstitutional, Justice Albella, writing for the majority, pointed out something worth considering:

“Health risks ought to be dealt with by the health care system. Ironically, one of the bizarre effects of a provision criminalizing consensual anal intercourse for adolescents is that the health education they should be receiving to protect them from avoidable harm may be curtailed, since it may be interpreted as counseling young people about a form of sexual conduct the law prohibits them from participating in. Hence, the Criminal Code provision ostensibly crafted to prevent adolescents from harm may itself, by inhibiting education about health risks associated with that behaviour, contribute to the harm it seeks to reduce.”

The legislative summary accompanying Bill C-2 points out that the average age of first sexual intercourse for young people is 14.1 years for boys and 14.5 years for girls. Many of these young people will be criminalized as a result of this legislation. Ultimately, raising the age of consent disempowers young Canadians by removing from them the ability to consent, or to withhold consent, to sexual activity.

The Association is concerned that raising the age of consent will restrict young people’s decision making autonomy, and may restrict access to health information and services for these young people. The Association questions the efficacy of legal sanctions on sexual activity. A legislative change in this direction sends a message to adolescents under 16 years that they are automatically incompetent to navigate their own sexual lives, and does not teach them how to make autonomous and healthy decisions in an inherently private situation.

At the very least, if the age of consent for non-anal intercourse is increased to sixteen, the Bill should remedy the existing discrimination and reduce the age of consent for anal intercourse from eighteen to sixteen. This would, at least, minimize the differential impact of our current scheme on sexual minorities and bring consistency and a measure of equality to the law in this area.

Drug Impaired Driving

The Association opposes the proposed changes to the Criminal Code in this area. My submission will deal with two areas: (1) the restrictions on evidence that may be tendered in opposition to BAC test results; (2) the proposed drug-impaired driving testing regime.

The evidentiary restrictions related to BAC tests are based on the faulty assumption that the BAC test is infallible. As undue restrictions on the Charter right to full answer and defence, the proposed restrictions will certainly be challenged and are likely found to be constitutionally invalid. Rather than reducing the amount of time required in court on BAC cases (one purported justification for the changes), this law will dramatically increase the burden on the criminal justice system. This legislation is good for criminal defence lawyers, but bad for the criminal justice system. The presumption of innocence and the corresponding right to call evidence in one’s defence are the very foundations of our criminal justice system and must not be casually set aside.

The proposed drug testing procedures are problematic for several reasons. I will discuss five.

First, significant concerns exist with respect to the accuracy of the DRE evaluation process itself. Second, saliva, urine and blood testing is highly invasive of personal privacy and is often a degrading and humiliating experience for the person being tested. Third, the process set out in the legislation is cumbersome and extremely time consuming, and the individual is detained by police the whole time.

Fourth, and perhaps most problematic, is that the results of both the DRE evaluation and bodily sample testing are of little evidentiary value. The DRE process, while appearing to be scientific, is actually susceptible to significant error rates; one study listed in the legislative summary accompanying Bill C-32 (the government’s last version of this legislation) suggests that average error rates are 21%. Put another way, of every 100 persons from whom a blood or urine sample is demanded under threat of being charged with an offence for refusing, 20 will have been falsely accused and improperly and involuntarily subjected to a very invasive process. Moreover, the invasive process – the forced taking of blood, urine or saliva – yields essentially worthless information. The legislative summary is clear on this point (at page 13): “Ultimately, there is no measurable link between driving impairment and drug quantity.” Put in legal terms, the information gleaned from the testing is irrelevant to the ultimate issue of impairment. The biggest burden will fall on marijuana users, particularly on legal and licensed medical users, who can and will test positive hours, days or weeks after consuming cannabis despite that they may not have used cannabis prior to driving and may not be impaired at all.

The final objection is philosophical: laws should not be promulgated in order that government may be seen to be doing something as opposed to actually doing something about a problem – real or perceived. The money that will be required to implement this new law is much better spent on educational programs designed to teach people, particularly young people, about the danger of driving while impaired. We have made great positive strides when using education rather than enforcement as the primary method of achieving our shared goals and, critically, education does not unduly infringe on the civil liberties and freedoms that are the very foundation of our democracy.

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Not to mention the slashing of programs geared to minorities and then granted to vapid religious and other special interest groups dear to the Conservatives.

Time for an election. Good-bye and good riddance Stephen Harper to you and all your backwards cronies.

Here is what it means to live in a conservative World

No separation between Church and State
Beliefs that there are categories of Human Beings according to sex, socio-economic class, sexuality, race, age etc
Higher incidents of violence as Pleasure is vilified while violence is lauded
Belief in Creationism above Evolution
Belief that the Earth was created 6000 years ago
Belief that the Earth is flat
Belief that the Sun revolves around the Earth

To the Conservatives and those that support them, these views represent the Future. To the rest of Canada they represent the Dark Ages.

Next Target for The Conservatives: Your mind

Here’s a thought crime. The conservatives will soon be targeting your mind. They are dedicated to discovering a means to enable them to imprison Canadians for thought crimes. They believe they can remain “tucked away” safe inside their dark envelopes of superstition. We – The Canadian People – will expose them through the light of reason. So here are two thought crimes. Excerpts from my book, Viamund the Boy-Love Vampyre Says… Poetry & Haiku’s.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

APOCALYPTIC BOY
It is my state of singularity that drives me,
harbinger of skeletons
that crowns my wasted passion.
Screaming from inside my mind
a yearning I cannot but wonder if you feel.
The accursed blessedness of yearning
the crux of all desire.
Embers of my exalted love grow dim
to rekindle at a glance
from your comely face.
Apocalyptic boy.
You are my deliverer from Hell’s torment,
my Golgotha, my love, I adore you.
Sharp-glanced, yielding angel of passion.
Lithe-limbed, black-crowned ice flower.
Delicate featured, ever-laughing
instigator of babbling brooks.
Gazelle-eyed, barefoot wanderer of my dreams.
Apocalyptic boy… moist my dry.
Your groin is life, let me live.
Apocalyptic boy I see myself,
where are you?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

