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Kits Coast Guard Base: One of Many Harper Majority Government Abuses

June 1st, 2012 · 16 Comments

Canada is a country where minority governments … if allowed to function… actually work best.  I explained that on this blog prior to the last federal election and urged voters NOT to give Harper a majority.

The country did not listen and ever since the votes were counted, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government  have been working hard to prove my point: the abuses of power; the disrespect for public consultation; the dismissal of public submissions, appeals,  protestations; and, the beating up of those who cannot fight back (the unemployed, working Canadians approaching retirement, the military,  public servants, the CBC) are growing almost weekly.

While attention to the environment, climate goals, consumer protection are diminished in priority and in enforcement.

The methodology behind the announced closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard base is a perfect example of a majority government trampling on the public’s feelings and wishes in a bully-like way that a minority government could not do and wouldn’t even dare try.

There was no meaningful consultation of  the public, coast guard auxiliaries, boaters, local, regional or even their supposed friends in the provincial government, adding further embarrassment and exposing even more  BC’s ineffectual unelected acting premier, Christy Clark.

Originally, having worked many years covering politicians on various levels, I thought the Kits Base announcement was a red herring: where a government announces SEVERAL cuts, including one indefensible outrageous one; then, in light of ensuing public outrage,  backs down from that one; satisfying the citizenry, who go away happy, even thankful … realizing only much later that several other valuable programs and services were also axed, but no longer motivated or widely supported enough for another loud protest campaign.

So voila! The government succeeds with the real cuts it wanted all along … even emerging as a caring, responsive administration by giving up the most outrageous of its originally proclaimed targets.

That would not have (and still may not) surprise me in the case of the Kits Coast Guard Base announced closure.

We all know that it will be only a matter of time when someone is severely injured or dies as a result of an accident or heart attack or boat fire in English Bay, Burrard Inlet, Deep Cove or Indian Arm … and the outrage over the closure will be Front Page news across Canada …  for a day or two; BUT  much more of an issue in the City of Vancouver itself … where there are NO Tory MPs anyway to vote out of office.

Welcome to majority government under Harper!

Where the Kits debacle is only one of a list of Tory Majority abuses of Canadians in general, Canadian workers in particular,  

Most Canadians didn’t notice …until the NDP pointed it out…that there is a single line in the Federal Budget that will wipe out fair wage and working conditions requirements that have been required of federal contractors since 1985.  Gone.

And what about those new rules making it easier for Canadian corporations to bring in foreign workers (to work for those new low wages allowed by the move above); new Employment Insurance rules, restrictions; and, how about the rapid-fire introduction of back-to-work legislation for CP Rail before free-market labour-management stresses and pressures had much of a chance to even get started. So much for private enterprise working out its own problems!

The Budget Bill also contains provisions that commercial fisherman Phil Eidsvik has said could destroy public fishing rights by the government signing  special “fishery agreements” with private industry “friends”.  Disgraceful!

And in case the media decide to write about or delve into these cuts, the majority government, which basically operates similar to a dictatorship, has included in the Budget Bill staffing cuts that federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault could jeopardize a “fragile” access to information system, that actually had been improving during the period of minority governments.

In a minority government … all of this would at least have been discussed, considered, even negotiated with those having different views …and there could have been that magic solution … COMPROMISE.

And don’t get me started on all those defeated Tory candidates who have been given lucrative public appointments, jobs and payoffs.  Where’s the fiscal or moral integrity in that?  If any Conservative MPs do have any personal integrity left, they’d better keep it to themsleves and vote the way they’tre told: ask MP David Wilks!

But not with Harper’s majority: it’s his way …or the highway. 

And the public … or any of their concerns about issues or the Kits Coast Guard Base  …  be damned.  At least until the next election.

Unless my red herring theory proves true.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · National

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 D. M. Johnston // Jun 1, 2012 at 1:19 am

    More and more I see right-wing, pseudo religious political leaders making dictatorial decisions without regard for the public.

    Herr Harper fits in this mold. Herr Harper was only elected by a small percentage of the Canadian population, but as leader of the Conservative Party and that they have more seats than the second party i n Parliament, they believe they can rule by divine right.

    Herr Harper feels he is on a divine mission to bring right wing politics and values to Canadian and in an earlier age, those who did not wish to enjoin those professing the “new religion” faced the sword.

    This is not what our democracy is supposed to be, but I am very cynical and with actions down South, I see right-wing politicians and fundamental Christians nothing more than new age Fascists, peddling there well honed hate.

