Creekside

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pay to Play in BC with Spectra

Six years ago the BC government decided not to bother doing its own environmental assessments any more because it was so much more efficient to hand that responsibility over to the industry-captured federal National Energy Board for rubber-stamping. That deal was called the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement.

In January the BC Supreme Court ruled that the BC government did not have the authority to pass off its constitutional obligations onto the NEB and found this agreement "invalid" as it served as an end run around the province having to consult BC First Nations over major pipeline projects on their territories. Score one for Gitga'at First Nation.

Now this equivalency agreement can be cancelled by either the NEB or the BC Environmental Assessment Office at any time with 30 days notice but Christy Clark opted instead for another end run - passing an Order In Council last Thursday exempting five Peace region natural-gas projects from the provincial environmental assessments the Supreme Court says it must now carry out: 
The Spectra South Peace pipeline, Spectra's Dawson gas plant, Spectra's Fort Nelson North plant, Nova Gas Transmission's Groundbirch pipeline, and Nova Gas Transmission's Horn River mainline extension.
As noted by Charlie Smith in the Georgia Straight : Christy Clark cabinet issues order-in-council to get around court ruling on environmental assessments
"Premier Christy Clark's former deputy chief of staff, Kim Haakstad, is Spectra Energy's manager of technical workforce strategy."
Ms Haakstad was forced to resign her position as Christy's chief of staff in March 2013 over the "Quick Win" ethnic vote election scandal but was back in May stumping for Christy in her bid to win a seat in her home riding of Vancouver-Point Grey - which she lost, making her a Premier without a riding until a safer seat could be found for her. 
Haakstad made the jump to Spectra three months later in August 2013. 

Over at RossK's killer reporting and banjo emporium, some of his commenters wondered if Spectra contributed to the $50,000 top up salary Christy receives from the BC Libs each year.   
Dunno, guys, but Texas-based Spectra has been pretty good to the BC Libs





From the BC gov press release
"EAO has begun a process for the projects which are also impacted by the court decision but have not been approved or constructed. These projects include: 
Approved Projects – not yet constructed
North Montney Mainline Pipeline Project; andEnbridge Northern Gateway Project. 
Projects currently under review

Trans Mountain Expansion Project; andTowerbirch Expansion Project.
Following a process set out by EAO including consultation with Aboriginal groups, ministers will make environmental assessment decisions on these projects according to the act."
Extra homework : Why Do So Many BC Liberal Operatives End Up in Trouble?
Criminal charges, convictions, and more plague the party.
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Thursday, May 19, 2016

National Energy Board Ok's Trans Mountain Pipeline

You're shocked, I'm sure.

National Energy Board presser in Calgary today, Robert Steedman :  
"The NEB recommends that the Government of Canada find the Trans Mountain expansion project to be in Canada's public interest. ... The project would not likely cause significant environmental effects."
The Texas-based Kinder Morgan twinned pipeline will run from Alberta to Burnaby and Burrard Inlet BC, increasing tanker traffic by 600%. 

Here is the Kinder Morgan pipeline in the community of Burnaby in 2007, sending geysers of crude 12 meters into the air for half an hour before spilling into Burrard Inlet:




In January the National Energy Board sided with Kinder Morgan in refusing the Province of BC's request for more details on how KM would handle an oil spill, citing "commercial, security, and privacy reasons".  

Former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen referred to the NEB as "industry-captured" and their Trans Mountain hearings as "a fraudulent process" and "a public farce" in his letter of resignation from the hearings. 

Not to worry, said the Federal Liberals on the campaign trail in BC in the October federal election : 
“We are going to redo the National Energy Board process. We’re going to broaden the scope. We’re going to make sure it’s objective, fair and based on science.”
So what did we get? A three-person mini-NEB announced just two days before NEB gave the Trans Mountain its blessing - to listen to us alongside the same old NEB :
“The panel is not going to come back with a formal recommendation about whether the process should go ahead. It’s going to come back and tell the minister that this is what we heard from communities..."
Dear mini-NEB, let me save you the trouble. Here's three just from today :

First Nations vow to kill Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion with lawsuits



Meanwhile, back at mini-NEB base camp :
NattyPost, April 11, 2016 : Trudeau convinced that pipeline strategy must be top priority
"Justin Trudeau has told his senior lieutenants to draw up plans to make the Energy East pipeline and the Trans Mountain expansion in British Columbia a reality.
The prime minister has been convinced by his finance minister, Bill Morneau, and other influential voices around the cabinet table that the pipelines have to be built to achieve the ambitious economic growth targets his government has set."
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Marc Mayrand on Election Reform and Referendum


Elections Canada CEO Marc Mayrand at PROC (Procedures Committee), excerpted :

"With a majority government in place, as well as a fixed election date of October 21, 2019, there is an opportunity now to bring the electoral process, currently anchored in the 19th century, in line with contemporary Canadian expectations."

