Posts Tagged ‘Canada’
Normally a piece like this wouldn’t make me think twice: of course, as Canadian Press reports, the Canadian government keeps a close eye on what is being written out of Afghanistan by Canadian journalists. The extent of it may seem excessive, but we already know that this government is incredibly tight when it comes to media relations.
What I wonder, though, is what they are doing with all this information once they filter it through six different government bodies? Is there some kind of Rendon-style ranking system carried out by the government? How does it impact who gets embedded, who gets leaks, who’s invited to sensitive press briefings, etc? The article notes that the Privy Office has directly approved or nixed interviews, but doesn’t go so far as to link type of coverage with access.
CP says it got its information through an Access to Information request; hopefully they’ll be digging a little bit deeper…
Il y a beaucoup de nouvelles qui circulent à propos du coup d’état dimanche dernier au Honduras. Ce matin au Lendemain de la veille nous avons ajouter au discussion de notre propre façon. Ma collègue à l’émission, Sabine Friesinger, a accueilli en studio Antonio Artuso, un colombo-montréalais qui est membre du Comité citoyen contre le coup d’état au Honduras. Il touche sur plusieurs aspects importants, peut-être le plus important étant la complicité des gouvernements canadien et étatsunien dans ce débacle.
À propos du positionement du gouvernment Canadien dans le coup d’état: “Les intérêts pour le Canada au Honduras sont trois grandes mines: Goldcorp, Breakwater et Yamaha.” (vers 6 minutes)
Would a Liberal government spell the end of the changes brought in by Bill C-50?
The controversial law changing the rules of the immigration game in Canada was enacted over the spring. Roundly criticised by all opposition parties and immigration rights advocates, the bill passed when the Liberal party abstained rather than bring down the government over the bill.
Today, the Liberal leader Stephane Dion, speaking at a breakfast with the Chinese community in Richmond, B.C., said that a Liberal government could do away with those changes.
From La Presse:
«Au printemps dernier, le gouvernement conservateur a donné des pouvoirs discrétionnaires très importants au ministre de l’Immigration, ce qui lui permet de rejeter d’office toute une catégorie de demandes, a rappelé M. Dion. Quand je serai premier ministre, je reviendrai immédiatement sur ces décisions injustes et dangereuses pour notre système d’immigration.»
[My translation: Last spring, the Conservative government gave the Immigration Ministry significant discretionary powers, allowing it to reject and entire category of requests," Dion reminded the crowd. "When I am Prime Minister, I will immediately revisit these decisions, which are unjust and dangerous for our immigration system]
It is good to see that the Liberals have not forgotten the fact that they allowed these tighter and discriminatory laws go through. Even better would be to have voted against them in the first place, so that those who have already been affected by the government’s new rules would not have had to go through the process of finding their applications facing arbitrary rejection (although passed in May, the new laws apply to all applications since Feb. 27 2008).
An earlier post explaining Bill C-50, which granted the Immigration Ministry sweeping discretionary powers to reject or accept potential new immigrants based primarily on economic reasons.
Dion also took the opportunity to announce $800 million in promised funding for immigration and new immigrants. A detailed list of the proposal can be found in the La Presse article linked to above.
Vincent Marrissal has it right this morning. The La Presse political columnist points out that he can’t remember a more negative start to an election campaign, with nearly all leaders, except perhaps Elizabeth May of the Green Party, going negative in the first two days of campaigning. He chalks it up to the image setters (or, conversely, the image breakers, as he puts it) – those PR gurus who help party leaders set their messages and frame their campaigns. But he leaves a big part of the equation out: the media’s willingness to play into the trap. Within all the attacks yesterday, there were some important policy questions that came up: Stephane Dion, going hard on Harper, legitimately called into question whether or not our gun control policies are working when Kimveer Gill can get his hands on a semi-automatic weapon and shoot fellow students and teachers at Dawson College. Stephen Harper, tearing into Dion and side-swiping Gordon Campbell over carbon taxes opened up a window for an actual analysis and debate on how to protect the environment and at the same time allay the population’s economic concerns.