    The closing of Vancouver’s Kit’s Coast Guard station demonstrates Herr Harper’s and his retinue of thugs utter disregard for the public – he cares nothing about the West Coast and is nothing more than a thug for hire by the likes of Enbridge, the CPR, and just about anyone who can afford his price.

    Fascism is a religion. The twentieth century will be known in history as the century of Fascism.

    Benito Mussolini

  • 2 Doug // Jun 1, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Harper to tax dancing!

    Yes, you read that right. Harper creates special dance tax!

    “For events such as weddings, receptions, conventions and assemblies with fewer than 100 people, the Re: Sound fee is $9.25 per day. That increases to $13.30 for crowds of up to 300 people, $27.76 for 301-500 guests, and $39.33 for crowds of more than 500.

    Oddly, the fees double if there’s dancing.”

    (Response: Will I get a tax credit if I don’t listen? h.o)

  • 3 crh // Jun 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    It’s not a government abuse Harvey, it is what Canadians voted for. Less taxes and government intrusion in our lives. Closing Kits is both of these things that were voted for. Common sense is not on the menu.

    If you just allow this message through, then maybe just one day we will get it that there are consequences to where we put our ‘x’. Don’t blame the Harper CONS, they were put there to do just this.

    (Response: I disagree. Yes, Canadians wanted strong, stable government ..BUT I do NOT believe they voted for a government that would NOT consult, NOT listen to the people, NOT place lives in jeopardy on the front line to save $900.000, when I’m sure there are so many other places to make savings at the administrative levels in so many departments. h.o)

  • 4 mariner // Jun 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    With Harpers very small majority win I would very surprised to find that was achieved in a legal and proper fashion. With all the robo-calls, voter irregularities and apparent general confusion, one wonders what other tricks were used to gain the ever so slim majority.

    What the MSM is conveniently forgetting, the number of complaints to Eelections Canada over the last federal election is increasing. Also, it seems that Harper is working very hard to influence the courts to change any decisions to re-run the affected elections because of questionable tactics and results – Harper appointing two new judges to the SOC !!!!! That should be ringing alarm bells right across the country.

    It certainly does seem as if our religious, right wing extremist prime minister, is on a quest to bring Canadians to their knees – all of this to appease the Chinese and the other large corporate backers (oil companies etc.). It seems as if Harper is guilty of some sort of crimes against Canadians and the country he calls home !

    We need to boot the buggers out of office and if a rerun of local federal elections can do it, then great.

  • 5 Ron R // Jun 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I just heard on a radio show that the coast guards’ headquarters has over $500,000 in artwork on their walls that were supposedly ordered bought from the Federalies.
    Why don’t they sell that artwork to help pay for salaries for at least another year. I’ll never get to see it.
    Also James Moore is nothing but a CON putz. He was originally voted in on the promise to bring Skytrain to Coquitlam in his term and if he couldn’t, he would step down. Well, he turned that lie into a 20 year job and lifetime gold pension and every time he ran for re-election, he used the same lie.
    We have to hold MPs-MLAs accountable by making their promises stick or it’s the door without the perks they got through lies.

    (Response: Of course, there are solutions. But for some reason when the Tories do achieve majority, they seem to spend a lot of timer making sure they will NOT do so again for quite some time. That’s why political pundits and historians have nicknamed the Liberals as “the natural governing party” …because, until their recent sleazy history, they had always managed to govern in majority down the center without making so many people so mad by being so extreme over so many issues.h.o)

  • 6 Gloria // Jun 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Over 2/3 and counting Canadians, do not believe Harper “won” his majority. He cheated because he knew, over half of Canadians did not want him as P.M. Now millions of Canadians want Harper gone.

    I have read. Harper is a Neo-Nazi Reformer of his, Northern Foundation Party, from 1989. They even said, the skinheads assisted to organize that party. Canadians despise Dictators and Fascists, we went to war to stop it. Harper has certainly stepped way over the line.

    I have lost count of the lawsuits against Harper. Helena Geurgis and her husband were cleared of any wrong doing, by the police. Helena is suing.

    Our young Veterans of to-day are suing Harper.

    Luis Moreno-Ocampo, ICC’s Chief Prosecutor, is serving Harper a summons for, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Then there is, the Etioboke Center election, declared null and void, by the Supreme Court of Canada. Harper is appointing two new Conservative judges. Moritz is appealing the Supreme Courts decision. No doubt, one of Harper new Conservative judges, will preside over the appeal. Harper of course, is frantically trying to stop all the disputed riding investigations.