STAR-BOY
My Star-boy,
the brightness within you
clashes against the midnight sky.
Look away from my darting glances.
A beloved, passing season is your love,
so frail as a rare, blooming orchid
concealed by a dense rain forest
gleefully found.
Your sweet, forbidden nectar
hidden down deep crevices,
my tongue longs to explore.
Pay no mind
to the chaos that surrounds you,
that din those asteroids make.
You are a moment frozen in time
desired to be shared by all those
who know you for what you truly are.
My Star-boy.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A Warning For The Conservatives: We’re not going anywhere

Today the Conservative Party is attempting to force the Senate to pass their backwards Omnibus Bill C-2 – the Bill that criminalizes youth sexuality in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and makes criminals guilty until they can prove themselves innocent.- They threaten to call an election if this backwards Bill is not passed. When a criminal is prosecuted and serve their time they must be regarded as rehabilitated. Forcing criminals to register for life is a permanent punishment and a denial of justice. Read all about it from the story in CTV NEWS

Read it here

Tories threaten election over crime bill
Updated Wed. Feb. 6 2008 11:30 PM ET

CTV.ca News

The Tories are stepping up their fight to pass their omnibus crime bill.

Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, which consists of five bills dealing with violent crimes, dangerous offenders, and the age of sexual consent, passed the House of Commons in late November, just before a Christmas break that ended in late January. Now, the Conservatives say they may make the proposed act a confidence matter if the Liberal-controlled Senate doesn’t pass the bill this month.

“When it comes to protecting children, when it comes to mandatory jail terms for people who commit crimes with firearms, when it comes to labeling people as dangerous offenders … we have legislation that will accomplish that and the Senate appears to be holding it up,” Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day told CTV Newsnet’s Mike Duffy Live.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson told the Senate committee on legal affairs that it should pass the bill in February. If that doesn’t happen, he said he would tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper that the bill is a confidence measure and let him deal with it appropriately.

“We say to Liberal senators, and we say to (Liberal Leader) Stephane Dion, tell your Liberal colleagues to push this through,” said Day.

Day called on the public to contact senators to push the bill through.

But senators counter that they don’t understand the government’s rush all of a sudden. They said they are constitutionally required to consider the bill fully and they won’t be strong-armed into speeding up their decision to fit a government-imposed schedule.

Manitoba Senator Sharon Carstairs told Mike Duffy Live that the Tory government is trying to bully the Senate.

“Unfortunately, for Mr. Harper, senators can’t be bullied,” she said.

“We want to hear from the public … particularly on two issues. I am very concerned about the impact of this (bill) on Aboriginal people. Reverse onus bail conditions, for example.”

Reverse onus would require people accused of violent crimes to state why they should receive bail, rather than put the onus on prosecutors to prove why the accused should be kept in jail.

“We do have Charter rights and one of them is to be silent, but you can’t be silent if you have to, in fact, prove reverse onus,” said Carstairs.

She noted that aboriginal people are already disproportionately jailed and the reverse onus requirement may add to their incarceration numbers.

Carstairs said she also wants to hear from social workers about what effect raising the sexual age of consent from 14 to 16 would have on young people living on the streets. She said she is concerned that young prostitutes may be driven underground if the age of consent is raised and that would leave them more vulnerable to exploitation. It could also keep them away from social workers who could help them escape their plight.

Carstairs noted that her concerns may turn out to be incorrect, but she said she wants to hear from experts before she makes a knee-jerk decision on the matter.

Nicholson has said he doesn’t understand why it would take the Senate much time to analyze the bill since it has already been studied in one form or another over the years. The bill had to be re-introduced in the fall because Harper cut the last parliamentary session short.

“You can do anything you want,” Nicholson told the Senate committee.

“You can study this for a year if that’s what you want … It’s our option to go to the people of Canada and ask them to decide on this.”

Nicholson’s threat that the Tories could turn the bill into a confidence motion may face a few hurdles. The Senate is not bound to Confidence rules. Harper may have the option of going directly to Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean to call an election on the matter.

With files from CTV’s Jed Kahane and The Canadian Press

Read the Xtra article below
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Gays ignored on Bill C-2
SEX LAWS / Community opposition didn’t get noted

“We didn’t hear from the gay community on this,” says NDP MP Joe Comartin, who sits on the justice committee that has been holding hearings on Bill C-2.

Comartin is startled when told that three key gay organizations – Egale Canada, the Coalition For Lesbian And Gay Rights In Ontario, and the Sex Laws Committee – each submitted position papers outlining serious concerns with Bill C-2, the Martin government’s legislation aimed at clamping down on child porn.

“We didn’t get them,” says Comartin. He could have used them, he adds, noting he was a sometimes solitary voice on the committee opposing excesses in the bill that could seriously hamper the freedom of artists and writers and discriminate against the rights of teens to choose their own sexual expressions.

Tom Warner of the Sex Laws Committee is furious that the gay community’s written submissions didn’t make it to Comartin.

“It is really quite astonishing and, frankly, outrageous that the committee members would not have been provided with a copy of each of the submissions,” he says. “That suggests someone along the way made a decision that our views are not important. They didn’t decide to ignore the views of the Evangelical Fellowship Of Canada or REAL Women.

“Now it’s going to look like we had nothing to say.”

The gay community had lots to say on Bill C-2, along with civil libertarians and groups representing journalists, writers and artists. Some opposing groups and individuals focussed in on the proposed law’s attempt to control child pornography, which they warned would result in legitimate art and journalism being wrongly labelled by police and Crown prosecutors, causing writers, journalists and artists to face trial.