On holding a referendum on choosing a new voting system as advocated by the Cons :
"The Referendum Act is outdated. It has not been changed since 1992, which was the last time we had a national referendum. In that regard, it is very much out of sync with the Elections Act, particularly around political financing. For example, unions and corporations could contribute to referendum committees. I think that may come as a shock. There is no limit on contributions by any entities. Again, that may come as a shock, but the legislation still stands."
"Six months minimum to set up a national referendum." 

On amending the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act for STV or MMP or ...
"The bare minimum for a standard redistribution is 10 months.There are another seven months after that for implementing. You need to redesign all the maps across each riding and reorganize the poll divisions to reflect the new riding boundaries."

On time needed to revamp the whole system in time for the 2019 election :
"Legislation enacting the reform should be there at least 24 months before the election.Once you have the redistribution, you would need six to seven months to implement the new maps, the new districts, and then we would need to get ready for the election. We would need to prepare all the training. We would also need to build the systems that would support this new regime. We can assume that there would be a need for major public education." Also for parties, candidates, election officials.

On new Election Day technology :
"You have the electronic lists available at the polls. That means that someone who is showing up at the poll shows a voter ID card. The card is scanned, their name is struck out of the list immediately, and automatically it's valid across the country, so that person cannot show up somewhere else later during the day. As a result of that, they get their ballot. We could consider entering them into a tabulator, so, again, the results would be instant on election night."

On advance polls :
"This time around, 25% of all Canadian voters showed up at advance polls. Similarly, we had a 117% increase in voting by mail—in this day and age, yes.We estimate that serving an electorate at an advance poll takes roughly 10 to 15 minutes. If you have 10 people ahead of you, and you're the eleventh, imagine the time it takes. If you see three or four tables that are free, why can't you go to them? If I show up at any store I'll go to the checkout that is available. Why can I not do that?"
"The other thing that we need to look at is automating procedures. If you have voted at an advance poll, you know that electors, when they show up, have to prove their ID, etc. Then their name has to be searched in a big paper document, and they have to enter the name and address and they have to sign. There's no reason in this day and age that it still needs to happen this way. We would be looking at automation. There are good reasons that controls are in place: to ensure that the vote is reliable. However, I think there are big opportunities for automation and better service at the polls."


Mr Mayrand also referred to four other Elections Canada issues that in my opinion should be addressed before the next election.

On removal of voter identification card as a valid piece of identification in the 2015 Federal Election: 
"Voter ID was a barrier for 172,000 people who claimed that not being able to prove their ID or address was an issue for them, and therefore they did not vote according to the Statscan Labour Force Survey"."There is no national ID card of any sort that meets the requirements of the Elections Act."

On voter education outreach :
"Our mandate now is restricted to non-voters, those who are under the voting age." 
"Elections Canada is, in fact, the only body in the world that I know of that cannot promote democracy within the country."

On expenses reimbursement to political parties after an election :
Approximately $60M goes back to our respective political parties—no receipts required. 

On the power to compel witnesses :
"The commissioner cannot compel witnesses.""The commissioner's office was moved from Elections Canada to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is reporting through the DPP and through the Attorney General. It's not an office of Parliament, so it doesn't report directly to Parliament."

Note : I took Mayrand's remarks on electoral reform and a potential referendum out of the order in which they were made and bumped them up to the top of the post. These quotes are responses made to questions from the MPs at PROC.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Liberal Majority Electoral Reform Committee

Electoral Reform Committee announced todayLiberal Chair. Six Liberals, three Cons, 1 NDP.  Elizabeth May and one Bloc sit in but no voting rights. 

That's likely 9 to 1 against adopting any form of proportional representation.

For a preview of how 9 to 1 committee dynamics work, take a look at last week's Finance Committee vote, same numerical party makeup as above, as they debated a motion to "compel" KPMG to account for hiding Canadian tax dollars offshore.
How'd that work out for us?

Last word goes to PM Justin Trudeau : "A good political party that has the right kind of platform or program for Canadians should be able to make any system work."

Presumably especially one that guarantees Liberal majorities forever.