    Harper is also trying to quash, the election fraud and the robo-call investigations. What does that tell us???

    Harper is furious at the people of BC. First because we forced his favorite henchmen Gordon Campbell to resign. He is also very angry, that 75% of the BC citizens and counting, are supporting the F.N. to stop the atrocities of the Enbridge pipeline and the dirty tar tankers, from coming into BC. They don’t call Harper, spiteful Stevie for nothing. Shutting down a search and rescue center, is going to cause loss of life. Harper even moved the oil clean-up, out of BC. I can imagine, there will be worse to come from Harper.

    The BC citizens have been thieved by, the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, for over 12 years now. Harper was also in on, the BC HST scam, with Campbell and Hansen. Campbell and Harper, also signed a sneak deal, behind our backs. The deal is, Harper can force the Enbridge pipeline, onto the BC citizens and our province anyway, exactly like the HST sneak deal.

    Yes, the citizens of BC expect the worst from Harper and his buddies, the BC Liberals and his Conservative, henchmen Boessenkool.

    (Response: Harper is no neo-nazi and the election was carried out fairly by Elections Canada …whether you and others like the results or not. h.o)

  • 7 Jason // Jun 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    This majority government, as pathetic and insulting as it is, is simply the latest example of the clown-like state of our political system. Can we really trust any party leader? They all say the things they think we want us to hear. Some of them will actually follow through with a portion of their promises. But overall you can’t trust any of them. Harper is the epitome of this lack of trust. The question is, will people hold him accountable come the next elections, or will they succumb to his twisted attempts of gaining our votes when it comes to campaigning for those elections? I did not vote for Harper, and I will never vote Harper.

    (Response: Whether ENOUGH people will hold him accountable remains to be seen. The next election is still quite far away and although the Kits Coast Guard station will be remembered in Vancouver, the Tories are no doubt gambling it will be forgotten or at least forgiven by many others…esp if a few pre-election goodies are thrown their way. The real danger is that there will be so many “small fires” cuased by an arrogant Tory majority than added up, they’ll constitute an inferno which engulfs them. h.o)

  • 8 Crankypants // Jun 2, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Whether is is by design or not, the announcement of this closure has sure taken the attention away from many of the other initiatives that the federal government is getting ready to pass. I suspect that hardly anyone is aware of the attack on fair wages, foreign worker rule changes and a host of others.

    What’s worse is that the MSM is playing right along, thus helping keep the great unwashed in the dark. They have run variations on this story nonstop while totally ignoring everything else.

    As a matter of fact, have you noticed that the Branson/Clark story has put most other provincial government news on the back pages, so to speak.

    We are in the age of governance by smoke and mirrors.

    (Response: Certainly true that a lot of other things in the Budget …. some of which I mentioned in the blog … will also have serious consequences for Canadians. Watch for my next blog …on fisheries. h.o)

  • 9 crh // Jun 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

    OK, maybe some Canadians thought that there is this massive bloated bureaucracy that Harper could cut instead of a coast guard station. The point I am trying to make is that there are consequences to this vote for Conservative governments. The Conservative voice of less government and less taxes. Closing of Kits is saving taxpayer dollars and staying out of your lives is it not? Just like the gun registry.

    Whether they have a minority or majority the reason they are there is to whack it to you and I and every Canadian taxpayer because of our demonic social ideas. That is where they come from.

  • 10 kootcoot // Jun 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    “Harper is no neo-nazi and the election was carried out fairly by Elections Canada …whether you and others like the results or not. h.o)”

    Harvey, you must be spending too much retirement time in Mexico. or wherever sipping pina coladas. The HarperCons engaged in election fraud in the previous election (ie Sanich-Islands robo-call campaign to encourage voters to vote for the withdrawn NDP candidate) and that success only emboldened them to go big time last year.

    Unfortunately the RCMP are in Harper’s pocket and Elections Canada is not only under resourced but somewhat politically beholden to government, but complaints of improper behavior in 200 ridings is stuff of banana republics and if Harper and his CONS were clean they would be at the front of the line asking for an independent investigation rather than throwing 750 pages of legal bullshit at those trying to overturn illegal results.

    No Harv, these guys have been watching their idol Rethuglilcan models in the USA in order to learn how to, with corporate backing, turn democracy on its head and steal power. I do not recognize either Stephen Harper as P.M. or Christy Clark as my premier! Both are illegitimate governments in my estimation.