Egale’s position paper says the law creates a definition of child pornography that is too broad and defences that are too narrow, board member Hilary Cook told Capital Xtra in May. The bill would remove artistic merit as a defence and require an artist or writer to prove the work fulfilled a “legitimate purpose” – a legally vague term which is not defined in the proposed law.

Gay literature about coming out could be considered child porn under the new criteria, said Cook in May. “We can’t even talk about our own upbringing? Acts that are legal, you can’t describe or make art about?”

The reality is that close family members commit most child abuse, says Comartin. But Bill C-2 focusses instead on the work of artists, writers and journalists. Comartin says he was impressed by the reasoning of the BC Civil Liberties Association that works of the imagination should not be illegal. Only works that rely on actual child victims should be outlawed.

“If we do not have an actual victim, there shouldn’t be any bars,” he says.

The final wording will result in artists and writers facing trials. Comartin believes they will ultimately win, and the courts will rewrite the law to be more open to artistic freedom. But artists should not have to face expensive trials that damage their reputations, he says. And given society’s homophobia, he suspects that police and Crown prosecutors will be even more likely to charge gay writers and artists.

“I hope I’m wrong, but it’s opened it up,” he says.

Gay groups further focussed on the bill’s attempts to protect children from sexual exploitation. While the objective is worthwhile, all three groups said, the proposals go too far, and end up discriminating against the rights of gay youth to choose when to become sexually active and with whom.

The Toronto-based Sex Laws Committee’s position paper argued, “The danger presented by the criminal code provision is that any same-sex consensual relationship involving a person over the age of 18 years and a person who is under the age of 18 but over the age of 14 will be deemed exploitative. There is a plausible risk, under this new amendment, that the older person will always be presumed to be exploiting the younger person and ‘luring’ them into a homosexual lifestyle.”

Comartin says the NDP sees some of the same shortcomings in the bill as do gay and civil libertarian groups. But he’s been consistently out-voted in committee by shifting coalitions – sometimes the Liberals and Conservatives working together, other times the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois.

The Conservatives attempted to amend the bill to outlaw any sex involving teens under the age of 16, says Comartin. They failed.

But the surviving language “could catch relationships that are not exploitative,” says Comartin, a career trial lawyer. “Similarly, if you have a fundamentalist judge offended by a youth under 18 taking part in sexual acts, it’s broad enough to catch that.”

Bill C-2 has now passed through the committee stage and the revised version will return to Parliament for second and third reading in the near future.

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Here is a warning for the Conservatives. If this Bill C-2 passes I personally intend to publicly violate the new law and continue to court, date and engage in recreational sex with boys as young as 14 years old. I’m not going anywhere. I will see to it that I am charged and I will win. The future of Canada is too important to permit a culture of shame, fear and lies. This will be prevented through pride, courage and truth. A civil lawsuit against the Federal Conservative party on behalf of all youth aged 14 and 15 as well as on behalf of sexual minorities suddenly forced outside the law will also result. I am prepared to do whatever is neccessary to defend the rights of all Canadians and enforce the separation between Church and State within Canada.
So Stockwell Day (a.k.a Doris Day)… make my day. I’m not going anywhere.
“The success of Tyrants is determined through their ability to divest the greatest number of people of their personal rights and freedoms with the least amount of protest.” Not on my watch Stephen Harper.

Canada Must Withdraw Membership In The United Nations: A new beginning as a leader in the creation of a new union

The United Nations is not a valid organization that represents the peaceful people of our planet. It has allowed itself to be nothing more than a means to exert pressure by certain Veto-wielding states in order to promote their own agendas. The Human population must unite to form a world Alliance whereby all government powers will be subservient to the will of the People. Proof that The United Nations has become a vapid organization is easy to find.

– Continued Human Rights Abuses against the Palestinans.
– The inability to prevent the Darfur genocide
– Continued Economic Embargo against Cuba

The treatment of the Palestine people and the Cuban people is unacceptable. Canada must withdraw from all obligations under the United Nations as well as end it’s membership within the United Nations. A new Global Body must be created that will enable the Human population to elect a League of Nations to govern. This is not the same as the League of Extraordinary Nations proposed by George Bush. This Union must be for the expressed purpose of electing a League of Nations composed of Environmental/Science groups and all First World, Second World, Third World and Fourth world elected representatives. Canada could be the leader in this enterprise.

Time To Get Rid Of The Conservatives: Pack your bags Stephen Harper and leave Canada for good

Some interesting stories about the evil Conservative government and why it is important to send them packing now.

Here is the first story by the Communist Party of Canada. They have done an excellent job of documenting the many wrongs of this Theo-Conservative, backwards thinking government and their Imperialist, gun-toting, bible-thumping, segregationist, cross-burning loser supporters.
The Communist party provides us 52 good reasons to get rid of the evil Harper government.
see the main points from the site below.

Fifty-two important reasons to drive out Harper’s Tories
1. The occupation of Afghanistan

The Conservatives are expanding Canada’s expensive and bloody military mission in Afghanistan, and recently voted down (unfortunately together with the NDP) a Liberal motion in Parliament to end participation in the U.S.-led occupation by the currently-scheduled deadline of February 2009. Canada’s military presence in Kandahar is making life more perilous in that region, and the US-led NATO occupation forces are propping up one set of warlords without making a significant difference in the lives of women and ordinary Afghan civilians. To date, over 60 Canadians and thousands of Afghans have died in this tragic war, which has cost Canadian taxpayers over $4 billion.

2. Military spending up, social programs down

Harper has promised a $5.3 billion increase in military spending over the next five years, while at the same time cutting $1 billion from Canada’s frayed social safety net. For example, the Youth Employment Strategy, which helped more than 50,000 young people find jobs last summer, was slashed by one-half, $17.7 million was cut from core adult literacy programs, and a $9.7 million program that encouraged adults to volunteer was eliminated.