The picture above, though, is the above the fold of today’s La Presse. More Julie Couillard, and an exposé on a Conservative candidate (in my hometown riding, no less) who is a member of Opus Dei, the secretive Catholic sect that sprang to notriety through the Dan Brown novel/movie sensation The Da Vinci Code.
Marrissal probably had little idea of what his newspaper would look like the next day as he wrote his column, but hopefully it will lead to a little self-reflection on their own election coverage.
When I started up this blog, I had little intention to post so much about what bill the government happened to be passing when. But then again, I didn’t expect the Conservatives to be pushing through so many controversial pieces of legislation, particularly as a minority government.
It began in 2006, when the Tories, flush with a $13.2 billion surplus, eliminated funding for the Court Challenges Program, the Medical Marijuana Research Program and cut drastically from the Status of Women commission, among other programs. Because these were part of the budget implementation bill, it was a confidence vote. The Liberals, smarting from their election loss and unwilling to campaign on issues they believed could pigeonhole them as left-wingers, let it all pass. They made sure to voice exactly how much they disagreed with the changes, but stated they would fight the Tories another day. (IMAGE: Immigration Minister Diane Finley smiles as she votes in favour of Bill C-50. Image from CTV.ca)
Two years later, the Conservatives have fine-tuned their strategy and are continuing to carve out their version of what Canadian society should look like – despite public outcry to the contrary. From Bill C-10, which would allow the government to withhold much needed tax credits from already produced film and TV shows for being ‘contrary to public policy’ (this being decided by the Heritage Minister), to Bill C-484, which could very likely result in challenges to the right of a woman to chose to have an abortion: the Tories are playing hardball with a Liberal opposition unwilling to take its chances at the polls.
Tonight, though, must be the icing on the cake for Stephen Harper and his government: in a 120-90 vote, the House of Commons passed the final reading of Bill C-50, this year’s budget implementation bill (see the pattern?). Buried not so deep within it though was the real prize: a radical transformation of Canada’s immigration policy that, among other things, will allow the government to place a quota on certain types of immigration applicants, place a priority on economic immigration (limiting the possibility of families being re-united), and grant the Minister of Immigration drastic powers to decide on individual immigration cases.
It’s true that our immigration system is severely flawed, starting with the atrocious waiting times immigrants face due to backlog. But few people outside the Conservative Party and organisations closely linked to the party see this as being an adequate solution – including the Canadian Bar Association. While it may allow for limits to be placed on the number of would-be immigrants waiting for an answer, it is clearly at the expense of who is allowed to immigrate.
I have never been one to believe that Canada’s immigration or refugee system are nearly as utopic and open-hearted as some characterize it. Migrant workers, refugees and immigrants from the Global South have long faced unnecessary hurdles when applying to Canada for residency, but there are other ways to fix this than to impose sweeping changes to how we decides who gets in, particularly when this is based on purely economic grounds. One solution would have been for the Conservatives to actually fill the inordinately high number of vancancies on the Immigration and Refugee board. According to Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, 57 out of 164 positions on the IRB are unfilled – that’s 35 per cent. These are the people who, according to Kurland, oversee refugee claims, determine eligibility for claimants, preside over detention reviews and hear immigration appeals. The Conservatives have pointed out that the backlog for immigration application is currently 42,300 and will rise to 84,300 in 2010-2011. But what they avoid saying is that the IRB’s own report chalks this drastic increase up to these vacancies.
The bill is now off to the Senate, where it will be rubber stamped. For the record, the NDP and Bloc Quebecois voted against the bill, while the Liberals flapped their arms and and squawked opposition, but still allowed it to pass by disappearing from the parliament floor before the vote took place.
More on Bill C-50:
- Immigration: le projet de loi des conservateurs adopté
- Cross-Country Mobilizing Against Bill C-50
- Multilingual Bill C50 Factsheets- Easy Download!
- Committee calls on Tories to kill immigration bill
- Contentious immigration ads about Bill C 50 to be extended
- Bill C-50 is a serious threat to immigrant rights
- SCRAP BILL C 50! NO ONE IS ILLEGAL!
- Text of Bill C-50 via LEGISINFO