  • 11 e.a.f. // Jun 3, 2012 at 3:21 am

    People may have voted for Harper not thinking he would do what he has done. But Harper has always been clear with his agenda. when he had a minority he brought bills to the floor but they didn’t go anywhere. Did people really think he wouldn’t abolish the gun registry once he had a majority? If they did, they weren’t thinking clearly.

    Harper’s cuts to the Coast Guard, marine biology, etc. is part of an over all plan to ensure Canadian do not know what is going on in their own waters.

    With the lay off of the marine biologist in Victoria who will be able to tell us when the sea life is inedible?
    Who will tell us when the ocean is so polluted it will affect our health?
    With no Coast Guard who will tell us of things floating over from Japan?

    In my opinion this is a concerted effort to ensure Canadians are kept in the dark. The P.M. & his friends don’t care if the voters live or die become ill or stay well. We just have to look at their legislation & its long term repercussions.

    Harper has spent so much time with the Chinese, he must have a reason.

    I believe the problem is Harper & his cons are end of dayers. Me not so much. I would like all that oil & natural gas & fresh water to stay in the ground for the citizens of this country who hopefully will be here in 100 Yrs. Stevie slime & the slimers don’t think beyond the next quarter of their multi national corporates, who are their friends.

    (Response: It’s amazing how the Tories have so much money to build more jails andthink there’s enough money to impriosn everyone caught growing even a small number of marijuana plants ..BUT there’s not enough money for the Kits Coast Guard station, adequate marine science staff, environmental protection programs etc. Shows where the priorities are when you have a right-wing majority government. h.o)

  • 12 Gini // Jun 3, 2012 at 5:01 am

    I agree with ‘kootcoot’, and am eagerly awaiting your fisheries blog, Harv.

    Will you be mentioning the Atlantic salmon farms in Washington State that sent 1.5 million pounds of IHN-infected fish to be disposed of in a landfill earlier this week? At about the same time, the CBC reported that an Atlantic salmon farm in B.C. planned to ‘harvest’ their IHN-infected fish and sell them to consumers.

    The CFIA and the BC Salmon Farmers both tell us that these diseased fish are safe for human consumption. Where’s the proof? I think those two entities are in cahoots. Am I the only one who does not trust them?

    (Sorry for straying from the topic, Harv, but I feel so angry and powerless.)

  • 13 Hawgwash // Jun 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Interesting that, during the run up to the olympics, the Feds opened the vault to so many organizations, including the CCG. Underwater diver detection in the harbour, traffic lanes in false creek, etc.

    Those traffic lanes have become an anchorage akin to Hong Kong Harbour with multiple boats on the hook , no anchor lights, just waiting to be run over by some go fast in the middle of the night. Who will respond to that one and how long will it take?

  • 14 Frank Bucholtz // Jun 5, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I have written many times on how useful minority governments are, and the proof lies in the relatively good government of the past six years, as well as that in the long period of the 1960s (1962-68) where Canada got a flag, CPP, Medicare and many other institutions. Like you, I can’t understand why the Conservatives are acting this way, unless it is inbred in their DNA. Conservative governments seem to have a tough time getting re-elected with majorities, with only Brian Mulroney (free trade), Sir Robert Borden (First World War and union government) and Sir John A. managing the feat.

    (Response: The Tories should learn from the Liberals …at least as far as retaining power goes. And they should learn from Gordon Campbell’s political fall from grace ..they may THINK they can do whatever they want now and all will be forgiven when goodies flow before the next election. But thanks to the Internet, social networking, blogging etc. people are much more atuned to what is going on around them than in the old days of just a morning paper and 6 p.m local news and 10 p.m. national. EVERYTHING is now visible, reported constantly, discussed …and never forgotten. h.o)

  • 15 Fitri // Nov 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    It’s my theory that Canada aawyls copies the big political directions that start in the USA. The US got their right-wing on in a big way over the last few years, and Canada followed. Now it’s going the other way, even if only marginally, but if Canada is going to move in a way that emulates political currents in the USA again, which I think it will, Harper and the conservatives are almost certainly screwed.

  • 16 Skip // Nov 6, 2012 at 12:41 am

    Who is footing the bill to have eenitcols for the third time in four years? We, the taxpayers are paying for the right of Mr. Harper, our beloved Prime Minister to become the Prime Minister for another term with more of his members in Parliament so that he can do what ever he wants without disclosing anything. It is high time we the taxpayers taught the people with negative campaigns that we are not fools and give someone else a chance.