3. Accountability promises broken

One of the Conservatives’ original “five priorities” on taking office was an accountability law to make governmental business more transparent. But the Tories have done exactly the opposite. Stephen Harper insisted that members of the Press Gallery sign a waiting-list to ask questions, and he has even muzzled his own ministers to prevent them from speaking out. In mid-October 2006, Ontario Conservative MP Garth Turner was expelled for criticizing party policy, and most recently, Nova Scotia Conservative was also expelled for voting against the federal budget.

4. “Green Plan” gets thumbs down

The federal government’s so-called “Green Plan” has met with angry opposition from scientists and environmental organizations. Released last April 26, the strategy relies on “intensity targets” that allow actual emissions to rise for several years. According to the plan, Canada won’t meet its Kyoto targets until 2025, not the original 2012 date. The plan is “a national embarrassment,” said David Suzuki. “Calling this plan a strategy is actually giving it far too much credit. It’s a sham, and a complete abdication of our international commitment… By abandoning Kyoto, Prime Minister Harper is dragging Canada’s name through the mud. He’s thumbing his nose at all the countries that are well on their way to meeting their targets and at the majority of Canadians who want to do the right thing.” Suzuki called for support of Bill C-30, the original Clean Air Act initiated by the Conservatives. After going through an extensive multi-party revision, C-30 is now considered a much more comprehensive and robust plan to fight the growing threat of global warming.

5. Loopholes for oil sands

The Polaris Institute warns that Baird’s proposals for “intensity based targets” to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are “flawed and full of loopholes.” As the Institute’s Tony Clarke stresses, “intensity targets” will only set GHG limits per barrel of oil, and will not account for the enormous expansion in the Alberta oil sands industry, which produces over a million barrels of crude oil every day, most of which is exported directly to the United States. Gigantic equipment is used to strip away trees, muskeg and top layers of earth followed by deep open pit mining and sub-surface in-situ steam methods to get the bitumen which is then melted to extract the oil. The process requires the burning of relatively clean natural gas, emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Currently, annual emissions from tar sands production amount to 27 million tonnes. By 2015, to meet rapidly rising U.S. demands, crude oil production from the sands is expected to multiply four to five times, and resulting GHG emissions will rise to 126 million tonnes.

6. No incentive for public transit

A $2000 tax break for those who buy fuel-efficient cars may sound like a good idea. Hybrids are a more environmentally-sound choice than simple gasoline models, but there are better alternatives. There’s no incentive in the last federal budget to take public transportation, bike or live close to your work. The plan may actually discourage downtown living, allowing suburbs to mushroom while downtown cores rot.

7. Politicizing selection of judges

On Feb. 15, 2007, Stephen Harper acknowledged he wants to appoint judges who will promote his law-and-order agenda, calling into question the independence of Canada’s judiciary. “We want to make sure we are bringing forward laws to … crackdown on crime… We want to make sure our selection of judges is in correspondence with those objectives,” Harper said. Conservative appointments to the board that recommends new judges have included twice-defeated Conservative candidate Mark Bettens, a firefighter with one year of school at Cape Breton University and no discernible expertise in law, and Harper’s friend John Weissenberger, who later resigned from the committee to take a job on Parliament Hill.

8. Attacks on civil liberties

On Feb. 15, 2007 the Harper government tabled a motion to extend “anti-terror” provisions in place since 2001. The sweeping Anti-Terror Act, implemented under the Martin Liberal government, included a “sunset” clause of five years on provisions enabling “preventive arrests” without specific charges laid and on and compelling witnesses to undergo “investigative hearings.” The extension of these draconian clauses was defeated by an opposition coalition on Feb. 28, 2007. However, Harper’s caucus continues to indulge in a smear campaign against opposition MPs who are reluctant to completely scrap human rights.

9. No-fly list without checks and balances

Ottawa’s Passenger Protect program – or no-fly list – raises serious alarm bells about privacy, individual liberties and the potential for government abuse. Worse, the names on the list are shared with Washington. Many names are on the list due only to similarities with the names of alleged security risks.

10. Racist toward immigrants

On several occasions Harper has made inflammatory and insensitive remarks about immigrants. In January 2001, he said that ridings held by Liberals west of Winnipeg are comprised of recent Asian immigrants who “live in ghettos, and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.” Now that his party is in power, Harper has deported designated “illegal” workers – including Portuguese tradespersons doing skilled labour in the Toronto construction industry – some of whom have been in Canada for more than a decade and have school-aged children. In February 2007, a small town in rural Quebec compiled a list of “standards” that it expects potential immigrants to observe, including one that forbids “killing women in public beatings or burning them alive.” The Tories stayed mute despite this ignorant and inflammatory mis-interpretation of Islam.

11. Canada’s sovereignty for sale

Canada’s sovereignty is being jeopardized by the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, a plan that seeks to harmonize some 300 critical areas of legislation and regulation. To achieve those ends, business and political leaders from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. have been meeting in secret. Implementation of the SPP will result in lower standards for security, air safety, the environment, health care and labour rights. Leading up to the Montebello Summit in August, the federal government cooperated with the U.S. military and police to impose a security perimeter around the event, where Harper, Bush and Mexican president Calderon discussed ways to advance the SPP agenda.

12. Nothing on Iraq disaster

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died as a direct result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which violated the most fundamental principles of international law. Nearly half a million Iraqis have fled their homes and registered for government aid. Even though most Iraqis feel their situation was better before the U.S.-led invasion, Harper, who supported the American-led Iraq War in 2003 even before becoming PM, has said nothing about the disastrous military occupation of that country.

13. Ignoring war resisters

Canada has granted asylum to only 14 of 740 U.S. refugee claimants in the past three years – all of them babies born in the United States to foreign couples. All claims filed by U.S. Army war resisters have been rejected, even as the Iraq disaster rages on.