Thursday update :
G&M : Only proportionality will fix our democratic malaise
Chantal Hébert, Star : Electoral reform deck appears stacked by the Liberals to fail
Coyne, NaPo : On electoral reform: Are the Liberals conning us, again?
Fingas, Leader-Post : Trudeau's urge to control — just like the Tories
CBC May 13 At Issue Panel : Electoral Reform
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Friday, May 06, 2016

The Finance Committee, KPMG, and Section 241







In the 2013 documentary film The Tax Free Tour - excellent doc, highly recommend it - former KPMG accountant Richard Murphy explains that federal governments hire the Big Four - Price Waterhouse Coopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, & KPMG - to write their tax laws and those tax laws benefit the Big Four and their clients. According to Murphy, he is still bound not to talk about KPMG client affairs in offshore tax free havens from 30 years ago under pain of fine for breach of ethics and being sued by the clients.

Yesterday Canada Revenue Agency's Diane Lorenzato told the Finance Committee right off the bat that Canada Income Tax Act Section 241 permanently prevents any CRA employee from divulging any info on any taxpayer's affairs under pain of fine or imprisonment even after they leave CRA. 

The CRA team plus Justice Dept. lawyer appeared before the Finance Committee to not answer any questions about the CRA amnesty deal with 27 KPMG clients who moved their money to the Isle of Man to avoid paying Canadian taxes. The leak to CBC revealed "Canada Revenue officials demanded, and offered, secrecy in a no-penalty, no-prosecution deal to KPMG clients."

May 5 Committee highlights :

Lib Robert-Falcon Ouellette is a bright spark; asks the CRA panel questions about media reports on :
4) by what criteria CRA chooses compliance agreements over litigation.

Con MP Phil McColeman : KPMG issue no biggie - a media thing; I've only been asked about this deal twice. Angles to give impression better CRA powers came from Cons.

NDP Pierre-Luc Dusseault asks CRA for official copy of CRA KPMG amnesty deal leaked to CBC. 
CRA CEO Andrew Treusch : Nope, prevented by law from doing so.
Dusseault : If KPMG scheme is not legal, why offer them an amnesty letter?
CRA Ted Gallivan : No assurance we would win in court. Careful reading of letter shows it's not amnesty from criminal prosecution.
Dusseault : Can you confirm that is your signature, Stephanie Henderson, on the leaked CBC website letter?
CRA Henderson : "Although signature appears to be my signature, I can't confirm the source of the information on the website so therefore I cannot confirm the origin of the document and whether it would be mine or not."
Dusseault : But can you confirm you signed that letter?
Henderson : No I cannot because I do not know the source of the document.
Lynn Lovett, Dept of Justice Section 241 of Income Tax Act precludes Henderson from answering question about details of letter to which you refer.

Lib Jennifer O'Connell : What are criteria re litigation vs settlements. Compare someone who pays KPMG $100,000 for this offshore service with a single mother in my riding who has low income government support money garnisheed over a $1200 CRA debt? What about average Canadian who cannot afford to pay $100,000 to KPMG? How is this fair and equal treatment of taxpayers? Plus it takes 9 to 12 months to receive a response on an appeal and can only communicate with CRA via fax.
CRA CEO Treusch : We're all about fairness. If your constituent has complaints, send them to ombudsman. All MPs have access to our Complaint Resolution Program to address constituents' complaints. If taxpayer has a debt beyond possibility of paying, please come talk to us. 600,000 get free help from us with preparing taxes.

Lib Francesco Sorbara : In my riding, liens were put on peoples' homes for insignificant amounts owed and CPP and OAP were garnisheed. 

Con Ron Liepert : Maybe we can get back to the reason why CRA is here. I have not received one call from a constituent on KPMG issue, perhaps because we have far fewer listeners of CBC [in Calgary.] The previous gov gave CRA $15M for a return of $1 1/2Billion ...
CRA CEO Treusch : We have special program within agency for companies with over $250M in revenue to target audits. Math algorithms with 200 variables.
Liepert : Awful big increase to CRA considering we're running 30B deficit..
Treusch : $440M over 5 years in 2016 budget to combat tax evasion and bring $2.6B return on investment in revenue to government. 

Lib Steven MacKinnon : My mother worked for CRA all her life. Ms O'Connell reflects views of ordinary taxpayers. Why does CRA not publish tax gap figures?
Treusch : Will in future. 
MacKinnon : KPMG told us they do not deal in construction of tax havens. In hobnobs with their accountants as mentioned in media, do you discuss these issues?
Treusch : CRA officials in meetings whether business or social bound by Section 241. We discuss tax admin but don't deal with specific taxpayer info.

