Friday, September 26, 2008

The Harper Record / Edited by Teresa Healy – New book by CCPA gives a detailed account of Harper Conservative minority gov't during its 32-month term

“Stephen Harper’s core ideological commitments are rooted firmly in the traditions of economic conservatism, and they have been for some time. As a youthful supporter of the Progressive Conservative party, Harper hoped Mulroney’s landslide 1984 electoral victory would bring the politics of Thatcher and Reagan to Canada.” – Steve Patten

“In caucus, Harper controls backbenchers with what is widely perceived as a gag order to maintain the appearance of a unified political party – despite well-known fissures. Major announcements come out of the PMO’s office, generally, and not out of cabinet ministers’ office. Cabinet ministers who wish to speak to the media require “message event proposal” approval by the PMO’s office. When a cabinet minister gets unleashed, it’s so unusual it becomes part of the news.” – Trish Hennessy

“Clearly, the Harper government and the Canadian business community do not want to renegotiate NAFTA. They especially don’t want environment, labour, or investor issues on the table since it could mean a serious recasting of the NAFTA model. They want to advance their NAFTA plus agenda defensively to reverse the thickening of the border, and offensively to push ahead with military and security integration, harmonized regulations, laws and policies, a customs union, a North American dispute tribunal, etc.

A majority of Canadians, on the other hand, want to renegotiate or scrap NAFTA. As with many other public policy issues, the gap between elite opinion and that of the general public is wide, indeed.” – Bruce Campbell

“Harper, it must be remembered, was a key architect of the Reform party’s immigration policies that had the result of attracting members of the white rights Heritage Front to the Reform party.” – Karl Flecker

“The effect of Harper’s embrace of militarism to define his own government’s tenure has been costly to Canada.

In terms of dollars, the massive increases to Canadian military spending has siphoned dollars away from social programs. If any Canadian wondered where the national child care program funding went when Harper cancelled Martin’s plan, one can find it sitting on military bases in the form of new military aircraft and tanks.” – Steven Staples

“The firing of Linda Keen raised eyebrows around the world. This government has bullied other regulatory bodies, including the CRTC, without any public backlash, but firing (they called it a “rescinding of her designation”) the nuclear safety regulator for doing her job was denounced across the country, by citizens through open-line radio programs and letters to the editor, by editors of major newspapers, and by the international nuclear safety community of which Keen is a respected member. Shawn Patrick Stensil, energy campaigner for Greenpeace, called the firing “a frightening lesson in an industry where safety is paramount. It’s very unlikely that the regulator will have the courage to stand up to the industry again.” – Marita Moll

“The fallout from Harper’s child care policy will be felt for years to come. Federal transfers specifically designated for early learning and child care were reduced by almost 37% in 2007-08. The $1,200 taxable allowance cost the federal government an estimated $2.4 billion in 2007-08 and the price tag will keep going up. This is money that should have been used to begin to build an accessible, affordable and quality early learning and child care system.” – Morna Ballantyne

“One of the more insidious of the Harper government’s strategies has been to cut the revenue base of the federal government down to its (reduced) size on the program side of the ledger. Having recognized that burgeoning federal surpluses amount to an invitation to the federal government to expand its programs, the Harper government has effectively wiped out the surplus by ramping up spending on its priority areas of core federal responsibility and introducing substantial tax cuts.

Not only has the Harper government moved to shrink the role of the federal government in Canadian public policy, but it has done so in a way that puts a huge political barrier – the need to raise taxes – in the way of any future federal government seeking to reverse that policy.” – Hugh Mackenzie
On Sept. 23, 2008, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) posted to their website a great new book, edited by Teresa Healy, called The Harper Record. Here is a summary from the CCPA website:

This book is one in a series of CCPA publications that have examined the records of Canadian federal governments during the duration of their tenure. As with earlier CCPA reports on the activities of previous governments while in office, this book gives a detailed account of the laws, policies, regulations, and initiatives of the Conservative minority government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper during its 32-month term from January 2006 to September 2008.

The 47 writers, researchers and analysts who have co-written this book probe into every aspect of the Harper minority government’s administration. From the economy to the environment, from social programs to foreign policy, from health care to tax cuts, from the Afghanistan mission to the tar sands, from free trade to deep integration, and to many other areas of this government’s record, the authors have dug out the facts and analyzed them.

The Harper Record was necessarily researched and written long before an election was called, but its publication does coincide with an election campaign and thus may help citizens to make informed choices about the future of their country. Regardless of the election outcome, its contents will continue to be relevant between elections. In detailing what a minority Conservative government really did, or failed to do, it may serve as a guide and model for future elections.

Hard copies will be available for purchase on October 6, 2008.

Click here to download the whole book. (504 pages)


At 5:41 AM, Blogger Stephen Salaff said...

Surprised at your omission of a cruel Harper injustice to
Saskatchewan. Harper's budget 2008announcement of 22 February 2008 "promised" $240 milllion to a carbon capture project in Estevan. This money never materialized, and SaskNDP representatives Kim Trew and Frank Quennel disbelieve the promise. Trew attacked in Regina on 2 April 2008: "Where is the due dillegence on this $240 million?" and "Is this an April Fool's joke?"


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