14. Pro-Israel at all costs

Stephen Harper has offered unequivocal support for Israel, even after its July 2006 bombing of the village of Qana in,Lebanon and the Israeli killing of a Canadian military observer. Unlike most countries, Canada refuses to call on the Israeli government to desist from acts of aggression against neighbouring states, to respect the rights of Palestinians, and to withdraw completely from the territories occupied since 1967, in violation of international law and of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. In February 2007, the Conservatives established a pro-Israel lobby group called the Canadian Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus, launched in concert with Israeli Knesset Christian allies.

15. Support for occupation of Palestine

In 2006, MP Wajid Khan went on a fact-finding mission to the Middle East. Whatever he found regarding conditions in the West Bank and occupied Palestinian territories has been ignored and/or suppressed by the Harper government. There has been no change in Canada’s official support of Israel’s state-sanctioned policy of terror and oppression against Palestinians. The Harper government was the first to join the U.S.-led boycott of the democratically elected Hamas government, withholding vital aid and funding.

16. Tacit support for threats against Iran

Iran has the right under international law to produce nuclear power for peaceful purposes, and the IAEA has found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. According to estimates by U.S. intelligence agencies, Iran (assuming that it wanted a nuclear weapon, which its government denies) is ten years away from having the ability to make one. The U.S. propaganda campaign against Iran has been characterized by disinformation of the same kind that marked claims about Iraq’s so-called “weapons of mass destruction.” Yet as U.S. threats escalate toward military action, Canada has said nothing in response. Nor has Harper cautioned Israel about its planned aggressive action – even after ultra-right wing Strategic Affairs Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, announced that Israel will go it alone, if necessary, to confront Iran.

17. Corporate profits at record highs

Corporate pre-tax profits now account for a record-high share of Canada’s national income – 14.6% of GDP compared to a 25 year average of 10%. Pre-tax corporate profits in the second quarter of 2006 were $196.1 billion, compared to $183.7 billion in the same quarter of 2005. Yet the corporate tax-rate was cut from 28% in 2000, to 21% in 2006. The Harper government has the strong support of both domestic and foreign (mainly U.S.) corporations, and a Conservative majority would act in the interests of big capital, not the working class of Canada.

18. Two-tier health expanding

Federal governments have done little to stop the attack on universal Medicare led by the provincial governments of BC, Ontario and Alberta. This is rapidly creating two-tier health care, a system which preys on the desperate and allows the rich to buy their way to the front of the line. The attack is two-pronged, aiming at public delivery as well as insurance (Medicare). Public pressure stopped the two-tiering Copeman clinics in Ontario and halted the “Third Way” in Alberta, but the Harper Tories have not used the Canada Health Act as a tool to block the creeping privatisation of health care.

19. Safe-injection site threatened

A June 2007 poll showed that 63% of British Columbians (and 73% of Vancouver residents) support the extension of the federal licence for InSite, the only facility of its kind in Canada, which allows drug users to use clean needles to inject their own drugs under a nurse’s supervision. The facility operates under a legal exemption of the Canadian Criminal Code. That exemption is set to run out in December 2007, and the Conservatives, under pressure from the Bush administration and other right-wing “drug war” advocates, refuse to indicate whether they will extend it. Health advocates warn that closure will result in higher numbers of deaths, and the faster spread of communicable diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis-C.

20. Afghan prisoner abuse

Canadian troops in Afghanistan are required to adhere to Geneva Convention rules, which require that prisoners captured and transferred to the Afghan police are treated humanely, not abused or tortured. Despite this legal obligation, news emerged last spring that detainees turned over by Canadian troops are beaten, clubbed, whipped and shocked. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, which Ottawa asked to supervise prisoners, is short on staff and has been denied access to some detainees. Harper and then-Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor dismissed the report as “rumours and allegations,” but it was clear that the government was trying to orchestrate a cover-up.

21. Stronger ties with California

Just when you thought Canada was already too close to the U.S. empire…. in June 2007, “Canada’s New Government” joined an Alberta-led trade and investment mission to California. Key events included roundtable sessions with venture capitalists, a panel on about nanotechnology commercialization, and “a celebration of Canada’s 140th birthday with distinguished Canadians living in California.” Rona Ambrose (now Federal minister of Western Economic Diversification) and Doug Horner (Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology) met with industry representatives on a mission to “support increased collaboration between innovators on both sides of the border…”

22. Focus on the Family links

It lasted only a few months, but Darrell Reid’s appointment as then-environment minister Rona Ambrose’s chief of staff in September 2006 sent shivers up the spines of even moderate Conservatives. Reid was the head of Focus On The Family Canada from 1998 to 2004, an ideologically anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-abortion group with connections to the leaders of the US Christian right. Founded in 1983, Focus On The Family Canada is affiliated with the US evangelical group, Focus On The Family, headed by James Dobson. Though the Canadian organization has little influence outside of rural enclaves and evangelical churches, its US parent is seen as a major influence on the Republican Party and politics generally.

23. Tearing up the Kelowna Accord

Stephen Harper cancelled the Kelowna Accord, negotiated under the previous Liberal government to help bridge the gap between First Nations peoples and other Canadians. In April 2006, three months after Harper won his minority victory, finance minister Jim Flaherty (a former Mike-Harris era MPP) unveiled his first budget, with an $800 million hole where phase one of the $5.1-billion Kelowna Accord was supposed to be. Despite many shortcomings (such as failure to address the urgent needs of off-reserve Aboriginal people), the agreement represented the largest payout to First Nations in Canada’s history.

24. Mercenaries for Afghanistan

The US has spent the last ten years privatizing its military operations, turning over critical responsibilities to so-called “security contractors” such as Blackwater USA. This change has been roundly criticized for its high costs and profiteering, poor working conditions for employees, and the lack of accountability to the public. Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day has raised the possibility of Canada hiring a similar rent-an-army. “To get the best system delivery at the best price, there’s a possibility for the private sector there,” according to Day.

