Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Harper fosters culture of secrecy and impunity in his government.

Here's a round-up of recent news items regarding the ongoing micromanagement of the Harper government by its tinpot tyrant.

Aaron Wherry has been monitoring what he has aptly named "The quiet cuts".

Some excerpts from his excellent ongoing overview:
CBC reported last week that the government will close eight Veterans Affairs offices.[...]The Canadian Forces recruiting centre in Windsor has closed. And Canada Post is considering service cuts.

Meanwhile, there are new concerns being raised about the end of the Police Officer Recruitment Fund—see previously, The Demise of the Police Officer Recruitment Fund. Vic Toews defends the fund as a “one-time investment.”

In Vancouver, the Kitsilano Coast Guard station was quietly closed last week, apparently to the surprise of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Global News wonders if the closure has something to do with selling the land the station is located on.


The Conservative government’s spending restraint is focusing on front-line services while back-office spending continues to rise, says a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office.

That’s exactly the opposite of promises made by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who said last year that the majority of Ottawa’s $5.2-billion austerity program would target administrative and support costs without impacting service to the public.


Nearly a hundred employees at the National Research Council have received affected notices.

“There’s a much larger game afoot but it’s being rolled out in a really stealthy way,” said Kennedy Stewart, the NDP critic for science and technology. “When we look back in a couple of years we’ll see that it really is part of a larger plan and it will probably have an impact on our international standing.”

[...]94 National Research Council employees across the country received notification letters that their services “may no longer be required,” according to a statement released that day by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. Those employees include scientists, researchers and business development officers who work in the life sciences, engineering, and business management divisions. They are located in Halifax, Moncton, Fredericton, London, Regina, Winnipeg and Ottawa, the union’s statement said.
So front line service workers and staff in critical positions, professionals who ensure the departments' mandates are implemented, have have been removed.  Is this an insidious way for Harper to profoundly subvert the civil service in order to put in place non-union employees that are mere cogs in the machinery of his government's servitude to corporate interests?  This identifies how he will accomplish his goal:
Economist David Macdonald decided to find out how many consultants, contractors and temporary workers the federal government was hiring and how much Canadians were paying for them.

It took him about a year. What he discovered was a burgeoning “shadow public service.” Last year it cost taxpayers $1.2 billion. That was 79 per cent higher than when Prime Minister Stephen Harper took power in 2006.


Despite a spending freeze in the federal bureaucracy, it is still growing by leaps and bounds.


“Without prompt corrective action, outsourcing costs will continue to soar,” said Macdonald, a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

He sifted through 300,000 government contracts and pored over the five years’ worth of public accounts to find out what was happening, pinpoint the big spenders and track the trends. The deeper he looked, the more troubling the pattern became.

Not only had the cost of contract workers ballooned, the nature of their work had changed. No longer were they brought in for short-term projects or hired to provide expertise the government did not have. They did exactly the same work as public servants. They sat alongside them, had government email addresses and handled confidential government information.

That last bit... "handled confidential government information"... such as this?

In an email, Privacy Commissioner spokeswoman Anne-Marie Hayden confirmed that the office is looking into the possible involvement of a Department of Justice Canada employee. “Our office is contacting those who have already filed an official complaint against HRSDC in relation to the USB key incident to seek their consent to an amendment of their complaint to include both HRSDC and Justice Canada as respondents.”

“Administrative investigations are underway to determine all the facts surrounding this matter. The Department of Justice is part of the investigations,” wrote a Department of Justice Canada spokesperson in an email. She declined to comment on specific details, writing that, “It would be inappropriate to comment further while the investigations are ongoing.”

Ted Charney, senior partner at Falconer Charney LLP, one of the law firms involved in the class action lawsuit on behalf of CPP applicants whose information was lost, finds it disconcerting that CPP information may have been shared with the Department of Justice Canada.

“I don’t know how somebody’s confidential health information to apply for a CPP disability pension ends up in front of employees with the Department of Justice,” he said. “I don’t know if somebody when they applied for a CPP disability pension ever realized that the government intends to show that information to other departments, including the DOJ.”

Charney said that nearly all of the 5,000 people affected by the first data breach have registered with the class action lawsuit. “To the extent that the class members are additionally harmed because of the Department of Justice investigation, it could expand the nature of the claim. It certainly expands the nature of our inquiry into what’s been going on federally in terms of protecting information and how it’s exchanged between various departments.”

It certainly seems Harper, an ambitious, greedy man playing chess with Canadians' collective and individual well-being whilst being a loyal and indebted servant to corporate rule, is carrying out his stated objective of making this country over, so that no decent citizen will recognize what it's become.

More quotes from PMSHithead, the man who engineered a majority government with 39% of the vote, likely through election fraud and vote suppression, here.

Also, read the fierce response from the Public Service Alliance of Canada, here.

Added: As fern hill pointed out on Twitter, 900-foot Jesus at her blog Of Gods and Monsters, has also been diligently tracking CON fraudulence, for example this.

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