Con Lisa Raitt :  How many prosecutions in a year? 
Treusch : 5,000 in litigation; 2,200 go to court; 3,000 result in settlement. Aggressive tax avoidance vs tax evasion - tax evasion being criminal matter. 
Raitt : How many cases sent to Public Prosecution Service for tax evasion?
Gallivan : 200 a year solely for tax evasion. 30 convictions in 2012/3. Jail terms up 95%. 3 to 5 years to get case before a judge.
Raitt : Does CRA monitor post-employment practises re permanent oath of silence as public servant?

Ok, fact check required here - how about 3 months? 
Senior federal tax enforcer joined KPMG as its offshore 'sham' was under CRA probe
"Jeff Sadrian, who until last July was an executive in the CRA's compliance division, began working as a senior adviser for KPMG in "tax litigation and dispute resolution" in October... As a new member of KPMG's tax litigation and dispute resolution team, Sadrian would be dealing with his former federal colleagues — but now from the opposite side..."
Lib Raj Grewal : It isn't just that the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, or CPA Canada, invited both CRA enforcement officials and KPMG execs to a couple of Rideau Club private recepions in 2014/15 while KPMG was under CRA investigation, it's that CPA also applied for intervenor status between CRA and KPMG, and lobbied CRA against pursuit of info about KPMG's wealthy offshore clients.
Treusch : If we had to avoid meeting taxpayers, we could never leave the building.
Section 241 .... Section 241 ... Section 241


The magical Tax Act Section 241 appears to even preclude the CRA from answering questions about whether they violated Section 241.

Andrew Treusch, CRA CEO under two governments, is passionate in his defence of CRA practices. This would be so much more convincing if they had not gone after birdwatchers concerned about bees and pipelines under the 10% rule, while apparently ignoring rw charities pushing the political agenda of the Cons. 



OK so CRA can't answer questions on KPMG because Section 241. What about getting those answers from KPMG?

Finance Committee discussion on NDP motion to "compel" KPMG to cough up: 
"That the committee compel KPMG to provide documents indicating the names of clients who used the Isle of Man tax sheltering scheme and the names of KPMG employees responsible for the development and marketing of the tax scheme."
Here's how that went :

Lib Francesco Sorbara proposed to amend motion from "compel" to "request" and take out "names of clients" and add "where legally allowable"

NDP Guy Caron : Without "compel" KPMG may well refuse to supply any documentation. 

Lib Raj Grewal : Does this committee have authority to compel names and docs?

Lib Chair Wayne Easter : "It's close to the line."

Lib Steven MacKinnon : I oppose the motion. There's a case before the courts already funded by taxpayers and Her Majesty The Queen to get access to same info. This motion would duplicate court case and uselessly waste taxpayers' money

NDP Guy Caron : It's not a case before the courts; it's an application by the Minister for the names of those responsible and those who benefitted. We in committee can't ask the same question? Six individuals are before courts now and CRA amnesty has removed them from culpability. It is not a duplication to ask for names of who set up scheme for them. Do we want to dilute motion so KPMG has no obligation? If KPMG refuses to comply they will have to defend that decision in the court of public opinion. Do you want to use the power of the committee and the House to not let this just slip away?

Lib Robert-Falcon Ouellette : My concern is privacy - not fair to participants in scheme to reveal their names. The point of committee is to gain further info on how tax havens work. Remove the phrase "compel KPMG" and replace it with "request KPMG" and remove names of clients.

NDP Caron : I assent to striking names but "compel" is what's important here.

Con Rich Coleman : I don't like the word 'compel" Names of individuals should be protected - they may not be guilty. This is politicizing the issue. 

Result - Watered-down motion replacing "compel" with "request" and foregoing the names of KPMG clients was passed by an unrecorded vote of 7 to 2. 
"That the Committee request KPMG to provide documents on the Isle of Man tax sheltering scheme and the names of KPMG employees responsible for the development and marketing of the tax scheme before Wednesday, May 18, 2016."

And so it goes ... As under the Con regime, the Libs ask good questions in committee and then vote down or water down any motion to actually do anything.  

May 10 Update : After a partner at KPMG and Canada Revenue officials explained to the committee over two days that both KPMG and CRA are protected under the Tax Act from coughing up documentation on schemes for hiding money offshore in the Isle of Man tax haven, a motion was eventually passed "requesting" the CRA to deliver what documentation they were allowed to disclose under the Tax Act as they discovered it. 