25. Women encouraged to stay home

The Harper government clearly wants to keep women at home. Its 2007 budget disproportionately rewarded married couples where one partner earns most or all of the income. These breaks shift the trade-off for women who are already at home in the direction of staying there, and even rewards partners who work part time for quitting to stay at home. Their $100/month “child care benefit” for children under six does virtually nothing for moms who work; the plan is aimed at those already staying at home with their kids. Can you say “social engineering?”

26. Major cuts for CBC?

Canadians have been warned that the CBC is on the chopping block if Harper gets a majority. In May 2004, he raised doubts about the future of those parts of the CBC where there is a commercial alternative, in particular its English TV arm and CBC Radio Two. His comments have been echoed by cabinet minister Tony Clement, who questioned the necessity of the CBC during the party leadership convention. A Conservative majority could spell the gradual shrivelling of the Canadian cultural production industry, putting thousands of artists, performers and technicians out of work.

27. North American Union underway

Dozens of regulations are being quietly altered to help integrate Canada with our neighbours to the south, without public consultation. Up for grabs are the Canadian energy policies, drug laws, federal food regulations, and much more. At a 2006 meeting in Banff, public safety minister Stockwell Day and defence minister Gordon O’Connor met with the military, political and business elite to discuss how to open the Canada-US and US-Mexico borders. Notes obtained through US freedom of information laws outline fears that further integration, similar to that of the European Union, would not be well received by the citizens. Their solution? Integration by stealth, with the harmonization of food, drug, transportation and energy regulations which do not require parliamentary approval.

28. Re-open marriage debate?

In the fall of 2006, after the Conservatives lost their bid to reopen the same-sex marriage debate, religious leaders like Dave Quist (Focus On The Family Canada) and Joseph Ben-Ami (Institute For Canadian Values) called for a Royal Commission On Marriage And The Family, claiming that gay parents are “hazardous to children.” Given that Harper owes Ben-Ami and Quist for selling his other policies (replacing the child-care plan with tax credits, raising the age of consent, gutting Status Of Women Canada), don’t be surprised if this idea re-surfaces under a Harper majority as a way to set the stage to reverse same-sex marriage rights.

29. Cities blanked in 2007 budget

City finances are the problem of the provinces, Harper and the Conservatives said on the release of their 2007 budget. While Ottawa is the key player in efforts to fix Canada’s crumbling urban infrastructure, the Conservatives have ignored calls for cities to collect a portion of the gas tax, among other things. With the ongoing downloading of programs, cities have reached a financial crisis point. The Conservatives did not elect any MPs from major cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver in the 2006 election.

30. Stacking the Immigration Board

Jean-Guy Fleury, chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, resigned last March after the Conservatives moved to stack the board with Tory partisans. Harper had let vacancies on the 156-member board grow from 5 to 60, Fleury told Parliament’s immigration committee, leading to a mounting backlog of claims. Before Harper took power, IRB members were not appointed by politicians, but now they are. Such policy is at the discretion of the Prime Minister’s Office, so Harper doesn’t need approval to appoint the committee’s members.

31. Fundamentalists grab nominations

In the January 2006 election campaign, dozens of far-right religious fundamentalist Conservative candidates were on the ballot. Some got elected (Jason Kenney, Cheryl Gallant), but many others did not, such as Vancouver-Sunshine Coast candidate John Weston and Christian Legal Fellowship president Cindy Silver. If such Conservatives join Kenney and Gallant to form a Harper majority in the next Parliament, the religious right well be in an extremely powerful position.

32. Press access to PMO limited

After winning a minority government in January 2006 (in part due to the mainstream media’s support), Stephen Harper indicated that his office would not handle the press in the traditional manner. Eventually, he said he would not speak to the “anti-Conservative” Parliamentary Press Gallery. Harper has spent much of his time in office avoiding scrutiny by the media, and keeping a tight rein on his cabinet ministers.

33. Repeal of hate law urged

Stephen Harper voted against the addition of gays and lesbians to hate propaganda laws in 2004, and Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew) says the amendments should be repealed. Harper said at the time that “the term sexual orientation is legally vague.” Gallant told reporters that the term included pedophiles, and should be repealed. She claimed that the whole Conservative caucus agreed with her, although others in the party officially denied it. Gallant never lets a sleeping dog lie, so expect this issue to resurface if the Conservatives pick up a majority.

34. RCMP arrests whistleblower

While in opposition, Stephen Harper liked “whistleblowers” who lifted the lid on Liberal misdeeds. But in office, he wants to intimidate public service employees who would rat him out. The RCMP led one Environment Canada employee out of his Ottawa office in handcuffs. Environment Minister John Baird defended the action as following up on a possible breach of the public services’ code of ethics. A spokesperson from the Climate Action Network called it “a witch-hunt.”

35. Harper “personally opposed” to abortion

Stephen Harper has never said that he won’t end women’s right to choose, or that he would leave second-term abortions alone. He’s never said he wouldn’t require mandatory counselling for women who choose to end a pregnancy. What he has said is “A Conservative government in its first term led by me will not be bringing in abortion legislation or sponsoring an abortion referendum.” That’s what he told CTV in 2004 after his health critic, Rob Merrifield, said mandatory counselling would be a good thing for women who get an abortion.

36. AIDS conference snubbed

Stephen Harper was absent when 20,000 activists, scientists and politicians descended on Toronto on Aug. 13, 2006, for the largest AIDS conference ever held. Participants were demanding major contributions under the banner “Time to deliver.” The fallout of Harper’s absence snowballed after conference co-chair Dr. Mark Wainberg criticised the PM during opening ceremonies. A sheepish Harper later used a photo op with billionaire Bill Gates to pledge an $111-million initiative to find an AIDS vaccine.

37. Status of Women slashed

Status of Women Canada (SWC) was the only government arm to address gender inequalities at a cross-Canada level, financing research and policy development through advocacy. When Stephen Harper made his first billion dollars in cuts, the operating budget of Status of Women Canada was slashed by $5 million, or 40 percent. The Conservatives also announced that the SWC Women’s Program will only finance direct, local initiatives, and barred funding for projects that include advocacy for equality. According to the Canadian Feminist Alliance For International Action: “The current terms and conditions aim to provide `direct’ and `local’ assistance. This is very much based on a charity model which ignores the systemic issues behind the problem at hand. Instead of providing analysis and aiming for legal change the current approach privileges a case by case basis, almost as if women’s poverty and violence against women were exceptions, aberrations to the norm. This approach is not meant to result in any significant change and does not challenge the status quo.”

38. Criminalizing youth sexuality

Health and legal experts told the Parliamentary justice committee last winter that Conservative Bill C-22, raising the age of consent from 14 to 16, is dangerous. It will create extra barriers to accessing contraceptives, abortions and sexual health information for young people, and is unlikely to change their behaviours. C-22 has been condemned by every major LGBT community lobby group, and by the Canadian AIDS Society, Planned Parenthood and the youth-led Age Of Consent Committee. Yet the Conservatives appear happy that C-22 will limit young people’s access to condoms and abortions. Judging by Conservative rhetoric, there may eventually be legal efforts to raise the age of consent to 18.

39. Charter Challenge Program nixed

The Harper government axed the Court Challenges Program, which allowed many cash-strapped organizations to launch language and equality appeals based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. For example, the LGBT community and their allies won equal marriage rights through the courts in BC, Ontario, and Quebec. When the former Liberal government sent questions on this issue to the Supreme Court in 2004, Court Challenges Program funding helped ensure that affected groups could make the legal case that marriage equality was a Charter issue. The Charter extends some protections against the infringement of basic human rights, whether by people, corporations, or governments. But equal treatment is out the window if only those with big bank accounts can go to court. Maybe that’s why Brian Mulroney’s Conservative government killed the program in 1992. Jean Chrétien’s Liberals revived the program two years later. A Harper Conservatives majority would make it nearly impossible to revive the program again.

40. Jobs vanish while Tories fiddle

Another 89,000 private sector jobs disappeared in May and June 2007, including 25,000 in the manufacturing sector, according to Statistics Canada. Under pressure from the rising Canadian dollar and other factors, manufacturing has shed over 250,000 jobs over the past five years. This is a crisis with grave implications. The number of Canadians who want to work but do not have a job stands at over one million. The economy is losing higher-paying, full-time jobs, forcing workers into lower-paying, insecure, part-time employment, usually in sales and services. The declining quality of work is affecting millions of Canadian families. So what is the Harper government’s response? Expand the temporary foreign worker program, increasing the “reserve army of the unemployed” with the goal of driving down wage levels to increase corporate profits.

41. Omar Khadr still in US jail

On June 4, charges against Omar Khadr, the 20-year-old Canadian imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, were dismissed. A military judge tossed out the charges (laid years after Khadr’s capture in Afghanistan at the age of 15), because prosecutors accused him of being an “enemy combatant,” rather than an “unlawful” combatant. As an enemy combatant, Khadr should have been held under the Geneva Conventions, not locked up under horrifying conditions without adequate legal counsel or proper charges. The U.S. will appeal to the Court of Military Commission Review – which does not even exist yet. Meanwhile, Omar Khadr is back in solitary detention, and he could well face many years in this Kafkaesque nightmare. When he was captured, Omar Khadr was a child caught up in a whirlwind not of his making. Shame on the government of Canada for not demanding his release.

42. Keeping the agenda secret

If the “Security and Prosperity Partnership” (SPP) deal is so crucial, why are the Harper Conservatives so reluctant to debate it in Parliament? A new study by the corporate-financed Fraser Institute claims that the SPP and other agreements are “the best way to maintain an open border with the United States and safeguard our trade relationship.” But the Institute’s own figures show that in 2005, the U.S. already received 78% of Canadian exports, and was the source of 65% of our imports. The total value of such trade was $709 billion, about 52% of Canada’s annual GDP. The Fraser Institute wants that process to accelerate towards “deep integration,” leaving Canada with a flag and Parliament buildings, but probably not our own currency, and no real sovereignty over our economy, social programs or foreign policy. Yet the Harper Tories prefer to keep us in the dark. On May 10, Conservative MPs shut down parliamentary hearings on the SPP, while University of Alberta professor Gordon Laxer was testifying that Canadians will be left to “freeze in the dark” under plans to integrate energy supplies across North America. MP Leon Benoit, Tory chair of the committee on international trade which was holding the hearings, ruled that Laxer’s testimony was not relevant. When opposition MPs overruled Benoit, he “adjourned” the meeting and stormed out.

43. Students hit by Tory cuts

Because of federal government cuts and changes to funding criteria, many students looking for employment over the past summer were out of luck. In many communities, the changes meant that tourism and local service groups such as food banks took a hit. The Tories claimed they wanted to ensure money reached “worthy groups”. But who are the “worthy” students? Those who already have money and do not have to rely on summer employment? What are the “worthy” groups? Obviously not historic sites or food banks. The fact is simply that the Tories aren’t interested in the future of youth.

44. Manipulation of farm vote

The Conservatives forced an inconclusive referendum of western Canadian barley producers on March 29, 2007, misleading many farmers to believe that they could sell barley to either the CWB or on the open market. Including such an option as one of three choices on the ballot was a deceptive device to imply a non-existent “middle way” between single-desk selling and no single desk selling of barley. But the final tally showed that by a margin of almost three to one, farmers supported one of the two options which included single-desk selling of barley. Predictably, the Conservatives spun the result the way they wanted, ignoring the real views of farmers.