And that, my friends, is the last we will ever hear about it.
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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Now is never the time ....

PM Kim Campbell : An election is not the time to discuss serious social policy issues.

PM Stephen Harper after Boston Marathon bombing : Now is not the time to figure out 'root causes' of terrorism.

PM Justin Trudeau : Now is not the time to link Ft Mac wildfires to the global climate crisis.

So when is the right time? 
Other than, you know, when it's on everyone's mind because a disaster is affecting people where they live and it's your job to tell us what you're doing to alleviate the broader context in which it will only get worse.
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Sunday, May 01, 2016

Disobedience



Leap Manifesto a little vague for you? Here ya go...
"We have to roll back corporate capture of our governments if we want to try and fix problems that conflict directly with their industry bottom line."
"There's nothing radical about anything we're talking about. If you are willing to get up in the morning and make your fortune by altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere ... then you're a radical and our job is to try and check that radicalism ."
"Disobedience is a new film about a new phase of the climate movement: courageous action that is being taken on the front lines of the climate crisis on every continent, led by regular people fed up with the power and pollution of the fossil fuel industry.

Disobedience tells the story of 4 communities - in Canada, Philippines, Turkey, and Germany - preparing to participate in Break Free from Fossil Fuels actions in May 2016.

Screenings are being planned across the globe starting on April 30 to support ongoing organizing to defeat the fossil fuel industry."

So far in Canada one screening at York U has been planned and the first organized action is in BC :
"If Big Oil gets its way, the Kinder Morgan pipeline could be approved by the end of 2016 – but we can stop that. 
On May 14th, we’re going to encircle the Kinder Morgan facility on the ground and on the water...
On the ground, hundreds of us will march down to the facility together and stage a sit-in outside the gates.
On the water, we’ll create a mass flotilla of kayaks and canoes.We’ll cross the Burrard Inlet to swarm the tanker terminal for the Kinder Morgan facility, which could see over 400 tankers a year putting the coast at risk if the project is approved.."

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Travelling TPP Roadshow



Brian Innes, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) and tireless retweeter of all things canola, suggests canola growers have a TPP friend in Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland because her dad is a canola grower. 
In a 2012 column in The Atlantic, she mentioned her dad's canola and wheat farm is "seven times the size of Central Park".

In his column in the Hill Times a couple of days ago :
Innes notes the HoC Standing Committee on International Trade kicked off its cross-Canada pre-study public consultations with Canadians in Vancouver on April 18. 

Yes, it's a "full and open pre-study on the merits of TPP" after Canada signed TPP.  
Both Freeland and committee roadshow vice chair and Con MP Randy "Why the TPP is in Canada's best interest" Hoback have explained the TPP cannot be renegotiated - Canada's price of entry to the deal was foregoing the right to either veto or reopen any chapter that had already been concluded. 

So how's that TPP roadshow going?

I went. I saw. I cried for what counts as ‘public consultation’.

Only twelve witnesses were allowed to speak. They were allotted five minutes each. Five of the 12 witnesses represented industry associations and interests. There was only room for 60 members of the public.

By contrast, the Lobbying Commissioner of Canada records Innes' outfit CAFTA held 72 lobbying consultations with Freeland and other Liberal and Conservative MPs leading up to the TPP signing. Or as CAFTA tweeted as Freeland signed it : 
"CAFTA has been engaged throughout #TPP negotiations and had a voice at the table."

As can be seen at left : literally at the table on Feb 3 in Aukland.


Meanwhile yesterday south of the border, origin country of what Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz called "the worst trade deal ever":

160+ Farm and Food Groups Ask Congress to Reject TPP, Stand Up for Independent Farmers and Ranchers 
The controversial trade deal will mostly benefit corporate interests.
"The companies — not farmers — capture any export benefits. These companies can use the trade deal to offshore their supply chains and ship farm and food products back to the United States, where the imports compete with products from American farmers."
They are already doing that of course but would like their politicians to agree on some accompanying trade table manners for it. 