45. Bullets, bombs, jails and spies

The Tories’ 2007 budget revealed an increasing emphasis on the authoritarian side of the capitalist state – the military, prisons and police. This is the so-called “crime and terror” agenda, an attempt to win votes by fanning the fears of Canadians. One of the most significant spending increases was another huge boost in military spending, which is on the way to the $20 billion-plus range. An extra $200 million was earmarked for Canada’s part in the NATO military occupation in Afghanistan. Another $106 million will be spent on federal jails, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service budget will be topped up by $80 million. This is a budget to pour taxpayers’ dollars into bullets, bombs, jails and spies.

46. Money channelled to wealthy

Speaking for the Canadian Labour Congress, President Ken Georgetti pointed out that Jim Flaherty’s March 19, 2007, budget “unfairly channels more money to wealthy individuals and profitable corporations… (and) greatly erodes the federal government’s capacity to improve the quality of life of working people, families and communities.” The CLC noted that the budget increases the lifetime capital gains exemption for business owners by $250,000 immediately and maintains the tax cuts previously scheduled for corporations. “The new packaging of the Conservatives should not fool Canadians,” said Paul Moist, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. “Underneath these new promises is their true agenda: to weaken national social programs and diminish the role of public services in Canada. The government is abandoning its leadership role by having no conditions or federal accountability requirements linked to the additional transfers. This budget takes it one step further and encourages greater privatization of public services.”

47. Budget sparks Aboriginal protests

The March 2007 Tory budget stirred up a storm of protest among Aboriginal peoples. “Today’s budget was supposed to contain something for all Canadians, but today, First Nations are beyond disappointment,” said Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. “We don’t see any reason to believe that the government cares about the shameful conditions of First Nations… Nowhere is the fiscal imbalance more apparent than in the critical under-funding of First Nations health, child welfare, education, housing and infrastructure. No other Canadian citizen has had to endure a two-percent cap on funding that has now lasted for over a decade. Our population continues to grow and the poverty gap continues to widen. Today’s budget only contributes to the imbalance by providing $39 billion over seven years to the provinces, without any comparable attention to First Nations.”

48. Security Certificates remain

On Feb. 23, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against “Security Certificate” provisions which allow the Canadian state to imprison foreign nationals as “suspected terrorists” – without being able to hear the case against them. In the case of Charkaoui v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), the Court found that the procedures under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act violate Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” The Court gave Parliament a year to come up with a procedure which does not violate the Charter. Until then, the current process remains in place. The Supreme Court did not abolish Security Certificates, which allow the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to declare that a permanent resident or foreign national is “inadmissible on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, serious criminality or organized criminality.” So while several detainees have been released, there is still room for the federal government to abuse this process in future, and the Harper Tories can be counted on to use such loopholes to undermine civil rights and freedoms.

49. Appeal of Matlow ruling

In an appalling display of contempt for electoral democracy, the Harper government has appealed the Matlow ruling. Last fall, an Ontario Superior Court judge upheld a complaint by several small federal political parties that the law granting $1.75 per vote annual grant only to parties which receive over 2% of the total vote is discriminatory. As the historic legal victory by the Communist Party of Canada in the Figueroa case made clear, such discrimination against parties on the basis of size is illegal, and this appeal will undoubtedly fail in higher courts. But the intended effect is to make such challenges so expensive and time-consuming that citizens will refrain from taking on governments. The situation brings to mind the real Golden Rule: “Those with the gold make the rules.”

50. Attacks on Canadian Wheat Board

On July 27, 2006, federal agriculture minister Chuck Strahl held a roundtable meeting in Saskatoon on the future of the Canadian Wheat Board, announcing that his government would not be bound by Section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act, which prohibits any changes to the marketing of grain in Western Canada unless supported by a producer vote. Strahl issued a gag order prohibiting directors and staff of the Board from defending the CWB’s role, and replaced two directors with partisan patronage appointments. On Oct. 17, 2006, in the middle of the CWB election, Strahl ordered the removal of 36 percent of Western Canada grain growers (16,269 farmers) from the list of eligible voters: victims of flood, drought, or bad harvest weather, and farmers who were in the middle of a crop rotation, or still had crops in the bin. Even so, farmers returned pro-CWB directors in four out of five districts. Saying what he can’t do with legislation, he will do with regulation, Strahl stacked the CWB with political appointments, and replaced Board CEO Adrian Measner, a 32-year veteran of the organization, with a Harper “yes man.” To this day, despite the parliamentary defeat of a bill that would strip the CWB of its single-desk authority, and a recent Supreme Court ruling against the government’s actions, the Tories refuse to halt their attack on the Wheat Board. Why? Follow the money: as farmers lose power, the transnational grain companies gain access to cheaper grain. For the Harper Tories, profits for big corporations trump the laws of Canada and the interests of prairie farmers every time.

51. Anti-scab bill defeat

Legislation to ban the use of scabs during labour disputes involving federal public and private sector workplaces covered by the Canada Labour Code, was defeated on March 21, 2007. Introduced by BQ MP Richard Nadeau (Gatineau), Bill C-257 was supported by labour activists across the country. After the bill passed second reading, employers started putting pressure on Parliament. More than 100 union members took part in a three-day lobby organized by the Canadian Labour Congress in the three days leading up to the final vote. But in the end, 29 Liberal MPs and 20 Tories who had voted yes at Second Reading switched to ônoö at Third Reading.

52. Cutbacks for museums

The $4.5 million Museum Assistance Program was canned by the Tories, in favour of a $5-million 2-year program to hire summer students, which the Canadian Museums Association calls an initiative “stemming more from electoral preoccupations than from an analysis of the museums’ priority needs.” Also, the Portrait Gallery Of Canada, which helps museums put their pieces on tour, has been left out of future federal budgets entirely.

Time to rid Canada of the these freaks.
The left-wing parties in Canada must unite to provide a strong voice. The New Democratic Party, The Canadian Communist Party and The Green Party must begin a dialog that will lead to a new, single Left-wing front. A neo-socialist, atheist government that will lead Canada into the future and serve as an example to the World of what fair government means. Until the left unite they will remain as obervers and commentators and not policy makers.