President Obama in the NYTimes yesterday
“It’s one of the reasons that I pursued the Trans-Pacific Partnership, not because I’m not aware of all the failures of some past trade agreements and the disruptions to our economy that occurred as a consequence of globalization, but rather my assessment that most trends are irreversible given the nature of global supply chains, and so we better be out there shaping the rules in ways that allow for higher labor standards overseas, or try to export our environmental standards overseas so that we have more of a level playing field.”
Pretty sure that's not what the corps promoting this deal on either side of the border have in mind here.
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Saturday, April 23, 2016

This week in Real Change™

TRADE : Trade minister Chrystia Freeland ‘comfortable’ with decision to approve Saudi arms deal
“I’m supportive and I’m comfortable with the decision of our government,” she said.
HEALTHPharmacare vetoed as costly
"Pharmacare is too costly and will not be introduced in this Parliament, says Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott."
"Canada is the only country in the world with a medicare system that excludes prescription drugs as if they are not part of the health-care system." 
"Pharmacare for all Canadians could save up to $11.4 billion a year by decreasing drug costs and reducing administration fees."

DEMOCRACY : Liberal majority on Foreign Affairs Committee votes down NDP motion to create Commons sub committee to study arms exports.
Liberal Chair Bob Nault (Kenora) : "Our committee is too high-profile and too important to play politics with issues.... Parliament does not need "a special committee for every issue that people think needs to be discussed."

FINANCE : Internal Finance Canada document says Liberal "middle class tax cut" actually benefits the rich
...half of all the benefits from the "middle class tax cut" end up in the hands of Canada's top 10% of tax filers.Canadians earning less than $45,000 receive no benefit from the "middle class tax cut."

MINING : Canada is home to over 50% of the mining corps in the world - 1200 in Vancouver alone as of 2013 - and there's a reason for that : Canadian taxpayer subsidies plus minimal government oversight and only then if the corp agrees.
"The Liberal government is showing no sign it plans to change the way Canadian mining companies are held accountable when acts of violence, intimidation, or environmental degradation are linked to their overseas operations. They have endorsed the controversial CIRDI and Office of the Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor for the mining sector brought in under its Conservative predecessor." 
Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk (Kildonan-St. Paul, Man.), a former Manitoba mining minister, geoscientist, and mining sector executive, defended Canadian mining companies as “the best in the world.”

FIRST NATIONS Federal government killed appeal of residential-school settlement ruling 
"The Canadian government abandoned an appeal of a controversial court ruling that let the Catholic Church out of its responsibility to raise millions of dollars for aboriginal healing programs, court documents show.
The appeal was dropped just six days after the Trudeau government took office."
The revelation comes in a week when the Liberal government has repeatedly said that it had no options for appeal. It did not mention, however, that an appeal had been commenced and then withdrawn.'
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Monday, April 18, 2016

A Decade of Military Exports to Saudi Arabia 2003-2013

April 19 Update : Liberals use majority on Foreign Affairs Committee to vote down NDP motion to create Commons committee to scrutinize arms exports. 
All 5 Liberal MPs on committee voted against motion : Peter Fragiskatos (London North Centre), Michael Levitt (York Centre), Marc Miller (Ville-Marie-Le Sud-Ouest-Île-des-Soeurs), Raj Saini (Kitchener Centre), Jati Sidhu (Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon).  
Foreign Affairs Committee Lib Chair Bob Nault (Kenora) : "Our committee is too high-profile and too important to play politics with issues. Parliament does not need "a special committee for every issue that people think needs to be discussed."
Appalled at both the size of the new military contract with Saudi Arabia and the Libs ham-fisted defence of it, Canadians have been pretty focussed on those weaponized LAVs. 

Yet we have been supplying the Kingdom with Item 2-10 - aircraft, drones, and components "specially designed or modified for military use" - continuously since 2004 when a $900K start-up contract was followed up in 2005 with a $10M contract.

Was this longterm contract also enacted as "a matter of principle" or does it fall more into the "if we don't someone else will jobsjobsjobs" category?

Data collected from DFAIT, Global Affairs Canada, and their archives:

2003 - 2005 http://www.sipri.org/research/armaments/transfers/transparency/national_reports/canada/canada_03-05

2006  http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2010/maeci-dfait/FR2-6-2006-eng.pdf

2007 - 2009 
http://www.sipri.org/research/armaments/transfers/transparency/national_reports/canada/Canada_2007_2009

2010 - 2011 http://www.international.gc.ca/controls-controles/report-rapports/mil-2010-2011.aspx?lang=eng#fnb11

2012 - 2013http://www.international.gc.ca/controls-controles/report-rapports/mil-2012-2013.aspx?lang=eng#fnb16
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Update : G&M : Trade minister Chrystia Freeland ‘comfortable’ with decision to approve Saudi arms deal

G&M : Dion takes responsibility for pushing through Saudi arms deal 
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